It sounds like a bad idea, but for many religions, both ancient and modern, psychedelic drugs were used to connect to the gods on a spiritual level. Some people even described the drugs as “that which causes God to be within an individual”, and that’s what they used it for.
Studies where a group of students consumed a hallucinogenic drug before entering a service all ended up having the same result. Those who used the drug in the studies stated that they had a powerful religious experience afterward.
Ancient vs. modern day
Various old scriptures and texts in religions all allude to substances or drugs that were used by the congregation to enhance the experience, but the hard part is discovering what exactly those stated drugs are and also how they were used.
Hinduism, for example, testifies that several of their texts talk about soma, a plant that was supposed to give the gods their power and could make the mortal drinker gain immortality and transcended the heavens.
In the modern day of most religions, drug use is either used sparingly or is outright banned when someone joins the religion. Basically, if a religion teaches their worshippers to treat their bodies as sacred places, then drugs, alcohol, and other stimulants are banned.
Ancient religions were not so stringent and instead allowed drug use. Even religions today, for example, religions that still practice shamanism or animism, such as the Native American church still use psychedelic drugs to induce spiritual experiences or commune with the dead.
What the people feel
Many combinations of drugs and the power of the spirit all end with one common phrase. ‘The mystical experience’ which includes a sense of belonging, connection, peace, and even out of time experiences, and no matter the faith or belief system, that experience is all the same.
Even some religious leaders who had taken the substances testify to the power of them in advancing their own spiritual side as well other positive effects.
Love is one of the main cores of this experience, whether it is self-love, love for other humans, and even a love on a cosmic scale. For many, just the sense that someone out there loves us is all that we need, and the psychedelic drugs help us achieve that as well as help heal the barest human problems such as emotional depression.
Drugs in religion are not only relics of the past, but also a good way for several worshippers to connect to their deities and become more involved in the religious process. With studies that showcase a shared mystical experience starting to gain steam in the religious world, we might see a new light shined on the benefits of psychedelic drugs.
By studying the nature of the drug use of past religions, any believer in any faith will gain a better understanding of their own spirituality and understand the love and unity that connects us all, regardless of what we believe in.