What’s Wrong with Buddhism?:
An Atheist’s Perspective
By Cliff Willard
Some years ago I married a Thai lady who is a devout Buddhist. Every day she prays at the shrine she set up in the house, and nearly every Sunday goes to worship in the Temple. I became interested in these activities, visited a few temples, and was introduced to a few monks (charming people). I began reading books on the life of the Buddha & Buddhism. I was impressed. Why?
First, they didn’t believe in God.
Second, monks lead a very ascetic life. No sex, booze, luxuries, or comfortable beds for them. They must be, and are, very devoted to their cause.
Third, I don’t know of any wars carried out in the name of Buddhism. Indeed, Buddhists seem very laid-back when it comes to proselytising their religion (or philosophy as they like to call it).
So, is Buddhism the ideal for me? For a while I thought so, but then came the doubts. First, I couldn’t understand why Buddhists appear to be praying. The statues and idols didn’t worry me; but if there is no God, then where do the prayers go?
Second, the monks are held in very high esteem. I believe that they should be given respect, but how much? They are not saints yet they appear to be treated as such.
Third, the concept of “Nirvana”, in Buddhist philosophy, is a state without desire, and completely at peace. A state of “nothingness” (Buddhists may correct me on this). To me, as an atheist, it is the same as death. I put this concept to a Buddhist monk and his reply was that if this was the case, a murderer would suffer the same fate as a virtuous and moral person, and therefore there was no incentive to do good deeds.
However the real ‘nail in the coffin’ for me is the Buddhist philosophy of cause and effect known as “karma”.
I bought a copy of Richard Dawkins’ excellent book The God Delusion. In his notes on chapter 7, under the heading ‘Is the New Testament any better?’, he writes:
Julia Sweeney is also right on target when she briefly mentions Buddhism. Just as Christianity is sometimes thought to be a nicer, gentler religion than Islam, Buddhism is often cracked up to be the nicest of all. But the doctrine of demotion on the reincarnation ladder because of past sins in a past life is pretty unpleasant. Julia Sweeney: ‘I went to Thailand and happened to visit a woman who was taking care of a terribly deformed boy. I said to his caretaker, “It’s so good of you to be taking care of this poor boy.” She said, “Don’t say ‘poor boy’, he must have done something terrible in a past life to be born this way.”
After reading this in Dawkins’ book I checked with my wife who confirmed this idea. I was horrified. As a board member of an organisation that cares for terribly deformed (both physically and mentally) adults, I cannot accept the idea that this is their punishment for collecting “bad karma” in a previous life.
Indeed, I find it difficult to understand the idea of previous lives at all. I can’t remember any, and I find it hard to believe people when they say they can remember previous lives. I was talking to a man recently (at a Buddhist function), who was sure that he had committed murder in a previous life. This begs the question “If I believe that I have committed murder in a previous life, and am now leading a comfortable life, why should I not do it again?”
Is the human ego responsible for the idea of life after death? Can’t we just accept that we have only one life? For if we accept that this is so, then surely we must try to make the best of the one and only life we have for ourselves, and others, without the dubious benefits of religion.
The prayers don't go anywhere. They're memorization of the Buddha's words. They are, essentially, meditation. What they're trying to do is not just do no sin but get to the point to where they have absolutely no desire to do so.
I also see a problem with the way they view a person like that. But, as far as I'm concerned, their past lives mean nothing to me. They're simply a person that needs help.
Then again, I consider myself an odd mix between Buddhist, Christian and Naturalist. Haha.
