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?
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.
The thought I've heard is that all the drugs that could give people spiritual experiences are made illegal, because they're competition with religion. By Sam Harris in the quote I posted in this thread, for example. The religions don't want drugs competing with prayer and church music.
If anything, marijuana tends to promote a spiritual kind of thinking. There's actually a marijuana-smoking church.
Just an aside from the present thread, Barbara Walker’s “The Truth About Funerals” was just published in Freethought Magazine. This is one of her many essays included in Pot Stories. In her inimitable style, she compares funeral rites from culture to culture past and present. It’s replete with tidbits like, the Viking word ludr means “boat” as well as “coffin.”
The common thread weaving through ceremonies past and present seems to be the belief that recently deceased lives on in some form, and the funeral is necessary to appease or comfort the newly transmogrified soul or ghost. Nobody ever maligns or speaks badly about the dead at a funeral. That’s bad luck and you can see why.
From the essay,
Another requirement may be that the ghost should be flattered by maximum attendance at the solemnities. Huge funerary processions may be staged by rich and powerful families to flaunt vast numbers of mourners -- certainly not all of whom find "comfort" in such ceremonies but rather feel coerced into attending. One is reminded of the lavish funerals of mafia dons, rejoicing in hundreds of attendees, most of whom actually hated the deceased -- including clergy who are paid to give the routine guarantee of his "sure and certain" admission to Paradise. And, inevitably, this guarantee is given no matter how many or how heinous his crimes; God's forgiveness is almost always for sale to those who can pay.
It’s amazing; one of Barbara’s favorite themes is how the Church always manages to get its sticky fingers in the middle of the action and always seems to make money in some way. I’m trying to figure out how it makes money from the criminalization of pot. I’m sure there’re priests thinking about it as I write this. I think their best chance is the “greater being” angle in most rehab programs. This superior entity is pervasive through just about all rehab facilities and it—to quote George Carlin—“NEEDS MONEY.”
In reply to Sky, I called the War on Drug a holocaust. I called those who benefited from the misery and suffering no better than Nazis.
I better explain that. I was referring to that judge who got kickbacks from reform schools for every teenager he sent their way. Or the Corrections Corporation of America that lobbied for stern, draconian drug sentencing to ensure a steady flow of bodies into their nightmare, state-of-the-art steel and concrete slammers.
Would we rather see the youth finish high school and establish a life or go to prison where he or she will learn criminal behavior? I'm not in favor of placing people behind bars for experimenting with pot. A person's body does not belong to society.