JESUS ON A HIGH There are two fundamental tenets of Christianity which, in the eyes of Christians, justifies their assertion

that sets Jesus Christ apart and above the heads of other world religions. The first is that he is the only human known to have resurrected himself from death: and the second is that he performed an impressive number of miracles. Let us focus on the ‘miracle’ part. Christians accept Christ’s miracles, based on faith alone, as indisputable proof of his divinity. Scientists and skeptics , however, are not easily convinced. Anything they cannot prove, either by theory or experiment, is automatically suspect. Now, some are suggesting that the ‘miracles’ may, in fact, be a product of hallucinatory drugs. Jesus and his apostles on a high? Many would regard that as blasphemy. In January 2003, Carl Ruck, professor of classical mythology at Boston University, who has made a detailed study of scriptural texts, wrote an interesting article in the Sunday Times - in which he referred to an article written by Chris Bennet. Bennet is the author of a book entitled Sex, Drugs, Violence, and the Bible. Ruck found merit in Bennet’s theory that Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties of the drug. He goes on to suggest that Jesus and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings. In Biblical times, it was a common practice to anoint royalty and religious figures held in high esteem by the general populace. The medium of anointment was usually a fragrant or pungent oil. The anointing oil used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem which has since been identified as cannabis extract. According to Ruck, there was little doubt that cannabis played a role in Judaic religion. It follows that the easy availability and long-established tradition of cannabis in early Judaism would inevitably have included it in the early Christian mixtures. These startling assertions are a result of learned deduction and not necessarily fact, of course. However, it is a fact that when the active ingredients of cannabis are transferred into an oil-based carrier, it can also be absorbed through the skin. Chris Bennet suggests that those anointed with the oils used by Jesus were literally drenched in this potent mixture. Passages from the New Testament show that that Jesus anointed his disciples with the oil and encouraged them to do the same with other followers. This could have been responsible for healing some of the eye and skin diseases referred to in the Gospels. And it was not just anointing oils. According to Ruck, there are indications that early Christians shared magic mushrooms - and the spiritual visions and ecstasies they occasioned - as their Eucharistic meal. So does that mean those smoking pot today are actually following in the footsteps of Jesus and his disciples? That would be an interesting hypothesis. According to Bennet, "If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil... and receiving this

oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians, then persecuting those who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ." I suspect that statement was made more for shock effect, rather than genuine conviction. Still, it does make one think. Let me make it absolutely not my intention to mock or denigrate the founder of one of the world’s great religions. I am merely reporting the views of others. And the very fact that I dare to post this without fear of being lynched – as would happen with another religion – is, I believe is a testament to Christianity’s tolerance and spirit of open debate. If I was a Christian, I would be proud. The Sunday Times Jesus, religion, drugs, pot, cannabis (A Boston University professor has theorized that Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties of the drug. He goes on to suggest that Jesus and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings.