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Old 17th October 2021, 12:28 AM   #41
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Mea culpa - I do that with the bible. It's hard to take seriously, so I don't usually bother. To me, it's the same as leaflets explaining which crystals help repair your chakra.
I take fiction canon very seriously. Like don't even get me started on The Elder Scrolls gods
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Old 17th October 2021, 12:38 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
There's a reason why painting him as a pacifist has to lean on things that weren't originally in there. It's revisionism.
But was anything 'originally' in there? The entire Christian Bible is all about revisionism.

Jesus said "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them", and "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled". But He also said "It's not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out" - directly contradicting dietary laws. And it wasn't just Him. The Old Testament is also full of such contradictions.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann
I'd point out that it's clearly fiction.
I'd have a hard job finding any story about Jesus that isn't clearly fiction.

But this is irrelevant. All religious beliefs are fiction by definition, given that they are about supernatural matters. As a religion evolves its beliefs are revised to fit what the members need from it, and once a belief becomes 'canon' it is no less 'true' that others that preceded it. So when it comes to what Christians believe, no part gets to have more weight simply because it might have preceded another.

In some parts of the Bible Jesus comes across as a meek pacifist who believes in following the law, in others a militant radical who thinks He is above it. The reason is obvious - people needed Him to be different things depending on their agenda. If He really existed then He could have even been all of those things at one time or another - just like we see in actual cult leaders today.

This is actually one of the strengths of Christianity, because it lets people take from it what they need rather than being forced to follow a restrictive creed. There is a quote from Jesus to support whatever stance you wish to take, whether it be militant or pacifist. Whether it will be accepted is up to the other members of your cult church.
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Old 17th October 2021, 01:47 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I take fiction canon very seriously.
So do I, usually. We had the bible out today - it's a KJV with a luminous pentagram painted in the front, with innumerable notes and bookmarks.

I clearly need to revise it again - it's been a few years.
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Old 17th October 2021, 03:52 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
This is actually one of the strengths of Christianity, because it lets people take from it what they need rather than being forced to follow a restrictive creed. There is a quote from Jesus to support whatever stance you wish to take, whether it be militant or pacifist. Whether it will be accepted is up to the other members of your cult church.
This.
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Old 18th October 2021, 11:58 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
This is actually one of the strengths of Christianity, because it lets people take from it what they need rather than being forced to follow a restrictive creed. There is a quote from Jesus to support whatever stance you wish to take, whether it be militant or pacifist. Whether it will be accepted is up to the other members of your cult church.
This is not really unique to christianity. The tenets of every religion bhave been rendered vague enough to be interpreted any which way.
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Old 19th October 2021, 04:00 AM   #46
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Well, every successful religion, anyway.
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Old 19th October 2021, 07:05 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
17 centuries after Christ???

I find mischievous pleasure in drawing the attention of Christian believers (other than Catholic), to the uncomfortable knowledge that their faith is derived from Catholicism.
Ah! The one true faith of which I was a member before becoming an atheist.
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Old 24th October 2021, 10:31 PM   #48
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OK, I won't.
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Old 25th October 2021, 02:31 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post

But this is irrelevant. All religious beliefs are fiction by definition, given that they are about supernatural matters. As a religion evolves its beliefs are revised to fit what the members need from it, and once a belief becomes 'canon' it is no less 'true' that others that preceded it. So when it comes to what Christians believe, no part gets to have more weight simply because it might have preceded another.

In some parts of the Bible Jesus comes across as a meek pacifist who believes in following the law, in others a militant radical who thinks He is above it. The reason is obvious - people needed Him to be different things depending on their agenda. If He really existed then He could have even been all of those things at one time or another - just like we see in actual cult leaders today.

This is actually one of the strengths of Christianity, because it lets people take from it what they need rather than being forced to follow a restrictive creed. There is a quote from Jesus to support whatever stance you wish to take, whether it be militant or pacifist. Whether it will be accepted is up to the other members of your cult church.
Yes. People of faith can read the bible so that virtually any perspective on current issues will find some support in the bible. Because much of it can be made to reinforce what the society of the day believes at any given period of history.
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Old 27th October 2021, 07:53 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Susheel View Post
This is not really unique to christianity. The tenets of every religion bhave been rendered vague enough to be interpreted any which way.
I don't think that is true. Christianity is somewhat unique compared to other major religions, in that it was created specifically to deal with problematic tenets of Judaism that reduced its appeal to gentiles. And unlike most other religions it has been continuously modified to suit the needs of contemporary 'believers' right up to the present day.

