Little-Known Bible Verses III: Every Plant of the Garden

Discerning God’s will is always a tricky business, but Billy Graham seems confident that he has it down pat. Witness one of his “My Answer” columns in which he declares that it is not God’s will for anyone to smoke marijuana, even if they are a Christian and believe otherwise:

Q: A friend of mine gave his life to Jesus a few months ago, and I really believe he meant it. But he’s always been kind of a free spirit and says he doesn’t see anything wrong with continuing to smoke pot, just like he’s done for years. Is he right?

A: No, it isn’t God’s will for him to continue doing this. God doesn’t want us to cloud or confuse our minds in any way, whether with drugs, alcohol or anything else.

However, none of the verses Graham cites to back his position up are very definitive. The most relevant one urges believers to keep their bodies “holy and pleasing” to God, but this is irrelevant to the question of marijuana smoking unless one assumes in advance that drug use is unholy, which is what is in question. Graham seems to be on thin ice with this answer, scripturally speaking.

But we can go further than that. Even an evangelist as experienced as Billy Graham, it seems, can be unaware of scriptural passages that cast an entirely new light upon important issues, such as the following little-known Bible verse:

“And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”
—Genesis 1:29 (RSV)

The language of this passage is clear: God has given humanity every green plant for food, and grants us permission to eat any of them which are edible. No exceptions to this grant are stated or implied anywhere in the Bible. But if that is the case, I would like to focus on three green plants in particular. Specifically, I am referring to Papaver somniferum, Cannabis sativa and Erythroxylum coca – the poppy, cannabis and coca plants that are the sources of opium, marijuana and cocaine respectively.

All of these drugs are natural chemical compounds produced by these plants. Although processing can yield a more potent version of the drug that can be smoked, snorted or injected, a user can readily get high by consuming the appropriate part of the plant in its raw, natural state. It would seem that a Christian or Jew, if they believe in the Bible, should therefore support legalizing these drugs. God said they were created for our use, and who are we to contravene his will?

A believer might argue against this by claiming that these plants did not originally contain intoxicating compounds, but gained them as part of the curse of the Fall. There is no scriptural support whatsoever for such an idea, but even if it is true, it is irrelevant. Nowhere in the Bible does God abrogate his initial blanket grant of permission.

This verse ties into the larger point of why, in the religious view, these plants and others like them exist at all. This must be an embarrassing difficulty for theists who oppose drug legalization: if God did not want us to get high, then why, according to them, would he make such plants in the first place? An atheist can believe that these compounds just happened to evolve in a way that made it possible for them to act on us, so that their existence is not necessarily an endorsement of their use, but religious people who believe that all things exist due to divine providence must have a much harder time explaining this.

Other posts in this series:

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • andrea

    well, I’d quibble about eating opium because I don’t think anything is as bitter as the raw sap, even Bitrex:) Anyway, perhaps one could say that it’s overindulgence which is the problem. Which could be an interesting argument but could open up all sorts of problems for oh, the anti-homosexual movement, since most of the verses that condemn it seem to be only in connection with overindulgence.

    Of course, Mr. Graham seems to forget that Jesus made wine in Cana. The arguments that he made grape juice are just too funny.

  • Mary

    Even an evangelist as experienced as Billy Graham, it seems, can be unaware of scriptural passages that cast an entirely new light upon important issues…

    It’s nice to give benefit of the doubt. It’s more likely he’s keeping in Christian fashion, and decided it doesn’t apply.

    Anyway, perhaps one could say that it’s overindulgence which is the problem. Which could be an interesting argument but could open up all sorts of problems for oh, the anti-homosexual movement, since most of the verses that condemn it seem to be only in connection with overindulgence.

    There’s more to that, you could say it is indeed overindulgence that is the problem: a word search for “wine” in BibleGateway. It speaks several times about getting drunk being a no-no, but the only place it commands to not drink at all is to those taking the Nazirite vow. In several places it, in fact, recommends wine.

    This is yet another thing various Christian sects and denominations argue about, whether drinking is ever okay, and if it is, how much. Bringing homosexuality into that argument would indeed be hilarious.

  • Alex Weaver

    Heh. This reminds me of a line from Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves (which is notable in that of the two clergymen portrayed in it, one is a greedy, corrupt bishop who supports the brutal tyranny of the principle villain and accuses people of witchcraft in order to confiscate their possessions, and the other, who delivers the following in an impromptu sermon, is an obnoxious drunkard. How’s that for realistic historical fiction? ;/): “This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more…divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about…beer!”

