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Seriously Considering Buddhism


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Has anyone else embraced this philosophy as an atheist? I need to do more research, but I think this is where I may be headed. Not certain yet though.

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Check this out http://www.ex-christ...uddhism-thread/

 

and I would say RevR Antlerman, and Deva would be good sources to start with.

 

EDIT:

A Brief source of some general points.

 

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/Buddhism

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Its the only "religion" I can think of that hasn't caused any serious harm to humanity. At least of the major ones.

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Has anyone else embraced this philosophy as an atheist? I need to do more research, but I think this is where I may be headed. Not certain yet though.

 

Most buddhists are atheists in the way you're thinking of it. But of course they wouldn't call themselves that.

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I can't really refer to myself as an atheist, but I see no reason why an atheist couldn't embrace it, as I have. The Dharma is not a set of statements to believe in, but something you work out to find the truth of it. It is a do it yourself enterprise, and no gods need apply (to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes).

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Its the only "religion" I can think of that hasn't caused any serious harm to humanity. At least of the major ones.

 

I could never be a buddhist. For starters, I think it's pretty unfair to be punished in your current life for shit you don't even remember doing in a former life. I'll never be able to think of buddhism without remembering the little boy whose only wish in life was that Buddha would make him a better person, because he must have been such a terrible person in a former life to be born with no use of his legs, condemning him to a wheelchair and being abandoned by his parents into an orphanage as a result.

 

Or the Thai buddhist nuns, working their arses off every day serving the monks, allowed to only seek donations one day a week, which there was not as great a blessing for giving to the nuns as there was the monks, who were allowed to seek donations every day. And they do it all in the hope of becoming men in their next lives.

 

So yeah, I wish everyone else luck in their journey, but it's definitely not one for me.

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Its the only "religion" I can think of that hasn't caused any serious harm to humanity. At least of the major ones.

 

I could never be a buddhist. For starters, I think it's pretty unfair to be punished in your current life for shit you don't even remember doing in a former life. I'll never be able to think of buddhism without remembering the little boy whose only wish in life was that Buddha would make him a better person, because he must have been such a terrible person in a former life to be born with no use of his legs, condemning him to a wheelchair and being abandoned by his parents into an orphanage as a result.

 

Or the Thai buddhist nuns, working their arses off every day serving the monks, allowed to only seek donations one day a week, which there was not as great a blessing for giving to the nuns as there was the monks, who were allowed to seek donations every day. And they do it all in the hope of becoming men in their next lives.

 

So yeah, I wish everyone else luck in their journey, but it's definitely not one for me.

 

thats not really buddhism.

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I know what you mean, Noggy, but your defense sounds like that of Muslims who say that terrorism or misogyny is not really Islam, or of Christians who say all the stuff that we have heard them say to explain away harmful customs that religion justifies. It's a pretty big task for the inquirer to strip away the cultural/political baggage from the supposed core truths of a religion practiced by people whose entire civilization for centuries has been imbued in that religion's categories. If Buddhist cultures have such problematic features as Puddin mentions, was there something in the core of Buddhism that gave rise to those features' development?

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If Buddhist cultures have such problematic features as Puddin mentions, was there something in the core of Buddhism that gave rise to those features' development?

If so, then all Buddhist cultures would exhibit it.

 

Is the fault of parents that their children still think and act like children until they become adults?

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If Buddhist cultures have such problematic features as Puddin mentions, was there something in the core of Buddhism that gave rise to those features' development?

If so, then all Buddhist cultures would exhibit it.

 

Is the fault of parents that their children still think and act like children until they become adults?

 

Is it someone's fault that they can't remember what they did in a previous lifetime, but are punished in this lifetime anyway? Isn't that a rather grotesque philosophy?

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Has anyone else embraced this philosophy as an atheist? I need to do more research, but I think this is where I may be headed. Not certain yet though.

For shits and giggles you might try this analysis survey. To their credit, a lot of their options leave a neutral and not applicable option. My results were rather interesting and they cover a rather wide spectrum and branches of hundreds of belief sets.

 

http://www.selectsmart.com/RELIGION/

 

For comparison, here are my answers, and subsequent results. I cut off below the 40% mark because faiths listed at less than that % seemed to be beyond consideration at all. Ditto marks refer to the not sure/not important part of the option, which is what I was relating to in that choice.

