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Blogger Brian
Salem, Oregon
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Appreciative Reader, I'll have more to say in another post. I think this post pretty much speaks for itself, but here's a few additional thoughts. There's a vast coherent body of knowledge about the physical universe, our world, and ourselves. Cosmology, physics, evolutionary science, genetics, medicine, biology, neuroscience, psychology, chemistry -- the list goes on and on. By contrast, there is only vague hearsay about a possible supernatural realm. Further, there is no evident connection between supposed supernatural mystical experience and this world. No one has increased knowledge of this world after having such an experience. No one has a "superpower" after having such an experience. As I've noted in other blog posts, there really is no way to distinguish someone who claims to have had such an experience from people who say they haven't. Yet there's vast systems of dogma, or theologies, about supposed supernatural realms. But since there's no coherence to these dogmas, and there's no connection with human knowledge of this world, there's no viable foundation for claims of supernatural mystical experience. As noted in this post, we're supposed to believe that consciousness exists apart from the human brain, that it is possible for that consciousness to journey to heavenly realms, and so on, Again, there's zero evidence for this. Of course meditation affects the brain. Lots of things affect the brain, meditation being one of them. Certain psychedelics mimic mystical experiences so completely, the two are virtually indistinguishable. So it's unarguable that people can have mind-blowing experiences through a variety of physical means. But precisely no one has had a supposed supernatural mystical experience when they weren't alive as a physical human being with a physical brain. So the most likely explanation of these experiences is that they are products of the human brain, not anything "divine."
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Sk-Ug, just to keep things factual here... I've been blogging since 2003, so this certainly isn't a new thing for me. And it isn't a job, it is a labor of love, to speak the truth as I see it. I have earned exactly nothing during the past 15 years from my blogging (I now have three blogs, this one plus HinesSight and Salem Political Snark).
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Arjuna, I'm not sure what you mean. Wasn't your reply just published above your comment asking me to post your reply?
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Vicky, you said that this blog was created for the sole purpose of criticizing RSSB. This isn't correct. Actually, I started it in November 2004 after the re-election of President George W. Bush, who got a lot of support from the religious right (conservatives) in the United States. Mixing religion and politics bothered me so much, I wanted to start a blog about churchlessness. When I started Church of the Churchless I was still a RSSB devotee, though I had some doubts at that time. If you read my early posts, you’ll see this reflected in what I wrote about. Those posts mostly were about subjects unrelated to RSSB, though a few were. I enjoyed writing "God's here, but I've got to go" early on. See: http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2004/11/gods_here_but_i.html
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About a week ago Salem's daily newspaper, the Statesman Journal, ran a story, "Statesman Journal partners with nonprofit on political candidates' background checks." Most businesses run job candidates through a background check before hiring, to ensure there are no surprises or issues that didn't come up during the interview process.... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Salem Political Snark
Rajiv, nobody deleted your post. You got your facts wrong. Your post went into the Typepad spam folder, where I just found it and published it. See, you can be wrong when you jump to unjustified conclusions. This is a good lesson for religious believers. Think. Consider all the possibilities. Say to yourself, "I could be wrong."
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Rajni, I was initiated by the RSSB guru, Charan Singh, in 1971. I've had his darshan and also the darshan of Gurinder Singh. I meditated as instructed every day for 35 years. So I do know the real meaning of "guru."
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Gurpreet, no one is forcing you to visit this blog and read the posts. I've been writing on this blog since 2004, so 14 years. I'm not going to stop now, because I enjoy writing about "churchless" matters. I also want to observe that it is very rare in the United States to demand that someone stop speaking and writing about an issue, in part because we have a First Amendment that guarantees free speech. So it sounds strange to me when Indians, or anyone, tell me to keep my thoughts in my mind. That is just almost unheard of in the United States. We argue, we debate, we insult, we discuss. But very rarely do people say, "You don't have a right to say that," because we Americans know that we do have that right. In this regard, I believe India has something to learn from the United States. Free speech is a wonderful thing. It is a foundation of democracy. It gives everybody the chance to be heard, to express themselves. It stimulates understanding of important issues. Your country needs more free speech, not less. (I'm assuming you live in India.)
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Abcd, if I'm illiterate, how do I know that you misspelled "Illiterate" as "illitrate"? True Human, I spent 35 years as a member of RSSB, and had lots of contact with Indians during that time. You sound rather racist with your talk of "fool white man" and such. Do most Indians think like you do? I sure hope not.
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Dalip, since you don't believe in spending time and energy on finding faults, why are you spending time and energy criticizing me? You don't have to visit this blog, but you choose to do that. I guess what I write about is so full of truth and wonderfulness, you can't stay away.
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Eliza, I'm pleased to inform you that I get paid exactly zero for what I write on not only this blog, but my other two blogs. In fact, I pay Typepad, my blogging service, so actually I get paid less than zero. Thanks for the spiritual advice, but I really don't need it. I was a RSSB devotee for 35 years, so I'm very familiar with the whole guru thing. Been there, done that. I've moved on to a spiritual path that suits me better.
