Category: Society, Culture & Sinful Lifestyles

Is Legalizing Marijuana Good for Society?

In different parts of the world, governments have begun to legalize the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational use.
The debate however is whether the legalization of this drug is actually good for society in general. Does the general populace stand to benefit from its legalization or are there long-term problems in the future?
Is the recreational use of this drug actually good for people and what are the problems associated with the use of marijuana?

In 2013, between 128 and 232 million people used marijuana. Currently, marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world. The population of people who use this drug will obviously continue to grow as the drug becomes legalized in more countries throughout the world.

Marijuana has been primarily illegal in many countries because of its short-term and long-term side effects.
Marijuana is known for causing sexual problems among male users; severe anxiety and panic attacks; hallucinations and strange behavior; low reaction time and poor coordination and also short-term memory problems.
Marijuana is also known for causing a reduction in a person’s IQ and it can increase the risks of a heart attack and a stroke.
Ultimately whilst this drug may have such side effects, this drug is very addictive, and it is capable of destroying an individual’s life in every aspect from his/her financial, spiritual, cognitive and social life.

Therefore from both a psychological and health perspective, the use of marijuana needs to be avoided because of its negative effects on the brain and its ability to depreciate one’s health.

1 Corinthians 3:16 says “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”

We therefore should avoid practices such as smoking, or any kind of drug use which will end up drastically affecting our health or our body.
Marijuana’s ability to reduce an individual’s IQ and damage the brain is a major problem. It means that a drug user will eventually become lazy, unproductive and ineffective in society due to a diminished thinking capacity.
When you have a society that is plagued by an addiction to marijuana or any other type of drug, there are many social problems that can arise.
Addiction to drugs leads to broken relationships and families; poor performance at school and at work; drug related violence; financial difficulties or poor financial choices; more drug related deaths and a breakdown in morality due to drug dependency.

1 Corinthians 6:12 says “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything”

It’s imperative to realize that even though certain governments may legalize the use of marijuana, it does not mean that this drug is ultimately beneficial to society as a whole. It also does not mean that God agrees with the legalization of harmful drugs.
For example, even though smoking cigarettes has been legal for many years, it does not mean that cigarettes are beneficial to society or to the health of the smoker.
The same argument can be made for the legalization of drugs such as marijuana.
Individuals must not allow themselves to be dominated by any drug that is known to have addictive traits and influences.
Individuals must avoid any kind of drugs that are known to cause problems with health and one’s cognitive abilities.

Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to the standards of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The legalization of such drugs as marijuana by many countries are not entirely linked to its medical benefits. Instead one of the main factors for its legalization are due to the supposed economic and monetary benefits that are to be gained. The world is motivated by money, even at the expense of society’s well-being. Pharmaceutical companies will benefit, marijuana farmers will benefit and unfortunately the marijuana drug users will experience the deception that they are benefiting when in fact, they are actually being destroyed by the use of this drug.
We should therefore not conform to a standard of thinking that damages people and society as a whole, just for the sake of making money or for the purpose of gratifying a temporary and addictive need.

Galatians 5:16 says that we should walk in the Spirit and we will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Our minds must be transformed and renewed by the Holy Spirit through the meditation and obedience of His word. Our fellowship with God should lead us to have total dependence on God to meet all our physical, cognitive and spiritual needs rather than depending on the temporary stimulation of drugs.
We are to be filled by the Holy Spirit and not have our minds filled and influenced by brain damaging drugs such as marijuana.

 

Is Sexting, Cybersex and Phone Sex a Sin?

Sexting and cybersex can be defined as the act of sending sexually explicit materials through mobile phones or any other type of communication device. The messages may be text, photo, or video which are sent from a sender to a recipient.
Phone sex involves explicit and sexually verbal communication between two people via the phone for the purposes of sexual gratification.

The growth of technology and the rise of social media has come with various addictions, vices and behaviour patterns that were thought to be unthinkable a few decades ago. Sexting and cybersex is one of them.
Therefore is sexting, cybersex and phone sex a sin? Should these behaviours be viewed as harmless? Should society normalize these behaviours as just another method of sexual self-gratification?

