I just teamed up with women’s lib writer Barbara Walker and Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School to publish on Kindle Pot Stories and Atheist Essays.
One piece, “Pot Story,” offers a very persuasive polemic for legalization and at the same time shows some of the misery and suffering that unwise laws have caused over the decades. One section describes Harry Anslinger, the founder and first commissioner of the Prohibition Movement, as a conspicuous bigot and inarguable moron.
Ms. Walker, in her inimitable style, writes of the abuses of religion over the centuries and the mistreatment of women, mostly due to original sin.
Also included is a podcast of Dr. Grinspoon where he categorically states there is no physical damage to the body at all. He tells the story of how he first turned on, exhorted by none other than Carl Sagan on a cruise to a conference in Europe.
If you’re interested in marijuana, either medically or recreationally, this is a must read so you’ll know what you’re doing or talking about. Lot’s to discuss, n’est-ce pas?
Laura, I agree with Spud. Thanks for posting. As far as being pleasure-negative goes, ever notice that all non-reproductive sexual contact is a sin? And even that has to be missionary style.
The converse is true also. The church is pain- and sacrifice positive. Ever see Philippine acolytes flagellating themselves at Easter time?
Here's a neat one from the movie, You Don't Know Jack, with Al Pacino as Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Ether was discovered by alchemists as far back as the 1250s but not used to alleviate pain until the late 1800s. Church officials didn't want to interfere with God's will and let victims suffer rather than use anesthetics.
Oh, the humanity of it when we think of the unnecessary pain and suffering—especially for women at childbirth.
I always appreciated Sam Harris’ line about Christ actually accomplishing some good in his life. Our Lord brought out the message that human sacrifice is a waste of time. God the Father only cares about his son as the martyr and anybody else just isn’t good enough.
But being God, why the heck couldn’t our Lord have appeared in South America once or twice and straighten those people out also about the gruesome practice. By the time the Spanish got to the New World, the Aztecs, Mayas and Incas were sacrificing young victims by the thousands—sometimes two thousand in one shot. The victims had to wait on line for their turn to climb up the pyramids. You know.... Mass production.
So, in my view we can look at this and infer either Christ didn’t care about the South American aborigines or He just didn’t know that the other side of the world existed.
In a Christian point of view, the sacrificed people were being done a big favor. Being sent to heaven express.
The Aztecs etc. thought something similar as I remember. Some people actually asked to be sacrificed.
I loved Jesus du Bong - with the bong, he does seem to be about peace and love. In a nice mellow grassy way.
The Aztecs mostly cared about appeasing their pantheon of gods, the most important being s hummingbird. The idea was to tear the heart of a warrior and offer it on a sacred mound still beating. This assured that the crops would arrive on time and everybody lives for another year. That's why many offered to sacrifice themselves. It must have seemed like a good deal.
As far as "express to heaven" goes, Francisco Pizarro's priests liked to baptize Incan babies then bashed their skulls against the rocks. This was also a good deal to their eyes because it meant one less enemy and assured that the baby wouldn't be corrupted by the alien culture which also included human sacrifice. Why not take the express?
Pizarro to my eyes has to be one of the most evil characters in history. A fanatic, illiterate and quintessential Catholic.
Richard, it's all about FREE WILL. God doesn't do anything because he wants the person doing the torture to be able to exercise their free will. On the other hand, god also wants the person that is being tortured to experience this as part of their free will.
It makes perfect sense to a theist!
They sure know how to play that "Free Will" card, don't they. They also like, "God works in mysterious ways." That's the answer to a lot of questions.
"Given the magnitude of the real problems that confront us- — terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the spread of infectious disease, failing infrastructure, lack of adequate funds for education and health care, etc. — our war on sin is so outrageously unwise as to almost defy rational comment. How have we grown so blind to our deeper interests? And how have we managed to enact such policies with so little substantive debate?"
Religiousity, with its notion of sin, blocks us from moving to the next level of evolution. We have 4,000 years of thinking, based on believing the fears and hopes of faith, we don't reach to a higher level of functioning. We fail to put aside sins of pleasure and move toward building community, developing alternative sources of energy, conquering diseases, and educating our young to think in terms of cooperation instead of competition as a life style.
So much of what is being debated now is silly. Why should society concern itself with the decisions a woman makes about her reproductive life? Why should a culture stand in the way of same sex marriage and adoptions or transgender choices? Why are we even considering continued use of fossil fuels as it becomes abundantly clear we can no longer use those sources of energy? Why are we still trying to keep religion out of politics?
The fact that we are continuing to face these oppositions means we cannot be complacent in such matters. Being silent does not accomplish what needs to be done.
The reality is, we do have to deal with these conflicts and we just as well get used to the idea of there is a mighty effort ahead to move from the Stone Age, through the Agricultural Age, Mining and Manufacturing Age, the Information Age, and now the Age of living Responsibly.
Good post, Joan. I’ve been saying the same thing for years, about continuing to evolve. I’d place that 4000 number back a bit to perhaps 10,000 to 12,000 when the Agricultural Revolution changed everything. The Egyptians were religious much further back in time.
In my High School with Rudy Giuliani, I ask the same questions about “our leaders”. Rudy was weak in science class, you know. Why isn’t Congress concerned about overpopulation (the world’s biggest problem, IMO) or the extinction of non-human animals which is destroying the planet? We’re in the middle of the Holocene Extinction and none of these people even mentions it.
As you say, they care more about gays getting married or a woman in the ghetto getting an abortion so she can manage to feed her other ten.
Great discussion topic. Some religions are anti-drug (the Abrahamic ones), but in others, drugs are the key to a spiritual experience. If marijuana is, as the song goes, "a gift from God to my brothers and me," why should religious people oppose it?
why should religious people oppose it?
I'm sure you'll concede they do. As we used to say in the '60s, grass helps us break through the conditioning. Cannabinoids help relax the brain so we become more analytical in certain areas. Just my opinion. Consider in Viet Nam days, the vast majority of the protesters were heads while the pro-war flag wavers weren't. I'd conjecture that cannabis helps people reconnect with their humanity that socialization has slowly eroded. I hope I'm right, because modern technology is turning people into unfeeling, self-alienated machines headed for self-destruction.
Rich....I've been saying something like this for many years. Pot facilitates introspection and questioning of rules and authority. The govt.-approved drugs promote aggression (alcohol), focus (nicotine), and energy (caffeine, to fulfill the corporate mission).
Precisely. The traffic and highways are a good example of what society does to people. Traffic is frenetic and most drivers have to constantly push the legal limits of how fast they can go and seem not to care if they live or die.
And consider “road rage.” What the heck is that? Nobody is going to tell me this is human nature. It’s the product of a sick society.