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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Buddhism and Evolution.

While Buddha didn't have much to say about the origins of life and the universe I find the Dharma to be very open to evolution. Evolution says that we evolved from other life forms and are therefore just new models of previous models of life which means that we must have genes and DNA that are similar and we do.

We humans share some 96 percent of genetic material with chimpanzees which affirms my Buddhist belief that we are irrecoverably interconnected and dependent upon other life forms. We are merely different branches on a larger tree. The tree of evolved sentient life on Earth.

As Buddhists we believe in rebirth which in my mind is a form of evolution which are both based upon cause and effect. In Buddhism we know that the consequences of our actions and certain events will stay within our "spiritual DNA" and determine what form "we" will evolve into after this current stage that we find ourselves within. And in corroboration, physics tells us that "matter is neither destroyed or created. it can only be transformed from one form to another". Which backs up the Buddhist, evolutionary teaching of rebirth.

And as a Buddhist I believe that when we die our bodies will blend back into the larger plane of existence and live on in other forms of life such as food for flowers and trees via our ashes or nutrient rich bodies decomposing in the fertile Earth. This enables other forms of life to have the best chance at thriving and continuing the evolution of life on Earth. We come from stardust and will return to stardust as the universe expands outward, reaches a stabilising point, and then reverts its motion back toward a central point resulting in its destruction, (James: the big crunch) this process again to be repeated infinitely. All forms of life depend upon each other for success and evolution. I liken it to a track and field relay event. One runner starts the race and hands a baton off to another runner once he runs his distance and then that runner goes until he goes the distance and passes the baton on to another runner, etc.

Then there is the Buddhist concept of impermanence where nothing lasts forever. We know that 90-99% percent of all life on Earth that ever lived has gone extinct which upholds my relay race example. A certain species of life might exist for awhile (dinosaurs) and then as other beings and events evolve they are eclipsed and a new life form emerges to take their place. So while in Buddhism we believe that humans have the best chance at liberation from suffering we are still nothing more than a link in the long chain of evolving species and forms of life and I take comfort in being nothing greater and nothing less than any other other sentient being.

While researching this post, however, I found the following counterpoint:

While Cooper certainly makes a valid point in stating that Buddhism has never had the problems with Darwinism that monotheism has, it does not thereby follow that one can easily harmonize the two. Buddhism certainly does talk about evolution, but never at the level of populations. Buddhist notions of evolution involve the movement of an individual karmic stream through samsara, taking on different bodies in different environments according to regular laws of cause and conditioning. The process carries no certainty of progress from lower to higher or from simple to complex, and the overall context of this is the idea of rebirth, a topic that Cooper leaves out of an otherwise fairly complete account of basic Buddhist theory and practice.
James: While I do recognize that the scientific communities understanding of evolution and the Buddhist understanding are not exactly on the same page, I think in general they are in agreement. It is not entirely accurate in my view to say (as the counterpoint postulates) Buddhist evolution is only about the individual karmic stream as Buddhism teaches that there is no such thing really as an individual. As well as teaching that there is such a concept as collective karma.

Buddhism's teaching of interconnection and interdependence do harmonize with evolution of populations. I would argue that we (as "individuals") are slightly different, (depending on karma) single cell populations of a larger "being" that is evolving both on the micro level (individuals/sentient beings/populations) but also at the macro level (existence itself). It is difficult from my point of view to separate one sentient being from another therefore I believe that it can be argued that in a way, all life evolves together. The counterpoint goes on to say that the Buddhist idea of evolution carries no certainty of progress from simple to complex.

Yet I beg to differ as in Buddhism, beings go through "lower" stages of consciousness in births (animals for example) until we secure a human birth which is the vehicle to evolve into an enlightened being. There is regression yes, as a human might act in a way that would see them reborn as, oh I don't know, a slug or something. So, yes this process may seem haphazard but I think most Buddhists would be in agreement that eventually all beings will realize liberation from suffering and realize enlightenment. Thus, in the end it is basically a process of going from "lower" to "higher" to use such blunt, dualistic terms. Besides, there is no certainty of progress in purely science based evolution either. Suppose a massive comet hits Earth and destroys not only all life but our atmosphere and all water, not much life could progress from that point. The same goes for the day when our galaxy collides with the Andromeda Galaxy, not much will survive that disruption of sentient evolution!!