 

 

1. No God. Not Sure. Not Important.

2. No incarnations. " " " "

3. Only natural forces. " " " "

4. No afterlife. " " " "

5. No supernatural forces. " " " "

6. Not applicable.

7. None of the above.

8. None of the above.

9. Disagree

10. Not applicable.

11. No spiritual realm. " " " "

12. Human kind saved through human effort.

13. Agree.

14. Disagree.

15. Disagree.

16. Disagree.

17. NEUTRAL.

18. NEUTRAL.

19. Disagree.

20. Not applicable.

 

My results (upto 40% relevancy to my answers):

 

1. 100% Secular Humanism

2. 86% Non-Theist

3. 83% Unitarian Universalism (Don't know what that is..but sounds David Koresh like)

4. 68% Liberal Quaker

5. 61% Mainline Liberal Christian Protestant

6. 52% Theravada Buddhism

7. 52% Taosim

8. 46% Reformed Judaism

9. 42% Neo-Pagan

10. 41% New Age

 

I am going to read into number 3 and 4, simply out of pure curiousity as to how survey answers relate to these....

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If Buddhist cultures have such problematic features as Puddin mentions, was there something in the core of Buddhism that gave rise to those features' development?

If so, then all Buddhist cultures would exhibit it.

 

Is the fault of parents that their children still think and act like children until they become adults?

 

Well, yes it is. Children emulate what parents do or ask them to do. How many people on this very board have stated having trouble coping with things in their lives because of the fundy upbring which said: "Don't think. Let God handle it".

 

The very fact that those on here were able to break out of that thinking speaks volumes for the independence of each of use. But the struggle that they went through. The pain and anguish. The loss of friends and in many cases relatives. If only someone in there past had taught them to face the world as it is, and since parents are generally the first teachers in life, it falls to them.

 

Why is there a cycle of poverty in families? Why is there a cycle of abuse in families? Why are there cycles of drug abuse in families? It's because the children were raised that way and they cannot or will not try to live any other life.

 

At it's core, most religions have some very good stuff. The golden rule for examples permeates every religion on the planet. However, in every religion, once it becomes the basis of a power structure, supporting the power structure becomes the only purpose of the religion.

 

See King James wrote his own bible. See Henry the VIII created his own religion. See the long line of Spanish and Hapsburg Monarchs. See TBN and the mega-churches in the US now being blatantly used by the GOP. Religion, no matter its type, is a tool for acquiring power. The catholic church control Europe for how long?

 

The current Lama is a very peaceful and generally nice man. That doesn't mean all incarnations of him were such. I am sure when he was the ruler of Tibet there were some Lama's that were right assholes. That doesn't even include the fact that his entire branch of Buddhism was set up with him as the head of state and the head of the religion....like many monarchs in Europe.

 

So how would the children of the different Buddhist sects be any different then the children of children of evangelical Christianity? Would they be able to think beyond their religion any different then the evangelical? Especially when they are taught these holy men know more than them and are correct?

 

Just because a few of us were able to escape that thinking implies that others can. However, that by no means implies that they will.

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If Buddhist cultures have such problematic features as Puddin mentions, was there something in the core of Buddhism that gave rise to those features' development?

If so, then all Buddhist cultures would exhibit it.

 

Is the fault of parents that their children still think and act like children until they become adults?

 

Is it someone's fault that they can't remember what they did in a previous lifetime, but are punished in this lifetime anyway? Isn't that a rather grotesque philosophy?

That wasn't the point I was responding to. Not everyone who believes in karma from a previous life reacts poorly the way the child in your example does. Is it the fault of the beliefs that some internalize things in negative ways? Not everyone turns things on themselves in this manner. Not everyone is so darned literal about things.

 

As for karma itself as a doctrine, I'm neither defending nor denying it as a belief, but I can say that what good we do in this life has an effect on everyone, including our own selves, in the present and the future. Same with negative things. That's pretty much a given. If someone were to believe in reincarnation to tell ones own self that today's action are towards our own benefit in the present and future lives we may have, seems to stand to reason as a good motivator to do good today. I mean, that just seems logical. However, for someone to bemoan their present state as foisted upon them by some other 'you' in a previous life and become bitter and sour about the whole affair, would seem to be missing the real point of thinking about karma. It's not about blaming the past, but motivating one in the present to do good towards the future.

