No believing in God is not such a good idea.

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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby Jay1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:50 am

m0rl0ck wrote:In my view the point needs to be addressed in this thread that to practice buddhism you need not believe in a judgmental god whose main historical use seems to have been dehumanizing enemies so that they could be killed and their land and property taken.
Its no accident that the followers of the patriarchal warrior god are so numerous, the ones who sat around saying "all religions are the same, they are good people too", likely got dehumanized by the priests of the warrior god cult the next valley over and killed for their arable land.
All religions are not the same and bad ideas kill people. Whenever religious groups attain political power, slaughter usually follows. Look at the world today, representatives of two of the worlds major religions (the US is arguably a christian power) both believers in apocalypse and the patriarchal warrior god and his "final judgement" are involved in conflict that could very likely take the rest of the planet down with them.
If you seriously believe that all religions are equal and that religions cant kill en masse, you need to take a look at your attitudes, education and especially at history.
I know its not pc to say so, but some ideas are contagious and deadly mental disorders. Theism is one of those ideas.


EDIT: Just for clarity sake, when i say theism above, what i meant was patriarchal monotheism. Matriarchal theism seems to have gotten the short end of the stick from the patriarchal variety historically. Seems to be making a comeback tho, which looks like a positive development to me.

I expect this post will likely be deleted as was my last in this thread, but at least i tried :)


1: Christians do not believe in a "patriarchal warrior god." For one, God has no gender. Secondly, Jesus has been known to say that a person with a sword will die by the sword. While it is possible to twist any religion and anyone's words to suit one's views, most Christians are not violent, they do not like war. You'll find some who do, but, as I just said, words can be twisted and the Buddha is no exception.

2: With about a fifth not identifying themselves with any religion and the constitution separating state and religion it is indeed very arguable that USA is a Christian power.

3: "I know its not pc to say so, but some ideas are contagious and deadly mental disorders. Theism is one of those ideas."
No, it is more than that: it is rude, offensive and incorrect. While it is not enough, in my opinion, to be removed as you predict, I am not sure Buddha would be on your side here (or anyone, really)

4:Why are you using the word matriarchal as a positive? How is gender relevant?
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:32 am

Jay1 wrote:4:Why are you using the word matriarchal as a positive? How is gender relevant?


A matriarchal goddess hasnt been widely worshiped since the rise of agricultural societies, afaik. Im not sure that widespread belief in a goddess would be any better than wide belief in a god, might be worth a try tho.
For more information on why gender is relevant, you might try reading Wilbers "Sex, Ecology & Spirituality", or any of a number sources on what happend with god ideas and the rise of agricultural societies. Its no accident that the switch to patriarchal monotheism happened at the same time. Agricultural societies are always short of arable land and that lends a peculiar and ugly twist to their ideas about god.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby sshai45 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:28 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:In the opinion of many, these God-based religions did great damage to society, and are still doing great damage. And, from what I heard, there are too many cases of child sexual abuse among the Buddhist clergy, just as there are such reports in other religious orders.

Then there are the many wars waged in the name of religion due to false beliefs and bigotted views.

It may be much easier for the sceptical atheist or secular humanist to understand the Dhamma than for the devout follower of any religion (and that includes devout followers of Buddhism who are hypocrits).

Believing in an Omnipotent Creator God is quite different to believing in devas or ghosts, or nature spirits of various kinds. The crucial point is accepting full responsibility for one's own actions according to the teaching of Kammassakatta Sammādiṭṭhi. It doesn't matter too much what else you believe in or don't believe in, as long as you believe that you alone will inherit the results of volitional actions of body, speech, and thought done by yourself.


Yet, Buddhism requires the acceptance of many non-scientific concepts that could be as difficult for a secular humanist to swallow as the concept of God, doesn't it?
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby manas » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:02 pm

While any theistic religion is beset by it's own set of delusions, the ones that worship a warlike sky-god who *created* the Earth, don't appear to show much respect for this planet. But a religion in which the Earth *IS* the goddess herself incarnate, might convince it's adherents not to rape, pillage, pollute, and strip-mine the living daylights out of this planet, in the way our patriarchal religions have overseen.
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby Coyote » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:11 pm

manas wrote:While any theistic religion is beset by it's own set of delusions, the ones that worship a warlike sky-god who *created* the Earth, don't appear to show much respect for this planet. But a religion in which the Earth *IS* the goddess herself incarnate, might convince it's adherents not to rape, pillage, pollute, and strip-mine the living daylights out of this planet, in the way our patriarchal religions have overseen.


Many polytheistic cultures believed in an earth goddess, and yet were not exactly peace-loving. Cultures as far back as the Sumerians and before (with the exception of certain strands of proto-greek religion) worshipped both male and female deities, often with a male god as king or head of the pantheon - well before the rise of "patriarchal" monotheism, and plundered just as much as the rest. The idea of a peaceful pre-patriarchal female monotheism has been widely debunked as far as I know.
That said, I feel it is the linking of empire and religion/god that does the most damage because the whole identity of the empire is built upon religion and so tends to aggressively destroy other cultures. Eg. Byzantine/Roman empires, Islamic ect.

m0rl0ck wrote: Agricultural societies are always short of arable land and that lends a peculiar and ugly twist to their ideas about god.