True there is not a linear advancement so to speak but the science only view of evolution isn't pure linear advancement either. It is more like a tree where a branch will grow out from the trunk of the tree in a spin off of the tree but might die out eventually. The main form of the tree (the trunk), however, keeps growing and evolving. It's not simply a matter of going from point A to point B. It's more like A branches off into A1 and A2 where A1 might die off but A2 survives to reach point B where it branches off again into B1, B2 and maybe a B3. And so forth and so on.

I think I'll stop here. I've probably confused you all but if I have try reading it again, maybe it will make sense the second time. If it never makes sense then no worries, it's just another branch dying out and something else will come along later that does make sense. :)

~Peace to all beings~

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18 comments:

Kristali said...

Since we are obviously spiritual beings, and at the same time there is an obvious evolution taking place (not only material evolution but evolution of life, form, and consciousness), there should be some kind of reconciliation, sooner or latter, between the scientific point of view and the spiritual point of view on this subject. Great article!

They call him James Ure said...

Kristali:

I think that reconciliation is occurring especially in Buddhism because Buddhism embraces science instead of fearing it like many religions do.

Dhamma81 said...

I would beg to differ that Buddhism embraces science. I am wary of science personally because so much of it postulates that we are literally just physical and chemical processes on our way to annihilation, in essence, pure material elements that are born and die.

In that world view the spiritual search is pointless as is karma. Also, in that world view there is no need for morality either since there are no results to actions apart from in this life. If nothing is reborn then there are no results to actions and no karma and no point in being on the path. Interestingly, the Buddha stated that a a purely materialistic view was not right view at all but wrong view.

So, if science doesn't have room within its paradigm for anything beyond material elements then it is not compatible with Buddhism, at least not the Buddhism taught in the Pali Canon. Things like animal testing and the questionable morality of some research flys in the face of the precepts.

As Ajahn Thanissaro says in his Wings To Awakening, one of the things the Buddha discovered on the night of his Awakening was that moral principles were actually inherent in the way the cosmos works which flys in the face of the modern view that morality is relative. How else could karma and rebirth really work?

Now I understand that science deals purely in the material world but we mustnt forget the Buddha's view goes beyond what a microscope can see or a mathematical formula can calculate. Some people have seemed to try to refashion Buddhism to fit into the mold of material science and to me that is dangerous because it fits right into the wrong view category the Buddha warned about.

This is where faith does play a role in Buddhism. If we believe that the Buddha was a human being who truly understood all the workings of the Universe and that he knew a way out of suffering why not at least accept on faith that these other realms exist and that there is more to life then atoms, cells, and chemicals.

It's hard for some in the West to stomach the idea that he was talking literally but if you look closer at his teachings they wouldn't make sense any other way.

How else can one foster the Samvega to get on the path and stay on it with all of its ups and downs if one believes that heaven and hell are simply mentals states and that modern science really has all the answers? We would be dishonoring the Buddha and following the current materialism which as I said before was considered wrong view by the Buddha.

In terms of evolution I don't see the conflict. We as Buddhists are not trying to defend a creation story so there is no conflict. Hopefully this doesn't come off to harsh, as it is not my intention to do so. Perhaps some of my critiques of science are things you share as well. If not, I'm not trying to assume you feel a certain way by critiquing them here.

In conclusion I would say that as a Buddhist my relationship with science is wary at best because of some of the things I mentioned. I would agree with some of what you say but wouldn't personally go as far as to say that Buddhism "embraces" science, but that is just my opinion. Be well in your practice.

They call him James Ure said...

Dhamma81:

I don't mean to convey the idea that I embrace science in totality, I don't. Such as the animal testing that you mention.