 

Again, the individual's psyche taking something like this and twisting it into a negative does not appear to be the purpose, or the inevitable outcome of such a belief. Does it? What percentage of people get their stomach's into a knot over things like this? And for those few who do, I would hope someone could help their thinking on the matter, for their sake.

 

 

EDIT to add: Actually in thinking about this in a Hindu context, it can be seen as having been used to support a social caste system, that this is who you are in this life and you must live this life as you were dealt it. But that's still not about a psychological mind-fuck that some child punishes himself with. The end result of that was not mentally tormenting entire populations. It was part of their order, for good or for bad. That social system was in fact challenged in Buddhism, I believe.

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If Buddhist cultures have such problematic features as Puddin mentions, was there something in the core of Buddhism that gave rise to those features' development?

If so, then all Buddhist cultures would exhibit it.

 

Is the fault of parents that their children still think and act like children until they become adults?

 

Well, yes it is. Children emulate what parents do or ask them to do. How many people on this very board have stated having trouble coping with things in their lives because of the fundy upbring which said: "Don't think. Let God handle it".

Ahh... but I'm always very careful in my word choices. smile.png I said the parents were adults. In your example, they are children themselves. No mature adult thinks like a child (at least not as a whole that is). If a mature adult instructs children with adult wisdom, my point stands solid. No child until they mature through the necessary stages of development can possibly hope to grasp the subtle nuances of a mature adult. It is not something that is cognitively taught and learned, to see the world through the eyes of an adult and act and respond as an adult. It is only attained through maturation.

 

In your example, the children have only immature biological adults as their teachers. And you are correct, it is very difficult to learn anything from them, and we who have such drive to mature within us have to 'go it alone' oft times.

 

The very fact that those on here were able to break out of that thinking speaks volumes for the independence of each of use.

More than most of us actually realize! It speaks volumes to something within us and that we can't help but listen! We may struggle figuring it out, but wow, to what that is in us that would make us break with the ease and comforts afforded in a community of safe-sameness.

 

If only someone in there past had taught them to face the world as it is, and since parents are generally the first teachers in life, it falls to them.

I personally see this as part of an evolutionary process. Because we didn't have this, and we broke our own path through the forest, what we end up with is deeply internalized and real. We become those leaders of a new and better way as we cut a path through the brambles of the current landscape. We become those visionaries, those who can translate something beyond the present systems into the world today, one small stone at a time until the balance shifts and the whole evolves...

 

Why is there a cycle of poverty in families? Why is there a cycle of abuse in families? Why are there cycles of drug abuse in families? It's because the children were raised that way and they cannot or will not try to live any other life.

Yes, society seeks stability, even if it is a cost of freedom. Change takes time, as stability is no small thing. We are individuals willing to break from that, to some degree or other. It's part of the process of change.

 

At it's core, most religions have some very good stuff. The golden rule for examples permeates every religion on the planet. However, in every religion, once it becomes the basis of a power structure, supporting the power structure becomes the only purpose of the religion.

This gets quite complicated, but to make it simple there are a few key factors. Yes, anytime you have an organization of any kind, be it a whole-foods coop, an animal rights group, a neighborhood watch group, a political organization, a religion, a government, etc, they always, always are going to experience group dynamics. Part of that are power structures, despite the best efforts at organizational structures. Inevitably this happens because we as a species has not yet as a whole evolved beyond core ego and greed factors in our general consciousness.

 

However, the role of such organizations, religion in this example, serves a good which is to support a sort of common value and goal to a larger body of individuals. It helps translate the world though that structure out to the individuals, in order to make that an integrated truth for them in their daily lives. Hopefully in that, the higher ideals of the group as a whole can be realized to higher degrees for those individuals in the group. As much as I am an advocate for independent thought that breaks the stifling grip of dogma, a certain amount of cohesion is in fact necessary for the sake of the growth of a community. And a community, is also important for those individuals.

 

So when I hear rhetoric such as "religion is evil", and that it should be gotten rid of, I can't help but hear a simple emotional response to what it perceives as those negative aspects of it painting the whole, as if taking a bucket of paint and throwing the whole thing on the canvas, obliterating any and all truth and light in the painting itself. Religions are made of people, and if people grow, then so will the religions.

