One of the strangest things about this Church of the Churchless blog is how many thoroughly "churched" people visit here. I'm glad that they do, because a diversity of opinions in comments is a lot more interesting than a comment monoculture.
But as I've observed before, it's sort of like a bunch of confirmed carnivores frequenting a vegetarian web site, where they leave lots of comments about how wonderful meat-eating is.
Anyway, I understand that devotees of the religious group that I belonged to for 35 years, Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), don't have many places on the Internet to discuss the RSSB teachings and the RSSB guru, Gurinder Singh Dhillon, so I'm pleased to offer them this.
It's just that since I've been a happy atheist for so many years, seeing discussions of God, karma, divine regions of reality, the guru's miraculous powers, and such feels decidedly weird.
I find it difficult to believe that the true believers who comment on this blog actually consider that they have discovered the truth about ultimate religious reality that is hidden from the billions of other people in the world who believe otherwise.
After all, elsewhere on the Internet there are countless web sites, blogs, and discussion groups where believers in other faiths, mystical paths, and spiritual philosophies are talking in the same fashion about how fortunate it is that they know the truth about what supposedly lies beyond the physical.
Earlier this month I shared a post about what Ricky Gervais said in his most recent interview with Stephen Colbert. It bears repeating, because Gervais made so much sense.
GERVAIS: … Atheism is only rejecting the claim that there is a god. Atheism isn’t a belief system. So this is atheism in a nutshell. You say there’s a God. I say, “Can you prove that?” You say no. I say, “I don’t believe you then.” So you believe in one God, I assume?
COLBERT: Uhh…. in three persons, but go ahead.
GERVAIS: Okay. But there are about 3,000 to choose from… Basically, you deny one less God than I do. You don’t believe in 2,999 gods. And I don’t believe in just one more.
So what are the chances that any religious believer is correct about what, if anything, exists in the realm of the supernatural? Very, very, very small.
First, something supernatural has to exist, and there's no demonstrable proof of that. Second, a particular religion (or religious person) has to have learned the truth about the supernatural realm that there's no proof of, and there's also no proof of that.
But you wouldn't know this by listening to religious believers of all persuasions discussing the finer points of their chosen faith as if it was absolutely, positively, undeniably true.
And that's just freaking strange. Of course, I've been there and done that, so I understand the appeal of considering that somehow, against all odds, the secrets of the universe have been revealed to a very special person, ME!
The fact that billions of other people around the world believe the same thing rarely enters the mind of religious believers. However, it sure enters my mind, which has been opened up now that I'm an atheist who doesn't feel special at all.