Jesus Is an Anarchist
Jesus on the War on Drugs (and all Forms of Prohibition)
In the modern era one
of the most virulent scourges which has plagued the Western societies in
particular is the so-called "drug problem," i.e., the use of, and
combating the use of, illegal drugs. Yet, why has the "drug problem" only
become such a problem within, predominately, the last century? What is the
cause of this?
But first, before we
answer this question, the more important issue from the Christian's
viewpoint is: what is Jesus's position on the so-called "drug problem,"
i.e., whether it is called "the War on Drugs" or "Prohibition"? More
directly, what does Jesus have to say about prohibiting by law the use of
certain drugs, or inebriants?
Most people at this
point will probably be thinking that the issue only concerns which drugs
or inebriants ought to be prohibited and how severe the penalty for their
use should be – as those calling themselves Christians have traditionally
been at the forefront of not only the Prohibition of alcohol during the
'20s in the U.S., but so also with the continuing War on Drugs. So, first
of all, what does Jesus have to say about which substances ought to be
On this question Jesus
is quite clear about it in no uncertain terms – although the answer may
come as a surprise to some: absolutely no law ought to exist prohibiting
the consumption of any substance whatsoever! Jesus says quite clearly in
the strongest of terms that there is no substance a man can consume that
could possibly defile him – thus we read in Mark 7:15-23:
"There is nothing that
enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come
out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to
hear, let him hear!" When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His
disciples asked Him concerning the parable. So He said to them, "Are you
thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters
a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart
but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?" And He
said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out
of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications,
murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye,
blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and
defile a man." (See also Matt. 15:11, 17-20.)
This is the only
directive that Jesus gives in the entire Bible as to what substances
should be, or should not be, prohibited. Some may claim that Jesus was
only talking about food in the above, and not psychotropic drugs.
Yet if this were truly
the case then Jesus's above claim is a false one: Jesus saying "There is
nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him" would be
wrong, for then there would indeed be something which could thereby defile
a man – namely: psychotropic drugs!
Yet Jesus is
absolutely clear on this issue: there is no substance a person can consume
which could possibly defile them! Also, there is not even any clear
distinction between "drugs" and "food" in the first place: just about any
drug, in principle, can also be made into a food – and traditionally often
have been and continue to be: thus, the drug ethanol is almost always
consumed not by itself, but in combination with non-inebriants as a drink;
the drug caffeine is almost always consumed as the beverage known as
coffee; marijuana has often been consumed as an edible baked into
brownies; cocaine was once an ingredient in the original formulation of
the name-brand soft-drink Coca-Cola; etc.
If the modern-day
Prohibitionists desire to maintain that Jesus did not mean to include
substances such as psychotropic drugs when He gave this clear directive
then the burden is on them to show where in the Bible Jesus qualifies His
above statement to include the possibility that psychotropic drugs are an
exception to His above all-inclusive directive. But search the Bible high
and low and no such alternate, qualifying directive is anywhere to be
Some may be quick to
point out that the angel sent by Jesus to John the Reveler said in
Revelation 9:21 "And they did not repent of their murders or their
sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts" (see also Rev.
18:23; 22:15) and that the word that is here translated as "sorceries" is
in the original Greek pharmakeia, i.e., as in "pharmaceutical" or
But the original sense
of this Greek word pharmakeia meant the mixing of various
ingredients for magical purposes, whether or not they were actually ever
intended to be consumed by anyone, or whether or not they had what we
would call today "pharmacological" properties: in other words, it was for
the most part pure spell-casting – often black-magic in nature, such as
casting hexes on people.
Thus, the most
accurate translation of this word into modern English is indeed
"sorceries," and not "drugs" – and this is indeed how almost all English
Bible translations have handled this word: whether it be the King James
Version or almost all modern translations.
But even if such were
not the case and one were to maintain that pharmakeia here really
did mean "drugs" then this would present such a person with quite a
serious problem: which drugs? If indeed one were to maintain that
pharmakeia here should be translated as "drugs" then one would
logically have to so also maintain that all drugs are thereby meant by it,
irregardless of whatever psychotropic properties they may or may not have
– the reason being is because no type of drug in particular would then be
specified in the above Bible passages.
Thus, there would then
be no grounds for singling out psychotropic drugs such as ethanol over,
say, penicillin, or any other life-preserving medicine for that matter. To
be consistent, some may get around this problem by saying: very well, all
drugs, including medicine, are thereby meant by it.
But to so maintain
this would just create an even bigger problem than the one it just solved:
for the Bible teaches that "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a
broken spirit dries the bones" (Prov. 17:22); and Ezekiel, in the
description of the Heaven on Earth that Jesus is to establish after the
Judgement, writes of it, in part:
Ezekiel 47:12: "Along
the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees
used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not
fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the
sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine."
