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Author Topic: Smoking and Drinking  (Read 8385 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 10, 2006, 06:59:44 PM »

Forgive me for my ignorance but I am a little confused about something. I always believed that drinking any form of alcohol (given a non-fasting period at hand) is perfectly fine. Especially since red wine was drank by Jesus during the final supper. Also, of this I am not as sure but I believed that smoking was allowed under the right circumstances. Recently a Muslim was trying to convince me that Drinking is *not* allowed and I doubt smoking (including marijuana...maybe?) is dissallowed in the Bible. I was fairly sure that drinking is allowed, but of smoking I wasn't sure. Anyways, I didnt give a definit answer because it would not look good for a Muslim to understand the bible better than me. Does anyone have a quick answer for this? preferebly straight out of the Bible?
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2006, 07:29:24 PM »

Sloga,

Unfortunately, I do not believe the Bible says anything explicit about smoking.  All that we can glean from the Scriptures regarding this subject is general principles, such as how we are to take care of our bodies since they are temples of the Holy Spirit.  I don't know that Holy Tradition is very clear on the matter of smoking, either.  Some Fathers will say that Orthodox Christians have absolutely no business smoking anything at any time, while I'm sure others are more permissive.  This might be more appropriate as a subject to discuss with your spiritual father to seek his guidance, which may not help you in your talks with your Muslim acquaintance.  (Personally, I will enjoy the smoke of a cigar or pipe once in a blue moon, but I am in no way a habitual smoker.  I see an occasional smoke as harmless, but I am aware of the many health problems caused by frequent, regular smoking of all tobacco products.  To me, this conscious infliction of bad health upon myself and those around me is in itself sinful regardless of how I accomplish this.)

Regarding consumption of alcohol, what Jesus drank must have been grape juice!  (Just kidding. Cheesy  That's 19th Century American Temperance Movement doctrine imposed retroactively on Jesus's conduct.)  You are right in recognizing that it was wine that Jesus drank with His disciples during the last supper, for to my knowledge the pasteurization process that is necessary for keeping grape juice from fermenting into wine was not known in Jesus's day.  The Orthodox continue to drink wine, beer, and even hard liquor in social gatherings or in their homes; we even use wine in our Liturgies, to the extent of using wine in the central mystery of our life in Christ: Holy Communion.  The Orthodox have obviously never condemned the consumption of alcohol per se.  Wine is forbidden during days and seasons of fasting with exceptions for weekends, feast days, and pastoral concerns, but outside of this the guiding principle is moderation in all things.  Naturally, this would recognize drunkeness as always sinful and alcoholism to be a deadly addiction, but drinking in moderation is permitted and often encouraged in the Orthodox Church.

I hope this helps.

- Peter
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2006, 08:00:36 PM »

All things in moderation, simply put.

As Peter said, even smoking, in moderation, is not very harmful at all. It's when someone becomes addicted and dependent that problems arise. Of course, the "moderate amount" is based both on the substance and the person, but everything  does have a useful purpose. Some commonly available and consumed fish can be more dangerous to a person than what are commonly called "drugs." It is also interesting to note the large amount of caffeine have the same effects as cocaine. The only safe policy is moderation.
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2006, 08:12:01 PM »

The point is not being addicted to anything. This includes food.

Anastasios
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2006, 08:24:58 PM »

Some commonly available and consumed fish can be more dangerous to a person than what are commonly called "drugs."

Can you elaborate on this?  Do you mean (I think farmed) fish that happen to have high amounts of mercury (I'm just guess at this)?
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2006, 08:29:50 PM »

Ok thanks, especially Peter. I understand everything better now, so moderation is the key. addiction is bad. Come to think of it, I had a priest (God bless him, he recently passed of a heart attack), that smoked a lot. Eventually he quit because he had to have heart surgery. thanks once again
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2006, 08:36:58 PM »

Can you elaborate on this?  Do you mean (I think farmed) fish that happen to have high amounts of mercury (I'm just guess at this)?

