‘Pharmakeia’ in the NT Era: Exposition and Application

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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Pharmakeia in the NT Era: Exposition and Application, with Objections Answered

I’ve titled the thread this way as evidently “sorcery” is a buzz-word that gets folks defensive and overheated. So I’ll just stick with the NT Greek word that’s usually translated into English as “sorcery” or “witchcraft” – the LXX likewise using pharmakeia and its cognates when referring to persons or activities in the OT involving the magic arts (cf. Ex 7:11, 22; 8:7, 18; 9:11; 22:18; Deut 18:10; Isa 47:9, 12; 2 Chr 33:6; 2 Kings 9:22; Dan 2:2; Mic 5:12; Nah 3:4; Mal 3:5). Commenting on this last verse, Malachi 3:5,

“And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers [pharmakos], and against the adulterers, and against false swearers”, [emphasis mine –SMR]​

Calvin says, “as the word is found here all by itself, the Prophet no doubt meant to include all kinds of diviners, soothsayers, false prophets, and all such deceivers: and so there is here again another instance of stating a part for the whole”, saying of the Jews of that time, “they were then so given up to gross abominations, that they abandoned themselves to magic arts, and to incantations . . . of the devil.” (Calvin’s Commentaries; Vol 15, p. 577).

Very often we find, in both the OT and the New, this use of synecdoche (stating a part for the whole) when the word pharmakeia and its cognates are used, the use of drugs as the essential and common component in almost all of the “magic arts”. Consider, the Jews who translated the OT into the LXX invariably used a word signifying “drugs used as magic potions” whenever referring to the magic arts and its practitioners. Why would they do that – use that particular word – were it not actually so?

If anyone wonders why I am referencing the LXX (given my AV priority views), I quote from a previous thread,

“. . . in the Septuagint, God provided a commentary and word study . . . The work of the early Greek translators of the Old Testament provided a ready made translational database for Jesus and the writers of Scripture”. (Emphasis mine –SMR)​

Likewise with the apostles – Paul and John – we see them using the words pharmakeia and its cognates as such drugs are always connected by them with the magic arts, and in fact stand for them, even as Washington stands for the United States. Drugs stand for the magic arts – by synecdoche – being an essential ingredient in their activities.

As an example, I quote from the old ISBE,

“The word translated in the AV ‘witchcraft’ in Gal 5:20 (pharmakeia) is the ordinary Greek one for ‘sorcery,’ and is so rendered in the RV, though it means literally the act of administering drugs and then of magical potions. It naturally comes then to stand for the magician’s art, as in the present passage and also in . . . the LXX of Isa 47:9 . . . translated ‘sorceries’.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, Ed., Vol. 5, p. 3097.)​

In Acts 8 and 13 Simon and Elymus are respectively called “sorcerers”, and the underlying Greek there is mágos, a magician or sorcerer, a practitioner of the magic arts.

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Why this background information, and, some of you may say, why belabor this topic by going over it again? In a recent thread on marijuana (that “disappeared” due to the volatility of the issue) and the vote for and against it in California, when I took the position that, a) it should not be legalized, and b) it should continue to be prohibited in Christ’s church, I met with much opposition on both counts. Perhaps some of it was honest misunderstanding. So I will seek to be clearer in how I present the matter here.

In this aforementioned thread I expressed surprise, and then some shock, to see what we in the churches in the last century held in consensus to be the Biblical view on marijuana and other drugs of that class, which was that it and they were classified as pharmakeia, and those who used them as pharmakeus, sorcerous drugs and sorcerers respectively, and as such strictly and incontrovertibly condemned by Scripture.

Perhaps a factor in this is that I’m 68 years old – not to suggest that my brain is addled (though some might disagree!) – but rather that in the 60s through the 90s of the last century the church’s testimony to the culture was quite different than what it is today. I came of age – and later, was converted – in those days. Back then, we had to stand against the drug use of the hippie / Woodstock counterculture and its actively seeking to lure souls into its false visions and promises through the use of a certain class of drugs, the psychedelics or hallucinogens, of which marijuana was a primary component, along with Lysergic acid diethylamide 25, or LSD, and others.

Most of the people on this board are a good bit younger than this, or if around my age, perhaps did not have direct involvement in or with the counterculture. At any rate, it’s a different world now than it was then! Two generations have sprung up with no knowledge of our struggles against the storm of false teachings, false spiritualities, and states of consciousness resulting from the use of those drugs, marijuana included.

When the Lord’s elect were confronted with exegetical evidence from Scripture concerning the drugs we took, we were convicted we were committing the sin of pharmakeia – knowing full well from our experience that the word of God was true, and that the Lord had begun to fulfill His promise in our own generation: “I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers” (Malachi 3:5). Being moved with godly fear, we repented. So when we now hear from a new generation that does not know the Lord as we knew Him, say that marijuana is harmless when used “in moderation” and is “equivalent to alcohol” in its effects, we recoil from such sayings as much as we would if it were to be said that it is now accepted as Biblical teaching that oral sex is not fornication or adultery.

There is no doubt in my mind that the traditional teaching as regards pharmakeia and marijuana – as well the other drugs in this particular class – is sound explication of God’s word and appropriately applied to a cultural issue of especial significance for these and coming days.

Given such certitude in the matter, my approach is as Paul’s concerning

“some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds);

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:2-5).​

Should I not take this stance on a Biblical matter, even if others do not agree? I won’t take a stand like this with regard to things like baptism, or Bible versions, or eschatological views (excepting “Theonomy”), as godly men may differ in good conscience. The drugs are a different matter entirely, profoundly affecting the purity of the church for the worse.

Leveled as arguments against the view that marijuana is a “sorcerous” drug – that is, being in the condemned pharmakeia category, are the following:

a) It is no different than alcohol.
b) As with alcohol it may be abused, but if used in moderation it is neither sinful nor harmful.
c) Medicinal use of marijuana has been proven beneficial, without ill effects.
d) If it is used for mere pleasure / recreation without any intent to access the occult or engage in occult activities, then it does not fall into that class; in other words, the purpose or intent determines the nature of the experience.
e) As it is not prohibited by Scripture, it is sheer legalism to prohibit it to Christians on that basis.
f) To say it should not be legalized is to multiply criminal and civil laws which are both expensive to maintain and oppressive to the population, and besides, the government should not interfere in the lives of its citizens by multiplying laws governing so many aspects of their lives.
g) It is mere superstition to attribute demonic (sorcerous) qualities to it, another example of over-the-top “pentecostal demonism”.
h) This view is generalizing from one’s personal experience and saying it must be so for others as well, which is fallacious.
i) Marijuana is not to be considered in the same class of drug as LSD, Peyote, Mescaline, Hashish, etc.
j) No drugs in this class should be prohibited in the church or made illegal in the civil realm as God made them all, and all have their proper uses.
k) The Genesis 1:29 argument, that God made it for human consumption.

