Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

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Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  JB on Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:30 pm

for comments on rd73.
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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  Neon Genesis on Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:16 am

I was shocked by CFI's statement about the NYC Islamic center. Their retracted response seemed like a generic non-answer response as to whether or not they support the center. They said they supported the rights of the center, but do they support the center actually going up is the real question. On the bright side, the FFRF has stated they support the Islamic center: http://ffrf.org/news/releases/islamic-center-not-a-state-church-violation/
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is receiving a new variation on crank mail — religious-right folk filling out our online form facetiously to report the same so-called state/church violation: the “mosque being built at Ground Zero.” They demand to know why isn’t FFRF isn’t suing over this “violation.”

It is telling that the group that is suing is the American Center for Law & Justice, founded by the Rev. Pat Robertson. The ACLJ specializes in complaining any time the government tries to distance itself from advancing or showing favoritism toward Christianity. For instance, right now the ACLJ, a group of legal pitbulls for Jesus, backed by 67 U.S. senators and representatives, is demanding the right to argue the government’s case against FFRF over the National Day of Prayer. These born agains have a lot of gall.

Now the ACLJ has gone to court representing a first responder firefighter who claims “the land use process of New York City now threatens to do what the terrorists failed to accomplish and destroy a building.”

The Islamic Center is not being built “at Ground Zero,” contrary to hysterical claims. The Sufi Muslim center will replace an old building 2 blocks from the area, which the Landmark Commission has determined does not meet its criteria for architectural preservation. The Islamic Center meets pre-existing zoning requirements; it is not asking for preferential treatment.

Would the ACLJ be suing if this building were being purchased by the Roman Catholic Church or the Southern Baptists or even the Mormons? If we can't allow a mosque in New York City, then neither should we allow churches. Look what the invading Christians did to the Indian tribe that used to live in Manahatta, which became Manhattan. These Europeans arrived with a gun in one hand and a bible in the other.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his eloquent Aug. 7 speech pointed out that in the mid-1650s a small Jewish community was denied the right to build a synagogue in Manhattan. Next it was the Quakers who were denied a meeting place. It was not until the 1780s that Roman Catholics were permitted to build a church in New York City.

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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  thecatslunch on Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:21 pm

I'm enjoying the series on Buddhism. I find it interesting that while Stephen Batchelor dispenses with what we might call later cultural accretions of Buddhism, he still firmly considers himself Buddhist (as far as I am aware). One wonders how it would be tolerated if one dispensed with all the supernatural elements of Christianity and still tried to call oneself Christian.
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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  Neon Genesis on Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:21 am

thecatslunch wrote: One wonders how it would be tolerated if one dispensed with all the supernatural elements of Christianity and still tried to call oneself Christian.
We would get Bishop Spong then: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XL8LvaJ9Rc

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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  Sosa on Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:09 am

thecatslunch wrote:I'm enjoying the series on Buddhism. I find it interesting that while Stephen Batchelor dispenses with what we might call later cultural accretions of Buddhism, he still firmly considers himself Buddhist (as far as I am aware). One wonders how it would be tolerated if one dispensed with all the supernatural elements of Christianity and still tried to call oneself Christian.

I believe that's called Christian Atheism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_atheism
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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  Neon Genesis on Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:32 am

I mentioned this last episode of RD to a friend of mine who's a Tibetan Buddhist because I thought she might be interested in it but she complained that Batchelor's book was essentially nihilism and she said reincarnation was necessary to be a Buddhist. Is there any truth to this claim of Batchelor being a nihilist or is this one of those strawman fallacies?

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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  JB on Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:29 pm

Is there any truth to this claim of Batchelor being a nihilist or is this one of those strawman fallacies?[quote]

Strawman. Shes repeating the Buddhist equivalent of "you cant have morality without God." To her, if there is no Nirvana to seek after and no threat of a bad rebirth for immoral acts then whats the point. Batchelor's arguments for morality would be no different from most humanists. His concern is reducing suffering in this life.
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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  Neon Genesis on Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:35 pm

So Batchelor really is like the Bishop Spong of Buddhism?

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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  JB on Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:51 pm

Neon Genesis wrote:So Batchelor really is like the Bishop Spong of Buddhism?

