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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"This question is completely at odds with the biological/medical reality. Psychedelic drugs do not produce any tolerance after a few days, they can be taken on a regular basis and will never fail to produce intense alterations of consciousness if the correct dosage is taken"

It has nothing to do with tolerance mate. The first few times on any drug are usually the most intense, after that you can stop taking the drug for years and when you take it again it nearly never resembles the first times you took it. And this is my personal experience from taking a shit ton of hallucinogens, Both the more common ones and exotic ones few other people ever try.

And that was not even the main point i was raising. Which is just how unreliable hallucinogenic experiences are. You can take the exact same amount of the exact same drug every month for a year and al your trips will likely be very different. There is no control or reliability on them , unlike meditation or such practices.

"You could just as easily say the precise inverse of this ^ statement: "trying to use drugs+meditation to explain something that drugs can alone cause is a serious violation of Occam's razor". As i suggested earlier, these practises such as meditating/chanting/drumming etc make far more sense as activities to do within the entheogen-induced altered state sessions."

And i would agree with you if drug use was as common a theme in religions as the meditation side of things. The problem is that virtually every religion has meditation style exercises,  while only a handful use drugs. Making drug use as the originator of said religion highly superfluous as an explanation. We know know meditation can cause mystical type experiences , we know meditation allows the person more control over said experiences and we know all religions contain something like meditation while often being disparaging of drug use. So why add drugs on top of this when meditation can perfectly explain it?

The problem about using drugs+ meditation is once again the extreme unreliability of the experiences.

"You can take the exact same amount of the exact same drug every month for a year and al your trips will likely be very different. There is no control or reliability on them , unlike meditation or such practices."

Drugs are 100% reliable at triggering intense altered states of consciousness. You can take drugs as many times as you want and this is guaranteed to be the result. Meditation typically doesnt trigger intense altered states of consciousness, the effect of meditation is more like a kind of mild relaxation.

Mate you are really finding it hard to understand that i never once said drugs don't alter your perception of consciousness. That is kinda the definition of what a recreational  drug does. I am simply saying their is no reliability on just how they change your perceptions. One trip you may talk to mechanical beings and on the next you might be chased by the colour red while end up being lost in fractals on a third. 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.

And you obviously have no real clue on what you are talking about regarding the meditation style practices. The mild relaxation is only the first step in certain practices.

Now i have both taken lots of hallucinogenic drugs and spent ages practicing different forms of meditation and i can promise you the meditation is alot more intense , controllable and reliable. At best the drugs offered me brief glimpses of what is possible without them. The problem is i found most people advocating  drugs to achieve these states are bloody lazy. They are not willing to put in all  the  hard work, patience and self control necessary to achieve these states. They instead expect everything to be handed to them on a golden platter and most of all they want it handed to them right now  without putting any effort into it.

A problem with this theory in my mind: psychedelic tripping doesn't seem to account for the controlling nature of the popular religions. Religious dogma is carefully crafted by coherent controllers for desired effect. One can just as easily argue that religion is born of dreams during REM sleep. I doubt it. I am sure tripping was integral to some religions, but not all.

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.


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