 

(continued....)

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(continued....)

 

So how would the children of the different Buddhist sects be any different then the children of children of evangelical Christianity?

No doubt you have those in Buddhism who are equally as literalistic and ignorant and immature as Evangelical Christianity. No doubt at all. Is that the fault of the religion? Or is this a product of their culture heaped upon their religion?

 

Would they be able to think beyond their religion any different then the evangelical?

They see their religion through the lens of their culture. How does anyone see beyond their culture? Get rid of their religion? Nonsense. They'll just find a new home for their prejudices. Absolutely.

 

Especially when they are taught these holy men know more than them and are correct?

Authority is part of group dynamics. Destroy the religion, they find a new authority in their new religion supporting their cultural biases.

 

Just because a few of us were able to escape that thinking implies that others can. However, that by no means implies that they will.

And how do you propose they change?

 

I'm one who likes the saying from the Bible, "You are the light of the world". Each of us in our own ways, as we cut our own paths into the future, are part of the influence on the whole in our overall evolutionary process for our species.

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If Buddhist cultures have such problematic features as Puddin mentions, was there something in the core of Buddhism that gave rise to those features' development?

If so, then all Buddhist cultures would exhibit it.

 

Is the fault of parents that their children still think and act like children until they become adults?

 

Is it someone's fault that they can't remember what they did in a previous lifetime, but are punished in this lifetime anyway? Isn't that a rather grotesque philosophy?

 

That's mostly hinduism. And the culture of the people who believe it. Buddhism at it's core is just a method of removing suffering. It doesn't say that there is any truth about the world. The very idea of reincarnation the way way you are thinking is not even discussed in Buddhism. The only thing Buddhism actually says are:

 

1) Life is suffering

2) Suffering is caused from attachment

3) There can be an end to suffering

4) Do that

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Has anyone else embraced this philosophy as an atheist? I need to do more research, but I think this is where I may be headed. Not certain yet though.

If that is the route you wish to explore, I will offer any assistance I can.

 

As for atheism in Buddhism, the basic teachings can be applied regardless to one's thoughts concerning divinity. With very few exceptions, the quest for awakening is yours and yours alone.

 

 

I could never be a buddhist. For starters, I think it's pretty unfair to be punished in your current life for shit you don't even remember doing in a former life. I'll never be able to think of buddhism without remembering the little boy whose only wish in life was that Buddha would make him a better person, because he must have been such a terrible person in a former life to be born with no use of his legs, condemning him to a wheelchair and being abandoned by his parents into an orphanage as a result. Or the Thai buddhist nuns, working their arses off every day serving the monks, allowed to only seek donations one day a week, which there was not as great a blessing for giving to the nuns as there was the monks, who were allowed to seek donations every day. And they do it all in the hope of becoming men in their next lives. So yeah, I wish everyone else luck in their journey, but it's definitely not one for me.

 

Where did you get your information? The idea is basically correct concerning women in the traditional sangha. However, last I checked (4-5 years ago), the Thai sangha doesn't recognize bhikkuni ordination. In fact, an Aussie monk got into some serious controversy because he did ordain a group of ladies. On the other hand, the limitations on women are not common to all schools of ordination.

 

With that said, there is a basis in the Pali canon for misogyny. According to the suttas, the Buddha was reluctant to permit the ordination of women into the ranks of "home leavers". To paraphrase: "The dharma I established was to last 1000 years, but now it shall only last 500."

 

The thing to remember is that "Buddhism" changes according to the culture it enters and yes, the Buddha can be wrong.

 

The young man confined to the wheelchair and abandoned by his parents...this disgusts me to no end. There is nothing that can be said to defend such actions. You and Noggy are both correct. These craptacular actions are "Buddhism" because this is how they justify it. However, they are not "Buddhism" because what has been done to this child is antithetical to the Buddha-dharma.

 

 

 

 

If Buddhist cultures have such problematic features as Puddin mentions, was there something in the core of Buddhism that gave rise to those features' development?

