It makes sense to me, but I'm not gonna subscribe to it. I think it also kinda fits in with neuroscientist Sam Harris' suggestion that everyone should meditate and should even spend long periods of time on retreat. For alot of people, Stepehen's and Sam's position makes more sense because honestly most westerners that come to buddhism get there after rejecting what they considered untenable articles of faith from christianity or judaism. However, many see this viewpoint as the apocalypse for Buddhism and their are a few on this forum who think of Atheism as a parasitical fiend trying to suck the magic out of every religion. Like you, I'm not taking a position either way even though as of right now, materialism seems to have more going for it in terms of evidence that that is the true nature of reality. Many buddhist's seem to be like Sati the fisherman's son and they think their consciousness is going to wander on after they die, but it won't, and their wrong. If the Buddha really did know for a fact that people are reborn in some way he certainly didn't do a good job of explaining how that works. Leigh Brasington actually considers the gandhabba explanation found in one of the suttas on dependent origination to be a later addition put in around abhidhammic times. I'm still quite new to studying buddhism so I don't know if there is or is not a good explanation out there of how an emotion/attachment/craving supported by consciousness can actually keep consciousness from evaporating when it no longer has any support from the body and brain that seemingly allowed it to arise in the first place. But once again, I have no business making assertions about what happens after death. Here is something interesting about rebirth from Thich Nhat Hanh though:
The Right View of Reincarnation
Continuation is happening now, because every day you continue to produce thoughts, words, and actions that carry your signature. We don’t have to wait until this body decomposes to continue.
Most people think of reincarnation in terms of a permanent soul. This is popular Buddhism. But we have to rise to the level of right view. Continuation is a necessity, it is a truth. But this continuation must be seen in the light of non-self, of impermanence.
If, for example, you want to recognize my continuation, do not look in this direction. [Thay points to himself.] There is a part of my continuation in this direction, but when you look all around you, you will see other forms of the continuation. So don’t wait for the body to decompose. We’ve already begun our continuation. You know that you have the power to change. You can ensure a beautiful continuation. Let’s suppose that yesterday you produced a thought that was not worthy of you, and today you’re sorry. You think, “I don’t want to be continued in that way.” You can correct it, you can transform that continuation.
If you have touched right view, you will be able to produce a different thought, a thought that is worthy of you today, a thought that carries within it understanding, compassion, and non-discrimination. The moment you produce this wonderful thought, it will go out and catch the other thought that you produced yesterday. And in the space of half a second it will be able to transform that thought.
So you have the chance to correct the past; this is wonderful. We say that the past is already gone, but the past is always returning with its new manifestations, and with those manifestations we can correct it.
If you have said something that’s not worthy of you, say something else today, and that will transform everything. Do something different today based on right view and transform the whole situation. That is possible.
If you have a Sangha that supports you, if you are supported by the collective right view, then it’s very easy to produce such thoughts, such words, such actions, to transform everything right now, today, to ensure a good future, a good continuation.
The teaching of the Buddha is very deep, and at the same time very practical. This teaching has the capacity to heal us, to transform our pain, our fear. It’s good to have enough time to learn more about these teachings and put them into practice in our daily life.http://www.mindfulnessbell.org/articles/karma4.php
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."
"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."