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    I’ve taken the liberty of fixing the typo in your comment, Mary.

    well, I’d quibble about eating opium because I don’t think anything is as bitter as the raw sap, even Bitrex…

    Well, obviously that just means God intended us to wait until we developed bitter blockers. ;)

    Incidentally, to fit with the theme of this post, there’s another verse of the water-into-wine story that can be pointed out to fundies who make the hilarious claim that Jesus actually turned the water into non-alcoholic grape juice. Here’s John 2:9-10:

    When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

    The idea of setting out good wine at the beginning and then poorer vintages later on, after guests have drunk enough to numb their sense of taste, makes sense if the beverage in question is alcoholic. How would that effect occur with grape juice?

  • lemmiwinks

    It seems that many Christians are against just about everything that gives pleasure whether actually harmful or not. Sex, drugs and Rock and Roll…etc.

    Perhaps that is part of the reason that Christians think so lowly of atheists (worse than Muslims and Laywers) because we try and enjoy our one and only life on Earth rather than depriving ourselves and saving up for some big party in the sky after we’re dead. Maybe a bit of jealousy?

  • andrea

    “Maybe a bit of jealousy?”

    I think there’s quite a bit of truth to that. There’s also that religous thing where they get off on mortifying the flesh, twisting pain into something to enjoy.

  • Brendan

    Amusingly enough, the Principia Discordia uses the exact same verse for the exact same argument.

  • SpeirM

    “A believer might argue against this by claiming that these plants did not originally contain intoxicating compounds, but gained them as part of the curse of the Fall.”

    Even the Bible doesn’t say this. It’s the same ad hoc argument that suggests beasts like wolves suddenly transmogrified from herbivorous creatures to those that could not now subsist on a diet of plants. The problem for the Christian, among others, is that creation is supposed to have been finished after the sixth day (however “day” might be defined). And yet, according to this line of thought, God reinvented many plant and animal species after the Fall. (And it would have to have been a radical redesign. A herbivorous “wolf” wouldn’t even look like a wolf.) That would be a creative act.

  • Pingback: Revenge of Mr Dumpling

  • SpeirM

    Follow the Revenge of Mr. Dumpling link and read the post there. The essence of his argument is that these plants have other, legitimate uses. How can we blame God if we misuse what he gave us?

    At first blush, that reasoning has a certain appeal. But next comes the question, Why can’t we blame God for it? What was the point of giving us things that could hurt us? After all, according to the Bible there was no pain or suffering before the Fall. There was no need of pharmaceuticals. Just why did God create these things? Because he could look forward to the time when they would be needed? Couldn’t he also see that they would be abused? Who made the rule that says a substance, in order to offer some benefit, must also be capable of harm if misused? God, according to the inescapable inferences from Christian teaching. And mankind had the capability to use plants as intoxicants way, way before we developed the means to extract useful drugs from them. What’s up with that?

    But the Bible simply doesn’t prohibit the use of intoxicating drugs, does it? No, I would agree with the author of the essay that it’s not a good thing use of them for the purpose of getting “high.” But no one can say that on the explicit word of Scripture. It simply doesn’t say that smoking marijuana, for instance, is wrong. Why can’t we just go with what it does say? What it does say is just what Adam pointed out:

    “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”
    —Genesis 1:29 (RSV)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    I appreciate the trackback, but I don’t think this Christian blogger grasped the point of my post. I didn’t call these plants an “argument against God’s bounty or against the Christian’s avoidance of intoxication”, as he says. My point was that, if one believes that God made these plants for our use – a point with which he seems to agree – then how could a Christian justify making their consumption illegal?

    Alcohol has significant potential for abuse, but it need not be harmful when used responsibly and even has some positive effects. But the same is true of many other recreational drugs that are currently outlawed. Marijuana, to name the most obvious example, has numerous medical benefits (and is far less harmful than alcohol or tobacco by any reasonable standard), and yet its use is severely punished. Irrational laws such as these are supported by many Christians. The point of my post was to show the inconsistency in their demanding the ban of a substance when they must, logically speaking, believe that God has sanctioned the use of that very same substance.

  • http://mrdumpling.easingthebadger.com Dave

    Hi Ebonmuse…thanks for dropping by :-)

    I wasn’t saying whether you called that verse an “argument against God’s bounty or against the Christian’s avoidance of intoxication”. I was simply sharing the thoughts that your post provoked and exploring some of the issues that I thought it raised.

    However, if your point is “if one believes that God made these plants for our use – a point you seem to agree with – then how could a Christian justify making their consumption illegal?” I think the answer is the line between use and abuse. Personally, I don’t see an inconsistency in believing something was created with certain properties for a purpose, but seeking to limit uses that are a perversion of that original design.