Responses to above arguments:

a) With regard to alcohol, it is an intoxicant that depresses the central nervous system and can lead to a temporary loss of control over physical and mental powers (cf. link: alcohol). Marijuana, on the other hand, is not a CNS depressant, but a psychoactive agent increasing awareness, and is classified as a hallucinogen. Those who say the effects of these two substances, alcohol and marijuana, are equivalent are ignorant of at least one of them, and betray their lack of qualification to discuss this knowledgably.

b) This assertion will be answered when responding to item d), as they are related.

c) First, I will post links to two articles which call this assertion into serious question, and then comment:

The Medical “Benefits” of Smoking Marijuana (Cannabis): a Review of the Current Scientific Literature

“Medical Marijuana” TRUTH AND LIES #1

Anecdotally, a recent NYTimes online ran an article titled, In Nederland, Colorado, Marijuana’s a Point of Pride, and a state official said, with regard to the high use of medicinal marijuana in the state, that there’s

“. . . a disproportionate amount of debilitating pain diagnosed in men in their 20s, state records show. ‘Who would think there would be such severe pain among young men in Colorado?’ said Ron Hyman, the state registrar of vital statistics . . .”​

These folks are no fools. They know the score, and how the “medicinal option” is – in the main – really being used.

I will mention again here, as I did in the disappeared thread, that while psychically “elevated” by marijuana one may experience a sense of detachment from the bodily source of pain, and thus a decrease in the sensation of its intensity, still, the very action that detaches from the pain will open one to other aspects of the “high” such as consciousness in a dimension not usually entered in the normal state of mind, that dimension spirits inhabit. Even were I (speaking personally) in extreme pain I would not opt for marijuana relief, as the “cure” would be far worse than the ailment: making myself vulnerable to demonic activity. More on this in the response to item d).

d) This is an interesting argument. Concerning any other drug and its effects on the human system, can it be said that those effects depend on the intent / purpose of the user? Or do the chemical properties of the drugs determine their effect? It is clear that people do smoke or ingest marijuana for different reasons, as is the case with other psychedelics; some for pleasure / recreation, some for spiritual / religious purposes, and some for the ability to function in the occult realms, and yet others for supposed medicinal purposes.

Jumping ahead to item h) for a moment, the psychopharmacological (the study of the affect certain drugs produce in the human psyche) effect of marijuana is similar to the other psychoactive drugs of this class – i.e., mind- or consciousness-expanding agents – and any difference is of degree and not of kind. They all are used as aids to give entrance to the dimension of spirits, and this is their primary use in certain religions and cults. Today the potency of some strains of marijuana are such that they may be on a par with the other drugs.

When the generation that was lured en mass into taking these drugs, some simply for pleasure, and some for the promise of spiritual illumination, became aware that there was far more to them than initially disclosed, they began to study the history and prior uses of the drugs – from marijuana and LSD (this latter a newcomer but similar) to mescaline and mushrooms – to try to gain an understanding of what they had done. Many who had commenced using marijuana, and the others, just for “recreation” but finding themselves open and vulnerable to occult forces, continued exploring this phenomenon of greatly heightened consciousness, some going on to the other drugs in the same class, while others became increasingly destabilized psychologically.

Those who used marijuana “recreationally” didn’t do so merely for the heightened taste of food or other sensual experience, but also for the much-touted enhancement of their mental powers and psychic abilities or intuition. They didn’t – at first – question where these enhancements came from, thinking it was perhaps just the properties of the drug – the active ingredient in it, THC – but experience quickly showed it was the nature of the psychic realm newly entered – or possibly forces within that realm – that was the source of the great increase of consciousness. The drug was an agent that transported the user into another dimension, and the dimension itself was the source of the new powers manifest both within and external to the user. These were, very many of them, initially “recreational” users, but now in over their heads. When these users began to be contacted by spiritual entities – some claiming to be ascended masters or other types of wise spirits, though others were openly malevolent – they realized they were out of their depth. They then pursued the knowledge of other religions and spiritual paths in attempts to get their bearings. Many of them were lured into Eastern spirituality or “earth spirituality”, such as Gaia. Multitudes were enveloped in the “strong delusion” (2 Thess 2:11) of the New Age paths. And many of these had just started out “recreationally” – curious about the heightened awareness promised. Others were more interested in finding a living and vital spiritual path – disgusted with the drug of the older generation, alcohol – and so pursued this as a religious quest. Sorcery or the occult were the farthest things from their minds!

When we found ourselves – the studious among us – in these depths, we began the study of comparative religions, from the known ones such as Buddhism, Zen, Hinduism, and Theosophy to the more obscure, such as the shaman ways of the Native Americans and other indigenous “primitive” groups, as certain South American tribes. Poets and adventurers among us trekked into South America to sample their wares and learn of their paths. It was, for many, the search for authentic spiritual paths, though others went over to the “dark side” and Satanism, voodoo, or Santeria.

We buried ourselves in books and studies about these substances that had propelled us into worlds unknown, unprepared for what came upon us, seeking understanding. The teachers that had appeared among us, such as Tim Leary of Harvard and Allen Ginsberg the poet, introduced us to the Eastern ways, with Leary translating Lao Tse’s The Tao into Psychedelic Prayers from the Tao Te Ching and The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Tibetan Buddhism) into “psychedelese”, to help those floundering in these new worlds become stable. In fact, multitudes were lost eternally, and were it not for the Lord Jesus wading into our midst and calling His own to Himself out of this satanic whirlpool dragging souls into the maw of the devil, we also had been eternally destroyed.

But to us whose names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, it was on this wise: “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). He appeared to us, cutting through the bands of darkness with His presence, and we acknowledged to Him, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple” (Ps 119:130). We cleaved to Him as unto life itself, multitudes of us from that generation. And we learned from His word understanding of the realm we had been rescued from.