Some have methylmercury, others dioxins, PCBs, etc. This is not just for farm-raised fish, but it also depends on the area they come from. (some farmed fish are actually safer). Some of the safest fish include:

Alaskan Salmon
Anchovies
Atlantic Herring
Atlantic Mackeral
Catfish (US)
Chunk-Light Tuna
Mahi Mahi
Sardines
US Shellfish (in general)
Tilapia (US)

It is important where the fish come from. For example, Atlantic Salmon can be dangerous, but Alaskan Salmon are very safe. Anything from SE Asia and that area is generally unsafe.
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2006, 08:38:46 PM »

Thanks, Bizzl.
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2006, 08:54:13 PM »

St Augustine: "Love God and do whatever you want."
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2006, 09:01:29 PM »

St Augustine: "Love God and do whatever you want."

...which I'm sure is taken completely out of context.  Loving does not involve doing whatever you want.
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2006, 09:15:09 PM »

St Augustine: "Love God and do whatever you want."

I can beat that:

'If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.'

Martin Luther, Letter 99, Paragraph 13. Erika Bullmann Flores, Tr. from: Dr. Martin Luther's Saemmtliche Schriften Dr. Johann Georg Walch Ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.), Vol. 15,cols. 2585-2590.
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2006, 09:35:49 PM »

Some have methylmercury, others dioxins, PCBs, etc. This is not just for farm-raised fish, but it also depends on the area they come from. (some farmed fish are actually safer). Some of the safest fish include:

Alaskan Salmon
Anchovies
Atlantic Herring
Atlantic Mackeral
Catfish (US)
Chunk-Light Tuna
Mahi Mahi
Sardines
US Shellfish (in general)
Tilapia (US)

It is important where the fish come from. For example, Atlantic Salmon can be dangerous, but Alaskan Salmon are very safe. Anything from SE Asia and that area is generally unsafe.

Where did you get this info about fish consumption?
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2006, 10:22:38 PM »

Where did you get this info about fish consumption?

I got it from a lot of places, but this site has clear, consolidated information, and was were I created the list from: http://www.oceansalive.org/eat.cfm?subnav=healthalerts
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2006, 10:24:09 PM »

Wo...

Confuzzlingly interesting...Martin Luther saying to sin...

I am so sure you beat the "taking things out of context" contest. lol

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2006, 10:30:33 PM »

Quote
I can beat that:

St Augustine: "If you are going to sin, sin BIG." Luther quoted this original text from our Doctor of Grace.
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« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2006, 11:25:55 PM »

There's nothing wrong with tobacco. There's nothing wrong with alcohol, either, or coffee, tea, cannabis, coca, opium, psilocybin, peyote, khat, betel, morning glory, or salvia, either, when they are used in an unprocessed or minimally-processed form. All these plants were created by God for man's use, and all have their benefits and drawbacks. The only thing to remember is whatever you do, do it in moderation.

-yBeayf, pipe smoker, snuff taker, and occasional drunkard
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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2006, 12:44:54 AM »

Quote
All these plants were created by God for man's use, and all have their benefits and drawbacks.

Ummm...I really don't like that argument.  Rastafarians use the same argument for marijuana to get them high...or as they put it spiritually high.  What I would reply back, normally, and forgive me for the bluntness of this argument, is simply that God did not create all berries to be eaten, otherwise we would die from the poisonous ones.

But I sense a vibe of sarcasm Wink  Sorry for ruining the joke.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2006, 01:38:08 AM »

If you take a look at mankind going all the way back to even the oldest oral/documented accounts, there have always been some kind of 'substance' man has used for various reasons across the board in all cultures. I don't think that is a coincidence, but rather paints a picture that people need for the most part some kind of outlet to help relieve everything from stress to simple personal pleasure. Of course not everyone will find that in smoking a cigar or having a few drinks, but it sure does help when sitting back and having a little R & R! If these things are not abused, in my opinion they can be very beneficial and calming for most people.
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« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2006, 03:05:57 PM »

Ummm...I really don't like that argument.  Rastafarians use the same argument for marijuana to get them high...or as they put it spiritually high.  What I would reply back, normally, and forgive me for the bluntness of this argument, is simply that God did not create all berries to be eaten, otherwise we would die from the poisonous ones.