However, I believe that Buddhism and science do have much in common. I'm not sure if you follow the Dalai Lama but he has said that if science proves something "wrong" with Buddhism that Buddhism must change. I'd be curious as to what you think about that quote.

I would disagree with you that those who are Atheist science based folks don't have morals. I know many in this category who are some of the nicest, most ethical people I have met.

You state that without faith we would do whatever we wanted without concern for consequences but I disagree.

The social evolution of man has developed a fairly common foundation of morality and ethics over time. We have learned over the eons from our mistakes.

Most societies understand the danger of allowing people to murder, steal, rape, etc. So if someone is avoiding these activities out of not wanting to go to jail or because of karma isn't the bottom line that people behave as they should?

It is a bit worrisome to me that some people think that without religion they would go nuts and head off on a killing spree or something.

We should be avoiding killing not simply because we believe it will hurt us in the karmic/heaven/hell sense but that too we know in our hearts and minds that such a thing is wrong and harmful to society. That we have pause in knowing that it would cause great suffering for others.

I think that if fear is our only motivator as spiritual people then we are missing a much bigger picture.

I respect your views even if I disagree with them somewhat and I thank-you for sharing them with me.

I always enjoy a good discussion. :)

delusional said...

Forgive me if I am out of line in this topic but I am not used to being able engage in this type of discussion and may take it too far.

I believe in creation. I believe God created all things. I believe God is perfect therefore all of creation is perfect. I cannot say however I am precisely christian, jewish, or otherwise.

In my meditation practice, this subject (evolution) has popped into my head. It is usually intertwined with the existence or alleged existence of evil. Please humbly note that I do not believe that everything in the new and old testament is divinely inspired though I respect others right to believe that it is.

If God is creator, did he not create all things? To the specific topic of this thread I believe he created it through a gradual process or implementation of his will that is consistent with a form of evolution and not instantaneous.

If he is creator aren't all things good? Isn't the biblical fall only attributable to man? and aren't the things contrary to God
s will echoed in the Buddhist 8-fold path? I'm sorry if these are stupid questions, but I'm not used to being able to ask them.

delusional said...

And to clarify, when I say I belive God is creator, to me that means no coincidences or side effects. All existence, feelings, experiences. That is a big plate to contemplate.

They call him James Ure said...

Delusional:

You're not out of line on this topic at all. I enjoy having discussions, that is partly why I created the blog. To freely exchange ideas in an accepting and respectful manner.

I hope this reply comment doesn't come off as harsh as I wanted to bring up some issues that can be sensitive issues. It is because of that why I want you to know that before I get going that I fully respect your belief in a god and creation. And while I do not believe the same, I do not wish to insult you in any way but I do want to try and address your points as throughly as possible. So please forgive me in advance if I offend you. :)

Sometimes my way of thinking things out can maybe sound a bit blasphemous or disrespectful but that is not my intention.

I just talk things out in a very blunt and sometimes controversial way. I think about religious issues sometimes in very descriptive ways and sometimes they are too descriptive for some.

I don't mean anything by it except that it's the only way I know how to best describe my beliefs and non-beliefs.

Anyway, this comment in looooonnnngg because this topic something that I'm interested in a lot and something that I've thought a lot about. As well as all the time I've spent meditating upon it.

Now to your points, I don't rule out the possibility of a "God" but everything that I've seen/learned/experienced tells me that there is most likely no one there. That's just my view and by no means something that I want to force upon ANYONE.

That is partly what attracted me to Buddhism, the idea that we are our own savior. That we and we alone are responsible for our actions based on our intentions as taught by the 8 fold path.

I will say that if there is a "God force" that I have a hard time believing that such a force would limit itself to a sex, let alone a body. Because being all-powerful and knowing means to me that that being must have surely evolved spiritually to the point of not needing those kinds of limitations.

To the extent that I believe in a "God" It is a force that is within everything and everyone. Something bigger than any one essence or form. Interconnected energy.

To your point that "God" created everything, does that not mean that he created evil and sin as well? It seems that God needs Satan. And it seems to me that Satan or some other nemesis is necessary for God's plan to work, would it not?

