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OfflineAdamist
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Drugs, and their effect upon Religion...
    #954051 - 10/12/02 02:16 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Here is a report I did on religious drug-use last year.... Thought I'd share with anyone who is interested in this type of stuff. :smile:

Introduction
    Where did religion come from? Across the world, religion and mythology link almost every society that's ever existed. Why is this such a comman theme? What is the link between all these different cultures that existed in different locations and time periods? In the following paper I will explore the possibility that religion originated from the ingestion of certain psychedelic drugs. Drugs such as psilocybin mushrooms expand perception beyond the normal restrictions of the sober state. Could a drug such as this have provided primitive man with ideas such as gods, heavens and hells, and life after death?

The History of Religious Drug Use
    For thousands of years, humanity has been involved in a symbiotic relationship with plants. Not only have plants supplied mankind with a never ending food-source feeding our bodies with the nourishment necessary to stay alive, but there is another extremely important relationship that is often overlooked. I am referring to those plants which have traditionally been known to chemically expand human consciousness into mystical and spiritual states.
 
    The discovery of the religious properties of drugs seem to surprise many people. The Mexican psilocybin mushroom has been used by the Aztecs for centuries in their sacraments. Their word for it meant "God's flesh." Over 300 mushroom stones have been found throughout Mesoamerica, some dating as far back as 1000 B.C. When the Spanish invaded what is now known as Mexico and South America they executed psychedelic-using natives, and the religions and healing practices were forced underground. A strong shamanic tradition persisted for centuries.
   
    Throughout history, there is evidence to suggest that almost every culture has had some form of drug-enhanced ritual practice. R. Gordon Wasson and Richard Evans Schultes have suggested that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was the legendary "soma" which is described in the "Rig-Veda," an apparently psychedelic substance that was used in a variety of religious ceremonies. This same mushroom is also used in a shamanistic setting by many different tribes of Siberia. Other well-documented ritualistic use includes the use of Ayahuasca by native peoples of Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.
   
    There is some evidence to suggest that the secret potion that was part of the initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries in ancient Greece contained a hallucinogenic drug. Aristotle, Plato, and Sophocles all participated in religious ceremonies at Eleusis, in an unusal temple honoring Demeter, the Goddess of Earth. For over two milennia, thousands of pilgrims journeyed fourteen miles from Athens to Eleusis, paying the equivalent of a month's wage for the privilege of attending the annual ceremony. Upon arriving at the temple, they gathered in the initiation hall. Inside the temple, pilgrims sat in rows that descended step-wise to a hidden, central chamber from which a potion was served. The pilgrims spent the night together and reportedly came away forever changed. In this pavilion crowded with pillars, ceremonies occurred, known by historians as the Eleusian Mysteries. No revelation of the ceremony's secrets could be mentioned under the punishment of imprisonment or death. These ceremonies continued until repressed in the early centuries of the Christian era.
   
    The peyote button (the top of a certain spineless cactus plant), has been used by Native American Indian tribes in religous ceremonies since ancient times. At present it is represented by the Native American Church. Peyote among the Indians has, not surprisingly, had a history of controversy. However, despite years of repressive laws and legal harassment, there has been little or no hard evidence of claims made of its harmfulness. More importantly, laws made to repress the sacramental use of peyote have been declared unconstitutional in several states on the ground that they have violated constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion.
   
    Worship involving psychedelic plants and their use in spiritual pursuits can be traced to the beginnings of recorded history. The major role these plants played in the formation of early religions has been documented by several historians. These historical examples serve to raise the question of whether or not such ritual use has a practical place in the present day.

Religous Experience vs. Drug Induced Experience
    At Princeton, students were shown accounts of a religious experience and a psychedelic experience, and two-thirds of the students identified the drug-induced experience as the religious one.
   
    Not only do psychedelic drugs appear to duplicate religious experience; It is possible that religion itself is psychedelic in origin. One of the major spokesmen for this viewpoint has been Gordon Wasson, an authority on the psychedelic mushrooms of Mexico, who has suggested that primitive men may have stumbled many times upon innocent-looking plants which produce the same effects as LSD. These drugs, possibly mushrooms, might well have been a "mighty springboard" which first put the idea of God into men's heads.
   
    Every drug experience is a mix of three ingredients: drug, set and setting.
"Set refers to that which the subject brings to the situation, his earlier imprinting, his learning, his temperament, his emotional, ethical and rational predilections and, perhaps most important, his immediate expectations about the drug experience. Setting refers to the environment, social, physical, emotional, to the milieu of the session. This most important aspect of setting is the behavior, understanding and empathy of the person or persons who first administer the drug and who remain with the taker for the period that the drug is in effect." -Tim Leary
   
    There are, of course, many drug experiences which don't have a religious feature; they can be sensual as readily as spiritual, trivial as readily as transforming, inconsistent as readily as sacramental. But given the right set and setting, certain drugs can induce religious experiences indistinguishable from ones that occur spontaneously.

