In Buddhism the gods don’t create the world. They just live in a celestial plane that intersects it or something like that. (Ignorant) thought creates the world.
[quote=“Josefus”]RDO, how can you explain this passage from Matt.7?
That makes it abundantly clear that not everyone’s going heaven.[/quote]
earlier comment that didn’t address the question deleted[/edit]
Kingdom of Heaven is a specialized term for me. It refers to heaven where God is. It also refers to God’s reign on Earth. Those who “worked iniquity” won’t have any part of that.
[quote=“lurkky”]I just don’t think it would be that bad to be reborn as an animal. Of any kind.
It seems to me that the “you’ll be reborn as a dog if you aren’t nice!” aspect of reincarnation was more scary when dogs were really considered to be low-class animals. Or that ‘swine’ were unclean. It’s a vestige of the kind of thinking that humans are somehow superior to animals. I, for one, believe humans are animals. Nothing more, nothing less.
Being reborn as a tree would be cool too.[/quote]The reason that the animal world is described as one of the lower realms is not because animals are seen as somehow morally inferior or less deserving of compassion. The reason is that by and large, animals are incapable of intelligent reflection and hence choosing positive moral action.
It’s true that some lucky animals do lead fairly contented, happy lives. But that, like everything, is temporary. It’s only as humans that we can really make a difference in our own and others’ lives. For Buddhists, human existence is also the ground on which to take steps towards the ultimate goal of realising the nature of reality.
OK, that makes sense to me too.
But I can’t shake the idea that at least some animals were seen as “dirty” in those days, just as some people view certain animals as dirty today. Sure, buddhist doctrine would have said that all living things were deserving of equal respect, but there would still have been some average lay people who thought of being reborn as an animal to be humiliating. So by incorporating that common belief into the religious system, the religious authorities would be playing upon a common fear to dissuade people from thinking that being reborn as an animal was OK.
The lack of “intelligent reflection” could have been a boon; for example, being reborn as a herbivore would have guaranteed that you’d never go against buddhist doctrine by eating meat. But get reborn as a tiger, and you’re fucked. But I guess they chose not to interpret it that way.
[quote=“lurkky”]OK, that makes sense to me too.
But I can’t shake the idea that at least some animals were seen as “dirty” in those days, just as some people view certain animals as dirty today. Sure, buddhist doctrine would have said that all living things were deserving of equal respect, but there would still have been some average lay people who thought of being reborn as an animal to be humiliating. So by incorporating that common belief into the religious system, the religious authorities would be playing upon a common fear to dissuade people from thinking that being reborn as an animal was OK.[/quote]Not sure about that. I think that, generally speaking, people in Buddhist countries have tended to have more respect for animals than people in other countries. One example is Tibetans carefully removing bugs from the soil before laying the foundations of a new building.
And the Jataka stories feature many animals, often in a positive light.
[quote=“lurkky”]The lack of “intelligent reflection” could have been a boon; for example, being reborn as a herbivore would have guaranteed that you’d never go against buddhist doctrine by eating meat. But get reborn as a tiger, and you’re fucked. But I guess they chose not to interpret it that way.[/quote]Some animal types tend to create more bad karma than others. And sometimes, of course, animals create good karma. On the whole, however, they’re powerless to make choices to do good actions and refrain from bad ones, and they certainly can’t do much towards purifying the mind (even though cows may seem to be pretty meditative animals!)
There are two propositions here. They are decidedly different.
- Hearing voices from God. If a person starts “hearing voices from God” and there is no voice at all then they are insane. It is a disconnect from reality. But you are assuming that there is no voice. How can you do that? It’s illogical.
- Believing someone who says they heard a voice from God. Not insane. There is no disconnect from reality. It might not be a rational belief, but it does not meet the criteria for insanity.
… I’ll have to respond with my judgment that your belief is irrational. You are making a judgment on insufficient evidence and out of ignorance. Not the belief in atheism, mind you. The belief that theism is “nuts”. That’s irrational.[/quote]
Everything we know about the universe after the big bang we know either by observation or by rational extrapolation from those observations. There have been no scientifically verifiable instances of God talking. None. There is however a substantial amount of scientific evidence pointing toward the human tendency to lie, hallucinate and make things up on the basis of what they have experienced in life so far and whatever their psychological needs might be at the time. Now, we have recorded in the Bible several instances of God talking. What would the sane, rational interpretation of those events be, given that what I have said in this paragraph is perfectly logical?
Instead we have people, millions of people, propogating this nonsense as though it hadn’t been seen through ages ago. Some of them are lying, some are “irrational” lets say, at least with regards to this issue, and some are just too lazy and stupid to think it through.
You will forgive me if I bring a certain tenacity to this arguement. Organized religion for me was a highly toxic experience and I enjoy this opportunity to confront what appears to me to be widespread, organized, legitimated, blatant lunacy.
My understanding of the general Chinese Daoist/Buddhist notion of death/rebirth is that the gods and demons of Hell do indeed calculate your every sin, and there is a prescribed (horrific) punishment for every sin. Afterwards the goddess Meng Po gives you some potion to make you forget your life, and her two demons, Life-Is-Short and Death-Comes-Swiftly (or Death-Has-Gradations) indeed calculate, based on your sins and good deeds, what you will be in your next life. Death-Comes-Swiftly even carries an abacus to make sure he gets everything right. However, I have never studied Buddhism outside of China-related stuff, so I defer to you scholars on this one.