But I sense a vibe of sarcasm Wink  Sorry for ruining the joke.

God bless.

Mina

You forget the important point of moderation. If they are getting high, it is not moderation, but addiction and misuse. Even poisonous things are useful. Don't forget that some of the strongest poisons come from very edible foods. It's all about the concentration, which again leads us back to moderation.
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« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2006, 03:16:22 PM »

Quote
Ummm...I really don't like that argument.  Rastafarians use the same argument for marijuana to get them high...or as they put it spiritually high.  What I would reply back, normally, and forgive me for the bluntness of this argument, is simply that God did not create all berries to be eaten, otherwise we would die from the poisonous ones.

But I sense a vibe of sarcasm Wink  Sorry for ruining the joke.

Nope, no sarcasm here. I fully support the use of natural psychoactive substances.

Quote
You forget the important point of moderation. If they are getting high, it is not moderation, but addiction and misuse.

Bah? Use is not the same thing as addiction, and it's hard to see how one can "misuse" something like cannabis resin, psilocybin, or opium, when their primary or only use is as a psychoactive substance. Smoking a bowl of marijuana or opium is not lack of moderation, any more than drinking enough to "gladden the heart of man" is. It's when these substances are used excessively, whether because of addiction or a desire to escape reality, that a problem develops.
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« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2006, 04:00:15 PM »

Always hold anything that a Muslim says about the Bible as questionable.

One attempted to lecture my wife in the grocery store line using the Bible because she was buying ham!
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« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2006, 12:14:29 AM »

Dear yBeayf,

While I'm surprised, actually shocked that you do support such substances to be used normally, I would like to ask what support do you have?  What Church authorities or Fathers teach this?  To me, getting high is equivalent to getting drunk, and the berry analogy is quite logical and smacks right to the face.

Dear Bizzlebin,

Poisonous berries can be useful, but not normally edible Wink like other berries.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2006, 02:16:26 PM »

I do not exaggerate, in any way, when I say that, in my country, and all over Eastern Europe perhaps, drinking, smoking and cursing are seen, on a popular level as almost unmistakeable marks of one's affiliation with to the OC. When these lack, in a conspicuous way, one's Orthodoxy is questioned, people wondering whether he is a Baptist or Pentecostal.
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« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2006, 02:25:28 PM »

I don't know how you can get into this topic without addressing the specific effects of the various drugs involved. As far as tobacco is concerned, it is one of the most addictive things known, is terrible for your health over the long haul, and is noxious to other people. Marijuana may not be that addictive, but it may be worse for your lungs, and it is at least as noxious as tobacco smoke to others. YOu can also get ther people around you high as well as yourself.

Let each judge for themselves, but I avoid these.
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« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2006, 04:09:24 PM »

Quote
As far as tobacco is concerned, it is one of the most addictive things known, is terrible for your health over the long haul, and is noxious to other people.

Moderation and courtesy are the keys. Nasal snuff doesn't bother anyone else; if used discreetly, neither does chewing tobacco or snus. I only smoke in my own apartment, or in smoking sections outdoors; in any case, I've never had someone complain about my pipe smoking.

Quote
Marijuana may not be that addictive, but it may be worse for your lungs, and it is at least as noxious as tobacco smoke to others.

