Do all theistic religions encourage willful delusion?

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Do all theistic religions encourage willful delusion?

Postby manas » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:58 pm

I am not usually an iconoclastic type. My usual way is 'religious tolerance'. But something is pressing on my mind lately. It is the idea that maybe all Theistic religions encourage a kind of willful delusion in their adherents that is deeply unhealthy.

I recall the Buddha saying that to 'uphold the truth' you need to only make statements about things you know with certainty. Thus, even if one has faith in the Dhamma, one should not go around proclaiming 'the Dhamma is true!' if one has not actually seen this. One should rather say, I believe the Dhamma is true!' That way one upholds the truth, because one is being totally honest.

But when I look at what Theistic religions do - even Hinduism, the one I was in before Buddhism - it is like they want you to really put the cart way before the horse. In bhakti, for example, I was told that by chanting God's names and reading about him, I would come closer to him and eventually see him directly. This is of course a huge leap of faith, because they are essentially saying, 'here is this Being you have never met, never seen, never heard, but some blokes thousands of years ago did. Study & worship Him enough, and you too will see him'. It's actually preposterous. And of course, what I think is really talking place is that, you fill your mind enough with the ideas, and eventually they seem real to you - you gain 'faith'. Christianity is the worst offender in this of all - they actually glorify blind faith. "Happy is he who has not seen, and yet believes".

So I'm sorry to be so iconoclastic, my friends, but I have to speak this today - I think that in general, *theistic* religions encourage willful delusion. I've had it with the lot of them. Imagine a world with no religions at all. No more religious tensions or wars...no more people forced from an early age to believe in things they cannot see directly, and to fear that they will go to hell if they don't believe. Just people looking deeply inside their hearts, and realizing that life is just better when we live in peace together; when there is love rather than hate, compassion rather than cruelty. We don't need dusty old books or dubious 'gods' to tell us this; it is self-evident.

manas. (edited)
Last edited by manas on Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do all religions encourage willful delusion?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:17 pm

I saw these the other day and in relation to the thread I don't thing they encourage willful delusion, but promote a preconception which may or may not be correct!
like in the videos the arguments for the christian god to a christian are sound reasonable and convincing, yet to an atheist they are facepalm worthy. this is true vice versa also, and not limited to the examples.

This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do all religions encourage willful delusion?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:34 am

manas wrote:I recall the Buddha saying that to 'uphold the truth' you need to only make statements about things you know with certainty.


manas wrote:So I'm sorry to be so iconoclastic, my friends, but I have to speak this today - I think all religions encourage willful delusion.


Do you know this with certainty?
_/|\_
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Re: Do all religions encourage willful delusion?

Postby manas » Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:47 am

Dan74 wrote:
manas wrote:I recall the Buddha saying that to 'uphold the truth' you need to only make statements about things you know with certainty.


manas wrote:So I'm sorry to be so iconoclastic, my friends, but I have to speak this today - I think all religions encourage willful delusion.


Do you know this with certainty?


Hi Dan,

in that instance I had omitted the term, 'theistic'. I meant, 'theistic religions'. I did not mean *all* of what are commonly referred to as 'religions' because so is Buddhism, sometimes. And thank goodness one is not required to believe anything that cannot be directly known for oneself, in order to be a practicing Buddhist.

m.
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Re: Do all theistic religions encourage willful delusion?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:51 am

Hi manas,

but you still haven't answered the question - how do you know this with certainty?

I mean there are millions of highly intelligent people who belong to these religions and who would very strongly object to this categorisation. What makes you sure that you have seen what they haven't?

Some may counter that rebirth, enlightenment, Nagas and devas are willful delusions and most Buddhist teachers take them for granted. And some may say that the core of theistic belief is something they experience, a presence, a guiding hand, etc. Some Christian ministers I have met did not hold to a definite notion of God beyond some overarching energy of the cosmos. There are indeed many variations.

Some Buddhists may say that most of our beliefs are anyway willful delusions, so perhaps encouraging others that are more wholesome and less harmful is a good thing. There are many possible angles on this, is all I am saying.
_/|\_
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Re: Do all theistic religions encourage willful delusion?

Postby manas » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:18 am

Dan74 wrote:Hi manas,

but you still haven't answered the question - how do you know this with certainty?

I mean there are millions of highly intelligent people who belong to these religions and who would very strongly object to this categorisation. What makes you sure that you have seen what they haven't?

Some may counter that rebirth, enlightenment, Nagas and devas are willful delusions and most Buddhist teachers take them for granted. And some may say that the core of theistic belief is something they experience, a presence, a guiding hand, etc. Some Christian ministers I have met did not hold to a definite notion of God beyond some overarching energy of the cosmos. There are indeed many variations.

Some Buddhists may say that most of our beliefs are anyway willful delusions, so perhaps encouraging others that are more wholesome and less harmful is a good thing. There are many possible angles on this, is all I am saying.


Dan, I thought I believed in rebirth, kamma and so on, until very recently. But it is more accurate to state that I think they are likely, based on observing how cause and effect seems to operate in the physical sphere, and thus might also operate in others. But no, I no longer *believe* in anything. I think that belief stymies honest investigation.

I see your point that my own statement is a bit overly bold, and a bit harsh, and maybe a bit unsubstantiated itself. I apologize if it caused offense to anyone.

kind regards
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Re: Do all theistic religions encourage willful delusion?

Postby pilgrim » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:45 am

Dan74 wrote:I mean there are millions of highly intelligent people who belong to these religions and who would very strongly object to this categorisation. What makes you sure that you have seen what they haven't?

Just a broad generalisation here, but I think these people look to these theistic religions for comfort and then pay the price with belief. No highly intelligent person would accept these myths if it was not relevant to him.
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Re: Do all theistic religions encourage willful delusion?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:00 am

Locked per request of OP.
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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