The Urge to Believe in God

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Re: The Urge to Believe in God

Post by theravada_guy » Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:41 am

Greetings DhammaKid,

Here as a video of a talk Ajahn Brahm gave entitled "Buddhism and Atheism". It's a long video, but I watched the whole thing, and it was worth it. You may find something useful in it. Here's the link:" onclick=";return false;

Hope this helps.
With metta,


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Re: The Urge to Believe in God

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:40 am

Majjhima Patipada wrote: We hope for something eternal and absolute, unchanging and infinite, something permanent, and so we create God to fulfill this hope.
I think that's spot on.


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Re: The Urge to Believe in God

Post by jcsuperstar » Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:49 pm

i just assume god is low tech science

how does lightning happen?

that sort of thing

when you can figure out better answers you quit using god as an answer
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: The Urge to Believe in God

Post by Dhammakid » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:04 pm

Some pretty great responses here, especially the one about the god-idea being more about attachment to self-identity and purpose than it is about some absolute truth. I also like the response about god being "low tech science", a cop-out used to explain things we can't currently readily explain. My scientific-inclined mind is actually what brings me back from the god-idea time and time again, as well as my innate faith in the Buddhadhamma.

I do have a hard time explaining why I believe in rebirth, 32 planes of existence, eternal cosmic inflation and deflation, etc but that I don't believe in "god." I mean, I can say that rebirth has its roots in the law of the conservation of energy and matter, or that string theory postulates alternative dimensions, or that the cosmic microwave background and the standard model of cosmology lends credence to the buddhist idea of the universe birthing and dying eternally, but to someone who isn't so inclined to think of these concepts on a functional level, they simply toss them aside and just call me a hypocrite for believing in some unprovable phenomena but not others. I know I's best to avoid these types of discussions if they have the potential to turn into some type of competition, but I tend to do it anyway because I like the challenge for myself.


Thanks folks!


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Re: The Urge to Believe in God

Post by curiousgeorge » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:22 am

Goofaholix wrote:If you want to believe in God then believe in him, just observe what happens, does it give rise to freedom from suffering or does it just suppress suffering? does it create more problems than it solves? how does belief feel when compared with the feeling of not knowing and being ok with that?
This was *always* my favorite part of the Bible, as far back as I can remember - there is a parable that says you can tell what kind of tree it is by the fruit it bears. Most of the rest of the Bible didn't sit well with me, but that sure did!

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Re: The Urge to Believe in God

Post by curiousgeorge » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:33 am

OcTavO wrote:Incidentally, there was an interesting episode of "Morgan Freeman's Through the Wormhole" on the science channel the other day, where a neuroscientist (I forget which institute) has created a helmet which focuses a weak magnetic field on a particular area of the temporal lobe. When the helmet is turned on the subjects experienced, well, basically a closeness to the divine. What makes it even more interesting is that by altering the field he can also create sensations of hell/flames etc.
I never heard of the hellfire, but the 'spiritual' center is at this point very well documented. You can gain more insight on it here: ... sight.html" onclick=";return false;

It is certainly true that we have more than 5 senses: besides touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell we can add: Pain, proprioception, balance, direction / electromagnetic fields, and many less glorious senses such as blood vessel stretch and chemoreceptors throughout the body. Its recently been discovered that affectionate touch is its own sense, distinct from regular touch. dealt with via different pathways in different parts of the brain.

It is my *hunch* that the 'spiritual center' handles sensory input, and that there really is something real that connects us. Watch the above link and note where she says we are 'beings of energy'. I think thats because we truly are. Not God involved or necessary, I just think that really jives with the science. And my understanding of Buddhism, too!

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Re: The Urge to Believe in God

Post by Kenshou » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:05 am

Eh... yeah, an interesting and abnormal experience, but is it really -actually- meaningful or significant besides the fact that it was cool? There's significance in that sort of thing as it pertains to learning about the brain, but from a Dhammic perspective I'm not so sure it has much relevancy.

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