Grudgingly, yes. I do have quite a bit of respect for Spong, but I find secularized Christianity offers very little. Pre-therevadan Buddhism, even if kept intact, is very humanistic. There is a rich literature on human thought and ethics in comparison to the few morsels you can glean from the gospels.
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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  daveyleis on Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:28 am

I've been thinking that if the hypothesis of karma were true, then your life or life times, if not necessarily eternal, would be astronomically numerous. That would make it impossible to point at some aspect of a life and claim a specific result due to a previous cause because the causal chain would be close to infinite and multi dimensional. Also what's the point of nirvana? You cannot attain enlightenment until you are born human, but you spend that time trying not to regress into being born again. Not-born-again-Buddhists? I rather spend it appreciating being conscious and listening to Carl Sagan impersonations.


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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  Neon Genesis on Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:42 am

[quote="JB"]Is there any truth to this claim of Batchelor being a nihilist or is this one of those strawman fallacies?


Strawman. Shes repeating the Buddhist equivalent of "you cant have morality without God." To her, if there is no Nirvana to seek after and no threat of a bad rebirth for immoral acts then whats the point. Batchelor's arguments for morality would be no different from most humanists. His concern is reducing suffering in this life.
She does seem to get a little defensive when her Buddhist beliefs are challenged. Like she dismissed this one guy at another forum who made a youtube video debunking reincarnation. In another thread where we were debating if Islam was inherently a conquering religion, she tried to argue Islam was inherently violent and she got defensive when I pointed out examples of Buddhist violence in history.

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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  politas on Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:14 pm

Great set of episodes! I didn't know there was an older less metaphysical version of Buddhism. I'm surprised that they didn't talk about the doctrine of karma being a way of blaming unfortunates for their own problems. Born into the lower-caste? You must have some bad karma to pay off. Contracted a hideous, slow, painful, fatal disease at age five? I wonder what you did in your past life to deserve that? Being oppressed by a self-selecting elite over a period of centuries? Be a good little peon and your next life may be better!
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Something to be said for acceptance

Post  prazy on Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:17 pm

politas wrote:Great set of episodes! I didn't know there was an older less metaphysical version of Buddhism. I'm surprised that they didn't talk about the doctrine of karma being a way of blaming unfortunates for their own problems. Born into the lower-caste? You must have some bad karma to pay off. Contracted a hideous, slow, painful, fatal disease at age five? I wonder what you did in your past life to deserve that? Being oppressed by a self-selecting elite over a period of centuries? Be a good little peon and your next life may be better!

You can think of the tenets of Buddhism as blaming the victim, but that's rather selective. Everyone has hardships, not just the poor and downtrodden. Many of these are outside of one's control or due to character flaws we may not even be aware of on a conscious level. The idea of karma is just a shortcut way of accepting one's circumstances and getting on with life. It's just more emotionally healthy to accept than to crusade for what's right in many cases. I think it is a rather modern invention to seek an accountable party to blame for every bit of life's troubles, and to seek watertight arguments for why justice should be served. Often, it's just more efficient to accept circumstances, warts and all, and move on. In a way, life is like defensive driving, it's more important to always be alive than to always be right.

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Re: Episode 73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Post  djphilv on Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:55 am

I'm a Theravada Buddhist and I can say this episode is quite accurate in regards to the Buddhist teaching.
To clear up the Four Noble Truths: 1. Life is Suffering 2. The causes Suffering 3. Eliminate the cause of suffering to eliminate suffering 4. The Eightfold Path to help eliminate suffering.

The basis of Theravada Buddhism is do good so your next life can be better. One can do this by going to temple, pray and help take care of the monks. The monks, on the other hand, are the ones who actually practice the Buddhist teachings. The ultimate goal is to reach Nirvana. Although I don't believe in karma, nirvana, rebirth or anything supernatural, I still consider myself a Theravada Buddhist because of one quote, "Believe nothing I say..." The monks I've studied under translate this quote to, "You choose what you want to believe." I still go to temples, pray and do other traditional things, not in hopes of reaching nirvana, but to keep traditions alive and better myself as a human being.

I was brought up as a Theravada Buddhist, been a monk many time, and taught under various teachers. So if you guys have any question, I will try my best to answer them. Very Happy

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