So when I hear young people of today gainsay what we know of the word of God, and of the destruction He saved us from, I am obliged to bear witness to his saving power and wisdom, that yet another generation fall not into those pits. At least not from the body of professing believers.

e) This is a very serious argument, and it is eminently valid to raise the concern over it. Is it really not prohibited by Scripture? Proceeding on the understanding that pharmakeia in the law of Moses is identical with pharmakeia in the New Covenant of Christ – which we shall here establish – we see that the death penalty was mandated in Ex 22:18 LXX for one who was a pharmakos (AV “witch”, NASB “sorceress”), and in Deut 18:10 it is written, “there shall not be found among you . . . a pharmakos (AV “witch”, NASB “sorcerer”). The meaning of this word in both Hebrew and Greek is that of one who practices the magic arts by use of drugs and potions. This is why both the Jews and the apostles used that specific word for this particular activity, rather than another word. In the OT a pharmakos was to be destroyed from among the people, and in the NT excommunicated – the NT spiritual equivalent of death – from the life of the church, except there be repentance. In the NT it is explicitly said that the pharmakos (“sorcerers” Rev 22:15 AV, NASB) had no place in eternity’s city of God , and the destiny of the pharmakeus (also “sorcerers” Rev 21:8 AV, NASB) was to be the lake of fire. This is explicit prohibition sufficient to make it a Biblical command, and not a law of man. Those who would say I am “stretching the meaning of the Greek words” need to back up their claim with more than empty sound-bites.

f) With regard to marijuana’s legalization: in a republic such as ours we can vote over such things. And have I not the right to persuade voters against such a course by reasoned argument? I agree that our government – and not only the present administration – seems to be given over to the desire to regulate the very minutiae of our lives, which is a great danger. But consider, when sexually immoral people try to make laws enabling them to teach and promote their immorality in our children’s schools – discipling our children in their pernicious ways! – is it not appropriate to use the law, and the electoral process, to thwart their designs? Of course it is.

The same applies to laws on drugs such as we are discussing. Would it be to a society’s health to have LSD legalized? Given sufficient dosages it is more potent than marijuana, and people talking it can easily lose control and run amok, though on a low dose it is not so dangerous in that respect. Yet it still, even in low dosages, gives the user – regardless of their intent when taking it – direct entrance into the presence of demons. [I shall deal with the allegations of delving in superstition and “pentecostal demonism” when we get to the next item, g) !] In that respect it is tremendously dangerous, 1) to individuals who may go to places in their spirits multitudes of people have not returned from whole, and 2) to society, which would have to absorb and deal with the high velocity psychic power such individuals would be vessels or channelers of. As with LSD, so with marijuana, though perhaps (I say perhaps, as the potency of modern grass is far greater than it ever used to be) slightly diminished, yet still conducing to societal chaos. That’s what some people want!

We don’t want debauchers promoting their ways among our children, and we don’t want open occult madness arising in our cities and towns. As citizens we have the right to vote concerning those things which affect our society. I can make more of a case for this, but not now. I’m eager to get to the next item.

g) I do seem to notice an aversion to the general topic of the occult, sorcery, witchcraft, etc., and discussions concerning it – in which they are taken seriously – being likened to “pentecostal demonism” and superstition. Actually, it is right and fitting to be averse to such stuff! But it will not do in this day and age to run from them – or to denigrate those who focus vitally needed attention on the present threat of them! – when the need is to firmly and without fear confront them. Let me elaborate.

First, of all people, Christians should be aware of the growing threat of occult activities in the culture. Or are we going to be the last to acknowledge these things, like the proverbial frog boiled in the pot who couldn’t tell the water was getting hot? I call this “the New York Times mentality” which is oblivious to the reality of God – hostile to those who mention it approvingly – and of all spiritual things: Heaven, Hell, salvation, angels, and demons.

But we should not be so. We should be aware: “There is no need for ignorance concerning the devices of the devil, for they are set forth plainly in the Word of God, and they are also visible all around us.” –Donald Grey Barnhouse. Visible in the “works of the flesh”, among which Paul singles out pharmakeia as a notable one (Gal 5:20), even in his day.

These then are the issues: how continually do we abide in the presence of our Lord, and how alert are we to the temptations sent our way (or arising from within), and the tactics of the powers of darkness in affecting our immediate lives, our families, churches, neighborhoods, towns, cities, and nations? Are we awake, or asleep? Do we just pretend the Deceiver and Murderer of souls and of cultures is far from us? Can it be we have drunk too deeply of Babylon’s wine, anesthetized by our televisions, movies, tech toys, cool lives, and are now at ease in Zion (Amos 6:1)? It is a fault of the Reformed – some of them anyway – to deny or minimize the activities of the demonic world, lulled perhaps by the genuine truth that the preaching of the gospel is the most formidable weapon in the church’s armory, and they then just let the preachers preach and forget about the ravaging of the culture they are in, and supposedly not of. Nor is it only the culture being ravaged by the antichrist spirits and other demonic attacks, but the church of Jesus Christ is now beset by myriads of deceiving spirits bringing all sorts of diabolic doctrines and accompanying psychic phenomena into the very precincts of God’s temple. Now in this, the Reformed, being confessional, have a strong bulwark of defence many churches do not have; what I think is that some have been, as I said, lulled – into a blind complacency that just because they have confessional standards there is no more need for vigilance concerning those things the word of God says exist.

So when I talk of the present activity of psychedelics / hallucinogens being Biblically-defined sorcery in the culture of the world – and seeking entrance into the church – I am told this is fostering “pentecostal demonism”! What a dark retort! This brings to mind the dread warning given the gainsayers in Isaiah 30:8-11.

Fie on such a calumnious slur! It really is a cover – a smokescreen – to whitewash a sinful activity behind deceiving (albeit possibly ignorant) words. Out of charity I will grant that.

Do those who coin such slurs even know what “pentecostal demonism” is about? It is the seeing a demon behind every tree, as it were. It is the so-called “sanctification by exorcism” craziness, which bypasses moral responsibility with supposed “power deliverances” – the which falsities David Powlison of CCEF refutes nicely in his, Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare. The Pentecostal / Charismatic “spiritual warfare movement” is indeed a bane to the church, but discernment of spiritual activities in modern-day Babylon and their threat to the church – many professing sectors of which are now of Babylon! – is not part of that. When even true sectors of the church become complacent and anesthetized, they bristle when discernment ministries sound their alarms. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.

I agree that superstition is a thing which ought have no place in the people of God.

