Doug Wilson & Ben Greenfield On Cannabis & Christianity

Pastor Doug Wilson first joined me for a podcast episode about his book Confessions of a Food Catholic, for which we recorded a show entitled, “Why Your Pursuit Of A Better Body & The Perfect Diet Is Never Going To Make You Happy, How Christians Should Make Food Choices, The Ultimate Source Of Joy & Much More“.

Since then, Doug has, as is his usual practice, been churning out plenty more books, including a couple of my favorite fictional titles of his: Ecochondriacs and Ride, Sally, Ride, and quite recently, the book Devoured by Cannabis: Weed, Liberty, and Legalization, which is the topic of this podcast.

In Devoured by Cannabis, Doug Wilson argues that marijuana usage is not comparable to alcohol consumption or to smoking cigarettes, and demonstrates that the use of recreational marijuana is definitely not an option for Christians, and just a bad idea in general. He says that liberty for potheads means tyranny for everyone, including the smokers enslaved by the drug. Considering I just interviewed Josiah Hesse about his book Runner’s High: How a Movement of Cannabis-Fueled Athletes Is Changing the Science of Sports, I thought it would be timely to get Doug’s take on the topic too.

Doug Wilson has been a family friend for years, and is the minister of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, which is a member of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC) and the church I and my wife Jessa attended all throughout my childhood and during college. After his stint in the submarine service of the U.S. Navy, he attended the University of Idaho where he obtained an MA in philosophy.

As one of its founders, Doug Wilson has served on the board of Logos School, a classical and Christian school (K-12), since its inception. He is also a Senior Fellow of theology at New St. Andrews College, which I consider to be one of the better liberal arts institutions in the country. He is the author of numerous books, including Reforming MarriageThe Case for Classical Christian EducationLetter from a Christian Citizen, and Blackthorn Winter. Doug is also the general editor for the Omnibus textbook series. You can check out his blog here, and his metric ton of grandkids can be found spread across the planet with rapidly increasing frequency.

Doug’s brother, Gordon Wilson, has also joined me for the podcast “Are Christians Destroying The Environment? A Biblical Approach to Environmentalism and the “Dominion Mandate.”.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Cannabis use viewed from a conservative pastor’s perspective…08:05

  • The most notorious use of cannabis (getting high) is problematic for Christians; however, this does not mean there cannot be good uses for it
  • Medicinal benefits can be misused and abused
  • The fact that some abuse both the drug and access to it should not be used as a pretense to make legitimate uses of it illegal
  • Authorized uses of alcohol in Scripture:
    • Sacramental, wine for thirst, medicinal
    • Celebratory uses for festivals and otherwise
  • “No one smokes a joint because it pairs nicely with the fish”
  • Prohibited: “Be not drunk with wine…” (point of dissipation)
  • The most desired use of marijuana is to get to the state of mind that Scripture prohibits (dissipation, drunkenness)
  • No conflict if a legit use of marijuana is discovered without violating the prohibited use of any drug/alcohol
  • BGF podcast with Josiah Hesse on athletes who micro-dose to improve their performance
  • Don’t evaluate the effects of the drug while under the influence of the drug

-How to know if we’re enjoying a natural benefit of a substance or have descended the slippery slope of addiction…23:40

  • Layers of sin: if you can’t be a Christian before you’ve had two cups of coffee, it’s a problem
  • All things are lawful, but not all things are necessary
  • Awareness by Anthony De Mello
  • Be aware of what can cause a dependency, and use with caution
  • Distinction between an idol and a mind-altering idol
  • Two kinds of idols:
    • Statues, images, etc.
    • Things that are part of your life (family, car, job, etc.)
  • Reprioritize that which you idolized but is still an important part of your life

-Is Ben sinning when he vapes to relax in the evening?…32:10

  • Half life of wine differs radically from THC in a vape pen
  • It’s far easier to put one’s self in a state of non-sobriety with marijuana than alcohol; getting drunk requires commitment
  • Relaxation element is lawful scripturally
  • Question of equivalence between marijuana and alcohol
  • Romans 14: be wary of offending brothers and sisters with your actions

-Pastoral admonishment vs. endorsing the government’s “war on drugs”…38:05

  • Doug’s admonition to be wary of using marijuana is in no way an endorsement of the war on drugs
  • Racist origins, pharmaceutical lobbying
  • Vilifying substances that have medicinal benefits
  • Difference between a sin and a crime
  • No record of civil punishment for drunkenness in Moses’ time
  • Drunk driving is an example of something that’s a sin and a civil crime
  • Society has a right to self-defense
  • Drug courts vs. criminal courts

-Correlation between legalization of weed and compliance with mask mandates, mandatory vaccines, etc…43:02

  • People who are regularly high on pot are more docile, more likely to comply with societal norms and rules
  • Not as industrious, vigilant
  • A drug-induced populace is in the “land of the lotus eaters”
  • In the Woodstock generation, the people involved in the revolt against the “The Establishment” or “The Man” had just started getting into drugs
  • The average Woodstock joint had less than 25% of THC than what a joint has today; modern strains have a much higher THC content
  • Now, there is no reaction to authoritarianism after generations have had exposure to more THC, over an extended period of time

-The biggest drug-related issues Doug Wilson faces as a pastor…46:35

  • No data shows that anyone under 18 will not be affected by drug use
  • Young men whose brains are not fully developed can’t comprehend the dangers and hazards
  • Pot may cause schizophrenia, or push those predisposed to it over the line
  • Study on effects of cannabis on twins
  • Adult Christians seem to be willing to defend a person’s biblical right to get stoned
  • Doug Wilson’s Blog

-THC as a plant-defense mechanism…53:42

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

– Doug Wilson:

– Podcasts:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Upcoming Events:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Doug Wilson or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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