Agriculture also tends to create more space for war and expansion in general, given the surpluss of food and often the class structures that appear as a result.
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby manas » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:41 am

Of course cultures who revered the earth as a goddess were not perfect, and also fought wars, and some sacrificed animals or humans, etc. The difference is in the care and respect given to this planet itself. In that respect, cultures with patriarchal religions get a big 'fail' by way of comparison. Not content to just sacrifice one creature, our culture seems hell-bent on sacrificing the entire biosphere on the altar of corporate greed.
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:09 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:Agricultural societies are always short of arable land and that lends a peculiar and ugly twist to their ideas about god.

Is it possible the underlying problem is not a belief in God, but a shortage of arable land and other resources such as gold, oil, slaves, etc.?? People often dismiss this possibility without offering any evidence.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby waterchan » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:39 pm

There are extremists on both sides of the god fence, and there always will be.

Buddhism is unique not only in that it's somewhat atheistic, but also because it's very difficult to misconstrue a scriptural verse as promoting murder, slavery, rape, or any form of violence, whereas in monotheistic scriptures it's fairly easy to do so.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby Kusala » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:32 am

"Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god." - Jean Rostand
Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:59 am

Buckwheat wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Agricultural societies are always short of arable land and that lends a peculiar and ugly twist to their ideas about god.

Is it possible the underlying problem is not a belief in God, but a shortage of arable land and other resources such as gold, oil, slaves, etc.?? People often dismiss this possibility without offering any evidence.


15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.


Thats a sane rational response to a trade imbalance is it not?
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:53 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Agricultural societies are always short of arable land and that lends a peculiar and ugly twist to their ideas about god.

Is it possible the underlying problem is not a belief in God, but a shortage of arable land and other resources such as gold, oil, slaves, etc.?? People often dismiss this possibility without offering any evidence.


15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.


Thats a sane rational response to a trade imbalance is it not?

:strawman: I never credited agrarian society with having rational integrity. I only stated that their motive may be simple materialistic greed. Religious fervor may or may not have anything to do with it. Many of my family and neighbors are non-religious conservatives who seem to have no problem with going to war for non-religious motives. Oil may be more powerful than God.

It seems the better measure of a person is not to ask if they believe in God or not, but to carefully observe their actions to see if they are honest and peaceful.

But really, who has time for that? Let's just to jump to stereotypes: All Christians must be full of hate for all non-Christians, favoring war over compromise and harmony. Yep, it's their fault. See how easy that was?

Jesus taught peace and freedom from material wants. So, if a greedy agrarian commits acts of violence for oil, god, or any other reason: that person is a bad person not because they are a good Christian. That person is a bad person because they are a bad Christian. And yes, there are plenty of those. Just as there are plenty of bad Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby Coyote » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:01 pm

Buckwheat wrote:Jesus taught peace and freedom from material wants. So, if a greedy agrarian commits acts of violence for oil, god, or any other reason: that person is a bad person not because they are a good Christian. That person is a bad person because they are a bad Christian. And yes, there are plenty of those. Just as there are plenty of bad Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims.


The problem with this is that those few words in the new testament are not the be all and end all of 75% of Christian (replace Koran and Islam ect.) denominations doctrines. You have the historical churches, including protestant ones, who have historically included acts of violence and war all in the name of being a "good Christian" - read Augustine and other Greek/Latin fathers on just war, for example. I don't think it is fair to generalise either, and thankfully most modern churches take a stand against acts of violence in the name of God, in favour of turning the other cheek (American Orthodox condemn war, for example), and nor do I believe violence is integral or even true to those religions in most cases, but lets not pretend that theism is wholly peaceful and non-violent and that those who do otherwise are not the "real" Christian/muslim/whatever. This is not historically the case, and nor is it believed to be by many theists or objective scholars of those religions. Many religions have a very long history, sometimes stretching back to the founder(s), sometimes not, of violence and aggression, not to mention intolerance, cultism and general crazyness.

That said, it is just clinging to views and sense pleasures that are the cause of violence in the world, often the two go together and justify one another.
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:11 pm

ground wrote:
alan wrote:Belief in a "God" is certainly the dumbest and most useless idea to ever pollute the human realm.

Don't say this. There is a great no. of people living happily due to this belief. Every religion can have - not necessarily does have - the intended effects: contentment, confidence, peace and happiness. Also the current "western" living conditions, negative and positive ones, have been conditioned by christianity. :sage:

Contentment, confidence, peace, and happiness are meaningless and inherently transitory if they're based on illusion. The idea of an eternal loving God is bad simply because it isn't true.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby alan » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:45 am

Has there ever been a bigger pollution to rational understanding than the mindless belief in a God?
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby ground » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:23 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
ground wrote:
alan wrote:Belief in a "God" is certainly the dumbest and most useless idea to ever pollute the human realm.