Hopefully, you learned something that may be helpful from me. :3
Posted by Mikal
Interesting observations. The problem with most of them is that you are judging Buddhism by popular Thai beliefs (and misunderstandings?) rather than what the Buddha taught. It’s a bit like judging Jesus by what Italian peasants do. On ‘praying’ to statues go to www.buddhismatoz.com and have a look at ‘Idolatry’ Monks given excessive respect? More like a cultural practice than anything to do with Buddhist philosophy. If Nirvana is ‘nothingness’ (it isn’t but I’ll correct you on this some other time) what is the incentive to do good? How about because it makes me happy? How about because I have respect for my fellows? How about because I think kindness is important? You accept that we have only one life so what’s your motivation for not being a murdering, raping, incestuous thief? And finally Cliff, find out what the Buddha taught about cause and effect rather than relying on Julia Sweeney heard a (poorly educated?) Thai woman say. Your wife’s confirmation of this idea suggests she doesn’t know too much Buddhism either. Most Thais don’t. Again go to the above wedsite and look up ‘Kamma’ and ‘Disabilities’.
Posted by s. dhammika
Buddhism is like a religeon that is a philosophy. It is a way to live good and be one with humanity. Buddhism teachings are also very open to interpretation. Some Buddhist believe there is a god, (are gods) thats why they pray; To statues of Buddha ect. Secondly monks follow a number of 120-something rules, some that require them to eat only once a day before noon, and so on. They are highly respected because they are believed to be Holy (like a saint). Narvana is a state of enlightment, of knowing all. I don't know where you get that it is a state of nothingness, that is probubly Moksha from the hindu religeon. Karma and reincarnation is just another radical idea, for example for every action is there an equal or opposite reaction. Yet you shouldn't believe everything you hear, I can say I was a God in my past life, would you believe me? I was banish to live as a human for reversing time for a few seconds to try to make a girl goddess fall for me. Thing is why believe someone that says they are a murderer in thier past life when you can say you was anything your past life. If karma does exist the murderer would be born into a maggot or not even be reborn at all.
Posted by Rue
i agree that buddhism cannot be logically and reasonably correct. there is not proof. if there is no belief in a god of higher and perfect power, then who decides what life will be your next? it does not explain the existence of good and evil either. i dont think nirvana is possible to achieve in a world full of suffering. if one claims to have no desires and thus reach that point where they will no longer be incarnated, then what happens?
i don't know a lot about all of buddhism at all really, i'm just noticing some very concerning holes with the theory. then, from what i've found, the answers to those holes are simply along the lines of "you must be okay with just not knowing everything." there's bigger questions about life that remain unanswered by this religion. like why there is suffering, how we came to be, what happens after we die (and in the buddhist sense, after we reach nirvana), what is love, what is free will, what is the purpose of life?
if the response to these questions has something to do with "not knowing is the answer" then that is sad. i think there's plenty of explanations out there, and to settle for not knowing is a shame! there's truth out there i believe, and not because it sounds good. truth hurts sometimes, and in this article, there was a brief mention of "Christianity...sometimes [being] thought to be a nicer, gentler religion". i think thats actually not true. christianity is actually quite offensive to many people. the statement that no one is good enough to live with god and therefore ought to spend eternity in hell, separated from god, is a bold statement. thats what i believe, but things like this are usually a waste of time. arguing religion over the internet in my opinion does no good. but thanks for the article.
Posted by anonymous
The modern buddhism we see is corrupted by hindus version..hindus corrupted it to save their religion the corruption is more evident in tantric buddhism..thervada is somewhat closer to original teachings
Posted by jay
I have noticed that so many atheists came from a Judeo-Christian ( or occasionally Islamic ) background. They seem to become angry, definitely sarcastic, and very impressed with their own intelligence. It seems to me that after giving up on their childhood beliefs, they think closing the Bible means closing the book on all spirituality. For instance, I have yet to hear of an atheist who delved deeply into Buddhism, Taoism or Vedanta. Usually, the atheists skim the surface of Eastern religions for a brief period, drop the whole thing if they don't become enlightened over the weekend, and believe any practicioner to be as knowledgable as a great teacher. Buddhism makes sense to me. Karma makes more sense than "one life and then the judgment". I suggest budding atheists give Eastern religion a serious (long-term) try. It's never a good idea to close your mind to all the possibilities of life.