I say this because the Christian line of thinking goes that without sin we can not fully have free will to decide what to do with our spirituality. Yet again, without Satan that would not be possible.

And there is something kind of strange about being free to choose whatever, but that there is only one right choice? It's the idea that you're free to choose as long as you choose my way. It's kind of cruel to me in a way in my view.

But back to "Satan." I was taught growing up Christian that Satan was an angel of "God" like Jesus and others. However he was kicked out of Heaven for disagreeing with God. Then a war was fought between the two sides. By the way, what do think they fought with, conventional weapons or spells? I'm not being facetious here I've always been curious and I'm seriously interested in such a quandary.

And as we know "Satan" and his minions lost and were cast down to "Hell." Yet "Satan" is rewarded in a way by being able to RULE "Hell??" AND he's able to keep his powers? Usually when one side loses they aren't rewarded with their own kingdom and ability to keep their powers.

It seems to me that if God DOESN'T need Satan and if sin IS something that he abhors then why didn't he just incinerate Satan?

I never understood why "we souls" had to come down to Earth because we didn't fully understand the good that we had in Heaven. If God is all powerful and all knowing then why didn't he just explain it all to us in a way that we would obviously understand because "God" is well, "God" right?

And then we could have avoided the whole Earth mess perhaps. I'm just throwing my thoughts out here for the sake of discussion. Sorry this is going on so long but this is a favorite topic of mine.

But back to "Satan." Not only was he NOT imprisoned for eternity in Hell as we will be if we screw up. But he gets to come and go from Hell as he pleases to tempt us down to his kingdom??? Sounds like the prison system of work release.

By the way, It is strange that even if we screw up less than Satan we will be damned for eternity but Satan still gets to roam free?? So doesn't that mean in a way that God seems to love Satan more than us?

So God cast Satan down to Hell for disagreeing with his plan and is forever damned but without him God wouldn't be able to pop all his tests on humans to constantly judge their faith and loyalty.

Talk about dysfunction, our "Father" is testing us all the time to see if we really love him and agree with everything that he says and does or not!! What happened to unconditional love? Seems kind of codependent to me. So Satan helps God do his work by providing that needed balance of choices and for helping "God" he gets what? Eternal damnation?

Here's another thing that bothers me about the whole God concept since I'm off on a tangent.
If God is going to wipe clean the Earth of the sinners then why didn't he do that the minute that Adam and Eve sinned because surely he knew that once A and D sinned that all of humanity would sin.

So what's the point in letting humanity evolve and move forward if "He" knew that Earth was going to be destroyed sometime in the future anyway? He destroyed the town of Sodom and Gomorrah for being evil and yet civilization as a whole (and not just one city) has been severely more messed up for centuries than S&G and God hasn't chosen to wipe us off the globe.

I also have a beef with prayer but I better save that for another time. I've already probably really offended you but I like to be honest.

But to get back to your point, yes there are many similarities between the 8 fold path and the Ten Commandments and other aspects to God's will. However there are some key differences.

First, Buddhism doesn't acknowledge a creator God and so there is no God in Buddhism whose will you must conform too. Buddha was just a man and never claimed to be a god. We will be our own condemners by our behavior in this life and based on that we will be reborn in the form that is deserving of our previous karma in this life.

Second, there is nothing in Buddhism similar to commandments. Except for perhaps monks, the precepts for example are advisements, not commandments.

As to your version of evolution, I believe that is called, "Theistic evolution." Which I find fascinating. If there is a "God" then this is the process by which I think he created the Universe. That he/she/it brought "life" into existence and then like skipping a rock across a pond, life evolved and rippled out from the original spot of creation. And maybe the reason there is such horrible things going on here is because God moved on to create another something. I don't know.

The problem lies in the regressive argument of, "Who created, 'God'?" And so on and so forth ad infinitum. I personally believe that the Universe has always existed in one for or another.

