The Religion Drug

 

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 peoplethat 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).

Is it?

It depends:

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 the Jesus Juice is just enough 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.

~American’s United

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
  • I think Head and Fieldy's conversion, both people that came from a band that made MILLIONS of dollars, had millions of fans and successes..is just a testament that what this life offers is not enough to satisfy the deep void in our "soul". You mention your dad slipping back into drugs even after salvation, and I dont know the whole story there but he probably, like most of us do, lost sight of God…lost sight of that source that helped him kick it to begin with.

    screw the statistics…the fact that faith can change people at the top of the ladder and at the bottom, again, I think testifies to something more than just "a fairytale of hope that helped me live a better life for awhile"

    • Matt

      @ Soto:

      absolutely religion fills a void in your soul, assuming you think you need it…losing my religion helped fill a different void in my soul…there is no god shaped hole in each of us…there is a need for acceptance and truth in all of us though.

      • mnucer

        What is a soul?? Are we not only living organic molecules performing cellular functions? Mind, body, and soul does not evolve; only the body. The mind cannot contain what the body cannot hold. The soul can only be conceived in our imagination. Without a god there can be no soul. Therefore, drug addiction is the result of a week mind that cannot overcome the ever evolving body. Grow your brain and control your body!

        • I don't honestly BELIEVE in a soul, as I explain almost constantly I am using the language and understanding of a Christian to better relate to them…it often backfires as folks think that is a weak point in my un-faith However i think eventually the crowd may get this strategy as just a point of relation for my Christian friends to better grasp the mindset of the Atheist…especially one that was once a devoted member of their own faith.

          The soul DOES exist…but not outside of a concept built buy ones mind…Just like God exists to those that feel it…it just happens to all be in their heads!

  • Nice entry. I'm not sure you answered your original question though…

    Which IS better… an addiction to drugs or an addiction to an alternative chemical reaction known as "Jesus?" Even if Jesus is simply a figment of people's imaginations, I can't imagine that just staying with the drugs instead of having a possibly false belief that would at least temporarily help the problem would be better.

    "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!"

    This is a very good point, and is why I think a lot of people who are saved from their addiction by Jesus or their conception thereof often relapse. Regardless of whether or not Jesus is real, just sitting back and expecting some intangible force to take your addictions away without any work on your part is extremely impractical and will most likely lead to failure. If those who "find Jesus" want to pray to Him/God for help and feel that they receive it, then, as you said, that's a good thing. Just as people will ask help from friends when they are trying to recover, others will ask help from Jesus, who to them is just as real as anyone else they see. Christians, if they are honest, realize that they should strive to emulate Jesus' words/actions/life but also that they shouldn't expect him to magically save them from their troubles.

    I guess I'm trying to say that Christianity, if it really is just an alternative "chemical reaction," is definitely preferable to hard drugs.

    …and perhaps all that I've just said you've already said in a different way in your post. Forgive me if I'm just rehashing.

    • Matt

      @ Mike D:

      I think I did answer my original question: It Depends on the situation

      when folks decide to let Jesus do all the work, they inevitably fail..Jesus can't fix your addiction, you can…Jesus is just your desire to fix it…but if you relegate all of your willpower in to jesus rather than into your own struggle to stay clean, Jesus and his little brother Hector will always fail.

  • Your point is well made. Religion is a drug. But that orgiastic churchy thing has a downside for society, just like drug use.

    They permeate the world, politics, and schools, and make life miserable for the rest of us.

    No one has yet invented a drug without consequences.

  • Matt

    @ The Mother,

    Thanks for your comment…

    absolutely Church and religion have downsides…not to even touch the way it has dumbed our societies down …but think of all the terrorist acts it causes!!!

    even self absorbed will power has negative side effects

  • If my dad were to give up his meth addiction for christ, and stick with it, I'd be the happiest girl in the world. I'm so scared he's going to wreck his truck trying to avoid "monsters" in the road or shoot his own head off by sleeping with a gun under the pillow, or burn himself to death by nodding off when he's got food cooking on the stove.

