Jesus had to suffer, why shouldn't you?


New at Reason: Can they make a pill that will cure opiophobia? Jacob Sullum explains how the War On Drugs is helping create a pain-happy medical establishment.

NEXT: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

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  1. Ruthless,
    Do you have the slightest clue what you are talking about? Because if so, it’s not very evident.

  2. Preach on, Warren!

    BTW… “asshat”? You must hang out on…

  3. Jennifer:

    I exist

    (rumble rumble rumble)

    I am not petulant nor sadistic

    (rumble rumble rumble)

    For your insolence I will kill every left-handed baby in your village and swarm it with rabid squirrels

  4. Eric-
    I think Ruthless might be suggesting that perhaps you are being mean to those who do not share your faith, via an allusion to the old saw that Catholics don’t eat land-based animals on Fridays, but stick with veggies or fish to commemorate the suffering of Jesus.

    Anyone offended can console themselves by thinking that anyone who chooses to go by the moniker “Ruthless” must be one mean S.O.B.

  5. God- Do you promise to kill the babies in my village? Because their obnoxious crying and screaming is driving me bugshit. Here’s a deal for you: if, within the next week, every infant within ten miles of my house dies, I will not only worship you, I’ll even become a nun! My boyfriend won’t like it, but he’s just a hellbound atheist anyway.

    Another question: when You rested on the Seventh Day, did You also get really, really stoned? I’m guessing You did, because when You wrote Your Bible You forgot that the world You’d just made was round, and so You told Your worshippers that they lived on a flat earth orbited by the Sun. Not that I criticize You for this–I think pot was one of Your better inventions. Better than the malaria virus, that’s for damned sure.

  6. I don’t think Eric is being mean. The interesting thing about Christians is that they are *extremely* pleasant and cordial and usually smile as they acknowledge the belief that you are truly awaiting an eternity in the Lake of Fire.

    I don’t think “rude” is the word.

  7. How does the old song go?
    “And they’ll knoooow we are Christians by our love, by our love,

    Yes they’ll kno-ow we are Christians by our loooove.”

    I was forced to be in the Children’s Choir as a little girl. I hated that “By our love” song, but it wasn’t as bad as this one:

    “Bullfrogs and butterflies, we’ve both been born agaiiiiiin! Old tadpole in a fishin’ hole, he couldn’t croak or jump to save his soul. . .”

    Or the hard-rock musical version of the Lord’s Prayer.

    If God doesn’t want people to use drugs, he shouldn’t use such embarrassing hymns.

  8. “Stop with the Christian rock already. You’re not making God more cool, you’re just making rock n’ roll worse.”

    -Hank Hill

  9. Jennifer:

    (rumble rumble rumble)

    On the first day, I created weed. I took the First bong hit, and it was good.

    On the second day, I created a “couch”. Said couch was long enough to fully stretch out. On that day, I rested.

    On the second day, I created “Doritos”. They were good. Really fucking good. I created another bag of Doritos. Nacho cheese.

    On the fourth day, I realized that I totally blew off the third day. This was pretty fucking funny for no apparent reason.

    On the fifth day.. uh..

    On the sixth day, I realized I was really fucking behind, so I created everything. That’s why “bad” food tastes so good, and why doing “evil” is much more fun then doing “good”. Hell, I only had 24 hours.

    On the 7th day.. uh..

  10. Les,

    That story is one of the reasons why if we followed Eric and his ilk we would still be living like people in Afghanistan. Thankyou for a hearty laugh.

  11. Pavel,

    Since government in the final arbiter of who is a doctor, what’s the difference?

  12. It would be funny if Ashcroft actually did become addicted to painkillers. A SWAT team could raid his house and shred his furniture searching for concealed drugs. Maybe a drug-sniffing dog could piss on his carpet. I would suggest that it piss on his copy of the Constitution, but Ashcroft already took care of that.

  13. Maybe they could use a drug-sniffing insult dog. Your constitution is great… for me to poop on.

  14. Maybe there was a mention of this in the article, I didn’t see it, but there’s a critical reason for the importance of using pain meds as much as needed, as soon as possible. And that is, without meds, when one is suffering from chronic pain, one’s pain receptors will be MORE sensitive to and more debilitated by ANY future pain from whatever source.

    I think JAMA was the publisher of the article about it.

