I do not follow any particular religion, nor do I believe in the concept of a personal god who sits outside the universe interfering with the laws of nature and judging mankind

However, I do believe in a kind of unity of nature. Also, I beleive that the personal ego or self disapears at death, including all memories and such, but at the same time I do not beleive death results in eternal nothingness.
Like, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to experience the universe as one whole. To experience reality from outside the limited view constructed by the human senses. I have had intense spiritual experiences through mediation, rhythmic drumming, chanting. and psychedelic substances that makes it hard to go back to my materialistic atheistic viewpoint.

Why is objective reductionism the only way to understand existence? Why should I reject my understanding gained through direct experience, just because it is not objective and measurable by science? I was reading a book by Christopher Hitchens and he said spiritual experiences are just chemical reactions in the brain. I agree with him that there is obviously a correlate in the brain, but he said nothing to prove that these experiences can be reduced purely to the mechanism in the brain. Who is to say that these experiences do not perturb brain chemistry in such a way that allows one to reach higher levels of consciousness? I mean our normal consciousness is a very limited perspective at viewing reality, it was developed through many years of evolution, basically for the sole purpose of surviving the environment.

~this is aimed at material atheists, I do not consider most buddhists and such as atheists, they seem more pantheistic, they view nature as the creative force~
It is difficult, because I do not knows what the word god means. Some people use it to desribe the whole of existence, some people use it to desribe a man in the sky. In Hinduism god just means the unconditioned reality. So, I get confused in these atheist-theist debates, because I use god in a way that eastern religions use it
Charlie, I consider psychedelics as tools for understanding. They expand consciousness, when used correctly they can lead to great insight. I compare them to the telescope or microscope.
Dr Jazz ™¥™¥ Eνιl Aтнєιѕтѕ„¢™¥™¥
I think matter and spirit are related, I am not a dualist. I think the whole way we view reality is a product of brain chemistry. From my perspective, the brain/membrane receieves and filters energy received from the senses and turns these signals into what we call the self. I was skepical of these experiences before I had one, I have no doubt now that they dissolve boundries. They allow one to see the interconnectedness of nature. I get real cheesed of with this westen industial view of reality, there is no freakin spirit left…even in religion. The whole western view of reality is based on materialism, everything form the science to the culture. It is all about consumer capitalism. I also hate how scientists talk about shamans and natives as if they are primitive. These people were a lot more intergrated with nature then we are. We do not give a crap, we don’t mind tearing down the forests or polluting the air, if it makes a buck.