Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

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Ben
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by Ben »

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note...
Personally, I am in favour of the thread remaining and I support David's decision to keep it on Dhamma Wheel.

For those of you who remember, at e-Sangha one of the crimes that could get you an instant permanent ban was to question the doctrine of rebirth. When we established Dhamma Wheel it was decided that it was far healthier for ideas to be aired and discussed rather than prohibited.

When the atheist quotes thread was started we placed it in the Open Dhamma - Hot Topics forum so that all submitted posts could be reviewed against the terms of service before being published. The thread is very slow moving and attracts only a small number of posts.

To date, the only complaints we have received about the thread are from Dhamma Wheel members who are concerned that it could offend other religionists and paint Buddhism in an unfavourable light. We have not received one complaint from another religionist with regards to the content on that thread.

A significant proportion of our members come to us via an upbrining in Christianity and Judaism as is another significant proportion of our members who have come to us from agnosticism/atheism.

The collection of quotes do not represent Dhamma Wheel's official view with regard to abrahamic religions. They are there because some find them inspirational, some find them challenging and others thought provoking. I would hope that they help to start an internal inquiry into the veracity of eternalism, and for that matter annihilationism and into the nature of belief, faith, knowledge - and not be the end of it.

Although I disagree with those who would like to have the thread removed - we will continue to listen to your concerns. For that reason, this thread in the suggestion box will remain open.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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manas
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by manas »

David N. Snyder wrote:That thread is in the Open Dhamma, Hot Topics sub-forum. That sub-forum is not for everyone. Some may find the Buddhist rejection of a soul and other doctrines offensive too. This is a Buddhist board.

"If you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen"
Harry S Truman
David, with respect, that's not what I suspect quite a few of us feel uncomfortable with. I certainly don't believe in an all powerful god from whom all 'souls' came, and to whom they must ultimately return. But I am picking a few subtle things up from the glee with which so many Buddhists seem to be jumping in with 'athiest quotes'. One is that behind the overt fun, there is a tinge of ill-will, perhaps because quite a few of us were once theists ourselves, and now have a subconscious anger towards our own former deludedness. But more concerning is a kind of materialistic reductionism that i feel has crept into modern Western Buddhism, which flows from our inbuilt prejudice (having been raised in societies where the scientific method is seen as the ultimate arbiter of what is 'really' true). We should remain more humble, and tolerant. We are still far from complete enlightenment. Let's not deride the beliefs of others too soon with our self-assured 'lion's roars'.

namaste _/I\_
To the Buddha-refuge i go; to the Dhamma-refuge i go; to the Sangha-refuge i go.
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by Polar Bear »

The atheist quotes thread is 1) providing quotes that reflect buddhist insights and 2) providing fun and entertainment and witty quotes

I could see someone's problem with the perceived disparaging of other belief systems but even atheist quotes, and the implications that you draw about the posters of those quotes, have to be taken with a grain of salt.

The greatest thing about atheism is that it makes the whole world a joke to laugh at (while simultaneously making this life and happiness for everyone in it the most serious pursuit) and so it is funny to look at things from that perspective. Hear watch this to lighten the mood . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gCU5uplB4A" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"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."
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by manas »

rowboat wrote:
Ñāṇa:There's nothing skillful about atheistic materialism. Moreover, a thread which is de facto dedicated to highlighting statements ridiculing the beliefs of all other world religions is unseemly at best.
Unseemly at best. Many of these quotations popular with today's atheists are in fact highly caustic and contemptuous, and as such they are entirely indefensible, and anathema to a committed Buddhist practice.
Well, we would do well to be careful that we fall within right speech:
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8

Five keys to right speech

"Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

"It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will."

— AN 5.198
"...it is spoken affectionately...it is spoken with a mind of good-will..." :thinking:

namaste _/I\_
To the Buddha-refuge i go; to the Dhamma-refuge i go; to the Sangha-refuge i go.
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by Polar Bear »

manas wrote:
rowboat wrote:
Ñāṇa:There's nothing skillful about atheistic materialism. Moreover, a thread which is de facto dedicated to highlighting statements ridiculing the beliefs of all other world religions is unseemly at best.
Unseemly at best. Many of these quotations popular with today's atheists are in fact highly caustic and contemptuous, and as such they are entirely indefensible, and anathema to a committed Buddhist practice.
Well, we would do well to be careful that we fall within right speech:
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8

Five keys to right speech

"Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

"It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will."