That sounds more like Daoism to me. As far as I know Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion and it is a philosophy that encourages a scientific view of life. Behave badly, ie. hurt people, you will feel bad. Try to behave well, ie. try not to hurt other people, you will feel better. You can observe this for yourself. Karma is just cause and effect. Buddhism I think is a scientific point of view that begins with the understanding that people are happiest when they exist in harmony with others. I don’t know what Buddhism says about hell, if anything. I’ve been roughly following what I would consider a buddhist philosophy for years and I’ve never seen anything about it.
Do any of the Christians here have any thoughts about the Book of Revelation?
Bob, no offense, but when I said the scholars, I didn’t mean you.
Depends on the theist.
For example, Buddhists think you’ll eventually get reincarnated (if you didn’t figure out how to pierce the illusion of life). [/quote]
Buddhists are not theists. Most of them have the only reasonable opinion on God possible: none.
Fine so far, but no need to go back that far.
Yep. Agreed. Good thing, too.
Yes, but you’re over-generalizing.
Interesting that you say “several instances”. This becomes important when talking about evidence.
In a vacuum, with nothing else but the Bible record and no other indications whatsoever either for or against the record:
The sane interpretation is: There’s a book that says that in another place and time someone talked to a being called God. As long as this does not contradict observable reality, it could be true. But it is also possible that it isn’t true, as long as it not being true does not contradict observable reality.
Now, the rational response would be to reserve judgment. With no other evidence to support the claims of the book you can’t take a position of belief. With no other evidence to refute the claims of the book you can’t take a position of positive disbelief. You can disbelieve out of a general skepticism, but you can’t be certain it is false or you’d be irrational. Lack of evidence to support such a strong position.
However, the Bible and other religious texts do not exist in a vacuum. There are always lots of credible people out there who will tell you whatever belief it is you are examining is true. And that makes belief in that particular religion (whether it is true or not) rational. Might still be wrong, but at least it’s rational.
There are also people out there actively trying to refute the books. Often they will argue the books are self-contradictory, or that certain parts of the book contradict known fact or go against a particular scientific theory. This can be evidence against the claims of the book, so the position that the book is false is also rational when based on such arguments.
You should tell that to the theistic Buddhists I’ve talked to.
Buddhism allows for the existence of gods. It does not allow for the existence of God (unless God is just a god, and we got it wrong about him).
Individual Buddhists are free to either believe in gods or not, although I think actually venerating them is discouraged in strict Buddhism because doing so will create karma which, whether good or bad, will end up getting you reincarnated rather than escaping the cycle of birth-suffering-death-rebirth,
Yeah. It’s clearly deeply symbolic. Figuring out the symbolism and what is actually literal requires a lot of insight.
The Bible says God spoke. Either he did or he didn’t. There is no recording of God’s speech so we can’t know for sure. What we have then is four possible explanations: 1) God actually did speak, somebody wrote it down and people have been studying the word of God all these years. 2) Somebody had a psychotic break and thought they talked to God and people have been studying the ramblings of a madman all these years. 3) They just made it up out the world view they had been taught. 4) Some combination of two and three with a tremendous amount of often powerfully insightful, poetic interpretation having been added in the meantime.
Given the fact that you can wittness people having psychotic breaks or making stuff up all the time, but cannot observe God talking, which seems like the more rational explanation? Remember also that man is an anxious little beast eager to recieve answers to all his existential dilemas. Indeed eager apparently to make answers up if necessary and add layer upon layer of analysis to something which is at it’s core is just patently ludicrous.
How is it obviously symbolic? I tend to concur with the Catholic Church’s position. They think the author was concerned about a possible mass apostasy due to Emperor Domitian’s persecution of the Christians, and was looking for a way to keep everyone’s faith strong. He says the end is near, and exhorts everyone to remain steadfast. Those who are martyred get the best reward, because they will be resurrected first and live during the millenia of peace, preceding the second resurrection and the judgment. Then the other believers will be resurrected and enter New Jerusalem and live with God and Jesus, whereas the unbelievers (e.g., their Roman persecutors) will be cast for all eternity into the lake of fire. The Catholics compare John’s Book of Revelation with Daniel’s prophesies, which they perceive as playing a similar role: lifting the spirits of the Jews persecuted under Antiochus Epiphanes. The Catholics dismiss the idea of a first resurrection and millenia completely, but accept the final judgment.
I think their analysis of John’s intentions are spot on, but err, I don’t concur with the part about the final judgment.
You forgot a combination of 1 and 2 (the prophet later had a psychotic break), combination of 1 and 3 (the prophet had one instance of talking to God, but made the rest up), combination of 1, 2, and 3…
But, anyway, if they are all possible explanations (meaning none of them conflict with observable reality) then believing any of them does not make you insane. Each is possible.
As for rationality, it is not rational to assume that is what happened in the case of prophets. That’s actually logical fallacy. It is fine to believe that’s what happened, but expecting everyone else to believe it too doesn’t hold.
Sorry-- please move this to the appropriate place. Posted this while you were posting your request.[/edit]
Because there’s a lot of symbols in it.
You should tell that to the theistic Buddhists I’ve talked to. [/quote]
Most likely Daoist Buddhists but anyway, carry on. As gao bo han so correctly points out, I’m no scholar, just somebody who tries half heartedly to put the central “psychological” insights of Buddhism into practice.
Because there’s a lot of symbols in it.[/quote]
I don’t think that was the intent of the author. His phraseology implies the Rapture and millenia would be coming soon. He used a lot of references from the Hebrew Scriptures, sure, but that does not mean he intended for the missive to be symbolic.