 

I mentioned above that the treatment of nuns does have a "scriptural" basis. However, I am not familiar with any teaching that permits such ignorant actions from the parents of this child. That such behaviour is universal speaks to a common human flaw even if one can demonstrate that there is a basis in the teaching.

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So how would the children of the different Buddhist sects be any different then the children of children of evangelical Christianity? Would they be able to think beyond their religion any different then the evangelical? Especially when they are taught these holy men know more than them and are correct?

 

What disturbs me is his parents. Even if this teaching can be considered correct, there is no excuse for abandoning the child to an orphanage. There again, I am not aware of all the circumstances. Perhaps the orphanage was better capable of preventing suffering than his parents could manage.

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At it's core, most religions have some very good stuff. The golden rule for examples permeates every religion on the planet. However, in every religion, once it becomes the basis of a power structure, supporting the power structure becomes the only purpose of the religion.

 

I disagree with the assessment that "it's the only purpose of religion". Granted, every power structure has its problems, but one of its functions is to preserve the teachings of that religion. Since you refer to the Dalai Lama in your post, you must be aware that he is considered to be more than a human spiritual leader; he is a symbol. A symbol of compassion, of the deity Chenrezig, and the enlightened mind- which is also your mind. The Tibetan people are Buddhists and every one of them has a lama, or several. They are living examples of Buddha, although not everyone who wears a robe is a true lama, and students are urged to examine their teachers for years before deciding on one. It's never "you must believe".

 

See King James wrote his own bible. See Henry the VIII created his own religion. See the long line of Spanish and Hapsburg Monarchs. See TBN and the mega-churches in the US now being blatantly used by the GOP. Religion, no matter its type, is a tool for acquiring power. The catholic church control Europe for how long?

 

At least two of these examples are much more complicated and nuanced than you present. King James (or rather the Biblical translators doing it) used the best manuscripts of this time available and the King authorized the publication of this version of the Bible that has his name attached to it. It is not just "he wrote his own Bible." Henry VIII was in quite a bad position and could not get the approval of the Pope of Rome for a divorce, so he did his own - but things were already moving in that direction (the Reformation) and without the support of the people of England he could not have succeeded. Indeed, his successor, Mary, decided to try to bring the country back to Catholicism, with bad results.

 

The current Lama is a very peaceful and generally nice man. That doesn't mean all incarnations of him were such. I am sure when he was the ruler of Tibet there were some Lama's that were right assholes. That doesn't even include the fact that his entire branch of Buddhism was set up with him as the head of state and the head of the religion....like many monarchs in Europe.

 

The Dalai Lama does not claim to be a 100% reincarnation of his predecessor, although he does not deny a connection. Most of the Dalai Lamas died young, they did not do any spectacular things, with the exception of the Fifth, who brought about a kind of renaissance in building and art for Tibet. The people of Tibet are human, no different than we are, except that the entire culture is steeped in Vajrayana Buddhism, and before that, the Bon religion. Also perhaps that they have no word that translates as "Low Self-Esteem". When you say "this entire branch of Buddhism was set up..." etc.... that is not true. Buddhism came over directly from India to Tibet in the 8th or 9th century and the early Tibetan scholars sent by the King, Trisong Deutsen, to India to learn Buddhism and bring it back had no intention to set up a rulership of Dalai Lamas. The office of Dalai Lama was brought about not by Tibetans, but Mongolians, who gave the first one his title - which means "ocean of wisdom". This was during a time when Tibet was a conquered land. The Khan was in charge at the time, not the Tibetans.

 

The Karmapa, the Panchen Lama and the Sakya Trizin are also very high Lamas and the head of their respective schools.

 

Unfortunately, yes, some Lama's are "right assholes." Lama is the Tibetan word for "guru". It is the student's responsibility also not to have such a person as a lama.

 

So how would the children of the different Buddhist sects be any different then the children of children of evangelical Christianity? Would they be able to think beyond their religion any different then the evangelical? Especially when they are taught these holy men know more than them and are correct?

 

They "know more" only because they hold the teachings. There is no idea of "being correct" in Buddhism. That is a misunderstanding. They don't have the interfighting of sects the Christian world has. The different schools of Buddhism co-exist, although they may have a different understanding of some points.

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Antlerman and Deva, I have been thinking on responses to each. I simply haven't had time to adequately type them out.

