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March 11, 2010

Drugs in the New Testiment

Filed under: Bible commentary — prariepolyguy @ 1:13 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve seen quite a bit of honest debate among Christians about Marijuana use. In so far as the argument is about medical use I have no dog in the fight, if it treats an ailment its a good thing, and probably better than most pharmaceuticals today. Recreational use is another thing, and something I’d like to add a bit of information too.

Much of the case for recreational drug use comes from lack of prohibition, and I believe said lack is more important than the opposition gives it credit for.

I would like to bring up Galatians. It’s one of the epistles that has a list of things which will indicate you are someone who will not inherit the Kingdom. Important lists, very much a don’t do this ever list. The Galatians list includes witchcraft. The witchcraft in Galatians is a specific sort that is only mentioned here and in Revelation. Its hyperliteral translation is medication, its application is the use of pharmaceuticals to alter consciousness. It’s witchcraft in that both then and now drugs are used to induce a ‘spiritual state’ in pagan rituals. I can’t find anything that would limit Paul’s prohibition against mind altering drugs to mystical use. It very much appears that recreational drug use period gets you lumped in following works of the flesh.

There are many cases where witchcraft and sorcery mean essentially what they mean to us, but in this case something different is meant. I don’t know if there where substance abuse issues in the 1600’s, perhaps the translators couldn’t relate, but there where such issues at the time of Christ and there are again today, we could use a little more clarity in our translation so earnest students of the Bible are not mislead.

One of my translation pet peeves is when several words with different meanings are all translated several different, overlapping, ways so as to obscure the meanings of all of them. Is it really too much to render pharmacia one thing and mageou another? They’re not even common words why do they have to share terms?

Either way, there is a case from scripture against recreational drug use that doesn’t lean on general principles or peoples opinions on whats acceptable. I said earlier that if there was a medical argument then I don’t care to oppose it, but if any substance is used for hallucinogenic effects its wrong.


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