To enter into the record at this point a definition:

Superstition: 1 a. A belief, conception, act, or practice resulting from ignorance, unreasoning fear of the unknown or mysterious, morbid scrupulosity, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation. . . <superstitions such as child-sacrifice, divination, soothsaying, enchantments, sorceries, charms, (by magic knots, spells, incantations), ghosts, spiritualistic mediums, necromancy> . . . b. an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from such beliefs, conceptions, or fears. 2 a. Idolatrous religion. . . 3: a fixed irrational idea : a notion maintained in spite of evidence to the contrary. (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, 1971, p. 2296)​

It would seem to me that not only those who believe in so as to practice such ungodliness fall under this definition, but those who have an unreasoning fear of such things do as well. The people who know their God accept the testimony of Scripture concerning what is real, and are able to stand firm and fearless against any works of darkness in His name and by His word. We do not fight shadows, but know how to stand in the evil day (Eph 6:13).

h) There is also empirical data with regard to the affect of marijuana in the systems of those taking it, and many corroborating testimonies to that effect. It is not a valid objection in light of the “personal experience” of multitudes who have taken marijuana and like drugs – many for pleasure and recreation – only to find they have unwittingly entered a realm of danger and horror. There are others who have taken the drugs and had a great time, with no apparent deleterious effects, who found themselves strangely and increasingly estranged from the idea of the Christian God and moved toward the spiritual paths of the East, and of the occult. Those who say drugs, marijuana included, are spiritually harmless, seek to generalize from their deceived experience (or just hearsay) and deceive the unwary with false reports of it being harmless to all who take it recreationally and “in moderation”.

i) There are so many variables here with regard to doses and quality. Some marijuana is more potent than some LSD; eaten marijuana, when rightly prepared, can be tremendously potent as a hallucinogen. Hashish is just concentrated resin from the marijuana plant and has the exact same chemical basis. Marijuana is as capable of enabling users to come into the presence of spirits as are LSD, Peyote, and Mescaline, and it has been used so by many spiritualist religions and cults. Comparative religion studies and historical studies of its use bear this out.

j) Why then had God explicitly prohibited their use for the nation of Israel, and condemned the users to capital punishment, if they are good? One could as well say, “Why has God allowed the existence and the presence of the devil and his hosts to remain in the world, if there was not some good to be gained from them?” The answer is that we are called to have our “senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:14), and to “put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean” (Lev 10:10). We are no longer in Paradise, and some plants and elements are poisons to our bodies, and some to our souls.

The government may rightly restrict the availability of poisons, given the treachery of human nature in using them. The church may (and should) prohibit that which God has prohibited in His word.

k) Genesis 1:29, when speaking of “herbs” (AV), says, “to you it shall be for food”. That does not given any warrant for smoking or ingesting marijuana, apart from nutritional purposes, but for altering the state of consciousness. It is precisely this altering of consciousness by means of a drug, and with the result of facilitating communion (intended or not) with God’s enemies – the demons – that is the condemned pharmakeia in God’s word. This is not food.

In the sixties and onward we often heard the phrase, “the politics of consciousness.” This is the issue again with regard to the same drugs. LSD is once again being used (under special license) by the therapeutic community, there being a resurgence now of this supposed “therapeutic” use, per (among other sources) the NY Times of Apr 11, 2010: “Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In Again”.

What some folks are saying is that they have the right to do what they will with their state of awareness. This sounds good enough, but in fact they are desiring to enter and commune with the denizens of a forbidden realm, the matrix of evil: the lair – indeed the heart – of Satan. Awareness in this realm may not always appear to have anything to do with spirits or that evil one; they may be disguised as “angels of light” (2 Cor 11:14), or they may only manifest as benign impersonal spiritual illumination and energy, or as pleasure enhancers (for the “recreational” fools). The world may well obtain enough votes to pass this pharmakeia into law. The Trojan horse of “medicinal marijuana” has already gotten its foot in the door.

But in the communion of Christ we are not unaware of satan’s devices, that he should gain an advantage over us through deception.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
I voted to legalize marijuana, but not because I want to see it used, but for many other reasons including the fact that if you give the State any right it doesn't have given to it in the Bible, they abuse that right. So, CA is broke, and our jails are full of people who's crime was to take an arbitrarily chosen plant and use it. Jail time doesn't do anything except ruin everyone's lives, that's why you don't have jail time under Biblical law.

Another reason is that it's arbitrary. I have a brugmansia in my front yard which is a much more powerful hallucinogenic than marijuana, and lots of people use it (not mine!). When will it end? I'll tell you, with the equivalent of men running their hands over other men's privates and women acting as unpaid p#rn stars at airports.

A scientific team found marijuana in some pipes dug up at Shakepear's house. Sherlock used cocaine in the books because the author did. It's only recently that the State has latched on to another area it claims jurisdiction over. If the church wants to regulate certain behaviors, the Church can do it through the disciplinary process. But sphere sovereignty dictates, In my humble opinion, that the State stays out of what plants people can grow and use, even if there's the possibility that they will be abused.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Tim, after reflecting on your thoughts, I have a few questions.

I’m not clear what political philosophy you are speaking from. Care to clarify?

I would affirm that this particular political experiment, republican / democratic, is so far failing economically, politically, and morally due to the corruption of human nature in its citizenry and its leaders. Likewise the totalitarian regimes have failed in their experiments of political rule. All human governments are bound to fail. Islam seems to be thriving for the moment, but only due to its empowerment by spiritual forces and their doctrines which also are destined to fall.

I place no trust nor have real hope in political systems based in this world. Only one King has the wisdom, power, and right to rule, and He is ruling now over all the earth from His throne in the heavens and will bring his base of operations to the earth when the New Jerusalem is established on it after the resurrection and great judgment. At that time God will dwell with humankind.

But back to the present day in California. These jails you speak of which are filled with people “who's crime was to take an arbitrarily chosen plant and use it” – did actually break the standing law. I seem to recall (Gov.) Arnie recently saying that possession of marijuana was only a ticketable offense, such as a driving ticket, so those folks in jail must have had quantity and/or intent to sell to be doing time. Am I right on this? If those in jail had obeyed God’s law and submitted “to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” (1 Pet 2:13 ff.) they would not be in the clink.

It’s true when you say you “don’t have jail time under Biblical law”, though under Biblical law – I gather you’re talking of Moses – those who broke his commandment on pharmakeia would have been executed.

I know most of these folks in jail didn’t intend to run afoul the pharmakeia commandments, and I also realize that in a culture where vast multitudes commit the same violation, often unwittingly, it seems to be taking on a bizarre aspect. A nation of pharmakos (sorcerers)? That sort of reminds me of Rev 9:20, 21 where it is written of those who remained alive after a series of horrendous judgments wherein a third of humankind were killed, they still would not repent of their murders, pharmakeia, fornication, or their thefts. It sounds like a mass of humankind were pharmakos then.

