Drugs And Religion
There ain’t that much different.
We use drugs to treat or prevent problems. Ideally, they cure an ill so we are no longer troubled by it.
But sometimes we misapply drugs.
We use them to block pain, which is good when the pain is acute and we are also taking real steps to deal with the source of the pain.
But to drugs as either a placebo or a panacea for pain without addressing the actual source of the pain can only make a bad situation worse.
So it is with religion.
Marx wrote ”Religion is the opiate of the masses” and capitalist eagerly misinterpreted this through the moralistic filter of “drugs are bad, m’kay?”
That is not what Marx meant.
Marx meant religion provided a relief from the pain of ordinary existence, not a flight into fantasy. Religion was a comfort for many with their existential struggle.
Drugs-as-comfort-food / comfort-food-as-drugs is not a bad concept.
“Comfort” implies only a temporary easing, not a real solution to a real problem.
Ice cream out of the container, a glass of red wine, gingerbread cookies, a cigarette, a joint, those are all comforts that -- used judiciously -- do not impede or harm the user ad offer temporary easement of their pain, their sorrow, or lift their spirits.
But misused, drugs become a rationale in and unto themselves.
The misery and degradation they visit upon their victims is almost always worse than the pain -- physical / spiritual / psychological / emotional -- that they’re intended to relieve.
And there lays the paradox.
The original problem is not solved, and in fact is often acerbated and accelerated by the additional problems drug abuse brings.
The literature is filled with reports of people turning to drugs to ease some personal pain, who exhaust all means of legally acquiring more drugs, who turn to crime or prostitution to buy those drugs on the black market, and who are then caught in a vicious cycle of self-loathing as they acquire more drugs to ease the shame of acquiring more drugs.
So it is with religion in far too many cases.
By all means, use religion like we use drugs:
Diagnose and solve a problem in your spiritual life (and we’ll define “spiritual” to include your interactions with other human beings).
Ideally once you have cured the problem stop taking the drug.
If your problem is more chronic than acute, then a long term -- perhaps lifetime -- regime of carefully monitored drugs and therapy may be required -- but take only enough to deal with the problem.
A cure is no cure if it renders you incapable of functioning.
And while as noted drugs can be useful in easing pain and granting temporary comfort, never should they be merely palliative substitutes for direct action to deal with the problems causing the pain.
Stress relieving drugs only work for a short time and with limited efficacy if the source of the stress remains unfettered.
So is it with religion.
To take solace in things of the spirit when faced with daily sorrows is fine…but you can’t dodge the daily sorrows forever.
To isolate a problem in yourself and deal with it is another valid use of drugs and religion; but again, all things in moderation: Use drugs and religion to help you live a good life, don’t live so you can consume drugs and religion.
And be wary of pushers and con men and slickee boiz and wolves in sheep’s clothing who sell you lies about the shit they’re shoveling.
You don’t need them.
You never have.
Don’t get hooked.
© Buzz Dixon