First of all, what are entheogens? In a nutshell, they are a broad assortment of drugs, including standard members like LSD, mescaline and DMT, which some people have claimed allowed them to experience more of God or of reality beyond what is normally perceived, at least temporarily. This category of psychoactive drugs has gone through some name changes over the decades, starting off as hallucinogens (causing hallucinations) and psychotomimetics (mimicking psychosis to external observers) and relabeled as psychedelics (mind manifesting) in the late 50s, and then breaking apart into a bunch of categories in the decades thereafter, depending on the best purpose a particular drug seemed best put to. Entheogen, a term coined in 1979, means "God creating" because of the aforementioned tendency to (sometimes) create an experience of closeness to God which would have been much less likely to happen spontaneously in the same period. A better name might have been "entheodelic" - God manifesting - to get away from the interpretation of "entheogen" that it is somehow creating God, which seems inconsistent with the intention when the word was coined. Although the development of the terms "hallucinogen" to "entheogen" seems like an evolution, these terms are each still used today and say much more about the assumptions of the author than they do about the drugs themselves.

   The idea that a drug could have anything to do with a sincere effort to know God is almost entirely controversial and odious to both the secular and religious portions of society worldwide. Here are the reasons I think this is:

   So why open this barrel of worms? Did I learn nothing from the perilous tale of Timothy Leary? Yes, I have learned two things:

   You may already have had limited experience with an entheogen and had a vision or experience which seemed at the time like it was spiritually meaningful. At the time you may have thought that things would never be the same, that the new insights and awareness you were having would change your life permanently and that you would be close to God from now on. Then, as the drug wore off, you realized with disappointment that the reality you thought you saw was slipping away, like so many dream dollars, and you wonder if it was real after all. You might have felt convicted to change your life during that experience, but as the sandblaster of time erodes your memory you question both the value of the convictions and your ability to carry them out, given that your self confidence dissipated along with the entheogenic experience. You feel foolish, and hopefully you didn't make any commitments that you now regret. And on top of this, there is the social stigma, the legal risk, the fear of injuring yourself, and maybe a dim awareness that your motives for taking the entheogen were mixed, driven partly by curiosity, boredom, desire for pleasure, or something less than the unwavering desire to know God better. You feel isolated from your family, who would fear for your safety, from society who would despise you for hedonism, from your church who might condemn you for falling into sin or being deceived by the devil, and even by other drug users, most of whom are not consciously striving to know God. Given all this pain, what could possibly motivate you to even ponder your experience, much less consider experiencing more? One reason might be, if you reflect enough, that what you are discovering as you strive to know God without drugs integrates seamlessly with that you experienced under the influence of entheogens. In other words, God is the same regardless of our state of mind. As you question whether to take an entheogen again, you might conclude that ultimately it should be a matter between God and yourself - the opinion of other people, for or against, should not be the final factor, and this applies to anything God asks us to do. The most important thing each of us can do in this life is to know God, so nothing that other people want us to do should deter us from that goal. This doesn't answer the question of "what should you do", but suggests a way of getting the answer. What I do at this point, to follow God, is to make the best decision I can given everything I can see, keeping in mind that God is fully aware of what I can see and what I can't, and is fully aware of when I have made the best decision I can based on what I know, and then I have to trust that God will inform me somehow if the plan I made is not what is best for me. This seems to be working both in allowing me to follow God's plan and in bringing me peace despite my limited awareness of what is best. In regard to entheogens I have searched myself thoroughly to find and remove any unwillingness to change my mind regarding the potential value of entheogens, and prayed many times that God would correct my understanding of them if I were mistaken. Certainly what I have written is not the final word, but it is honestly the best I can do.

   One more pitfall of entheogen use, as if the above were insufficient, is that using entheogenic drugs to experience the presence of God can lead to the mistaken belief that they are required to do so. Entheogens have even been called a crutch, in the same deriding way that alcohol is called a crutch for coping with reality, but I think the analogy is actually more accurate in the case of entheogens. The purpose of a crutch is to allow a person to regain full use of their legs, or gain it for the first time in the case where someone has developmental difficulties. It would be rude to mock somebody for depending on a crutch while striving for the ability to walk normally, but it would also be limiting to keep using crutches when one has perfectly good legs.

   The surprising reply I have received to these questions of the utility of entheogens is that it doesn't matter. God doesn't care whether or not I take entheogens. What is most important remains knowing Him, and whatever seems to facilitate that process is therefore justified. The benefit of entheogens is not stable. What gives revelations this year may be disillusioning and empty the next. Knowing God is like this - the road may be straight in terms of being shortest, once the resolution is set, but it meanders all through creation, like a labyrinth, on the way to Him. At least that has been my experience. There is no magic pill. Nothing works the same twice. And it is definitely a mistake to restrict the means to knowing God to only entheogens.

   There is much more I would share if my family were willing to tolerate persecution for the sake of this topic, but until they are you are welcome to contact me privately on my web forum.