According to the entheogen theory of religion: religion is essentially rooted in the experience of intense psychedelic tripping, the world religions consist of collections of stories which serve as metaphorical descriptions of psychedelic experiences (in particular the experience of mystical death and rebirth/ressurection/transformation).

This theory fits with the scientific evidence that entheogenic drugs trigger mystical/religious type experiences when they are administered in an appropriately conducive setting (the recent Johns Hopkins psilocybin study concluded this).

It would be interesting to get the atheist take on this theory, the issue here isnt religious beliefs (such as the belief in God) but rather religious/mystical/transcendent experiences of the kind that people commonly experience under the influence of entheogenic/psychedelic substances.

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So what if atheism is true?

No, so what if drugs are there at the genesis of religion(s)? The genesis of various religions is irrelevant. The relevant fact is that religion is nonsense. If it's drug-induced nonsense or ignorance-induced nonsense, so what?

My impression is that a lot of the people who want to bring up drugs as an instigator of religion are also drug enthusiasts of various kinds and degrees. I find that enthusiasm puzzlling given the history of drugs as—even according to them—drugs are the source of the religious nonsense to start with. 

Hi Rocky John

"LSD improves (driving)."

Yeah - It improves everything.
The thing with LSD and those types of druggies is that you really shouldnt do anything until it peaks. At least 90 minutes - it needs time to stablize. While its peaking its best not to try much - if your going to have an accident - thats when it'll happen.

Drugs need to be respected - teenagers get into trouble with it because they are not told the truth. Parents over react because they are fed nonsense about it and the teens are left on their own with it.. Thats the biggest cause of the problem.

I find it amazing that in Western cultures, parents allow their children to watch them smoke cigarettes, kids watch their parents drink alcohol and offer alcohol to their friends and we think thats ok?

Why did they give it to soldiers during the Vietnam War?

I explained to my son that if/when he tries anything like that - to have someone experienced with him. Nobody should really take a trip on their own unless they are very experienced.

"Are you insane stole?"
That depends on who you ask.

"i can tell you straight up i would rather get into the car with a drunk driver"
Are you insane Rocky John??.

Stole- no it does not. Hallucinogenic drugs and driving are particularly dangerous due to the hypnotizing effects of driving. Car lights only illuminating objects in front of the car, white lines and cat's eyes flashing past. The monotony. etc.

This is not even including the fact that they guy is hallucinating and likely to swerve for things that exist only in he's mind. It also decreases reaction times and a host of other problems.

I have personally been in the front seat of a car while on LSD ( way more than 90 min after i took it) with a sober driver. And i promise you the effects of it would have made it completely impossible for me to drive the car with any degree of safety. My depth perception was nearly non existent, i would often be mesmerized by the cats eyes and other cars headlights and zone out for a min or more, and i kept on thinking we were about to crash into non existent fences or other objects. Not to mention when the speed and petrol gauges turned into eyes.

"Yeah - It improves everything."

"Why did they give it to soldiers during the Vietnam War?"

Why the hell did you think they stopped doing so?

And virtually every other tripper disagrees with you stole.

I sometimes get into this state when I realize that many jobs involve monotony, small checks, and limited residuals to pursue hobbies.

At the bank today, during a moment when a teller asked, 'does anyone need help?', I suggested that I am working on my 'being beyond help', to which she responded, 'and you are so doing very well at it', to which I responded, 'such a skll needs lots of practice'. At this point a few of the other bank customers laughed, but returned to their lonely wait in line...



"And virtually every other tripper disagrees with you stole."

Sooo you know all the trippers do you?

Ta for the clip - I'll watch it later on.

No i don't know every tripper stole, but i can visit forums where drug users discuss driving on acid and notice that virtually all of them say it is a really bad idea unless on a miniscule dose. That combined with my own experience of lsd and  car trips (where i was not driving) gives me good reason to say what i did.