While sexting, phone sex or cybersex may not involve physical contact, the Bible does warn us against having impure sexual thoughts.
For example, Jesus warned that lusting after a woman in your heart is just the same as committing the physical act of adultery itself.
In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Therefore with God, our inner thoughts are just as important as our actions. Our inner thoughts and motives actually reflect our true nature. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7).

Philippians 4:8 says: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

It’s clear then that sexting, phone sex and any form of cybersex energizes and stimulates people’s thought patterns in an unholy manner. It feeds an individual’s lusts. It encourages masturbation and creates an impure desire for self-gratification. It also creates impure sexual fantasies that dishonor God but instead it corrupts the soul.
The Bible encourages us to flee from sexual immorality and that whoever commits sexual immorality sins against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).

The marriage relationship must be honored because it is God who created marriage. A husband and wife are one flesh in God’s eyes (Genesis 2:24). Sex should be enjoyed within the confines of marriage.

Adultery is a sin before God and therefore the marriage bed should be honored. Hebrews 13:4 says: Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

It’s also a sin to sow division within people’s marriages or to cause the divorce of another married couple because in the context of marriage, Jesus said the following: What God has joined together, let no one separate (Mark 10:9).

Therefore sexting, phone sex or cybersex are forms of sexual immorality. They do not improve the life of a person and neither do they glorify God in any fashion. Ultimately sexual immorality is spiritually harmful to individuals, marriages, families and society.

 

The Effects of Internet Porn

Internet pornography is a favorite form of entertainment or past time for millions of users around the world.
However, is Internet porn harmless or is porn ultimately damaging to individuals and society?
Many people (who likely enjoy porn) would argue that watching porn is harmless as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. However, the numbers don’t lie. Pornography IS harmful. Statistics reflect that millions of people around the world are being psychologically and physically affected as a result of watching Internet pornography.

According to studies from WebRoot some of the effects of Internet porn are as follows:

  1. Porn increased marital infidelity by 300%
  2. Teenagers with frequent exposure to sexual content on TV have a substantially greater likelihood of teenage pregnancy;
  3. About 34% of internet users have experienced unwanted exposure to pornographic content through ads, pop up ads, misdirected links or emails
  4. Every second 28,258 users are watching pornography on the internet
  5. About 68% of divorce cases involve one party meeting a new paramour over the internet while 56% involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites
  6. One third of porn viewers are women
  7. Search engines get 116,000 queries every day related to child pornography

 

What Do These Statistics Mean?
By just looking at the statistics above it’s easy to realize that Internet porn is clearly damaging individuals, families and society as a whole.
Such kind of statistics reflect the debilitating condition of society when it comes to pornography. There’s no doubt that porn is harming society and that these statistics are increasing instead of decreasing. Therefore more people are becoming addicted to pornography than ever before and as a result more marriages are being destroyed; more families are being broken and more people are subjected to mental and physical abuse because of the effects of porn.

 

What are the Effects of Pornography?
1. It rewires the brain to the extent that the self-control of the porn viewer / porn addict is weakened tremendously.
2. The porn addict / viewer becomes easily aroused by sexual images and less by his partner. For example, a husband who views porn may become sexually aroused & stimulated by porn images instead of being biologically bonded or stimulated by his wife.
3. Porn addiction increases marital infidelity. The porn addict is no longer aroused by his spouse and so eventually he seeks to “experiment” the porn activities and fantasies he has been watching outside the marriage.
4. Pornography affects one’s spiritual life. Porn images invade not only the mind but they strike right at the soul of a person as porn images become imprinted in the mind to the extent that it causes behavior change both socially and spiritually.

2 Timothy 2:22 says “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart”.

Jesus said that whoever looks at woman with lust has committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).

 

HOW CAN YOU OVERCOME INTERNET PORN ADDICTION?
Jesus mentions that whatever causes us to sin, must be removed from our life (Matthew 5:29-30).
Now, Jesus is not saying in Matthew 5:29-30 that we should literally remove our eye or hands. However He is giving the principle that we need to get rid of the things that cause us to disobey God.
In the case of overcoming pornography, one of the first steps in getting rid of porn addiction is through the following:

