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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

Psychological Anthropology:
An Introduction to Human Nature and Cultural Differences.

Bourguignon, Erika. (1979).
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

ISBN: 0-03-034921-4

Description: First edition, viii + 375 pages.

Contents: Preface, 9 chapters, an overview and look ahead, references, name index, subject index.

Excerpts: As we look around, however, it is clear that altered states play an important role in our own society as well. In the 1960s there were veritable drug cults, many of which attached religious or mystical meanings to experiences with hallucinogens. At the same time, there has been a growth of new religions, as well as the revival of old forms, in which emphasis was placed on more or less complex altered states. Most prominent among these old forms have been evangelical Christian groups emphasizing intense conversion experiences, gifts of the spirit such as speaking in tongues (glossolalia), and healing. Many of these practices have moved from backwoods traditional groups and tent revivals to modern electronic missions. The Catholic Church has seen the development of a Neo-Pentecostal or Charismatic movement, and so have some of the Protestant churches. A second type of religious group stressing and encouraging altered states of consciousness has come from the Orient, from India and Japan primarily. A third type has come from Latin America: spiritism from Puerto Rico and various Afro-Caribbean forms from Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, and elsewhere. ...

The counterculture of the 1960s has gone, but the interest in religious experiences and in altered states has remained as its heritage, together with a skeptical stance concerning rationality, technology, and a society based on them. The skepticism has been reinforced by the energy crisis and the scarcity of the 1970s. The traditional churches have not filled the void, but electronic evangelism has done so to a remarkable degree.

Weston La Barre has written that religion is "the response of society to problems the contemporary culture failed to solve." The flourishing of the new and revived religions suggests the failure of other institutions in our society to meet major needs of many people. (pages 267-268)

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