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5 hours ago, mererdog said:

That is only true for some forms of Buddhism. There are Buddhists who consider Buddhas to be divine figures capable of answering prayers and getting people into an afterlife paradise. In that context, it would matter whether or not any specific Buddha existed.

 

 

I'm sorry to hear that.  I didn't know that things in the Buddhist world had degenerated that far.     :blink:  

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6 hours ago, VonNoble said:

Dan56,

 

i have zero difficulty experiencing wonder in nature.    Only , for me, it points to evolution that is still unfolding.   None of proves that a Supreme Being was involved.   In fact the most plausible explations for the Big Bang are just beginning to be be explored.

 

Of course- for a person of faith- none of this works as a reasonable answer... and I accept that.

 

Thank you for a gentle response that explains nicely the chasm.    We have the same appreciation and sense of wonder....we merely attribute the origin to different sources.

 

It would seem one version takes place in a much longer time frame....converging proof from several areas of science pointing to probable connecting points and facts.

 

von

 

 

Yes,  the choice is either Creationism or Accidentalism ...  I personally find the complexity of all that exist to be an impossible accident. There can't be an explanation for a Big Bang unless it demonstrates a cause, and since none exist, we're back to square one "God".  Here's a semi-interesting 6 minute clip; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZLzLVAUJiU

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34 minutes ago, Dan56 said:

 

Yes,  the choice is either Creationism or Accidentalism ...  I personally find the complexity of all that exist to be an impossible accident. There can't be an explanation for a Big Bang unless it demonstrates a cause, and since none exist, we're back to square one "God".  Here's a semi-interesting 6 minute clip; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZLzLVAUJiU

 

Thanks for sharing info.   Information exchange is good. 

I remain QUITE convinced evolution is not an accident.   As noted the old understanding of the Big Bang might have had gaps that the current and credible research allows for plausible explanations and probably inching forward of proof.      So we differ (again) on the conclusion of the evidence.   You will hold (and should) to the explanation of God.  I would not try an sway you.   Your belief is working for you!    You do not require MY opinion of things to have a decent and moral life.   

 

I find it important to note  - we agree in large part on the code by which we live.   That allows for tolerance and respect.

I am okay with more than one right way to have a moral society.  

von

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1 hour ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

I'm sorry to hear that.  I didn't know that things in the Buddhist world had degenerated that far.     :blink:  

 

In the vast majority of instances it is NOT AT ALL extreme...so you observations are largely valid.    In the vast majority of instances it is as it has always been.

 

But you will notice in Myanmar for example - there is an increasing violent conflict between Buddhists and Muslims (some of it blamed on ethnicity, some blamed on nationalism, some blamed on religious intolerance)...and so it goes...which is a bit aside of the original point here...

some sects of Buddhism are exactly as mererdog explained it.  

von 

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44 minutes ago, VonNoble said:

 

In the vast majority of instances it is NOT AT ALL extreme...so you observations are largely valid.    In the vast majority of instances it is as it has always been.

 

But you will notice in Myanmar for example - there is an increasing violent conflict between Buddhists and Muslims (some of it blamed on ethnicity, some blamed on nationalism, some blamed on religious intolerance)...and so it goes...which is a bit aside of the original point here...

some sects of Buddhism are exactly as mererdog explained it.  

von 

 

 

I'm not a Buddhist.  I wonder why this bothers me so much.  It does.  

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Just now, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

I'm not a Buddhist.  I wonder why this bothers me so much.  It does.  

 

I can relate.    Several years ago when Clueless Git (who is a Buddhist) was posting  - I was surprised to learn that there was any (as in history) violence connected with Buddhism.  I had some ideal that the monks the world over were peace loving non-voilent entities.  And that NONE worshipped the actual dude - Buddha -  as anything but an guy with a useful approach to life.   If quotes from Buddha about himself are to be believed - he was adamant that he was not a deity.  

 

Yet, somehow - followers somewhere ignored the earliest writing and even the oral traditions and took it in a new direction.   In a somewhat interesting side note  - - -   none of Shakespeare's plays that we have now were written by Shakespeare.  Two men who were his contemporaries started interviewing all of the actors from Shakespeare's theater (seven years after Shakespeare's death) and they all collaborated with their various speaking parts as recalled by the actors.....and what we have now is their collection.   The did use some scraps and bits of scripts and quartos that survived....but the plays as we know them - were not wholly recorded by Shakespeare.   They, like many other things - were compiled after is death. 