So quite simply put,
if one were to so maintain that all drugs must be meant by the above
passages in Revelation then one would be going against Biblical doctrine,
as what little the Bible does have to say about medicinal drugs it is
nevertheless clear about: that curative drugs are a good thing.
Thus, if these
passages in Revelation actually meant "drugs" instead of "sorceries" then
the Bible would be contradicting itself here, as the passages in
Revelation would thereby be inclusive of all drugs, not just any kind in
But even if we were to
here grant for argument's sake that one could somehow narrow it down to
some sort of drug types in particular, one still would not be able to
derive that such drugs should therefore be outlawed, as nowhere would
these passages in Revelation then so much as even suggest that mortal
governments make any laws against such drugs.
Thus, even under the
most favorable interpretation of the Bible – from the viewpoint of
modern-day Prohibitionists – Jesus's declaration that "There is nothing
that enters a man from outside which can defile him" would still stand –
at least as it concerned all mortal, Earthly forms of judgement.
Some diligent readers
may now say at this point, to the effect of: "Wait a minute! The Mark of
the Beast is an obvious exception to something which possibly enters a man
from the outside which can defile him!" (The King James Version translates
the Mark of the Beast as being "in" the hand or forehead, while most
modern versions translate it as being "on," although the original Greek
can actually be accurately translated either way.
I suspect the reason
most modern versions have preferred to translate the Mark as being "on"
the hand or forehead is because this then, in almost all cases, covers
both possibilities: as in almost all cases, in order to put some
identifying mark "in" the skin would require that one also leave a mark
"on" the skin.)
But this would ignore
Jesus's follow-up elaboration about all such substances under discussion
eventually being "eliminated" from the body by its natural excretion
processes, as the Mark of the Beast is meant to be a life-long identifier,
and thus is not excreted by the body's natural processes, as are
eventually all foods and drugs.
But if one still wants
to persist in this line of reasoning they may counter that indeed not all
drugs are eliminated by the body's natural excretion processes: of those
who die of drug over-doses, the drugs which thereby caused their deaths
are not then excreted by the body's natural processes.
While although this is
quite true, one would still not be able to derive therefore from it that
there ought to be laws against certain drugs, as all drugs are capable of
causing death from over-dose; indeed, most lethal drug over-doses are not
caused by illegal psychotropic drugs, but legally used medicines – and
hence, one would be presented with the original problem discussed above on
And, it should be
stated in passing, it would also be completely nonsensical to make a law
against taking a lethal over-dose of a drug, as the penalty for taking a
lethal dose of drugs would be, by definition, an automatic death-penalty:
therefore any such law-breaker would automatically be out of the reach of
any Earth-bound, mortal law-enforcer.
Thus, any which way
one slices it, it is simply quite impossible to justify any form of
drug-prohibition whatsoever from a Biblical perspective. But even far
stronger than such drug-laws being merely unjustifiable from a Biblical
perspective, all such laws go directly against Jesus's clear directive
that all things which a person may consume cannot possibly defile them!
And thus, not only are
all drug-laws extra-Biblical in origin, they are all also extremely
anti-Christian in the most literal sense of the word! If there should be
the slightest shred of doubt left in one's mind as to the veracity of
this, then hereby, once and for all, let Paul slay that misplaced sense of
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world,
why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to
regulations – "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all
concern things which perish with the using – according to the commandments
and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in
self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of
no value against the indulgence of the flesh. (See also Rom. 14:14.)
So we see in no
uncertain terms that all forms of drug-prohibition are completely
unjustifiable from a Biblical viewpoint, and indeed anti-Christian. If
then such drug-laws are extra-Biblical and anti-Christian, how is it that
many self-professed Christians came to be on the forefront of all the
various forms of drug-prohibition within recent history? Quite amazingly,
this very question was already answered almost 2000 years ago by Paul, and
in shocking but no uncertain terms:
1 Timothy 4:1-5: Now
the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the
faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking
lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God
created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the
truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if
it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God
As was already pointed
out above, there is no clear distinction, in principle, between "drugs"
and "food": just about any drug, in principle, can also be made into a
food – and traditionally often have been and continue to be. Indeed, the
first truly large-scale form of drug-prohibition in a Western society in
the modern era was what was known as simply "Prohibition" in the U.S.,
which was the outlawing of consuming the drug ethanol, i.e., "alcohol."
Yet alcohol is
consumed almost exclusively as a food-stuff in mixture with
non-inebriating potables! Indeed, strait laboratory-grade ethanol is
virtually inedible, if not actually quite painful to so consume.
So how very true and
accurate Paul was when he wrote the above words, as it was predominately
self-professed Christians who lead the movement to outlaw the food of
And to grasp the awful
extent that these self-professed Christians must have been truly deceived
by demons in order to prohibit the food of alcoholic beverages, just
consider that the first miracle recorded in the Bible by Jesus was to turn
water into wine during the wedding at Cana (see John 2:9-11)!
blasphemy for them to prohibit the resultant product of the first miracle
of their self-proclaimed God! Deceived by demons indeed!! Truer words
could not have been written by Paul to describe such a perverted
Indeed, it was Paul
himself that counseled to "No longer drink only water, but use a little
wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities" (1 Tim. 5:23).
