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
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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