    I agree with you that some drugs laws that are supported by Christians are irrational (however Christians certainly have no monopoly on irrationaility when it comes to drug laws), but they are supported out of a personal conservatism rather than with any Biblical justification. I do believe that a reasonable case can be made for some legislation in regards to drugs such as heroin or cocaine, but I am not sure what the Christian approach to laws on marijuana should be (perhaps a post in the making?) especially as we condone the use of tobacco (but after seeing the degeneration of long term marijuana use in numerous friends I am not a fan of its recreational use).

    Secular law aside, I think Biblically it can be shown that Christians should avoid the recreational (as opposed to medical) use of substances that whether in moderation or not always cause a type of intoxication, which I have tried to convey. But, I don’t agree that we should necessarily try and legislate that, unless there are other factors to take in consideration (ie should we try and protect society from heroin?). I have posted on my views on legislating morality in other posts.

    Anyway, thanks for a good post that got me thinking. :-)

  • kyle

    First of all…just so you know, we Christians don’t have the answers to everything, and if you come across someone who claims to…they are full of crap. NO, not even Billy Graham has everything figured out.
    The problem with Marijuana IS its mis-use. I believe it does have some good uses, but they should only be used for these things in which they were designed. Along with everything else in life. Lemmiwinks said “It seems that many Christians are against just about everything that gives pleasure whether actually harmful or not. Sex, drugs and Rock and Roll…etc..” No, sex is not wrong ( in the way that it was designed…between a man and a woman…and when they have become married before God…and are united as one..!(This is why homosexuality is wrong!)) Rock and Roll? I’m in a rock band that travels the eastern side of the U.S. and we are a christian band…Lemmiwinks, you are talking to too many old poeple or something.
    If people eat to much(the bible talks about glutens), they become fat and unhealthy. Drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication will cloud your mind and make you do stupid things..as well as drugs…we can harm ourselves.
    If you are Lazy(and blog all day:) You’ll end up living with your parents your whole life. This all boils down to FREE WILL…God has given it to us to chose what we want to do…and while we are on this earth we can choose to serve him or live for ourselves.
    My point is everything God has placed before us, if misused is wrong to do and is going to be harmful to us(in some point in time).

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Incidentally, I note with pleasure that the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible has come across this post and linked to it (here), for which I am most grateful. That page also mentions another plant relevant to this verse which I overlooked: Lophophora williamsii, the peyote cactus. And now that they’ve spurred my memory, I should also add Psilocybe mushrooms, which have hallucinogenic properties when consumed. Again, the edict in Genesis strongly suggests that Christians should support the legalization of these drugs for recreational use.

    In response to Kyle:

    The problem with Marijuana IS its mis-use. I believe it does have some good uses, but they should only be used for these things in which they were designed.

    So we’re agreed, then, that there are legitimate uses for marijuana and that such use should be legalized? That is undeniably what the Bible says.

    No, sex is not wrong ( in the way that it was designed…between a man and a woman…and when they have become married before God…and are united as one..!(This is why homosexuality is wrong!))

    Only a very warped and illogical moral system could believe that non-harmful activities between consenting adults are wrong. And while in general I favor marriage (both for gays and for heterosexuals), it is ridiculous superstition to believe that love between adults requires the approval of a priest to be legitimized, or that it is wrong if one does not seek such sanction.

  • BennyNailbiter

    If it’s true that the Holy Bible is actually based on ancient african practices of bringing down real angels, none of these arguments mean anything.

    The Catholic Church itself retains most of the color scheme of the Orisha of the African tradition, and alot of the symbology.

    Step into any Baptist church after thoroughly studying Lucumi, Vodun, Etc., study the service with it’s practice of bringing down the spririt, and tell me i’m crazy. Also note the frequent double speak and use of the word Loa in the modern Baptist church, as in bless the loa, thank you loa, etc.

    According to what I’ve learned about the African traditions certain diets and restrictions are prescribed by a knowledgable priest to fit each individual’s heads. It’s like Mumbo Jumbo Kathedral “Fits for your heads”, from Ishmael Reeds Mumbo Jumbo.

    According to this system some people can drink do drugs etc., others can’t. It depends on a variety of factors.

    Sorry for the length but don’t like angels and the holy spirit getting bad mouthed by people who like to dance.

