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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

The Philosophy of Religion.

Smart, Ninian. (1979).
New York: Oxford University Press.

ISBN: 0-19-520138-8 hardcover

0-19-520139-6 paperback

Description: Hardcover, x + 196 pages.

Contents: Preface, 6 chapters, postscript, index.

Note: First published in the United States and Canada by Random House in 1970. First published in Great Britain in 1979 by Sheldon Press.

Excerpt(s): Indeed, the fact that the Object of worship is liable to be conceived as possessing eternity and promising eternal life, beyond the vicissitudes and contingencies of mundane existence, means that religious values are as much liable to challenge social conventions as to validate them. Earthly goals come, so to say, under a higher scrutiny. This is one reason for the "world-denying" element that keeps recurring in religious history.

There is something of this, for instance, in the LSD cult which has developed in recent years. Here is a substance which its users consider to give them a kind of window on reality, through which one sees something deeper and more significant than that which is given in everyday experience. It provides a living meaning which ties in with a social protest and withdrawal from the goals which ordinary social success demands. The movement is thus simultaneously (like much religion) one whose central experience is held to justify itself and a means of social criticism and protest. All this is not to say that the movement has the right values or that LSD stands comparison with the practices of the great religions in bringing people to a knowledge of some transcendental truth. It may be a false, foolish, and dangerous cult, just as some religions are liable to be false, foolish, and dangerous. It is not our present concern to argue these questions, but only to illustrate ways in which the transcendental values and central experience of religious cults can themselves be as much a challenge to existing conventions as a means of validating them. (pages 95-96)

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