I’ve spent much of the day today trying to figure out how to tie a bow tie, but I just can’t figure it out. Learned how to do a Windsor knot while at it though, so not a complete failure. In any case, around 3 AM today, while the huge amounts of caffeine were starting to wear off on me, I found on youtube OSHO. From the looks of it, he seems to claim to be an Indian mystic. Now, I want to make one thing perfectly clear and that is that I do believe in mystics. I have no problem believing that different people can have visions of the Divine. However, I do believe that even mystical visions have to be compatible with knowledge. This should not be confused with simply fitting into categories. One way to illustrate this point is what C. S. Lewis uses in Miracles, i.e. the mystic limpet and the scholarly limpet. If a limpet catches a glace of a human, he has no categories to explain what it has seen. A scholarly limpet may ask it, “Did this thing you saw have tentacles?” the obvious answer is, “no,” and so on and so forth. All this means is that limpets have never conceived of such a being before, hence they have no categories for it. To conclude from this that the being seen by the mystic limpet does not exist would be obviously foolish.
However, when you express thought, the Law of Non-Contradiction still needs to be taken into account. His answer to “If you believe there is no God, are you an atheist?” is rather complicated. He basically says that even though he believes that there is no God, but that his belief is not the same as atheists’, because though he does not believe in God, he believes in “godliness,” or Consciousness. Now this sounds like a really sophisticated answer, unless you have read philosophy before. Let us examine what “believing in ‘godliness'” without believing in God means. That is a lot like saying, “I don’t believe anything red exists, but I do believe in ‘redness.'” Of course, that statement could make if red things once existed, but if nothing red ever existed, then believing in something that makes things red is rather non-sensical. If we do ignore this part and accept that something got lost in translation, let us look at the part about Consciousness. This is the regular Buddhist belief, i.e. you and I don’t really exist, we are just part of the one great spirit that is everything. In other words, pantheism (wait, did you just say pan-theism?). So, it would follow that dear old Osho is a theist after all, though his supporters can make one final push by saying that by “theist” he meant a believer in a personal god. I guess that’s fair, but if he knows who Marx (not too surprising) and Epicurus (more surprising, though he gets his philosophy wrong*) are, he should know that monotheism and theism are not the same thing, but I digress.
*-Epicurus is a kind of Deist (by modern standards) i.e. he believed that the gods created the world, but that they are so perfect and unchanging that they cannot be involved with human affairs, so worshipping them has no point, but not that they don’t exist.
What I saw next, convinced me about Osho. In another interview he talks about how Jesus did not actually die in Judea, but was sent off to India, where he lived to be 112. Now, this leaves the realm of philosophy and goes into history (red flag #1). I’m going to go ahead here and just point out that we know from Suetonius that there was a Christian community in Rome by 49 CE and so on and so forth. Also, we know that the Romans considered Christianity superstitio, which means not necessarily wrong belief, but exaggerated, over the top expression, to the point of silliness. According to Osho, Jesus never died on the cross. He explains that there was a conspiracy between Pontius Pilate and a rich man (I’m going to guess Nicodemus here, according to the Gospels) to crucify Jesus late into Friday (the Gospels say roughly the third hour, which means three hours after sunrise, so about 9 AM) and then remove Him from the cross at night, since the next day was Holy (of course, in real Judaism, Passover would start at the setting of the Sun on Friday, which is probably why the Gospels account Jesus being taken off the cross around the ninth hour if memory serves, which would be about 3 PM). Osho’s whole point is that it takes 48 hrs to as much as 5 days for a normal man to be killed by crucifixion, so Jesus must not have died by when he was taken off the cross, but been knocked unconscious by the loss of blood. Of course, the question becomes, how did he lose enough blood to be knocked unconscious,because that means a huge drop in blood pressure, i.e. something unlikely to be caused by needles at the wrists and at the legs would cause that, since the Romans tried to miss the major blood vessels, they want you to die slowly, so then the story of the centurion stabbing Jesus in the side must also be true (of course, the fact that blood and water came out, which would mean the heart would have burst). Aside from the fact that you need a blood transfusion to save a guy that’s gone unconscious from losing too much blood, this idea that just because it usually takes 48 hrs. for a person to die from crucifixion no one can ever die in less time is simply silly. It is a lot like saying that because it usually takes about four punches in the same proximity of the face to make an adult male bleed, that no one has ever made anyone bleed in less than four punches is ridiculous. In addition, why India would be the chosen destination is never explained, why Pilate would have agreed to a deal with a Jew is also very much in question, if he is well-known for hating them as a kindred, and finally whether there is any evidence that Jesus’ remains are in India are never adressed. Another question would be why His followers went around proclaiming He was dead and came back to life, but I think we got enough points of contradiction already.
Throw on top of all that the fact that Osho elongates the last syllable of every word coming out of his mouth for added dramatic effect and I think everyone who has read Plato can figure out what category he belongs to. He is a sophist: loads of bullcrap, loads of dramatics, very complicated logic that comes into a circle if you go through it. He is not the first we have heard of, probably not the last either. As the first sentence ever written down in English goes, “Whaet. We gar-Dena in geardegum/þeodcyninga, þrym grephunon/hu ða aepelingas ellen fremedon,” (i.e. [so] what, we have heard of the Spear-Danes in days gone by…).
So, the moral of the story. People, when you hear a brand new mystic has appeared on the face of the earth, don’t say good-bye to you mind. Examine them first, in fact, examine everything first. In The Screwtape Letters, in the very first letter, the senior demon instructs the junior one that the first basic step to Hell is to push people back from using their mind. So, use your mind, whether you believe in Hell or not, it won’t hurt you, I promisse.