It’s not unusual to see or read about drunkenness in the Bible. Jesus’ first miracle involved wine at a wedding, and he used wine when giving his Apostles his blood. With a society surrounded by marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs, it is sometimes difficult to discern what is truly wrong and what is morally alright. John-Mark Miravalle tackles this dilemma in The Ethics of Using Mood-Altering Drugs.
Drugs, drugs, drugs
We all take what are considered ‘drugs.’ For example, common drugs like caffeine, Ibuprofen for a headache, insulin for diabetes, a glass of wine with dinner or take prescriptions to keep us healthy. Drugs are defined as “anything that has some effect (besides nutrition or hydration) on the body or the mind when ingested.” What is called into question is when drugs do more harm than good, for example illegal drugs such as cocaine, using recreational drugs like marijuana or antidepressants that are approved for legal use but can be abused. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse is another way drugs are being abused and can destroy lives.
Deception of marijuana
On many ballots again this election year, is the debate for or against marijuana for medical use and/or recreational use. While medical use is still up for debate if it is actually a cure or just masking symptoms, recreational use is just using it feel good. Many use marijuana ‘recreationally’ because they want to chill or relax but this is deceptive. The “delight” that is felt while high is “simply a response to a deliberately stimulated state of the brain,” and not true delight which is “a response to union with a good, which prompts the person to rest in that good.”
Pros and cons of alcohol
Alcohol in moderation can have many benefits to humans. It can provide nutrients depending on the type, anesthetic for moderate pain, a disinfectant, a way to enjoy a crafted drink. “Psalm 104 gives thanks to God for ‘wine that gladdens man’s heart'”. Of course, Jesus offers a chalice of wine which it turned into his Blood offered up as a sacrifice. Yet, as with most things, it can be drunk too often, or too much, which can lead to alcoholism and liver and other organ damage. The issue at hand isn’t that alcohol is bad, but that the drinker no longer appreciates the “beautiful character of a fine drink.”
Many of us know someone who is a ‘functioning alcoholic’ or drug addict. Just because they are able to continue to live their lives without seemly any ill affect from the alcohol or drugs doesn’t mean they are actual able to be fully “capable of achieving the purpose for which it was made” which is the true definition of ‘function.’ The issue at hand is how does each person define their purpose and if that person doesn’t know their purpose, then they may feel like there is no harm in them continuing to abuse drugs or alcohol.
The intellect and the will, then are made for truth and goodness and, ultimately, for God. That’s our purpose. So, if you intentionally damage your intellect and your will, you’re attacking your capacity for God.Miravalle, 116
The human condition is constantly presenting us with choices; choices may be good when used correctly, or choices which may harm when taken at all or too much of. When it comes to how to feel good when you don’t feel good, or feel better when you do feel good, we must ultimately decide the motivation for using any drug. How to Feel Good and How Not To by John-Mark L. Miravalle seeks to explain what drugs we should avoid and which ones may be ok to be used for recreational or therapeutic purposes. He also develops arguments for the moral use of drugs, and how we should not use drugs to cover our suffering, rather how suffering can be used to help us grow and move past hurts without the use of drugs or in conjunction with other therapies, which can ultimately lead us to God.
Featured image: Pixabay. Free for commercial use, no attribution required.