And is constantly living, dying and being reborn via a big bang and then eventually dying via the big crunch and then another big bang starts it all over. Just my opinion, not saying it's true or what everyone should belief at all.

Sorry again for "going off" a bit but I got all excited to discuss this stuff. Feel free to respond in any length. I kind of bombarded you. :/

They call him James Ure said...

Delusional:

If you feel more comfortable, you can respond via my email. Or if you don't want to respond at all that's fine. I won't be offended in the least. :)

jaymur-at-gmail-dot-com

Brian said...

Buddhism is totally compatible with evolution

They call him James Ure said...

Brian:

Great information, thank-you for sending all those links. I read them all and enjoyed them.

Dhamma81 said...

I think HH comment about science was pretty confident but to me it shows a lack of faith in the Buddha. The Buddha himself rejected the philosophical materialism that many in the science community espouse. If he was really all knowing then he couldn't have been deluded on this point. Of course, the only way to really know this is to practice the Dhamma so their has to be an element of faith. At any rate we may not agree in all respects but I have enjoyed the different perspectives. I wish you well.

Adrienne said...

Hello. I am a chance visitor to your blog---after typing in "Buddhism and Evolution" I'm currently living in Korea, and so was interested in learning Buddhist philosphy and whether it said anything about humanity's origin.

Interestingly, quite a few important mainline Christian beliefs are not particularly Biblical; borrowed from Greco-Roman mythology and religion more than the Bible.

For instance, the idea of Satan ruling a hell that people go to after they die is definately something taken from the Hades and Underworld mythos of the Romans.

The Bible does not teach that the soul is naturally immortal or that God currently has anything to do with anyone who is dead. Satan either.

Satan's war with God was about the very nature of God's character. Satan accused God of being a tyrannical and selfish ruler who's subjects did not serve Him out of love, but fear. Wiping Satan out or all the evil people out would confirm this accusation.

And, let's face it, fear is what drives most Christians. Fear of going to hell, and the other side of the coin is hope of going to heaven, and smugness if you feel you measure up to the moral standard.

Jesus' life and sacrifice on the cross was, according to the Bible, to be what revealed God's true character--as being this pure incarnation of Love, and to reveal human's identity as special creations whom God gives His special regard. Jesus was to show how near God was (not distant) and how closely He identifies with human beings, how he longs to interact with us and help us.

This is a different view than the exacting God that is waiting for us to do the wrong thing.

Of course, if everyone is naturally immortal, then Christ's "sacrifice" of a few hour's suffering and death in the general scheme of things means little; coming back to life isn't a big deal.

I don't believe that people can't be moral or ethical without believing in God or being a part of a religion, but when people say something is "right" or "wrong" what do they mean by this? There is a standard that everybody agrees upon--and it goes deeper than mere outward conduct, fear of punishment, or hope of reward.

If there is a being which embodies this "standard", why would you be contrary to it?

Craig said...

Hey! I read through all of this and I'd love to bring more of the Christian views into the picture.

I'll explain as much as I can about all that you said to the best of my ability.

I guess I can start with creationism. God Himself created the universe, the Earth, and all the creatures that inhabit it. He first formed Adam out of the dust, then Eve out of a rib He took from Adam when he was sleeping. Thus the human race began.

Even though God did create all living things, He did not create sin and evil. Those things became of us and the angels.

Because God gave us a free will, He allows us to make our own decisions.

First, Satan went against God's authority in heaven by trying to exalt himself above God. Because of his disobedience, God cast him out of heaven with all of his followers. His future is an eternity in hell. I'll expand more on that in sec.

As for humans, Eve decided to go against God's orders as well, and eat the forbidden fruit from the garden of Eden. Then of course Adam did the same. That is where sin started. Sin = human disobedience to God.

God's reason for allowing Satan to roam and decieve people on Earth is to seperate God's chosen people from the one's who will spend an eternity in hell. God uses trials and tribulations here on Earth to make us Christians stronger in our faith, but the Bible says God will never give us a trial that is more than we are able to overcome. So there will never be an obstacle in life that is too hard for us to overtake, as long as God's strength is with us to guide us through.