Posted by Bettie
I too have a relationship with a Thai and have visited Thailand often. However I have always assumed that the form of religion as practised there is little more than animism with a veneer of Buddhism (as is much Catholicism and Orthodoxy around the Mediterranean). I wouldn't be judging Buddhism by that standard, and Dawkins statement about Buddhism is based on similar corrupted populist beliefs about reincarnation. However (an aside) I've always thought Dawkins and Hitchens to be polemicists rather than people wanting to examine all sides of an argument before reaching a logical conclusion. Back to Buddhism. The arguments people put forward about what Buddhism is and what it believes are somewhat anthropological, by going back and examining what Buddha taught rather than how it is practised today. That's how some people started to view Christian teachings from the Enlightenment on, but it's a very Westernised view of religion.
Posted by Donald
I agree with many of the comments here about Buddhism. Indeed the version of karma and reincarnation described here is a Hindu philosophy, not originally from the teachings of Buddhism. The Buddha talked about how to best live life and develop as a human being in the here and now. He left a lot of questions unanswered if he didn't know the answer, like whether there are any gods or what happens when we die. Those things just aren't what Buddhism is about. Rather than making things up, he tended to allow people to believe whatever they wanted to believe. Also, Buddhism has been heavily influenced by the ancient religions of other countries. So if you ask Buddhists from two different countries the same question, you'll probably get different answers. There is no Holy Book guiding all of our beliefs. Some Buddhists pray to deities or gods, others don't have any hint of that. Some forms of Buddhism have no statues or mention of gods or Buddhas or anyone. And some even forbid such practices as they have a tendency to lead to confusion. Some are just about self-development and nothing else. The core belief we all share is our belief that we can significantly reduce and even eliminate suffering for ourselves and others through meditation and other practices. About priests, even Buddhisms that have no gods have priests. The priests are just people who are more studied and practiced in Buddhism than the ordinary lay person, assuming the ordinary lay person doesn't have time to devote many hours a day to study and meditation over the course of years. They have no special powers or a more direct connection to God or anything like that.
Posted by Shannon
Oh, now that I said all of that, I'd better clarify that the Buddhists that have gods that I'm familiar with don't think of gods in the same way westerners do. They're naturalistic gods. Each god represents something about the world. For instance (this is just a guess) they all probably have a god that represents the Sun. And when Buddhists "pray," they're not praying. They're meditating. It's hard to meditate without appearing to be praying. Any movement, even eye-movement, creates brain signals and sends your thoughts careening off uncontrollably. So to control your mind, you have to slow way down. Now, Thai Buddhists may in fact be praying to gods. I don't know. Either way, I don't think it matters. I'm one of those Buddhists who think personifying natural forces, whatever is originally meant by it, only causes confusion among the less sophisticated laity.
Posted by Shannon
It seems that the author doesn't know very much about buddhism. The same with Julia Sweeney. In theravada Buddhism that I learned, Karma or "kamma" is a concept of cause & effect (there is a cause for every event, with intention or otherwise) which is very logical. Regarding rebirth, It is something that western science has not been able to verify (or has it?). Anyway, the Buddha taught not to give much importance to the past or the future, since the one that really matters is the present. He also taught a method on how to examine reincarnation for yourself. Buddhism as I know it, sometimes even more scientific than a lot of western scientist.
Posted by jason
to understand better I would advise you to go for 10 days Vipasana camp organised throughout the world by S N Goenka, which is absolutly free.
Posted by Sachin
Buddha once said that "You don't have to believe what people told you about Buddhism. Meditate and prove it to yourself."
I would compare Buddhism with science. It is like as you study deeper into science, you will notice it's not really that different from Buddhism.
I would ask "Do you believe in after life?" Just relate it with a simple science rule. "Energy does not disappear it is changed into another form."
I believe that when we die our spirit just don't vanish. First our spiritual energy would scattered out and then slowly build up again and form another life form.