1. You must destroy any pornographic material in your possession. This means destroying magazines, pictures and digital images on your phone or laptop. Destroy or delete whatever material reminds you of porn.
2. Take your desire to overcome porn addiction as a journey that begins with a single step. You will not overcome the addiction overnight. It will take time and you might slip up now and again. The most important thing is to continue on the journey to overcoming the addiction even during failures.
3. If you’re really serious about overcoming your addiction – install accountability software on your laptop, PC, tablet or phone. Accountability software will help prevent or stop you from accessing pornographic sites. Also remove yourself from any social network sites where you’re most likely to see sexual images that would have been distributed by other users.
4. Visit a counsellor or make yourself accountable to someone you trust and who won’t judge you because of your addiction. Have someone or people around you who can encourage you to overcome your addiction or to motivate you when slip up.
5. There is also a spiritual aspect to overcoming porn addiction. You must be a born again Christian. Indeed a Christian can struggle with lust and even with porn addiction. However, being a Christian means that you can ask God to help you overcome temptation and deliver you from the addiction. The issue of pornography addiction is just as much a spiritual problem as it is a social problem.
6. Whenever you slip up, confess your sin to God and keep moving towards your recovery (1 John 1:9). Always remember that through Christ you can overcome your addictions (Hebrews 4:14-15).

 

Should Christians Listen to Secular Music?

Should Christians Listen to Secular Music? Many Christians often debate this issue and it’s possible that people can agree to disagree on this matter.
Some Christians have strong convictions that it is absolutely wrong to listen to any kind of secular music while other Christians are of the viewpoint that one can listen to certain types of secular music as long as discernment and wisdom is exercised.

When it comes to whether or not a Christian should listen to secular music it is important to ask yourself the following important questions:

1. Does the secular music communicate an ungodly message?
2. Does the secular music influence your thoughts, your mood and your behavior in an ungodly way?
3. Does the secular music hinder your spiritual growth?
4. Will listening to secular music cause your Christian brother / sister to stumble?
5. What is the purpose of music?

 

Does the Secular Music Communicate an Ungodly Message?
There’s no doubt at all that many of the secular music today tend to promote such issues as adultery, drug abuse, the love of money, pornography and even homosexuality. The music artists not only promote an ungodly message and lifestyle in their songs, but they also literally live the same lifestyle that they sing about.
Music is a powerful communication tool. Therefore it’s important to not only enjoy the beat and the rhythm of the music, but it’s also very important to listen to the lyrics of the music in order to understand the message that is being communicated and to ascertain whether the message is godly or ungodly. There are many secular songs and music videos that have subliminal messages and it’s therefore important to hear and understand the lyrics of any song.


Does the Secular Music Influence Your Thoughts, Mood & Behavior in an Ungodly Way?

Music is not only a very powerful way of communicating, but music can be very entertaining and influential. Music can influence our mood, our thoughts and our behavior.
Secular music is particularly influential to children and teenagers. In fact, most of the popular secular music are marketed for the kids and teenagers.
It’s important that the music we hear should lead us to having righteous thoughts and righteous behavior.
Philippians 4:8-9 says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

 

Does the Secular Music Hinder Your Spiritual Growth?
Does the secular music cause you to backslide or to divert from the things of God in a slow and subtle way? It is almost certain that listening to secular music that promotes an ungodly message will certainly cause problems in one’s spiritual life and hinder a person’s relationship with God
We must therefore be careful to guard our heart and to be aware of the things that can hinder our spiritual growth.
Whatever causes us to stumble or sin – we should remove from our lives (Matthew 5:29-30).


Will Listening to Secular Music Cause Your Christian Brother / Sister to Stumble?

You might be a Christian who has no problem with listening to secular music. However one has to be conscientious when in the presence of other Christians who might have the opposite view about secular music. Therefore if you’re a Christian who sometimes listens to secular music, it’s advisable to avoid listening to that type of music in the presence of a Christian who might become offended or stumble.
In 1 Corinthians 8:13, Paul was referring to meat – but however the analogy can be used when referring to music. If the music you listen to causes your brother to stumble then its best to refrain from it.


What is the Purpose of Music?

The primary purpose of music from the very beginning has always been to praise and give glory to God.
Colossians 3:17,23 says that in whatever we do, in word or deed, we must do it in the Lord’s name and not to men.
Music is therefore an expression and a powerful way to communicate our adoration for God.
While there are secular music that speak positive messages and are able to uplift people, the ultimate purpose of music is for man to give honor and glory to God.

