In Defense of G
Or the Use of Reason when analyzing religions like Eckankar
by David Lane
New posting

     I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the postings on the Eckankar news group. There are a number of viewpoints, no doubt, on the issue of Paul Twitchell and the genuineness of his endeavor. However, it does seem that certain individuals get a bit upset by G's postings--as if he were too critical, or too judgmental, or too insightful.

     Personally, I think G is on the right track. Why shouldn't we scrutnize religion with as much care as we do when buying a used car? If truth is truth (it should survive whatever petty questions we demand of it), then the more we doubt something the more whatever is the case (the reality of what is) should persist.

     Now I have personally been flamed for some fifteen years because of my research on Eckankar, but I don't mind because I think critical exchange is crucial for any kind of development (intellectual, spiritual, or otherwise). I have been on the receiving end of numerous death threats, threatened lawsuits, calculated smear campaigns, and one very significant robbery (not related directly to Eckankar, in this case, but to its successful offshoot--MSIA).

     Why? Because when it comes to religion we have a tendency not to want to ask deep, critical questions. Eckankar has mostly resisted my efforts to expose the true biography of their founder, Paul Twitchell.

     Do you really want to follow somebody on the inner realms who consistently lies to you on the outer realms? And I don't mean white lies or socially polite lies--I mean lying. Now the reason I am so harsh on Twitchell and others like him is not because I have somehow discovered the ultimate Truth (I have not), but only because these individuals make extraordinary claims. As such, then, their claims demand (and I underline demand here) extraordinary proof.

     If Twitchell and the like just claimed to be normal individuals, to be stuck like the rest of us with the human condition, then fine. Who is going to judge that? We are all, more less, frail humans. But Twitchell claims via Eckankar to be a God-man--to have access to the highest states of consciouness.

     Yet, he consistently failed his own tests for a genuine master--not to mention how he failed on anybody else's scale. So he deserves to be ripped. Any guru, including my own, deserves to be critiqued. And we should not view such criticism with disdain, we should, rather, welcome it.

     I fondly remember seeing a few very impressive shabd yoga gurus getting critiqued in front of large audiences. How did these genuine masters respond???? With openness, with humility, and with a listening ear. One shabd yoga master, with whom I was quite impressed, told me that "critics are our best friends--we should always keep them close to us. They teach us how to improve."

     But criticizing Twitchell and Eckankar does not mean that other groups and other gurus should be exempt from such inquiries. We should investigate Radhasoami, Sant Mat, Shabd Yoga, and the like, with the same intensive scrutiny. It is, to be sure, a fundamental mistake to think that any guru is above critical inspection.

     And what will we discover by such scrutiny? We will discover that a genuine teacher shines all the more under such research. In fact, he or she will become more impressive (instead of less) when we look very closely at their life and work.

     I say let's rip, shred, and lacerate the claims of would-be gurus, mystics, and prophets. I say G is right (and his name is, no doubt, perfectly reflective of the right approach).

     Then, let us see what settles in the dust. In physics, they constantly criticize one another to find which theory among the competing ones explains the data best. Religion needs less believers and more skeptics.

     And, what remains will have a lot more weight and a lot more juice and a lot more truth than the gurus which demand blind allegiance.

     A few people have mentioned that I have not engaged directly on the newsgroup, instead just posting articles. Please feel most free to e-mail me directly, or openly critique whatever I have posted.

     Written on Saturday, first week of May, in honor of G and crew who have kept the tradition of criticism alive.