Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar Publication date: 1996
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Steve, Thank you for your follow-up. I like critical exchange and I encourage you to keep it up, so that interested readers will get a better sense of where I and you (and others) are coming from. In that spirit, I have numbered my response: 1. You question if Jim Peebles was really sued or not. I like doubts and I think it is important for people to check this type of information out for themselves. You can contact Professor Ed Gruss at L.A. Baptist College directly and he will give you the necessary information. Also you can check with Eckankar, since they themselves took out half-page advertisements in the late 1970s trying to explain why they were involved in the lawsuit in the first place. Yes, there were was legal action, but I most definitely encourage you to secure the documents for yourself. That way, you can see to what extent Eckankar will go to squelch a critic. 2. You mention that a "misguided" attorney may have been the cause for Jim Peebles lawsuit. This is, of course, incorrect since it was Eckankar which attempted to sue Peebles, Gruss, and L.A. Baptist College and the attorneys which were involved represented Eckankar's material interests. Indeed, Sri Darwin Gross, the living ECK Master and Mahanta at the time, was so deeply involved in the evolving controversy, that he personally showed up to the SCP headquarters in Berkeley, California, attempting to secure an early version of their journal. No doubt, there may be many reasons why Eckists think that I should be sued. Yet, I don't see any rational basis for why a 19 year-old Eckist should be sued for a term paper that he wrote out of his love for Darwin and Eckankar. It is a chapter in Eckankar's history that should be looked into very closely. 3. You ask if I have written any "positive" stuff on Eckankar. Yes, I think the Making of a Spiritual Movement and almost every one of my responses/rebuttals have been on the positive side. Why do I say this? Because I have at least given Eckists the opportunity to know some "other" things about their history and about their founder. I see this as thoroughly positive. Truth will survive any disclosures and thus the more we disclose the better off we are in exploring our chosen religions. On my website, I have a link to the official Eckankar page. The more information the better, even if that information sheds a new or different light on the subject. 4. How do I know what the attorneys were saying back in 1983? Very simple answer: they told me and I read the extensive correspondence. 5. Why do I go "after" Eastern religions? Well, I don't see myself as going "after" them. Rather, I like Eastern philosophy and religion and have focused in that area. Knowing the subject of shabd yoga, sant mat, radhasoami, etc., has allowed me to see some of the ins and outs of those various traditions. Given that context, I have naturally written about those things which touch my interest. You may see my writings as "negative" but I don't. Why? Because I just happen to believe that using the critical mind is constructive not destructive. I think it helps to know that Thakar Singh wants to blindfold kids. I think it helps to know that J.R. wants to bed his heterosexual disciples with some very funny astral explanations. I think it helps to know that Paul Twitchell was once associated with Kirpal Singh. I think it helps to know that Gary Olsen used plagiarized materials in his discourses and apologized for it. I think it helps, in sum, to know those things that the organization itself has a tendency not to disclose. In this way, we get to learn more about the larger context. I don't claim that such revelations are the total sum, but I do claim that such additional knowledge is necessary for making an informed decision. In my little arena, that's the area I explore and that's the area that I find fascinating. It is the humanness of our gurus. That humanness needs to be fully acknowledged. I find that is mostly ignored. 6. You mention that I am "intellectually dishonest." Naturally, you are entitled to your observations/opinions. However, for me it is ironic to receive that label when all I have done is expose--for better or worse--the hidden story of Paul Twitchell. Nobody has ever refuted my charges of plagiarism, or cover-up, or biographical inconsistencies. Rather, I have been attacked more or less for publishing these discoveries and for developing commentary on them. Personally, I think Twitchell was the one who was intellectually dishonest. And instead of just saying that, I have actually documented it. Now if you want to point out "factual" errors on my part, I will not mind. I will listen carefully and if there are mistakes I will change them. I like critics. Yet, I don't get documented rebuttals; rather I get all sorts of characters analysis (no life, wasted life, intellectual dishonesty, slander, etc.). I don't even mind that. It's kinda of fun in a strange way and I don't take all the insults too seriously. 6. Concerning how I make my living, I have gone into this at some length in previous posts. I have never made money on my research work on Eckankar; rather, as I have mentioned previously, I have lost money (my tax records will confirm this, by the way). I make my living by being a tenured professor of philosophy and sociology at Mount San Antonio College. Currently, I am on sabbatical to write a number of hyper-linked textbooks for the Net and for MSAC and to finish up some other related books projects. If you want to know my salary, I will even tell you that too. Sorry to say I don't make a living on exposing cults. 7. I am also sorry to tell you, given your contextual aside, that I have never been fired from a job. If you want my vita I can send that also, so you can see where I taught. If you want public information about how I teach, you could check CAPE (Course and Professor Evaluations) for UCSD during 1985-1989 when I taught there while getting my Ph.D. in the Sociology of Knowledge. 8. You seem to infer a lot of things about me and my character. That's okay, but it does seems to side-step the issue of why I have been so critical of Twitchell and others. Twitchell is the one who came up with a list of indices for a Living Eck Master, not me. Does he live up to them? In looking that them, I notice he does not. Now if someone wants to rip me, so be it. But I never claimed to be a guru and whatever claims I have made about Twitchell you can confirm yourself by looking at my documentation. The guru is the one who makes the claim; the disciples should test it thoroughly (starting with empiricism). The researcher should also be checked. I would be more than pleased to send you copies of back issues of ORION and other materials. Then you could see why I say such and such. 9. Finally, what I believe is pretty self-evident in most of my posts. I have also written about this extensively in other posts and in other mediums. However, here is a thumbnail outline: 1. I love Faqir Chand's honest "unknowingness" 2. I admire the scrutiny of hard-core empiricism, as practiced in the harder sciences (Einstein, Feynman, Pauli, Dawkins, etc.) 3. I have a deep affection for the ontological and metaphysical exploration of Ramana Maharshi 4. I have an abiding love for ahimsa, as practiced by the Jains 5. I have a deep and abiding love for my now deceased spiritual teacher. 6. And finally I love the open-ended humility of genuine science. As I said to Dodie once, "I am a mystical agnostic materialist"--What it means is that I ultimately do not know. And I like to explore the unknowingness with my limited knowledge. I hope this helps a bit, and I look forward to your future questions/rips.
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