    An addiction to religion (unless its one of those suicide cults) seems less likely to end in my fathers untimely demise.

    But, there is little likelyhood of that.

    Jesus isn't going to be the mirircal cure for most peoples addictions. Not for the long run. And those who it will stick with are helping themselvs THROUGH Christ, like someone with a broken leg walking on crutches, and not letting crist do all the work, like someone with a broken leg in a wheelchair. (if that makes any sence)

  • Why are you using the word "Soul"?

    It is intangible, and there is no… What did you say Dawky?? Oh ya… "there is no empirical evidence" to show that such a thing exists!

    And in reference to the "Dawky" crack, I figured it fit with the overall "bitter" and "condescending" tone of the post, and the usage of the word "Delusion".

    Maybe this would be a good time to remind you that I am still waiting for an answer to a comment I posted long ago that has either slipped your mind, or you were not willing to answer:

    They are here:

    http://ragingrev.com/2009/02/16/dorman-christian-

    Those questions weigh heavily on this post. Maybe you should go back and re-read my comment. You can't claim delusion until you can back your claims…

    Let me refresh your memory in case you don't feel like clicking back that far… LOL

    You said:

    “YHVH being the malicious tyrant that he was…”

    Where in the Bible do you see Him being that? You show me book/chapter/verse.

    You said:

    “the Bible is a book full of errors”

    Name one.

  • bluecat

    Great posts REV you're my digg for the day!

    I honestly think addicts have a hard time loving themselves for who knows what reason and religion can be a temporary fix. I have to wonder would they stay clean longer if they got profession therapy that helped them to see why they feel they need to self medicate?

    The only real way to treat these people is to get to the root of their problems not just put a band aid on them.

    to Guy V: So many people are just tired of answering these same questions over and over…

    "Where in the Bible do you see Him being that? You show me book/chapter/verse." Is God angry?

    It is difficult at best to defend against such a point when Moses claims that God ordered him to kill men, woman and children when conquering the Medianites. The drowning of thousands of Egyptian soldiers also adds weight to the argument as well. There are many more of these that can be brought forward, however I think that those two examples are good enough.

    Some mistakes errors mistranslations whatever label makes you feel better.

    Gen 32:30 states, "…for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." However, John 1:18 states, "No man hath seen God at any time…"

    Lev 11:6: "And the hare, because he cheweth the cud…"

    Hare do not actually chew cud.

    Jonah 1:17 says, "…Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights"

    Matt 12:40 says "…Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly…"

    whales and fish are not related.

    James 1:13 says "..for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man."

    Gen 22:1 says "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham…"

    And I personally have major issues with:

    It's ok to sell your daughter into slavery. Exodus 21:

    Oh, did I mention that you can have slaves? Leviticus 25:

    Then there's the war crimes against women. Deuteronomy 21:10-11:

    10 When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife.

    And then there's the part about having to sleep outside when having my period and having to sleep outside even longer if I give birth to a girl and not a "son".

    • Matt

      Hi Bluecat—thanks for the Digg and the great comment,

      Religion is a great way to convince yourself that you are loved by a more important being than yourself…therefore you don't really have to love yourself or you may even do so as a result of the belief that God loves you.

      One thing that may help the addict is some sort of memory regression therapy…when I was a Christian my ministry used a technique called Theophostics which, despite the lack of a deity, actually works wonderfully because it builds on the concept of correcting problems in ones belief patterns and memories. (its pretty complicated but…)…if one could regress a person to the point where their lack of self worth or addiction began it would be interesting to see what correcting the problematic areas of that memory would cause in the way the person approaches his drug of choice.

  • @bluecat:

    You said:

    "to Guy V: So many people are just tired of answering these same questions over and over…"

    And some of us are tired of the same old Ad Hominems and loosely bound straw man arguments that you are giving us yet again.

