binocular wrote:There's a very instructive joke:
- How many skeptics does it take to change a lightbulb?
- Actually they won't do it. They have no sense of urgency about the situation; they aren't sure they're really in the dark.
A healthy amount of skepticism is good and is probably how most of here came across the Dhamma; for example being skeptical of some of the things in the Bible, creation-stories, chosen race above the rest, a Divine being with many human frailties, etc. I know, I know, Buddhism has some things which many consider religious and far-fetched, but they are not the essence of Buddhism of suffering and the way out of suffering.
But too much skepticism and one cannot make progress as shown in some of the similes here. Everything is considered relative, there are no absolutes, everything is culturally nuanced, etc. and no progress can be made. I sometimes wonder if Jesus or some other supernatural figure came flying through the air to return to earth to save us, the Christians would of course be happy and the skeptics would be saying 'it must be photoshopped' or 'it must be some weather anomaly where the humidity and sun are in such a way to produce some strange colors and images' and then theists from non-Christian religions might say 'it is the devil doing this to trick us'. Only non-Christians with an open-mind might be saying 'okay maybe I was barking up the wrong tree; let me examine this some more'.
I don't think the literalist extreme is useful either (at least not for me) because then it can become a Buddhist example of what we find among extremists in other religions.
I think there can be a middle way where you start with some faith or confidence in the Path and the teachings and try it out for yourself and see if it works; sanditthiko.