Religious Leaders Get High on Shrooms for Science
In what seems like a desperate yet respectable attempt at making science and religion both amicable and cool, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have set out to get 12 religious leaders of varying faiths to practically get high on magic mushrooms. The spiritually-devout participants have been enlisted in a scientific investigation—the first of its kind—that will study the effects of psychedelic drugs on religious experience. Will getting high facilitate our search for higher truths?
Most, with reason, will probably doubt the legitimacy of the involved religious leaders, while others may question how the hell the researchers were able to get the members to participate in the first place, but Dr. William Richards of the university reasons that, “With psilocybin, these profound mystical experiences are quite common. It seemed like a no-brainer that they might be of interest, if not valuable, to clergy.” In other words, the researcher doesn’t necessarily encourage that you offer your pastor hallucinogens at Sunday mass, but that perhaps you shouldn’t be so shocked if he or she takes you up on it.
The guinea pigs of said experiment, also referred to as “religious leaders,” will include Catholic, Orthodox, and Presbyterian priests, a Zen Buddhist, and several rabbis—so like a melting pot of religion? Or is it mixing bowl now? Anyway, Richards claims that, “just about all bases are covered,” but the study still lacks figures to represent the Muslim and Hindu religions.
The study is already being conducted, having had several participants take two powerful doses of psilocybin in two different sessions, one month apart. The faithful figureheads are instructed to lay on a couch with their eyes shut, while listening to religious music that aims to augment their journey to… whatever holy destination their hallucinating minds may take them. There has been much debate to whether this is considered science or not, but what we know is that it’s fucking interesting. The team has stood their ground in the discussion, reckoning that they are employing detailed psychology-based questionnaires with independent factors in assessing the experiences. The question, however, isn’t whether or not they’ll have psychedelic experiences—for that is expected—but how their religious devotion may interact and influence with said episodes. Perhaps this super questionable experiment will bare the answer to humanity’s questions, 1. Is there life after death? 2. Is Britney Spears lip syncing?
Featured image via YouTube
Stay tuned to Milk for more on the intersection of religion and psychedelic drugs.