Anti-ScienceReligion

Running Around in Circles: a Metaphor

First, a bit of housekeeping: I can no longer receive any email messages. None. Seriously. Months ago, emails from certain addresses were bouncing back, then the number of people who couldn’t get through grew and grew until yesterday, at which time I noticed that I couldn’t even send emails to myself. I’m working on the problem (read: crossing my fingers and hoping the problem magically disappears), but in the meantime, you can still comment to the blog or reach me via PM on the forum (my username there is, coicidentally, “Rebecca”). The problem extends to all Skepchick.org accounts, but those of you with any of my soooper seeeekrit personal addresses can feel free to reach me that way. I also still have a phone and a doorbell, so I’m not completely disconnected from the world. It just feels that way.

I stumbled across an article today about the world’s longest foot race. It spans 3,100 miles and takes place entirely within one city block in New York. For two months, athletes run around and around, 18 hours a day in the hot summer sun. They eat on the run, use porta-potties, and suffer horrible physical ailments as a result, yet still they compete year after year for the chance to win a single t-shirt and a plastic trophy. I honestly thought this was a hoax until I did some research and verified that it is true.

You’re probably thinking that to run a race like this, a person would have to be completely bonkers, right? Well, actually, you’d be totally right.

The race is sponsored by a guru by the name of Sri Chinmoy, who preaches peace and harmony and completely nutball physical feats like this race, or pogo-sticking up a mountain. If you visit his web site, he comes across as a really sweet guy. All happiness and inner harmony. I thought to myself, “My, he sounds like quite a sweet and innocent guy. I think I’ll go meditate a while and pray to the spirits that he continues his godly work until the end of time.”

Of course, if you know me at all by now, you know that that’s a complete lie and I actually thought to myself, “Sweet ass-pinching Jesus, this guy is full of it.”

This thought was confirmed on Chinmoy’s public relations page where he quotes friends such as Mother Theresa. And you know how I feel about her. So I did a little more Googling (it didn’t take long) and found the excellent web site of Rick Ross, where dozens of articles are collected showcasing the hypocrisy of Chinmoy, who turns out to be your average cult leader. He claims to be in it for the universal harmony, yet brings in big money off his supporters, who are indoctrinated as spiritual slaves. The guru was even too crazy for Carlos Sanatana, who has publically slammed Chinmoy in venues such as Rolling Stone magazine. Too spiritually-out-there for Santana? That’s saying something.

Chinmoy preaches celibacy (naturally), but has been accused by ex-cult members of manipulating and raping them (naturally). And then, we come to the physical feats. He uses off the wall stunts like the road race to get his name out there, and obviously it’s working. Oh, and look out, Pat Robertson! Chinmoy claims to be able to lift several tons with each arm (and, uh, some mechanical assistance). Greater even than that, he has lifted both Eddie Murphy AND the Prime Minister of Iceland. Though not at the same time. Still, though, amazing!

Poke around Rick Ross’ excellent site for more info on Chinmoy and lots of other fascinatingly evil cult leaders.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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10 Comments

  1. Are you insinuating that Eddie Murphy's hair weights in a several tons?

    It's big, but oh feckin' Jaysus!!!

    Or he could be a lead-lines ventriloquists doll…a mistake easily made.

  2. tear.

    No email? But there are private things that just can't be expressed in public! Without email how will I ever profess my undying love for you? How will I say that, despite the fact I've never met you (and for all I know you might be a middle-aged, god-fearing, church-going, gay-hating, boy-loving man pretending to be a skepchick), I'm madly in love with it? Huh?

    These things just don't belong on public record!

    Oops.

    [As always, try to read the sarcasm between the lines. It's there]

  3. Indeed, I was intentionally misinterpreting you, nsetzer, for the sake of humour. I see that I have failed miserably.

    O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to… crap, "entertain" doesn't have any synonyms that fit the rhyme. Well, you know what I mean.

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