Φαρμακεία (Pharmakeia) – Religion and Politics

Kurt's Religion and Politics

The Greek word pharmakeia appears in Galatians 5:20 and Revelation 18:23. Terms from the same root word appear in Revelation 9:21Revelation 21:8, and Revelation 22:15. These are typically translated into English as “sorcery,” “witchcraft,” or “sorcerer.” Ancient Greek uses of pharmakeia closely mirror the generic modern English word drugs ; the same Greek root word produced English terms such as pharmacy and pharmacist.”

The above text is “lifted” from a site called “Calling all Christians” (https://callingallchristians.net/what-is-pharmakeia-in-the-bible/).

The article in question goes on to discuss the idea initially presented in greater detail.

Where I don’t entirely agree with the presentation of the author, in most of what’s said, I refuse to take an opposing view.

I bring this up for cause.

In the modern day, much of the various issues with mental health with which so many people appear to deal, have at least some supposed solution found in “medications” of various kinds.

This is made the much worse, by people who assume things like hyperactivity, attention deficit, and even Autism, are “mental disorders.”

On this last point, you can rest assured we disagree (assuming you find it to be accurate).

Add to this, the tendency for folks to seek to “escape from real life” which is partly accomplished by many through the use of legal and illicit substances of various kinds, and things become even more problematic.

Bad enough that people immerse themselves for long periods of time, in things like video games, virtual reality, escape rooms, movies and television. These days, the latter is more likely to be Internet streaming, than “real” TV. Nonetheless, it amounts to the same thing.

I’m not implying that one ought never seek to dream or imagine a world different than the one in which one actually finds oneself. Nor am I saying flights of fancy are always inappropriate.

Even considering this though, I find the idea of using various pharmacological substances, to effect one’s departure, to be problematic.

To see part of the reason, the passages of scripture discussed in the above article can be referenced.

To be clear, I’m no more indicating that the use of alcohol for such purposes, is a better or more reasonable thing.

I won’t get into detail as to where, but I will say, I’ve seen many folks, who extol the virtues of what they consider “reasonable substance use,” which I would generally call the abuse of the formulations or natural products in question.

I think it would be an untoward thing for me to say there are no reasonable applications for various mind and body altering intakes.

Let’s face it, there are more people out there who suffer from “hangriness” if they don’t eat regularly, than really would like to admit that’s the case.

It can be argued, this makes the distinction between legitimate use, and application that’s not so reasonable, a great deal harder.

I would generally draw the line at nutritional value. If a given thing taken into the body doesn’t have benefit to the person in question, it’s probably bad.

You can argue that some of the potential good results are not nutritional, and in this, I think you would likely be correct.

One can also make the case that many are unable to distinguish between benefit, and the point at which use crosses into harm.

This too is a reasonable thing bring into the discussion.

All that said, I think it rather ironic, that the more people are prescribe chemicals of various kinds, for things like mental health issues the greater the number of problems seem to exist.

I’m not saying there were no undiagnosed folks in past, where mental concerns presently identified are concerned. I will say though, I think a large number of people are actually made worse by the introduction of various chemical agents into their supposed treatment.

There are those who will argue (essentially), “It’s natural! As such, it cannot be bad.”

Such folks seem to be unaware that chasms, poisonous snakes and insects, lead, mercury and various radioactive substances are equally natural. And where it’s true to say that certain things are necessary in some quantity, and harmful in greater doses, there are things that pretty much any exposure to, will cause harm.

So when folks use the “argument from nature,” you’ll have to excuse me when I don’t take them all that seriously.

Yes, I know, marijuana grows various places without the requirement of cultivation. So does poison ivy. Are you intent on rolling around in the latter, in order to prove the necessary benefit of the former?

I can tell that from my perspective, that’s not something I’m likely to do.

I think it an interesting thing that—again, as stated in the article I cite at the beginning of this piece—a word often translated as “sorcery” in Biblical texts, roughly equates to the word commonly used for “good medications.”

You can think what you want about that, but I’m sure that’s the word (at least some form of it), that’s used in the New Testament, to discuss things like sorcery as a more or less general thing.

This would imply (as that article somewhat states), that things happening in the times in question, termed basically “magic” were more induced, than they were supernatural occurrences.

I would argue the same to generally be true in this current age.

The long and short of what I’m saying?

It seems to me that modern day glorification of various medications (as well as various kinds of legal and illegal substance abuse), as things that make the world a better place, are actually reliances on what once would have been called magic or sorcery.

Am I trying to imply all “medications” are harmful, or bad?

No.

I am saying though, there are (in my view) huge abuses of such substances for good and ill.

You may look at that however you see fit. For my part, that’s how things appear to me.


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