Will the current Catholic scandal in Pennsylvania cause many people to rethink the basic premises of Catholicism and other religions? Probably not, because there are too many hurdles to overcome, such as the (so-called) religious experience of common folk, the religiosity of those in power, and the social pressure that binds families and communities together.
Here are a few concepts to rethink:
● Clergy being accepted as infallible in understanding and behavior.
● What is (and isn’t) the Word of God?
● Are religious experiences what they seem to be?
Why did religious people commit sex crimes? Well, sex scandals and sex crimes often abound where celibacy is the recommended behavior. Sexuality is a very powerful force.
And why did other religious people cover up the sex crimes? My response is that when people think their religion provides the path to the highest purpose of life, they are often willing to do unethical actions to safeguard their religion’s reputation.
DMT and NDE
Researchers at Imperial College London found that DMT causes similar experiences as Near Death Experiences (NDE). DMT is the compound found in the ayahuasca plant that is used in some South American shamanic ceremonies. (A summary in a press release. A scholarly article.)
Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, who leads the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London and who supervised the research, said:
“These findings are important as they remind us that NDE occur because of significant changes in the way the brain is working, not because of something beyond the brain. DMT is a remarkable tool that can enable us to study and thus better understand the psychology and biology of dying.“
I hope this kind of research causes people to question the explanations for other spiritual experiences. I have many blog posts that speculate that many so-called spiritual experiences are not what they seem and not what spiritual teachers say that they are. Perhaps my best blog post on this is Extraordinary mental shifts.