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Drugs - religion vs spirituality

excreationist

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I'm under the impression that in religions such as Christianity drugs such as psychedelics are not allowed. Is this not the case for some religions? Apparently some "spiritual" people use drugs to have spiritual experiences.
Also:
https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/2945/Pharmakeia.htm
"Sorcery," intriguingly, is pharmakeia in Greek, from which we derive our words "pharmacy" and "pharmaceutical." Diviners, enchanters, witches, and sorcerers employed drugs and other potions to put them or their clients "in the spirit" so their "magic" would work. The drugs, then, came to stand for sorcery of all kinds.
Mormons are even stricter on drugs because they outlaw caffeinated drinks.
 

Gnostic Christian Bishop

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I'm under the impression that in religions such as Christianity drugs such as psychedelics are not allowed. Is this not the case for some religions? Apparently some "spiritual" people use drugs to have spiritual experiences.
Also:
https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/2945/Pharmakeia.htm
"Sorcery," intriguingly, is pharmakeia in Greek, from which we derive our words "pharmacy" and "pharmaceutical." Diviners, enchanters, witches, and sorcerers employed drugs and other potions to put them or their clients "in the spirit" so their "magic" would work. The drugs, then, came to stand for sorcery of all kinds.
Mormons are even stricter on drugs because they outlaw caffeinated drinks.

I have not heard any who has tried drugs for enlightenment speak of any enlightenment.

Have you heard of anything, and what was it if you have?

As an aside, one of the experts that studies the dead sea scrolls ended in seeing Christianity, or the Essenes at that time as a mushroom cult.

The, Jesus was a mushroom phrase came from that.

The Vatican black balled him, of course.

Too close to the truth, perhaps.

https://medium.com/omgfacts/this-religious-scholar-thought-jesus-was-a-mushroom-ab27d134c1f4

Regards
DL
 

excreationist

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I have not heard any who has tried drugs for enlightenment speak of any enlightenment.

Have you heard of anything, and what was it if you have?
I only talked about spiritual experiences not the lofty goal of "enlightenment".

Here are examples of spiritual experiences that could be very loosely based on those involving drugs

[YOUTUBE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1ZGEvJPQ6A[/YOUTUBE]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfwReaULI9M&t=54s (skip to 54 seconds)
[YOUTUBE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfwReaULI9M&t=54s[/YOUTUBE]
 

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Of course! Almost all religions use psychoactive substances of some kind or another.

- For Christianity, and almost all European traditions, alcohol plays a significant role in spirituality. Long before most of the trappings of Christianity you would recognize today, the ritual of the Eucharist ("grace-giving") was the center of Christian communal life, and many of the earliest references to the faith mention the cerermony. In the Eucharist, wine is used to symbolize the blood of the sacrificed Christ, and is ritually consumed. While modern Christianity usually involves only a token finger-glass of the wine (and huffy Puritans are known to substitute non-alcoholic grape juice), through much of Christian history much more alcohol was consumed in the ritual meal.

- This custom was borrowed from Christianity's predecessor faith, Judaism, and alcohol plays a similarly important role in that tradition, being an element of very significant rituals such as the Passover seder meal, wedding ceremonies, and many others.

- Alcohol plays a role in many other religious customs around the world as well. For instance, in Peru, an alcoholic beverage called chicha has been brewed from ancient times, and before Christianity, a libation of chicha was the start of nearly every ritual activity, followed by a shared round of drinking. This practice has been incorporated into the syncretic Christianity of the modern Andes.

- In a similar note, visitors to the South Pacific will be familiar with the drink known as kava, a psychoactive fermented beverage that has likewise been the entry to all rituals religious or civic from ancient times and still today, despite missionaries and various foreign empires unsucessfully trying to end the practice in places like Fiji, Pohnpei, Yap, and many other archipelago communities.

- In pre-Christian Europe, alcohol is known to have played various roles in spiritual contexts, and modern Pagan revivalists follow suit with a ritual called "Cakes and Ale" that ends most magical gatherings. The "ale" may be any number of drinks in practice, from actual ales, to wine, to honeyed mead. Mead is especially important to practitioners of the Northern Tradition, and a mead libation is component of almost every blot, or worship service. Pagans also have a much more relaxed attitude toward other psychoactive drugs, considering them a valid if not optimal way to reach the divine.