  • Philip Thomas

    Of course there are legitimate uses for marijuana and such use should be legalised. Actually I think it should be completely legalised, but taxed heavily, like cigarettes or tobacco. But I would seriously question the idea that this is “undoubtedly what the Bible says”. Was Marijuana known about when the passage in question was written? Interpreting the Bible without doubt has led to a lot of trouble down the ages…

    The prescription of different drugs and diets for different people’s needs seems sensible enough.

  • lost in translation

    It is surprising at the misuse of the Genesis verse 1:29 in an attempt to justify an addiction or habit. People are constantly and relentlessly twisting the scripture to fit their ideals and this is yet another instance of that. First of all, the verse reads

    “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”
    —Genesis 1:29 (RSV)

    The very last word is necessary in determining the relevence of this quote, and that last word is “FOOD”. I am curious, how many pot “smokers” eat their pot? None that I know. They “smoke” it, by definition, thereby typifying a pot “smoker”. Furthermore, how many cocaine users eat this drug? It seems crucial then to point out that other plants which were intended as food were created so for sustenance. I am not sure in any way how pot or cocaine or opiates can by any stretch be considered necessary for sustenance. It could be argued that pot is “consumed” and thereby substantiated as a ‘food’ source, however this is an illegitimate claim when it is obvious that food as we require it is not ‘smoked’. Eating by definition requires the digestive system to provide our bodies with nourishment and to support our survival. By no means are pot, opiates or cocaine, necessary to our survival.

    Wine was specifically allowed and this is supported biblically with strict regulations. In fact drunkeness is never rewarded and numerous passages depict the humiliation and punishments which people faced when they became drunk.

    Finally, I will close in saying that I am immensely impressed with the vast knowledge of the bible on this site and the research done to accompany many of your answers. It was a true test of my own learning. I challenge you to continue your study and you may be led to find more than you ever could have hoped.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blog/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    The very last word is necessary in determining the relevence of this quote, and that last word is “FOOD”. I am curious, how many pot “smokers” eat their pot? None that I know.

    Then I politely suggest that you make an effort to educate yourself on the topic. As I mentioned in my post, it is quite possible to experience the physiological effects of THC by consuming it rather than by smoking it, and a great many marijuana users do use it in that way. (Here is what Wikipedia has to say.)

    By no means are pot, opiates or cocaine, necessary to our survival.

    Patently irrelevant: human beings eat a great number of things that are not necessary for survival. Again, the Bible specifically gives people permission to eat any edible plant – no exceptions.

  • Seth

    There is one fundamental logical error in an awful lot of comments: Billy Grahm never said never to use alcohol, or drugs for that matter. He said not to “Cloud our Minds” with them. It’s possible to drink without getting drunk (and everyone will agree that you’re more likely to do something stupid/foolish when you’re drunk) and it is possible to smoke “freedom grass” without getting high (however hard it may be). Also, it is funny to me how the original writer to the question used the euphemism “Free Spirit” to describe his friend. It makes me think of a person who goes around in his VW bus, smoking weed, writing poetry, etc…

  • Seth

    (Here is what Wikipedia has to say.)

    Since when has wikipedia been a reliable source? But you can het high by eating pot.

  • Blake

    Um, seth… since when do people eat pot. We are supposed to eat the plants, not smoke them. I have to admit, music written with the assistance of drugs is so much better. But still. (And “freedom grass” is an inside joke, seth. Other people won’t exactly get it.)

  • Alex Weaver

    Since when has wikipedia been a reliable source? But you can het high by eating pot.

    Approximately forever, in my experience, except with regard to a few particularly incendiary topics which inspire temporary acts of page vandalism, and with regard to arguments where one participant finds it convenient to casually dismiss the other side’s supporting evidence.

  • http://nes-ramblings.blogspot.com/ Nes

    since when do people eat pot. [sic]“

    Um… “special” brownies?

  • passerby

    Drugs to be taken only when necessary, not for sensual pleasures?

  • Argus

    Billy is old school. most of what he said when he was a media giant was US govt. backed and inspired. One finds early on that one must agree with government policy if one wishes to be an “official” Christian in the U.S.

  • Major K

    I actually asked like this exact same question at a Christian Church camp last year. I think i used the same verse aswell. The answer i recieved was something along comparing Cannabis to Aspirin. The guy said that he wouldn’t smoke pot to get rid of a headache.

    I am a Christian. I don’t smoke pot, but according to this biblical verse, it should be legalized with every other drug producing plant.

  • Chris

    I believe that Marijuana is regulated because of its useful properties, commercial and medicinal. One use, that stands out to me is, the seeds can be turned into oil. I say, all that is on the earth, is for us to use how we see fit(free will).Your day will come to stand tall before the one and only then will you receive your blessings or NOT.