As for Satan "ruling" hell, I'm not exactly sure where you heard that concept from. I'm sure you've heard all about Jesus and what He's done to bring salvation. When He rose from the grave, He conquered death and took the keys to hell, thus making a way for us sinners to make it to heaven. Without Jesus, there is no way to heaven.

As I said I'd expand on Satan's punishment. Because of his disobedience, his eternal punishment is burning in hell forever.

We humans also deserve the same punishment because we have sinned. The Bible says that all liars, adulterers, thieves, etc. will spend all eternity in a lake that burns with fire and brimstone. The Bible says that ALL have fallen short of the glory of God and deserve such punishment. That's me, you, and everyone. But that Jesus Guy came down from heaven and took our place on the cross, died, and 3 days later rose again =] so that we may have the right to the tree of life (AKA be able to live in heaven with God forever). So God gave us a way out of the eternal punishment. Praise Jesus.

But concerning our eternal life(heaven)/death(hell) spent after we pass away here on Earth, that's all our choice. We either choose to repent of ours sins and except Jesus as savior...or we don't and pay the price.

As for potential questions such as "Why did God create us with a free will if we can just be stupid and go the wrong way to spend an eternity in hell?" Well, I don't have all the answers =] I'm just another human guy. But in my opinion, wouldn't it be kinda boring having a bunch of robots under your control doing whatever you say if you were God? He gave us a free will so that we could choose Him rather than be forced to serve Him.

That's about all in reply to your comments. glad I could participate in this.

They call him James Ure said...

Craig:

I addressed many of these points in my response to "Delusional" which I recommend reading. That said, I'll go into your specifics but it will be long as you wrote a lot.

You wrote:

Even though God did create all living things, He did not create sin and evil. Those things became of us and the angels.

How is that possible? How can "God" have created everything but not sin and evil. You simply state that as a fact. What is your evidence? And if we are made in his image how could we be the ones to come up with sin on our own?

With godly genes you'd think we'd naturally inherit "God's" tendencies and essence, which would prevent us from being able to think of sin let alone create it out of nothing.

First, Satan went against God's authority in heaven by trying to exalt himself above God. Because of his disobedience, God cast him out of heaven with all of his followers. His future is an eternity in hell. I'll expand more on that in sec.

But WHERE did the idea of "sin" come from if "Satan" lived in a divine, perfect environment in "God's" presence? How could the thought even enter his mind?

God's reason for allowing Satan to roam and decieve people on Earth is to seperate God's chosen people from the one's who will spend an eternity in hell.

Why did "God" need to send us down to Earth to be tested when clearly testing was possible already in "God's" presence when everyone had to choose sides? The good chose "God" and those who chose "Satan" were kicked out.

What more test of faith does "God" need? And how far do we have to go to prove out faith to "God" because Christians seem to have to go through test after test?

And if "God" gives us no test that we can't handle then why do loved ones of loyal and faithful Christians die despite praying over them? Isn't that test of having "God" take their loved one away not too much, if not down right cruel? You're told to pray to save people but then it's just up to "God's" whim if we accepts your prayer? What is he doing up there? Flipping a coin to decide who he saves and who he doesn't?

Especially if a surviving family member decides to commit suicide over the family member's death. Isn't that a sign that the "test" or death of their loved one was too much to bear and handle?

If not then what IS a test that is too much to overcome? What about people where everything goes wrong in their life yet despite that they are strong, faithful Christians? How is a life (for example) of poverty, illness, joblessness, physical or mental disability and any number of other problems that many face all at once in life not, "too much too overcome?"

As for Satan "ruling" hell, I'm not exactly sure where you heard that concept from.

I heard it for the 22 years that I was raised and lived as a Christian. And I've heard it from other Christians too. If "Satan" isn't ruling "Hell" then why does he have the power to punish and torture people in "Hell"? And again, why would he go along with punishing them when that is his arch-nemesis, "God's" plan? I'd think he'd want to thwart it.

They call him James Ure said...