    Before I chew your answers up and spit them out, let me first set you straight on these age old trick questions that "non-believers" always seem to fall victim to…

    Any "Atheist" worth his or her salt would never ask or answer these questions, make or debunk any claims on either side of the coin for one simple reason.

    The "Proof" or "Lack of" God's existence does not exist. Neither side has any evidence to stand on, ergo questions and claims made by either side are moot because it is all subjective.

    A "believer" chooses to have "faith" without evidence, and a "non-believer" chooses not to have "faith" because of the lack of it.

    Plain and simple, nothing more, nothing less. Both sides are stuck in an eternal battle lead by spammers & trolls that have no idea what the terms "Atheist & Christian" really mean.

    And now on to the show…

    You said:

    "It is difficult at best to defend against such a point when Moses claims that God ordered him to kill men, woman and children when conquering the Medianites."

    Because they broke God's law.

    They raped and killed Israelite women and children, slaughtered the men whilst pillaging their land. They committed crimes, they got the punishment. If you murder someone, guess what consequence the US states with the "Death Penalty" can get you?

    They lived by the sword, and they died by it. Plain and simple. Or was it ok for the Midianites to slaughter as long as it is "God's People" that were being killed?

    Like the righteous judge that God is, they got the appropriate punishment for their crimes.

    Next…

    You said:

    "The drowning of thousands of Egyptian soldiers also adds weight to the argument as well."

    Same scenario… They slaughtered Israelites whilst they were slaves, they got the punishment in kind. God is their "Father", the Israelites are His "Children".

    If you were a parent, and Pharaoh had ordered troops to wipe out your children, would you not kill them first? If not, I would dread being your child.

    The Egyptians unmercifully drove them (the Israelites) to their deaths, and for that they found the same in their punishment. Or would it have been cool for the Israelites to be killed, as long as it is them and not the Egyptians? Murder is ok in your book as long as it is the Jews and the Christians that are being murdered?

    Don't do the crime if you can't do the time…

    You said:

    "There are many more of these that can be brought forward, however I think that those two examples are good enough."

    Bring them ALL on, they have been easily debunked (simply by default) in the past, and can be just as easily in the present…

    You said:

    "Some mistakes errors mistranslations whatever label makes you feel better."

    Cheap typos, grammatical errors, and mistranslations only weaken your straw man… Go to the original texts, and not translations of it, and then we can talk…

    And when you do, be prepared to discuss Hebrew, Greek, & Aramaic.

    So go back and tie a few pieces of "Ad Hominem twine" around that straw man, and meet me here at a future date for an academic discourse.

    As for your many quotes of scripture, you seem to reinforce your willingness to see the Israelites killed and enslaved, but no one else. Thy Anti-Semitic bitterness shines through quite brightly!

    Seig Heil!

    **How was that for a condescending "Ad Hominem" reply Ox! Maybe when this person returns with a better argument, we can discuss this in a more "Academic" setting. LOL (As if either side ever had any argument to begin with! HaHaHaHa)

  • For every story you hear about religion turning someone around, you can find a story about something secular turning someone around. Heck, most of us atheists have stories of how once they became atheists (or for me, once I came out as an atheist) that they were more moral. Any life change that forces you to be responsible will do.

    • Matt

      Hi Crystal,

      I don't doubt the truth of the fact that non-religious means can just as easily and just as often turn things around. However…where I am from at least, i rarely hear anything POSITIVE unless the greatness of it is relegated to Christ or God….in other places it would likely be Allah or Buddha that are praised for it. No doubt there are some locales that may exhibit an extreme respect for the power of one man…

      kinda like that airplane that had to land in the Hudson river a few months ago…some miracle of god…hell no it was not, it was massive amounts of SKILL, ability, and experience–not to mention nerves of steel that put that plane down like a feather…not God… thats really the point I am out to make…but if you see that type of stuff on a daily basis that is awesome…I wish i did.

  • Everything and anything that one does more than once is an addiction. And trading one addiction for another really does not have much benefit except as you say Jesus Juice is healthier than meth.