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Antlerman and Deva, I have been thinking on responses to each. I simply haven't had time to adequately type them out.

 

I would like to respond, myself, particularly to Rev R, but I'm just too sleep deprived and stressed to be able to coherently articulate a response.

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I would like to respond, myself, particularly to Rev R, but I'm just too sleep deprived and stressed to be able to coherently articulate a response.

Take care of yourself first. I'm in no hurry.

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Ahh... but I'm always very careful in my word choices.

 

Yes AM you do choose your words carefully. You also generally only participate in discussion that have a deeper philosophical bent, or something related to theology. This is one of many reason why I respect your opinion.

 

In this case, the words may have been chosen carefully, but what seems to have been meant by later responses was not received.

 

I said the parents were adults.

 

No you did not.

 

Is the fault of parents that their children still think and act like children until they become adults?

 

The sentence is structured so that the only time adults are reference directly relates to the second mention of children. The second they references the children not the parents. It is never made explicit that you are referring to the parents as adults let alone “mature” adults.

 

The only way I could read that into the sentence would be to imply that by the children becoming adults that they then would potentially become parents. It is also implied by becoming adults they are no longer children. It could then be implied that since these adults are parents and are not children they would be adult parents. However, your later qualification of mature never enters into the above statement because adults could be mature or immature or many shades of coloration in-between.

 

Making those implications and accepting them as true would correlate to your later response. We could debate until doomsday on what mature is. However, that is beyond the scope of this thread.

 

That said.

 

No mature adult thinks like a child (at least not as a whole that is). If a mature adult instructs children with adult wisdom, my point stands solid. No child until they mature through the necessary stages of development can possibly hope to grasp the subtle nuances of a mature adult.

 

I generally have little to argue here. I would like to comment on the bolded. As stated above, we could argue about what mature means and implies. My point was that children do what their parents do. Adults teach children by their action. Even a mature adult will teach things to children they did not intend. A simple outburst or expression of frustration will be picked up on and emulated by the child. My own son emulates things that I have done in my past that to my knowledge I have not done in front of him. Yet he does it. The point being adults, mature or otherwise, can only teach what they know. As to wisdom that will be addressed later.

 

Continued.....

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Con't

 

And you are correct, it is very difficult to learn anything from them, and we who have such drive to mature within us have to 'go it alone' oft times.

 

I personally feel that we never really ‘go anything alone’, however I do agree that we many times have to do some things with little tangible support from other physical beings. Having mom write your term paper in high school teaches you nothing about how to do it college. Having mom teach you practical steps and they you doing it “on your own” is more beneficial.

 

Yes, society seeks stability, even if it is a cost of freedom. Change takes time, as stability is no small thing. We are individuals willing to break from that, to some degree or other. It's part of the process of change.

 

It does seek stability and change does take time. But the point still stands that parents can only teach what they know. Once the kids begin to mature they will begin to look at what other kids in their neighborhood, city, state, country, etc. do and how they live. If the society that they see is exactly what their parents are teaching, then the child has little impetus to live differently. Thus , the parent’s wisdom is true regardless of the maturity of it.

 

This gets quite complicated, but to make it simple there are a few key factors. Yes, anytime you have an organization of any kind, be it a whole-foods coop, an animal rights group, a neighborhood watch group, a political organization, a religion, a government, etc, they always, always are going to experience group dynamics. Part of that are power structures, despite the best efforts at organizational structures. Inevitably this happens because we as a species has not yet as a whole evolved beyond core ego and greed factors in our general consciousness.

 

However, the role of such organizations, religion in this example, serves a good which is to support a sort of common value and goal to a larger body of individuals. It helps translate the world though that structure out to the individuals, in order to make that an integrated truth for them in their daily lives. Hopefully in that, the higher ideals of the group as a whole can be realized to higher degrees for those individuals in the group. As much as I am an advocate for independent thought that breaks the stifling grip of dogma, a certain amount of cohesion is in fact necessary for the sake of the growth of a community. And a community, is also important for those individuals

 

Yes, this is why religion has historically been used by those in power. Generally, if you meet someone who is Mexican you can be pretty sure that if asked their religion they will say Catholic. The same could be said for many, though certainly not all, people who live in “the South” of the US, though they’ll more likely say born again. If someone is Italian or Spanish, most would assume they are at least nominally Catholic. Just as Thais and being Buddhist.

