To Believe or Not To Believe The Social Neurological Consequences of Belief Systems

Taking a look at the insatiable desire we have to believe we know the unknowable

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(This is an excerpt from Rahasya’s book that is till in progress)

To Believe or Not to Believe

The Social & Neurological Consequences of Belief Systems

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire

Dedicated to my children, Cindy and Jason, and my grandson Jason, and my stepson Siddhartha and all the other future generations of children who are going to look back at our generation and the legacy we are leaving them and may ask,

“What did you do to help make the world a safer and better place to live?”

WARNING: This book may change your world view!


Rahasya PoeWithout the ability to see clearly and to embrace another person’s belief without judgment or condemnation, we are forever locked in conflict, not only with them, but ourselves as well. But the first thing to do, and the most difficult, is to look at our own beliefs with the courage of a spiritual warrior. We must be willing to pluck the log from our own eye before we start on the “others.”I’ve noticed while writing this book that it inevitably gave rise to deep hidden anger, so in a sense this has been my journey to bring this to the surface in myself. Hopefully you will be able to do the same because if we continue to handle business as usual we will find ourselves deeper and deeper into the chaos and madness. But there is simply no way around it, we must look deep into our beliefs that are outdated and absurd in light of today’s science and understanding of the world we live in. The only way to do this is search them out, in ourselves and others, and take a hard cold look at them in the light of day. All of the information you will be reading is factual information and I’ve made every attempt to keep judgment out of it although it does creep in occasionally. When it does, I try to make it clear that this is my point of view and reference what it’s based on.

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

The Purpose of This Book

Something I’ve noticed over the years about devout religious believers, or people who have strong ideologies such as Stalinism, Maoism, fascism, or extreme right republicans (we haven’t created an “ism” for them yet, we usually wait until they create a holocaust or catastrophic event) is that they seem to all share this short sightedness that borders on mental illness at times as far as how they see themselves and their relationship and responsibilities in and to the world. They seem to live in their own reality and it inevitably comes crashing down around them, and us, at some point. There have been times while talking with them that it became clear that there were some terms, concepts, and views they simply would not, or more specifically, “could not” understand.

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)

This is what we need to take a look at; why is it that people with strong beliefs look and act like they are out of touch with the very reality that surrounds them and that the rest of us can easily see? And why is it that some of us believe and others don’t? And why is it that believers are so against questioning their beliefs; it seems to us non-believers they would want to question their beliefs and come up with some evidence for their validity. Of course we know why they don’t want to question their beliefs and we will be dealing with this in my book.

A Short Letter from the Author

Since I review books and interview best selling authors for my magazine I know there’s an abundance of positive information out there to help us change our lives by changing our thoughts. The idea is built around “what we focus on is what we create in our lives.” This is all very true but I have noticed over the years, as I’m sure you have, that all the positive affirmations and good intentions in the world simply don’t change some people’s lives. (For your convenience I have included a list of wonderful authors that offer this type of information.) The reason for this, as it turns out, is quite definable in terms of our conscious awareness and our unconscious tapes that play in the background. These tapes are almost always tied to our beliefs of our selves and the world we live in. If you don’t put light on those limiting unconscious beliefs your conscious mind doesn’t stand a chance since your conscious mind occupies around 5 percent of your mental power to make decisions and your unconscious occupies the other 95 percent. It’s beyond question that the whole of our world view and the basis of our civilization rest in our beliefs. Our beliefs of our existence, who God is, and how we got here motivates most of our decisions in the world today. So my question is this, “What if our beliefs are wrong?” Doesn’t this possibility warrant at least some attention? What if the writers of our Holy Books weren’t inspired by God, but inspired by nationalism and racial ambitions and agendas?

What we must do is go past the separate beliefs that we hold as individuals and nations; we must look at the cognitive process of “believing” and consider the possibility that we are evolving beyond the need to “pretend we know something.”

What if your child was hit by a drunk driver? Would you be concerned with what kind of car it was? No, you would want to know who was driving and what mental condition they were in at the time. Was it an unforeseeable accident or were they drunk? It’s in this light that we must start viewing what’s going on in the world today. It doesn’t really matter what religion is taking today’s stage of absurd and insane actions, what matters is the common denominator that has fueled these conflicts for millennia…which are beliefs. At the root of most of the world’s insanity you will find people who are drunk with a belief in an invisible god that they read or heard about from a book that was written or inspired by the same invisible God.

The purpose of this book is not to simply give you something else to believe in, it’s to put light on the many absurd and limiting beliefs that have been handed down to us by the world we live in; our parents, religions, governments, teachers, philosophies, ideologies, and the list goes on. Without relinquishing our attachment to these deep seated beliefs we will never move forward and most definitely will move backwards. But this will never happen until we start looking at the mental cognitive process of our need to believe at all. Later I will define “believing” as it will be used in this book.

