Many mystical experiences were likely aided by mind-altering substances, the rabbi says.
It sounds like the lead-in to a joke, but it’s not.
In the video below, Rabbi Jim Mirel, emeritus rabbi of the Reform temple B’nai Torah of Bellevue, Washington, Episcopal priest Chris Schuler, and Carlos Diller, a self-described “conservative homosexual atheist,” get baked together and talk religion.
“I’m here to experience one of God’s creations,” said Mirel, who copped to trying weed before, but not for some time.
Responding to a question about whether marijuana appears in the Bible, Mirel pointed to the anointing oil mentioned in the Book of Exodus: “It had some qualities that would elevate the person” and could have included “oil from the hemp plant,” the rabbi argued.
Diller has to show Father Schuler how to hit a bong, with the good priest worrying that “it won’t take me much to get stoned out of my gourd” and then coughing explosively.
At one point, Mirel gets so involved in telling Diller that appears to be a “person of faith” despite rejecting a belief in God that he bogarts the joint. “You’ve been holding that joint for a while,” he is reminded. Asked if he needs a light, the rabbi responds, “Yeah, light it up.”
Mirel waxes profound, suggesting that “historically, many people have had mystical experiences; I think it’s very likely that they were under the influence of some mind-altering substance.”
hould religious people smoke pot? Mirel thinks so.
“If it helps you become a better person, if it lifts you up and gives you something, a new view of life, it’s a positive thing.”
Phillip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.