Yes, I'm back again with a new essay:
There are moments in life that make you feel a part of something larger than yourself. Moments that make you feel connected to nature, humanity, the universe, moments that take you outside of yourself. I have felt those moments many times, when lying on the beach staring out across the ocean, jogging in the mountains, just staring up at the heavens, listening to music, viewing an amazing piece of art, having amazing sex, helping someone in need and feeling their sincere gratitude, performing in front of an appreciative crowd, falling in love, watching the birth of a child. These moments have filled me with awe and wonder and joy. My endorphins flowed freely and dopamine flooded my bloodstream causing an immediate sense of euphoria. Some call this euphoric feeling a "spiritual" moment. I'm not so easily deluded. I recognize it as the chemical reaction it is and nothing more.
Others have achieved similar "spiritual" moments by using natural or even man-made chemicals to stimulate or simulate the production of dopamine in the human body. People who consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms believed to be experiencing spiritual moments. Some Native American tribes used peyote. Many people have used opium or LSD. These chemicals all created physical not spiritual reactions, namely intoxication. Moments and experiences of overwhelming beauty can often be as intoxicating as a hit of cocaine but that is not to suggest that they are anymore "spiritual" than snorting coke off a hooker's ass...
"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion."
- Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize-winning physicist