The Evangelical Church Is Breaking Apart
Quote:
One of those pastors, Bryan Pickering, cited mistreatment by elders, domineering leadership, bullying, and “spiritual abuse and a toxic culture.” Political conflicts are hardly the whole reason for the turmoil, but according to news accounts, they played a significant role, particularly on matters having to do with race...

“Nearly everyone tells me there is at the very least a small group in nearly every evangelical church complaining and agitating against teaching or policies that aren’t sufficiently conservative or anti-woke,” a pastor and prominent figure within the evangelical world told me. (Like others with whom I spoke about this topic, he requested anonymity in order to speak candidly.) “It’s everywhere.”...

The root of the discord lies in the fact that many Christians have embraced the worst aspects of our culture and our politics. When the Christian faith is politicized, churches become repositories not of grace but of grievances, places where tribal identities are reinforced, where fears are nurtured, and where aggression and nastiness are sacralized. The result is not only wounding the nation; it’s having a devastating impact on the Christian faith...

Kristin Kobes Du Mez, a history professor at Calvin University and the author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, argues that Trump represents the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of many of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values. Her thesis is that American evangelicals have worked for decades to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism. (She defines Christian nationalism as “the belief that America is God’s chosen nation and must be defended as such,” which she says is a powerful predictor of attitudes toward non-Christians and on issues such as immigration, race, and guns.

“Evangelicals are quick to label their values ‘biblical,’” Du Mez told me. “But how they interpret the scriptures, which parts they decide to emphasize and which parts they decide to ignore, all this is informed by their historical and cultural circumstances.”

...it isn’t simply the case that much of what is distinctive about American evangelicalism is not essential to Christianity; it is that now, in important respects, much of what is distinctive about American evangelicalism has become antithetical to authentic Christianity. What we’re dealing with—not in all cases, of course, but in far too many— is political identity and cultural anxieties, anti-intellectualism and ethnic nationalism, resentments and grievances, all dressed up as Christianity.
The author is wrong of course. American evangelicalism today is just as 'Christian' as it was in AD 325 when the first Council of Nicaea decided what they would take from it.
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Old 3rd November 2021, 11:05 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
I don't think that is true.
I don't think you've thought that through.

Susheel is dead right. You might have even heard of the multiple interpretations of the Quran, where different sects actually kill each other. Even the Shia/Sunni schism is really only a red herring when you add in ISIS, Wahhabiism and all the other deadly divisions.

Jews; you've surely heard the famous "Two Jews, three opinions", which has only been around for a few millennia. And I'll happily take Susheel's word on Hinduism.

Even fringe religions like Buddhism range from people who would preserve the life of a cockroach to the insane genocidal priests of Myanmar.

All religion is interpretive and deliberately so.
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Old 3rd November 2021, 11:08 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
I don't think you've thought that through.

Susheel is dead right. You might have even heard of the multiple interpretations of the Quran, where different sects actually kill each other. Even the Shia/Sunni schism is really only a red herring when you add in ISIS, Wahhabiism and all the other deadly divisions.

Jews; you've surely heard the famous "Two Jews, three opinions", which has only been around for a few millennia. And I'll happily take Susheel's word on Hinduism.

Even fringe religions like Buddhism range from people who would preserve the life of a cockroach to the insane genocidal priests of Myanmar.

All religion is interpretive and deliberately so.
What do you mean by fringe?
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Old 3rd November 2021, 12:04 PM   #53
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Christianity isn't plain delusion.
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Old 3rd November 2021, 12:25 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Christianity isn't plain delusion.
It's FANCY delusion!
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Old 3rd November 2021, 12:37 PM   #55
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Old 3rd November 2021, 04:25 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
What do you mean by fringe?
There's argument over whether Buddhism is actually a religion.
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Old 3rd November 2021, 05:47 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
There's argument over whether Buddhism is actually a religion.
It's only the world's fourth-largest religion.
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Old 4th November 2021, 02:23 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It's only the world's fourth-largest religion.
Sure, but is it a religion without a deity?

If Buddhism is a religion, so is Amway, and while that's dumber than **** I wouldn't call it a religion.

The meaning of "religion" varies from the Buddhist-exclusionary description in OED:

the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods,

to Wikipedia's:

a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements,

with Wikipedia also noting: however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion

I'm not fussed what people call Buddhism, but I don't refer to it as a religion myself, just as I don't with Confucianism, which it has the most in common with.
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Old 4th November 2021, 04:19 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Sure, but is it a religion without a deity?



...snip...
Buddhism isn't the nice chants and "hey man - it's all one" of the West, it has all the trappings of all religions, from priests, to prayers, to supernatural claims to deities, to child abuse.

ETA: I forgot I had a link to a site that discusses some of the various ghosts, deities and so on: https://www.gesar-travel.com/10-most...ities/?lang=en (Had it bookmarked for the artwork not the religious content!)
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Old 4th November 2021, 06:39 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Sure, but is it a religion without a deity?