For me, I'm a Buddhist. But I don't worship Buddha like an idol like other people do. But I highly respect him. I have my own belief that he is just a regular man with a very high IQ. He thinks very deeply about the mother nature and uncovered the secrets of life and death himself. Maybe he even learned to control his own spirit. You would be asking, then why did he tell the some unreal and impossible stories to the people. For that, I believe not only Buddhism but, all the religions have the same concept. Having peace in your mind. Which is avoiding violence, anger, your endless desires, and you attaching to your things around you. Fear of going to hell would be like a encouragement for normal people to try the religious things and eventually find out what really is the main point. So, he makes up very good example stories so that people would have that concept in their minds. And as you know, different views means different stories, which is the reason we have many unreal stories today.
By meditating you will get your mind in peace and you will be able to think about more abstract things about life deeply. And relating it with some simple logic.
It just what I think about my religion. No other bad intentions.
Posted by William
if your remember in the first or second chapter dawkins mentions buddhism and jainisms as ways of life and unlike any religion that he criticizes in the book.
closing eyes at what you dont want to see eh?
Posted by nikhil
This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the word, "karma". Though karma has been used to justify social inequalities throughout hinduism's past and even with present day social group burakumin in Japan...just like any religion or social group, there are always extremes and different interpretations.
Karma is a tool to understand the importance of one's actions. Whatever action you do has a complete and total effect on the entire universe because we are all interrelated.
Educate yourself on these Buddhist principles before you critique it from an ignorant standpoint.
Posted by Katherine Van Bebber
You seemed to be confused between Buddhism and cultural elements mixed together sir.
Haven't you notice when you were visiting your Thai wife's family that there were also have their King and Queen pictures hanging on the wall?
you should ask her if there were any people in her country worship (like when someone does to god) their past kings like the Rama V?
Most Thai are idolatrous, they 're more like off-the-rail Buddhists.
You throw them a mysterious black stone and they'll lit incenses, candles and start worship it to death.
Posted by paul
Intoxicants, and other drugs, have been the time-honoured way for humans to deal with suffering. No need to be concerned about the state of the world or one's own suffering or the agony of a loved-one. Just 'hit-the-bottle', to use a modern expression. Drugs are reality-distorters and, sometimes, reality-blockers. The myriad varieties of Buddhism, whether theistic or non-theistic, are merely subsets of this attitude. I view such attitudes as despicable and treat them with contempt.
Posted by David Miller
"It seems to me that after giving up on their childhood beliefs, they think closing the Bible means closing the book on all spirituality. For instance, I have yet to hear of an atheist who delved deeply into Buddhism, Taoism or Vedanta."
A bigger question to me is always, "why believe in these things?" I don't understand why people feel the need to spend their life searching for a religion or philosophy. Why are any of them needed?
I am an atheist because I believe in what I've been given reason to believe. I haven't been given any reason to believe that Karma exists or that there are any sort of balancing forces of good and evil in this world. It would be nice if these things did exist but favorability won't create reality.
Posted by Ryan
On your last question, of course you can. You can believe whatever you want. As long as it makes you happy, and it harms no one, then go for it.
It is sad to say that most lay Buddhists (and many monks in the poorer countries Thailand, Cambodia, etc are just monks because they have nothing else). I'd say that you have a very childish understanding of buddhist Karma. Do I believe that our actions come back on us? Of course. You can observe that. If I lie a lot, people will not trust me, and I'll end up with no friends. It's regretable to hear about the little boy. Is it possible they did something in a past life, such as killing many people, or stealing complusively? Yeah,, why not? Do you think, if I were to not get caught by the police, if I did as my base ego wanted, that I wouldn't receive that action back on me in some form? Could it have been something the parents done? Of course. If they smoked, drank, drugs etc then its perfectly reasonable to suspect that birth defects may happen.
Now granted, we shouldn't say or think, or believe they deserve it. We shouldn't find fault. That just Samsara for you. Bad and good things happen to us all. They are not the same person they were, just a a naughty little child may grow up to be a noble saintly old man. We should treat everyone with love and dignity.
I suggest that you do some research on the subject. Buddhism actually has many things that can benefit our society. Don't listen to a laity. Because most of the time the native born buddhists know next to nothing about Buddhism.
