Tag Archives: weed

Is Recreational Marijuana Use Moral Even if It’s Legal?

Have you heard about California’s Proposition 19 set to be on our state ballot this November? If passed this proposition will legalize marijuana use in California for persons 21 years of age or older and will also legalize growing the plant in private residences within state borders (NBC ran an interesting story on this yesterday highlighting possible negative ramifications).

Current polling data shows this proposition would pass were it voted on today, but before all you closet potheads load the UHaul to move to California, we need to talk about a couple of things.

The purely medicinal application of Marijuana is valid – it certainly does ease chronic pain better than most pharmaceuticals. BUT … that is being so abused here in California it has become a huge joke. Cancer patients, those suffering from AIDS or MS – it makes sense for them to be able to get a prescription for Marijuana as a pain reliever and appetite stimulant, but when a person can stub their toe and get the “green” light to legally smoke pot (often indefinitely), something is wrong with the system. It’s a joke.

As for recreational use. habitual substance abuse has the potential to negatively define a person’s identity and rule their life.

Before I gave my life to Christ I was a huge pothead. Smoking marijuana every day made me lazy, mentally slow, damaged my lung capacity, and killed millions of brain cells. I viewed myself as a stoner. That affected my everyday decisions and my life ambitions. All I really wanted to do was get high, and I was okay with that – it was simply part of who I’d decided I was. Additionally, I was very addicted to marijuana despite the claims from proponents who tout its non-addictive nature. While it’s true most scientists claim marijuana is not physically addictive, the same say it is highly psychologically addictive. Looking at it simply in terms of personal health, it’s an incredibly stupid habit to develop.

From a spiritual standpoint, a couple of Scriptures should be considered. Galatians 5:19-21 is a good place to start.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

This is a heavy Scripture. Written by the apostle Paul, it lists several sins that lead to death for “those who live like this.” That word “live” is an important one, because Paul isn’t saying a single individual sin will sever one’s relationship with God; rather, if a person lives in rebellion to God’s rule they should not expect to be known by Him.

I’m reticent to lump recreational marijuana use in with drunkenness. I believe key differences are present between the physical intoxication afforded by cannabis verses alcohol – namely, alcohol is much more dangerous and severe.

I do, however, believe Galatians 5 speaks against marijuana and all illicit drug usage for followers of Christ for two reasons:

First, the phrase “and the like” is included in verse 21. While it’s true the effects of marijuana are mild when compared to the effects of other drugs or alcohol, it is still an intoxicant that impairs you and is bad for your health. Legal or not, it is “like” other vices listed in this passage.

Secondly, the original Greek word translated ‘witchcraft’ in verse 20 is “pharmakeia” – the root behind the English word “pharmacy.” When most people think of ancient witches or wizards, they think black cats, cauldrons, and spells, but that’s not a historically accurate image. First century witchcraft was associated with the ‘magic’ substances practitioners sold. Magic potions, magic powders, and magic herbs were used with spells and incantations to remedy certain ailments – they would also get you high. Witchcraft is condemned not only because of its tie to idolatry, but also because it involved substance abuse.

Drug use and substance abuse is nothing new. We must take Paul’s statement that “those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” seriously.

You also have Romans 13 to consider:

Romans 13:1-5
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

The Bible teaches it is morally appropriate to follow the laws of the land (of course we are not to when they violate the commands of Christ, but if we are honest we must admit most don’t).

Even if the state of California legalizes recreational marijuana usage, it will still be illegal according to Federal law. California’s state officials do not mind breaking Federal law (they thumb their nose at the Federal system often), but does that mean it’s morally acceptable to follow state officials in their lawlessness? That would be wrong.

I hope this proposition does not pass.

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2011 Princeton Review

It’s that time of year again.

As I told you in 2010, the Princeton Review is a great resource to use in finding info on colleges and universities in the United States.

Each year, a comprehensive, scientific study is conducted on various aspects of our nation’s schools: academics/admissions, demographics, town life, politics, quality of life, extracurriculars, and the social scene.

You have to log in to their site to view the rankings … I’ll post a few samples here:


  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  2. Reed College
  3. Harvey Mudd College
  4. California Institute of Technology
  5. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  6. Middlebury College
  7. Swarthmore College
  8. Grinnell College
  9. United States Coast Guard Academy
  10. Princeton University

Hmmm – Harvard, Yale, and Stanford didn’t make the top ten? Interesting.


  1. University of North Dakota
  2. University of Central Florida
  3. University of Mississippi
  4. State University of New York at Albany
  5. West Virginia University
  6. Louisiana State University Baton Rouge
  7. University of Iowa
  8. Florida State University
  9. University of Georgia
  10. Salisbury University

Way to go making the list two years in a row FSU.


  1. University of California – Santa Cruz
  2. Eckerd College
  3. Bard College
  4. University of Vermont
  5. Skidmore College
  6. University of Colorado – Boulder
  7. Colorado College
  8. Hampshire College
  9. University of California – Santa Barbara
  10. Ithaca College

The UC system continues to represent their potheadedness – two schools in the top ten this year. Colorado as well, but this should come as no surprise from the school system that hosts the 4/20 Smoke Out.