 

Too with Buddhism.....less than 100 years after his death...while followers trained by "the" Buddha were still alive and able - the records of Buddha's message started to be recorded.....and yet - even though it is clearly stated (as mentioned above) that Buddha was NOT a god  ...fringe groups splinter off. 

 

Buddha expressly did not WANT his teachings to be recorded. He believed the message should remain simple enough to remember by anyone one any where.   Practical guy in that regard. 

 

I dunno if any of that helps.   Maybe not.   

 

von 

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1 hour ago, Dan56 said:

 

Yes,  the choice is either Creationism or Accidentalism ...  I personally find the complexity of all that exist to be an impossible accident. There can't be an explanation for a Big Bang unless it demonstrates a cause, and since none exist, we're back to square one "God".  Here's a semi-interesting 6 minute clip; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZLzLVAUJiU

 

"Accidentalism"?  Evolution is not an accident.  Evolution is a process.  The process was natural selection.

 

I watched the You Tube video.  I am not a physicist.  A real physicist, like Stephen Hawking or Lawrence Krauss would not have difficulty responding to this challenge.  As ill equipped as I am with the math, even I have some familiarity with their ideas.  It becomes less of a task to discuss these ideas, if we begin by not misrepresenting them.  

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27 minutes ago, VonNoble said:

 

I can relate.    Several years ago when Clueless Git (who is a Buddhist) was posting  - I was surprised to learn that there was any (as in history) violence connected with Buddhism.  I had some ideal that the monks the world over were peace loving non-voilent entities.  And that NONE worshipped the actual dude - Buddha -  as anything but an guy with a useful approach to life.   If quotes from Buddha about himself are to be believed - he was adamant that he was not a deity.  

 

Yet, somehow - followers somewhere ignored the earliest writing and even the oral traditions and took it in a new direction.   In a somewhat interesting side note  - - -   none of Shakespeare's plays that we have now were written by Shakespeare.  Two men who were his contemporaries started interviewing all of the actors from Shakespeare's theater (seven years after Shakespeare's death) and they all collaborated with their various speaking parts as recalled by the actors.....and what we have now is their collection.   The did use some scraps and bits of scripts and quartos that survived....but the plays as we know them - were not wholly recorded by Shakespeare.   They, like many other things - were compiled after is death. 

 

Too with Buddhism.....less than 100 years after his death...while followers trained by "the" Buddha were still alive and able - the records of Buddha's message started to be recorded.....and yet - even though it is clearly stated (as mentioned above) that Buddha was NOT a god  ...fringe groups splinter off. 

 

Buddha expressly did not WANT his teachings to be recorded. He believed the message should remain simple enough to remember by anyone one any where.   Practical guy in that regard. 

 

I dunno if any of that helps.   Maybe not.   

 

von 

 

I suspect that things started to go wrong with the class of professional Buddhist monk.  What happens when there are too many lawyers?  The laws get complicated.  What happens when you get too many professional clergy?  Simple truths become complicated -- then they stop being true.

 

There is no reason to pick on Buddhism.  Look at what the Jesus movement turned into.  Taking Christian mythology at it's face value, look what happened.  One man and twelve disciples.  What do we have today?  Give or take, about 40,000 different varieties of Christianity.  I suppose there were too many seminaries, giving out advanced degrees.  A priest or minister with a Ph.D. in theology, has to justify that degree, so he's going to make trouble.

 

I'm in a bad mood.  I'll stop now.

 

:mellow:

 

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11 hours ago, VonNoble said:

This bemuses me. ^_^

von

 

As I've said, before, there are certain expressions in Hebrew and Greek that don't translate well into English, because English is rather restricted in terms of expression.

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5 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

  What happens when you get too many professional clergy?  Simple truths become complicated -- then they stop being true.

:mellow:

 

 

I am finding myself nodding as I read this....

von

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3 hours ago, ULCneo said:

As I've said, before, there are certain expressions in Hebrew and Greek that don't translate well into English, because English is rather restricted in terms of expression.

 

As opposed to what ? I am curious to know.

I have always found English covers things nicely for me.    

In my family, combined,  we have speakers of at least eight languages between us.

Including one who speaks Hebrew and one who studied in Greece for years. 

We also have a French speaker and a German speaker in the family.    Half the family uses Spanish regularly.