If Buddhism is a religion, so is Amway, and while that's dumber than **** I wouldn't call it a religion.

The meaning of "religion" varies from the Buddhist-exclusionary description in OED:

the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods,

to Wikipedia's:

a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements,

with Wikipedia also noting: however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion

I'm not fussed what people call Buddhism, but I don't refer to it as a religion myself, just as I don't with Confucianism, which it has the most in common with.
In my view, any time you have a scripture, a dogma, and a schism, you're pretty religion-adjacent. If your proto-religion addresses the supernatural, or moral conduct, or some sort of apotheosis, it's pretty much a full-on religion at that point. Buddhism has all six. Communism has five out of six (omitting the supernatural). I'll let others take a closer look at Confucianism, but I bet it has at least five out of six.

For me it's less about the subject of the belief system - gods, or ghosts, or whatever - and more about the behaviors of its adherents. The call to blind faith. The demand for strict adherence to the dogma. The persecution or exclusion of those who dissent. Etc.

To me, religion is a human urge that will find an outlet somewhere. Take away the theos, and the atheist must find something else to believe in. Even if the thing they believe in is ostensibly rational, there will still be the urge to believe in it not just rationally, but religiously. Because even atheists are humans, and religion is a thing that humans do.
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Old 4th November 2021, 08:32 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
To me, religion is a human urge that will find an outlet somewhere. Take away the theos, and the atheist must find something else to believe in. Even if the thing they believe in is ostensibly rational, there will still be the urge to believe in it not just rationally, but religiously. Because even atheists are humans, and religion is a thing that humans do.
Michael Shermer thinks that belief in aliens is a kind of religion for atheists.
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Old 4th November 2021, 03:04 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post

To me, religion is a human urge that will find an outlet somewhere. Take away the theos, and the atheist must find something else to believe in. Even if the thing they believe in is ostensibly rational, there will still be the urge to believe in it not just rationally, but religiously. Because even atheists are humans, and religion is a thing that humans do.

Oh yes ....... so I believe in maths and physics religiously then.
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Old 4th November 2021, 05:41 PM   #63
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It would also be a mistake to think that there is only one kind of Buddhism.
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Old 4th November 2021, 05:47 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Oh yes ....... so I believe in maths and physics religiously then. : rolleyes :
The MA prohibits speculation about your personal religion. I would say that anything that doesn't believe religiously in something is probably not human.
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Old 4th November 2021, 11:01 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It's only the world's fourth-largest religion.
Technically Buddhism is a way of life - a philosophy. But in practice it is exercised like a religion with many of its practices strongly influenced by Hinduism, including the Hindu gods.
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Old 4th November 2021, 11:17 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
Technically Buddhism is a way of life - a philosophy. But in practice it is exercised like a religion with many of its practices strongly influenced by Hinduism, including the Hindu gods.
According to some, Christianity is a way of life too.
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Old 5th November 2021, 12:54 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
According to some, Christianity is a way of life too.
Oh certainly. But unlike Christianity Buddhism is not a theistic religion - or it's not supposed to be.
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Old 5th November 2021, 04:02 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
Oh certainly. But unlike Christianity Buddhism is not a theistic religion - or it's not supposed to be.
Who has this authority?
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Old 5th November 2021, 07:08 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Who has this authority?
Siddhartha Gautama aka Buddha.

https://www.biography.com/religious-figure/buddha

Quote:
When he died, it is said that he told his disciples that they should follow no leader, but to "be your own light."
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Old 5th November 2021, 07:30 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Siddhartha Gautama aka Buddha.

https://www.biography.com/religious-figure/buddha


But I can quote from many religious scriptures that see the claimed originator at odds with the "modern" religion as it is actually practiced.
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Old 5th November 2021, 07:41 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
Oh certainly. But unlike Christianity Buddhism is not a theistic religion - or it's not supposed to be.
The point of a religion is that it's a religion, not that it's theistic. Buddhism has scriptures, dogma, schism... It has moral guidance and apotheosis.
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Old 5th November 2021, 07:42 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post