I'd like to address what you said about the monks. Yes, they aren't saints. They do not claim to be. They live a rigorous life, and they dedicate their time to the laity, and to teaching, maintaining the temple. I was a monk myself for a bit. It's very difficult. The people respect the monks because they understand that part. And trust me, most monks stay busy, either upkeeping the temple, or helping the community. And yes, there are bad monks, but name one man-made system that is free of error.
Modern day atheism has gotten horrible to the point of them being as bad as Fundamentalist Christians. But I like Dawkins to some extent, this is a short clip of him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDKzq2nZtVA
Posted by Justin Clodfelter
There are several different causes in the human world, these include karma, but also include non alive physical laws, and the laws governing life. So actually deformity, in my opinion, is caused by the laws governing life and has nothing to do with karma. Also, though those with a deformity may suffer, as long as they are born in the human realm, there is no reason why they too cannot achieve enlightenment. Furthermore, this flaw in the concept of karma, and I agree it's a flaw, does not invalidate karma, it would only necessitates a "but" statement.
Posted by Michael March
Hello Clifford, Please contact me about your article on Buddhism which I find very interesting. But, also to be in contact again. Robyn
Posted by Robyn
Seeing one's deformity or other serious problems as an expression of the working of karma would seem to be soothing, likely to decrease the possibility of bitterness, even empowering. It's a useful way to reframe the problems we can face in the world. It doesn't change the disability or the possibility of alleviating it medically or the inherent need for others to be compassionate about it. At the very least it is harmless.
Posted by mindbird
If it is true, the world is getting more corrupted n if u believe in karma, they should be more animals n a decreasing amount of humans. But y does our population keep increasing along with the animals
Posted by Sean
I was born in Thailand. 99.99...% the Buddhists in any country really don't know a thing about what is Buddhism. Many years passed I just realized Buddhism was found by a Hindu prince, how to reach Nirvana or stop Rebirth or whatever one wants to call it. He Buddha claimed to remembered all his countless past lives, and further said he was not the 1st Buddha nor he as the last. Not even that he warned his followers not to use him as an object of worshiping. If everyone is going to be Buddha then why worshipping Buddhas, why not just practice his ideology instead? Tha's why I don't believe in Buddhism anymore. They are fake. Look at Thailand,Cambodia, Buma. As much as they claimed to be peacefully Buddhists, but the facts, they are enemies for eternity. Almost all temples are corruped, and sex scandal, and Cambodian Buddhists are the worse one, because they have forme Khmer Rouge killers as a head monks. From what I read about Buddha, he was truly a good man, but I don't believe anymore Buddhism.
From Ex Buddhist
Posted by destin lee
Buddha himself has said people have to beleive if there is something reasonable ,they don't have to beleive blindly.
Posted by jay
It's sad to see that religions and even philosophies have come to this, although indeed it was predicted by the initiators of those religions and philosophies.
The dreadful sadness is that were religions anything to do with God or Those Concepts, they would offer startlingly acute and irrefutable truths, in pleasant ways or unpleasant, not the usual reiterations reduced to piffle and drivel enough to send stone to sleep, delivered in fancy dress.
The religions and philosophies have not translated the ancient meanings with any coherence for today's inquisitive minds or the laity, so from that it’s self evident that God or Those Concepts have nothing to do with today's religions or philosophies.
Until God or Those Concepts offer a translator of the truths, the laity and inquisitive minds will sadly remain ignorant, and continue in all the follies that ignorance brings.
Do the religions and philosophies expect a 'translator' to drop from the skies on a chariot of gold? Perhaps carrying a scroll signed in glittering letters by Shiva; transform from a golden Buddha into a human; arise from the stones of Mecca... et cetera, FFS.