However, when marijuana is smoked, the amount of smoke inhaled is much less than with tobacco. And marijuana can be used without smoking -- it can be heated below the combustion point to vaporize the THC, or it can be cooked or infused into butter, milk, or alcohol.
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« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2006, 10:40:15 AM »

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"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything. (1st Corinthians 6:12)

"All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. (1st Corinthians 10:23)

Thou dost cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen man's heart. (Psalm 104:14,15)

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink; lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty, and remember their misery no more. (Proverbs 31:4-7)

While those who we are under (namely, our Bishops) have the right to forbid to us that which they deem to be generally harmful, fundamentally most things are a matter of conscience (of course that which the Scriptures outright forbid also is in this category).  Otherwise, wherever it is possible, liberty is to be respected.  For those who are not honest with themselves and who do not recognize humanity's vocation in light of it's end (eternity with God - even for those who die unrepentent), nothing can be pure.  It is the clear recognition of our end, and a willingness to consistantly do that which in conscience we know to be in accord with that end and to avoid that which is not, that is at the heart of "Christian ethics", such as they are.

Can our conscience be erroneous or misinformed?  Of course.  But so long as one struggles to be sincere, even such error will not be held against us (though it may very well be held against those who had the duty and opportunity to inform us!)

As for intoxicants, in principle their moderate use is fine, if one can in fact do precisely this (be moderate).  Such things are an opportunity for relief in this veil of tears, like many of the other little "creature comforts" which God so often gifts us with.  The only problem really is when we prefer these passing entertainments to the detriment of that which is everlasting - the goods of the Kingdom of God.  It is precisely the preference of eternal things (though not at the price of abhorring natural goods - this type of excess is the root of many heresies) which lies at the heart of advanced ascetical practices, whether it be the case of a pious couple who mutually agrees to foresake sexual relations, the mature individual believer who elects to not eat flesh meat, or those who formally enter monastic life.  Are these specific degrees of ascesis (or those like them) for everyone?  No, and if imprudently entered upon can actually do more harm than good.  But to some extent, all believers are called to some degree of ascesis to act as a medicinal corrective to the frailty engendered by their mortality (thanks to the ancestral sin). Traditionally this is understood to be the observance of the fasts of the Church calendar (most Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year, Great Lent, etc.)  and the preparations our pastors place upon us for receiving Holy Communion.  That would be the "minimum" we should strive for (though even this can be a struggle).

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« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2006, 01:39:34 PM »

But should something that leads to some sort of unnecessary tissue damage be taken?  Is not smoking and taking drugs damaging, or is moderation "healthy"?  Should we also take substances that make us "high"?

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2006, 04:33:50 PM »

But should something that leads to some sort of unnecessary tissue damage be taken?

tissue "DAMAGE" by smoking is a result of breathing in less oxygen and more smoke. All it is, is a way of speeding up aging. As you breath normal air, many more toxins and other gases "DAMAGE" your skin because what you did not breath in was Oxygen. This is the main reaosn for skin aging, so by smokoing, you ar enot damaging but rather speeding up the normal process.
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« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2006, 04:37:22 PM »

tissue "DAMAGE" by smoking is a result of breathing in less oxygen and more smoke. All it is, is a way of speeding up aging. As you breath normal air, many more toxins and other gases "DAMAGE" your skin because what you did not breath in was Oxygen. This is the main reaosn for skin aging, so by smokoing, you ar enot damaging but rather speeding up the normal process.

Is this the same as saying, "We're going to die anyway, so why not have fun doing it?"  Cheesy
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« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2006, 04:41:27 PM »

Is this the same as saying, "We're going to die anyway, so why not have fun doing it?"  Cheesy

yup  Grin
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« Reply #30 on: April 13, 2006, 05:05:47 PM »

Quote
But should something that leads to some sort of unnecessary tissue damage be taken?
Taken to an extreme, this would imply that one should never let sunlight hit one's skin, and live off of IV glucose/saline solution and vitamin/amino acid pills. Many good things cause tissue damage. It's not technically necessary for life to eat grilled animal protein (which contains small amounts of carcinogens), but that doesn't mean we have to give it up -- after all, even Christ ate grilled fish!
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« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2006, 05:51:20 PM »

What about getting "high"?  Isn't that letting the drugs controlling you, even if taken in small amounts or "moderation?"
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« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2006, 05:55:30 PM »

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What about getting "high"?  Isn't that letting the drugs controlling you, even if taken in small amounts or "moderation?"

