Irrationality and the Eastern Mindset

“Do not go by reasoning, nor by inferring, nor by argument”
the Buddha.

When you do not understand, then you will know“. – Zen student

“Mind always protects what is false. Mind is a black light
– Guru Maharaji Ji

He who knows, doesn’t speak; he who speaks, doesn’t know” –
Lao-Tse

To the law and the testimony! If they do not speak according to
this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Isaiah 8:20, The
Bible.

The development of Western Civilization owes a lot to the principles
of logical thinking.  Modern technology would never have existed if
mankind had never embraced the principles of disciplined, logical thinking.
Science has advanced only as we have rejected imperfect hypotheses and
made new ones on the basis of better data. The acceptance of one hypothesis
in science will always require the rejection of others. We cannot believe
in the theory of gravity and the idea that the earth has a huge vacuum
cleaner inside it that attracts all that comes close. Its either one theory
or the other – or neither.

The computer you use operates only according to the laws of logic. A
computer that has faulty logic gates is no use to anyone, not even a rejecter
of logic. We cannot depend on such a computer to give us meaningful results.

A computer that fails to do binary arithmetic will not be useful. In
the same way, when we no longer think rationally, we are moving to the
place where the things we say no longer have any meaning.

 

The basic principles of Eastern thinking, however, are as follows:

1. Reality is ONE.

There can be no contradictions in the eastern mindset, which sees reality
as a Unity. The Beatles sang is their song, “Dear Prudence”, “you are part
of everything”. The eastern mind seeks for the unity in all things. This
might sound pretty smart and enlightened at first. But it can lead to real
stupidity. For example, cruelty and non-cruelty, in the Hindu way of thinking,
are ultimately equal, and there is no intrinsic difference between them.
But which Hindu would be indifferent to the idea of someone pouring boiling
water over his head, instead of giving him a cup of coffee? Such philosophy
doesn’t work in practice.

Some eastern thinkers deny the reality of evil, or even of the material
world. These things are supposed to be nothing more than illusions, that
will go away if you can empty your mind of thought for long enough. Such
concepts are prevalent in such ideas as Mary Baker Eddy’s so-called “Christian
Science” which denies the reality of sickness and evil, and teaches that
Jesus Christ is just a “divine idea”.

All this amounts to is confusion and a denial of the basic categories
without which we can neither behave rationally nor make intelligent judgments.
In fact, even an advocator of irrationality depends on rationality in order
to get his ideas across, using the medium of language which in turn depends
on structure, order and convention. No guru who preaches against the mind
could make a convert of anyone who had no mind to first listen to the guru.
A totally irrational person would be a babbling idiot or a vegetable, unable
to convince anybody of anything. I am not saying that rationality is the
ultimate measure of truth, for some things transcend rationality. Yet I
contend that none of God’s truth is irrational or illogical.

From this doctrine of the unity of all things, comes the idea that
all religions are basically one
.  We often hear that “there are
many paths to God”. Those who haven’t bothered to check it out might think
of Jesus Christ as just another “enlightened guru” with a marvellous, if
impractical  system of ethics. But actually Jesus said He was the
ONLY WAY to the Father. We may hate Jesus and Christians for saying that,
but let us not be so condescending and false as to pretend that what he
said was really in harmony with Hinduism, Buddhism and the many paths of
eastern religion.

2. Reality is illogical.

The quotes above by eastern philosophers illustrate this. Eastern religions
often say all kinds of illogical and contradictory things. But the easterner
does not see this as a problem. D.T. Suzuki, the famous Zen Buddhist, says,
“Zen is one thing and logic another. When we fail to make this distinction
and expect Zen to give us something logically consistent and intellectually
illuminating, we altogether misinterpret the signification of Zen.”

Believing that All is One, it follows that the contradictions are still
part of the same unity, and both can be embraced wholeheartedly. Of course,
you can prove anything from a false axiom. What really gets scary is that
people are willing to step out and act on these notions at times. It has
proved fatal for some. If the Bible is true, then it will prove eternally
fatal for the multitudes who have accepted the eastern philosophies.

Eastern religionists can get away with saying almost anything as long
as people turn their minds off and pretend that they too see the enlightenment
behind it all. But are these irrational, illogical statements really enlightened?

We hear things like, “God is beyond thought.” If by that we mean that
thoughts cannot communicate to us any true knowledge of God, we are already
talking nonsense. For then, God must be beyond any thought – including
the thought that God is beyond thought. Therefore this statement “God is
beyond thought” is not telling us anything meaningful or true about the
nature of God.

Sometimes illogical, absurd statements like “When you do not understand,
then you will know” or “God is beyond thought” sound profound. But actually
they don’t make any sense, not even to the guru who utters them, and then
hides behind his silence or perhaps further aphorisms. R.C. Sproul puts
it this way: “Absurdities often sound profound because they are incapable
of being understood. When we hear things we do not understand, sometimes
we think they are simply too deep or weighty for us to grasp when in fact
they are merely unintelligible statements like ‘one hand clapping’.”

There is no need for you or me to join the ranks of those who are taken
in by this sort of mind-numbing nonsense. This is not to deny that abandoning
rationality might produce euphoric experiences for some. That may be true,
but it could also lead to a form of insanity – and a loneliness in which
there is no longer anyone able to get through to you to help you.

 

3. Reality is experience.

 

The eastern philosophers teach that true reality cannot be known except
through experience. Reasoning about reality has little value for them. 
Once people have entered into some of these experiences they assume that
the teaching which led them into these experiences must be part of the
truth. But this does not follow logically at all. It is true that eastern
mysticism can lead to some very amazing altered states of consciousness.
So can drugs. Neither kind of experience itself proves that the interpretation
of the experience itself is right.

The interpretations we put on our experiences are not derived only from
the experiences themselves, but more especially from what we have been
taught. If someone is taught that they are one with God, and that by hypnotising
themselves they will come to know the truth of this, they may well experience
something strange and different when they do this, but it doesn’t prove
they are one with God. The idea that they are one with God didn’t come
from the experience, but from what someone told them or what they read.
It may have also come from an evil spirit. Many religions acknowledge the
existence of evil spirits – so why should such explanations be rejected
out of hand?

Until the experience can be described somehow, it is not going to help
us develop good relationships with each other. On the contrary, it will
encourage us all to retreat into our own private escapes from reality.
It produces a detachment from people, not the kind of compassion that results
in practical action.

An unusual experience only proves that unusual things occur inside us
at times. They don’t explain why they happen. It requires an idea, a thought,
indeed rational language – in order to give any kind of explanation to
the experience, or even to say that it is beyond words.

Christianity offers a clear explanation for he spiritual experiences
of those involved in Eastern mysticism, but it offers more than that. It
offers a view of the world that is logically consistent, factually verifiable,
and existentially livable. Eastern religions offer none of this. They may
offer ethical principles that are fine in themselves, but they fail to
cleanse the inner man of his sinfulness and corruption. Only God can do
that, and He only does it through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the
cross and His subsequent resurrection – something
that actually happened in history. You cannot have both Biblical Christianity
and Eastern Religion, for eastern religion involves the worship
of false gods
.

 

Michael Fackerell

PLEASE NOTE:

 

When I speak of an easterner I am not thinking of his place of birth
or the color of his skin, but rather the basic philosophical premises on
which he builds his whole view of reality. Thus there are many easterners
with white skin, living in North America and Europe. Christianity was born
in Israel, a nation in the Middle East, and there are now far more Christians
in China and the East than in North America and Europe. The truth about God has no relationship to geography, race or the beliefs of one’s parents.

What do YOU think?

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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  1. Great article.

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