Q&A Friday- Is it okay for Christians to Use Marijuana Recreationally?

Is it okay for Christians to use weed recreationally?

Just a few years ago this would have been a very easy question to answer. Marijuana was illegal.  Christians should never willfully break laws that don’t contradict God’s laws so using marijuana (an illegal substance) would be wrong for Christians. Period. End. Of. Debate. 

However.

Laws have changed radically in recent years. Marijuana is now legalized or decriminalized in thirty-three states, marijuana use is entirely prohibited in only four. This makes the rightness and wrongness of marijuana use a much more complex issue for serious Christians. The real question is not whether or not Christians CAN smoke weed it’s whether or not Christians SHOULD smoke weed. 

The Apostle Paul says this about Christian freedom:

 I have the right to do anything, you saybut not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others-1st Corinthians 

Using marijuana is lawful for Christians. Nonetheless, marijuana use not beneficial or constructive because:

  1. Christians are told to be sober minded (1st Peter 5:8, 1st Thessalonians 5:6-8). Marijuana clouds judgment. It’s tough to be sober on weed.
  • The Bible warns Christians against drinking alcohol to the point of impairment (Ephesians 4:8, 1st Corinthians 5:11, Titus 1:7, 1st Peter 4:3). It is true that weed and alcohol are different but they both lead to impairment. It is possible to drink a small amount of alcohol without becoming impaired. It is much more difficult, if not impossible, to use any amount of marijuana in a manner that does not lead to impairment. 
  • Using marijuana is not a good example for Christians to set for others. Christians are commanded not to do anything that might cause another person to sin or “stumble” (Matthew 18:7, Mark 9:42, 1st Corinthians 10:32). Marijuana is a known gateway drug. This means marijuana use makes people more comfortable with other, stronger drugs. Doctor prescribed drug use aside, drug use does not typically lead to full, abundant, law abiding life. When non-Christians, or newer Christians see mature Christians using marijuana it sends the clear message that drug use is okay and no one is lives their best life on drugs. 

And finally. 

  • We live in times that require Christians to be alert, holy and entirely present (Ephesians 5:15-17). God wants His people to be clear-minded and ready to fight the spiritual battles that come our way (Ephesians 6:10-17). Drug use of any kind does not help us to be alert, righteous and entirely present. Therefore, it should be avoided.  

Seven Really Good Reasons Not to Legalize Drugs

Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities~ Psalm 107:17 NIV

 Over the course of my lifetime, societal attitudes toward drug use have evolved dramatically. Drug use has gone from something shameful that was done in secret to something many are attempting to normalize and legalize.  I, for one have never been able to get on board the whole legalization bandwagon for a whole variety of reasons that I will hit on later.

  I am well aware that my views on this issue are in the minority (even among some Christians).  It’s important to understand that am not opposed to drug legalization because I’m ignorant of the arguments for legalizing drugs. I understand that there are a variety of people advocating for drug legalization for vastly different reasons.

 Politicians who support drug legalization are (generally speaking) money-grubbing pragmatists. Politicians want to legalize drugs (especially marijuana) because they see drugs as a cash-cow of never-ending tax revenue for state and local governments.

 Libertarians tend to take a more philosophical approach to the issue. They connect drug use to personal freedom and believe that individuals ought to be free to decide for themselves what they do or don’t do with their own bodies.

 Humanitarians favor abolishing drug laws because it would relieve some of the burden on the prison system and remove the stigma associated with drug use. They believe this would make drug use safer, slow the spread of diseases associated with drug use, and make information regarding addiction more widely available to a greater number of people.

 Passionate arguments aside, there are plenty of really good reasons to not to legalize marijuana (and other drugs). The most basic and profound reason being that God designed people for far more than the emptiness that drug use ultimately leads to (John 10:10).

 Some other reasons are:

 A person’s “right” to do stupid stuff with their own body ends the moment the stupid stuff begins to hurt others (1stCorinthians 8:9)-

 I am not, nor have I ever been, a supporter of big government or making laws for the sake of making laws. That said, one truly legitimate function of government is to keep citizens from inflicting harm on one another (Romans 13:4). Contrary to popular belief, drugs harm innocent people all the time.  According to the Department of Justice most crimes (violent and non-violent) are committed by people who tested positive for drugs. Nearly all property crimes are committed by people on drugs so that they can get money to buy more drugs. Taxpayers spend millions financing a foster-care system that has become overburdened by parents who are too high to care for their own children.

 Gateway drugs are a real thing-

 Supporters of legalization tend to scoff at the whole notion of gateway drugs. Nonetheless, I have never known a heroin addict who started with heroin. Nearly all drug users start with marijuana and then move on to harder drugs. Legalizing marijuana allows more people easy access to a drug that will make them increasingly more comfortable experimenting with other drugs. Not every person who smokes pot will progress to harder drugs, but enough do to make marijuana a bad bet for any society that values stability.

 We are creating a disadvantaged class of people due entirely to prenatal drug exposure-

 Roughly fifteen percent of all children are born drug and/or alcohol affected (experts believe the number is much higher). These children are burdened with emotional and intellectual deficits they will never entirely overcome (short of a miracle). I predict that society will reap a bitter harvest when these kids reach adulthood.

 Drug use makes people passive and easy to manipulate-

 I am not normally prone to conspiracy theories and tin-foil hat notions. Nonetheless, it has occurred to me that if a government were looking to create a population of docile, submissive, and easy to control zombies, promoting drug use would be the simplest way to make that happen.

 Drugs have a negative spiritual impact on individuals making it harder to reach them with the gospel-

 I do not pretend to know everything there is to know about life, God or the spiritual world. But I do know that Christians are told to be very careful to avoid drunkenness and to only be controlled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18, 1stCorinthians 5:11, Proverbs 20:9, Proverbs 31:4). I assume this is because a spirit of drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18) dulls our spiritual senses, making it harder to hear the voice of God. It only makes sense that drugs would have the same effect. 

 Drugs hurt kids-

 Our youngest child is not our biological child. She is the daughter of a relative and her story is not unique, there are literally millions of children just like her. Her parents believed passionately that they had the “right” to do whatever they wanted with their own bodies. The exercise of “their rights” robbed a little girl of her rights. Including the right to a childhood without fear, loss and insecurity. I know for a fact that her parents never intended to become addicted, they certainly never intended cause their child hurt or pain. They loved their daughter; but ultimately, addiction caused them to love drugs more.  Drugs do that to people. They rob us of the ability to think clearly and wisely. Then they steal our humanity and decency. Drugs rob us of the most basic of human instincts, including the instinct to protect the most vulnerable among us. 

 Anything that can do that is not a good thing.