Christianity Today’s Mark Galli Revisits Psilocybin Research

Mark Galli, who wrote about my transformative mystical experience under the influence of psilocybin-containing mushrooms in Christianity Today, revisits the subject in light of the recent spate of articles about the Hopkins research. I addressed his original article and how he labeled my beliefs about the experience “narcissistic” here, and he responded with some thoughtful comments.

In his current article, The End of Christianity as We Know It, he again mentions my experience, though he inaccurately labels me as a Roman Catholic (I was raised Roman Catholic, but haven’t considered myself a mainstream Christian, much less a Catholic, since I began to question Catholic dogma as a preteen). He also unwittingly makes the case for the Perennial Philosophy, best described by Aldous Huxley as:

…The metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine Reality; the ethic that places man’s final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being; the thing is immemorial and universal.

To his credit, Galli is a bit more open to the value of non-Christian mystical experiences in this recent piece, writing:

Some Christians balk at the artificiality of drug induced mysticism, but that may merely be an aesthetic distaste. In the long run, it may not end up being any more serious than those who at first thought it unnatural to use penicillin to heal infections.

But then, as I suppose he must as a writer for a magazine that calls itself “A magazine of evangelical conviction” (emphasis mine), he twists himself in knots to push the primacy of evangelical Christianity as the only true path to divinity. Which is a shame. I suspect Galli is a mystic, as he clearly understands the value of primary transcendent experiences, but he can’t break out of the dogmatic beliefs that insist there is only one true source of them—the man from Nazareth.

At the core of such fundamentalist dogma is a schism—a binary division that says “You’re either with us or against us.” It’s the fatal flaw of all fundamentalist religions, from Galli’s flavor of Christianity to the radical interpretations of Islam that propel fanatics to fly planes into buildings. Mystical awareness should be, and frequently is, the solvent for such literal interpretations, opening the minds of experiencers to deeper understandings of universal consciousness and the interconnectedness of all beings. To those who have had these profound and life-changing insights, religious squabbling over dogma, literal interpretations of ancient holy books, and the primacy of one version of God over another is like arguing over which shade of green is the real green.

Michael Hughes
Written by Michael Hughes

Michael M. Hughes is a writer and performer. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

5 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    April 15, 2010


    My apologies for labeling you a Roman Catholic. I obviously conflated something in my notes!

    It is true that I remain committed to the words of Jesus himself: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” As well as the bracing logic of Trinitarian Christianity. If God was in fact in Christ reconciling the world to himself, if God was and is Emmanuel, God- with-us-in Christ, then of course I can hold no other position than would put Christ at the center and the pinnacle (to mix metaphors).

    Note, I did not say the center is “evangelical Christianity,” or Protestantism, or whatever religion. So this is where I believe you have misrepresented me 🙂 It’s Jesus who is at issue here, not Christianity.

    Thanks for commenting on the site! Always love a good push back….


  2. Avatar
    April 09, 2013

    Excellent article. Thanks for sharing your insight into a topic that is often misinterpreted due to social and cultural stigma.

  3. Avatar
    January 22, 2014

    Seems refreshing that entheogens are at least being mentioned in connection with current Christian thought.

  4. Avatar
    March 16, 2014

    Good little post unto–for me–you write this “At the core of such fundamentalist dogma is a schism—a binary division that says “You’re either with us or against us.” It’s the fatal flaw of all fundamentalist religions, from Galli’s flavor of Christianity to the radical interpretations of Islam that propel fanatics to fly planes into buildings.” To assume this is to buy the official narrative of 9/11, and to miss CRUCIAL information about the hidden meaning of the 9/11 event : 9/11 AS MASS RITUAL – S.K. Bain Remember it was W Bush who actually said this via mass media: With Us or Against Us
    Yes??? So if you are prepared to explore this very weird subject you will begin to see the games being played with you, and how this fits in with the ongoing prohibition of psychedelics. because the people behind 9/11 go a long way back in time and are all about MIND CONTROL. Of creating myths which are false, and thus trying to manage your perception. Psychedelics can help us see through this sorcery in right set and setting so that is why this is all very important to know about
    As you know historically Christianity 9and all patriarchal religious belief systems, and Eastern belief systems) have not only prohibited mind-altering vegetation, but actually persecuted, tortured and murdered many people who took them which was their freedom. But we also see that when materialistic science comes to the fore this prohibition continues, as well as reducing the experiences to chemical effects so as to undermine their sacred nature. NOW I am sharing with you that the more covert occultist powers who are really the ones in power that be are very behind this prohibition also, and of course will attempt to infiltrate a ‘meaning’ of the experience to those who Do take psychedelics despite the ban. Read up on ‘psychedelic transhumanism’ for example!

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