Religion and Drug Use

Mankind’s history has been permeated by two things, for better or worse: religion and drugs. Since the time of the Pagans people have used drugs in spiritual and religious ceremony to celebrate many different aspects of life. Drugs like herb based supplements, hallucinogenic mushrooms, cannabis, opiates and various alcohols have been used for thousands of years and have deep associations for many cultures with mystery, spirituality and rebirth – all critical components of many religions.

However, there are also a great number of religious groups that frown upon drug use, and at times some of these groups outright persecuted anyone who used illicit substances that were against their religious creed. Today there is still a great divide between religions that allow drug use and those that prohibit or restrict it.

Regardless of whether a particular religion allows it or not, there are many scholars who believe that some religious experiences are impossible to differentiate between major religious or spiritual experiences that were drug-facilitated. Dr. Huston Smith wrote in his article, Do Drugs Have Religious Import that drugs require the right set or psychological makeup of the participant and the right setting. Therefore both religion and drugs can create spiritual experiences under the right conditions. However, because of man’s propensity for substance abuse and addiction, many religions are strongly against drug use of any type.

Christianity: While it is generally acceptable among this group to drink alcohol in moderation, there is no tolerance for drug use among most of the scriptures this religion is based upon. Because of this restriction some Christians that do become addicted to drugs will be much less likely to seek help for fear of being outcast or penalized by their group, regardless of whether this fear is grounded in reality or not.

Rastafarian: This religion practices the use of cannabis for enlightenment and relaxation. However, contrary to popular belief this group does not condone casual use of marijuana.

Islam: Perhaps the strictest of all organized religions, Islam prohibits the use of all substances including alcohol, and regards people that use them as impure in the eyes of the creator.

Judaism: This group does not permit drug use, but makes exception for alcohol in certain ceremonies and during certain occasions.

Hinduism: One of the world’s oldest religions, the consumption of cannabis and this among Hindi practitioners is not only permitted, it is highly encouraged in order to attain peace and enlightenment.

Buddhism: Buddhists believe that the introduction of harmful substances like illicit drugs or alcohol to the body is nearly sacrilegious. This is because Buddhism teaches that the body is a temple that must be guarded and nurtured above all but the mind.

Other large groups like Native Americans, Mayans and Aztecs used various types of alcohol and natural hallucinogens like peyote to achieve spiritual states. Other groups have even used animal toxins to achieve and altered state of consciousness.

Regardless of what religion – if any – you practice, drug use often leads to addiction. If you are suffering from this clinical disease, call or click one of the links below right now.