  • http://www.myspace.com/dizzylizardcreations Reverend Damien Freeze

    The primary problem with the prohibition of marijuana is the deprivation of our God-given right to “FREE WILL”. This is the gift from God which sets mankind apart from any of his other creations. Free will is the reason for the war between the angels and the expulsion of Lucifer (once YHWH’s favorite) from heaven. God gave US the CHOICE to do good or evil, and left the decision to us. Yes, he lay down some rules for us to follow and consequences if we disobey them, but the CHOICE is ours. The federal government has taken away that choice from the people, in a country that is supposed to be founded on the principle of freedom of choice. Does this make sense? Here are a few facts that the DEA doesn’t want you to know:

    1)Marijuana has been used medicinally, spiritually, and recreationally for over 5000 years. Anecdotal evidence of its use can be found in Ancient Egypt, Sumeria, Babylon, and Mesopotamia.
    2)In that 5000 years, there have been no (as in zero, zip, zilch, nada) recorded instances of anyone dying from using Marijuana.
    3)In contrast, Tobbacco and Alcohol (both legal), kill 457,000 people every year, combined.
    4)Pound for Pound, Hempseed is a better source of nutrition that soybeans, beef, poultry, pork, OR ANY OTHER FOOD!
    5)There are approximately 50,000 uses for Hemp (not POT, but the THC-free Indian Hemp Plant) which would reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil, nonrenewable resources, pollutants, and synthetics. MORE INFO HERE!!!
    6)Several presidents (Including Richard M. Nixon) have stated that marijuana’s detrimental effects are overstated, inflated, and, in many cases, falsely generated.
    7)The cost of housing inmates whose only crime was enjoying this plant (not selling it to kids, not growing it to distribute, not trafficking, just simple posession) is over $3,000,000,000 (yes, that’s BILLION, with a B) every year. That comes from the taxpayers the government is supposedly protecting.
    8)The primary contributors to D.A.R.E., Partnership for a Drug-free America, Just Say No, and many other Anti-drug organizations are as follows: Phillip Morris, Inc. (marlboro cigarettes); R.J. Reynolds, Inc. (Camel Cigarettes); Anheuser-Busch, Inc. (Budweiser, Busch, Miller beers); Eli-Lilly Pharmaceuticals; Pfizer Pharmaceuticals; Dupont (creators of Nylon, Spandex, Lycra, and all the other oil-based synthetics that hemp would put out of business); and many other organizations who have a vested interest in keeping the plant illegal.
    There’s a lot more, but I’m running out of time and space…do the research…learn the truth. Realize how much your government is LYING to you…and depriving you of not only your God-given right to free choice, but also of the information to make an informed decision.

  • Jim Baerg

    Hi Damien:
    Your argument against drug laws on the basis that they deprive us of FREE WILL would apply equally to laws against murder & theft. It needs to be qualified somewhat. I think that a proper position is that for any restriction on individuals actions to be legitimate there needs to be lots of evidence that those actions harm OTHERS.

    The rest of your post lists good reasons to drop the drug laws, even though I suspect exaggeration in a few of them.

  • bernerd

    God doesn’t want us to cloud or confuse our minds in any way whether with drugs, alcohol or anything else.

    So he doesn’t want us to ever have anesthetics, attempt to solve difficult maths equations, stay up really late, fall in love or try to understand the presidential elections.

  • Chris

    smoke weed all day! It brings you closer to God :)

  • crinkly pinkly

    Every herb? Ricin Communis included? How about some castor bean soup instead of lentils?

  • Whitney

    okay. I’ve heard that verse a dozen times and quite frankly it’s getting old.

    First of all, a better queation would be why did he create sin in the first place.

    Secondly,
    That verse said that the plants and etc. were for food which by definition means “any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, and promote growth.” Does pot do any one of the things I just stated….no.

    Lastly, I just want to say that there is nothing I can say or do to convince you that their is a God, that loves you, if you won’t hear it… I study a lot of beliefs and a lot of different views on life, and the one thing I’ve learned is that almost every view needs some kind of hope of good… some kind of aspiration of living life. My question is what is yours? What is truth? What do you have faith in? If you don’t have any of these things then what is the piont in living? ….if you have an answer to that question please tell me because I haven’t found one without truth, hope, and faith.

