What Does the Bible Say About Mind-Altering Drugs?

Bible and Mind Alternating Drugs

It’s very unlikely that anyone who is using mind-altering drugs is all that concerned about what the Bible has to say about it, or that a person in this situation would be reading an article about it on this blog. But, perhaps you’re dealing with a friend or a loved one who is addicted to mind-altering drugs, or is starting to use them? Maybe you’re concerned for them and wonder what the Bible has to say about it?

Are you curious to know what the Bible has to say because you want to assemble a list of verses that condemn the practice? Are you looking for a big Bible stick you can use to beat this person into submission, or put the fear of God into them in the hopes that they might stop?

Well, if so, I’ve got some very bad news for you: The Bible doesn’t say anything like that. In fact, it doesn’t even slightly suggest anything at all about mind-altering drugs. As far as the authors of the Holy Scriptures are concerned, drugs like that might as well not even exist.

This is a bit curious since the Bible does talk about unicorns, flying chariots, sea monsters, giants with six fingers, and talking animals. Yet it doesn’t seem to believe in drugs.

If you’re looking for verses that you could use to scare your friend straight about using mind-altering drugs, you have a few options: One is to take verses that warn against being drunk on alcohol and apply them to drug use. Of course, you’d have to make sure that you’re not drinking alcohol or the whole thing will backfire. Even if you don’t personally drink alcohol, the fact is that Jesus did – his first miracle was to turn water into the “best wine” at a party where everyone was already intoxicated, if you remember. Jesus himself also drank wine and we know this because at the Last Supper he not only lifted the cup of wine and declared that the New Covenant was in effect, but he also said that he would no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God was fully realized. See Matt. 26:29; Luke 22:18

What’s more, the Bible is not universally against being intoxicated on wine or other alcohol. So, whereas you could easily grab a handful of “clobber” verses that condemn alcohol, you’d have to deal with another handful of verses that seem to suggest that God has blessed us with wine and wants us to enjoy it so our hearts will be happy and our digestion will be smooth.

That’s probably not going to be the slam-dunk you were going for, I’m guessing.

On one level, it’s almost mind-boggling that the Bible doesn’t condemn drug-use, or even completely forbid alcohol. You’d never know that by the way most Bible teachers and pastors pound the pulpit and demand complete sobriety on a regular basis.

That’s because most of those Bible teachers are only repeating what others have told them to believe about this topic, or because it’s much easier to manipulate people by fear and to control people using threats of hell and eternal damnation.

Speaking of which, is this the tactic you were hoping to take? Were you hoping to find a few verses to scare the hell out of your friend so they would stop using drugs?

If so, it’s understandable. I don’t doubt your love and concern for your friend or family member who is about to take a step into something that could easily destroy their life. Your concern is well-founded, and your desire to help them escape, or avoid this life of addiction is commendable.

It’s the tactic that doesn’t help. Nor does it work.

For example, this video reveals that one of the strongest weapons against drug addiction is not fear, or self-control. It’s community.

The most significant statement in the video – which was adapted from Johann Hari’s New York Times best-selling book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs – is this:

Human beings have an innate need to bond and connect. When we are happy and healthy we will bond with the people around us. But when we can’t because we’re traumatized, isolated or beaten down by life, we will bond with something that gives us some sense of relief. It might be checking our smart phones constantly. It might be pornography. It might be gambling, etc. but we will bond with something because that is our human nature. The path out of unhealthy bonding is to form healthy bonds – to be connected to people who you want to be present with. Addiction is just one symptom of the crisis of disconnection that’s happening all around us. We all feel it.

And the absolute best quote of all is this one:

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.

In other words, what will save your friend or loved one from addiction is love; your love, and the love of friends, family and community.

What does all this mean? It means that the Ekklesia of Christ is what people are looking for most. They all want, and desperately need, a place to belong. They crave a true family of people who will offer love and acceptance. They are dying to find a community of support and faith that gathers around Jesus and looks to Him for love, hope, relief and peace.

Bottom line: We were not made to survive alone. Community is what connects us to life. Ekklesia is what connects us to Jesus and to one another.

Sadly, the barriers to finding community are numerous. Many people are surrounded by those who would love to welcome them and embrace them into a community of faith, but for various reasons these people cannot – or will not – make the decisions necessary to prioritize community over work, or sleep, or convenience.

That’s been the most frustrating thing for me, honestly. I’ve listened to these different people as they share their brokenness and I see how being surrounded by a loving community of fellow Christians would alleviate their suffering and propel them into a healthier lifestyle. But in nearly every case the person has one excuse or the other about why they must remain alone, or isolated.

In some cases, the person is reaching out for community but is constantly sabotaged by an unrealistic expectation of perfection in other people. So, when people within a community prove to be flawed, that’s enough for them to justify disengagement.

What I’m learning is that Ekklesia as God designed it is exactly what people need to be happy and healthy and productive. But at the same time, there are many roadblocks and obstacles in the way that can make it difficult for people to find true community, and many people never actually get connected to Christ through His Body.

Loneliness is a powerful weapon. It crushes people. It strips them of the connections they need for life. It can even kill someone with enough sustained exposure.

Yes, loneliness is powerful. The only thing more powerful than loneliness is love.

My prayer is that those who need love most will have the courage to do whatever it takes to find connection and to experience the community of Christ before it’s too late.

Hope this helps.

Keith Giles
Keith Giles
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. He is now a best selling author and co-hosts the "Heretic Happy Hour" podcast on iTunes, Spotify and Podbean. He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

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