April 23, 2019
Johns Hopkins Medicine
In a survey of thousands of people who reported having experienced personal encounters with God, researchers report that more than two-thirds of self-identified atheists shed that label after their encounter, regardless of whether it was spontaneous or while taking a psychedelic.
I can't wait to have this same study done on self-identified agnostics. I want to believe that we will not shift our perspective in as large numbers as atheist but wanting to believe doesn't make it so.
"I can't wait to have this same study done on self-identified agnostics. I want to believe that we will not shift our perspective in as large numbers as atheist but wanting to believe doesn't make it so".
What, because they're already middle of the road you think you'll have to worry less about regression to the mean? (See what I did there)
There are some profound experiences which humans can have, which are a real phenomenon, at least in the sense that dreams are a real phenomenon, and which have been consistent enough over time and throughout all cultures, that humans are perennially inclined to call "an encounter with God." This is a fact.
Now whether that thing we are calling God actually has the qualities and substance we attribute to it is a separate question, but the phenomenon has a long and remarkably consistent history in human experience. It is, at minimum, a real part of human nature, and, having been recorded in virtually all human cultures, at all periods of time in which humans have existed, it meets the rule of thumb for most likely being an adaptive trait.
So the question of whether God exists is not really a very useful, or even interesting, question. Certainly something exists that our species keeps referring to as "God". The more useful question is "What is God's nature"? An all-powerful person who created the universe, or an evolved aspect of our collective unconscious... or maybe something we've not begun to understand yet?
What exactly does self identified atheist mean...is there any other kind? What is more to the point is where were they on the belief spectrum before they identified as an atheist. I think the idea of someone like me, who has never believed, recanting that disbelief after some hallucinatory experience, is about as likely as me turning into a pumpkin!
Fascinating! What is next? Christians encouraging the taking of psychedelics to eliminate atheistic thinking? Wouldn't that be a twist!
IMO, self-identified atheists run the gamut, from those who at one time were deeply religious to those who were raised without any concept of a deity. In other words, a range from the highly negative (in terms of their prior upbringing) to the relatively ambivalent. It would be interesting to delve deeper into the data, to see if there were any correlation with prior religious belief and retaining (or shedding) one's self-identified atheist label.
Heard Joni Mitchell say in an underwhelming documentary this week about Laurel Canyon LA and all those hangers-on in the late 60s, that she took acid and saw quantum mechanics, the universe, and the meaning of everything and lots more. Okay, so drugs addle the brain. Guess I always knew that. Guess that's why I have always stayed away from them.
Underwhelmed by this research am I Middle.
I would assume the numbers would similar for agnostics with a slightly higher percentage do to less skepticism.
The take away... psychedelics are deeply moving! Some attribute it to external forces, some realize it's all internal, but just about all can agree that it's moving.
Meanwhile on the reservation:
A charter was granted by the State of Oklahoma on October 10, 1918 placing the Peyote Ceremony on a basis of legal equality with other religions by providing Constitutional Protection through the establishment of a Native American Church. This is perhaps the most important cultural contribution by the Comanches to the lives of other Native American Indians.