    No matter what you say or prove… I will always have my God for eternity and you will just have your lifetime in the world

  • Caroline

    It is apparant to anyone with a brain and a free will that Gods laws are clearly different from mans laws. God/Jesus does not condem individuals that do what they do, for reasons only known to them, ever. He did put these plants here and he KNEW we would find them. And he KNEW that some would LIKE them. Perhaps it was his way of helping some cope a little better or to give relief to those that needed it for whatever reason. I think it was mans decadent nature that made the use of these plants ugly. Making them illegal only made them taboo and when something is taboo, well you know what happens next…it becomes something some will seek out to no end, not out of sin or badness simply because that is HUMAN NATURE. Yes, human nature, another one of Gods creations? Well, I would say it is. Remember it was MANS LAWS that killed Jesus in the first place. Scarey thought, personally it terrifies me.

  • Angelique

    I find it appaling that a country so hell-bent on freedom and free-will punishes a private pot-smoker as if he is a serial killer or worse. The law seems more intent on punishing private citizens, who are of age, because they relax with something other than the all Championed booze! Isn’t it a violation of the constitution to dictate to people what they can and cannot put into their own bodies?? How many killers, rapists, kidnappers, etc. are on the prowl looking to do real harm while the law is busy sending out its GOONS to terrorize decent people who hurt nobody but are considered LAW BREAKERS anyway. Pushing it on the youth is dispicable, I agree. But if one is an adult over 21 why should they have to live in fear that they will be arrested for doing something in the privacy of their own home whether it be pot, opiates or whatever. Unless you are making drugs that may put others at risk because it is explosive, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM???

  • spaceman spif

    Ahhh, pooey. Bernerd stole my thunder.

    So Billy Graham doesn’t want people to take pain killers? They cloud your mind quite a bit. Must be a lot of sinners needing to repent in ICU wards across the country!

    Whitney – I enjoy truth, hope, and faith in my life without trying to fit my life around a 2000+ year old book of Bronze Age superstitions and borrowed mythology. I would go on, but I have the feeling you are as closed to hearing my views as you claim we are to yours.

  • OMGF

    Whitney,

    No matter what you say or prove… I will always have my God for eternity and you will just have your lifetime in the world

    At least you are honest about not having an open mind. But, why even ask a question of us if you aren’t going to listen?

    But, just in case:
    What kind of truth, hope, and faith does your view entail? You can’t provide evidence that it gives truth, and without evidence how can you call it truth? What hope is there in your view? Going to heaven? Why would this be something to hope for, and why would Xians be scared of death? Why would you want to be alive at all? This view leads to the conclusion that the point of life is to die as quickly as possible in order to be with god. Finally, why is faith important? Why do you need faith in order to have a point to living?

    For my part, I am on this planet, alive, and I only get one go around, so my point in living is to enjoy my life and do what I can to make the world a better place for all people. There is no inherent truth, per se, but the truth of this idea comes from not accepting ancient myths as some guidebook to life and natural law that have no evidence to back them up. How can I, or you, possibly assert that “truth” is what is written by some shepherded 2000+ years ago with no verifying evidence? Do I need hope to have a point to life? No, actually, I don’t. I don’t need to hope for this or that, I simply need to live my life. Does this make my life hopeless? Not in the sense of despair it doesn’t. I have no need for despair either. Same with faith. There is no need for faith.

  • Rhiannon

    What a foolish statement that free will also includes murder and theft. Clearly a person who has a raging free-will to harm others is totally different from a free-will pertaining to ones own interests or uses. How can you compare a free-will to smoke pot or opium to a free-will to murder someone?? You’re being silly and sounding very desperate to make your argument sound profound. What is next- the law will tell people what to eat, what sexual positions are and are not acceptable, what to read…. a line must be drawn. As far as a need to harm or kill I would not call that a free-will. I would call that a mental case on the loose. Exactly my point, the law should go after them – not users.

  • Alan Cushim

    In the Jewish religion it is customary for Rabbis and the congregation to drink on certain holidays. Surely if intoxication is allowed in orthodox Jewish law then getting a high from other plants G-d placed on this earth should be considered legal as far as the bible is concerned. As a matter of fact all clergy from all different religions drink and many drink in excess.

  • Arch

    Ebon,
    Your interpretation of this passage is manipulative. “I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth” does not mean that it is acceptable to use a plant for immoral means. You could make that statement about any element of the world–all elements can be used for good or evil, and this passage in no way condones an immoral use of natural elements.
    Peace.

  • Paul

    Arch,
    Every interpretation is up for manipulation. How can you not say that the bible might not view that as an immoral means of use. Your magic book doesn’t seem to have an opinion one way or another on marijuana use. Unlike condoning slavery, child murder, rape, incest, and other wholesome activities.