Don't say this. There is a great no. of people living happily due to this belief. Every religion can have - not necessarily does have - the intended effects: contentment, confidence, peace and happiness. Also the current "western" living conditions, negative and positive ones, have been conditioned by christianity. :sage:

Contentment, confidence, peace, and happiness are meaningless and inherently transitory if they're based on illusion. The idea of an eternal loving God is bad simply because it isn't true.

It simply depends on what ideas are being cultivated as "being true". There is no difference. Religions are religions. They all can entail contentment, confidence, peace, and happiness if cultivated appropriately. "inherently transitory" may apply to all these religious ideas and seems to be based on a sense of "objectivity" felt to be "true" and a sense of "permanence" (as the opposite to "transitory") felt to be "true" as well. One may just cultivate the opposite sense and leave it at that. Actually one has "to leave it at that" in the sphere of all religions if one subscribes to any of them. :sage:
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:42 am

From an inconstruable beginning comes argumentation. A beginning point to these arguments cannot be discerned, though beings hindered by views and fettered by argumentativeness argue on. What do you think friends: which is the greater, the frustration accumulated while debating and arguing this long, long time-or the words in the english dictionary?

As we understand the parody writ by the festive one- this is the greater: the frustration accumulated while debating and arguing this long, long time- not the words in the english dictionary.

Excellent friends. Excellent. It is excellent that you thus understood the parody writ by the festive one.

This is the greater: the frustration accumulated while debating and arguing this long, long time-not the words in the english dictionary.

Long have you argued and lost a premise, a conclusion, logical integrity, a view position, your mind. Long enough to become disenchanted with all arguments (about the usefulness or destructiveness of religions that do not accurately reflect reality).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:sage: :sage: :sage:
Last edited by polarbuddha101 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby ground » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:57 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:What do you think friends: which is the greater, the frustration accumulated while debating and arguing this long, long time-or the words in the english dictionary?

Consciousness grasping itself in the sphere of arisen sense of self while being in movement from arising to subsiding concomitant with feelings that there is no support for this sense of self which continually tries to support itself by means of these consciounesses aka ideas ... this may cause frustration which is just another complex of feeling/consciousness. This human dilemma is the cause of arising of religions and of the arising of cultivation of religious ideas which may entail contentment, confidence, peace and happiness. So, religions are both, manifestation/expression of human dilemma and mitigation of this dilemma. :sage:
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby SarathW » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:37 pm

Good article to read in this topic:

http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh216.pdf

it says:
We have already talked about the common ground that Buddhism has with some forms of
theism in urging the validity of moral and spiritual values and of a transcendent reality
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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby manas » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:23 am

SarathW wrote:...the validity of moral and spiritual values and of a transcendent reality


On that point, I agree with you, Sarath. Despite our differences, at least Theists actually believe in right and wrong, and that right and wrong have real consequences for the doer - unlike those with that vague, nihilistic materialism that seems to be so pervasive nowadays.

Better to at least believe in right and wrong, than to believe in nothing at all, imo...

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Re: No believing in God is not such a good idea.

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:39 pm

Coyote wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:Jesus taught peace and freedom from material wants. So, if a greedy agrarian commits acts of violence for oil, god, or any other reason: that person is a bad person not because they are a good Christian. That person is a bad person because they are a bad Christian. And yes, there are plenty of those. Just as there are plenty of bad Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims.


The problem with this is that those few words in the new testament are not the be all and end all of 75% of Christian (replace Koran and Islam ect.) denominations doctrines. You have the historical churches, including protestant ones, who have historically included acts of violence and war all in the name of being a "good Christian" - read Augustine and other Greek/Latin fathers on just war, for example. I don't think it is fair to generalise either, and thankfully most modern churches take a stand against acts of violence in the name of God, in favour of turning the other cheek (American Orthodox condemn war, for example), and nor do I believe violence is integral or even true to those religions in most cases, but lets not pretend that theism is wholly peaceful and non-violent and that those who do otherwise are not the "real" Christian/muslim/whatever. This is not historically the case, and nor is it believed to be by many theists or objective scholars of those religions. Many religions have a very long history, sometimes stretching back to the founder(s), sometimes not, of violence and aggression, not to mention intolerance, cultism and general crazyness.

That said, it is just clinging to views and sense pleasures that are the cause of violence in the world, often the two go together and justify one another.
:anjali:


My only goal in posting on this thread was to point out blatant stereotyping based on opinion and not facts. I'm not claiming theism is inherently good and peaceful. I am only countering those who say it is inherently evil.

My personal opinion is that religion is not such a powerful force in this world. Instead, I believe there are many people who will be jerks regardless of their religious beliefs. There are other people that will be nice regardless of their religious beliefs. But that's just my opinion.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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