— AN 5.198
"...it is spoken affectionately...it is spoken with a mind of good-will..." :thinking:

namaste _/I\_
Well, I guess you have me there, mostly in that the thread falls under idle chatter.
"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."
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manas
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by manas »

polarbuddha101 wrote: I could see someone's problem with the perceived disparaging of other belief systems but even atheist quotes, and the implications that you draw about the posters of those quotes, have to be taken with a grain of salt.
I don't mean to imply anything about the posters, and I apologize if that's how my post reads to anyone.

It's more the other part - that materialistic reductionism that I sense even taints my own perception if the dhamma. I'm not having a go at anyone in particular, I'm rather picking up something about Western Buddhism in general that I think needs our attention.

namaste _/I\_
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by tiltbillings »

rowboat wrote:
Ñāṇa:There's nothing skillful about atheistic materialism. Moreover, a thread which is de facto dedicated to highlighting statements ridiculing the beliefs of all other world religions is unseemly at best.
Unseemly at best. Many of these quotations popular with today's atheists are in fact highly caustic and contemptuous, and as such they are entirely indefensible, and anathema to a committed Buddhist practice.
Well, as the 9th century Buddhist doctor Dharmakirti so gently puts it:
  • "The unquestioned authority of the Vedas; the belief in a world-creator;
    the quest for purification through ritual bathings; the arrogant division
    into castes; the practice of mortification to atone for sin -- these five are
    the marks of the crass stupidity of witless men."
Actually, one finds within the suttas themselves rather pointy criticisms of differing religious points of view.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by DNS »

tiltbillings wrote: Actually, one finds within the suttas themselves rather pointy criticisms of differing religious points of view.
:thumbsup: Yes, thanks for mentioning that.
It is true that the Buddha never slandered or abused anyone. He was completely free from jealousy and ill-will. However, he certainly did say some things that were displeasing to others. When he started teaching the Dhamma, the Brahmins were well-established as the “Church” of the day. They held that the Brahmins or priests were a superior caste to workers, farmers, merchants, and nobles. The Buddha ridiculed them in many ways, both in private with his loyal disciples and in public when non-believers were present. They lost most of their support, and conspired to discredit the Buddha by hiring a prostitute to pretend she had had an affair with him, then hiring some thugs to murder her.

The Buddha also criticised evil-doers among his own followers and constantly admonished his loyal disciples not to be heedless. He said, “Ānanda, I will not treat you [gently] as a potter treats an unbaked pot. I will instruct and admonish you repeatedly [robustly if necessary]. The sound core will stand the test.”
http://aimwell.org/Forums/forums.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In the Atheist Quotes thread, I posted some quotes from the Buddha too, supporting the non-theistic position.
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by Nyana »

David N. Snyder wrote:
The Buddha also criticised evil-doers among his own followers and constantly admonished his loyal disciples not to be heedless. He said, “Ānanda, I will not treat you [gently] as a potter treats an unbaked pot. I will instruct and admonish you repeatedly [robustly if necessary]. The sound core will stand the test.”
Indeed. I find this inter-Buddhist orientation more useful.
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by Kim OHara »

David N. Snyder wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: Actually, one finds within the suttas themselves rather pointy criticisms of differing religious points of view.
:thumbsup: Yes, thanks for mentioning that.
It is true that the Buddha never slandered or abused anyone. He was completely free from jealousy and ill-will. However, he certainly did say some things that were displeasing to others. When he started teaching the Dhamma, the Brahmins were well-established as the “Church” of the day. They held that the Brahmins or priests were a superior caste to workers, farmers, merchants, and nobles. The Buddha ridiculed them in many ways, both in private with his loyal disciples and in public when non-believers were present. They lost most of their support, and conspired to discredit the Buddha by hiring a prostitute to pretend she had had an affair with him, then hiring some thugs to murder her.

