Is belief in God/s dangerous?

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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby Goedert » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:06 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Goedert wrote:Is not the relegion. It is the person, thats all.
It takes two, the religion and the person. If a religion tells you that being a martyr is of great value, that is easily used as a justification for some very unholy behavior in the name of god or whatever. Having a direct line to one's god and the unquestioning certitude that goes with it has been a basis for a great deal of suffering in the name of one religion or the other.


Who made the relegion? It comes by itself? Or is a person that makes religion?
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby alan » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:12 am

Bodhisattva of compassion--and others in the pantheon regularly attended to in some Buddhist countries--Good or Bad?
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:15 am

Goedert wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Goedert wrote:Is not the relegion. It is the person, thats all.
It takes two, the religion and the person. If a religion tells you that being a martyr is of great value, that is easily used as a justification for some very unholy behavior in the name of god or whatever. Having a direct line to one's god and the unquestioning certitude that goes with it has been a basis for a great deal of suffering in the name of one religion or the other.


Who made the relegion? It comes by itself? Or is a person that makes religion?
That is the point, isn't it?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:16 am

alan wrote:Bodhisattva of compassion--and others in the pantheon regularly attended to in some Buddhist countries--Good or Bad?
It depends.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:16 am

Greetings Alan,

alan wrote:Bodhisattva of compassion--and others in the pantheon regularly attended to in some Buddhist countries--Good or Bad?

If it facilitates greed, aversion and delusion in the individual, bad.
If it facilitates renunciation, lovingkindness and wisdom in the individual, good.

There may be as many combinations of the above "bad" and "good" factors as there are people who know about such concepts. Even those who don't believe in it, may still have a "bad" and "good" reaction to the idea. What's your reaction to it... good or bad?

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby alan » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:25 am

It does not necessarily take two. Devotion can be a way of feeling personal transcendence. That is my response to the OP.
As for me, I'm always on guard against superstitions. But if some people feel better putting ghee on the shrine of the God of compassion, and that makes them act more compassionately, well then I'd say go for it. Butter it up. Just as long as they realize what they are doing.
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:29 am

alan wrote:It does not necessarily take two.
It takes the structure of the religion and the person response to it.
Devotion can be a way of feeling personal transcendence. That is my response to the OP.
As for me, I'm always on guard against superstitions. But if some people feel better putting ghee on the shrine of the God of compassion, and that makes them act more compassionately, well then I'd say go for it. Butter it up. Just as long as they realize what they are doing.
Worshipping their god who they think is a truly true being able to protect and help them?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby Goedert » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:10 am

tiltbillings wrote:That is the point, isn't it?


You know kalachakra tantra?

Imagine all that people engaging in warfare with muslins becouse of relegion...

It is like to say the problem is the society the problem is with ourselfs. The problem is In every human being that sustend a wrong behaviour, that behaviour stutent the relegion. When humankind becomes defiled with bad behaviour, religion becomes defiled. The font is the humakind.

From his vantage point in the Tavatimsa plane, Sakka was a keen observer of the behavior of humans and other beings. He saw that while beings would like to live with each other peacefully, they rarely succeed. Thus his opening question to the Buddha attempted to unravel this contradiction:

"By what fetters, sir, are beings bound — gods, humans, asuras, nagas, gandhabbas, and whatever other kinds there may be — whereby, although they wish to live without hate, harming, hostility or malignity, and in peace, they yet live in hate, harming one another, hostile and malign?"
The Buddha explained that two mental factors — jealousy and avarice — cause all this trouble; from these two qualities almost all the aggression in the world arises.
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:11 am

Goedert wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:That is the point, isn't it?


You know kalachakra tantra?
That has no weight here (though I did receive intiation in it from the Dalai Lama in the 80's).
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby alan » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:20 am

Or it can be a personal relationship. Between the mother-to- be and her fertility god.
We logical persons don't get into that, of course. And I'm not advocating it. But if it makes some people more likely to act ethically, and does not agitate hatred, and can be confined within the culture that believes it, well then I have to say break out the ghee. Worse things have happened.
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:22 am

Goedert wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:That is the point, isn't it?


You know kalachakra tantra?

Imagine all that people engaging in warfare with muslins becouse of relegion...

It is like to say the problem is the society the problem is with ourselfs. The problem is In every human being that sustend a wrong behaviour, that behaviour stutent the relegion. When humankind becomes defiled with bad behaviour, religion becomes defiled. The font is the humakind.
There seems to be an assumption here that just because it is a religion, it is in all ways, in all things good. But then I have no idea of what you are talking about.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:26 am

alan wrote:Or it can be a personal relationship. Between the mother-to- be and her fertility god.
We logical persons don't get into that, of course. And I'm not advocating it. But if it makes some people more likely to act ethically, and does not agitate hatred, and can be confined within the culture that believes it, well then I have to say break out the ghee. Worse things have happened.
I am all for goddess worship. The more the better.

In as much as religion, of whatever sort, can be - and has been - used to act out the baser aspects of humanity, it can also be a source of transendence and great good.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:40 am

altar wrote: While attacks on the idea of God itself (as fallacious, untenable, etc.) are appreciated, my main concern is on the danger of holding such a belief, that God exists.


Yes, I think it's a dangerous belief because it means people see things through a distorted lens. It could be argued that for this reason all beliefs are potentially dangerous.

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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:27 pm

The Buddha says the negative results of craving are mild but long lasting
the negative results of aversion are strong but short lasting
the negative results of delusion are strong and long lasting
- so leave God at the door please
:soap:
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby curiousgeorge » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:19 am

bodom wrote:When you look back through history and the amount of bloodshed and violence in the name of god and religion, it is blantantly obvious that it is dangerous. Crusades ring a bell?