And Psalms 104:14,15 says of God: "He causes the grass to grow for the
cattle, And vegetation for the service of man, That he may bring forth
food from the earth, And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to
make his face shine, And bread which strengthens man's heart." (See also
Many in the Temperance
movement responsible for Prohibition had falsely claimed that these
Biblical references to "wine" were in reality grape juice. But the Greek
word for wine in the New Testament, oinos, is a fermented drink,
whereas the Greek word for fruit juice is khymos. And besides that,
this claim demonstrates either an appalling ignorance of Jesus's own
parables or outright deceit, as Jesus even referred to the fermenting of
wine in one of his parables:
Matthew 9:16,17: "No
one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls
away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new
wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled,
and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins,
and both are preserved." (See also Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37.)
In ancient times
goatskins were used to hold wine. As the fresh grape juice fermented,
carbon dioxide would be generated by the living yeast's metabolism,
increasing the volume of gas contained in the wineskin, and so the new
wineskin would stretch. But a used wineskin, already stretched, would
Not only that, but
before 1869 it was impossible to store grape juice in temperate to hot
climates (which are the climates grapes grow in) without it either quickly
going bad or becoming wine.
If grape juice is left
exposed to the open air then it will quickly go bad due to mold and
bacteria – sealing grape juice from the open air protects it from these
aerobic microorganisms because the yeast which is present naturally in the
grapes creates an atmosphere of carbon dioxide while at the same time
non-alcoholic grape juice was an impossibility until 1869, when Dr. Thomas
Bramwell Welch succeeded in applying the process of pasteurization to
freshly squeezed must.
About the only people
who may have been drinking grape juice before 1869 were those who pressed
the freshly picked grapes themselves (without refrigeration grapes will
quickly go bad, unless they are dried into raisins).
It is for this reason
that the suggestion that the fruit of the vine that Jesus and the twelve
disciples drank during the Last Supper on Passover (Mark 14:23-25) was
grape juice is absurd, as the growing season for grapes in Palestine is
from April to October (the dry season), yet Passover starts on the 14th of
the Jewish month Nisan (the actual Last Supper occurred either on the 14th
or 15th of Nisan, it's debatable which day it actually was), which is a
lunar month that roughly corresponds with the latter part of March and the
first part of April – so quite simply, there would have existed no
unfermented grape juice at this time, as no grapes would have existed,
since the growing season for them had just started.
In the beginning of
this discussion on drugs, it was first inquired as to why the "drug
problem" has only become such a problem within, predominately, the last
century. The reason is precisely because of the very laws against drugs!
The government's War
on Drugs has turned what once was an individual problem into a social
problem by inventing new make-believe "crimes" that aggress against no
one, while spawning a whole true crime industry associated with it (just
like during Prohibition).
The effect of
libertarian legalization would be to make drugs an individual problem
again instead of the grave social problem that it is today. As they say,
we don't have a drug problem, we have a drug-problem problem.
Were it not for the
government's War on Drugs, the gang turf-wars, theft, and other various
true crimes that are associated with the distribution of drugs and the
procurement of money in which to support habituations to drugs, of which
the price has been artificially inflated, would not exist.
How many liquor stores
have shoot-outs between each other? Yet when alcohol was illegal the
black-market distributors of alcohol found it necessary to have shoot-outs
and murders between each other on a regular basis.
This was because,
being that their business was illegal, they did not have access to the
courts in which to settle their disputes; as well, because their business
was illegal, this raised the stakes of doing business, for if they got
caught then they would go to prison – thus it became profitable to resort
to murder in order to solve problems which would otherwise lead to prison.
And how many tobacco
smokers resort to theft and prostitution in order to support their habit?
Yet clinical studies have shown that tobacco is more habit forming than
heroin. The reason you don't see tobacco smokers doing such things is
because tobacco addicts can afford to support their habit.
experienced an artificial shortage of cigarettes over a decade ago due to
its socialist economy, tobacco smokers took to the streets en mass rioting
– requiring emergency shipments of Marlboros and other cigarette brands
from the U.S. in order for it to cease.
If heroin or crack
were legal it would cost no more (and probably less) than a tobacco habit,
and so heroin and crack addicts would be able to support their habit by
working at a regular job instead of resorting to theft and prostitution.
If one should doubt
this last statement, it should be born in mind that the original laws in
the U.S. against the use of opium were to punish the Chinese opium-smoking
immigrants in the early 1900s, who were so productive that they were
taking railway construction jobs away from native White Americans.
As a parting note on
this subject, I will leave you with what Peter counseled us: "But let none
of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in
other people's matters" (1 Peter 4:15). How very much this last admonition
applies to all forms of drug-prohibition!