Nope.
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« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2006, 06:25:35 PM »

smoking a cigar or having a few drinks, but it sure does help when sitting back and having a little R & R! If these things are not abused, in my opinion they can be very beneficial and calming for most people.

Still enjoy the few drinks , but that cigar... man, wish I could but I would be back to over a pack of Winstons a day within two weeks.

as Sloga describes the effects of smoking, I don't want to speed up the aging process that much or that fast, so I parted with the ciggies 3 and 1/2 years ago.

I also cut back on the drinking and that has helped with weight gain (which is a b*%#* to keep under control after one quits smoking)
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« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2006, 06:28:02 PM »

Hmmm...this only seems like playing with fire to me.  I'm okay with some sort of medicinal use, but to say for moderation and fun, while seeing the addictive and destructive nature they do, puts me at odds for now.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2006, 06:34:29 PM »

BTW I don't judge anyone who does smoke.

And I greatly envy social smokers - those who can smoke when they are out and then toss the pack in the trash the next morning or save them for the next outing.

I also allow alot of individual discression regarding drinking as to how much is okay: alot of it is how habitual it is, when and where, what the occasion is. Just don't get behind the wheel and drive and don't allow it to oil the gears of temper/anger. Oh, yeah, I've been married to long  Huh to immediately remember to advise the younger, single ones: don't let it oil the gears of passion!  Shocked

As for weed, I can see the younger generation making it a socially acceptable passtime in moderation - much like a few drinks.

The other substances mentioned are too easily agents of addicition to be permitted even in moderation (if that is possible), in my opinion. The POTENTIAL for addiction is just too great to warrant the risk.
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« Reply #36 on: April 13, 2006, 07:28:30 PM »

BTW I don't judge anyone who does smoke.

And I greatly envy social smokers - those who can smoke when they are out and then toss the pack in the trash the next morning or save them for the next outing.

I also allow alot of individual discression regarding drinking as to how much is okay: alot of it is how habitual it is, when and where, what the occasion is. Just don't get behind the wheel and drive and don't allow it to oil the gears of temper/anger. Oh, yeah, I've been married to long  Huh to immediately remember to advise the younger, single ones: don't let it oil the gears of passion!  Shocked

As for weed, I can see the younger generation making it a socially acceptable passtime in moderation - much like a few drinks.

The other substances mentioned are too easily agents of addicition to be permitted even in moderation (if that is possible), in my opinion. The POTENTIAL for addiction is just too great to warrant the risk.

I cannot agree any more than this. as a Teenager, I am telling many of you that times have changed greatly and some "rules" must be changed, but like BA said, anything more than moderation is a little iffy.
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« Reply #37 on: April 13, 2006, 10:09:36 PM »

Quote
The other substances mentioned are too easily agents of addicition to be permitted even in moderation (if that is possible), in my opinion. The POTENTIAL for addiction is just too great to warrant the risk.

Hmmm... the only one I'd really agree with you on is opium -- that one can be dangerous. Coca leaves (*not* cocaine), khat, and betel are mild stimulants when chewed, and in their native lands are used like we use coffee. Salvia, morning glory, psilocybin, and peyote are hallucinogens, and aren't addictive at all.
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« Reply #38 on: April 14, 2006, 12:03:48 AM »

B
you'd know more than me on that (what's addictive); I am not up on all these things and I did mistakenly thought that you were referring also to cocaine, which I saw my brother get addicited to.
I have a great distrust of hullucinigens cause I saw some friends take some bad trips on acid in the 70's. Never tried it myself 'cause I have way too active an imagination.
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« Reply #39 on: April 14, 2006, 03:29:23 PM »

BrotherAidan,

Quote
I have a great distrust of hullucinigens cause I saw some friends take some bad trips on acid in the 70's. Never tried it myself 'cause I have way too active an imagination.

