Ben wrote:Greetings Alan...
We do have a "discovering theravada" forum which is set for moderator approval meaning that threads and posts can only be published following approval by a moderator. The guidelines of the DT forum are strict and posts in that forum are only usually approved if they represent mainstream Theravada, a balance of views, contain links to externally published material inc. Tipitaka, and aimed at a "newbie" audience. Within the Discovering Theravada forum there is a pinned thread "Introductory Resources" for those new to the tradition.
Keep in mind Alan that there are probably as many newbies coming from a materialist perspective than there is newbies who have a historical, romantic or faith-based perspective. Having come from a Buddhist discussion board where attempting to discuss rebirth was cause to get one banned, I think the exchange of ideas here is a good thing. I think we do go out of our way to look after those new to the tradition and assist them as much as possible, whether it be explaining this or that Dhammic concept or assisting them with finding a teacher close by to them. And the feedback I receive is that is also the case.
Thanks for your kind suggestion.
motion denied. sigh. oh well, i tried.
seriously give it some thought though. some kind of section devoted to this would help a great deal of people. even if half of the new comers are materialists, that still leaves the other half. there should be some kind of really obvious place for this and the sections you named are not obviously presenting what i'm speaking about nor are they going to stand out to new people AFTER they have their beliefs shattered.
this is another time it's important, there's when they sign up, and just before they walk away, they might read a bunch of debunking and then give a quick skim to see if any one refutes it. without a section dedicated to this a quick skim will not likely prove fruitful to this end.
again, these debunking statements are not wrong, far from it. without these statements we end up in la la land and it keeps going until we are in outer space. they are necessary, but there should be a clear cut balance to all the negativity toward the dhamma (even if it doesn't come from a deliberately negative place, it is still negative when it comes to people who are new and don't understand). and i would be willing to bet that faith has a little more pull than you assume. many probably do not voice their feelings on this because of how negatively faith is viewed on this forum, therefore it seems like the majority is in agreement when in reality many simply keep their mouths shut for fear of ridicule or simply give up on buddhism or on this forum. that and since there is obviously very little faith here, many know this coming in and join for that reason. this would change if there was more balance.
but i think we all know this whole "buddha never existed. canon is a hodge podge of different authors and presents an inconsistent, confused whole. jhana is not possible except to a select few. no one has ever reached nibbana." attitude will prevail forever. there will never be balance and so it will continue that those with faith don't join or do and are largely silent and many that come in the first place begin with no faith having seen the lack of faith on here and that new comers will lose interest in buddhism after reading all of the debunking information of it. obviously the site administrator being behind this attitude means it is doomed to stay this way.
yet again, faith is not even important in my opinion and for my practice. i am past that point but i'm concerned for new people and the dhamma itself. i highly doubt the buddha (if he existed...) would think it fruitful to regularly and deliberately attempt to debunk any claims that he did exist and that his dhamma came from him as frequently is as done on this forum, certainly not without a counter balance. the suttas that are direct and state things as fact vs the suttas that promote a highly skeptical and pragmatic view is about a 95% to 5% ratio (or argue this ratio is inaccurate, but it's at least: majority of suttas state things as fact and minority of suttas are pragmatic and skeptical). therefore it being the majority saying that he didn't exist, etc. on here is not the right kind of balance.