The Buddha also criticised evil-doers among his own followers and constantly admonished his loyal disciples not to be heedless. He said, “Ānanda, I will not treat you [gently] as a potter treats an unbaked pot. I will instruct and admonish you repeatedly [robustly if necessary]. The sound core will stand the test.”
http://aimwell.org/Forums/forums.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In the Atheist Quotes thread, I posted some quotes from the Buddha too, supporting the non-theistic position.
Hello, good people,
It is true that the Buddha had strong words to say about other people's beliefs but he also had strong words about right speech.
Criticising and ridiculing other people where they won't see the criticism, let alone be able to respond to it, can't serve to educate them. At best, it can only reinforce DW members' good opinions of their own stance; at worst, it will encourage arrogance and intolerance.
Forbidding members to discuss - reasonably and rationally, one would hope - the quotes after they are posted means that DW members' opportunities to actually learn anything from the quotes they post are very limited.

:namaste:
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by Cittasanto »

David N. Snyder wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: Actually, one finds within the suttas themselves rather pointy criticisms of differing religious points of view.
:thumbsup: Yes, thanks for mentioning that.
It is true that the Buddha never slandered or abused anyone. He was completely free from jealousy and ill-will. However, he certainly did say some things that were displeasing to others. When he started teaching the Dhamma, the Brahmins were well-established as the “Church” of the day. They held that the Brahmins or priests were a superior caste to workers, farmers, merchants, and nobles. The Buddha ridiculed them in many ways, both in private with his loyal disciples and in public when non-believers were present. They lost most of their support, and conspired to discredit the Buddha by hiring a prostitute to pretend she had had an affair with him, then hiring some thugs to murder her.

The Buddha also criticised evil-doers among his own followers and constantly admonished his loyal disciples not to be heedless. He said, “Ānanda, I will not treat you [gently] as a potter treats an unbaked pot. I will instruct and admonish you repeatedly [robustly if necessary]. The sound core will stand the test.”
http://aimwell.org/Forums/forums.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In the Atheist Quotes thread, I posted some quotes from the Buddha too, supporting the non-theistic position.
I know this story, I believed it was another group of samanas though and they killed her? it is found in the vinaya if I remember?
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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Ben
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by Ben »

Kim O'Hara wrote:Criticising and ridiculing other people where they won't see the criticism, let alone be able to respond to it, can't serve to educate them. At best, it can only reinforce DW members' good opinions of their own stance; at worst, it will encourage arrogance and intolerance.
Please see my post above.
Kim O'Hara wrote:Forbidding members to discuss - reasonably and rationally, one would hope - the quotes after they are posted means that DW members' opportunities to actually learn anything from the quotes they post are very limited.
There is no forbidding of genuine discussion going on. The atheist quote thread is strictly moderated and contains provocative, perhaps inspirational or humorous statements. All posts within that thread are mediated which means they are submitted for approval by moderators before they become visible. The posts are reviewed against the OP and our TOS before being published. As you know, meta-discussion is forbidden on Dhamma Wheel and hence the only place it is tolerated is here in the suggestion box.

There is nothing stopping you nor any other member from creating a thread to discuss a particular "atheist" quote - if that is your wish.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by Sarva »

The problem with supporting Atheism is that it is that it can be easily adopted as an idea or a belief (or continued to be held by one who already feels an inclination ). This leads to clinging and self-identity views if left unquestioned. The same with all theism also, e.g. Christo-Buddhism.

