Wow, this thread took some ugly turns. My real concern here is there is a need for more metta. Some theists are getting their backs up against the wall because of some of the responses here. This is understandable, based on some of the posts that were not too friendly towards the theistic positions put forward. Maybe a more conciliatory attitude would help here.
But there’s a huge ‘but’ from my (Buddhist - in personal capacity only) side.
Please note that what I’ve written below is not intended to be in bad faith towards theists here but they are genuine questions I have for theists. It’s also not directed at any particular individuals, rather the general ‘feel’ of these threads.
Knowing (I can only hope) what the Buddhist (Theravada & Mahayana) position is on theism, why do some still feel the need to bring the topic here?
There are countless Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, New Age, Wiccan forums where the concept of ‘god’ / ‘goddess’ can be discussed with people who at least can agree on the basic assumptions around theism. But still people ‘bring the heat’ here, so to speak. I honestly wonder why that is. This forum is an excellent opportunity for theists to broaden their understanding of religion & spiritually from the Theravada Buddhist view. Why waste it?
If there are elements of Buddha Dhamma that work for you, use it and let that be that. Why the need to convince others of your personal position? If you would like to place a god equal to or above the Triple Gem, you are welcome to that as well. It might bare fruit that you are personally content with though. But that is not the dhamma that will bare the fruit Nibbana.
As for the charge that Buddhists are ‘mean’ when they are simply stating their position based on the actual teachings of Gotama Buddha as presented in the earliest Nikayas and traditions: Maybe it’s how its being said? Do they need to work on ‘delivery’? Do Buddhists need to change their position on theism to be regarded as ‘not mean’?
I leave you with the quote below from the book: the Buddha & His Dhamma, by Ven S. Dhammika:
"Once, the young Brahmin Ambattha abused the Sakyans in the presence of the Buddha. When the Buddha asked him why he was so angry with the Sakyans, he said: “Once, I went to Kapilavatthu on some business for my teacher, the Brahmin Pakkharasati, and I came to the Sakyans’ assembly hall. At that time, a crowd of Sakyans was sitting on high seats in their assembly hall, poking each other with their fingers, laughing and playing about together, and I am certain that they were making fun of me. No one even offered me a seat. It is not proper that they do not respect Brahmins.” The Buddha defended the Sakyans saying: “But, Ambattha, even the quail, that little bird, can say what she likes in her own nest.”
Natthi me saranam annam buddho me saranam varam
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.
Etena saccavajjena vaddheyyam satthu-sasane
By the utterance of this truth, may I grow in the Master’s Way.