:anjali:


That makes a nice haiku!



God and religion
Obviously dangerous:
Crusades ring a bell?
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby curiousgeorge » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:31 am

well said! Belief in God - or anything else - can be dangerous. Including disbelief in God. :p

I do agree that religion has a reputation for tapping the inner stupid, but I think its somewhat undeserved. Afterall, wars may be fought in the name of religion, but religion didn't cause them. Clashes over resources caused them. Religion was just a convenient, but ultimately unnecessary, excuse. Slavery, colonization, and the Spanish Inquisition all had far more to do with resources than with morals.

There are people who seek some pretty far out cults, but these are the same people that, say, buy amulets thinking the amulet will bring luck and protect the wearer from bullets. If it weren't the amulet, it would be something else. People will always sell snake oil, and people will always buy it because its easy. Its not religion, per se, taking advantage of these people so much as it is he characteristics of the people getting expressed. Trickle up, not trickle down, I say. Granted, groups of people take on characteristics, and group-think emerges. This is certainly a problem. But this is also a problem with mobs in general, and not specific to religion, either.

Beyond that, there is the nightly news effect. How often do you hear reports of a good Christian or Muslim who goes about their business quietly, helping people. Not so much. But the conservative televangelist who is bopping the gay prostitutes in between shows? All over the front page.
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby bodom » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:57 pm

curiousgeorge wrote:
bodom wrote:When you look back through history and the amount of bloodshed and violence in the name of god and religion, it is blantantly obvious that it is dangerous. Crusades ring a bell?

:anjali:


That makes a nice haiku!



God and religion
Obviously dangerous:
Crusades ring a bell?


Im a poet and didn't know it. :tongue:

:anjali:
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: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby christopher::: » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:42 pm

altar wrote:Dear all,
This question is exactly what it sounds like. Is there some drawback to a belief in god/s, or worse, a real danger?
What is meant by God here is anything that acts like an omnipotent creator, overseer, divine providence, or, and especially, commander.

While attacks on the idea of God itself (as fallacious, untenable, etc.) are appreciated, my main concern is on the danger of holding such a belief, that God exists.


hi alter,

I agree with retrofuturist, it really depends on the person and what they believe about God. Historically its been true that many wars have been fought by people believing they were fighting for God, that God was on their side and wanted them to kill/punish nonbelievers. That's dangerous and unfortunately we still have these kinds of warrior God believers in our world.

But is God the problem? Look at Stalin and Mao, at what nonbelieving Communists have done. One doesn't need to believe in God to construct excuses for killing and conquering "enemies." I'd say the belief that one is right, that violence is fine and killing people is okay are the most dangerous ideas. Any belief system that gets mixed up with that stirs up terrible suffering.

As Buddhists it's often helpful to be tolerant. That doesn't mean seeing all beliefs as being the same, but being as mindful as we can, recognizing that sometimes different religions are serving a positive purpose for others, that while the Buddha's dhamma will take you further and provide greatest clarity (in most of our opinions) spiritual growth and the cultivation of wholesome mindstates (and behaviors) can be facilitated by many religions. When not, we should speak out, but when other religions are serving a positive purpose its worth taking notice.

:anjali:


From the Buddhist point of view, to make tolerance contingent upon whitewashing discrepancies would not be to exercise genuine tolerance at all; for such an approach can "tolerate" differences only by diluting them so completely that they no longer make a difference. True tolerance in religion involves the capacity to admit differences as real and fundamental, even as profound and unbridgeable, yet at the same time to respect the rights of those who follow a religion different from one's own (or no religion at all) to continue to do so without resentment, disadvantage or hindrance.

Buddhist tolerance springs from the recognition that the dispositions and spiritual needs of human beings are too vastly diverse to be encompassed by any single teaching, and thus that these needs will naturally find expression in a wide variety of religious forms. The non-Buddhist systems will not be able to lead their adherents to the final goal of the Buddha's Dhamma, but that they never proposed to do in the first place. For Buddhism, acceptance of the idea of the beginningless round of rebirths implies that it would be utterly unrealistic to expect more than a small number of people to be drawn toward a spiritual path aimed at complete liberation. The overwhelming majority, even of those who seek deliverance from earthly woes, will aim at securing a favorable mode of existence within the round, even while misconceiving this to be the ultimate goal of the religious quest.

To the extent that a religion proposes sound ethical principles and can promote to some degree the development of wholesome qualities such as love, generosity, detachment and compassion, it will merit in this respect the approbation of Buddhists. These principles advocated by outside religious systems will also conduce to rebirth in the realms of bliss — the heavens and the divine abodes. Buddhism by no means claims to have unique access to these realms, but holds that the paths that lead to them have been articulated, with varying degrees of clarity, in many of the great spiritual traditions of humanity. While the Buddhist will disagree with the belief structures of other religions to the extent that they deviate from the Buddha's Dhamma, he will respect them to the extent that they enjoin virtues and standards of conduct that promote spiritual development and the harmonious integration of human beings with each other and with the world.


Bikkhu Bodhi
Tolerance and Diversity
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:11 pm

Number of people killed by the Spanish Inquitition in one hundred years. ( every death appalling ).. seventeen thousand.
Number of people killed by the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979 in the name of atheism.. two million.
Dont let Dawkins and Hitchens fool you . There are much more dangerous things than theistic religions.
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Re: Is belief in God/s dangerous?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:18 pm

christopher::: wrote: One doesn't need to believe in God to construct excuses for killing and conquering "enemies." I'd say the belief that one is right, that violence is fine and killing people is okay are the most dangerous ideas. Any belief system that gets mixed up with that stirs up terrible suffering.
Yes, but having a pipeline to the alimight whatzit is a good basis - likely none stronger - for the certitude that what one is doing it correct.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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