 

It permeates the culture. While Buddhism is more decentralized then western religions, there is still and expected structure. There will be a single or a group of gurus. The goal of the organization may even be stated to be for the common good. That good will vary by society and culture. Thus what we in the US may find abhorrent would be considered normal there. And yes the society needs this cohesion. When I can I may enjoy walking around my house naked. However, that would get me arrested should I walk out the front door that way, in my town anyway.

 

Once the religion becomes as ingrained in the society as Buddhism is in Thailand for example, then it becomes less about what was the original intent of the religion and become more about maintaining the structure that has been put in place. Thus restrictions come into play to hold on to the power system.

 

I believe there is an Indian saying in regards to the caste system that goes “Never question the kick from above nor withhold the one to below”. I think this shows just how when a religious concept gets forced onto society just how repressive it can be. Obviously, Islam as it is currently expressed in the Mid-East is another example.

 

 

So when I hear rhetoric such as "religion is evil", and that it should be gotten rid of, I can't help but hear a simple emotional response to what it perceives as those negative aspects of it painting the whole, as if taking a bucket of paint and throwing the whole thing on the canvas, obliterating any and all truth and light in the painting itself. Religions are made of people, and if people grow, then so will the religions.

 

I never said religion is evil. I stated that once it became part of the power structure, supporting the power structure becomes its goal. Evil or good is matter of opinion. My comment was a statement of how I see it. This can be easily demonstrated by how different revolutions around the world after toppling the heads of state sought to either, subjugate and control, or outright destroy the religion associated with them. The French revolution and Communism are good examples.

I personally feel that religions, in an organized sense, are eventually doomed. Societies will learn to exist without them and find they certainly don’t do any worse than with them. So, you could say I feel people will eventually outgrow the need of religious cohesion.

 

No doubt you have those in Buddhism who are equally as literalistic and ignorant and immature as Evangelical Christianity. No doubt at all. Is that the fault of the religion? Or is this a product of their culture heaped upon their religion?

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They see their religion through the lens of their culture. How does anyone see beyond their culture? Get rid of their religion? Nonsense. They'll just find a new home for their prejudices. Absolutely.

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Authority is part of group dynamics. Destroy the religion, they find a new authority in their new religion supporting their cultural biases.

 

On many of these points I say we generally agree. Culture does play a strong part in how people see the world. In many parts of the world, culture and religion are so intertwined one is not seen as separate from the other. As I stated before I never advocated the destruction of religion. My point in the post was all religion can be and has been before used to support the existing power structure. In many countries, Italy Spain Thailand Mexico, the religion is so tied to culture that there is little to distinguish it as a separate entity. This can be harsh as in Yemen, or more relaxed like Italy or Spain. However, the religion in the more extreme cases, Thailand for Buddhism and Yemen for Islam, you will get things that people here will say “that’s not Buddhism or that’s not Isalm”.

 

No. It is the respective religion for the respective country because it is tied to the culture which is its own power structure beyond political or organized religion.

 

And how do you propose they change?

 

I don’t. We all choose how to live our lives. We choose what culture to live in. We choose what to believe. My beliefs will not match anyone else’s on the planet. However, because I have chosen to live in St. Louis, MO, USA, I have chosen to accept all that comes with that. From the idiocy of Ray Comfort to having 3-5 churches within a mile of my house, all of which have different creeds despite being Christian. Yet also having unrestricted access to this site despite how it its very existence irritates said churches to no end.

 

What I would wish would be for each person to choose. A few will. Most won’t. Several will not even realize there was a choice to be made to begin with. For those that do, I would hope they would choose the more loving path out of the choices they see.

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Has anyone else embraced this philosophy as an atheist? I need to do more research, but I think this is where I may be headed. Not certain yet though.

 

I've had enough of enclosing my mind in a box. If you're comfortable as an atheist, than I think you would be uncomfortable trying to squeeze yourself to fit into religious dogma. I'm not saying not to embrace any teachings, I think there is something worthwhile in most, if not all religions but don't limit your understanding to how one religious system (or one religious system's "denomination") views things. Always be hesitant to embrace a label. Live by your own rules, not the label's.

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