The Dongola Times

(Anachronistic) Dispatches from the Kingdom of Makuria.
26th of August, 2014

More on Cannabis and Legalism

Once again, from my web escapades:

I find it sad, actually, that you defend smoking of tobacco, and mark anti-tobacco stances as somehow unorthodox and in league with Nazis and Mozzies, while in fact tobacco was historically a poison. Isn’t it good to oppose the consumption of addictive poisons? I mean, the Nazis also banned gay culture; what does that say about other expressions of that normal distaste for homosexuality?

From the beginning, tobacco was known to be a poison, and was first used as an insecticide. (A teaspoon of nicotine will kill a grown man in 5 seconds.) Tobacco addiction borders on incurable, and the withdrawal symptoms are sometimes outright fatal for healthy people.

Of course, the reason one puts tobacco addiction in the wraps of “it is the opposite of the heretics” is simply because one has to justify something he/she cannot stop doing. The reason the Gospel provides Grace is so that you accept the holy and righteous law, even when you do not keep it. No need to say “heretics hate smoking … we are proud of it!” The heretics are right! Smoking is bad; it is slow suicide, and it doesn’t glorify God or honour His temple.

Two things can happen now.

The legalist will lower the standard of holiness, because (he knows that) he can’t quit smoking, or looking at women lustfully, or getting angry, or whatever. He will claim and pretend that smoking (or anger, or porn, or modern movies, or whatever) is permissible. This is the carnal mind. It is in open rebellion against the divine law.

The (Reformed) Christian will emphasise the wickedness of such behaviour, even if he can’t quit. This is the spiritual mind. It submits to the righteous law.

“What Law could not do, in so far as our earthly nature weakened its action, God did, by sending his own Son, with a nature resembling our sinful nature, to atone for sin. He condemned sin in that earthly nature, so that the requirements of the Law might be satisfied in us who live now in obedience, not to our earthly nature, but to the Spirit.” Romans 8. The Gospel of Grace permits man to “approach the throne of Grace with a clear conscience, sprinkled with the blood”. That is Hebrews 10. Is this for those who have no sin (such as smoking tobacco)? If so, why would they need to be sprinkled with Jesus’ blood, to ensure their peaceful conscience? Their conscience is not peaceful because they are not smokers, but because they are Christians, who are sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb. This is what saves them from condemnation; it is what assures their conscience, not the absence of sin. Do your people never ever read Romans 7? (Only Jesus has the right to stand before God with a good conscience without the benefit of this gospel and the sprinkling.)

Legalists always heap scorn on the gospel of Grace, saying we are only encouraging sin. On the contrary, only we are able to respect and uphold the Law. “Do we nullify the Law by this faith? μη γενοιτο! Rather, we uphold the Law.” Romans 5. And those who continue in legalism are in fact “breaking the law, and they approve of those who do.” Even the anti-smoking liberals, “the Nation who have not a Law, when they do the requirements of the Law, they condemn you … showing that the Law of God is written in their hearts.” Can you justify tobacco addiction, or delegitimise the anti-tobacco stance of those heretics? And if you did, wouldn’t you appeal ultimately to the liberty that legalists always reject? So you see, even legalism doesn’t help people keep the law; it just makes them aware of sin, and the flesh goes on to justify (even approve of) sin. The truly righteous concede that the smoking of tobacco is bad, even while they are pulling on a cigarrette. —And the truly righteous stand before God with a clear conscience not because they aren’t smoking (or getting angry or lusting), but because of the sprinkled blood of the lamb. Christianity isn’t about dos and don’ts; it is about peace, joy, and life by the Spirit. If you want dos and don’ts, go to Moses (who fell in the desert with the rebels); Jesus is all about grace. The faux-pious legalists have always rebelled against the amazing grace, even as they are steeped in desperate need for it. “The gospel is foolishness to the reprobate.” And “The foolishness and weakness of God is wiser and stronger than man’s wisdom and strength.” 1 Cor 1. Now you see how true that is.

On the other hand, this brilliant and important weblog launches unceasing attacks on the smoking of cannabis, which is not only non-addictive (or barely-addictive), but also outright cures cancer.

The reason most people smoke tobacco today is simply because of successful marketing (mostly by Edward Bernays) of a seriously addictive substance; not because it is good, permissible, or beneficial. I do not expect you to ever want to backtrack, or even to be able to (of your own capacity). We all have our prides and weaknesses. However, I am going to openly express my desire that you stop passing tobacco on as a good thing. It is objectively not, its acceptability notwithstanding.