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Rob Bell & A Brief History of Everything
Ken Wilbur… In His Own Words
Ken Wilbur and John 10
Ken Wilber and Adi Da (formerly Da Free John)
Ken Wilbur and Neale Donald Walsh
Ken Wilbur and The Integral Institute
Ken Wilber, Integral and Zen master Genpo Roshi
Ken Wilber, Integral and Father Thomas Keating
Ken Wilber & The Spirituality of Tomorrow
Rob Bell & Wilber’s A Brief History of Everything
Rob Bell, founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan is considered one of this generation’s ‘cool’ emerging leaders. Sadly Rob Bell is little more than an emerging apostate.. [Read More], who said, not so long ago...
“For a mind-blowing introduction to emergence theory and divine creativity, set aside three months and read Ken Wilber’s A Brief History of Everything.” [Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 192, endnote 143]
And what is this book that Rob Bell would have his readers study.. Sadly it is little more than what one reviewer on Amazon called “preaching ignorance to the ignorant”. Here is what this ‘mind-blowing introduction to divine creativity’ actually believes.. [Emphasis Added]
And yet "For Wilber, the ultimate reality is the Kosmos, not just the cosmos"... and believes that "the Big Bang brought everything into existence from nothing, yet rejects the teachings of "religious creationists" who find in this evidence for the biblical deity. Instead he views the source of the Kosmos as "Emptiness", which is "unbounded and unqualifiable" (27; see also 133). Wilber takes the mystical experience of Emptiness to be the highest state of consciousness. In this state, the subject-object relationship drops out and one realizes that he or she is one with the non-dual reality. At several points, Wilber claims the nature of this state is both the ground and goal of evolution (43,104, 120, 339)."" [Douglas Groothuis. Critiques of A Brief History of Everything.]
In one place Wilber says..
"So we have some very popular theorists who, tired of the burdens of postconventional and world-centric rational perspectivism, recommend a regressive slide into egocentric vital impulsive polymorphous phantasmic emotional revival."
While Ken Wilber is entitled to believe what ever he wants to, regardless of how far off track, for a Christian pastor to actually recommend one of Wilber’s books to his readers is reprehensible to say the very least. But then it is exceedingly difficult to apply the word Christian to Rob Bell.
Ken Wilbur… In His Own Words
So who is Ken Wilbur? According to Wikipedia, he “is an American author who writes on psychology, philosophy, mysticism, ecology, and spiritual evolution”. Often called the “most comprehensive philosophical thinker of our times”, Wilber is the author of over a dozen books, including Sex, Ecology, Spirituality; A Brief History of Everything; The Spectrum of Consciousness; Up from Eden; and Grace and Grit. His book The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion is endorsed on the front cover by Deepak Chopra, who says
“Ken Wilber is one of the most important pioneers in the field of consciousness in this country. I regard him as my mentor. He is the source of inspiration and insight to all of us. Read everything he writes -- it will change your life.” Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Shambhala Publications [Shambhala is a Sanskrit term meaning "place of peace/tranquility/happiness"] says he is
“Credited with developing a unified field theory of consciousness—a synthesis and interpretation of the world's great psychological, philosophical, and spiritual traditions—Ken Wilber is the most cogent and penetrating voice in the recent emergence of a uniquely American wisdom”. [http://wilber.shambhala.com/]
In a September 1996 interview with Robin Kornman of the Shambhala Sun entitled The Kosmos According to Ken Wilber, he described himself as being…
“…a longtime practicing Buddhist, and many of the key ideas in my approach are Buddhist or Buddhist inspired. First and foremost, Nagarjuna and Madhyamika philosophy: pure Emptiness and primordial purity is the “central philosophy” of my approach as well.”
In the same interview he also spoke of his then recent books Sex, Ecology, Spirituality and A Brief History of Everything, saying in part that he wrote the book for the “not-so-common people” …
“more for anybody who is looking for something like an overall world philosophy, an approach to consciousness and history that takes the best of the East and the West into account, and attempts to honor them both”.