My impression is that the Buddha spoke strongly against clinging to religious ideas in order to loosen those entering the Way who were clinging to views of gods - eternalism or no-gods - annihilationism. The point is to become disenchanted with ideas and belief systems, even if those views are expressed in the name of amusement (or hatred of religious oppression), they are still ideas for clinging and care should be taken in the same way one may care for a child out of compassion that certain views may lead to their suffering.
""He grows disenchanted with the intellect, disenchanted with ideas, disenchanted with consciousness at the intellect, disenchanted with contact at the intellect, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with craving. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'" - MN 148
I don't think it is wise to promote Atheism (or Theism or arguably even politics) in pure Buddhism. I think it is useful to consider their roles and their effect on one another's mental formations...
62. "And what are formations, what is the origin of formations, what is the cessation of formations, what is the way leading to the cessation of formations? There are these three kinds of formations: the bodily formation, the verbal formation, the mental formation. With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of formations." - MN 9

"Mental formations, O monks, are not-self; if mental formations were self, then mental formations would not lead to affliction and it should obtain regarding mental formations: 'May my perception be thus, may my mental formations not be thus'; and indeed, O monks, since mental formations are not-self, therefore, mental formations lead to affliction and it does not obtain regarding mental formations" - SN 22.59
with metta.
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by DNS »

Kim O'Hara wrote: Criticising and ridiculing other people where they won't see the criticism, let alone be able to respond to it, can't serve to educate them. At best, it can only reinforce DW members' good opinions of their own stance; at worst, it will encourage arrogance and intolerance.
I have seen a lot of criticism and ridicule directed at those who post in the atheist quotes.
Kim O'Hara wrote: Forbidding members to discuss - reasonably and rationally, one would hope - the quotes after they are posted means that DW members' opportunities to actually learn anything from the quotes they post are very limited.
I haven't seen any forbidding going on. There is this discussion, other threads, one 398 posts long. I haven't seen any censorship, deletion of posts, or any stifling of discussion on this issue. I have seen a lot of argumentum ad nauseam, but no censorship, nothing being forbidden.
Sarva wrote: I don't think it is wise to promote Atheism (or Theism or arguably even politics) in pure Buddhism. I think it is useful to consider their roles and their effect on one another's mental formations...
What is pure Buddhism? Is Buddhism not non-theistic? The devas and other celestial beings hardly compare to an Almighty-Creator-God with a capital G.

There is a lot of talk about attachment to views. There are two sides to that coin as there are two sides of this issue. I see some clinging desperately to the notion that Buddhism is not atheistic and all who do so are heretics, parasites, and other derogatory terms.

Also, another point; equating whatever evils might exist in scientific-materialist-atheists with Buddhists is just simply the guilt-by-association logical fallacy. Both can be non-theistic but disagree on other issues.
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Re: Hot Topics: Atheist Quotes

Post by Sarva »

David N. Snyder wrote:
Sarva wrote: I don't think it is wise to promote Atheism (or Theism or arguably even politics) in pure Buddhism. I think it is useful to consider their roles and their effect on one another's mental formations...
What is pure Buddhism? Is Buddhism not non-theistic? The devas and other celestial beings hardly compare to an Almighty-Creator-God with a capital G.
Hello David
Thank you for acknowledging my post above. By 'pure Buddhism' I wished to indicate the teaching of the Buddha, not ideas such as "Atheism or Non-theism or Theism... etc". Such a 'thicket of views'.

As the Buddha said: “Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86... that is my aim.
David N. Snyder wrote: There is a lot of talk about attachment to views. There are two sides to that coin as there are two sides of this issue. I see some clinging desperately to the notion that Buddhism is not atheistic and all who do so are heretics, parasites, and other derogatory terms.

Also, another point; equating whatever evils might exist in scientific-materialist-atheists with Buddhists is just simply the guilt-by-association logical fallacy. Both can be non-theistic but disagree on other issues.
My post above is about ending stress by following the Buddha's teachings and becoming "disenchanted with ideas" (MN 148), I see promoting Atheism (or even Theism) as promoting an idea or belief which if clung to, may lead to further suffering. Atheism (non-theism and theism) are ideas with which one should make right effort to become disenchanted (MN 148). I see the open promotion of pro-Atheist threads here as adding to dukkha and confusion not leading away from it. I hoped to explain the reasons for that concern using the quotes above.

There is no mention in my post about "parasites". No "derogatory terms" were implied nor wished, nor is there any reference to "evil" or "scientific-materialistic-atheism" in my post above. I assume these terms were connected with another post?

This is my last post on this forum. Best wishes to all! :heart:

:anjali:
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
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