 

It is all very unscientific but since all of them are native English speakers and all think English is just as expressive as any other language....I am wondering how you concluded otherwise?    Just curious.  You may be right.  But coming from a bit of a linguistic  oriented family I am asking for additional help.    If you can indicate evidence that English is less expressive than Hebrew or Greek ...it will be a fun topic over the holidays. However i am not taking them on.... without some information to defend myself.   :blink:

 

(I am not one of the gifted kids.....I am pretty well tapped out at three languages and I struggle in all of them.)   I have credentials that say I am fine with them but in reality it is very difficult for me.   Not so for my siblings....one of whom picks up languages faster than I make pocket change..... so I put credence in their opinions in things connected to language.  Perhaps you can point me in the direction to research your assertion?  Or re-claify if I misunderstood. 

thx

 

von

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11 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

I suspect that things started to go wrong with the class of professional Buddhist monk. 

It is also about the process of assimilation. As Buddhism spread, it was picked up by cultures that already had deeply entrenched religions. Rather than simply replacing the old with the new, many cultures would reframe the old stories in a Buddhist context and rename the old gods using Buddhist terminology.

You bring up a good point, though. I have often wondered how the need of the clergy to acquire food from nonclergy has shaped the religious landscape through the ages. The constant need to prove your importance in order to keep the old begging bowl full can't have been without effect 

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40 minutes ago, mererdog said:

It is also about the process of assimilation. As Buddhism spread, it was picked up by cultures that already had deeply entrenched religions. Rather than simply replacing the old with the new, many cultures would reframe the old stories in a Buddhist context and rename the old gods using Buddhist terminology.

You bring up a good point, though. I have often wondered how the need of the clergy to acquire food from nonclergy has shaped the religious landscape through the ages. The constant need to prove your importance in order to keep the old begging bowl full can't have been without effect 

 

In the Bible, this traces back to Temple Judaism, explained in Leviticus.  That is, the Levitican priesthood.  There is a lot of detail about how animals are selected for sacrifice.  How the animal is killed on the altar.  How the flesh is cooked.  Who eats the meat.  Surprise.  It's the priests.  In a society where meat is hard to come by, the priests are eating the Temple sacrifices.

 

The regulations for the Temple grain sacrifices, are also laid out in Leviticus.  Surprise.  The grains are selected, cooked and eaten by the priests.  

 

Leviticus is many things.  One of them is a cookbook.  It's good to be a priest.

 

Now a brief look at the rest of society.  Agriculture is a hard lifestyle.  The work is hard and tedious.  Being a farmer was not a great way to live.  When it's time to pick up a sword in defense of Home and Temple -- life gets downright nasty and dangerous.

 

It's good to be a priest.  The cultures change.  The details change.  Always, it's good to be the clergy.  Back to Buddhism.  What would you like to do with your life?  Being a rice farmer is a lot of hard, tedious, work.  Or you can spend your life reciting Sutras, chanting, meditation and ritual.  Surprise.  Feeding the monk is good karma.  The best.

 

Professional beggars always think that charity is godly.  Or Godly.  It's one of those things that never changes.

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On 10/27/2017 at 3:58 PM, VonNoble said:

 

  You do not require MY opinion of things to have a decent and moral life.   

 

I find it important to note  - we agree in large part on the code by which we live.   That allows for tolerance and respect.

I am okay with more than one right way to have a moral society.  

von

 

The problem with some Christians is that they believe you do need their opinion to have a decent and moral life.. They are convinced that non-believers have no code to live by.. Whereby, atheist having no standard of ethics or a primary base of principles to establish morality, can't possibly maintain a distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. But I don't hold to that, because you don't need a fundamental rule that says "Don't commit murder or steal from others" to be morally upright. Religion does not replace, nor is it a substitute for commonsense.

 

On 10/27/2017 at 5:15 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

"Accidentalism"?  Evolution is not an accident.  Evolution is a process.  The process was natural selection.

 

 

I agree, evolution is not an accident, its a theory of how things evolved into what they are after some primary living cells accidentally came into existence.

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2 hours ago, Dan56 said:

 

The problem with some Christians is that they believe you do need their opinion to have a decent and moral life.. They are convinced that non-believers have no code to live by.. Whereby, atheist having no standard of ethics or a primary base of principles to establish morality, can't possibly maintain a distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. But I don't hold to that, because you don't need a fundamental rule that says "Don't commit murder or steal from others" to be morally upright. Religion does not replace, nor is it a substitute for commonsense.

 

Dan56,

I appreciate your being able to distinguish yourself from "some Christians".

