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.
Last edited by manas
on Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."