When asked what effect he hoped to have and what can knowing his philosophy could do for the advancement of consciousness, he replied …
Not very much, frankly. Each of us still has to find a genuine contemplative practice-maybe yoga, maybe Zen, maybe Shambhala Training, maybe contemplative prayer, or any number or authentic transformative practices. That is what advances consciousness, not my linguistic chitchat and book junk. But if you want to know how your particular practices fit with the other approaches to truth that are out there, then these books will help you get started. They offer one map of how things fit together, that's all. But none of this will substitute for practice. [http://www.shambhalasun.com:80/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2059]
I find the above statement interesting.. In it Ken Wilber talks about “other approaches to truth”, in other words conceding that there is a truth. But what is that truth? And if there are various approaches to it, how can one possibly know when one has encountered it. And how does he or anyone else like him disprove the possibility that ONE OF THE paths is right... that one of them contains absolute truth...Remembering that truth is NOT subjective. [See Christian Exclusivism Explained and Defended].
Also See Section on Contemplative Prayer and Article on Yoga and The Christian
Ken Wilbur and John 10
In the above mentioned interview, Wilber proves himself a classic example of someone who twists the plain meaning of Scripture to conform to their philosophical outlook. He (as do countless others) lights on one short verse in Scripture, with no regard to the context, or what is said in the verses immediately preceding or following and uses it to reinforce one aspect of his cherished illusions. Wilber says…
“Imagine if, the very day Buddha attained his enlightenment, he was taken out and hanged precisely because of his realization. and if any of his followers claimed to have the same realization, they were also hanged. Speaking for myself, I would find this something of a disincentive to practice.
But that's exactly what happened with Jesus of Nazareth. "Why do you stone me?" he asks at one point. "Is it for good deeds?" And the crowd responds, "No, it is because you, being a man, make yourself out to be God." The individual Atman is not allowed to realize that it is one with Brahman. "I and my Father are One"-among other complicated factors that realization got this gentleman crucified.
The reasons for this are involved, but the fact remains: as soon as any spiritual practitioner began to get too close to the realization that Atman and Brahman are one-that one's own mind is intrinsically one with primordial Spirit-then frighteningly severe repercussions usually followed”.
[Primordial: existing at or from the beginning of time]
In the above quote, Wilber is referring to John 10:30-33. The crowd wanted to stone Jesus for His claim in John 10:30, that He and the Father were one.
In Scripture, the word translated “one” is not in the masculine, but in the neuter gender. Since it expresses union, but not the precise nature of the union, the particular kind intended has to be inferred from the context. Jesus had just affirmed in the previous two verses that he was able to rescue and keep his people from all enemies, a power superior to men and exactly the same as that of the Father. Our Lord first says of Himself, ‘I give unto my sheep eternal life, and none shall pluck them out of my hand.’ He then says the same thing of the Father—‘None is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.’ He plainly, then, ascribes the same thing to Himself that He does to the Father, the same work of power, therefore the same power. He mentions the reason why none can pluck them out of the Father’s hands,—because He is the Almighty, and no created power is able to resist Him… “I and the Father are one”.
That the Lord Jesus was the One that the prophets announced should come, had been abundantly attested by His person, His life, and His “many good works” (what we call miracles). His "works" were an essential part of His credentials, as is clear from Luke 7:19-23:
When Jesus said “I and the Father are one”, had the Jews understood him as only as saying he had a unity with the Father, they would not have considered him a blasphemer; because in this sense Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, and all the prophets, were one with God. But what irritated them so much was that they understood him as speaking of a unity of nature. Therefore they say here, thou makest thyself God; which word they understood, not in a figurative, metaphorical, or improper sense, but in the most literal meaning of the term, not that that ‘His own mind was intrinsically one with primordial
In any case just a few verses later (in verse 36) Jesus answers the charge made against him by saying that it is not He that makes himself God, but it is the Father that makes him out to be God. It was the Father that sanctified and sent Him into the world.
Not exactly the same situation as ‘the individual Atman not being allowed to realize that it is one with Brahman’ which Wilber wishes were true. In spite of all their claims to be connected to the Divine, none of those individual Atmans can make the blind see, the lame walk or the dead come back to life. None have been sent into the world by the Father.
Besides which, God tells us in Isaiah 55: 8-9
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”.
Ken Wilber and Adi Da (formerly Da Free John).