The problem for non-Christians is the assumption that standards of ethics ....and base principles of established morality can ONLY be defined in terms of Christianity.    Much of the moral world is not Christian... and still much of the world (the non-Christian part) is ALSO living morally and much if by alternative codes....not Christian codes but codes nonetheless.  So the basic assumption that non-Christians are without standards is false.  That is more than my opinion.  It is a very large world with a very large population.  The immoral behavior disdained and unacceptable crosses everyone's life - thankfully, in a small % of the overall population.  The evildoers are from EVERY religion and also from those with no religion.   No lock on dysfunction in any camp.  It exists everywhere.  Conversely so does decency...in every camp. 

 

From my perspective it is far beyond commonsense that one does not do harm to others.    It is a code of doing better than yesterday, learning from mistakes (by admitting them to oneself) and figuring out how in the heck to stop making the same ones over and over.  Prayer works for some.   Approaching it more practically works for others. 

 

An example.   My father was Catholic and thereby Christian.   He was also an alcoholic.  After a horrific accident he made a vow, in a church, with plenty of witnesses..... if God allowed  my mother to live he would never take another drop of alcohol.  He was a man of deep, deep faith and once he promised this to God - he lived up to it.  For him - that worked. 

 

However, I have siblings who have zero faith in anything (government, deities, themselves) ...and they too battle alcohol.  To tell one of them to pray over it would not have helped them in the slightest.   However, a more practical approach:  Hey!  Lets think about the fact your entire world outside of work involved hanging out at the bar with your bar friends.    When you decide to stop drinking how are you going to fill those four hours a night?     That was a more practical solution (and aided by rehab specialists that too worked.) 

 

So the moral aspects of our choices can be intrinsic (because we see we are causing problems for ourselves and others) (or they tell us we are and we believe the person telling us) .....or because we feel we have "sinned" and need to seek forgiveness and amend.  Two different roads ending in the same BETTER and more moral lifestyle .

 

Your recognition of two points of view is very much appreciated...it keeps learning possible. 

 

My understanding of the origins of evolution are not aligned with yours - but I certainly can understand why you opt for the view you have - it is consistent with your life and that is important for peace for any of us in our own life.    It is right for you because it works well for you. 

 

 

von

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I read a book by the Dalai Lama recently in which he states that he doesn't seek to convert anyone away from their current religion, because if it works to help them to be better people he wouldn't want to steer anyone off that path.  There are many cases where religion(in any form really, not just Christianity) DOES indeed help people to be better people.  There are lots of people I have met that seem to have to have some rule book to live by, or they go off.  They just can't get it together without someone telling them what's right and wrong.  I don't know if they would be able to without religion, but religion is a fact of life in the world at large.  But as you said, there are plenty of morals that aren't religiously attained.  Plenty of people live moral lives without referencing the bible to solve their issues, or the Q'ran, or any other system of belief.  It really is a case by case basis, I think.

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4 hours ago, cuchulain said:

I read a book by the Dalai Lama recently in which he states that he doesn't seek to convert anyone away from their current religion, because if it works to help them to be better people he wouldn't want to steer anyone off that path.  There are many cases where religion(in any form really, not just Christianity) DOES indeed help people to be better people.  There are lots of people I have met that seem to have to have some rule book to live by, or they go off.  They just can't get it together without someone telling them what's right and wrong.  I don't know if they would be able to without religion, but religion is a fact of life in the world at large.  But as you said, there are plenty of morals that aren't religiously attained.  Plenty of people live moral lives without referencing the bible to solve their issues, or the Q'ran, or any other system of belief.  It really is a case by case basis, I think.

Everyone has a system of belief. Not everyone has a religion or belief in the supernatural.

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8 hours ago, cuchulain said:

I read a book by the Dalai Lama recently in which he states that he doesn't seek to convert anyone away from their current religion, because if it works to help them to be better people he wouldn't want to steer anyone off that path.  There are many cases where religion(in any form really, not just Christianity) DOES indeed help people to be better people.  There are lots of people I have met that seem to have to have some rule book to live by, or they go off.  They just can't get it together without someone telling them what's right and wrong.  I don't know if they would be able to without religion, but religion is a fact of life in the world at large.  But as you said, there are plenty of morals that aren't religiously attained.  Plenty of people live moral lives without referencing the bible to solve their issues, or the Q'ran, or any other system of belief.  It really is a case by case basis, I think.

 

 

You have been careful to avoid the trap of elitism.  Sadly, I have encountered Atheists who have fallen into that trap.

 

"I have outgrown religion and prayer -- but THEY still need it."

 

You're right.  There are some people who would fall apart,  if they lost  their faith.  Others have outgrown their faith -- like you -- like me -- and come alive.  As you say, it is an individual situation.

 

I am persuaded that religious persecution -- the type of thing advocated by Gnostic Bishop -- is a multi-layered disaster.  

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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