Christian Morality, Dualism, and Drugs
I wonder if any of the Christians lurking about the site have ever considered the problem that drugs create for their religion. This occurred to me while drinking alcohol, as it turns out, but that's apropos of nothing.
Anyway, here's the problem. According to Christians, humans have a soul, which is a spiritual entity that transcends the human body. While we have a brain that controls our body, the "essence" of our being is totally removed from our body. The body is just a vessel for us to inhabit during our tenure on planet earth.
I was thinking about this concept, and a rather obvious question struck me. If, as they say, the soul is separate from the body, and our "true self" resides not in our mind, but in our soul, then what's happening when we drink or take drugs? The scientists say that alcohol is a psychoactive drug that has a depressant effect. In other words, it interacts with our brains, creating a change in the way the brain works. This change manifests in social confidence, reduced motor functions, feelings of euphoria, and reduction in reaction time, among others. But... if changing the brain changes our personality.... then... um... what part of the personality is in the soul? Other drugs produce more marked effects. In fact, there are some drugs that can change a person's perceptions and thought processes so radically that they are often described as being "different people" when they're under the influence of the drugs.
But... if chemicals change our perceptions, our personality, our cognitive ability, and our emotions, and they do it by altering our brain, what's left over to be unalterable in our souls?
So, which is it? Do changes in the brain change our minds, or do changes in the brain change our souls? If they change our souls, then... um... doesn't that mean that our souls are physical? If they're physical, what are they? If they're not physical, then... um... how did something physical interact with them?
While I'm on the subject, if drugs are bad, mmmkay, then why? A lot of Christians get their panties in a twist about marijuana. Why? If it doesn't change your immortal soul, then what's the harm in taking a drug that reduces anxiety and helps you relax? For that matter, what's so wrong with cocaine? I mean.. yeah, it can kill you if you take too much, but what's so bad about feeling jittery and talkative for six hours? If your immortal soul is still going to heaven, what's the justification for getting so upset about changing the body, which is just a temporary vessel anyway?
I remember that when I was a Christian, I had some reason for thinking that drugs were an abomination to God, but I can't for my life remember what it was.