Jump to content

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 60
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

You're fufilling your destiny @InquisitiveScouter! Become my apprentice, and learn to use the dark side of the force! 

we could build a bridge out of it.

About as much as an unladen swallow?

On 12/2/2020 at 5:16 AM, InquisitiveScouter said:

Buddhists are not "atheists"...they are best described as "non-theists".

Aren't they really the same thing? "Atheism is in the broadest sense an absence of belief in the existence of deities." How is that any different from non-theism?

As for the question: "is Buddhism an atheistic religion," you have to get into the weeds about what constitutes a belief in a deity or deities. While it is true that Buddhism doesn't have the concept of a "creator god", there is a belief in beings who's labels are often translated into English as "gods" or "demi-gods". Do those count?

Buddhists don't "pray", or do they? Now you have to get down into the weeds again and define what is a "prayer". Is meditation a prayer? I once had a Buddhist tell me they don't pray because "there is no-one listening", which is assuming that a prayer must be addressed to something outside oneself. But that sure looks a lot like what a Pure Land Buddhist does when they send entreaties to Amitābha to let them in to Sukhāvatī? Or is that a fundamental misunderstanding of what a Pure Land Buddhist does?

All this is just a way of saying that the BSA and us scouters should not be in the business of "judging" someone-else's faith. For an organization that endeavors to be open to people of all faiths, as soon as you say "you must acknowledge X", you quickly get lost in the weeds and are in trouble. Who are we to be judging if some kid's faith is "good enough", especially when that faith is significantly different than our own? Or even if it's purported to be the same?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do Buddhist believe in god?

 No, we do not. There are several reasons for this. The Buddha, like modern sociologists and psychologists, believed that religious ideas and especially the god idea have their origin in fear. The Buddha says:

"Gripped by fear men go to the sacred mountains,
sacred groves, sacred trees and shrines".

Dp 188

Primitive man found himself in a dangerous and hostile world, the fear of wild animals, of not being able to find enough food, of injury or disease, and of natural phenomena like thunder, lightning and volcanoes was constantly with him. Finding no security, he created the idea of gods in order to give him comfort in good times, courage in times of danger and consolation when things went wrong. To this day, you will notice that people become more religious at times of crises, you will hear them say that the belief in a god or gods gives them the strength they need to deal with life. You will hear them explain that they believe in a particular god because they prayed in time of need and their prayer was answered. All this seems to support the Buddha’s teaching that the god-idea is a response to fear and frustration. The Buddha taught us to try to understand our fears, to lessen our desires and to calmly and courageously accept the things we cannot change. He replaced fear, not with irrational belief but with rational understanding.

The second reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is because there does not seem to be any evidence to support this idea. There are numerous religions, all claiming that they alone have god’s words preserved in their holy book, that they alone understand god’s nature, that their god exists and that the gods of other religions do not. Some claim that god is masculine, some that she is feminine and others that it is neuter. They are all satisfied that there is ample evidence to prove the existence of their god but they laugh in disbelief at the evidence other religions use to prove the existence of another god. It is not surprising that with so many different religions spending so many centuries trying to prove the existence of their gods that still no real, concrete, substantial or irrefutable evidence has been found. Buddhists suspend judgement until such evidence is forthcoming.

The third reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is that the belief is not necessary. Some claim that the belief in a god is necessary in order to explain the origin on the universe. But this is not so. Science has very convincingly explained how the universe came into being without having to introduce the god-idea. Some claim that belief in god is necessary to have a happy, meaningful life. Again we can see that this is not so. There are millions of atheists and free-thinkers, not to mention many Buddhists, who live useful, happy and meaningful lives without belief in a god. Some claim that belief in god’s power is necessary because humans, being weak, do not have the strength to help themselves. Once again, the evidence indicates the opposite. One often hears of people who have overcome great disabilities and handicaps, enormous odds and difficulties, through their own inner resources, through their own efforts and without belief in a god. Some claim that god is necessary in order to give man salvation. But this argument only holds good if you accept the theological concept of salvation and Buddhists do not accept such a concept. Based on his own experience, the Buddha saw that each human being had the capacity to purify the mind, develop infinite love and compassion and perfect understanding. He shifted attention from the heavens to the heart and encouraged us to find solutions to our problems through self-understanding.


Ven. S. Dhammika




  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, David CO said:

Not doing so is disrespectful.

To some, not to others. It all depends on one’s faith. My faith doesn’t include capitalizing god. To others to even write the full name of g_d is disrespectful. 

Edited by mrjohns2
Link to post
Share on other sites

The English language really doesn’t care about anyone’s faith. “God” is not intrinsically Christian or Jewish. Early Christian missionaries merely heard the word and offered a very specific meaning to it. Setting a word in lower case and omitting the vowel does not make it anywhere near as holy as the Hebrew name that was kept sacred for millennia. But, maybe I missed a verse that says it does. I don’t think we’re doing something more or less disrespectful when grope for alternate terms, we’re just pushing the bounds of English ontology.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...