  1. Ohio University – Athens
  2. Pennsylvania State University – University Park
  3. University of New Hampshire
  4. University of Florida
  5. Claremont McKenna College
  6. University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa
  7. University of Georgia
  8. West Virginia University
  9. Colgate University
  10. Providence College

Looks like some new names are making the list in 2011 – this type of information could be very useful for ministers seeking to learn more about the needs of a specific campus, or for parents trying to determine where to urge their high school grads to attend college.


  1. Providence College
  2. University of Georgia
  3. Tulane University
  4. University of Wisconsin – Madison
  5. University of Mississippi
  6. Indiana University – Bloomington
  7. Ohio University – Athens
  8. University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa
  9. Sewanee – The University of the South
  10. Trinity College (CT)

Trinity college? I’m guessing that’s not the same Trinity College Billy Graham went to, huh?

Anyway, many other categories and rankings are available. I encourage you to create a login and check it out – especially if you’re in campus ministry.

There’s also a lot more to this site than the rankings. You can look up information on almost any school in the United States and get it quickly and accurately. It’s a great resource!

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2010 Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is a great resource to use in finding info on colleges and universities in the United States.

Each year, a comprehensive, scientific study is conducted on various aspects of our nation’s schools: academics/admissions, demographics, town life, politics, quality of life, extracurriculars, and the social scene (my favorite).

PR released the 2010 edition of their rankings today.

Since you have to log in to their site to view the rankings, I’ll post a few samples here. 122,000 students were surveyed to get these results:


  1. California Institute of Technology
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. Reed College
  4. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  5. Harvard College
  6. Middlebury College
  7. Swarthmore College
  8. University of Chicago
  9. Princeton University
  10. Davidson College
  11. Williams College
  12. United States Coast Guard Academy
  13. United States Military Academy
  14. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
  15. Bryn Mawr College
  16. Sweet Briar College
  17. Carleton College
  18. Harvey Mudd College
  19. College of the Holy Cross
  20. Grinnell College


  1. West Virginia University
  2. University of Maryland, College Park
  3. State University of New York at Albany
  4. University of Mississippi
  5. University of North Dakota
  6. Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge
  7. Florida State University
  8. University of Florida
  9. Florida Southern College
  10. University of Georgia
  11. Pennsylvania State University–University Park
  12. University of Central Florida
  13. City University of New York–Brooklyn College
  14. Arizona State University
  15. The University of Texas at Austin
  16. The University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa
  17. Ohio University–Athens
  18. University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  19. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey–New Brunswick
  20. Salisbury University

I always hear people whining about how tough FSU is … maybe those people should put down their football once or twice a week and open a book for a couple of hours.

Here are couple of rankings from the social scene category:


  1. University of California–Santa Cruz
  2. Skidmore College
  3. University of Vermont
  4. Bard College
  5. University of Colorado–Boulder
  6. New College of Florida
  7. Colorado College
  8. Hampshire College
  9. University of California–Santa Barbara
  10. Eckerd College
  11. Ithaca College
  12. Sarah Lawrence College
  13. Warren Wilson College
  14. Pitzer College
  15. University of Oregon
  16. Guilford College
  17. West Virginia University
  18. Wesleyan University
  19. State University of New York–Purchase College
  20. Green Mountain College


  1. Pennsylvania State University–University Park
  2. University of New Hampshire
  3. Providence College
  4. University of Florida
  5. Claremont McKenna College
  6. Ohio University–Athens
  7. Hampden-Sydney College
  8. West Virginia University
  9. Colgate University
  10. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  11. Lehigh University
  12. The University of Texas at Austin
  13. Union College (NY)
  14. Florida State University
  15. DePauw University
  16. Trinity College (CT)
  17. Eckerd College
  18. Gettysburg College
  19. Indiana University–Bloomington
  20. University of Mississippi


  1. University of Mississippi
  2. Providence College
  3. Fairfield University
  4. The University of Texas at Austin
  5. Tulane University
  6. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  7. Indiana University–Bloomington
  8. University of Georgia
  9. Pennsylvania State University–University Park
  10. Trinity College (CT)
  11. University of Colorado–Boulder
  12. Sewanee–The University of the South
  13. Ohio University–Athens
  14. Lehigh University
  15. University of North Dakota
  16. University of Tennessee
  17. University of Iowa
  18. University of Florida
  19. Loyola University New Orleans
  20. University of California–Santa Barbara

Parents – now you know where not to send your kids. You’re welcome.

There are a ton of other categories to peruse with useful information … one of the cool things I found is that San Francisco is ranked as one of the top college towns. Also, SFSU is no longer listed as a top school for marijuana use. We’re moving up in the world (or down, depending on your perspective).

Please share this resource with others. It’s great for prospective students, parents, campus ministers, and anyone else interested in staying up-to-date on collegiate life in the United States.


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