@ Rocky John

Rocky John said: “I am simply saying their is no reliability on just how they change your perceptions. “

This is incorrect, psychedelic drugs alter perception in a very specific way, and this specific kind of alteration is guarateed whenever a person ingests a sufficient dose of any psychedelic drug. The alteration in perception caused by psychedelic drugs is the transition from ordinary perception to psychedelic perception. In Hoffman's terminology, psychedelic drugs cause the transition from tight cognitive association binding in the ordinary state of consciousness to loose cognitive association binding in the psychedelic state of consciousness. Psychedelic drugs are 100% reliable at triggering this particular kind of altered state experience, when you take psychedelics, you will have a psychedelic trip guaranteed.

Compare this to meditation, where there is no precise specification of the kind of alteration in consciousness (if any) that a person will experience. Most people who meditate find the experience quite calming and relaxing but generally unremarkable (it is common in meditation classes for people to drop asleep during deep meditation), nothing like the intense alteration of consciousness that are caused by ingesting psychedelic drugs. You cannot fall asleep during an intense psychedelic trip, if you close your eyes and curl up the trip experience only becomes way more intense (internalised).

Rocky John said:“There is absolutely no reliability nor control over just what altered state you will experience even when taking the exact same amount of the exact same drug.”

On the contrary, taking the same dose of the same drug will guarantee an altered state experience of the same essential character, and the same degree of intensity. Psychedelic drugs are highly ergonomic tools for causing temporary psychedelic experiencing, far more ergonomic than any of the drug free supposed “alternatives” like meditating or chanting etc.

The three essential variables in psychedelic experiencing were identified by Leary in the sixties, they are 1.Dosage 2.Mindset and 3.Setting/environment.

Drug free practises like meditating or chanting are perfect tools for AVOIDING the psychedelic altered state experience.

From your post i can only assume you don't have much real hallucinogenic drug experience yet alone any understanding of the various forms of meditation. Your argument is as inane as me saying that because lots of people who take acid don't have an intense mystical experience therefor acid can't cause intense mystical experiences. You infact seem to be slavishly quoting Terrence Mckenna almost word for word in your argument here, a person who i have seen admit to having almost zero knowledge of meditation that did not include drugs. Now tell me, would you consider it fair if i was basing an argument that drugs don't produce real mystical experiences on what some guy said who had never had  any real experience with drugs at all?

I on the other hand have lots of personal experience with both. And i promise you i have had experiences from some meditation practices alone that dwarf a breakthrough dose of DMT. So please stop telling me it is impossible as you are only revealing your utter ignorance on the hundreds of various types of practices that fall under the blanket term meditation.

@ Rocky John

"Your argument is as inane as me saying that because lots of people who take acid don't have an intense mystical experience therefor acid can't cause intense mystical experiences."

     You have misunderstood the point i am making, I havent said it is "impossible" to have a mystical experience without drugs. It's a question of the statistical efficacy of drug-based versus non drug-based techniques for causing intense alterations of consciousness. Psychedelic drugs are 100% reliable and repeatable for causing intense altered state experiences, whenever a person takes a sufficient dosage, they will invariably experience a psychedelic 'trip'. By contrast this kind of experience almost never happens when a person doesnt take drugs. A typical meditation session is a peaceful, relaxing and calming experience, which is why it is quite common for people to fall asleep while meditating. So meditating without drugs is an entirely different enterprise from taking psychedelics and tripping out.

     In terms of the subject matter of this thread, meditation typically doesnt cause anything like the kind of powerful transformative experiences that are repeatedly depicted throughout the world's religions. In particular, meditation typically doesnt trigger experiences of mystical ego death and psychological transcendence that are at the heart of all religions.

"You infact seem to be slavishly quoting Terrence Mckenna almost word for word"

I havent quoted Mckenna once in support of the entheogen theory, and i have pointed out several times that in fact Mckenna completely missed out on the whole subject of the specifically religious relevance of psychedelic drugs

"i have had experiences from some meditation practices alone that dwarf a breakthrough dose of DMT"

Could you describe what happened in one of these experiences?