- It's not just alcohol, even in Europe. In ancient times, it's thought that Hellenistic temple priestesses used various psychoatives to help them produce oracular pronouncements, and opium seeds played a role in many magical-medical healing rites; revivalist groups have attempted to resurrect both customs on occasion. Some here may recognize the name of Aleister Crowley, founder of the Thelema religion, who highly encouraged the use of opiates among his followers.

- The New Age Movement, a disparate collection of apocalyptic faiths and practices from the early 20th c onward, is well-known for its embrace of various psychoactive drugs as a tool to help new followers release their minds from material confinement. After the discovery of LSD, many New Age groups were early adopters.

- Tobacco played a role in many religious ceremonies of the US Northeast and Canadian southeast in the pre-Colonial period, and was part of the usual herbarium to be found in any medicine-worker's bundle.

- Advocates for cannabis usage will be quick to tell you about the vast array of religious uses of the substance, starting from ancient times in the Indian subcontinent where the plant was first cultivated and spreading to many other places. Cannabis usage in religious settings was especially popular in the Americas when the plant began to be imported, and is today used by the Native American Church in the US and in the Rastafarian movement of the Caribbean, in which tradition it is called ganja and is used in a context similar to that of the Eucharist.

- Sacred Datura is a common weed throughout Central and North America, and its seeds and flowers can be processed into a psychoactive agent; the name of the plant should be a hint as to its religious context in pre-Columbian times. The side effects of the drug are severe enough to make it unpopular as a recreational drug, so unlike most of the others mentioned above, its primary use in the modern world is spiritual rather than secular. It creates full-blown hallucinations, and is used by medicine-workers to take extended "journeys" into the spiritual realm to retrieve lost souls and witness events happening far away or at other points in time.

- In the Amazon basin, shamans have used any number of different psychoactive drugs to initiate similar trips into the spiritual realm, the most well-known being the Ayahuasca herb around which a modern medical tourism craze has been building over the last few decades. There are many others, though. For instance, Yanomami-speaking peoples use a drug called yakoana, which is said to make normally invisible spirits visible to the person who imbibes it.

-The Huichol-speaking peoples of the Sierra Madre of Mexico make an annual pilgrimage to the location where the psychoactive Peyote plant was said to have first been granted to humanity by the Gods as a way to allow temporary transit to their realm. Famously, the Peyote plant left the region and became the central practice of a widespread apocalyptic religious movement in the 19th century, spreading rapidly throughout much of the territory still autonomous from European rule during that era - what later became the Plains region of Canada and the US, throughout the Caribbean coastal regions, down into Southern Mexico, and many other places. Of the many syncretic influences that combined to create the Native American Church, the Peyote movement was the most influential, and the substance still plays a sacramental role for members of the church. The NAC strongly advocates against the legalization of peyote itself for recreational use, for fear that popularization and industrialization could easily lead to the extinction of the wild plant, which only grows in a handful of regions.

The above is not an exhaustive list, just what came to mind. Humanity's relationship with the spirit realm has been aided by various psychoactive agents since long before the historical record begins, and on every continent.
 

excreationist

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Of course! Almost all religions use psychoactive substances of some kind or another.

- For Christianity, and almost all European traditions, alcohol plays a significant role in spirituality. Long before most of the trappings of Christianity you would recognize today, the ritual of the Eucharist ("grace-giving") was the center of Christian communal life, and many of the earliest references to the faith mention the cerermony. In the Eucharist, wine is used to symbolize the blood of the sacrificed Christ, and is ritually consumed. While modern Christianity usually involves only a token finger-glass of the wine (and huffy Puritans are known to substitute non-alcoholic grape juice), through much of Christian history much more alcohol was consumed in the ritual meal.​
I don't think the sip of alcohol is causing any spiritual experience.... apparently replacing it with grape juice gives the same spiritual experience.