I believe in the past you’ve said you were postmil, and I don’t know if you lean toward “Theonomic Christian reconstruction” of society as part of that, but how do you see the societal situation changing so as to move in the direction of the bettering of things, so that the drug problem we now have, along with the political madness and injustice we now see, will be brought more in line with God’s will?

There are folks who see the present state – the government – as satanic, and not to be obeyed, in part because of its taking to itself powers / functions not granted it by God. Would you consider this development a valid exemption to the Scripture when it says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”? (Rom 13:1)
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
Facinating post Steve. Would the rampant use of anti-depressants and other psychotropics fall under the Pharmakeia label?
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
It’s true when you say you “don’t have jail time under Biblical law”, though under Biblical law – I gather you’re talking of Moses – those who broke his commandment on pharmakeia would have been executed.


Steve you asked about a hundred questions in that post! To take the most important to the discussion, what you say is nothing but a claim. You've created a whole detailed definition of witch which is indistinguishable from someone growing 10 pot plants instead of one.

You know, Mandrake wasn't used for having more babies. Read the context again from Gen. 30

And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. 15And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken away my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to-night for thy son's mandrakes. 16And Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for I have surely hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. 17And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob a fifth son.

It's assumed Mandrakes were some sort of fertility drug based on that passage, but reading in a bit more carefully there's no implication at all Mandrakes were involved in Leah's pregnancy. Mandrakes are today, and have been for 5000 years used to get a buzz. They take a long time to grow (I know, I've got one several years old) and are now, and have always been valuable. There are other examples in the Bible and the possession of them was never a crime. Practising sorcery has always been illegal or at least frowned on in all successful cultures. Over use of drugs has always been frowned on. Take the Land of the Lotus eaters for an example from antiquity. But the State has never, until recently claimed the right to tell you want plants you can grow or eat. It's not even hinted at in the Bible.

I used heroin just last week. It came from a legal opium farm (most are in India). The dentist asked if I wanted it, and I said yes. Most others here have used novocaine as well. Growing the opium poppy is illegal now for the first time in history, from what I can see (don't know that much about the opium wars, I admit). Go figure. Oh, the seeds are for sale on ebay. It's called the Persian Blue poppy, and it latex is about 90 percent heroin. They're really pretty :)
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
You have changed my mind

Thanks Steve. I had not considered marijuana hallucinogenic up to this point. If it is a hallucinogen (and I think you made your case that it is), we as Christians should not be making favorable comparisons between marijuana and alcohol usage. Nor should we be promoting what scripture condemns (the use of hallucinogens). Would that summarize the thrust of your OP?
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
The drug was an agent that transported the user into another dimension, and the dimension itself was the source of the new powers manifest both within and external to the user. These were, very many of them, initially “recreational” users, but now in over their heads. When these users began to be contacted by spiritual entities – some claiming to be ascended masters or other types of wise spirits, though others were openly malevolent – they realized they were out of their depth. They then pursued the knowledge of other religions and spiritual paths in attempts to get their bearings. Many of them were lured into Eastern spirituality or “earth spirituality”, such as Gaia.

Mr Rafalsky, here is a hypothetical for you. What if, instead of believing that the drug transported them to a new psychic dimension they had simply said, "Wow, the brain does strange things when powerful drugs interact with its chemistry"? It seems to me that while the drug was the occasion, their openness to a new spirituality was really the proximate cause of their being deceived by false religions. And for that proximate cause to be effective, they had to attribute a spiritual significance to the state that was chemically induced; but why should we give any credence to their attribution?
 

MICWARFIELD

Puritan Board Freshman
Steve,

You talk about "that class of drugs". Where does the bible teach that pharmakeia is referring to drugs like pot and LSD, but not aspirin or anti-depressants? Isn't our word pharmacy derived from pharmakeia? It seems to me that your argument using that word would have to include all drugs. Please show me where the scripture distinguishes between them. I wonder if your approving of some and not others is culturally rather than biblicaly influenced.

Regarding yours and others personal experiences, there are just as many people who have not had those experiences at all. I have two close family members, who smoke marijuana medicinally. I've talked with them about it in-depth. It helps relax them, and helps take the edge off serious pain. One is a solid Reformed believer. She is a Godly woman. She smokes it in moderation. She would consider smoking it in excess to be sin. She has never had anything resembling a demonic experience. It doesn't lead her into sinful thoughts (none of us need pot to help us have those. Our own wicked hearts are sufficient), or into wanting to break God's law.

As for me, many years ago when I smoked marijuana, i did have demonic experiences at times. The difference is that, unlike my family members who smoke it, I was involved in many occultic activities and actually intentionally invited demonic activity into my life. I also had such experiences when not smoking pot or other drugs. I refuse to bind the consciences of others based on my experience. What matters is "What saith the scripture?'
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Tim, you wrote,

“what you say is nothing but a claim. You've created a whole detailed definition of witch which is indistinguishable from someone growing 10 pot plants instead of one.”​

Huh? Have you been hangin’ out by your mandrakes again? What I have asserted is that those who smoke or ingest marijuana and experience the affect of heightened consciousness have entered the state known as pharmakeia.

I can imagine someone growing 10 plants for the medicinal marijuana industry who doesn’t use them herself – this wouldn’t make her a “witch”. You’ll notice I’ve stuck with the Greek usage of pharmakeia and pharmakos so as to retain the original meaning related to the magic arts.

I’m not sure what Rachel wanted or had in mind with the mandrakes – the Scripture is silent on that – and speculation is not wise in this instance.

In modern times I know that from it can be obtained deliriant (anticholinergic) hallucinogens such as scopolamine (“truth serum”), but it is frowned upon for “recreational” or deliberate pharmakeia as it not at all a regular hallucinogen, but one which causes stupor, confusion (delerium), and disorientation.

I thought my other questions to you were pertinent to the issue of legality and the rights of the state, which you have important thoughts on – to me.

---------

CJ, yes, that would summarize it. Thanks for your comments.

---------

Hi Ruben,

That’s a discerning question. It’s not that they believed the drug transported them to a new dimension – some of them didn’t want to believe it at all! – but that they experienced phenomena, including interactions with conscious entities, in that realm. Yes, they were open to new experiences – that’s why they took the drugs – but not specifically to new spiritual experiences, which predisposed them to following false religions.

