No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Kusala
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by Kusala » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:47 am

Is God's mercy to blame for high crime rates?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2 ... rates.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

alan
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by alan » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:03 am

Belief in a "God" is certainly the dumbest and most useless idea to ever pollute the human realm.

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ground
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by ground » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:54 pm

alan wrote:Belief in a "God" is certainly the dumbest and most useless idea to ever pollute the human realm.
Don't say this. There is a great no. of people living happily due to this belief. Every religion can have - not necessarily does have - the intended effects: contentment, confidence, peace and happiness. Also the current "western" living conditions, negative and positive ones, have been conditioned by christianity. :sage:

nibbuti
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by nibbuti » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:25 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:It doesn't matter too much what else you believe in or don't believe in, as long as you believe that you alone will inherit the results of volitional actions of body, speech, and thought done by yourself.
"Master Gotama, is stress self-made?"

"Don't say that, Kassapa."

"Then is it other-made?"

"Don't say that, Kassapa." ...

"'The one who acts is the one who experiences [the result of the act]' amounts to the eternalist statement, 'Existing from the very beginning, stress is self-made.'

'The one who acts is someone other than the one who experiences' amounts to the annihilationist statement, 'For one existing harassed by feeling, stress is other-made.'

Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle:

From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.
From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form.
From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media.
From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact.
From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.
From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.
From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance.
From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming.
From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.
From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

SN 12.17
:buddha1:

Buckwheat
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by Buckwheat » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:42 pm

Dear Bhikkhu,

I think any follower of the Buddha can agree with the following:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The crucial point is accepting full responsibility for one's own actions according to the teaching of Kammassakatta Sammādiṭṭhi. It doesn't matter too much what else you believe in or don't believe in, as long as you believe that you alone will inherit the results of volitional actions of body, speech, and thought done by yourself.
How do we end up then looking at a block of society and history that includes all Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and look at their actions from the exact opposite perspective? Does it really matter what a person believes, or does it matter how they act? There are countless Monotheists who have done great good in this world. They should not be lumped in with the "evil" part of their society.

What then becomes important is not the historical blame we place on religion for good/evil, but the effect it would have on my actions right now. I personally don't get much out of the God concept, though at times I flirt with the idea. But I can see how it may be used as a crutch for many people to calm many negative emotions, allowing them to do good. On the other hand, it can be used to stir up negative emotions. So it is up to the user to make sure they are doing good and not evil (to use the theist vocabulary). In the end, heaven and hell may be seen as forms of taking personal responsibility for our actions.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Seeeker
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by Seeeker » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:13 pm

The reason people believe in a particular religion is because such a belief was conditioned into them at a very young age by parents, teachers, TV, etc. I recall being told repeatedly, "We are ******* and we believe in *****!" It wasn't like there was any option.

Likewise those who can escape such beliefs are probably those whose early conditioning wasn't effective/thorough enough.

I find it ludicrous to 'believe' in anything just because so and so said so.

Belief without empirical evidence is highly dubious.

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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by Buckwheat » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:37 am

Seeeker wrote:The reason people believe in a particular religion is because such a belief was conditioned into them at a very young age by parents, teachers, TV, etc. I recall being told repeatedly, "We are ******* and we believe in *****!" It wasn't like there was any option.

Likewise those who can escape such beliefs are probably those whose early conditioning wasn't effective/thorough enough.
Yes, and all black people... (blah blah blah)

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Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Jay1
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by Jay1 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:10 pm

"The reason people believe in a particular religion is because such a belief was conditioned into them at a very young age by parents, teachers, TV, etc. I recall being told repeatedly, "We are ******* and we believe in *****!" It wasn't like there was any option."

"Belief in a "God" is certainly the dumbest and most useless idea to ever pollute the human realm."

As a Christian, the ignorance presented here is just wow. However, I'm not here to judge. I just can't, for example, see Buddha (or any great thinker) post anything close to what has been posted above. That's my observation and I'm out of here.