  • jazz

    “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”
    —Genesis 1:29 (RSV)

    (Please read: Comment by: lost in translation | October 29, 2006, 10:56 pm )

    For those of you who argued with this post:

    As said individual points out – the bible quote ends with food.
    Food implies “edible” plants here. Food is substances we eat that provide sustenance/nutrients (carbohydrates, sugars, proteins) and etc. that our body digests through our digestive tract in order for our body (organs, systems, etc.) to function as it does. Without food, we die. It is a necessity.

    Pot, cocaine and opiates are not food. They do not provide our body with any form of substance (check out Biology or even Anatomy 101 on the digestive tract) that we need to function. Food, in essence, is a need.

    Also – please note – that substances that are harmful to our body are considered “poisonous” or toxic. Poison oak or poison ivy are plants that, if eaten, would harm our body. They are not edible plants. Neither is pot, cocaine or opiates.
    Over time, those “substances” cause harmful effects on the human body.
    Pot, opiates and cocaine are poisons. They are not “edible” or “food”. Fruits, vegetables, meat – these provide needed nutrients to live and for our bodies to function. Pot is not called a “vegetable” or a “fruit”. Not all things that are vegetative (plants) fit into the edible category. Even if something can be literally put into the mouth and chewed and is plant-like does not make it “food”.

    I have never had pot – and yet I live.
    However, if I were to go without any fruits, vegetables or meat – and only used pot – I would eventually die. Even people who give up meat should take “supplemental substances” such as vitamins to get proper nutrition or to truly meet their bodies needs in this arena. Talk to trained professionals (i.e. – doctors) and I’m sure they could give you up-to-date information on what is or is not appropriate for the body – how it functions and what it needs to function properly.

    I know people who support these substances will find ways to twist my words or to take the focus off of what the main point is.

    Those of you reading – keep in mind – when you only take a sentence out of a book – it can be twisted to mean what you want it to mean. However – if you were to read the entire, say, chapter – it gives clearer meaning and definition. Read the whole book – and you actually understand what it is talking about. Misquoting is amazing in most of the posts I’m reading. Don’t believe something just because you read a sentence the bible supposedly says. Read the whole thing – then see what you think.

  • jazz

    Lastly – before someone tries to argue this:

    “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”
    —Genesis 1:29 (RSV)

    Here – it is saying “God made all plants that make seeds”.
    It says “God made every tree with fruit that has seeds”.
    It follows by saying “God made seeds that yeild fruit”.
    It says God made all these things. It says God made all of these things that are on the face of the earth.

    From these things God made, man can have them for food.

    So – trees that make seeds that make fruit – man can have for food.
    Plants that make seeds – man can have fod food.

    What about plants that do not have seeds? What about trees that do not make fruit with seeds? These are not mentioned.

    From this – depending on what else that chapter or other parts of the bible (i.e. – context) say – only trees with fruit or plants with seeds (so plants/trees that make food) – are to be eaten from. But anything we assume is assumptions – to some degree.

    However – logically – if trees with fruits (that have seeds) and plants with seeds are for men to eat – then most other types of trees were not intended to be eaten.
    (Read Genesis and bible – see if it says otherwise).

    This verse:

    Does not say man must eat all trees for food.

    It does not say man is to eat every tree.

    It does not say all plants make seeds.

    It says God make all the plants that make seeds.

    It does not say all trees have seeds or fruit.

    It says God made trees that have seeds that make fruit.

    Do you follow the logic?

    I see a lot of false reasoning or inputting of assumptions from what the mind wants to fit in there as opposed to reading what the said verse actually states.

    Check logic & read carefully.

  • random reader

    From reading posts:

    Technically – since both alcohol and pot or other substances of like nature are poisonous (bad for your body) – then either the government should ban all or none.

    One is equally as bad as the other (if you look at it from a “can harm the body and can harm others around the intoxicated/stoned person”).
    So either both should be illegal or both should be allowed for adults so they can choose for themselves whether to use said substances or not.

    If you can drink at 21 – you should be able to do pot at 21.

    So the next issue becomes: should the government be able to ban people from intaking alcohol or pot? That is the issue.

    If doing pot or alcohol can harm others – then yes – there should be some guidlines or safety rules in place to protect both the people doing the substance and those not involved with the substance.

    Also – remember – the government is you, me and everybody else who votes on these issues. The majority of people in the U.S. at one time voted to make alcohol o.k. for people the age of 21 and over. We the people could change that.
    The over all majority have so far supported making marijuana & etc. illegal. This is what the over all opinion of people equates to. We the people could change that.