I see your view is that the effect of the chemicals on the brain is simply the occasion and not the “proximate cause” of their experiences. What then, according to this hypothesis, is the effect of the chemicals on the brain?

These hallucinogens are not like speed, which indeed gives tremendous psychic / neurological energy to the being as well as to the body of the user, or cocaine, which gives not only psychic / neurological energy, but also a psychic / sensual euphoria. The hallucinogens are really strange in this regard; instead of infusing power or euphoria into the system, it’s like they dismantle the controlling mind and will of the user and render the consciousness naked to a) its own energy and depths of being, and b) to the energy of high-velocity beings which inhabit the lower heavens (so to speak). It is this making the consciousness naked and immeasurably deepened or enhanced in its apprehension of what is, that is the distinctive of these “pure” hallucinogens. Which is not to say that speed and coke may not have psychedelic effects, so that their activity may also be classed as pharmakeia. But these latter are “powerful drugs interacting with the brain’s chemistry”, whereas the former bring an element into its action on the brain that renders it open rather than “acted upon”.

I mean, here we are getting into that mysterious interaction / interrelationship between the physical brain and the immaterial spirit or soul of man, and as this is hard to define or delineate, so it is hard to define or delineate the actual affect of the pharmakeia hallucinogens on the consciousness. They do more than act upon the physical brain, they also act upon / affect the spirit or soul of man, and it is this quality that warrants the prohibition and the label “sorcery”. I cannot explain how this action or affect on the spirit works any more than I can explain the relation between the spirit and the brain. As Christians we know that when the body dies the spirit or soul continues on. Even as I write this my soul is determining what I will write, but my brain is making it happen in the physical world. When my brain dies I won’t be functioning in the physical world, but I will be with my Savior, as my spirit is united with His Spirit, even now.

The thing about the hallucinogens is that they bring the spirit of a man into intercourse with the spirits of the devils, even as the body and soul of a man may have intercourse with the body and soul of a harlot. The hallucinogens, in effecting this action, are condemned as agents of spiritual harlotry. They really are agents of it, and one may have intercourse with devils by this without being aware of what actually is going on.

Did they mean to have this intercourse? I would say very few do it – or at least initially enter into it – knowingly. Like Noah when he was drunk; did he know he was in his daughters’ arms? But he was nonetheless, and the Moabites and the Ammonites were the fruit of his unions with them.

It is to make these things clear, and known by the church so as not to defile herself, that I write. And I thank you, Ruben, for asking this question, so I would myself seek to become clear on it, and be able to put it in words. The graciousness of the Lord is amazing, turning our sin and failures to His glory.

--------

Mike, I'll have to get back to you later. It's past my bedtime here in this part of the world.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
These hallucinogens are not like speed, which indeed gives tremendous psychic / neurological energy to the being as well as to the body of the user, or cocaine, which gives not only psychic / neurological energy, but also a psychic / sensual euphoria. The hallucinogens are really strange in this regard; instead of infusing power or euphoria into the system, it’s like they dismantle the controlling mind and will of the user and render the consciousness naked to a) its own energy and depths of being, and b) to the energy of high-velocity beings which inhabit the lower heavens (so to speak). It is this making the consciousness naked and immeasurably deepened or enhanced in its apprehension of what is, that is the distinctive of these “pure” hallucinogens. Which is not to say that speed and coke may not have psychedelic effects, so that their activity may also be classed as pharmakeia. But these latter are “powerful drugs interacting with the brain’s chemistry”, whereas the former bring an element into its action on the brain that renders it open rather than “acted upon”.

I mean, here we are getting into that mysterious interaction / interrelationship between the physical brain and the immaterial spirit or soul of man, and as this is hard to define or delineate, so it is hard to define or delineate the actual affect of the pharmakeia hallucinogens on the consciousness. They do more than act upon the physical brain, they also act upon / affect the spirit or soul of man, and it is this quality that warrants the prohibition and the label “sorcery”. I cannot explain how this action or affect on the spirit works any more than I can explain the relation between the spirit and the brain. As Christians we know that when the body dies the spirit or soul continues on. Even as I write this my soul is determining what I will write, but my brain is making it happen in the physical world. When my brain dies I won’t be functioning in the physical world, but I will be with my Savior, as my spirit is united with His Spirit, even now.

The thing about the hallucinogens is that they bring the spirit of a man into intercourse with the spirits of the devils, even as the body and soul of a man may have intercourse with the body and soul of a harlot. The hallucinogens, in effecting this action, are condemned as agents of spiritual harlotry. They really are agents of it, and one may have intercourse with devils by this without being aware of what actually is going on.

Mr. Rafalsky, this is the point where I find it quite difficult to reply. How can we know that we are being brought into contact with "high-velocity" beings? How can a drug transport us into another dimension, or open spiritual capabilities that are otherwise hidden? If a substance can bring me into contact with demons and make me vulnerable to them, could another substance take that away? I realize it may be unfair to ask you to demonstrate that pharmaceutical sorcery works, and to describe the mechanism by which it does so; but without that, I don't see why the demonic interpretation of these experiences should be accepted. For example, I have been told by people who have experienced it or knew someone who had, that awaking with a weight on one's chest causing difficulty breathing, and the sense of a malevolent presence, is a sign of demonic activity. The demon is preventing you from respiring normally. I have also read about this in a secular news magazine, so it seems like the phenomenon is fairly well recognized. But why should I think the phenomenon represents a demon instead of an unusual physical/mental reaction to waking up? And why would a demon want to briefly interfere with my breathing? Hellish evil seems like it would be involved in something more impressive than mischievous pranks. In the same way, why should I think that a hallucination reflects an objective reality in a spiritual dimension?

I'm no expert in drugs of any variety, nor in psychology, or any of the relevant fields. But to answer your question to me, the effect of the drugs on the brain appears to be (at least in a sufficient dose, and absent pain or other conditions where they might serve to normalize function) to derange it: as some drugs derange towards somnolence, some derange in other ways. Is it necessary to postulate more than that?
 
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TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
I’m not clear what political philosophy you are speaking from. Care to clarify?

I would affirm that this particular political experiment, republican / democratic, is so far failing economically, politically, and morally due to the corruption of human nature in its citizenry and its leaders. Likewise the totalitarian regimes have failed in their experiments of political rule. All human governments are bound to fail. Islam seems to be thriving for the moment, but only due to its empowerment by spiritual forces and their doctrines which also are destined to fall.

