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Atheism Vs. Eastern Philosophies


Bobo
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I think just about everyone on these boards would agree that Christianity is so riddled with logical and scientific problems that it's not worth believing in. (Why else would we be here?) Judaism and Islam have many of the same problems.

 

But what about eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shintoism. Despite an entire year of studying Chinese and Japanese history and five years of studying the Japanese language (you wouldn't know it by trying to hold a conversation with me), I'm pretty clueless when it comes to these belief systems and the potential problems with them. Would anyone care to give me the Cliffs Notes (yes, that's the correct spelling) version?

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I think just about everyone on these boards would agree that Christianity is so riddled with logical and scientific problems that it's not worth believing in. (Why else would we be here?) Judaism and Islam have many of the same problems.

 

But what about eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shintoism. ....

They have the same problems, are in the same denial, use the same trite rationalizations, but in the end they are no different. And anyone saying that will get the same personal attacks; "You just don't understand."

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I think just about everyone on these boards would agree that Christianity is so riddled with logical and scientific problems that it's not worth believing in. (Why else would we be here?) Judaism and Islam have many of the same problems.

 

But what about eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shintoism. Despite an entire year of studying Chinese and Japanese history and five years of studying the Japanese language (you wouldn't know it by trying to hold a conversation with me), I'm pretty clueless when it comes to these belief systems and the potential problems with them. Would anyone care to give me the Cliffs Notes (yes, that's the correct spelling) version?

Why are you looking for the "potential problems" with the religions before you study them?

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Why are you looking for the "potential problems" with the religions before you study them?

Why not? Or should one only hear one side of the story?

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Just use Wikipedia to research each of those religions. You'll get straight answers, unbiased examinations, and links to online references where you can study further.

 

Personally, Buddhism (at least in its basic, original, atheistic form) is far superior to the rest listed. Basically, because Buddhism is an open-ended philosophy revolving around a reasonable set of moral principles (the Noble Eightfold Path) and strongly urges questioning and examining everything one studies, including the entirety of Buddhist philosophy.

 

Few other belief systems encourage followers to question even its own teachings, thus Buddhism can claim some moral superiority just from that alone. And its other basic ideas aren't half-bad. I don't agree with some of it, but I find it overall to be very good.

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I kind of like the Taoists. I get the impression that they don't advocate anything.

 

The Tao gives birth to One.

One gives birth to Two.

Two gives birth to Three.

Three gives birth to all things.

 

All things have their backs to the female

and stand facing the male.

When male and female combine,

all things achieve harmony.

 

Ordinary men hate solitude.

But the Master makes use of it,

embracing his aloneness, realizing

he is one with the whole universe.

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Why are you looking for the "potential problems" with the religions before you study them?

Why not? Or should one only hear one side of the story?

One should examine all sides. The believers side, the skeptics side, the unbiased side, the metaphorical side etc. He seems to want to approach these religions to see the "problems" when the real goal should be to study everything as a whole. Approaching all sides will help you evaluate what you are studying without biases and you'll be more informed in the long run. If you want to limit yourself by looking only at one side that is your loss.

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They have the same problems, are in the same denial, use the same trite rationalizations, but in the end they are no different. And anyone saying that will get the same personal attacks; "You just don't understand."

 

I seriously doubt it.

 

For example, one of my primary problems with theistic religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam is their insistence on a creator God who is morally perfect and omnipotent...yet created a world where carnivores, diseases and natural disasters cause no end of suffering for those who have done nothing to deserve it (animals, for instance).

 

The eastern philosophies take a pretty different tack to the supernatural, but I'm not sure I understand it. I've read the Tao Te Ching, but I was left scratching my head.

 

I agree that Buddhism is the most appealing, and I haven't found any real problems with it. The only objections I've heard to Buddhism have come from Christians, and those arguments really don't hold a lot of water. In fact, I'm dangerously tempted to become a Buddhist. That's why I'm asking for help from skeptics.

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The eastern philosophies take a pretty different tack to the supernatural, but I'm not sure I understand it. I've read the Tao Te Ching, but I was left scratching my head.

I can't claim to understand it either Bobo. When I read the Tao te Ching though I either found myself in complete agreement or I was left puzzled. I know one woman who read it and found herself in both strong agreement and disagreement. She wanted to argue with it in places. I thought that was kind of funny.

 

Good luck though in your studies.

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I have no problem with Eastern philosophy. I just don't understand why anyone really needs them per se. If you grow up Buddhist, for example, I can see why you would be a Buddhist. As an ex Christian, what exactly is the appeal of adopting a new religion?

 

I hope my questions don't come across as judgmental because they are not intended to be. I'm genuinly curious since I personally don't have a need for a new set of rituals and what have you. I guess others might have a need for them. I'm not sure.

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They have the same problems, are in the same denial, use the same trite rationalizations, but in the end they are no different. And anyone saying that will get the same personal attacks; "You just don't understand."

