The Atlantic: Atheists Are Sometimes More Religious Than Christians

One can just hear Saint Paul engaging with pagan postmoderns today the way he did in Athens nearly 2,000 years ago when he complimented them on being “religious” (Acts chapter 17, verse 22).  The Atlantic magazine has published a brief essay about recent Pew Research data showing that the human yearning for a deeper sense of meaning (reflected in the historical setting of Acts 17) is as alive today as it was during the first century after Jesus Christ’s resurrection.  Read The Atlantic article here:  https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/05/american-atheists-religious-european-christians/560936/

Readers familiar with the 1960s may also see a similar religious-like search for transcendence in the likes of Timothy Leary.  Here are a few Wikipedia paragraphs about Leary’s existential search for divine revelation:

On September 19, 1966, Leary reorganized the IFIF/Castalia Foundation under the nomenclature of the League for Spiritual Discovery, a religion with LSD as its holy sacrament, in part as an unsuccessful attempt to maintain legal status for the use of LSD and other psychedelics for the religion’s adherents, based on a “freedom of religion” argument.  Leary incorporated the League for Spiritual Discovery as a religious organization in New York State, and their belief structure was based on Leary’s mantra: “drop out, turn on, tune in.”  The Brotherhood of Eternal Love subsequently considered Leary their spiritual leader, but The Brotherhood did not develop out of International Federation for Internal Freedom.) Nicholas Sand, the clandestine chemist for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, followed Leary to Millbrook and joined the League for Spiritual Discovery. Sand was designated the “alchemist” of the new religion. . . .

During late 1966 and early 1967, Leary toured college campuses presenting a multimedia performance entitled “The Death of the Mind”, attempting an artistic replication of the LSD experience. He said that the League for Spiritual Discovery was limited to 360 members and was already at its membership limit, but he encouraged others to form their own psychedelic religions. He published a pamphlet in 1967 called Start Your Own Religion to encourage people to do so.

. . . “Drop Out – detach yourself from the external social drama which is as dehydrated and ersatz as TV. Turn On – find a sacrament which returns you to the temple of God, your own body. Go out of your mind. Get high. Tune In – be reborn. Drop back in to express it. Start a new sequence of behavior that reflects your vision.”

. . . From 1989 on, Leary had begun to re-establish his connection to unconventional religious movements with an interest in altered states of consciousness. In 1989, he appeared with friend and book collaborator Robert Anton Wilson in a dialog entitled The Inner Frontier for the Association for Consciousness Exploration, a Cleveland-based group that had been responsible for his first Cleveland, Ohio appearance in 1979. After that, he appeared at the Starwood Festival, a major Neo-Pagan event run by ACE, in 1992 and 1993. In front of hundreds of Neo-Pagans in 1992 he declared, “. . . I’ve always considered myself a Pagan.” He also collaborated with Eric Gullichsen on Load and Run High-tech Paganism: Digital Polytheism.

St. Paul’s model of ever trying to daisy-chain people to Jesus Christ should spur us on to likewise point those already seeking meaning and truth to the only Good News that can make sense of life.

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