When talking about absurd beliefs it is difficult not to come across a little harsh at times but this will be somewhat lessened by the fact that I’m not actually attempting to prove or disprove anything in this book, just a little rational thought usually accomplishes that. The intent of this book is to show the necessary and inevitable “mental disconnect” involved in supporting beliefs that have no empirical evidence and indeed, goes against all known science and experience, and even common sense most of the time. For instance, neither I nor you have ever witnesses a virgin birth as taken literally in the Bible. No one has ever seen a winged horse as the one Mohamed is supposed to be returning on. And I know that I have never heard a booming voice declaring he was God coming from a burning bush.

Obviously this list could go on almost indefinitely of the absurd beliefs we hold to be true and sacred and are not allowed to even question within our religions. Of course we always see the absurdity in other religious and political beliefs. But let’s put aside whether or not they are true and focus on the cognitive process of “believing.” What is this seemingly insatiable desire of pretending we know something that we have no way of knowing; and actually the only thing we do know is that we have no way of knowing; that’s why we say it’s based on faith, and faith is nothing more than a license we give ourselves to believe something that lacks evidence. This sounds like the reasoning of a madman in an insane asylum.

I ask you to at least entertain the possibility that this is a left over cognitive function of a primitive mind. The reason I say this is because this idea of believing dates back to our earliest times in antiquity, and the only thing we have to counteract this is our strict adherence to the scientific process of inquiry, validation, and education. This isn’t to say that intelligent people do not believe in religious myths; there are numerous religious leaders who are very intelligent and it’s to them that this book could be very helpful if they read it. If you are one of their “flock” then by definition you have already handed over your right to think for yourself and are being led by a leader or a sacred scripture. If you happen to fall into this category then you might find it interesting that there are many religious leaders waking up to what we will be addressing and I have interviewed some of them for this book. So if you don’t want to be “left behind ” keep reading, sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.

The truth be known, I probably would not be writing this book except for the fact that I don’t see anyone addressing some of these issues and I see us heading for a collision course with some self fulfilling Apocalyptic prophecy if we continue unabated on this course. I would much rather write something that would put me in the mainstream of the movement I see happening and feel very much a part of on this planet, which could be identified as a spiritual movement towards peace, love, and oneness. Whether or not we are approaching a point in our evolution called planetary awakening, or even massive individual awakenings is not clear; what is clear is that we need to change the direction we are headed.

One thing I am concerned with is some of the details, like the fact that there are literally hundreds of millions of people on the planet that believe that the sooner we devastate and destroy our environment the sooner a savior, theirs by odd coincidence, will come back and whisk them all off to paradise. In olden days when our technology consisted of a sharp spear and implements of torture all we rational people needed to do was keep quiet and stay out of the way. But things have changed now that we live in the atomic age; you can not duck or jump out of the way of an atomic bomb. We no longer have the luxury or option of waiting a thousand years as we did during the Dark Ages.

We must, all of us, speak out even if it firmly puts us on the fringe of a small percentage of the population of this planet. We must also keep in mind that in today’s world it only takes one person to kill a million people, and there are people waiting in line for the opportunity to do so. This is a first on our planet so it requires urgent attention. Any rational person knows that we may be sitting on the only inhabitable planet in our known universe.

If we continue on this course we will most assuredly destroy any chance we have of living on it. This affects all of us and our children. I have been told by well-meaning spiritual people and friends that looking at these problems is being negative. I will agree that it’s negative, but it’s not the “looking” that’s negative; it’s what we are looking at that’s negative. If I shine a light into the darkness and it lights up an ugly mess, we can’t blame the light. What I have found is the only way to transform negativity is to put conscious light on it.

Nothing generates conscious light faster than self reflection and focusing that awareness on negativity without any judgment. Negativity in itself has no power to transform or to see itself which can be evidenced in any number of scenarios in our world today. The only way to change the things that we’ll be looking at is by putting conscious light on them; this is how the insanity has gone on for so long, we have been intimidated into submission and afraid to even bring it up. Those days are gone as far as I’m concerned.

My Challenge to Religious Believers

It is my sincere wish that you read this book with all the intellectual honesty you can bring forth and begin to think for yourself. This can only be accomplished by looking honestly at some of the things we believe and asking the tough questions that, for some reason, most believers don’t ask, like:

“Why do I believe what I believe and what gives me the authority and right to impose those beliefs on others even if it risks the very planet that we all inhabit?”

