Michigan Daily, Sept. 21 1993 DRUGS, RELIGION OFFER AN ESCAPE By Ian Lester Religion cont

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Michigan Daily, Sept. 21 1993 DRUGS, RELIGION OFFER AN ESCAPE By Ian Lester Religion continues along its precarious spiral downwards in the United States as more and more of our educated colleagues strive to find something tangible to place their faith in. While most students can say with confidence that their grandparents considered themselves to be religious, precious few can attest that they too believe in the existence of an omnipotent entity. There has to be something to fill this great void because human beings need an escape from reality. Drugs serve this purpose. Many people blame drugs and the introduction of a somewhat mainstream drug culture as one of the main reasons for the decline in religious faith, saying that with the influx of illicit substances came a disturbing lack of responsibility. But science and time have worn the words of the scriptures thin. The Bible can now be interpreted to mean nearly anything, from defending racist viewpoints to denouncing homosexuality. It has, in effect, become outdated. Having faith initially appealed to such a broad expanse of people for many reasons. One of the main ones was, and still is, is that it is easier to place blame on the broad shoulders of a ubiquitous being than to focus it inwards. Human beings do not like to take responsibility for their mistakes. The similarity between drugs and religion gets more evident with each passing day. The promise of an afterlife as a reward for pious behavior and the idea of forgiveness for ones sins leave people with the hope that there is something to look forward to that is better than reality. Prayer, holy water, and the gentle soothing words of a priest in confession all serve to help people feel better about what the future holds. Religion provides a different mindset, something to believe in that is separate from reality. Drugs, in effect do the same thing. Caffeine relieves the tired feeling we have after a long night. Pills and other types of medication relieve painful maladies and nicotine serves as a relaxant after a big meal or tense situation. We no longer look to the heavens for a cure, we look in the bathroom cabinet behind the mirror. Although illegal drugs have to be placed in a different category than the over the counter types, they still warrant consideration in this argument. Pot, coke, acid, whatever, when it comes down to it they all serve as an escape from reality. Whether drunk or stoned, we all act in a manner that we would not and could not if we were sober. As with religion, drugs give us a scapegoat for our actions. It is easy to blame the alcohol if we do something dangerous or stupid. Just as easy, in fact, as saying that it was the will of God. I am not condoning the use of drugs, nor am I saying that religion is wrong. I am simply pointing out that there is a strong correlation between the two. It is ironic that most people with a strong religious base are anti-drugs and [many] people who enjoy using drugs are atheists. Understand that everyone has their own way of dealing with reality. Religion and drugs are two of the most popular choices, but reading, writing, and a host of other hobbies can also serve the same purpose. Next time you reach for a little white pill, remember that reality is a headache. (Lester is an RC junior and a member of the Daily Editorial Page Staff.) The Daily is probably going to be deluged with letters from theists from all over the country (alumni read this paper). If you think this editorial was a good thing, I think the right thing to do would be to write a supportive letter... THE MICHIGAN DAILY 420 Maynard St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1327 ATTN: Editorial Page

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