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God and Drugs

why I am not (entirely) a Christian

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

March 12, 2024

n "There is a God," former atheist Antony Flew stops short of embracing Christianity, but he lauds the religion as the front runner among its rivals in presenting a compelling case for belief. "No other religion," writes Flew, "enjoys anything like the combination of a charismatic figure like Jesus and a first-class intellectual like St. Paul"1.

Although I have never been an atheist, I have my own qualms about Christianity, which can be reduced to two main points: arbitrariness and irrelevance.


Consider the second appendix to Flew's book, which is a discourse by Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright entitled "The Self-Revelation of God in Human History: a dialogue on Jesus"2. Taken in itself, it might strike one as a compelling argument about the self-revelation of an acknowledged divinity. But surely it presupposes the importance of its subject matter. Why does the subtitle not refer to Buddha, or to Lao-Tze, or to Mohammad, or to some more obscure thinker? It seems to me a trifle arbitrary or random. I have no doubt that a large variety of biographical figures could be discussed by an active mind in such a way as to plausibly flesh out a backstory about self-revelation. Why have we granted the importance here to Jesus as opposed to all other possible contenders for that role? If I had to answer this question for myself, I could only say that the faith of the reader must be presupposed by authors like Wright for only then can their arguments be properly seen as compelling. Otherwise they are making just one case among many possible cases for the legitimacy of a certain instance of self-revelation.

I'm not saying that this is wrong: perhaps faith DOES have to come first. But if that is so, then say so. Do not present such treatises as authoritative arguments in and of themselves. Follow the lead of all good electronic toy companies: tell your customer base that "batteries are not included."


You may talk about your men of Gideon, you may brag about your men of Saul. But after Gideon trounces the Midianites and Saul teaches the Ammonites a thing or two, the survivors all go back to their homes and start groaning about their lives and wondering if life is worth living at all. This, at least, is the takeaway message of many a Shakespearean drama, that war is necessary for keeping men virile and purposeful and that men become soft, petty and sulky in the absence of such tests of valor. As Bertram says to Parolles in "All's Well that Ends Well":

"War is no strife,
To the dark house and the detested wife"3.

This also seems to be the implicit message of the Old Testament, that war is both natural and regularly required. The emphasis is on the geopolitical world, versus the internal mental world, and that's a turnoff for someone like myself who has been troubled for a lifetime now, not by the social reality in which he lives but by his relentlessly negative and uncreative view of that world.

As I wrote in a recent tweet:

The worst form of government is not communism, socialism or even unbridled capitalism. The worst form of government is a Christian Science Theocracy, in which the government controls how much you are allowed to think and feel in life.

And what world is that which controls and limits your most basic feelings and attitudes? It is the world created by Drug Warriors, who outlaw drugs that would allow one to mentally transcend their environment, be it never so petty and unfair.

This is why my eyes glaze over when you talk about your men of Gideon. This is why I say "whatever" when you brag about your men of Saul. Their battles, at least for me, have nothing to do with the price of tea in China. I have to live with myself 24/7, and until I can do that peacefully and productively, Solomon himself could not construct a sociopolitical setup that would float my boat.

These qualms about Christianity are only heightened when I reflect that most Christians support the war on drugs, if only by their silence, and in so doing willfully block my road to self-actualization and happiness in life.

Like most of my essays, my reasoning above will only make sense to those who are familiar with the fantastic but largely untapped potential for demonized drugs to inspire and focus the human mind. For a quick primer on this subject, I recommend "Psychedelic Medicine" by Dr. Richard Louis Miller4. The latter book demonstrates the slow awakening of western science to the mind-enhancing pharmacopoeia to which I allude. Of course, tribal peoples have always known that drugs can help. For information on tribal medicines around the world, read "The Plants of the Gods" by Albert Hoffman and Richard Schultes5. As you do so, try to imagine all the wonderful psychological and spiritual progress that could be made by human beings were we only to consider those tribal drugs as godsends rather than as devils and so devote our time to establishing and promoting safe scenarios for their therapeutic and spiritual use.


1 Quass, Brian, Looking for God in All the Wrong Places, 2024 (up)
2 Flew, Antony, There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, 2007 (up)
3 Shakespeare, William, All's Well That Ends Well, The Folger Shakespeare Library, (up)
4 Miller, Richard Louis, Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca Kindle , Park Street Press, New York, 2017 (up)
5 Schultes, Plants of the Gods:Origins of Hallucinogenic Use, 1979 (up)

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