I'm weary of hallucinogens as well, mainly because they seem to innebriate to the point of excessive intoxication, and otherwise involve the loss of reason.  More to the point, I think they open people up not only to potentially harmful psychological experiences, but I dare say demonic influence as well.  They open the mind to the point of removing even natural barriers to such influences.
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« Reply #40 on: April 14, 2006, 03:32:29 PM »

I personally believe it's BEST to stay away from substances that mess up with your mind or has some sort of high toxicity and/or ability to get you addicted, such as nicotine.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #41 on: April 14, 2006, 06:15:11 PM »

BTW I don't judge anyone who does smoke.

And I greatly envy social smokers - those who can smoke when they are out and then toss the pack in the trash the next morning or save them for the next outing.

I also allow alot of individual discression regarding drinking as to how much is okay: alot of it is how habitual it is, when and where, what the occasion is. Just don't get behind the wheel and drive and don't allow it to oil the gears of temper/anger. Oh, yeah, I've been married to long  Huh to immediately remember to advise the younger, single ones: don't let it oil the gears of passion!  Shocked

As for weed, I can see the younger generation making it a socially acceptable passtime in moderation - much like a few drinks.

The other substances mentioned are too easily agents of addicition to be permitted even in moderation (if that is possible), in my opinion. The POTENTIAL for addiction is just too great to warrant the risk.


Honestly by your account here your basically saying that do as you want, smoke, drink what you want, but if you keep it in moderation its allright. How do you know what moderation is to some people ? What is moderation ?Anyone who has smoked marijuana before knows that after smoking enough of it you build up a cetain tolerance to it, just like drinking. You need more of it to effect you like it did when you first started doing it. So if its all about moderation after considerable use of it, eventually your moderation will become higher and higher, stronger and stronger. Come on man lets get real here, forget this excuse for moderation, I can buy into this for the alcohol, unless ofcourse your moderation becomes a 6 pack a day, because for some people that can certainly be moderation because it won't get them drunk anyways. But to find some sort of loophole for teenagers to use weed as a social past time is beyond me. I know from first hand what marijuana can do to you, especially at a young age, when your high what is moderation ? If your high off the weed anytime you smoke it then how can that be moderation ? I think your views on these issues are way of my brethren. I personally feel you can't smoke the ganja in moderation, you said that the other before mentioned drugs have to much potential for addiction. I don't know if you know this or not, but marijauna is the primary gateway drug to the higher more potent/dangerous drugs. A lot of drug addicts will tell you that they started off just smoking a little weed and nothing serious, before they knew it, they were taking the magic mushrooms, ecstasy, acid and eventually got into cocaine/heroin. Marijuana should not be taken lightly and should not be considered on the same level as alcohol, I do believe alcohol can be taken in moderation to a certain extent. Theres a real fine line there. If you have a glass of wine with your food here and there, have a few beers when some family is over or something, during a special occasion, like weddings/parties, etc. When you get to the point where your taking it to get drunk or a buzz, then you've pass the line of moderation. Anyways. Peace.
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« Reply #42 on: April 14, 2006, 07:12:54 PM »

re: weed
was not referring to teens; thinking of the 20-somethings I work with, all of whom do or have smoked weed but don't do it all the time.
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« Reply #43 on: April 14, 2006, 11:45:51 PM »

Dear Bizzlebin,

Poisonous berries can be useful, but not normally edible Wink like other berries.

God bless.

Mina

Oh, indeed some are not edible. Other things that poison can be extracted from, however, are.
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« Reply #44 on: April 15, 2006, 12:49:28 AM »

re: weed
was not referring to teens; thinking of the 20-somethings I work with, all of whom do or have smoked weed but don't do it all the time.


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