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Rain, here's a CNN story that lists six Obama-era climate change initiatives being undone by the Trump administration. https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/28/politics/climate-change-obama-rules-trump/index.html You sound like a climate change denier. Is that true? There's overwhelming scientific evidence that the Earth is warming, human greenhouse gas emissions are the reason, and that actions need to be taken to reduce those emissions, because the consequences for humanity will be catastrophic if nothing is done. (Rising sea levels, stronger storms, droughts, floods, etc. etc.) In contrast to what you said, I felt better after writing this post last night. Every time my wife and I do something to reduce our carbon footprint, we feel better. i want to leave this world a better place for my daughter and granddaughter, not a worse place. It's important to vote Democratic, because almost all Dems believe in the science of global warming, and almost all Republicans deny it. The blue states are doing the most to reduce carbon emissions. Hopefully Oregon will do even more in the 2019 legislative session.
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Vinny, I'm an atheist and I'm not pissed off by the unified field of consciousness. In fact, I have no idea what this thing is that I'm supposed to be pissed off at. I Googled that term, and just found a bunch of New Age bullshit talk. Where's your scientific proof for this unified field of consciousness? Send me some links from reputable peer-reviewed journals, then I might actually embrace this thing, whatever it is.
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dharam, you're a good example of why I can't stand the hypocrisy of religious believers. You insult me, then you claim that your "harsh comments" were out of "love and regard for me." Wow, you are unable to speak the truth. I'd prefer that you simply say, "Brian, I don't like what you're saying about my guru and RSSB, and I think you're wrong about them." Then you could give me reasons why you think you're right and I'm wrong, and we could have a discussion. Instead you tell me a fable about a guru, and then claim that you're really a loving, caring person, even though you don't act that way.
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dharam, you haven't learned that there is always more truth to be found. I hope you become wiser one day. Truth isn't something static. Almost always both scientists, and us ordinary people, continually learn more, changing our views, finding out more truths about both ourselves and the world. That's what happened with me and RSSB/Sant Mat. I learned that there are higher and greater truths than those I followed for 35 years. Now I'm happier and more fulfilled as a result of discarding those lower and lesser truths. But everybody is different. So that's one reason for the slogan I used when I started this blog, and still use: "Preaching the gospel of spiritual independence."
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dharma, you left out another possibility: If we feel it is not fine, we can speak out against it, and urge others to do the same. Staying silent in the face of wrongdoing is an act of cowardice. It is what authoritarians want us to do, whether this be in the name of religion, politics, or anything else. Truth should never be silenced. That's why I have my blogs, why I'm a writer, and why I'm a political activist.
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I've heard political analyst Jim Moore speak after elections, but today was the first time I'd heard Moore offer up his take before an election. Before Moore started his Salem City Club presentation, I told someone sitting at my table that I hoped Moore wasn't going to throw cold water... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Salem Political Snark
I've had a calculus course, most of which I've forgotten. I know quite a bit about quantum theory because the first book I wrote, "God's Whisper, Creation's Thunder," discusses this subject at some length. I got a shorter and simpler edition of the book back in print this year. Buy it! https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Whisper-Creations-Thunder-Spiritual/dp/0977735230/ I've read numerous books about quantum theory, have attended talks on this subject, and am currently reading a book about the history and current state of quantum theory, "What is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics." https://www.amazon.com/What-Real-Unfinished-Meaning-Quantum/dp/0465096050/ Below is the description of that book. I'm sharing it to show that there is a lot of disagreement about the meaning of quantum physics. There's no disagreement about the calculations, or math, which works perfectly. It is flat-out wrong for someone to say that "observation creates reality." This is only one way of looking at what is called the Measurement Problem. There are many other ways, including the Many Worlds theory where observation does nothing, because every possible outcome of an observation, or measurement, occurs in an alternative world, of which there countless. Anyway, here's the description of "What is Real?" ----------------------- Every physicist agrees quantum mechanics is among humanity's finest scientific achievements. But ask what it means, and the result will be a brawl. For a century, most physicists have followed Niels Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation and dismissed questions about the reality underlying quantum physics as meaningless. A mishmash of solipsism and poor reasoning, Copenhagen endured, as Bohr's students vigorously protected his legacy, and the physics community favored practical experiments over philosophical arguments. As a result, questioning the status quo long meant professional ruin. And yet, from the 1920s to today, physicists like John Bell, David Bohm, and Hugh Everett persisted in seeking the true meaning of quantum mechanics. What Is Real? is the gripping story of this battle of ideas and the courageous scientists who dared to stand up for truth.