OK, thanks, I'll plan on responding to a paragraph or so at a time. I do want to remark, though, that the last witch doctor session I sat through (after telling the guy I'd beat him up if my worker was injured by the visit) was, of course, tied in with medicinal plants. The main purpose of THAT session in THAT culture (yeah, I know lots about ayuasca) was to get the guy to barf, **** and pee himself out. There are plants that do that really, really well. A curse is often thought to be something that you can expel from the body. No spiritual beings real or imagined were involved in THAT session and culture.

I'm an anarcho-capitalist-libertarian with a Dooyeweerdian theonomic bent. So, sphere sovereignty is important to me, and I don't look favorably on the State when it starts claiming rights historically denied it by Christians. I can just see Martin Luther standing there when some freak orders Katie to get nakie butt for a bunch of peons, or to have a grinning overweight white guy grab his privates at an airport. Or to tell him what plants he can grow in his garden.

Yeah, we're on same page with the failure of the Evil Party and the Stupid party. I haven't voted for either in a long time.

I disagree about Islam. I think Iran's doing the best of all of them, and their only number 17 when in comes to GDP. That's a hunking drop from 300 years ago, as I think you'll agree. From what I've seen, the threat of something future, either real or imagined, is the driving force behind the really recent GOP type right wing hand wringing over Islam. If there are any spiritual forces backing Islam, the Chinese seem to have more powerful ethereal allies. And the weird combination of Russian Orthodoxy and Socialism could vaporise every Islamic country in the world with impunity, since Pak can't deliver it's nuke. Perhaps it's a Saint guiding Russia ? :)
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
How in the heck can you smoke Pot in Moderation? That is new one on me. Do you mean that only one or two joints per day? I am quite familiar with the marijuana scene. And the end result is usually the same. There are much better drugs for pain than marijuana. Just my humble opinion. And they don't have the same side effects.
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Brother Steve,

Would you be opposed to extracting THC for eye drops to bring relief from glaucoma? I know that they haven't perfected it yet, but would it be out of the sorcery camp if no one was getting high from the substance?
 

MICWARFIELD

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey Martin,
I'm not sure what your experiences are with Marijuana, but when I used to smoke it, there was a big difference between taking one or two hits and smoking one or two whole joints. One can smoke it occasionally and limit how many hits they take just as one can and should limit how many beers they drink. Do you not see the difference between someone who limits their smoking, and a "pothead" who sits around on their lazy butt smoking the stuff all day everyday?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
We had one toke back in my day. Red bud, Maui Wowie, what ever was around. The stuff grows naturally around here. All you have to do is run the corn fields in Rural Indiana. It was a cash crop here during WWII. So there is a lot of residual. I never really experienced any different effects. Either I was High or I wasn't. Didn't know it was something that came with a level of intoxicity. Either you got the High or you didn't. It always slowed down time for me and made me hungry. It also had other effects but they were basically the same. High / Not High. Not much of a go between. I don't think it is the same as LSD or Alchohol in it's effects. You can't OD on marijuana. You can on Alcohol and LSD. But the effects are not good in my estimation. I have friends who still use it also. One has a brain tumor.

As I mentioned before. I think there are other pain medications that are so much more effective and better for the mind and soul. I would rather see a guy drink a few beers and drive instead of have a good ole bowl of marijuana and drive. Time slows down too much and the responsive action is way off when one smokes pot.

As for the spirituality prospect of this conversation..... I think it is very harmful. I have a lot of experience in partaking of this and many other illegal substances. They are not good for the soul or well being. Alcohol can also be very bad. Believe me. I know.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Brother Steve,

Would you be opposed to extracting THC for eye drops to bring relief from glaucoma? I know that they haven't perfected it yet, but would it be out of the sorcery camp if no one was getting high from the substance?

Rich,

Supposedly, (as I understand it) the male flowering (only) plant doesn't contain THC which is the chemical which intoxicates. I wouldn't have a problem with something that heals.
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Steve, I apologize for the use of the term pentecostal demonism. I see that it offended you, and while I may attach a different meaning to it than you do, having once been consumed by a form of it, my intent was not to extend a "calumnious slur", but to point out the fact that you are translating a subjective experience into something far more nefarious than it really is.

Brother, back in my drug-ingesting days, I knew folks like you. They tended to confer voluminously intricate spiritual meaning to very mundane things, and would apply that meaning to everyone, rather than see that they had vulnerabilities that were peculiar to themselves. I wasn't trying to 'expand my spiritual horizons' when I smoked pot. I was just trying to have a good time. While you may have been somewhat epicurean and eclectic in your use of drugs, I was more purely hedonistic. I did learn moderation, and understood that I was not as agile and clear minded after burning a big bowl-load as I could be by taking a very small bong hit and just getting a light buzz. I grew my own couple of plants indoors so I wouldn't support the criminal enterprises marketing it. In 1989 I came to the conclusion that to obey the magistrate's law that did not require me to sin was what a Christian is called to do, so I yanked my plants and flushed them. I smoked pot for 16 years, and never experienced the things you describe, because I'm just not the type of guy to trip like that. Early on I did try other drugs, but did not enjoy their effects, and didn't take them anymore. I have other vulnerabilities. If I were to foist the limitations I need to practice personally to avoid sin on others, I would be guilty of binding the conscience of others unbiblically. I believe that is what you are doing.

It may be helpful to you to realize that much of this is a form of materialism; laying the blame for some of your past misdirections at the foot of some quantity of plant material that you embue with spiritual power is avoiding the fact that you possess a proclivity that is peculiar to yourself, and of course some others, but not all. Just because you and the crowd you ran with delved into occultic matters and enjoined them to your drug use does not necessitate that everyone did or does.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Ruben, you ask, “If a substance can bring me into contact with demons and make me vulnerable to them, could another substance take that away?” Oddly enough, yes. Thorazine, to name just one, can shut down consciousness to the point where this contact is at least muted. One is psychically numbed. There are many psychotropic drugs used to “chemically restrain” the psychotic, who are sometimes afflicted demonically.

-------

Mike, as I have pointed out here and elsewhere, there are three uses in Greek of the word pharmakon (drug) and its cognates, those being medicine, poison, and sorcery, or use in the magic arts. In the Scripture – the NT, and the LXX of the OT – is it used exclusively for the magic arts.

I would not question the godliness of the family member who smokes marijuana for medicinal purposes. I just repeat a statement I made earlier in this thread:

What I have asserted is that those who smoke or ingest marijuana and experience the affect of heightened consciousness have entered the state known as pharmakeia.