    Deep down we all want freedom from any addiction because that is what heaven or eternal life is about: no need for anything just perpetual happiness. And so when one addiction doesn't deliver, or satisfy, then something like a Teen Challenge International ad has a very good chance of getting attention of the seeker looking for a new addiction to test.

    The supreme addiction, as well as cure for all addiction, is being connected, or having access, to the source of life itself, which again is Freedom. My formula for realizing the Freedom of life itself is:

    DESIRE/COMMITMENT + PASSION/FUN = VALUE/FREEDOM/SUCCESS

    The potency of each of the seven formula components is derived from one's heart health. Thus desires are fulfilled, and value is created, proportionately to the strength of one's heartfelt commitment (investing one's resources) and passion (fun spontaneously enjoying one’s inner and outer beauty and purpose).

    • Matt

      hi Dhan,

      Long time no comment eh? Interesting Point of View indeed….as always

  • "that airplane that had to land in the Hudson river a few months ago…some miracle of god…hell no it was not, it was massive amounts of SKILL, ability, and experience–not to mention nerves of steel that put that plane down like a feather…not God…"

    We are made in the image of God (infinitely impressionable and expressive Consciousness) and the more one is awake in his or her Consciousness (has a healthy heart and brain) the more he or she can do anything they need to, or want to, do.

  • So back to you Matt…

    Tyrant and errors… Go!

  • Heresy Guy,

    The most intelligent thing I've ever heard said about Bible scripture is: "Go to the original texts, and not translations of it, and then we can talk… And when you do, be prepared to discuss Hebrew, Greek, & Aramaic."

    So why ask Matt to waste his time with that which is not the original texts?

  • Thought it would be best to revise my comment above by adding the word Freedom.

    We are made in the image of God (Freedom of infinitely impressionable and expressive Consciousness) and the more one is awake in his or her Consciousness (has a healthy heart and brain) the more he or she can do anything they need to, or want to, do.

  • First, I'd like to say, I'm sorry about your dad. I have family members- alive and long since passed, who went through the same.

    Everyone has a need and a want to belong and be accepted. Addiction is a disease, despite some research that says otherwise. Those who suddenly "find Jesus," haven't found him in the religious sense, as they may perceive. What they have found is acceptance and understanding about themselves. This is why- it works for some, doesn't work for others. To continue to be drug/alcohol, all-around addiction free, they have to believe in who they are and have the faith in themselves. The "higher being," be it Christ, Buddha, Allah, whomever, is who they turn to when they see things slipping and need reassurance-again, coming from within themselves. If the person loses the faith within- of themselves, no amount of religion-based therapy is going to help. Just like if they went to a regular therapist. It took me a long, long time to realize it-in fact, within the last 6 months. It's all up to me-everything I do, or don't do- is my choice, with consequences and results. I pray, every night a short little blurb, just saying, "help me be strong and find my way." The more I do this, the more I see myself changing habits, thoughts, attitude and it's coming from- me. I was taught that God, already knows where my life will lead. It's up to me to figure it out, make mistakes, make friends, find enemies, to stop self-abuse of any kind and be the best person I can be-because no one is perfect, including those who "fail" after the "religious" therapy. They haven't failed, they just forgot who they were and never make it back.

  • Mike

    My belief is that everyone has an addiction to something.

    Dhan, sorry for not gettin back in touch, been fighting for survival lately – great insights, I will get with ya when things calm down… 😉

    Matt, great discussion as always…

    I find myself frustrated by my own quickness to adopt a new habit, a new thought, a new form of recreation, etc…, and then the inevitable lack of interest that seems to accompany all of it once I'm tired of it. Is that a form or variety of addiction?

