About two years ago Brian “Head” Welch , former guitarist of Korn, made headlines when he turned from the “Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll” lifestyle to accepting Jesus and becoming a Christian. Since then Head has released a Christian album and book called Save Me From Myself.
More recently Korn’s bassist Reggie “Fieldy” Arvizu has given his life to Christ as well. He, like Head, has a book that just released on March 10th called Got The Life to tell about the kind of person he used to be before he made the decision to follow his own understanding of God.
These types of conversions, from a life of extremes and drugs, happen every day among people that are not nearly as well known. In fact there are multiple nation wide ministries dedicated to inducing this sort of addiction intervention – you’ve probably seen the guys from Teen Challenge at your local Wal-Mart asking for donations. The question regarding these events for me though is whether or not accepting the drug of Jesus (or insert religion here) is an improvement on an addiction to methamphetamine (or insert drug here).
In some cases the results are incredibly positive, sometimes replacing one addiction to a chemical reaction with another addiction to a chemical reaction can last a lifetime. An addict will always struggle with addiction… sometimes it’s not enough to only attend to an alcohol and drugs treatment clinic, but to also include the Jesus Juice to keep one on the “straight and narrow” without reverting back into the more dangerous habits of old. For the person that has been strung out on crack for a few years and might be dead within weeks if his habit continues, this replacement can be seemingly miraculous and almost entirely positive assuming that this individual doesn’t start blowing up abortion clinics. I could never bring myself to tell a person that depended on a figment of their imagination to drop their smoke and mirrors religion if I ever thought they may slip back into their previous addiction – it would be socially irresponsible and I can’t help but be glad when a person is able to do this.
However, these cases are extremely rare. Despite what ministries like Teen Challenge International might claim, there is no empirical evidence to show that the program works very well at all:
Teen Challenge, a fundamentalist Christian drug and alcohol recovery program, frequently claims a success rate of 80 percent or higher. But Lynn noted that this figure includes only those participants who don’t drop out of the program before completion. According to an April 9 report in The American Prospect, only 18 percent of addicts who begin Teen Challenge’s program complete it.
Note that the 80% statistic is only recording from 1 year of being clean…not for a lifetime, which is what I would call a success.
So for anyone other than the small percentage that can stay clean after “coming to Christ”, that substitution may only be worth accepting for a short term. There has to be a large percentage that just cannot rely on the promises of the Bible, that God would deliver you from afflictions and such. For those people there really isn’t any crutch outside of modern medicine and psychology…much harder to find than religious rehabilitation organizations.
For that tiny little 18%… I think it is entirely worth it. I would much rather see these people convulsing on the floor of a charismatic church than in a back alley dying. I just wish that they could find the power that they each hold to kick these things. My conclusion is obviously that Christ is made up within you at the point of “salvation” and after. You begin defining what and who he is…what if you turned that energy to yourself…create yourself in the way that you want to be rather than building up a god in your mind to take all your problems away! Realize that those with Jesus and those without are just giving credit to a different source.
My father, in 2002 was “saved” while at a Christian addiction recovery center. He was hooked on narcotics and alchohol. My entire life he has been an abuser and he was able to drop it that year and not touch the stuff…until a couple years ago. Two years ago he picked it all back up and now is barely functional at all, the narcotics have caused him to have a stroke and other major health problems, half the time he can’t even tell who he is or where he is. Jesus was not enough for him for the long haul…he will probably die from an overdose or drug related illness unless he is able to see the power within himself to change.
I really hope that Head and Feildy are successful and that they never pick up the drugs again, I also hope they can drop the delusion of God and be productive members of society outside of the Church. I am not trying to simplify the problem of addiction – addicts have made my life miserable since the day I was born so I tend to empathize more with their victims than they themselves, but I understand that it isn’t easy to drop something like that. I always hope that they can, and hope even more that they can do so without the religion drug.
Post note: If you find yourself in need of a rehab program, here is a list of secularist and rationalist rehab programs that you may find helpful