Chico News and Review Interview with Rahasya  E-mail

Religion on the Brain

Rahasya PoeCN&R Cover


By Nick Dobis

Rahasyua Poe at LYON BooksRahasya Poe's new book, To Believe, or Not to Believe: The Social and  Neurological Consequences of Belief Systems, promises to challenge long-standing convictions of religious believers. Poe has worked as a psychiatric technician, drug and alcohol counselor, clinical hypnotherapist and a publisher and writer for the Lotus Guide. This is Poe's second book, and it was influenced by interviews with many neuroscientists, lumenaries and quantum physicists. It took Poe three years to collect the interviews and two years to write the book, which is available at Lyon Books in downtown Chico and bookstores everywhere.

What do you mean when you say, "I think we need to start looking for and finding the common denominator underlying world events and the decisions being made in every area of society?"

This actually comes from a quote by Voltaire: "If they can make you believe absurdities they can make you commit atrocities." If you go to almost any chaotic area in the world, you can see that their beliefs are not only absurd; they also play an instrumental role in the chaos. Recent fMRI research is pointing to a similarity in neural networking of those who have come to believe something absurd and those who can be easily manipulated into committing atrocities. An example of this was the terrorists, or whoever they were, who conducted the 9/11 attacks. The only way to get someone to commit something like that would be to get them to believe there was a reward in the next life since that's where they will be going; in this case it was 72 virgins which seems a little absurd.

In the preface you also state that writing this book "gave rise to a hidden anger." Can you explain?

I ended up rewriting the first transcript I wrote because after feedback from editors and reading it myself, I realized how cynical and sarcastic it was. Generally I am a peaceful person, but I was filled with so much contention and anger realizing how many wars have been fought over people's beliefs. It changed the flavor of my writing, and changed me personally. Once I exposed that, I was able to deal with it. Hopefully it will do the same for my readers.

Can you explain the concept of "denial of death"?

Denial of death causes us to create an afterlife. All religions have an explanation of what the afterlife is and how to get there. Through the creating of living trusts, corporations, religions, and even the identification with the country we live in we attempt to create something that continues on after we die. I think we need to have the courage to admit we live in a mystery. We need to understand that it's OK not to know what happens after we die and stop making up stories.

What do you see as the future of religion?

I think we're starting to head toward a more open approach, with scientists taking the lead since they are the ones that have the abundance of information that's up to date; keep in mind that all three major world religions have their roots in the Iron Age and haven't changed their views all that much. But lately, even the Vatican has built two observatories and are observing the night sky which is odd considering they took 300 years to forgive Galileo and the Pope at the time wouldn't even look through his telescope. Our destiny is not to sit idly; we're finally coming of age where science will take the forefront into adventurous excursions into the unknown.
 


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If they can make you believe in absurdities they can make you commit atrocities.
Voltaire

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We turn toward the truth under the same heliotropic laws as a flower turns towards the sun, and for the same reason…connection with the source of energy. Rahasya Poe

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Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt. Clarence Darrow (1857 - 1938)

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Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea. Walter Bagehot (1826 - 1877)

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“Religion is a defense against religious experience, concepts and doctrines keep a person from having a transcendent experience.” Joseph Campbell

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A question that we often ask ourselves is, “How is it that man can cause so much suffering to another and at the same time, turn around and give his life to save someone else that he doesn’t even know?” Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

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If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650)

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“The virgin birth is symbolic of the birth of spiritual man out of the animal man through the compassion of the heart.” Joseph Campbell

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One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea. Walter Bagehot (1826 - 1877)

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“Religion is a defense against religious experience, concepts and doctrines keep a person from having a transcendent experience.” Joseph Campbell

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.George Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 - 1799)

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Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

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If this is your estimate of your relation to nature and you have an advanced technology, your likelihood of survival will be that of a snowball in hell. You will die either of the toxic by-products of your own hate, or, simply, of over-population and overgrazing. Gregory Bateson-Futurist and Naturalist

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“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men” Plato

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With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. Steven Weinberg (1933 - )

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“We are developing so quickly on this planet that we are not developing new myths. The future myth will be the planet itself.” Joseph Campbell

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Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662)

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The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

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Faith must have adequate evidence, else it is mere superstition. Alexander Hodge

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The moment you accept your religion as the only way, it becomes an ideology and is a closed door. Eckhart Tolle

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Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time. Gore Vidal (1925 - )

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With our participation what was once the evolution of consciousness has become conscious evolution. Rahasya

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The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

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To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841 - 1935)

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Those who wish to appear wise among fools, among the wise seem foolish. Quintilian, De Institutione Oratoria

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All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

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Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof. Ashley Montague

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I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room. Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662)

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