Ken Wilber was, not so long ago, zealously promoting the works of Adi Da, but when tales of sexual exploitation, financial greed, deceit etc. began to make the rounds (top-level defectors tell stories of drunken sex orgies and a former devotee accuses the Marin-based sect of brainwashing, sexual assault and turning her into a "household slave"), Wilber warned that although Da Free John was an enlightened being, it was better to stay away from the commune.. although not “in any way” abandoning his “love and devotion for Him”. [http://www.beezone.com/Wilber/ken_wilbers_letter.html]
The following is an excerpt from Ken Wilber's review of Da Free John’s book.. The Dawn Horse Testament (1985 edition) :
"The Dawn Horse Testament is the most ecstatic, most profound, most complete, most radical, and most comprehensive single spiritual text ever to be penned and confessed by the Human Transcendental Spirit…. I ask my friends, my students, my readers, even my casual acquaintances, to see and recognize and — above all — confess the Realization that Master Da is… Read this Man, Listen to this Man, Hear this Man, then See Him. And then, I think, you will stand Smiling. What else do you really want? What else can I say? " [http://www.beezone.com/Wilber/ken_wilbur_praise.html]
The claim has been made that Wilber developed his own stages of development from Da's "seven stages of life", which of course bring us to the question of who is Da Free John?
Often referred to as a “meglomaniacal cult leader” (a description that seems fairly close to the truth), Da John, (Originally called Franklin Albert Jones) claimed to have miraculous powers and to be the avatar for our age. The following are a few excerpts from the April 5, 1985, San Francisco Examiner article… Hypnotic Da Free John -- Svengali of the truth-seeking set By Don Lattin. [All Emphasis Added]
“There's something about Franklin Albert Jones that makes men turn over their wives, millionaires open up their bank accounts and truth-seekers bare their souls.
For 13 years he has quietly attracted a following of more than a thousand devotees, including wealthy benefactors who have bought him a California hot springs resort, a Hawaiian paradise and his own Fijian island…
… "But he has a fatal flaw -- his own narcissism. He creates a system of attachment to him that is not spiritual. It's very temporal."
“a San Francisco business consultant, knew Franklin Jones before he declared himself "the Living Truth, the Way of Salvation and the Eternal master of Men." They met at a Scientology workshop in San Francisco in 1968”.
…”During his years at Stanford, Jones wrote in his book "The Knee of Understanding," his experimentation with LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs led him toward a "simple, direct and unqualified free awareness." Before the 1968 Scientology workshop, Jones had just gotten back from the India ashram of the late Swami Muktananda Paramhansa. After completing the Scientology course, Lucania said, he and Jones formed a pact to continue their spiritual journey…
Hindu Temples and Incarnation of God?
(Jones' one time closest friend and confidant was a man called Lucania)
"At this point, I think he really thinks he is God," Lucania said. "If you had every whim indulged for 13 years, how would you think of yourself?"
…” At this point, Lucania said, Franklin Albert Jones began to think of himself as an incarnation of God. While meditating in a small Hindu temple in Hollywood in 1970, Lucania said, Jones "went through an experience where there was no experience whatsoever."
Alcohol Sex and Drugs
“In 1972, when the guru was still calling himself Franklin Jones, Lucania said he gave Jones $8,000 so they could open the Ashram Bookstore on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The first devotees, many of them street people, began showing up.
Within a year, Lucania said, the austere lifestyle had given way to the wild parties and wife-swapping that has given Jones his sudden notoriety as Da Free John.
According to his writings, the guru's parties were merely one step along the spiritual path. This is the explanation given in "The Four Fundamental Questions," an official summary of the guru's teaching…”
… “Jones reportedly has nine wives, including a former Playboy playmate of the month. Former devotees say he takes a keen interest in the sex lives of his followers.
Amidst extraordinary drinking bouts, they say, the guru would frequently mix spiritual instruction, psychological analysis and sexual commandments”. [http://www.rickross.com/reference/adida/adida12.html]
Distinguishing The Message From The Medium?
Some claim that one
“The underlying spiritual message and the transmitting medium who conveys it, though related, are two distinct entities. To confuse the two betrays the fact that a corrupt religious group can present genuine teachings, or, that an authentic spiritual discourse can have an illegitimate expression” [Exposing Cults: When The Skeptical Mind Confronts The Mystical. David C. Lane. http://www.geocities.com/eckcult/cultexpose/dafree.html]
But God does not agree..
"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "So then, you will know them by their fruits.
Ken Wilbur and Neale Donald Walsh:
A February 17, 2008, posting on Ken Wilber’s blog talks of an interview he conducted with Neale Donald Walsch, whom Wilber calls “one of God’s most well-known mouth pieces in the modern world”. And “… a modern day spiritual messenger who’s nine Conversations With God books and sixteen additional books on a contemporary understanding of God have touched millions of lives around the globe”.