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287daysleft, you need to do more reading about quantum physics. It is nonsense to believe that the moon, or anything else, ceases to exist when no one is looking at it. This Discover article has a good discussion of Wheeler and his views about observer-created reality. http://discovermagazine.com/2002/jun/featuniverse Excerpt: --------------------- Wheeler conjectures we are part of a universe that is a work in progress; we are tiny patches of the universe looking at itself — and building itself. It's not only the future that is still undetermined but the past as well. And by peering back into time, even all the way back to the Big Bang, our present observations select one out of many possible quantum histories for the universe. Does this mean humans are necessary to the existence of the universe? While conscious observers certainly partake in the creation of the participatory universe envisioned by Wheeler, they are not the only, or even primary, way by which quantum potentials become real. Ordinary matter and radiation play the dominant roles. Wheeler likes to use the example of a high-energy particle released by a radioactive element like radium in Earth's crust. The particle, as with the photons in the two-slit experiment, exists in many possible states at once, traveling in every possible direction, not quite real and solid until it interacts with something, say a piece of mica in Earth's crust. When that happens, one of those many different probable outcomes becomes real. In this case the mica, not a conscious being, is the object that transforms what might happen into what does happen. The trail of disrupted atoms left in the mica by the high-energy particle becomes part of the real world.
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287daysleft, you are ignorant of quantum theory. The world doesn't go out of existence when you close your eyes. That's crazy nonsense. Also, I'm glad that you've become an atheist, since you said you believe that existence has always existed. I agree. That's why there's no need to believe in a God, since there was no need for a God to bring the cosmos into existence.
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Joe, what are these realities? That's the first question. What evidence do you have that they exist? That's the second question. We all have experiences that are unknown to science, at least the current state of science. Dreams. Felt emotions. A sense of awe. Etc. Etc. But all of these subjective realities are experienced by a physical brain and a physical body. So they also are physical. Or are you saying that there is a supernatural realm that somehow you're able to experience with your physical brain and body? Talk is cheap. Truth is expensive. You can't expect me or anyone else to believe in what you do without your going beyond talk. That's what religions do -- they are full of words without substance. I'm not saying this is what your words also are. I'm just saying that everyone has had profound ineffable experiences. I sure have. In fact, I still have them via my atheist brain. But this doesn't mean that I've discovered something profound about the universe. I've just had a profound personal experience.
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Joe, you seem uninformed about the scientific method. Science is always seeking to know the unknown, so scientific facts are continually changing and expanding. When was the last time a religion admitted that it got something wrong, and adjusted its dogma? Like, never. Or hardly ever. By contrast, Einstein expanded our knowledge of Newton's laws of motion. After Darwin came up with the theory of evolution, scientists have taken that knowledge to new levels with an understanding of genetics and other factors. So science can indeed determine what is true. And then science produces increased knowledge of truth. I'm curious, what do you consider to be superior to science when it comes to revealing truth? This was a question asked by the atheist guys. The deist couldn't come up with an answer. I bet you can't either. And if you hazard a guess, and share it in a comment, you'll be using a computer and the Internet that was developed by... take a guess... science!
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Spence, OMG! Numbers! Facts! In a Church of the Churchless comment! I am overwhelmed with joy. And that's even before I've had my nightly glass of wine and some inhalations of good Oregon-grown marijuana (legal) in the bathtub. Yes, Gurinder Singh Dhillon has a pretty good job. Most people work five days a week, with maybe a two week vacation. By my calculations, that's 5 X 50 = 250 work days, compared to 2 X 50 + 7 X 2 = 114 non-work days. So most people have about 31% days off, while the guru has 82% days off. I'm sure, though, that some RSSB members will be pleased to take issue with my calculations. That's fine. At least we're talking numbers.
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One Initiated, I deleted the post because the person who provided me with the information made a request that I do this. I've gotten requests like this in the past, when a person wants information shared in a comment or post to be removed, and I honor those requests. Comments are associated with a post, so when the post was unpublished, so are the comments.
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Jesse, I deleted the GIF you shared for a couple of reasons. (1) It wasn't relevant to the topic of this post, and (2) It would unnecessarily offend RSSB devotees who are visiting this blog from India and elsewhere. By "unnecessarily," I mean this. There are two main issues with Gurinder Singh Dhillon, One is whether the Sant Mat/RSSB philosophy he teaches is true. The other issue concerns the shady financing dealings he's been a part of since he became the RSSB guru. I'd like this blog to be a welcoming place for people who are interested, and worried about, the second issue, even though they are still believers in the RSSB teachings. And I really do see these as separate issues. Recently l've been focused on the guru's financial dealings, because this is what's being reported on by Indian business publications. I've written a lot about why I don't believe in the Sant Mat/RSSB philosophy any more, but again, this is a different issue from whether Gurinder Singh Dhillon has violated ethical, and possibly legal, norms with the Dhillon family financial entanglements. I believe you've said you're a Trump supporter. I'm not. But hopefully we could agree that if the Mueller investigation finds that Trump was engaged in legal wrongdoing, there should be consequences for this. It doesn't matter whether you or I like Trump, or endorse his policies. Wrongdoing is a separate issue from Trump's policy positions. Likewise, I'm trying to differentiate between the RSSB guru's position as a religious leader, and his involvement in questionable financial dealings.
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