Resources

Below are links to additional articles, blogs/websites, books, films and other resources to dig deeper

Articles

36 Arguments for the Existence of God, PDF, compilation of 36 of the classical arguments and rebuttal commentary

An Introduction to Science: Scientific Thinking and the Scientific Method, Schafersman, S., Dept of Geology Miami University, 1997. Web.

Has the science of mindfulness lost its mind? Frias M. and Wikholm, C., The British Journal of Psychiatry, Bulletin 2016 Dec; 40(6): 329–332.

Is Mindfulness Meditation Science-Based?, Novella, S., Science-based Medicine: Exploring issues and controversies in science and medicine

Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation and Prescriptive Agenda for Research on Mindfulness and Meditation, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2018 Jan;13(1):36-61.

Blogs/Websites

Amazon Book Reviews by Skeptic Meditations – reviews of books read

Britton Lab – clinical neuroscience studies of meditation at Brown University

Cult Education Institute: SRF – information about the Self-Realization Fellowship

Dangers of Yoga –  warnings and adverse effects of yoga and meditation

Down the Crooked Path – Issues in Buddhism, Yogic Traditions and other Various Paths

Dr. Arthur J. Deikman – psychiatrist’s pioneering studies on meditation practices

Freedom of Mind: SRF – information about groups that control members, SRF

Gold Scales: Yogananda Stuff Exposed – critiques of the guru and his teachings

Kriya Yoga Info – independent source of info on Kriya Yoga

Meditating in Safety – raising awareness of mental health issues in relation to meditation practice

Modern Yoga Research – information and scholarly research

Psychology of Belief: Miguel Farias – author, researcher on meditation practices

Rants within the Undead God – essays, philosophy, religion for outsiders

Recovery from Spiritual Abuse – resources via International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA)

Skeptic Meditations on Facebook – like and follow us on Facebook

SRF Blacklist – forum for former-members & doubters of SRF

Triangulations – playful, analytic explorations of Eastern religions and more

Yoga Critiques – critical, historical & secular perspectives for former seekers

Books

50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True, Harrison, G. New York. Prometheus Books. 2012. Print.

A History of Modern Yoga: Patanjali & Western Esotericism, De Michelis, E., Continuum, Paperback, 2005.

The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies- How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths, Shermer, M. 2011. Print.

Biography of a Yogi: Paramahansa Yogananda and the Origins of Modern Yoga, Foxen, A., 2017. Oxford University Press. Print.

Cults: Opposing Viewpoints,  Espejo, R. 2013. Print.

Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, Epstein, G., Print.

Think: Why You Should Question Everything, Harrison, G.,  2013. Print.

The “Yoga Sutra of Patanjali”: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books), White, D. G., Princeton University Press, 2014. Print.

Videos (see also movies below)

Burden of Proof. Makers of supernatural claims have an inescapable burden of proof.

Podcasts

Atheist Experience, streaming TV or podcast, live call in show geared at a non-atheist audience. Website says: “Every week we field live calls from atheists and believers alike, and you never know what you’re going to get!”

The Critical Thinker Academy videos and podcasts. Exploring what it means to think critically and independently about the issues that matter most to you.

The Secular Buddhist Podcast, explores mindfulness meditation practices and resources from a secular (non-religious and non-supernatural view)

Movies

The Amish: Shunned. PBS: American Experience. 4 Feb 2014. Web Video.

Cult Witness (Cult Documentary). Real Stories. 2016. Sharing disturbing firsthand experiences of Cult Witness director Samuel Stefan and six others who have freed themselves from cults

Kumare, 2011, trailer, 2:05m, movie available on Netflix and DVD. True story of a false prophet who encourages followers to find the guru within.

The Mormons. PBS: American Experience: Frontline. 2007. Web Video.

The Nature of Existence, 2010, trailer, 2:05m, movie available on Netflix and DVD. Must see documentary of interviews with spiritual leaders, gurus, scientists, artists, and everyday people answering questions about why we exist.

Rajnesshpuram, Oregon Public Broadcasting. 2012. Web Video.

Associations, Communities, Support Groups

American Humanist Association, Advocating progressive values and equality for humanists, atheists, and freethinkers. See also The Humanist Hour podcast above.

The Clergy Project, For current and former religious professionals without supernatural beliefs

Recovering from Religion, For people who have doubts and questions about changing or leaving faith: a hotline to call, support groups, and services for individuals.

reFOCUS, a support and referral organization for former members of high demand groups, relationships and cults

SRF Blacklist, online community forum for former-members & doubters of SRF

Leave a Reply

  1. Hello there!

    I just wanted to leave a comment to say thank you for the content you’ve placed on here (I haven’t viewed everything of course). But from what I have read, I particular appreciate your articles and resources in regard to the practice of meditation and its adverse effects. Although I haven’t myself came across any as such; being reasonably clued up on mental health myself I feel it very important for people to be aware of the potential dangers both for teachers and practioners.

    A particular website posted in the Resources section of this site I have found interesting is: http://meditatinginsafety.org.uk/. Amongst information and personal accounts, the site also provides a leaflet for mental health awareness in regard to meditation and promotes mental health first aid (which, like everything else, has its criticisms which are equally worth taking into account: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/mental-health-first-aid-theresa-may-depression-anxiety-nhs-underfunded-services-turned-away-a7842571.html).

    I have on occasion visited this site when I’ve felt in need of a “devil’s advocate” and have found myself resolving to remain critically minded as much as possible. I very much welcome your open-mindedness and “as un-biased-as-can-be approach” to the subjects presented here. And yet, you have still put across your own personal story and experiences which I think equally important.

    Many thanks, and keep up the good work!

    Zach

  2. @Zach: I appreciate your constructive feedback.

    Thanks for sharing the link to the NHS-related article. I think you’ve identified a core problem, deeper than treating symptoms, is underfunded mental health.

    You’ve raised some interesting questions we all ought to explore:

    • Why are so many people in the West desperately seeking “answers” (solutions to their problems) in meditation techniques? Why are we psychologically “suffering” in all the wealth and technology?
    • What are the underlying causes of our societal, economical, and psychological problems? Is there something wrong with our current systems? Our core ideologies and underlying premises/assumptions? E.g. Work hard and you can get ahead. If someone isn’t “successful”, there’s something wrong with them. We live in the American Dream?

    Treating symptoms doesn’t change our underlying problems. The source of our problems won’t go away without changing our systems, our ideologies, and our underlying assumptions and premises.

    Nor will meditating, chanting Om, or watching the breath solve our problems. We’ve had more than two thousand years running the experiment. Meditation has failed every time, failed every culture, failed every group that claimed meditation was THE answer. Look at India, land of origin of meditation beliefs, it has some of the worst systemic problems caste system, abuse of women, violence against others, etc. The West and the U.S. has its problems too that won’t be solved by meditation practices.

    Meditation may benefit some people, some of the time. That may be good to have various treatments for humanities ills. Meditation treatments, though, I don’t believe are a long term personal or societal solution to our own and the world’s problems.

    Thank you