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I Believe God is real, if believing God is real and that he created the universe and everything it it, what is the purpose of a high? (produced by weed or any other drug)

Why would God create a high? What benefit does experiencing an odd phenomenon have on us. Why not create drugs that carry no effects and its only purpose is strictly medical.

EDIT: Found out that the body has an endocannabinoid system that is composed of natural endocannabinoids which the body produces or can be retrieved from external sources such as marijuana?.

(Useful Links)

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    I just want to point out that peyote, a hallucinogen, is used as a sacrament in some North Indian ceremonies; and also by shamens in some South American tribes. They see it as a way of accessing the spirit world. – Mozibur Ullah Feb 16 '18 at 21:16
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    Why do you assume that anything has a purpose? Why does anything have to have a benefit? Things just are. If God had some purpose that would mean that God was not perfect. It is all just His (It's) sport. He's just having fun. He looks on us as we look on puppies nipping and biting each other. He knows it has no lasting effect. – Swami Vishwananda Feb 17 '18 at 4:41
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    Is this not better suited for the Christianity site? – tox123 Mar 3 '18 at 1:38
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    I'm with the Swami here. The phrase 'God's purpose' is a philosophical car-crash. – PeterJ Mar 16 '18 at 18:12
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    The flip side of the coin: What is the "purpose" of the excruciating pain and unbearable suffering caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites and various diseases? It just happens. – Dan Christensen Mar 29 '18 at 14:50
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There are many possible answers, depending on the nature of God and God's relationship to creation:

  • One relatively orthodox answer is that drugs are here as a test, an unrighteous pleasure present in the world as a temptation.
  • Conversely, there are several religious traditions, including Rastafarianism, and the traditional religions of many indigenous groups around the world, that celebrate one or another drug as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment and greater connection with God.
  • What we might call the Ecclesiastian answer is that drugs are neither intrinsically good nor bad, but that they can be used for good or ill, to bring us closer or take us farther away from God.
  • A final answer might be that drugs are merely an incidental feature of an open-ended universe, created by God, but not "micro-managed" by God, a universe that contains things that cannot directly be held to grant us insight into God or God's nature.
  • Very good answers, especially the fact drugs neither intrinsically good nor bad and depending on the use of drugs they can be either – Richard Mar 29 '18 at 18:01
  • Seems like the model answer thus far : ) – Richard Mar 31 '18 at 15:25
  • @Richard - You can vote it up and/or accept it (green checkmark) if it is a good answer to your question. – Chris Sunami Mar 31 '18 at 15:29
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You assume, I take it, that God is all-powerful and perfectly benevolent, so that (at least on the face of it) there should be no evil in the world. You also, I assume, consider a 'high' - resulting from the recreational use of psychoactive substances - to be an evil, or at least something harmful we would be better off without.

There are (at least) two ways of looking at this.

1 Is a 'high' an evil ? Is it necessarily harmful ? It can have totally undesirable consequences, but then so can virtually any activity or experience. On the whole, though, I agree that there are definite, regular and extensive causal links between the recreational use of such substances and serious harm to individuals and society.

2 Grant that there is a God who created the universe. It does not follow that the occurrence of 'highs' is any part of God's purpose. It may be a part of our purpose as human beings, or of those human beings who want highs, that 'highs' happen. God could certainly, as omnipotent, have created a world in which no 'highs' do or can occur. The standard response to your question is that God gave us free will, by which (as it happens) we can induce 'highs', and that since God is perfectly benevolent it must in God's perfect judgement be better for there to be a world in which people can use their free will to induce 'highs', harmful as they are to individuals and society, than a world in which human beings do not have free will which they can harmfully use - in this case to induce 'highs'.

3 How this can be so, only God knows ! I am baffled how a God-of-all-the-perfections can allow animal pain. What purpose does this serve ? All these matters are a part of 'the problem of evil', a problem vast and deep and beyond the scope of any adequate answer here.

I appreciate your seriousness but I doubt if philosophical reason rather than religious faith will assuage it : and religious faith, whatever its status, is beyond the scope of PSE.

  • My question isn't really about whether being high (Yes your right, from recreational use of psychoactive substances) is bad (or good) and why would God create it or why it would exist etc, my question is more did God create high and if so why did he? Hope that clarifies things, thanks for your response aswell :) – Richard Feb 16 '18 at 21:00
  • @Richard. Do you think God created 'highs' or created human beings who created 'highs' ? If God is omniscient, then God would know that human beings would create 'highs' ? Not necessarily. There is a view that God's omniscience is consistent with God's choosing not to know in advance what use human beings will make of their free will. My response is that if God chooses not to know, then God doesn't know - and so isn't omniscient. Another possibility is that omniscience only means that God knows everything knowable but that it is not knowable what use we will make of our free will. That help ? – Geoffrey Thomas Feb 16 '18 at 22:21
  • I am not sure if human beings discovered / created highs or if God made it. Everything that happens, happens for a reason right? For example if God made nature, including weed and you smoke weed and get the high, That technically means God creates highs right? And for what purpose did God do this. (Also what is PSE) – Richard Feb 16 '18 at 23:56
  • P.S. PSE = Philosophy Stack Exchange, this site. Your question doesn't exactly belong here. – Shadetheartist Mar 15 '18 at 21:47
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Assuming the Judeo-Christian God.