Peace :)

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m0rl0ck
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by m0rl0ck » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:10 pm

In my view the point needs to be addressed in this thread that to practice buddhism you need not believe in a judgmental god whose main historical use seems to have been dehumanizing enemies so that they could be killed and their land and property taken.
Its no accident that the followers of the patriarchal warrior god are so numerous, the ones who sat around saying "all religions are the same, they are good people too", likely got dehumanized by the priests of the warrior god cult the next valley over and killed for their arable land.
All religions are not the same and bad ideas kill people. Whenever religious groups attain political power, slaughter usually follows. Look at the world today, representatives of two of the worlds major religions (the US is arguably a christian power) both believers in apocalypse and the patriarchal warrior god and his "final judgement" are involved in conflict that could very likely take the rest of the planet down with them.
If you seriously believe that all religions are equal and that religions cant kill en masse, you need to take a look at your attitudes, education and especially at history.
I know its not pc to say so, but some ideas are contagious and deadly mental disorders. Theism is one of those ideas.


EDIT: Just for clarity sake, when i say theism above, what i meant was patriarchal monotheism. Matriarchal theism seems to have gotten the short end of the stick from the patriarchal variety historically. Seems to be making a comeback tho, which looks like a positive development to me.

I expect this post will likely be deleted as was my last in this thread, but at least i tried :)
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Kusala
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by Kusala » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:23 am

m0rl0ck wrote:In my view the point needs to be addressed in this thread that to practice buddhism you need not believe in a judgmental god whose main historical use seems to have been dehumanizing enemies so that they could be killed and their land and property taken.
Its no accident that the followers of the patriarchal warrior god are so numerous, the ones who sat around saying "all religions are the same, they are good people too", likely got dehumanized by the priests of the warrior god cult the next valley over and killed for their arable land.
All religions are not the same and bad ideas kill people. Whenever religious groups attain political power, slaughter usually follows. Look at the world today, representatives of two of the worlds major religions (the US is arguably a christian power) both believers in apocalypse and the patriarchal warrior god and his "final judgement" are involved in conflict that could very likely take the rest of the planet down with them.
If you seriously believe that all religions are equal and that religions cant kill en masse, you need to take a look at your attitudes, education and especially at history.
I know its not pc to say so, but some ideas are contagious and deadly mental disorders. Theism is one of those ideas.


EDIT: Just for clarity sake, when i say theism above, what i meant was patriarchal monotheism. Matriarchal theism seems to have gotten the short end of the stick from the patriarchal variety historically. Seems to be making a comeback tho, which looks like a positive development to me.

I expect this post will likely be deleted as was my last in this thread, but at least i tried :)
Amen. :anjali:
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"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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Jay1
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by Jay1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:50 am

m0rl0ck wrote:In my view the point needs to be addressed in this thread that to practice buddhism you need not believe in a judgmental god whose main historical use seems to have been dehumanizing enemies so that they could be killed and their land and property taken.
Its no accident that the followers of the patriarchal warrior god are so numerous, the ones who sat around saying "all religions are the same, they are good people too", likely got dehumanized by the priests of the warrior god cult the next valley over and killed for their arable land.
All religions are not the same and bad ideas kill people. Whenever religious groups attain political power, slaughter usually follows. Look at the world today, representatives of two of the worlds major religions (the US is arguably a christian power) both believers in apocalypse and the patriarchal warrior god and his "final judgement" are involved in conflict that could very likely take the rest of the planet down with them.
If you seriously believe that all religions are equal and that religions cant kill en masse, you need to take a look at your attitudes, education and especially at history.
I know its not pc to say so, but some ideas are contagious and deadly mental disorders. Theism is one of those ideas.


EDIT: Just for clarity sake, when i say theism above, what i meant was patriarchal monotheism. Matriarchal theism seems to have gotten the short end of the stick from the patriarchal variety historically. Seems to be making a comeback tho, which looks like a positive development to me.

I expect this post will likely be deleted as was my last in this thread, but at least i tried :)
1: Christians do not believe in a "patriarchal warrior god." For one, God has no gender. Secondly, Jesus has been known to say that a person with a sword will die by the sword. While it is possible to twist any religion and anyone's words to suit one's views, most Christians are not violent, they do not like war. You'll find some who do, but, as I just said, words can be twisted and the Buddha is no exception.