Posted by TheSnipe
What is the little ladder for on the shrines
Posted by Jeannette Jones
(I am Atheist, I do pick at and take up some Shinto/Buddhist/Confucianism teachings through the eyes of an atheist)There are many different type and sub-types of Buddhism, in fact the Buddha said that (paraphrased) "You should question my teachings, what's right for me and my other followers may not be right for you." Not all Buddhists fallow the teaching of reincarnation yet take on the idea of karma or take on reincarnation and drop karma, or just trash both. Worship in Buddhism is mainly meditation and less prayer, more self displeasure than anything else. As far as monks and nuns go, I see them as the honor roll of Buddhism,worth acknowledgement and council but not much more.
For me, I do not believe in Buddhism because there is no faith. All of their stories are legends. Nothing was proved. I have no trust in such a religion. For example, the story of Buddha. Can you believe that the Buddha was able to walk right after he was born? I did not believe it.
Posted by Tamar
I believe in Judaism. There is a faith in this religion. More realistic. It is said when you practice Buddhism, your life becomes poor. Most of Buddhists are poor. On the other hand, the others are rich. Comparing Buddhism and Judaism is like comparing Mac and Apple. Of course, we like Apple.
Posted by Tamar
don't belive legands.they are for poor,uneducated people.it destroy the core of buddhism "reson and result".buddhism is much more complecated.only few persons able to undersatand it.even some monks can't understand it after studing 60 years
Posted by HASHAN
It is patronising of s. Dhamika to suggest that only the poorly educated and peasants would believe what they believe. In The UK I have met many well educated buddhists who believe their unhappiness and poor health is a direct result of their Karma and past lives. At Buddhist centres they teach this as fact. I have also heard many suggestions that if someone is aggressive to you on the street it is because they are responding to something within you not themselves. These people were all better educated than me but they were the fools, not I. Buddism stinks.
Posted by Ruby
I've been reading a few articles regarding "why Buddhism is wrong?" and I seem to find an awful lot of misconceptions, criticism and doubts regarding Karma and reincarnation. please let me explain what Karma means very simply and accurately. so let me tell you the solid definition of Karma. Karma purely translates in to the world "action". we all engage in actions everyday(washing, cooking, lying basically anything and everything) and sometimes we do things that are unaware to our senses(unintentionally) and some times we act upon our thoughts and carryout an action accordingly(intentionally). for example a person will accidentally step on a spider and kill it, completely unaware that it was there before and another person would just kill a spider that was on a desk just because he/she was scared of it. what do you think will bring a consequence? well the one that was inspired by the thought of fear which turned in to anger and then in to disgust would of course.(one might argue that these feelings didn't take place all at once but most humans are incapable of keeping track of ALL of our emotions it is our nature but what is important is that we control our emotions and impulses meaning think before doing or saying something, or in other words be sensitive to the environment, nature and people around you that is what Buddhism is about! be mindful of yourself)
here's another scenario that people get wrong- 'am I held guilty of all the sins I've done as a 4 year old?' of course not! when you were four years old did you understand what is right or wrong? the moral thing to do in any situation? nope. Therefore it is no a sin, a child's thoughts aren't developed as an adult's thoughts, they are still learning to adopt to this amazing world, experimenting and discovering and they may slap the mother and laugh but as he grows he realizes that it is wrong because it learns how and why it is wrong through parents, teachers and guides.
so basically there are two types of karma,
*sachetanika karma(in pali Sanskrit)- actions done intentionally
*achetanika karma - actions done unintentionally
moving on to what you called "prayers"
well, they are not prayers to a God, they are called "sutra", which are the exact words of lord Buddha, people keep repeating them or memorizing them because they are like "inspiration quotes" you cannot rely on them to achieve nirvana directly but it is for us to help in our everyday life(it inspires you to do more good), for some people it is like listening to a meaningful song after a heavy day, so you get the idea right?
next stop- reincarnation
first of all it is your choice to believe in it or not, but its simply saying everything works in a cycle just like mother nature, take the water cycle or a life of a tree it works the same way. everything that has a beginning always has an end, it is the true Dharma of the cosmos. next, if you commit merit, you can get a better life as a human or a deity. you will be rewarded but if you commit sin you'll be born as an animal or a demon. so if you do good karma you will be given a better life and a better ability to commit merit which will lead to nirvana but if you commit sin you have less chances of reaching nirvana because your ability to do good is weakened while in the state of an animal or demon. furthermore reincarnation depends on loads of other factors therefore do not be misguided(I'm trying to keep it simple, but if you are interested you could always find out.:D)
on to the next question- "why do people meditate, what's the point?