Craig (continued comment):

Well, I don't have all the answers =] I'm just another human guy.

Exactly, which is why it bothers me when some (not all but many and I'm not including you in this category) Christians go around claiming that not only are they right in their beliefs but that the rest of us are horrible people. So here they are judging us on something they don't know all the information about!!

Isn't it better to let people just be and live by example? No one likes to be pushed into something or told they are bad people because they don't believe in a religion that could easily be false. I don't mind people believing their religion is the only truth but keep it to yourself.

I understand wanting to help others see what you see but knocking on peoples' doors to pressure then into following your beliefs or constantly shoving your beliefs in others' faces is borderline harassment.

And going on "service missions" are great if it's about service and not about secretly converting people. I've seen more than a few "missions" in Africa that will feed the hungry but only after they listen to their sermons.

We all know "the good news" by now. It's not like back in the day when not many had heard of Christianity. However, today it is one of the biggest religions in the world -- I doubt many people haven't heard of what Christianity is about and wants people to do.

So to constantly bombard people with your beliefs is only going to turn people off. People don't react to force positively. It just drives people away from your message. That's why I like Buddhism. It doesn't proselytize.

But in my opinion, wouldn't it be kinda boring having a bunch of robots under your control doing whatever you say if you were God? He gave us a free will so that we could choose Him rather than be forced to serve Him.

I didn't know "God" got bored. I wouldn't expect a perfect being of being able to be bored. However, if he was and created us because of it then isn't that kind of weird?

We're some kind of experiment for him to keep him entertained like an ant farm or something? And as for the choice to serve him or not -- wasn't that established with the war in heaven? Couldn't that have been all done in Heaven? The "bad angels" went with "Satan" and the good ones with "Jesus."

Why did we all have to come down to Earth to show we want to follow him? And even when we decided to follow him he still gives us test after test? Is he that insecure to constantly need reassurance from us that we still like him and want to follow him? That's worse that a teen-age girl constantly calling her boyfriend up and asking him if he TRULY loves her.

I don't mean to be rude with any of this but I just find a lot of holes in Christianity and in order to fully explain them I have to be a bit blunt. I have thought about all of this stuff long and hard for years. I was a Christian for 22 years and it was no easy task to leave. That said, once I began to see flaws, cracks and then large holes in the belief system I couldn't stay in good conscience. I was living a lie.

Besides, I had to leave too because it wasn't helping me. I was stressed, full of a guilt complex and constantly felt unworthy of anything. Since I left I've felt much better and Buddhism is my home now.

Adrienne said...

I don't think you're rude. As a historical fact, a lot of what is accepted as general Christian theology is based on tradition more than the Bible or the teachings of Christ.

Most evangelism begins with instilling guilt or fear in their subjects, rather than beginning with trying to understand God's character and ways. This tactic is borrowed from advertising.

I agree that the way many Christians express their religion is obnoxious and wrong, but that doesn't make the belief system itself false or unhelpful.

And yes, the teaching that hell exists today and that Satan rules hell is wrong, and IS borrowed from Greek mythology.

Those who can't accept the possibility that their belief system may be wrong, obviously have not given it any deep thought. Those who attempt to escape into religion to avoid thinking, obviously are not good representatives of their faith.

I still can't help thinking that the original "Good News" that Christ's desciples spread is different than the "good news". We hear today---which is actually not all that great. Were those who were exited about their faith at the beginning simply more neive or better than us, or were they the same as us today?

So, as you said you couldn't stay a Christian in good concience, I can't leave Christianity in good concience.

trust said...

I will keep this short, I can say that I am so happy to have come across this blog, I have enjoyed reading all points of view. I realise that These points of view are much the same as usual. BUT Im happy to continue to study the Buddhist teaching. I will respect other teachings.
if I am ever to be judged on my current life then I trust that my actions of faith and understanding of others. It is a hard thing to stop being christian but I have to follow what I feel is the right thing to do.

Craig said...

Buddhism is all about evolution - the evolution of all beings to Nirvana.

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