Psychedelic Drugs And The Evolution Of Man
    The presence of psychedelic substances in the diet of early human beings created a number of changes in our evolutionary situation. When a person takes small amounts of psilocybin their visual accuracy improves. They can actually see slightly better, and this means that animals allowing psilocybin into their food chain would have increased hunting success, which means increased food supply, which means increased reproductive success, which is what evolution is all about. The presence of psilocybin in the diet of early pack-hunting primates caused the ones that were ingesting the psilocybin to have increased visual accuracy. At slightly higher doses of psilocybin there is sexual arousal and erection and everything that goes under the term arousal of the central nervous system. More reproductive success...
   
    Try to imagine yourself as a neolithic human, most of your attention given to survival, the more complex areas of your brain just beginning to develop. Now ingest say, a handful of psilocybin mushrooms, or the psychedelic plant Ayahuasca. Imagine what kinds of images and information would now be flowing through your mind!
   
    As prehistoric men and women foraged for food they must have eaten the psychedelic plants which grow in nearly all regions of the world. Ingesting these plants would have produced awe inspiring experiences, and it is quite likely that the origin of ideas about gods, heavens and hells, life after death, etc. began with the ingestion of psychedelic plants.

Conclusion
    "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God," said Jesus. This is exactly what some people have reported through hallucinogenic drug-use. They found their lives by losing them. It is for these reasons that neither scholarship nor religious study, neither the university nor the church, not the scientist, the artist, nor the mystic can neglect informing themselves of the opportunities for personal growth available through chemical ecstasy. In a time of such hysteria over a controversial subject, the true intellectual and religious inquirer cannot fully rely on information from others, not even the most scientific rumor. They dare not refuse to look at themselves through Galileo's telescope.
   
    As we search for ways of understanding the possibly infinite resources of human consciousness, I suggest that the potential of psychedelics as tools for learning should not be ignored. Today, when the survival of our planet is at stake, there is an urgent need to work responsibly in every aspect of human effort. By refusing to walk where fools rushed in, we may be turning away from significant learning about human experience and how the mind works.

Amen.     


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Offlinepattern
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Re: Drugs, and their effect upon Religion... [Re: Adamist]
    #954826 - 10/12/02 12:25 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

I like it!

I think that the discovery of the link between psychedelics and religion is a good thing, but many find it demeaning to their faith. People are eager to write it off as "drug delusions".

hmm but what is more delusional, to believe that psychedelic plants induce mystical visions, or to believe that a giant with a white beard comes to the Earth and talks to people? fairy tales vs facts.

Anyone who was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, probably ate some interesting cactus!


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man = monkey + mushroom


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OfflineLOPHO.MP
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Re: Drugs, and their effect upon Religion... [Re: pattern]
    #954903 - 10/12/02 01:55 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)


Bravo Adamist!!

This is exactly the kind of thing that the general public needs to be reading. The masses, especially in America, get force fed very one-sided info. about drugs. There needs to be some kind of counter movement.

What was this report for?


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---Still Searching---


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OfflineAdamist
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Re: Drugs, and their effect upon Religion... [Re: LOPHO.MP]
    #954912 - 10/12/02 02:05 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Thanks, it was for my Psychology class... my teacher really liked it, but said it was more of a Sociology subject. Oh well, I got an A. :smile: 


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Offlinemr_kite
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Re: Drugs, and their effect upon Religion... [Re: LOPHO.MP]
    #954914 - 10/12/02 02:05 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

I second that. Great stuff.


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let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love


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OfflineGrowingVines
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Re: Drugs, and their effect upon Religion... [Re: mr_kite]
    #955217 - 10/12/02 04:31 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Have to agree. Great post. Agreed humans should kinda go back to some of the primitive beliefs. Eat some mushrooms and look at ones self and see who you really are and ask where ye came from.

peace out my brothers, for everyone has a bit of insanity in them


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Peace out my brothers, for everyone has a bit of insanity in them


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Anonymous

Re: Drugs, and their effect upon Religion... [Re: Adamist]
    #955490 - 10/12/02 07:01 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Sorry to disagree but this section:

The peyote button (the top of a certain spineless cactus plant), has been used by Native American Indian tribes in religous ceremonies since ancient times. At present it is represented by the Native American Church. Peyote among the Indians has, not surprisingly, had a history of controversy. However, despite years of repressive laws and legal harassment, there has been little or no hard evidence of claims made of its harmfulness. More importantly, laws made to repress the sacramental use of peyote have been declared unconstitutional in several states on the ground that they have violated constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion.

Is a bit misleading. Peyotism in America is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Check your sources.

Cheers,


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OfflineAdamist
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Re: Drugs, and their effect upon Religion... [Re: ]
    #956088 - 10/13/02 02:08 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Oh feel free to disagree... it can be educational.

Unfortunately, I don't remember my sources....  :grin: 


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Drugs, and their effect upon Religion... [Re: Adamist]
    #956167 - 10/13/02 03:02 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

The native americans who'se range extended over the peyote growing areas in Texas and northern mexico have used it since ancient times. It began to be used by nothern tribes in the mid-late 1800's.


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Don't worry, B. Caapi


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