  15. To cause suffering due to self-righteousness is the epitome of evil.

  16. I’ll go along with that.

  17. katie
    If no one else says it, thanks for taking the time to inject some reality into this cyber Neverland.

    Come to think of it, “In Jesus’ name we prey,” could this start a new thread, amen?

    BTW, sounds like my pain receptors are like my reaction to poison ivy: the worse it gets the worse it gets.

  18. That’s a good article – docs need to take patient pain seriously, and trust that most folks can use the meds responsibly.

    But I don’t get the Jesus reference in the H&R title. The article was in no way religious. What was the point, Tim?

  19. Tim was beating a dead savior.

  20. Eric:

    I think Tim is just riding the tide of all this “Passion” hype. We’ve been talking a lot about it here.

    If Jesus had access to painkillers, things wouldn’t have been as bad for him. Come to think of it.. maybe he did. Most pictures I see of him has his eyelids droopy and a rather blank expression. He looks totally baked.

  21. Hanging around in the sun for hours… yeah, he probably was baked.

  22. Shannon Love, I feel your love, or, at least, your good intentions, but whenever I hear someone say “we oughtta make a rule,” I feel like The Lone Ranger’s sidekick, Tonto, looking the Lone Ranger in the eye, and saying, “What’s this ‘we’ stuff, paleface?” (It was when they were surrounded by hostile indians.)

    Be an anarchist:
    If there needs to be a rule, it will emerge or evolve spontaneously.

  23. The few times it has been an issue, I have foregone pain medication… not for any sort of moral reason. Maybe I like pain at some level, but I sure wouldn’t want my Mom or any one else to have to do so because it might send the wrong message on the crunk or even “worse” examples of agricultured evil.

  24. Any psychiatrists here?
    Could pain be like a “runner’s high” for some folks?

  25. And in other news, John Ashcroft is in the hospital for severe pancreatic gallstones.

    I hope they tell him to walk it off…

  26. Thomas Jefferson grew opium in his Monticello garden. I believe the only reason the Founding Fathers did not specifically include “freedom to fight pain” in the Constitution is because it never occurred to them that ANYBODY would be evil enough to say otherwise. Christ, even King George III wasn’t that goddamned mean.

    I mentioned in the post below that I think the government has this idea that we should all somehow forget, or overcome, the fact that despite our intellects we are all animals with animal needs. Thus, the need to escape pain is something that should be done via willpower, because only weak people need drugs. Sleep is not a biological necessity, but a proof of laziness. The sex drive is not a hard-wired survival mechanism, but a sign of sin and corruptibility. Et cetera, et cetera.

    Pain management is und Triumph of Ze Vill!

  27. The problem, of course, in defeating the drug warriors with enlightened reason, is that all the images in popular culture portray addiction as some irresistable force arrayed against we mere humans. Thus we have the ONDCP’s so-called public service announcements (why do they love the kitchen analogies, particularly involving saute pans, anyway?). Darren Aronofsky has even described his Requiem for a Dream as a monster movie, with addiction as the monster (“in every scene, addiction is heroic over the characters”). So long as that is the prevailing view, a rational approach to drug policy is impossible.

  28. Eric,

    Expanding on what Mr. Nice Guy said, part of many fundamentalist Catholic’s beliefs is that suffering brings us closer to God. This is why Mother Teresa had no pain management whatsoever in her decrepit “clinics.” I remember a story from Hitchens excellent expose, of her “comforting” one of her followers as he writhed in pain and she said, “You are suffering like Christ on the cross, so Jesus must be kissing you.” The man responded, “Then please…tell him to stop kissing me.”

    But I fear I digress.

  29. There actually is a connexion between attitudes toward Jesus’ torture and opiophobia: the Jesus story depends on the idea that extreme pain is at the root of the salvation of mankind (saving them from even greater pain). This is held even though there’s no clear causal relationship between one man’s sufffering and a whole bunch of other persons’ sins’ being covered by the former’s blood. As such, it makes it easier in our culture for someone to claim that your individual pain must have a reason to be there, and so interfering with it is potentially a bad deal.

    Marinate in a puritanical fear of excessive or improper pleasure, saut?, and serve…and “we” eat it up.

  30. “the Jesus story depends on the idea that extreme pain is at the root of the salvation of mankind ”

    Uh, Jesus’ death is the root of salvation. The suffering is part of it, but not the root. If Jesus had suffered yet not died, no salvation. See Romans 12 for a full explanation.