But I can quote from many religious scriptures that see the claimed originator at odds with the "modern" religion as it is actually practiced.
Something in common with Christianity and Marxism, then.
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Old 5th November 2021, 09:20 AM   #73
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I wouldn't say even basic Buddhism way back was as much atheistic as the religious side of the pantheistic spectrum. Effectively it just replaced the Hindu deity which judges your deeds and keeps track of your score (karma) and appoints rewards and punishments, with basically some vague and poorly defined having the universe be that kind of personal Santa.
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Old 5th November 2021, 10:24 PM   #74
Tassman
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The point of a religion is that it's a religion, not that it's theistic. Buddhism has scriptures, dogma, schism... It has moral guidance and apotheosis.
Well according to the Oxford Dictionary, "Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods”. And Buddha himself rejected the idea of a personal god. The same cannot be said of many of his followers who seem to like their gods. But, certainly for Buddhists, sacred texts on how to reach enlightenment are the most important source of authority.
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Old 6th November 2021, 07:41 AM   #75
Darat
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Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
Well according to the Oxford Dictionary, "Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods”. And Buddha himself rejected the idea of a personal god. The same cannot be said of many of his followers who seem to like their gods. But, certainly for Buddhists, sacred texts on how to reach enlightenment are the most important source of authority.
But that is not what Buddhism is i.e. as it is actually practiced. (In the societies it is the default religion.) If those texts were so authoritative the actual Buddhists wouldn't have their gods, prayers, ghosts, magic, priests, blessings, and a whole slew of other supernatural paraphernalia.

Many of us here - with our default religion being some flavour of Christianity - can quote verse after verse to show that a self-identified Christian religion is at odds with what they say their deity said and did. I think we tend to look at religions we are not as culturally familiar with as being more "ideal" than they are. When you get to the meat of a religion as it is practised it becomes messy, it becomes contradictory, as all ideologies do when they confront reality.

As it is practised by the vast majority who self-identify as Buddhists Buddhism is as theistic, as supernatural as nearly all self-identified Christian religions are.
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Old 6th November 2021, 07:48 AM   #76
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Is there any writing attributed to Buddha in which he said that there are no gods? The theistic & non-theistic sects of Buddhism have always had me inferring that he hadn't specified one way or the other.
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Old 6th November 2021, 08:17 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
Well according to the Oxford Dictionary, "Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods”. And Buddha himself rejected the idea of a personal god. The same cannot be said of many of his followers who seem to like their gods. But, certainly for Buddhists, sacred texts on how to reach enlightenment are the most important source of authority.
Superhuman controlling power covers a lot more ground than mere theos. Karma, for example. In Marx's case, History. But the Oxford definition focuses on the object of the religious belief. I'm more interested in the behavior patterns and institutions associated with religious belief. I think it's also more useful, in terms of understanding the society we live in.

It may be technically correct to say that Soviet Communism isn't a religion according to Oxford, but I don't think that's very useful. What's interesting is that even without a theos, Soviet Communists still found a way to behave religiously.

I think the important thing, in terms of human society, is how humans behave. Religious behavior is a problem. It's something to look out for, and to mitigate or avoid. It's a trap that anyone can fall into, if they're not careful. I think insisting that religious behavior can only emerge in the context of a theos just makes the trap harder to spot, and harder to escape.
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Old 6th November 2021, 05:57 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
But that is not what Buddhism is i.e. as it is actually practiced. (In the societies it is the default religion.) If those texts were so authoritative the actual Buddhists wouldn't have their gods, prayers, ghosts, magic, priests, blessings, and a whole slew of other supernatural paraphernalia.

Many of us here - with our default religion being some flavour of Christianity - can quote verse after verse to show that a self-identified Christian religion is at odds with what they say their deity said and did. I think we tend to look at religions we are not as culturally familiar with as being more "ideal" than they are. When you get to the meat of a religion as it is practised it becomes messy, it becomes contradictory, as all ideologies do when they confront reality.

As it is practised by the vast majority who self-identify as Buddhists Buddhism is as theistic, as supernatural as nearly all self-identified Christian religions are.
Well yes, that's what I said. Namely, Technically Buddhism is a way of life - a philosophy. But in practice it is often exercised like a religion with many of its practices strongly influenced by Hinduism, including worshipping the Hindu gods. But this is not 'Buddhism' as is its founder Siddhartha Gautama expounded it, nor as exercised by the more strict Buddhist devotees.

https://www.existentialbuddhist.com/...-non-theistic/
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Old 6th November 2021, 06:15 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Is there any writing attributed to Buddha in which he said that there are no gods? The theistic & non-theistic sects of Buddhism have always had me inferring that he hadn't specified one way or the other.
From memory Buddha accepted the existence of gods but not all-powerful creator gods as the West understands them to be. They were entities who, like the rest of humanity, were trapped in the cycle of death and rebirth.
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Old 10th November 2021, 12:22 AM   #80
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In Mahāyāna Buddhism - the largest branch of Buddhism active today (56%) - the Buddhas are so like gods as to be virtually indistinguishable from them. They are infinite, exist outside space, perform miracles, and so on. It is therefore not true to say that Buddhism as a whole is nontheistic.
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