"the hundreds of various types of practices that fall under the blanket term meditation"

The distinction between different meditation practises is not the relevant issue. What is centrally relevant here is the distinction between taking drugs versus not taking drugs.

Altered states of consciousness does not equal a transformative mystical experience. Many people take hallucinogenic drugs, even in extreme quantities, without having a transformative mystical experience, often this can lead to severe psychotic experiences though .

"A typical meditation session is a peaceful, relaxing and calming experience, which is why it is quite common for people to fall asleep while meditating."No it is quite common for people who have no real experience and practice in meditation to fall asleep during it. . That would be like me claiming that most people who take a really small dose of hallucinogenic drugs don't really have mystical style experiences and therefor that show nearly  no one does.

You are also forgetting the fact that most people who have transformative mystical style experiences were not on drugs. How many religious people will tell you a story that they know god exists because they where extremely grief stricken/sad and preyed called out to god when suddenly they felt the presence of god, hes love for all things descending over them etc etc. and which caused a transformative change in their life.  All while not on a single drug.

You are also ignoring what the religions themselves say. Lets take a look at some of them.

Buddha-"Resolved to continue his quest, Siddharta made his way to a deer park at Isipatana, near present day Benares. Here he sat beneath a tree meditating on death and rebirth. Discovering that excessive fasts destroy strength, he learned that as he had transcended earthly life, so must he next transcend asceticism. Alone and weak, he sat beneath the sacred Bodhi tree of wisdom, and swore to die before arising without the wisdom he sought.

Mara, the demon, fearful of Gautama's power, sent his three beautiful daughters to distract him. When that failed, Mara sent an army of devils to destroy him. Finally Mara attacked Gautama with a terrible weapon capable of cleaving a mountain. But all this was useless, and the motionless monk sat in meditation.

It was here that Siddharta attained a knowledge of the way things really are; it was through this knowledge that he acquired the title Buddha (meaning "awakened one")."

Jesus-" And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 12 And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness. 13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him."

Muhammad- "Being in the habit of periodically retreating to a cave in the surrounding mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer, he later reported that it was there, at age 40, that he received his first revelation from God."


According to the Bible, after crossing the Red Sea and leading the Israelites towards the desert, Moses was summoned by God to Mount Sinai, also referred to as Mount Horeb, the same place where Moses had first talked to the Burning Bush, tended the flocks of Jethro his father-in-law, and later produced water by striking the rock with his staff and directed the battle with the Amalekites.

Moses stayed on the mountain for 40 days and nights, a period in which he received the Ten Commandments directly from God."

Mahavira- "At the age of 30, Mahavira abandoned all the comforts of royal life and left his home and family to live ascetic life for spiritual awakening. He underwent severe penances, even without clothes. There is graphic description of hardships and humiliation he faced in the Acaranga Sūtra. In the eastern part of Bengal he suffered great distress. Boys pelted him with stones, people often humiliated him.

The Kalpa Sūtra gives a detailed account of his ascetic life:

The Venerable Ascetic Mahavira for a year and a month wore clothes; after that time he walked about naked, and accepted the alms in the hollow of his hand. For more than twelve years the Venerable Ascetic Mahivira neglected his body and abandoned the care of it; he with equanimity bore, underwent, and suffered all pleasant or unpleasant occurrences arising from divine powers, men, or animals.After twelve and a half years of rigorous penance he achieved kevalajñana" 

Are you noticing a theme here? renunciation, solitude, fasting, prayer, meditation etc. All practices that the various meditation disciplines have in common. What i am not noticing is the stories of them getting fucked out their heads on drugs. Infact most of them are seriously disparaging of drug use.

I can give you tons more examples if you like as these type of stories are virtually always found amongst  those considered great prophets.


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