A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

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A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby Dhammakid » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:36 pm

Hello All,
I've been reading De Silva's "Beyond Belief: A Buddhist Critique of Fundamentalist Christianity" and find it highly informative and useful in discussions with Christians who insist on arguing with my beliefs. I'm wondering if anyone else has read it and what you think of it.

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/beyond-belief02.pdf

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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby Mukunda » Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:06 pm

Dhammakid wrote:Hello All,
I've been reading De Silva's "Beyond Belief: A Buddhist Critique of Fundamentalist Christianity" and find it highly informative and useful in discussions with Christians who insist on arguing with my beliefs.


How can there be an argument for them to insist on if you don't participate? :thinking:
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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:23 pm

I agree with Mukunda, if they want to argue then that's their problem, you don't have to buy into it.

They are coming from the view that Buddhism is a direct competitor to Christianity just because they are both world religions. I don't agree, I think they are trying to achieve quite different things therefore arguing one against the other is meaningless.

It would be like an accountant arguing with my beliefs because they don't conform to the fundamentals of accounting, or a musician because they don't conform to rules on tone, pitch, melody etc.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:53 pm

If you really have to participate in fundamentalists' kinds of arguments, Da Silva provides useful ammunition for you. But it's better to avoid dispute altogether in the first place, and better to avoid fighting on their terms in the second place: they are likely to have had more practice than you.
You could try offering to attend a church service if they will go to your meditation group with you first ...
:juggling:

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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby Kenshou » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:59 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
You could try offering to attend a church service if they will go to your meditation group with you first ...

I ain't goin' tah no pagan devil-worshippin' boodist ritual ceremony, no siree!
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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby bodom » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:07 pm

I like Hui-Nengs words on the matter:

"With those who are sympathetic Let us have discussion on Buddhism. As for those whose point of view differs from ours Let us treat them politely and thus make them happy. (But) disputes are alien to our School, For they are incompatible with its doctrine. To be bigoted and to argue with others in disregard of this rule Is to subjects one's Essence of Mind to the bitterness of mundane existence."


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The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:34 am

Kenshou wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:
You could try offering to attend a church service if they will go to your meditation group with you first ...

I ain't goin' tah no pagan devil-worshippin' boodist ritual ceremony, no siree!

Of course - but it shows a willingness to acknowledge their beliefs and, without being argumentative, gives them a choice of giving up or continuing the conversation from the weak position of having refused to show a matching tolerance.

It's all hypothetical to me, though. Aussies are pretty laid back about everything except, in some cases, State of Origin football.

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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby Bankei » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:03 am

A.L. De Silva is none other than the Australian monk Dhammika. Allegedly written under a pseudonym because of the potential backlash in places like Indonesia. (according to a review of the book by Prof Garry Trompf)

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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby Ben » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:32 am

Hi Kourtney

I just downloaded it and it looks good. Its resonant of a Burmese (I think) publication which I read years ago that was a critique of Christianity. Memory is beginning to fade...
I recommend to you the following publications:
A letter to a Christian Nation: http://www.amazon.com/Letter-Christian- ... 417&sr=8-1
End of Faith: http://www.amazon.com/End-Faith-Religio ... gy_b_img_b
both by Sam Harris. A letter to a Christian nation is essentially End of Faith in 90 pages.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby Kokoro » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:37 am

I consider De Silva's book to be not so much for providing one with ammo in case a group of fundamentalist Christians appear and push their religion, but rather to provide comfort and assurance to Buddhists who perhaps may have been Christian and are now having some doubt, or perhaps for Christians who are now having doubt in ther religion and are looking to the Dhamma for the Truth.
Regardless, even if it were proven it was written specifically for that purpose (rebuking Christians) I would approach it in a similar manner as one who receives instruction in martial arts, you have it but wish never to use it.

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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby Dhammakid » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:00 am

Hey Everyone,
Thanks so much for the responses.

I do agree that it's better to not engage in debate, and I try very hard to do that whenever possible. But De Silva's book is great in case I'm given no choice, which, luckily, isn't often.

I love Sam Harris' works. I haven't read his complete works yet, but I've read excerpts and have seen interviews and I've loved it all. I will definitely read "Letter" as soon as I get the chance.

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Re: A. L. De Silva's "Beyond Belief"

Postby pilgrim » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:26 am

We should avoid arguments, but the book makes a good point in the closing paragraph of the Preface:

"Some Buddhists may object to a book like this, believing that a gentle and tolerant religion like Buddhism should refrain from criticizing other. This is certainly not what the Buddha himself taught. In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta he said that his disciples should be able to "Teach the Dhamma, declare it, establish it, expound it, analyze it, make it clear, and be able by means of the Dhamma to refute false teachings that have arisen." Subjecting a point of view to careful scrutiny and criticism has an important part to play in helping to winnow truth from falsehood so that we can be in a better position to choose between "the two and sixty contending sects." Criticism of other religions only becomes inappropriate when it is based on a deliberate misrepresentation or when it descends into an exercise in ridicule and name-calling. I hope I have avoided doing this."
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