    The issue is not murderers or theives. That is moving the issue beyond the subject at hand. How we attend to murderes in our country does not necessarily effect or relate to how the general public views substances. It also does not mean murderes are more or less likely to go to jail, be punished or etc.
    Leave out the other kinds of “crimes” for the moment and focus on the like issue of substances (alcohol & drugs) and whether or not they should be legal.
    That is what this is all about – right?

    Also – remember that freedom comes at a price.
    To have choices (i.e. freedom) – everyone cannot be allowed complete freedom 24/7 because some of the choices one person makes can effect someone elses ability to make choices.

    In a complete free will situation: (examples)

    If a person decides they want to drive in their car on the side walk today then anyone choosing to walk on the sidewalk may be run over.
    If someone decides they want to walk on the road instead of the sidewalk then anyone choosing do drive a car on it may hit another person.

    However – by making it a law that you can only walk on the sidewalk but not drive – the people walking on the side walk are safe. By making it a law that cars drive on the road and there are pedestrian crossing when someone needs to cross the street or by having sidewalks available – there are roads for the car to drive on without the problem of running someone over.

    Someone may still choose to break the law – but then they choose the possible consequences. Their choice may hurt someone else – however – not just themselves. Hence – laws also provide punishment to discourage making bad choices that effect not just the person making the choice – but the others that could be effect by said choice.

    It is better to have the law – which most people will adhere to – and not have as much of a problem – than to allow anything and everything to go as anyone wants it at any given time – and have quite a few issues at hand.

    Therefore – there has to be a law for protecting some choices.
    Not all choices work for everyone at all times – so complete freedom could not exist to produce the safest/best/happiest/free-est society.

    Most laws are based on the majority. Laws are meant to provide protection typically.
    We the people vote on and influence these laws.

    Any drug used in excess – (especially concerning if that person is in the general public or in a vehicle that can cause harm) – should have some kind of check/balance system. A line should be drawn. People have to unify to make that happen.

    If we the people are the government – then what you’re really asking is this: Should everyone be able to decide what anyone else is allowed to do to themselves?

    Well – does it effect everyone?

    If anyone can drink alcohol as much as they want and when they want – (knowing what we know about it’s effects and what it can do to the body – including liver damage – death – vehicle accidents – brain functions – etc.) – then yes – it can effect anyone. Consider – jobs provide income and provide goods for people to buy.
    Let’s say you work at a McDonalds. If your co-workers all choose to drink (be drunk) except you and you are the only one working and able to do the job – that will effect you and anyone who is wanting to buy or obtain food that day from your work place. If that same problem occured in every work place in the entire U.S. – imainge what would happen. The same can be said for anyone who is high or unable to fully function as they ought to.

    So drinking or doing drugs can effect other people – hence why there should be some laws in place.

    If young children can do these substances and it can cause death – there could be a higher rate of death and medical expenses. This could effect everyone b/c of over-populated hospitals – not enough number of people to make society function – etc.

    This is – granted – in extreme cases – but regardless – everyone should be able to take their own interest into consideration. From that – yes – society should be able to make laws to protect the over all people invovled because these issues can effect others – not just one person.

    Then the issue becomes – how much should we limit the use of these substances?

    That’s where the real issue begins.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Arch,

    Exactly how is getting high “immoral”?

    Random Reader,

    One is equally as bad as the other (if you look at it from a “can harm the body and can harm others around the intoxicated/stoned person”).

    That’s like saying guns and missiles are equally as bad because both “can harm a person”. In study, Alcohol has been shown to account for far more damage than pot does, both to oneself and to others. Pot is simply not harmful to one’s body.

    So the next issue becomes: should the government be able to ban people from intaking alcohol or pot? That is the issue.

    And it shouldn’t be one. People have a right to their own body, and they should be free to put whatever they want into it, so long as they do not harm anyone else, regardless of how harmful or beneficial it may be to the person taking it. I see nothing wrong with slapping an legal age limit for purchasing such things, as minors have issues regarding consent.

    What’s important is informing people what risks drugs entail, and how much damage they will do, and under what circumstances. Generally informing people about the real consequences of making such a choice.

    Let’s not forget, making drugs illegal doesn’t actually help anyone. How exactly is it beneficial to throw a drug user in jail if their only crime is using drugs? How does such a policy fit in line with our rights and freedoms here in the US?

  • Mrnaglfar

    Is should rephrase that

    Pot is simply not that harmful to one’s body, especially compared to cigarettes or alcohol


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