  31. Les,
    Yes, there is a part of Christianity in which folks can voluntarily “suffer” for God (part of the whole “take up your cross and follow me” thing). However, to impose that obligation on someone against their will is wrong, and I know of few Christians who approve of that.

  32. Eric, here it is a Friday during Lent.
    Do you have the slightest tendency to shun or intimidate those not snappin’ mackerels for lunch?

  33. Eric,

    Don’t disagree with you. I just wish most Christians hadn’t turned Mother Teresa into an icon of benevolence, ignorant of the suffering she perpetuated.

    Sorry, digressing again.

  34. Taking non-gov-approved drugs makes baby Jesus cry. You don’t want to upset baby Jesus do you?

  35. And in other news, John Ashcroft is in the hospital for severe pancreatic gallstones.

    I hope they tell him to walk it off…


    True poetic justice will come when he is diagnosed with cancer, goes on chemo, is forced to smoke pot in order to keep his food down, and gets busted by his former minions (tipped off by family members concerned for his soul) and is made an example of receiving maximum time in a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

    [sigh] Sorry, got a little carried away. Asshats suffering won’t lessen anyone else’s (and it sure as hell won’t redeem anyone’s sins). I just hope the cocksucker sees the light, repents and sins no more.

  36. I certainly agree with this article but I’m not sure that there is any truly tenable position short of a Thomas Szaszesque call for abolition of medical control over people’s right to self-medicate.

    There are lots of people in real pain that “need” drugs and lots (I’m sure fewer) people that don’t have a real “need” for them, therefore making them abusers of the system. But who is to decide what real “need” is?

    I think people who are against this recent wave of regulation need to be honest about whats happening. This isn’t about a few people being denied pills for their extreme pain. This is about the fact that because of the internet, pretty much anyone can purchase all the medication they want according to their own decision about whether they need it or not. And this is exactly how it should be.

    Playing into a notion of doctors as final arbiters of pharmaceutical need is certainly better than giving that responsibility to the government. But it might, in the end be self defeating.

    I’ve read Jacob’s fantastic book, “Saying Yes,” and this is the only point I’m not sure I agree on.

  37. So suffering brings us closer to God? Well, you of course are welcome to get as close to God as He’ll allow, but I am an atheist who values freedom from pain far more than brownie points from a sadistic, petulant and nonexistant God.

  38. I hear Jesus and Mother Teresa here,
    but what about Rush and Oxycontin,
    can’t El Rush-bo solicit sympathy?

  39. M. Simon: the thing is that most people in *emotional* pain would be better served by taking drugs that are already legal for their pain such as anti-depressants and only as a last resort resorting to illegal drugs.

    With *physical* pain this is far less clear cut. In some cases illegal drugs are the best solution there is out there.

    None of the above implies the government should step in and stop people from relying on less effective methods of dealing with emotional pain. We can still allow people the right to make their own choices even when we regard those choices as misinformed (as I do).

  40. Try reading this to decide what “real” need for pain relief is:

    My take is that there are no such things as addicts – only people in pain.

    Once the “addict” hysteria sets in (and quite a few libertarians believe that addiction is real) all rational thought leaves.

    Let me state the simple and obvious: people in chronic pain chronically take drugs. Now in many cases what people percieve as pain is not recognized by the medical establishment. Thus we need the idea of “addict” to cover our ignorance.

  41. Mona:

    My pleasure. Every once in awhile I can be a nice guy 🙂

  42. …And the man said, “But Lord, I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints in the sand. I don’t understand why when I needed You most You would leave me.”

    And God replied, “Well, those were the times when I got tired of your whiny-ass attitude, and I went off to roll Myself a huge-mongous blunt and watch old episodes of The Simpsons on DVD.”

  43. Jennifer and God: I’ve had a tough week, and you two really, like really, made me laugh out loud. And no bong involved. 🙂

  44. Can’t believe nobody brought this up – some people think Jesus did take drugs when he was up on the cross! See Matthew 27:34: “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.” (KJV) “Gall” is more often translated these days simply as something bitter…and alkaloid opiates are bitter. (Some translations explicitly say “a painkiller” or “something to ease his pain”, and some say wine instead of vinegar.) Of course, He did refuse to take it once He realized what it was, but at least He didn’t tell them it was evil and Pontius Pilate should ban it.

  45. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/20/2004 05:21:46
    ‘Love — a grave mental disease.’ Plato

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