Something has always bothered me about pot and the culture that tends to surround it. In general, the entire enterprise seems like a complete waste of time, as there is no virtue in getting high and I do believe the narrative that smoking pot can lead to harder drug use in time. The “I don’t give a sh**” attitude among many drug users is real and completely at odds with how I believe God made us to live. So yeah, pot is poison as far as I’m concerned.
But I will admit that the moment I try to put my finger on what exactly bothers me besides the bromides above, an exception will be noted that seemingly harms my argument. If I lament, for example, that pot and the culture that surrounds it tends to breed complacency, laziness, or an easy pathway to harder drugs, I am reminded that many hardworking people like to smoke pot and many never advance beyond marijuana on the Hard Drug Express. Pot is, for many, just a way to relax, not any different from a sip or two of bourbon, and none of us thinks bourbon should be illegal, right?
And yet, pot not only continues to bother me, but the evidence now seems to be pouring in to prove my suspicions were right: pot is not as harmless as we are often led to believe. This article has a wealth of information that indicates pot is not only bad for our culture, but bad for our minds and bodies as well.
A Culture of Laziness
And yet, the arguments for the legalization of pot seemingly will win the day. Liberal states have the support of, well, a political party that is becoming increasingly detached from God. Conservative states have all of those liberals plus a number of libertarians who would also gladly support rights to abortion, gambling and pornography in the name of freedom. It seems that we have simply accepted that pot is one small step beyond alcohol—and maybe not even that—and states can get rich off of its dirty money. So why not? Everyone wins!
Allow me to paint an entire worldview in one paragraph to offer my answer without getting in the weeds (pun intended) of legalization, and without trying to make unfair accusations. I am aware that there are “harmless” users of pot and they aren’t “harming anyone.” Still, as man was created by God in his image, man was created for a purpose. Man finds that purpose, in large part, through work. Indeed, six-sevenths of man’s life is meant to be work. Given that the world is fallen in sin and will be until the day that Jesus comes again, men and women have no shortage of work to do. Unfortunately, as many will reject God, a lot of work is left to those who believe God’s Law is good and it serves as the path towards the best life for all. Our goal, in a word, should be civilization, or the peaceful ordering of men and women in all areas of life, from the individual to the state. In such a world, virtue is championed above all else, even rest.
It is hard work to create a civilization. It is even harder work to maintain one, especially if prosperity has come as a result of a successful civilization. With freedom and wealth often comes a dark side: a short memory of how we got here in the first place. In a free society, individuals possess the right to live life on their own terms by their own standards, and by golly, they do. And as more individuals choose life on their own terms rather than life in service of God and neighbor (that whole God’s Law thing), well, more will join the parade—“Hey, they are sloughing off their responsibility to build a family, community and state, why shouldn’t I as well?”
Eventually, our time is seen as our own, and we guard it quite seriously. The weekends are “our time” to relax, and such relaxation is soon seen as a divine right. Relaxation, in fact, becomes the goal of the whole society; it is what we are working hard to achieve, right? It is not civilization, or the work of preserving virtues and traditions. It is rest. It is retirement. It is the weekend all to ourselves.
What the Bible Suggests About Pot
Relaxation and rest have become our goals, our purpose, the greatest goods we can imagine. And that is just wrong. Biblically, we are given one day of rest (not two, as our current weekend arrangement would indicate) and work is expected in the meantime. The Bible describes—through vice lists in particular—the kind of person we are not to be. A person at rest is not the image that comes to mind. Here are just a few of these vice lists:
· Romans 13:13 "Let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy."
· Matthew 15:19 "For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander."
· Galatian 5:19-20 "Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these."
· 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 "Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers — none of these will inherit the kingdom of God."
So, if the Kingdom of God is going to advance, and if we are going to build a prosperous and virtuous civilization, then we see what we are to avoid, and we see what we need to do. Surely there are many pot smokers who do not engage in all of the vices above, and there are many who do not smoke pot who do. But if we want to attain and preserve civilization, where does pot really fit in? How does it help? How can the time and money spent on a vice possibly help?
And yet, even Christians defend marijuana, out of paranoia related to the powers of government, or perhaps to justify their own consumption. The argument becomes only about legality and not morality. And to stay the obvious, many evil things, like abortion, are legal in America, but remain wrong. For that matter, I don’t care if pot is legal. No Christian should ever smoke it. For that is only an indication to me that you, as a Christian, have way too much time and money on your hands. There is a neighbor near you in need. Might you put the bong down long enough to tend to them?
If I really believed that legalizing pot would reform the evils of our criminal justice system, or if I really believed that pot was really as harmless as a beer, maybe it wouldn’t bother me quite so much. But celebrating pot often brings with it a celebration of idleness, relaxation, and abandoning others in pursuit of feeling good. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught and did, so I see no place for pot in His kingdom.