[That Walsch’s books have touched millions of lives around the globe, is probably true as he is one of the world’s leading New Age authors].
In this interview Wilber and Walsch speak of “stages” of enlightenment taking place in individuals and society… that there also might be some developmental issues involved here… in terms of the extent to which they can apply this knowledge …they move from being, “ego-centric”, to “ethno-centric” to “world-centric”, an issue which appears to “be around the world”. [http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/show/423]
Which makes one wonder if this “world-centric” is any different from, or another step towards, what some call a change in global consciousness at a planetary level, or as Eckhart Tolle puts it.. “awakening of humanity and the arising of a new earth” … “the next step in human evolution”. [Read Oprah’s New Earth]
Ken Wilbur and The Integral Institute
The home page of the Integral Institute, says “The Institute’s roots lie in the work of philosopher Ken Wilber, generally regarded as the world’s most influential Integral thinker” [http://www.integralinstitute.org/?q=node/1]
And [Emphasis Added]
“Integral theory is an all-inclusive framework that draws on the key insights of the world’s greatest knowledge traditions. The awareness gained from drawing on all truths and perspectives allows the Integral thinker to bring new depth, clarity and compassion to every level of human endeavor — from unlocking individual potential to finding new approaches to global-scale problems”. [http://www.integralinstitute.org/]
Ken Wilber, Integral and Zen master Genpo Roshi
And who is Genpo Roshi? According to his site, he
“is a man who has accomplished over 35 years of Zen meditation practice, a man who’s a certified Zen Master. He’s also been a champion athlete, and is a devoted husband and father, a successful businessperson, and the respected author of five books. He is the creator of the Big Mind/Big Heart approach, and is the Founder and Abbot of Kanzeon Zen Center and Kanzeon Sangha International. His whole adult life has been dedicated to raising consciousness” [http://www.genpo.org/Home.html]
In speaking about Big Mind/Big Heart, Zen master Genpo Roshi says
“We all have questions about the meaning and purpose of our lives and about how to get the most out of life. The Big Mind Big Heart approach will show you how to answer these questions for yourself, for what’s true”. [http://www.genpo.org/Home.html]
A very striking point about the above comment is that, sure everyone has questions about “ the meaning and purpose of our lives and about how to get the most out of life”, but most people seem to forget that even a meaningful life, full of purpose, is very very short.. A mere 70-80 years, if you are lucky and not hit by a bus tomorrow morning. And what after that? How will your ‘meaningful life’ serve you when you are ended, annihilated, exterminated…at death. When they lower that coffin into a cold and dark hole in the ground.. Somehow it does not make sense. Or is a few year of finding ‘enlightenment’ good enough for you? [Read More .. The Answer to Death]
As of October 12th 2008 one arm of the Integral site’s ‘featured guests’ included Genpo Roshi…
The creator of the powerful Big Mind Process, allowing anyone to experience a more universal consciousness in a relatively short amount of time. Individuals or groups are able to do so quite easily without any previous formal Zen training. It is a non-threatening technique which uses the ego instead of trying to destroy it. Genpo Roshi has established a non-profit, non-sectarian organization that brings the Big Mind Process out to the world. [http://in.integralinstitute.org/]
Ken Wilber wrote the foreword to Genpo Roshi’s book Big Mind/Big Heart, which says in part… [Bold in Original. Underlining Added]
“Let me state this as strongly as I can: the Big Mind Process (founded by Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi) is arguably the most important and original discovery in the last two centuries of Buddhism. It is an astonishingly original, profound, and effective path for waking up, or seeing one’s True Nature. It is such a simple and universal practice it can be used in any spiritual path you wish, or even just alone, by itself, as a practice for realizing your True Nature—which you can call God, Allah, Jahweh, Brahman, Tao, Ein Sof—it doesn’t really matter, because the core of the Big Mind Process is Emptiness itself, which, having no specific content at all, can and does embrace anything that arises, integrating it all… Zen, this realization of one’s True Nature, or Ultimate Reality, is called kensho or satori (“seeing into one’s True Nature,” or discovering Big Mind and Big Heart). It often takes five years or more of extremely difficult practice (I know, I’ve done it) in order for a profound satori to occur. With the Big Mind Process, a genuine kensho can occur in about an hour—seriously. Once you get it, you can do it virtually any time you wish, and almost instantaneously. It is nothing less than the discovery of your True and Unique Self, Ultimately Reality, the Ground of All Being—again, call it what you like, for “they call it Many which is really One.”
read this book, or simply let it soak into you, let the words wash through you, and soon enough, that “you” will be “YOU”—which is to say, I AMness, your own True, Infinite, and Eternal Nature: “before Abraham was, I AM.” This book is truly a handbook of Awakening to I AMness, which is already looking out of your eyes right now.
