I’ve actually written about a couple of weird, psychedelic experiences I’ve had. Although they weren’t entirely life-changing for me, I can imagine that stronger ones would be life-changing for others. I suspect religions begin with altered states of consciousness, which get lost in translation over the centuries.

Did you get to the last section of the article? I do criticize reason, since I take an existentialist view of some of these underlying questions. See, for example, this article I wrote back in 2011, which shows that theism is irrational, given the standard lame arguments offered in defense of religious beliefs, but which then goes on to point out that this shouldn’t matter to the theist:

“Luckily for the theist, none of this should matter. The notion that theism needs to be rational is a piece of scientism, which can be discredited. Humans may be the best thinkers around, but we’re still animals and few if any of our important decisions are rational. We choose our deepest beliefs not because we calculate the odds or look over a set of arguments, but because of our experiences, feelings, and character. Once that nonrational work is done, we look for reasons to add to the cognitive edifice, but even here we seldom exercise pure logic; instead, we incline to the many biases and fallacies that our genes have built into our brains, upholding, for example, confirmatory evidence and passing over evidence that counts against our assumptions.”

Or as I said in the above article, besides the exoteric debate about God’s existence, which presupposes the rationalist values of the Enlightenment, “There’s also an underlying, secret, or unpopular debate that isn’t about whether theism or atheism is rational in the narrow sense. This hidden debate is more existential and is about whether the values of modernity are superior to the premodern values, say, of monotheism.”

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store