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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 28 Dec 2001

Sin QUESTION from Lin May 7, 2000 I have been argueing with my daughter on wether or not smoking pot is a sin or not. I said yes because it alters your mind and is illegal. She says drinking then is a sin also except for being illegal. Can you help?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on June 9, 2000 Dear Mrs. Lin:
I presume your daughter is a teenager or at least a very young adult. If so, one of the problems is that young people usually have a very fine-tuned senses of justice. Their youth cannot discern distinctions between things very well, they just see the raw issue which appears to be unjust -- such as smoking pot as opposed to drinking alcohol.
There are several points to make.
First the issue of legality DOES MATTER. Christian morality requires that we obey civil law unless that civil law violates natural law or God's law.
The issue of pot smoking cannot possibly be justified on the basis of rebelling against civil law on the grounds of conflict with natural law or God's law.
Thus breaking the law IS A SIN. It is a sin for a minor to drink alcohol because it is illegal.
Second, pot and alcohol are NOT equal as substances for a variety of reasons. Inherently pot is a more dangerous drug than alcohol and does impair one's ability to think properly -- with greater damage than alcohol if one is a chronic smoker.
There are those who will argue this, of course, but that doesn't matter because pot smoking differs than alcohol in another way.
While alcohol may be consumed in private or secretly by those addicted or depressed, alcohol itself has a social context. In that sense, it is a social drug that facilitates social interaction as long as one does not consume too much or it is otherwise abused.
Pot is not a social drug and it is NOT used in true social settings. Having a group of people passing a joint around is NOT a social setting. The singular purpose is smoking the pot and the pot smoking itself is a personal and singular experience.
Pot does NOT facilitate social interaction, but just the opposite. It facilitate withdrawal from social interaction.
Some forms of alcohol has positive medical effects of an intrinsic nature. Pot does not. Pot may have some positive effects on a SPECIFIC therapeutic treatment for specific ailments in which it should be an option for doctors to prescribe as medicine, but it is not intrinsically useful as wine may be, for example. Lastly, alcohol has use and people do consume it WITHOUT intoxication. It is NOT the drinking of alcohol that is listed as a sin in the Bible, but intoxication!
There is no purpose of pot except intoxication. The effect of pot brings ONLY intoxication.
While these sorts of arguments may not be accepted and may be argued, the bottom line is that it is illegal.
How does it look for a Christian to go to jail on a drug charge? This is not a positive testimony for Christ.
Bottom Line: Pot is illegal, alcohol is illegal to minors. Break the law you SIN and you damage your testimony for Christ.
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