He goes on to say
(We at Integral Institute have found this process to be so effective and profound, that we have made it a central part of our programs, seminars, and Integral Life Practice. [http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/show/224]
Incidentally the book was also endorsed by Neale Donald Walsch, New Age leader and author of Conversations with God, who said
“Is talking to your own Mind a ‘conversation with God’? I have often said that this is true, and now comes a book that backs up the thought. I highly recommend you not miss Big Mind, Big Heart: Finding Your Way.
And Father Thomas Keating, apostate Roman Catholic priest and author of Open Mind, Open Heart, who said..
“A book of great creativity and originality that will make a significant contribution to the East-West dialogue and to the needs of those who are attracted to move beyond seeking.” [http://www.genpo.org/Home.html]
Ken Wilber, Integral and Father Thomas Keating
Another guest at the same time as Genpo Roshi was.... “Father Thomas Keating, The originator of Centering Prayer and one of the foremost teachers of Contemplative Christianity”.
The page devoted to Keating says
“Father Thomas Keating, a writer and teacher considered by many to be one of the few genuinely realized Christian saints in the world today, is a founding member of the Spirituality branch of Integral Institute”.
“It helps that Keating also has an unusually open-minded attitude towards the meditative practices of other traditions and has studied with spiritual teachers from a variety of Hindu and Buddhist lineages, for this lead to the creation of the Snowmass Interreligious Conference in 1982, where teachers from diverse paths meet regularly to compare notes and evaluate the successes and failures of their respective practices. Other organizations graced by the presence of Keating include the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (which sponsors exchanges between the monks and nuns of every religion), and the International Committee for Peace Council”. [http://in.integralinstitute.org/contributor.aspx?id=38]
But I guess one should not be too surprised. Keating pops up in all manner of places.. spreading his canker as he goes. [See more on Thomas Keating].
The Integral Institute records the dialogue between Father Thomas Keating and Ken Wilber that took place on April 24th, 2006… [Emphasis Added]
“… Ken Wilbur and Father Thomas Keating dialogued for almost 4 hours in front of a packed house at the Westin Tabor Center in Denver. About 240 people attended the event. The discussion took place around the topic of the relevance of religion in the modern/postmodern era. …
… Above all else, the dialogue had the character of two old friends sharing some sacred time and space together. The crowd was alternately in stiches [stitches] at numerous, hilarious exchanges, and silent in the face of the depth and profundity of the sharing. Reflecting on his own journey, Keating, 83, said that he honestly felt very much like a beginner to the spiritual life, before the majestic love that God Is, and commented "I can’t understand why anyone would want to get married before 50 or 60, at the earliest!" [http://in.integralinstitute.org/live/view_frthomas2.aspx]
Also, in a series of videos Father Thomas Keating and Ken Wilber discuss the history of Fr. Keating’s spiritual path.
Ken Wilber & The Spirituality of Tomorrow
‘Integral Naked’ is a series of largely unedited, uncensored, live, and taped-live conversations between the most influential, provocative, and important thinkers and leaders in today's world. Many of these are moderated by Ken Wilber, considered the most influential integral thinker in the world today, and his colleagues at Integral Institute.
One of these videos (2007) featuring both Ken Wilber and Thomas Keating is called The Spirituality of Tomorrow and can be seen on YouTube, where the “more info” says
“We were enormously blessed to host a dialogue with Fr. Thomas and Ken Wilber in April of 2006. In today's featured video, Ken presents some of the foundational concepts of Integral spirituality”.
It only shows the level of Thomas Keating’s apostasy, for him to sit and listen intently this bilge, but then Thomas Keating is yet one more of the wolves that Paul spoke about in Acts 20:29-30. [See more on Thomas Keating].
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them”..
We are certainly in no short supply of them.