tiltbillings wrote:But, of course, “ineffable” is a meaningless concept, given that such god believers have all sorts of concepts about the god that is ...
That is just the kind of generalization that I feel is counterproductive to Dhamma discussions about other religions. "God believers" are not a class of people who somehow are more prone to clinging to concepts, beliefs and doctrine than people who identify as "Buddhist."
The problem here is that you are not responding to what I actually wrote. The above quoted comment of mine is responding specifically to the issue of ineffability claim in relationship to beliefs about a supposedly ineffable god, but you are reading into it stuff I did not say. I did NOT say that god believers are more prone to conceptual thinking than Buddhists, nor did I imply such. It would help that you try not to assume things about what I am saying; rather, it would be better if you respond to what it is that I AM saying. That would make for better, less problematic communication.
And a path of practice is not about coming up with rock-solid "concepts" that can be explained to everyone's satisfaction. Nor is it about defending our concepts in debate and trying to show that our concepts are more correct than someone else's concepts. In addition, when people express their concepts, they use words (like "god") that may be understood differently by different people.
That is all very well and good and all that, but sometime some people find it helpful to engage in a debate, given that a debate can help clarify one’s point of view and help understand another’s point of view. Debate is not for everyone, but if a person does not like debate, that does not mean that debate has no value or interest for others. If a person does not want to debate god or other things, fine. That is their choice, but if a person does not like debate, then I simply would recommend for that person not to engage in debate or even read an ongoing debate thread, since what is likely going to happen is unhappiness and lecturing the debaters and frowning and finger-shaking and the like.
With regard to your notion that "ineffable" is meaningless
Well, the taste of chocolate is ineffable, but I would have no problem with stating that “ineffable” carries no real meaning in a Buddhist context, as well. At best it is a conceptual way of trying to point to something that is supposedly beyond concepts, but the claim of ineffability can also be a way of trying to shut down conversation/debate/disagreement.
Baha’is like to say that “God” is an unknowable essence, but that is a statement of knowledge about “God,” which one really cannot have about something that is unknowable. But really it is a statement of belief about “God,” but not knowledge about “God.” If “God” were really
an unknowable essence, one could not really if know that there is a god or not, much less refer to it as an unknowable essence. This is pretty much the problem with the claims of ineffability; it just gets confusing as what is really meant. As far as nibbana being ineffable, it is pretty much like the taste of chocolate, which is something we can find out for ourselves. As for theists, the variation of beliefs about the ability to know god are considerable, but we know what the Buddhists would say about that, even if you don’t think they should say it.
I've lost track of what point you're trying to make, Tilt, so unless you can clarify your point, I'm going to let you have the last word in this discussion.
You lost track for the simple reason you went off the rails, accusing me of saying something I did not say.
I don't want to distract further from the point of the OP, which seemed to be about whether it's possible to be a "Christian Buddhist." Obviously, for some people, that's a possible place to start, if they are Christians who want to hear the Dhamma and who give it appropriate attention.
I have already given my opinion this matter, which is an opinion I have long held.
You may not regard them as real "Buddhists," but it's not really your call to make.
Again, I have not said a thing about people being or not being “real ‘Buddhists”’ in this discussion, or any other. I don’t think in those terms, but you seem to want to argue with me about things I do not say. It is very strange.
Now, just to make it clear, debate is really only for those who wish to engage in it. I am not advocating beating up the idea of god every time it rears its head here (which I certainly have not done here) and I am certainly not advocating jumping on god believers who come here wondering about Buddhism, but if people want to discuss or debate the notion of god from a Buddhist perspective, that is a reasonable thing to do, even if it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Those who do not like it, do not need to read such threads and if they do, and don’t like it, they really are on shaky ground complaining about it.