1) The modern Christian belief system asserts a "fallen" existence. Meaning that at one point everything was perfect, but things have become corrupt by the introduction of sin into the world. This is typically referred to as the fall. The high may be a result of this and therefore not part of the perfection that God intended.

2) The "high" itself is not the evil for most peoples perspective, rather the obsession with that high is the problem. This also may be a result of the fall as described above.

3) It is possible, even likely, that a benevolent God created materials which would result in pleasant feelings. Just as sexual intercourse results in pleasant feelings. Presumedly a benevolent God would create the means to have pleasant experiences as part of his creation.

  • Interesting concepts – Richard Mar 29 '18 at 17:41
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Well, your question might be more appropriate for a theology Q&A site, since it relates directly to God. Pretending that that's OK for PSE, here are a few thoughts from my own perspective.

1) High is a matter of degrees, and consciousness is as well. Are you high when asleep? When just waking up? After a run? After a concussion? During the last moments before death? When full of turkey and mashed potatoes?

2) The Bible acknowledges state of mind and euphoria. Perhaps the best example in the Bible of a high is King David's dance in 2 Samuel chapter 6. The straight interpretation (i.e. David wasn't doing anything wrong) is that his high served a religious purpose, being an ecstatic form of worship.

3) The Bible acknowledges alcohol and controlling substances. Deuteronomy 14:22-29 specifies a time for religious practitioners to celebrate by having a barbecue (i.e. sacrificed sheep and cattle, roasted on an altar) and also by purchasing "wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice." This, too, was regarded as an appropriate form of worship.

4) There are numerous examples in the Bible of bad drunken behavior, starting with Noah himself. But it may be useful to point out that controlling substances are a likely component of another banned practice, "witchcraft".

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Dodging issues around God for the moment, most of us can accept the evidence that our species was created either by or via evolution.

Our basic understanding of the evolution of psychology predicts that pleasure should generally come from something productive -- especially something productive that we are not led to by other processes like competition, culture or logic.

For instance, we are finding out more and more that altered states of perception and periods where we release of the will from control allow people to solve mental problems. Meditation is now used in therapy, stemming from the results on DBT, the most common treatment for Borderline PD and other related difficulties. If one looks at hallucinogens as a form of biologically forced mediation deeper than we can easily achieve without help, a perspective taken by many in, for instance MAPS, then we have evolved to enjoy them because they help.

By this theory, then, highs are there because, when handled properly, they lead us to things that are useful. The question, then, to me, is why excess in the seeking of highs, and the overindulgence in pleasure beyond the point it helps, is so easy an issue to fall prey to. The experiments on 'Rat-vanna' may be our best guide.

  • Interesting, also just to point out that our endocannabinoid system is there to allow external doses of cannabinoids into our systems and to natually produce our own cannabinoids – Richard Mar 29 '18 at 17:48
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    Theorizing about mechanism and purpose at the same time is circular. We think we understand a mechanism because we think we know its purpose... So arguments like that make for productive science, but not particularly convincing philosophy. Our endocannabinoid system was probably meant to be self-contained. But it does not reject outside influences. This might be because those influences are useful. Looking directly at effects, we think they are. – jobermark Mar 29 '18 at 18:19
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    @CriglCragl Useful in the sense of contributing to personal survival. For evolution that is always meaningful. DBT originates in treating Borderline Personality Disorder, a disorder that displays itself often in fits of confused and misdirected rage. We are becoming a more rage-based society: look at our politics, read Facebook. Pot, opiates, and some hallucinogens make rage difficult, and that might keep some people alive. One can theorize that in dense populations there have been other periods much like this, where rage is our most self-destructive force. So calming it paid off. – jobermark Apr 4 '18 at 11:00
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    (Questions are complete sentences.) – jobermark Apr 4 '18 at 11:03
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    It is thought we may live in the least violent times ever economist.com/node/10278703 With murder rates and deaths through war (barring a WW3 catch-up) also at record lows; though the ease of global reporting and focus on the negatives wouldn't let you know this. In defence of your argument, prisons are well known to allow pot in to reduce violence, and many police forces including the leaders of the UK's advocate decriminalising possession of cannabis because it is a much less problematic alternative to alcohol. I guess meaning in life is 'useful', aiding resiliance & adaptability – CriglCragl Apr 4 '18 at 14:56
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It seems that you consider these highs lows, in which case I recommend the Book of Job. Let us assume for a moment that there is a Creator, that the Creator is benevolent, and that the Creator is not of the "watchmaker" sort: that rather than merely invoking the Big Bang, the Creator has crafted intoxicants for the similarly-crafted human beings.