remember when I told you about karma I said it's about controlling your mind and being mindful? meditation is a training method to boost your ability to consider every aspect and being free from instant reactions. the more you exercise your brain through meditation, the more it helps you to block distractions, to focus and control unwanted and dangerous emotions. this is where you start developing wisdom. meditation therefore cleanses your mind if you do it correctly.(everyday tip, but still a major starting point to success in life as well as achieving enlightenment)
there, that's everything done but Buddhism is definitely not what you expect to be as short and easy, it is a deep science but lazy people tend to stop halfway and give up. this is why it leaves you with so many doubts, so please do not criticize any religion by just taking a few basic facts in to consideration. also keep in mind that the main purpose of religion is to guide people to be outstanding humans, it doesn't matter if you follow a religion or not but as long as you do the right thing in life instead of pointing fingers and judging, religion doesn't matter, it is just a way society uses to identify you as an individual. so I think that we should have equal respect to each and every religion that tries to produce better people and help out and contribute to make our world a better place. :)
note: this a very brief exploration of the themes karma and reincarnation, it may not contain 100% accurate information, spelling or grammar but I hope you find it useful. thanks.
Posted by savini
"Buddhism...it is a deep science but lazy people tend to stop halfway and give up"
That's very convenient thing to say as it implies that anyone who doubts Buddhism is "lazy". A conclusion which is founded upon the premise that Buddhism is a "deep science", which was not proved by the commentator "savini" in the long text of the comment.
I was raised a Buddhist, but, I believe that this faith makes less logical sense than Christianity does. The Buddha left his wife and child to run off an seek enlightenment. This is immoral when judged by modern standards of morality. Therefore, the religion is founded upon an act of parental neglect and the reneging of the vows of marriage. How is this right conduct? It is egoistic, narcissistic conduct. If this individual was truly exceptional, he would not have married and conceived a child that he was responsible for to begin with.
Furthermore, I agree with the post author that Buddhism targets the idea of Nirvana and that Nirvana is achieving "nothingness". Our race, the human race has been evolving for billions of years. After all those years of becoming better by developing empathy and the capacity for self-control in order to enjoy life without infringing on the free will of others, according to Buddhism, we should aim at overcoming all desire. But desire to survive in the face of adversity is what drives evolution. It is a part of who we are. Being a slave to desire is morally wrong but so is renouncing it. Renouncing desire is logically as cowardly as being a slave to it. We've evolved as a race, because of desire to survive by being better. This desire for nirvana is also a desire and the target of nirvana is to stop desiring things???
The ideas Buddhism is founded on, just are not smart, they don't make sense to me and this argument that something is complex (Buddhism) without logical proof is simply an appeal for blind faith by the misguided.
I think Buddhism is misguided and creates a haven for the misguided who are not smart enough to see the cracks of the premises upon which it is founded.
Posted by Me
"Intoxicants, and other drugs, have been the time-honoured way for humans to deal with suffering. No need to be concerned about the state of the world or one's own suffering or the agony of a loved-one. Just 'hit-the-bottle', to use a modern expression. Drugs are reality-distorters and, sometimes, reality-blockers. The myriad varieties of Buddhism, whether theistic or non-theistic, are merely subsets of this attitude. I view such attitudes as despicable and treat them with contempt."
Posted by David Miller
Um, why should anyone accept your statement that the varieties of Buddhism are just subsets of "this attitude" [distorting or blocking reality with drugs]? You provide no reasons or arguments for something that is far from self-evident, if not complete nonsense. Your comment that such attitudes are despicable and deserving of contempt is thoroughly ironic because it is precisely your comment that is despicable and deserving of contempt.
Posted by Thomas Motley