This is a challenge to you to answer this question honestly without escaping into age old mental gymnastics to avoid answering, which most of us are quite tired of hearing. Using faith alone as a reason to believe something absurd can easily be identified and disqualified by any believer when looking at another belief system, but we always fail to use the same guidelines on our own beliefs. We will be looking at some very uncomfortable ideas and beliefs that we have held on to for far too long. Observe the fact that our three dominate world religions had their birth in the Iron Age when the people who started them had no scientific understanding of the universe or even the world in which they lived.

So come with me on a journey in which we will consider all human beings as sacred and spiritual. I might add that I have just alienated myself with most of the atheists of the world but I see them as the necessary knee jerk response to religious fundamentalism. Somewhere in the middle of all this there is a path that will lead us all to a deep experientialunderstanding of our reality. But we must let go of our beliefs and even the need to have a belief at all. We must learn to live in the mystery called existence and be content with figuring out this puzzle, one piece at a time and stop pretending we know things we do not.


OSHO was a teacher before his time, listen to what he has to say about Belief Systems (a little over 3 minutes)

Interviews with Researchers, Scientists, and Spiritual Leaders

These are just a few of the people I have interviewed so far for the book.

Byron Katie became severely depressed in her early thirties. She was a businesswoman and mother living in a little town in the high desert of southern California. For almost a decade she spiraled down into paranoia, rage, self-loathing, and constant thoughts of suicide; for the last two years she was often unable to leave her bedroom. Then, one morning in February 1986, while in a mental health treatment facility, she experienced a life-changing realization. Katie’s experience was similar to spiritual awakenings described in Buddhist and Hindu traditions under various names; she calls it “waking up to reality.” In that moment of enlightenment, she says,

I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.

Katie is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. She is married to the poet and translator Stephen Mitchell, who co-wrote her first book, Loving What Is and her third book, A Thousand Names for Joy.My interview with “Katie” was a moving experience in itself. She is very clear and has obviously learned from her life experiences.

For more information on Byron Katie visit

Rick Ray did a documentary called 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama. I was curious to know what he asked the Dalai Lama that may not have made it to the film. Some of the Dalai Lama’s answers surprised me but it was his lack of answers that most intrigued me, like when he was asked if there was a solution to the conflict going on in the Middle East. The Dalai Lama said that the best thing to do would be to get everyone to come to a picnic and have a good time and not talk. This was his way, I think, of saying that the problem is communication. Until we can get all the religious groups to take a hard look at their divisive beliefs, communication is virtually impossible.

For more information on Rick Ray visit

My wife and I have had a few talks and interviews with Dr. Joe Dispenza on everything from the power of thought to his latest book, Evolve Your Brain, The Science of Changing Your Mind. Joe was featured in the movie/documentary What the Bleep Do We Know?

If you haven’t visited Dr. Joe’s website you should check it out, it’s a great information site,

Masaru Emoto was born in Yokohama in July 1943. He is a graduate of the Yokohama Municipal University’s department of humanities and sciences with a focus on International Relations. In 1986 he established the IHM Corporation in Tokyo. In October of 1992 he received certification from the Open International University as a Doctor of Alternative Medicine. Subsequently he was introduced to the concept of micro cluster water in the US and Magnetic Resonance Analysis technology. The quest thus began to discover the mystery of water. Dr. Emoto found that water can hold intention. This becomes obviously important when we consider the fact that we are made mostly of water.

For more information visit

Of course my book would not be complete without the input of Timothy Freke. Seldom do you get to hear someone speak so clearly about something so divisive as religious beliefs and still be in their hear and compassionate. He is the author of Lucid Living, Jesus Mysteries, and many more.

For more information visit

Meeting with Gary Zukav has been on my list ever since I read The Dancing Wu Li Masters many many years ago. My wife and I met with him and his partner Linda Francis in Seattle while doing his Spiritual Partnership workshop.

For more information visit

Meeting with Bruce Lipton and having several interviews has been an adventure into the realm of the biology and cellular aspects of beliefs. He is the author of Biology of Belief.

Lynn McTaggart lives in London and wrote The Field and more recently The Intention Experiment. Lynn has had the opportunity to meet many neuroscientists and researchers so her input was invaluable.

Of course we had to visit Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations With God. His interview on this subject was quite rewarding in surprising ways.

Rollin McCraty is the head researcher for Heartmath Institute. There research lies in the area of bringing the heart in coherence with the brain. One of the things that came out in the interview was how people with rigid belief systems are out of coherence, or touch, with their hearts. Since a person receives massive amounts of signals from the heart to the brain, this is in no small part indicative of the disconnect we see with religious people in the fervor to “spread the word” at any cost.

I will be interviewing

Sharon Begley who use to be the science writer for Newsweek Magazine. For the past few years she has been working with the Dalai Lama when he calls together several scientists for a summit meeting to explore how science and religion can come together. The Dalai Lama says, “If there is ever a conflict with religion and science, science wins.”