2: With about a fifth not identifying themselves with any religion and the constitution separating state and religion it is indeed very arguable that USA is a Christian power.

3: "I know its not pc to say so, but some ideas are contagious and deadly mental disorders. Theism is one of those ideas."
No, it is more than that: it is rude, offensive and incorrect. While it is not enough, in my opinion, to be removed as you predict, I am not sure Buddha would be on your side here (or anyone, really)

4:Why are you using the word matriarchal as a positive? How is gender relevant?

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m0rl0ck
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by m0rl0ck » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:32 am

Jay1 wrote: 4:Why are you using the word matriarchal as a positive? How is gender relevant?
A matriarchal goddess hasnt been widely worshiped since the rise of agricultural societies, afaik. Im not sure that widespread belief in a goddess would be any better than wide belief in a god, might be worth a try tho.
For more information on why gender is relevant, you might try reading Wilbers "Sex, Ecology & Spirituality", or any of a number sources on what happend with god ideas and the rise of agricultural societies. Its no accident that the switch to patriarchal monotheism happened at the same time. Agricultural societies are always short of arable land and that lends a peculiar and ugly twist to their ideas about god.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

sshai45
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by sshai45 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:28 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:In the opinion of many, these God-based religions did great damage to society, and are still doing great damage. And, from what I heard, there are too many cases of child sexual abuse among the Buddhist clergy, just as there are such reports in other religious orders.

Then there are the many wars waged in the name of religion due to false beliefs and bigotted views.

It may be much easier for the sceptical atheist or secular humanist to understand the Dhamma than for the devout follower of any religion (and that includes devout followers of Buddhism who are hypocrits).

Believing in an Omnipotent Creator God is quite different to believing in devas or ghosts, or nature spirits of various kinds. The crucial point is accepting full responsibility for one's own actions according to the teaching of Kammassakatta Sammādiṭṭhi. It doesn't matter too much what else you believe in or don't believe in, as long as you believe that you alone will inherit the results of volitional actions of body, speech, and thought done by yourself.
Yet, Buddhism requires the acceptance of many non-scientific concepts that could be as difficult for a secular humanist to swallow as the concept of God, doesn't it?

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manas
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by manas » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:02 pm

While any theistic religion is beset by it's own set of delusions, the ones that worship a warlike sky-god who *created* the Earth, don't appear to show much respect for this planet. But a religion in which the Earth *IS* the goddess herself incarnate, might convince it's adherents not to rape, pillage, pollute, and strip-mine the living daylights out of this planet, in the way our patriarchal religions have overseen.
Drinking the nourishment,
the flavor,
of seclusion & calm,
one is freed from evil, devoid
of distress,
refreshed with the nourishment
of rapture in the Dhamma.

- Dhp 205

Coyote
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Post by Coyote » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:11 pm

manas wrote:While any theistic religion is beset by it's own set of delusions, the ones that worship a warlike sky-god who *created* the Earth, don't appear to show much respect for this planet. But a religion in which the Earth *IS* the goddess herself incarnate, might convince it's adherents not to rape, pillage, pollute, and strip-mine the living daylights out of this planet, in the way our patriarchal religions have overseen.
Many polytheistic cultures believed in an earth goddess, and yet were not exactly peace-loving. Cultures as far back as the Sumerians and before (with the exception of certain strands of proto-greek religion) worshipped both male and female deities, often with a male god as king or head of the pantheon - well before the rise of "patriarchal" monotheism, and plundered just as much as the rest. The idea of a peaceful pre-patriarchal female monotheism has been widely debunked as far as I know.
That said, I feel it is the linking of empire and religion/god that does the most damage because the whole identity of the empire is built upon religion and so tends to aggressively destroy other cultures. Eg. Byzantine/Roman empires, Islamic ect.
m0rl0ck wrote: Agricultural societies are always short of arable land and that lends a peculiar and ugly twist to their ideas about god.
Agriculture also tends to create more space for war and expansion in general, given the surpluss of food and often the class structures that appear as a result.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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