Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
The Religious Experience: A Social-Psychological Perspective.
Batson, C. Daniel, and Ventis, W. Larry. (1982).
New York: Oxford University Press.
ISBN: 0-19-503030-2 hardcover
x + 356 pages.
Contents: Preface, 9
chapters divided into 2 parts: 1. Nature
of the Religious Experience, 2. Consequences
of the Religious Experience, appendix: The Scientific
Method and Social Psychology of Religion, references, subject
Excerpt(s): What, then,
does our review of the available research suggest about the effect
of psychedelic drugs on religious experience? Although the research
is not conclusive, we believe it suggests that psychedelic
drugs can and do facilitate religious experience. Moveover, it
suggests that they facilitate religious experience in the way
we proposed, by disrupting the individual's current way of thinking
about one or more existential concerns (the self-surrender stage
of creative religious experience) and by stimulating the imaginal
process, making cognitive reorganization more likely (the new
vision stage). (page 114)
If this analysis is correct, two implications follow.
First, drugs can facilitate but cannot produce creative
religious experience. They can facilitate it if they are used
in the context of an ongoing intrapsychic process that includes
not only self-surrender (incubation) and new vision (illumination)
but also a preceding struggle with one or more existential questions
(preparation) and a subsequent new life (verification). If the
individual is not already wrestling with existential concerns,
psychedelics are not likely to evoke a creative transformation.
This point is underscored by the findings of Masters and Houston,
of the Spring Grove project, and of Pahnke;
in each study religious insight seemed limited to those actively
addressing existential questions (preparation). At the same time,
if the experience is to be more than psychic "fireworks,"
there must be positive consequences for one's everyday life (verification).
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