"What does God think about marijuana?" A conversation with a friend

I've been thinking a lot lately with the culture and trend changes in society about God's opinion of marijuana usage. It seems it's popularity is on the rise due to celebrity promotion and individual state legalization…. My curious question is, again, how does God feel about this?              

There are certain factors of morality versus illegality that I have considered. For example, women didn't always have the right to vote, it was illegal but it was not immoral. That law has since changed. Can we say the same for marijuana?         

Does consuming marijuana equate the likes of caffeine which is Americas most abused substance? Since our bodies are temples, if you have a yoga instructor, vegetarian who smokes everyday is that person taking better care of themselves than someone who works a desk job and eats McDonalds everyday?

Hey Friend!

This reminds me of something I wrote a while back concerning drinking. You might find it helpful: /davidwpendergrass/2013/07/is-drinking-bad-discussion-with-former.html

First, the following is what I think about non-medicinal uses of marijuana. (I once knew a woman with brain cancer who said only marijuana could give her release from the migraines that almost made her unconscious.)

Second, while I’ve hardly been around marijuana myself, I know several people who have smoked it (several of whom who were/are addicted). So, I’ve talked about this issue on other occasions. It’s a very needed topic in the church today! So, I appreciate your question. Also, I appreciate your desire to have the “same opinion as God’s.”

Well, unfortunately, I don’t know the mind of God on this issue as far as I can tell. Yet, I do have my opinion based on my reading of the New Testament.

I appreciate your analogies of the yoga instructor and smoking, etc. In other words, it seems you’re implying we Christians should be consistent with our ethical decisions. If that’s what you’re implying, I utterly concur. (By the way, it seems to  me that Paul’s reference to our bodies being “the Temple of the Holy Spirit” is referencing sexual purity in 1 Cor 6, not about what we eat and drink.)

I also appreciate your distinction between illegal and immoral. You’ll see below that I don’t mention legality because I concur with you. I think that is irrelevant in this discussion.

The blog I referenced above will give more details, but here is a snapshot of my views:
·    Smoking/injecting any drug, drinking alcohol, eating sugar/fat, it seems to me, is not inherently sinful/immoral (there is no Scripture that says otherwise; and considering alcohol, we know that Jesus drank a much-diluted wine). It is no more immoral than eating dirt or smoking tree bark. It’s simply consuming something that occurs naturally on this planet.

·     What IS spoken of much in the Bible is the need to practice “self-control” (esp. 1 Co. 7:5, 9; 1 Co. 9:25; Gal. 5:23; 1 Tim. 2:9, 15; 2 Tim. 1:7; 2 Tim. 3:3; 2 Pet. 1:6f). How else are we to love God with our whole selves and our neighbors if we’re drunk or high? (And it seems to me this moral commandment doesn’t include losing some self-control when I take medications for a particular ailment--like getting really sleepy or “loopy.” These are side effects of medicinal treatment and (typically) for a short period of time.)

·     It was important to Jesus and Paul that we never practice any behavior that causes another person to sin (e.g., Mark 9:42 and Rom 14:21). Of course, the same is true with my own temptation to sin. It’s assumed throughout the Bible that we should flee temptation to sin.

·     Finally, when it doubt about an ethical stance, I ask the question, “Would I do this with Jesus? Would Jesus do this if He were with me in the flesh? Would He have done this with the first disciples?”

So, when I put these things together, here is my view: If smoking marijuana (a) doesn’t lead to any lack of self-control at any point, (b) if it doesn’t influence any other person to lose self-control/sin, (c) if it doesn’t influence me to sin in some other way, (d) if I can imagine Jesus smoking marijuana with His disciples during His earthly ministry, then it is permissible.

In my view, and I don’t know this exhaustively since I’ve not smoked it before, but I can’t imagine keep full control of myself while being high (which violates the moral imperative to retain “self-control”); nor can I imagine Jesus and the disciples lighting up during His ministry.

If a person were able to maintain self-control, not be influenced to sin, not influence others to sin, and after prayer/reflection/study is convinced that Jesus would smoke it too, then it would seem permissible. I personally don't smoke it because I'm genuinely concerned about all of those issues. I've never seen or heard of anyone not violating all of these criteria (though that person might exist in the world). And, in the absence of a clear biblical mandate, I’d rather “play it safe.” Moreover, I’d rather spend my money on other things.

That’s my view!

Happy Advent,