I was concerned with spiritual experiences from hallucinogens like in those videos - especially DMT. (Note that in the Altered States video it originally is about sensory deprivation but it involves drugs later in the movie)

Well my title was about "drugs".... I should have been more specific so that tobacco and alcohol wouldn't be included. Also me mentioning caffeine would have made tobacco and alcohol seem relevant....
 

excreationist

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You may find that reading entire posts can be a surprisingly instructive personal habit.
Yeah you mentioned DMT (Ayahuasca) and "full-blown hallucinations" - those could clearly be thought to involve spiritual experiences.... things like tobacco and a sip of alcohol - not so much. In the same way that grape juice involves a spiritual experience it could be argued that the wafer/bread involves a spiritual experience.... (but I'm not talking about that kind of spiritual experience)

BTW what do you think about my belief that religions like Christianity are against certain drugs like hallucinogens? Maybe it is related to my quote about "pharmakeia". (you didn't seem to address that)
 

atrib

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You may find that reading entire posts can be a surprisingly instructive personal habit.


One can only dream of a universe where every poster actually reads the posts they are responding to, and specifically addresses the points made in the posts. What a utopia that would be - almost a heaven.
 

rousseau

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The above is not an exhaustive list, just what came to mind. Humanity's relationship with the spirit realm has been aided by various psychoactive agents since long before the historical record begins, and on every continent.

For the most part drugs tend to intensify the ontology that's already there, so this doesn't surprise me at all. It makes us able to see what we want to see more clearly and vividly, strengthening our relationship to our beliefs.

Also, they're fun.
 
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southernhybrid

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I would need to be heavily sedated with drugs if I were to ever attend a church service again. I'm serious. Just being inside a church brings back horrible memories from my childhood. I've even had to walk out of wedding or funeral services held in churches a few times in my life due to the things said by the priest or pastor that made me want to vomit. But, maybe if I had a little weed, I might find it all amusing. Churches are creepy places to me, despite knowing that some people really enjoy being there.

Drugs do help us cope with the harsh realities of life, so why not use them to make religion seem more tolerable. I'm not knocking those who enjoy religious ritual, if that's your thing. I just don't find anything about them worthy of my time.

But, it's not just drugs. Some people get really worked up by the music and emotions that occur during church services. I rewatched the old Steve Martin movie, "Leap of Faith" a few days ago and I really enjoyed the gospel music. It was jammin'. So, with or without drugs, a lot of people are able to get worked up in church services due to the emotional highs that some receive during the service. Can I get an Amen! :D

Maybe I could be a Rastafarian, since I read they allow white people to join these days. ;)
 

excreationist

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You may find that reading entire posts can be a surprisingly instructive personal habit.
I see you went to a lot of effort. The early mention of alcohol a lot of times then tobacco put me off while skim reading. I guess you were offended when I didn't realise you had already mentioned DMT and hallucinations.

Perhaps you misread my original post:
Of course! Almost all religions use psychoactive substances of some kind or another.
I wrote:
"I'm under the impression that in religions such as Christianity drugs such as psychedelics are not allowed"


I wanted to explore how religions are against drugs.... like in the Mormon example it is concerned with avoiding caffeine.
 

excreationist

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You may discuss whatever you like.
Well you have a lot of knowledge about drugs in religions and spirituality... so I'd assume you'd also be knowledgeable about religions being against drugs for religious reasons?
 

rousseau

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I wanted to explore how religions are against drugs.... like in the Mormon example it is concerned with avoiding caffeine.

AFAIK abstinence, or at least moderation, in drugs/alcohol is a thing in some Eastern sects (among Buddhists for example). The idea usually being that drugs inebriate and cloud the mind from behaving in a positive way. If you're interested in exploring the idea further you might search for undercurrents in asceticism.

Religions tend to land somewhere on the spectrum of indulgence/moderation/asceticism, but to generalize with regards to asceticism I think you're basically looking at a 'self control and natural is good' type of philosophy. Spirituality via transcending our own darker impulses and addictions.

Which, in a way, is an entirely reasonable and intuitive approach to living a good life even for the non-religious.
 
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