 

Should Christians Be Legalistic About Music?
Admittedly, not all secular music is evil; Not all secular music promotes a bad message and so it’s not always appropriate to take a fully legalistic approach to this issue. However, discernment is important.
Christianity is not a list of rules of do’s and don’ts. However care must be taken that we focus on doing that which is ultimately beneficial for the glory of God and God’s kingdom.
If as a Christian you have no problem with listening to secular music, the most important thing is to assess the 5 questions or guidelines above and to ensure that you do not listen to any secular music that communicates an ungodly message and negatively affect your relationship with God and with your neighbor.

 

 

 

The Negative Effects of Social Media

In an interview at an Axios event, Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook spoke about how the Facebook social networking website is designed to prey on a psychological vulnerability within people. Sean Parker said the Facebook app which is used by over 2 billion people around the world takes advantage of human vulnerabilities and the human need for social-validation and is possibly re-wiring human brains.

There is no doubt that there are great benefits or advantages of using social media / networking websites. Social media sites can be beneficial both to an individual and for an organization.
Such benefits include:
Connectivity – people can connect and communicate from all over the world at a very low cost
Promotion – people can promote themselves, their ideas, and their businesses to a specific or wide range of audience.
Education & Awareness – people can learn and be updated on what’s trending and have updated information on various topics much quicker than before.
Help Communities – people can socially and spiritually help each other in various areas of life.

However, it appears that there is a darker side of social media that has been gradually emerging for years and its effects have been visible through the rising number of cyber bulling, revenge porn, cyber-crime and mental issues that appear to be growing as a result of excessive and improper use of social media.

So the question is this: What are the psychological vulnerabilities that social media sites like Facebook prey on? What are the mental health issues associated with the use of social media? Does the Bible say anything about how to deal with the negative effects of social media?

Addiction
Social media can become addictive to the point that it disrupts productivity and normal daily routine. Teenagers are the most affected. Social media activities can occupy the mind unnaturally and may waste a person’s time when that particular time could be used more productively. The addiction further creates a lazy mind as one ends up having a low attention or retention span because of social media.

Triggers Jealousy & Depression
A certain study showed that of 1500 Facebook and Twitter users surveyed, 62 percent reported feeling inadequate and 60 percent reported having feelings of jealousy from comparing themselves to other users. Such jealousy leads to feelings of inadequacy and eventually depression due to comparisons with other users.

Narcissistic Behavior
Social media can cause people to have a narcissistic or conceited personality. People begin to either secretly or openly crave attention and admiration from others because of social media. Social media is designed to make us crave for more “Likes” and more “Comments”. Therefore it creates and exploits our desire to be validated and accepted by others. This causes a person to judge his/her self-worth and significance based on the number of responses or acceptance from followers.

Reality Not Truly Reflected
Pretension and hypocrisy can be prevalent on social media. The information posted on social media sites does not always reflect the reality on the ground. For example, Facebook or Instagram pictures and posts by an individual do not always reflect the true reality of circumstances in that particular person’s life. Another example is that, having more “friends” on a social networking site does not always mean that one is more sociable. Therefore true characters / personalities / circumstances are not entirely reflected through that person’s social media posts.

 

What Does The Bible Say?
The Bible addresses the negative effects of social media such as making comparisons, having jealousy and being narcissistic.
Galatians 6:4-5 and 2 Corinthians 10:12 discourages us from comparing ourselves with other people. Our significance or self-worth is not found in comparing ourselves with others or by attempting to be “better” than others – but our self-worth is found in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. In the eyes of God – we are all equal. Therefore, we need to see ourselves as how God sees us and not as how man sees us. God’s opinion of us is far more important than how others view us.
James 3:16 and Proverbs 14:30 are examples where scripture discourages people from breeding envy or jealousy towards others. Envy turns into anger and strife if it is not dealt with. Envy can also cause depression. Instead, we need to always focus on the positives in our lives. We always need to be thankful in all circumstances and have an attitude of love towards our neighbor.
Philippians 2:3 says “Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves”.
Therefore we need to be careful of the attention-getting craves that social media can breed within us. We need to always have a humble spirit rather than an attitude that seeks to grab attention or to be better than others.

 

Conclusion
Social media clearly has some positive aspects. However the negative aspects of using social media need to be heeded and care needs to be taken that we do not fall into the trap of being in bondage to the negatives associated with using social media.

 

 

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