Shrooms, Coffee, and Christianity: Why the Gospel Isn’t a Matter of Personal Preference

Programming Note: First – I want to give a big thanks to my dad for writing last week’s post and helping my vacation be more restful. He is a great man, and I hope you enjoyed his writing. Second – because next week is Holy Week, there won’t be a post on Tuesday. Instead, I will post on Good Friday and Easter.

Psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms or shrooms, is a recreational, hallucination-inducing drug. A good friend of mine (Henry) has a good friend (Jim), who takes shrooms and swears it is the greatest experience of his life. Henry, a strong Christian, has been evangelizing to Jim and has declined offers to takes shrooms. Jim recently said this to Henry:

“How arrogant is it of you that you are asking me to explore Christianity and your faith, but you aren’t willing to take shrooms and explore what is the greatest thing I have experienced?”

Even though I think Henry is justified in his actions, it’s a fascinating question and challenge that Henry shouldn’t brush aside. Let’s explore.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not a religious person?” This statement is made the same way I tell people I’m not a coffee person. Some people give me a weird look or tell me I’m crazy for not drinking coffee, but most people don’t think twice about it because it’s a matter of personal preference.  Even if someone loves coffee, they can’t argue if I simply don’t like it. The same can be said for shrooms – they cause an experience, and some people may love that experience, but some may not.

But can we say the same for Christianity and the Gospel? Unfortunately, our culture thinks so.

The culture views the Gospel and Christianity as an experience that may not be for some people, but this is erroneous. The Gospel is not a matter of personal preference or an experience. Rather, the Gospel is the truth that Jesus rose from the dead, and that in doing so, proved He is the Son of God and King of the world. If true, this Gospel is a fact that remains true even if I prefer it isn’t true.

The Gospel does, however, have implications that can be compared to personal preference and experience. In the thesis of his letter to the Romans, Paul says that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe – it seems crazy that anybody’s personal preference would reject this. The Gospel also implies that we are all sinful people who need fundamental transformation and who need to submit to God – it’s easy to see why our personal preference rejects this.

This is a glimpse of why someone’s preference might reject the Gospel (or rather the implications of the Gospel), but this is different than rejecting shrooms or coffee. The implications of the Gospel are rooted in the truth of the Gospel, the truth that because of Easter, Jesus is King.

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