If we examine the Book of Job, traditionally the interpretation is that the Creator is not "above" (what could be below Him?) the creation of trials of excruciating hardship or even terrible punishment for his ultimately-lowly creation. Necessarily, chemical dependency could be one such trial. In Genesis, Er is slain by God for an offense which is ostensibly so wicked it is not recorded, which seems almost impossible given some of the other recorded deeds. Not only is this God not indifferent to action, He takes active interest in what humankind does with its freedom, its world, and the other creations. His attitudes and punishments may seem capricious, as in the original question, but in the ancient world this "capriciousness" was typically regarded as an ecstatic divine perfection.

Perhaps you take the stance that this particularly Creator is not the Creator in question, or that He is, but the later arrival of one or another Prophet, Messiah, or thinker signaled a change in attitude to the remaining, teeming masses. Then, let us consider all the madness, mischief, goodwill, love, war, hatred, and death that typically involve intoxication. Or, the numerous faiths which arrived and slowly vanished or changed, which espoused their love of intoxication in the form of a deity.

When I examine the question through that lens, I think, why wouldn't a Creator build humans and plants which could interact like that? It seems like great fun!! :]

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    It is not clear to me how the Book of Job relates to this. However, it might. Perhaps more explanation would help or even a reference to something. – Frank Hubeny Mar 29 '18 at 23:32
  • Sure, Mr. Hubeny. I will expound. – user30980 Mar 30 '18 at 1:07
  • Though I can't track the reference, I am sure in Jewish theology there is the idea of phases of human development and increasingly indirect contact with the deity. Sufis rdpecially Rumi, though not drinking alcohol, frequently compare contact with the divine as a kind of euphoria and drunkenness, like falling in love - and deity as 'the beloved'. – CriglCragl Apr 4 '18 at 15:05
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We ask why earthquakes happen, and it turns out tectonic activity is neccessary to shield the Earth from cosmic rays.

DMT, taken on it's own or in ayahuasca, occurs naturally in the body, during birth and death, it may help avoid panic or some other functions. Cannabinoid compounds are found in breast milk. Opiod receptors are involved in highlighting relevant pain. Amphetamine is an adrenalin analogue.

Ketamine seems to knock out parts of the brain, causing other parts to 'step in'. Brain areas involved in the sense of self, and in making sense of our visual field go offline, and depersonalised suggestiveness can allow dream-like processing of concerns, perhaps including breaking out of habits.

Many mushrooms and cacti have active compounds. LSD is found in a fungi on one of the worlds most common foodstuffs, but with other poisonous compounds preventing any positive use from that source - hard to imagine what a deity was thinking there. Sadly not much is known about what systems these compounds activate or interfere with, because the research got cancelled after being brought into disrepute half a century ago. Possibly something like the DMT system, involved with consciousness formation or reformation in extremis.

Alcohol, the only mind/mood altering substance unambiguously mentioned in the bible, is a source of calories, and a general toxin - the only substance that damages every cell in your body (oxidation). We think we inherited tolerance to it from small lemur-like ancestors who consumed fermented flower nectars and fruit. Alcohol has a handy affect in humans, of while judgement is impaired, it also raises testosterone in women increasing libido, and reduces it (on average) in men lowering aggression. That gives a model for how a biological need for calories, with a side effect of intoxication, could develop to have a social role, especially in courtship (honeymoon - from mead dowry gift).

We have been developing, socially, culturally, even during biblical times. Distilling spirits, for instance. Mind altering compounds show great promise in treating addictions and mood disorders. Old-style cannabis resins (but not new style 'skunk' types) turn out to have powerful anti-psychotic compounds, as well as euphoric ones. People may have been widely self-medicating since ancient times. Cannabis is an unusually safe medication during childbirth, and is the oldest recognised medicine for that going back to the late stone age (an ice body). As well as allowing a kind of 'recalibration' of reward and impulse, there are also proposed mechanisms of aiding creativity, through stimulating synaesthesia and accompanying metaphorical and abstract thinking, and through interfering with mental routines. It has been widely proposed that the role of shaman found in almost all ancient societies, may have used such states to develop solutions to social problems eg. https://aeon.co/ideas/whence-comes-nihilism-the-uncanniest-of-all-guests

Many cross-cultural religious practices, like fasting, meditation/prayer, living as a hermit, chanting, and creation of sacred art, seem to be aimed at a similar nexus of goals. Stepping outside of normal life and thinking, to seek answers to 'deeper' or non-ordinary problems. We could argue that both priests and philosophers are modern manifestations of the shaman role.

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Why would God create a high?

Why are you asking that question on an online forum? We can't answer unless one of us is your God.

This is a baseless assumption, but i think that maybe you're asking this question because it doesn't make sense to you that your God, who created everything, made something that you think might be drawing people away from your faith by substituting profound religious experiences with 'artificial' highs derived from substances.

If you read the literature on religious experiences carefully you will find that there's a lot of historical evidence to suggest that religious/spiritual experience is closely linked with psychedelic substances.

Again, ultimately your question of 'why' can only be answered by consulting your God directly.

  • No i dont think its drawing people away from the faith thats not the point, im saying what purpose of creating highs serve to us people – Richard Mar 15 '18 at 17:38
  • Well as i said that was a baseless assumption. – Shadetheartist Mar 15 '18 at 21:44

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