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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Might the concept of 'god' been created out of drug use, but then 'matured' into its present state?

Sadly, I don't see any reason that 'religion' need to have oiginated from very early human drug use. It could have developed by the slow formation of human cognitive skills/abilities.  

Very good. Even with my deep distrust of 'religion' I expect that it is or was the grand-father of the sciences and the human quest for understanding. While in one breath we might honor religion as a part of the human landscape, it is not the whole landscape. The habits of thought, while at times suspect, did help humans find their way to the present. If 'religion' can be seen as a 'tool' in the development of human cognition, we also know that our tools have changed and developed with us as humans became what they are now. Even in my short life, I have seen our tools change. With this, my own understanding has also changed, and I see no indication that this process will stop any time soon....

Oh boy, Jimmy's gonna bukkake this thread.

LOLLLL ... ewww. 

There is a sort of assumption in most of these discussions that hallucinogenics were used to enhance the religious experience in some way. That it was used as a kind of enhancement to awaken or reinforce spiritual engagement. That may have been true in many cases but it should not be forgotten such substances could have and would have been used simply to scare people silly. As someone with over 30yrs experience with powerful natural hallucinogens I have seen many people have bad trips. The substances available to the shaman are relatively easily concealed in foods, drinks and the medicinal preparations administered by any acting shaman. Using such substances cleverly it is easy to see how a shaman could use them to enhance fear, as an instrument of power. 

My point is, I suppose, it is too easy to romanticise the use of entheogens in ancient cultures. The truth is these substances are powerful drugs and should not be taken without understanding what you are doing. I have known people suffer the trauma of a single bad trip for years after the event. Some never recover.

Yes, before my HS graduation we heard through the grape vine that some kids would not be graduating because they were in the state hospital after bad trips. I never saw them again...

Here's an atheist "take":

Sounds like all those shows like Ancient Aliens who do nothing but ask questions or offer vague suppositions like "Might it be...?" "What if...?" "Many ancient alien (wacko) experts think..." etc.

Get back to me when you have an answer instead of a possibly unanswerable question.

Beyond all that, so what if it's true? It's still wrong.

It is not a 'vague supposition' to claim that entheogens commonly cause people to have religious/mystical experiences. And per Mckenna's stoned ape theory, mind-blowing entheogens such as psilocybin mushrooms have been with humanity since our prehistoric beginnings, our ancestors have always had access to powerful psychedelic experiences from drugs since long before we were meditating or praying or whatever.

To call entheogenic religion 'true' or 'wrong' is a category error, since it is an experience and not a proposition (like the proposition 'God exists'). It's like asking if an orgasm is true or false.

I'm not claiming anything. I'm not denying that hallucinogens cause hallucinations and experiences that can seem religious. I'm saying that just asking questions doesn't answer them. There really is no way to say for sure that religion has its origins in being stoned.

As a result, you're mimicking the Ancient Aliens technique of raising interesting questions for which there really are no answers.

Besides, as I asked, so what if it's true? Let's even imagine the impossible: suppose you can prove it's true. Where do you go from there?

"Besides, as I asked, so what if it's true? Let's even imagine the impossible: suppose you can prove it's true. Where do you go from there?"

I know - there are so many 'what if's'

But what if drugs didn't influence religious thought but enhanced our vocabulary and creativity which then motivated us to express our thoughts in the form of art - music and language.

Because a lot of people who use drugs say that the drugs help them express or evoke whats already there.

Then I can offer the same critique to THOSE what ifs.

AS<J  :  some people do say that. 


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