Marijuana and Jesus: Love it or Hate it?

The time is here: marijuana is being legally sold for recreational use.

As someone interested in both how the church does ethics and what conclusions she reaches, this is about to be an interesting time.  Anyone paying attention to this issue has probably seen the writing on the wall for a while and it appears that it might not be too long until the entire country can smoke legally (although I realize that this is not a foregone conclusion).

This creates an interesting and complex situation for evangelical church leaders, though, who for so long have demonized marijuana use.  The situation is even more intriguing due to the following fact: (it seems to me, at least) the leading argument from Christian parents and youth leaders up to now was simply, “It’s illegal. And Christians have to obey the law.”  Not a wholly satisfying answer to a generation of smokers, but logical.

I’d like to pose two questions in hopes of a significant discussion taking place between readers and authors of Cataclysmic:

[1] Prediction: How do you think church leaders will react?
Not how should they react, but how do you predict that they will react?  Will there be a turn-about?  Will marijuana eventually be treated by evangelicals in a way similar to popular views on alcohol? [See: Is Marijuana Sinful for Christians?]  Or will evangelicals bunker down against marijuana use by utilizing arguments besides that of legality (a resurgence in the “gateway drug” argument, perhaps)?  [See: Driscoll’s Puff or Pass: Should Christians Smoke Pot or Not?]  How polarizing will the issue be? (Will folks get fired for coming out in support of legal marijuana use?)  Even if church leaders denounce the morality of marijuana, will the average congregant pay any attention?

[2] Ethical Analysis: Do you think it is sinful for Christians to legally use marijuana?  Why or why not?
What are the important arguments (Biblical/theological, historical, philosophical, scientific/medical, etc) for and against?  What is at stake?  How should Christian leaders go about sharing their opinions on the issue (if at all)?

I’d love for you to join the discussion and share your answers!

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6 thoughts on “Marijuana and Jesus: Love it or Hate it?

  1. Interesting discussion. This is something will take me some time to think about. I don’t really know enough about marijuana to have an opinion.

    I know those who smoke it have told me it is less dangerous than alcohol (not exactly objective sources) and hear arguments about increased tax revenue and less crowded prisons. While those things sound good, is there really enough evidence to justify these positions? On the other side, the gateway drug argument has the same problem, sounds good but does evidence support?

    Hope you get some who are informed to engage your questions.

    By the way, thanks for bringing our blog to the attention of the NSA 🙂

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    1. It was only a matter of time until we were on the radar, Chad! 😉

      This post actually created quite the conversation (20+ replies) on my Facebook (I guess its easier for folks to comment there than to do so on the blog?). My informal survey makes me think people generally go with their previous views toward alcohol (if they stay away from it – same with marijuana; if they’re comfortable with it – same with legal marijuana).

      I’m interested in how controversial it will be. Will there be controversial firings over professors/pastors who come out in support? Will HBU’s School of Theology start having staff retreats in Denver? 😉

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  2. My answer is two fold. Firstly, we are told in Romans 13 that we are to follow the rules and laws of the people above us in government, so yes it’s wrong to smoke as long as it’s illegal. If it were made legal, I honestly do not think it is a sin. We have chemical receptors for THC in our brains, it is a naturally occurring plant (cannabis anyway, not all the strands), and it has never killed anyone by itself. Alongside the fact that it has, to my knowledge, zero negative long lasting effects effects other than wanting to eat your kitchen cabinet.

    It has also been shown in several studies that certain strands of marijuana can help fight cancer, as well as the other obvious medicinal uses for it such as glaucoma and such.

    This is merely my point of view that is not going to be accepted by the majority of people I imagine, and everyone’s point of view is going to be different, but I really do not believe that it is a sin.

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    1. Hey Josh – thanks for the comment!

      I agree with you that its a pretty closed-case as long as its still illegal. Civil disobedience might be appropriate in some cases, but I can’t imagine this is one of them (although I was informed last night that apparently there is a famous author who claims to smoke pot in protest of the government’s ability to condemn certain things. . . so he thinks its a case of virtuous civil disobedience. . . go figure . . .)

      I would actually think your opinion will be common (especially with folks under 40). Do you think church’s will largely stand fast and discourage use (if made legal)?

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  3. I’d say that not only is pakalolo a good thing in the eyes of Jesus but it (and other stronger psychedelics) just may be what Revelations refers to as the “hidden manna.” But it’s not enough to just use these mind altering substances and expect to see God, they must be used as a helper for learning the lessons from our teacher Jesus. I mean what could be more “hidden” than something considered evil by many? This is no joke and nothing to be taken lightly. As students of Christ we take his yoke on and learn of him then he will show us the Father. Paka helps with the learning process. I know of better people than me that believe this also. Aloha

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