ISBN is

978-1-58542-034-6 / 1585420344

Cleansing the Doors of Perception: The Religious Significance of Entheogenic Plants and Chemicals

by Smith, Huston

Publisher:Tarcher

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

Cleansing the Doors of Perception is a fresh consideration of the age-old relationship between psychedelics and mystical experience, by one of the most trustworthy religious writers of our time. Author Huston Smith (most famous for his classic The World's Religions) is the Walter Cronkite of religion scholars. He has long believed that "Drugs appear to be able to induce religious experiences" and that "it is less evident that they can produce religious lives". At the same time, he posits that "if ... religion cannot be equated with religious experiences, neither can it long survive their absence". Therefore, Smith's basic question about entheogens (a word he defines as "nonaddictive mind-altering substances that are approached seriously and reverently") is "whether chemical substances can be helpful adjuncts to faith". Cleansing the Doors does not offer one sustained argument in response to that question. Instead, the book collects Smith's many articles about this subject, and connects them with brief introductory essays. The writings gathered here range from personal testimony about Smith's own experience with entheogens to speculative historical writing about the possibility of Cardinal John Henry Newman's experience with such chemicals, to ethnographic work on the use of entheogens in India. Throughout, Smith's style conveys the wisdom and wonder that has guided his explorations of this strange, fascinating aspect of religious experience. --Michael Joseph Gross

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