Welcome to the Crawl
Before you start, make sure someone gives The Spiel to your group. Also, remember these conversation tips: 1) Be polite, and don’t take offense, 2) Say something if you don’t understand, 3) Ask “why” and speak up if you disagree (It’s not rude, it’s just a good conversation). Now, order a drink and start unpacking the deep mysteries of the universe!
The Big Question: The Bible never mentions Mary Jane, Jack Daniels, or Alice, is there a “biblical” way to use these substances?
The Main Questions
- What is a “drug”? How is the term technically defined? How is it popularly defined?
- Is drug use a moral issue? Why or why not?
- What drugs are mentioned in the Bible? How is their use discussed?
- Look at the list of common types of recreational drugs below and answer the following questions:
- What drugs are you surprised to find categorized together? Why is it surprising?
- Is the nature of how a drug affects the human body an ethical issue (ie. does it morally matter how a drug specifically affects your body?)
- How are drug use and drug abuse distinguishable in the various kinds of drugs listed? Is the demarcation between use and abuse always the same?
- What other ideas or moral principles in the Bible should inform how drugs are used? Where do you find these ideas in the text? (Hint: some scriptures provided below)
- Working as a group, try to establish a Biblically informed approach to the following drugs: cocaine, marijuana, LSD, alcohol, tobacco. Use the following questions to help form this approach.
- What does this drug do when taken?
- What could be the relational ramifications of taking this drug?
- How would the effects of this drug interact with my attempt to follow Christ?
- Should this drug be taken? If so, under what circumstances? If not, why?
COMMON TYPES OF RECREATIONAL DRUGS*
Stimulants // drugs that impact the body’s central nervous system, causing the user to feel as if they are “speeding up.” These drugs increase the user’s level of alertness, pumping up heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and blood glucose levels. Doctors primarily prescribe stimulants for ADHD, narcolepsy and asthma. Examples: Caffeine, Ecstasy, Cocaine, Ritalin
Depressants // drugs that impact the body’s central nervous system, causing the user to feel as if things are “slowing down.” Doctors prescribe some depressants for anxiety, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other medical issues that prevent the sufferer from fully relaxing. Examples: Xanax, Valium, Alcohol
Hallucinogens // drugs that work by disrupting communication within the brain. Users report intense, rapidly shifting emotions and perceptions of things that aren’t really there. Examples: Peyote, LSD, Salvia
Dissociatives // drugs that work by interfering with the brain’s receptors for the chemical glutamate, which plays a significant role in cognition, emotionality and pain perception.Dissociatives distort the user’s perception of reality, and cause users to “dissociate,” or feel as if they are watching themselves from outside their own bodies. Examples: DXM, PCP, Ketamine
Opioids // drugs which are powerful painkillers that produce a sense of euphoria in users. Derived from the poppy plant, opioids are often prescribed by doctors to patients who are suffering from intense pain. They are extremely habit-forming. Examples: Heroin, Morphine, Vicodin, Hyrdocodone, Percocet
Inhalants // Mostly made up of everyday household items, these drugs cause brief feelings of euphoria. As the name suggests, inhalants are always inhaled as gases or fumes. Examples: Aerosol Sprays, Nitrous Oxide, Paint Thinner
Cannabis // this drug acts like a hallucinogen, but also produces depressant-like effects. It is a Schedule I drug (i.e. it has a high potential for addiction) but has increasing medicinal uses in the United States.
* adapted from The Recovery Village
- Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. // Genesis 1:29
- Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. // Proverbs 20:1
- Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. // Ephesians 5:18
- Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. // Titus 2:3
- Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. // Romans 13:13
- The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. // Galatians 5:19-21
- Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. // 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Thoughts from Others
- Unlike caffeine, marijuana is not generally thought of as an empowering drug that enables you to be a more alert dad, or a more aware mother, or a more competent employee. Rather, for most users, it is a recreational escape, which produces diminished accuracy of observation, memory, and reasoning. And it may have lasting negative effects on the mind’s ability to do what God created it to do. // John Piper, Pastor & Theologian
- I will not be ashamed of something that has done this much good in my life. Something that has brought me so close to the Lord. Something that I believe He, Himself, revealed to me. Maybe weed could be a good thing – something that God uses to get our attention. It’s certainly how he got mine. // Craig Gross, Pastor
- Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction. // Bob Marley, Artist
- The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law. // Catechism of the Catholic Church
- The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world. // Carl Sagan, Astronomer & Public Figure
- None of us can sustain the sound minds and healthy bodies God desires us to have when we place ourselves under the controlling influence of something other than his Spirit. // Rob Schwarzwalder, Family Research Council
- Drug abuse is definitely connected to a moral problem. It is a selfish way to find relief from: anxiety, depression, loneliness, insecurity, pain, etc—without considering its impact on our health or on our loved ones. // Rev. Sandra Nikkel, Pastor
- Losing Religion and Finding Ecstasy in Houston // Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
- The Secret Lives of Christian Pill Addicts // Deborah Beddoe, Christianity Today
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline // 1-800-662-4357
- Faith-Based Drug and Alcohol Rehab // Addiction Center