I seriously doubt it.

Of course you can doubt it, but from what I've seen, there is no difference, they all use the same tactics.

For example, one of my primary problems with theistic religions.....

I wasn't talking about the religion itself, but the tactics used to defend it. One of the tactics, that you yourself used here, is to find fault with the other religion and then define your own religious preference as being a better choice. I say none of them are a good choice and none of them are appealing at all - even buddhism.
I agree that Buddhism is the most appealing, and I haven't found any real problems with it. The only objections I've heard to Buddhism have come from Christians, and those arguments really don't hold a lot of water. In fact, I'm dangerously tempted to become a Buddhist. That's why I'm asking for help from skeptics.

As with all religions the basic premise is wrong. The 8 fold noble path is all based on "right" as defined by the religion. They claim no dogma, but that path IS dogma and the claim of no dogma is part of their dogma. You have to follow that dogma or you can't be a buddhist. And as with other religions they twist reality to fit their dogma.

 

Of course the buddhists will reply that I just don't understand. :shrug:

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I have no problem with Eastern philosophy. I just don't understand why anyone really needs them per se. If you grow up Buddhist, for example, I can see why you would be a Buddhist. As an ex Christian, what exactly is the appeal of adopting a new religion?

 

I hope my questions don't come across as judgmental because they are not intended to be. I'm genuinly curious since I personally don't have a need for a new set of rituals and what have you. I guess others might have a need for them. I'm not sure.

Well said.

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I agree that Buddhism is the most appealing, and I haven't found any real problems with it. The only objections I've heard to Buddhism have come from Christians, and those arguments really don't hold a lot of water. In fact, I'm dangerously tempted to become a Buddhist. That's why I'm asking for help from skeptics.
Okay I'll throw my two cents in. As you can see from my sig, I've been reading into buddhism and was even considering becoming a buddhist. I think I changed my mind after watching an episode on Bullshit! with the Dalai Lama in it. Before I go into the episode I'd like to get a passage from the book "Buddhism for Dummies". On page 16 there is a quote from buddha.

 

"Happiness, Buddha once said, is actually quite simple: The secret is to want what you have and not want what you don't have"

 

When I first read this I liked the quote. It was simple and made plenty of sense. But then I saw the bullshit episode. When the Dalai Lamas were in power they made buddhism a theocracy so that most people of the country followed it. If you think about it, telling people to "not want what you don't have" is a great mindset to instill into people to keep them in poverty. Also telling the followers to be non-violent is another tool to control people that could be used to control people. After reading some more into I began to wonder if buddha was real or if his mythology was created in order to control people in this mindset or maybe they just took a good message and perverted it for their own gains. But of course this only shows that buddhism can be abused if it is used as a theocracy and I believe all theocracies, no matter what religion, can be harmful.

 

Other things that bothered me alot were the monks. There were just a few things I didn't understand. For the most part it seemed like they isolated themselves away from others and only hung around other buddhist so that they could find inner peace. I didn't like this method. To me it would seem better if you learned the concepts, practices them, and went OUT into the world and try to apply them. Your philosophy has to be able to be tested. Even the buddhist monks that have become enlightened stay at the monastary. If you know have peace of mind why stay in the temples where you are basically given peace of mind anyway? You should go out and live life and put your shit to the test! Another problem I had was most buddhist are reaching for a goal (Enlightenment)that is hard to tell when you actually found it. It is difficult to actually know when your enlightened because people reach it different ways or have different ways of identifying it depending on what sect you are in. Having people set up to try to obtain goals that may or may not exist is a good way to keep people coming back for more. Then again I could be wrong. i'll reread the book later or maybe someone can correct me. Also this doesn't apply to the layman follower who just follows the teachings but doesn't become a monk.

 

What helped me stray away from wanting to join the buddhist philosophy is surprisingly the Satanic Bible. Now I'm not a satanist but many things in the book I agree with. I believe that I have stated in the past that after reading the book it seemed like the satanic bible was just "Buddhism in reverse". Instead of obstaining from you indulgences you delight in the them. After reading the book (which is basically hedonism) I started to feel that the hedonistic lifestyle was better for me. In my personal opinion following this way of life seems more natural and human. I like it and it's simple.

 

But my advice to you Bobo is to just go to a temple and see if you like it. After doing it for about three weeks (meditating, learning etc) you can start looking for a guru. This shouldn't be some simple process either. It's not like joining a church and just walking in and then joining. You should go to many gurus and see if they are the right one to follow as your spiritual guide. In the book I mentioned the Dalai Lama (pg 131) says to make sure you wait at about two to three years before accepting a guru. Or you can stay a layman and just meditate without taking the title as a Buddhist. Maybe you can try practicing buddhism without a teacher for a while by just practicing meditation. Whatever floats your boat. Well that's my opinion hope it helps.

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