After fourteen years of blogging here on the Church of the Churchless, I'm not surprised anymore by this evident fact about most religious believers:
They make two mistakes. They ignore aspects of this evident physical reality that conflict with their chosen religious dogma. And they embrace fantasies about supernatural realms that almost certainly don't exist.
Thus religious believers close their eyes to what can actually be known, while making up stories about what is unknown -- such as what, if anything, lies outside the bounds of our universe.
Here's some examples of what I'm talking about.
These are well-researched stories that lay out in considerable detail how Gurinder Singh Dhillon, the guru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), is deeply enmeshed in the tale of how two brothers, Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, who are relatives of Dhillon, have lost billions of dollars through shady business deals.
But RSSB true believers refuse to accept the facts that are right in front of their eyes, even going so far as to consider that the guru is orchestrating the bad press about him as a test of how devoted and obedient his devotees are.
Obviously this is crazy.
But since crazy is the foundation of every religion, including the teachings of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, followers of the guru who comment on this blog, such as "One Initiated," have resorted to name-calling and insults because they are unable to come up with facts to refute the tell-all stories published by Bloomberg and Business Today.
(Additional stories about Gurinder Singh Dhillon and the Singh brothers have been published by other organizations.)
What's obvious to everyone but those head-in-the-sand acolytes is how readily religious believers ignore facts that threaten their belief system, while accepting extremely spurious dogmas that have no demonstrable evidence to back them up.
I'm proud to be a member of the Truth Telling Club. We aren't an actual club, of course. But I feel a close connection to everyone who does their best to accept reality as it is, and to dismiss fantasies that aren't real.
This is difficult work. It requires research, an open mind, a willingness to admit errors and mistakes, a heartfelt commitment to following the truth wherever it leads.
By contrast, religious believing is easy.
So is ignoring facts about the ugly side of one's chosen religion, such as the sleazy financial dealings Gurinder Singh Dhillon has been engaging in while he supposedly was dedicating himself to both his own spiritual uplift and that of his disciples.
The good news is that the truth always wins out. Reality always has the last word. Why? Because truth and reality are vastly more powerful that falsehood and fantasies.
Likely there is more truth to come out about the RSSB guru's financial dealings.
We live in a world where secrets are difficult to keep, even by the rich and powerful.
Fortunately, our world has plenty of people who value honesty above lies, truth-telling above dissembling, straight talk above meaningless blather. Religions likely always will be with us, but I'm confident that their power will diminish as reality increasingly comes to be valued above fantasy.