Despite its role in bringing forth peace, purpose, prosperity and confluence within societies and the individual, religion is simultaneously noted as one of the world’s most persistent dividing and conflicting forces.

Now, why is that?

It may be the concept of religious superiority — combined with low tolerance for implementation of religious freedom — that drives the many attempts to eradicate the beliefs foreign to perpetrators by means of wars on religion and acts of terrorism.

But what if all religions are correct? What if, regardless of what you choose to believe or not believe, when you are no longer around to dispute such topics, you will endure on a post-life or afterlife aligned with your belief system? What if there were a way of accessing a taste of this alternate realm before death?

The answer just might be dimethyltryptamine. Dimethyltryptamine, commonly known as DMT, is the most potent of hallucinogenic drugs known to man and can be found naturally in numerous plants, such as the aceraceae silver maple tree and aizoaceae flower plant. When smoked, orally ingested or injected, it generates a powerful psychedelic experience with extraordinary feelings of euphoria as well as hallucinations and visuals. Most users of the drug do not use it recreationally, but rather for spiritual experience, revelation and self-discovery. While many other hallucinogens such as psilocybin and peyote give the user a distorted sense of time, DMT is unique in almost completely shattering the idea of time. The “trip” produced can last anywhere between four to eight minutes but can feel like several years, or — even more frightening — an entire lifetime.

Many have struggled to find the correct words to describe these hallucinations and visuals since they are ultimately unworldly and humbling, but here is what we know: Once the brain receives the chemicals, including serotonin, melatonin and other tryptamines, the trip seems to “blast off.”

In fact, this occurs so quickly that the difference between feeling completely normal to experiencing a fully fledged trip can be as little as a fraction of a second. At the start of the experience, it is commonly described as being taken through a tunnel or portal of light, engulfed in pulsating and vibrant geometric patterns. At this stage, this is where one comes in contact with other beings or “machine elves,” the term coined by author and ethnobotanist Terence McKenna that puts a name to the strange entities. For many, these are understood to be gods or respective religious figures. The creatures have been said to appear before imagery of your deceased body, confirm your death, and then take to comforting you. While everyone’s experience may not be entirely similar, these aspects are almost universal.
So what does this have to do with religion and life?

Scientists are currently working to prove that DMT is actually a chemical that is found naturally in the pineal gland within the brain that is released in small doses during sleep and responsible for producing your state of dreaming. This chemical is theorized to be released in tremendous doses at death. So theoretically speaking, based on experiences described by users, by accessing this drug, you can tap into your afterlife. If this were found to be true, it would mean all religions were right in their suppositions regarding the post-death experience. No matter what religious background a person is affiliated with, it is what they will experience after death. So in other words, if you can think it, you can experience it.

So, is dimethyltryptamine our gateway into a continued and subjective form of life after death? While it is certainly a possibility, we will have to wait around for this lifetime’s science and research to do the magic, and if it doesn’t, you’ll just have to wait and find out for yourself.

However, as these uncertainties continue, let this hypothesis linger in your mind as you uphold your religious identity, or lack thereof. Imagine a world inhabited by religiously diverse communities separated by belief but united by respect — a world free from religious warfare. This would undoubtedly be a key component in enabling peace and spiraling humankind into a golden age of serenity on Earth. This, of course, is easier said than done. Want to do your part in making the world a better place for its overall inhabitants? Two words: religious tolerance. While our faith may matter when we are dead, the faith of others does not. With the ongoing scientific research of DMT, it might just be possible that we can all be the means to our own ends. In other words, we all win.