    What is it about us all that we always seem to need something else to do, something else to read, or hear, or chase after? Why can't we all just be satisfied with ourselves? Is there something deep within us that longs to find that perfect thing? That perfect experience; or the perfect feeling? What about that perfect day? I have a few memories tucked in there somewhere where it seems that I can remember the 'perfect day' and I just didn't want it to end… Daydreaming again, I know… 😉

    Ok, I'm going a little overboard; but at least for me, I find it a bit frustrating – I just think we all spend so much time chasing after stuff that in the end results in a temporary fix – then what..? MM

  • Hey there –

    I can appreciate what you're trying to say here, but I find it hard to believe that someone strung out on crack (or any other addictive drug, for that matter…) can just turn from that seriously physical dependency and 'channel' that addiction into some other form of obsession, such as "Jesus Juice," as you suggest. I think you're way oversimplifying what is at play here. Either the 'cure' of the addiction is temporary and the person gets back on drugs sooner or later, or there is another force (such as God) greater than ourselves and our addictions, at play here.

  • Hi Talya (Ron Paul 2012),

    Thanks for the comment.

    To be completely honest I don't disagree with what you are saying, I just think that the "God" that is doing this miraculous transformation is the person him/herself OR that persons mentally created God…I think that it all boils down to it simply being themselves no matter what…. Chemical Dependencies trigger the same parts of the brain that religious experiences do- which is why I feel at liberty to make these claims.

  • I am quite happy to be addicted to Jesus.

    If religion (and thus conversion) is a psychological fantasy, one has a hard time explaining the experiences of folks like Welch. The greater testament however, is in the group obliquely referred to. The masses of people that find peace, real change and a new life through Jesus Christ.

    • Barely…the fact of the matter is that religion is very much like a drug in how our brain reacts to it…Nicotine, Heroin, Alcohol, and Benzo's cause a nearly identical chemical reaction in the brain to the chemical reactions that occur with Religious Experiences.

      Masses of people find masses of peace and change through masses of different catalysts….if Christianity were true at all then it should be expected to see Christianity as the only successful religion in providing the stated goals

  • Yep, I hope so that he and his friend will never come back again for that drug addiction. Now he know that it's bad and could just ruin his image both external(physical) and internal(body organs) as well as of course his spirituality(if one is drug addict, that person could do bad to other one). Again, I just hope that he will be in total healing or replace his drug-addiction to God-addiction.

  • I think the sudden conversions of some are just the need for structure that some churches and religions can offer. Just like some rehabs. I think you have a good point about trading one addiction for another. Though I think they are clinging to their spirituality/beliefs/what have you in a way that only allows them to ignore other issues. Which would explain why those who step away from their church/religion can fall back into bad habits.

    • I agree and I think you make a good point…Backsliding often leads to a person getting back into bad habits and addictions…because their replacement drug is no longer available to them like it normally would be…good point

  • Doss 34

    Personal opinion, Atheism has just as many skeletons in it's closet as any religion. Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein were all Atheists. (I know people think Saddam was a Muslim and he used Muslim rhetoric when it suited his purposes, but he was actually taught by an uncle who was an Atheist.) I'm not saying Atheism or Religion is bad or good, I'm just saying Atheists get on their morale high horses some times and act like they have had a perfect past. And as far as which is a better addiction meth or religion, there is no contest. Unless the religion recommends sacrificing virgins or something similarly destructive, then just about any religion is preferable.

    • RevOxley

      Get your history right my friend. Hitler was a devout Christian and the motto for the Third Reich was "God With Us". Stalin, yes, was an Atheist, but he was a socialist statist first and the ideologies of atheism do not permeate into ones actions or political ideologies….what Stalin did was pervert the message of The Manifesto of The Communist Party to his own purpose. Hussein may very well have been an atheist but atheism doesn't require any particular sacrifice or promote any ideology…Islam most definitely does and so does Christianity….not to mention that when Saddam sought the approval for his misdeeds with the people he ALWAYS used religion to convince them that it was the right thing to do.

      Religion will always permit evil men to do evil things…atheism is nothing more than a lack of belief in god…if you want to find something to attack with that argument you'll need to find Humanists that have murdered.