For a Christian it is extremely dangerous to their spiritual welfare. They may not be aware of the gravity of it, but that does not exempt them from its dangers. I wonder if you have looked through the OP and seen the response to item c) pertaining to medicinal use of marijuana. In it are two links to researchers who debunk the superior value of marijuana – especially “leaf marijuana” (as opposed to the extracts which are not used to get high) – and they support their findings. The first one is a recent review of the medical literature on the subject.

----------

Brad, here you go again:

“Brother, back in my drug-ingesting days, I knew folks like you. They tended to confer voluminously intricate spiritual meaning to very mundane things, and would apply that meaning to everyone”​

Because you knew some people who did this sort of thing, and liken me to them, by this fallacious logic you would seek to overthrow the force of my argument and evade the conclusion. It is not “intricate spiritual meaning” but Biblical exposition and application concerning certain drugs – although I admit I have gone on voluminously, that is, thoroughly, to make a cogent case.

That you did not experience explicit occult phenomenon in your 16 years of marijuana use certainly does not remove you from the category of “those who smoke or ingest marijuana and experience the affect of heightened consciousness [and] have entered the state known as pharmakeia. So you were a hedonistic pharmakos, content to play in the heightened sensuousness of the material realm. I grant you that you were not an “occult practitioner”, but it was pharmakeia nonetheless. According to Revelation 9:21 it will be a widespread phenomena in the close of time, and men will be unwilling to give it up. No doubt many will not be “occultists”, but merely lovers of heightened pleasure through the use of drugs – these also are included in the term pharmakeia. The devil is not always obvious. The jaws of death may often be in the bite of exquisite pleasure. It is of God’s mercies that He called you out of the life you were in, just as He did me.

----------

Ultimately it will be up to the pastors and elders governing the house of God to make the determination regarding marijuana and those drugs in the same category, whether or not they are to be considered in the pharmakeia class.

There is exegetical evidence, historical evidence, the evidence of cults and other groups using these drugs for both occultic purposes, and as folks here have made clear, for heightened pleasure by means of pharmakeia. In the fear of God we are to govern the church, which is the Bride of God the Son, that she be presented pure and without spot or blemish at His appearing.

I would prefer to wind down involvement in this thread – I have sermon prep coming up – and if a mod wants to shut it down it would be fine with me. I have made my case, and accomplished my purpose.

Ben, I went to such lengths as it is so important an issue for the purity of the church in these times, and in the days to come.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Mr. Rafalsky, I appreciate that you have no more time for involvement in this thread: thank you for your clear answer to one of my questions. I'm also somewhat disappointed, because I was hoping for some additional explanation.

You see, I haven't seen any evidence to substantiate that we can be chemically exposed to or protected from demons. I've seen a demonic interpretation put on hallucinogenic experiences, but no proof that this is, in fact, what it is. The word-study argument doesn't bring us to the conclusion that there are occult substances: it suffices for no more than to show that since "potions" have always been a part of magical practice (and as Tim pointed out, sometimes those potions work medicinally: witch doctors have often been doctors, as well as witches) magical practice can be called "potioneering". From that statement to THC bringing us into occult realms, or into contact with high-velocity beings is a journey whose intermediate steps have not been made plain.
Perhaps I speak as a fool here, because I have no conscious acquaintance with hallucinogens. But it seems to me that the primary tool of demons is deceit: and one of their prime deceits has been superstition. Until further evidence appears, belief in occult substances seems to me to be superstitious. And if thorazine counters occult substances, does that mean that it is a sacred substance? I don't mean to misrepresent your views, or tax you with things you don't hold. But I don't see my way to understand how the views you have expressed don't logically involve a great deal more. And my grand objection to the complex of ideas that seems to be suggested, is that it is not hallucinations, but belief of a lie that ruins souls, and that must then be the great end of demonic activity: to deceive, and thus to destroy, humanity. To that end, spiritism and materialism are equally useful. So of course one can recognize demonic activity within the drug culture: deceiving people into thinking that these experiences contain a spiritual significance and thus leading them into the paths of false religion. But then one can also recognize demonic activity in totalitarian political philosophies, or in the insistence that humans are merely advanced animals among other, essentially similar, brutes. The common element isn't a spiritual dimension or high velocity psychic energy, but lies.
And so I reiterate my question from before: are we particularly vulnerable to demonic attacks when waking up, and is it a priority for demons to briefly interrupt our breathing?
 
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seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
Alternate consciousness is something that is difficult to explain and quantify. Ergot (that’s ergot not ergo) and witchery have a long history in Europe as does Peyote in the America’s. Definitely used in the Pharmakeia way.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Peyote is a particularly beautiful plant that looses much of it's properties when grown in a greenhouse. Yet it's illegal to have one of the 4 species but not the other three which have similar properties. Aztekium is more powerful still, and perfectly legal. A passing hippy lusted after mine so I hid it.
medium.jpg
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Alternate consciousness is something that is difficult to explain and quantify. Ergot (that’s ergot not ergo) and witchery have a long history in Europe as does Peyote in the America’s. Definitely used in the Pharmakeia way.

Sure, altered consciousness is difficult to explain: that doesn't mean that invoking demons or occult realms is the right explanation. The behaviour of photons is also difficult to explain, after all. No doubt drugs have a long history of being used for putative contact with the devil; but that doesn't mean I have to accept that interpretation of the drug-induced state.
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
Alternate consciousness is something that is difficult to explain and quantify. Ergot (that’s ergot not ergo) and witchery have a long history in Europe as does Peyote in the America’s. Definitely used in the Pharmakeia way.

Sure, altered consciousness is difficult to explain: that doesn't mean that invoking demons or occult realms is the right explanation. The behaviour of photons is also difficult to explain, after all. No doubt drugs have a long history of being used for putative contact with the devil; but that doesn't mean I have to accept that interpretation of the drug-induced state.

Why do you suppose the practitioners of hallucinogenic sorcery choose the compounds they choose to get "high." Why not just get drunk?
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Why do you suppose the practitioners of hallucinogenic sorcery choose the compounds they choose to get "high." Why not just get drunk?

Because different substances give different experiences (by affecting different parts of the brain, or by affecting it in different ways). Some people like one thing, some people like another. From what I've read, focussed attention on a strobe light can produce an impact on the brain similar to that of taking mescalin. Does that mean that strobe lights communicate high-velocity psychic energy?
 
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