1 of 4
1
God and Ultimate Reality
Posted: 31 July 2008 12:12 PM   [ Ignore ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20

The dictionary defines god as (capitalized): the supreme or ultimate reality.  It may seem like hair-splitting, but I think those two words, ‘supreme’ and ‘ultimate’ can distinguish a religious person, such as a Christian, from an atheist.  At least, these two words can blur the line between theist and atheist.

Christians who post on this forum can’t fathom a state of mind that doesn’t sense, or feel God.  Atheism is inconceivable to them.  I posit that this is because they are including ‘ultimate reality’ in their definition of God, and ultimate reality is self-evident and all-pervasive.  This is it.

There is a reason why, when Christians are asked to show the reality or proof of their God, they don’t, like a Zen master, point to some present action, or some present object and say, “There it is.”  I say it is because they have separated their God from ultimate reality and made ‘him’ supreme and supernatural.  This may be what separates religion (which needs belief, or faith) from ultimate reality which is self-evident.

‘Supreme’ means something superior to something else.  It suggests division - more than one thing.  Ultimate reality is one thing.  It is indivisible.  There is nothing outside of it.  It is inclusive, pervasive.  It doesn’t consist of creator and ‘his’ creation, of supreme and not supreme.  There is nothing outside of ultimate reality to serve it, or worship it.  Those who see ultimate reality this way see Christians as people who are worshiping ideas that they have created about something outside of ultimate reality, that (they think) created ultimate reality.  Atheists see such behavior as one of the quirks or attributes of ultimate reality.  Can it be called a cosmic joke?  As Christians worship something outside of ‘what is’, a little red light never ceases to blink, ‘error, error, error, error’.

Obviously, there is nothing outside of everything, but most humans seem to be at a stage of mental development where, for various reasons, especially the desire to live forever, they posit something outside of everything - a supernatural cosmic parent who promises them eternal life in paradise if they will do what ‘he’ wants them to do.

For this reason I say that Christians worship a lesser God, a divided God.  He is supreme and they are his creations - they are something else.  The creations worship the supernatural Creator.

On the other hand, atheists do not worship ultimate reality.  They are part and parcel of it.  They see no need to worship themselves, or their larger body which is the Cosmos.  There may be atheists who say that ultimate reality does not exist, but such denial is only another quirk or attribute of ‘what is’, or what DOES exist.  A nihilist may say that nothing exists, but then, as an experiment, should pinch himself hard enough to say, ‘Ouch!’ 

In Zen Buddhism, ultimate reality is called ‘Buddha’, or, ‘The Way’, or, ‘the mind ground’.  (“The teaching of the mind ground is the basis of Zen study.  The mind ground is the great awareness of being as is.”)  To become a Buddha does not mean to become a god.  It means to align oneself with the Way.  The Western expression is, ‘go with the flow’.

For egotistical reasons many people, maybe most, chose to go against the flow - their life becomes an uphill battle - a battle that can even start in childhood or early adulthood - the struggle to ‘get what I want’.  Even the Christian saint wants something - eternal life.  “The Bible, Jesus, will tell me how to act, how to live, how to be good, how to be worthy, and then I can have eternal life in paradise.”

“The urge for long life is another form of greed.” - Zen

Everywhere in nature we see the impermanence of everything.  Therefore, those who want to exist forever must create a supernatural god to provide something unnatural.  Such fantasies exist within ultimate reality . . . as fantasies.  The cosmos gives rise to consciousness.  You are it.  There’s no need to cling to the self - it is a convenience to help us remember what street we live on, and where we put the car keys.

 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 July 2008 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2492
Joined  2008-04-05

Personally I have a hard time using the words ‘reality’ and ‘God’ in the same discussion. grin

 Signature 

‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 July 2008 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20
McCreason - 31 July 2008 04:20 PM

Personally I have a hard time using the words ‘reality’ and ‘God’ in the same discussion. grin

But with every post, your signature raises the subject.

 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 July 2008 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  342
Joined  2007-10-30
unsmoked - 31 July 2008 04:12 PM

The dictionary defines god as (capitalized): the supreme or ultimate reality.  It may seem like hair-splitting, but I think those two words, ‘supreme’ and ‘ultimate’ can distinguish a religious person, such as a Christian, from an atheist.  At least, these two words can blur the line between theist and atheist.

Christians who post on this forum can’t fathom a state of mind that doesn’t sense, or feel God.  Atheism is inconceivable to them.  I posit that this is because they are including ‘ultimate reality’ in their definition of God, and ultimate reality is self-evident and all-pervasive.  This is it.

There is a reason why, when Christians are asked to show the reality or proof of their God, they don’t, like a Zen master, point to some present action, or some present object and say, “There it is.”  I say it is because they have separated their God from ultimate reality and made ‘him’ supreme and supernatural.  This may be what separates religion (which needs belief, or faith) from ultimate reality which is self-evident.

‘Supreme’ means something superior to something else.  It suggests division - more than one thing.  Ultimate reality is one thing.  It is indivisible.  There is nothing outside of it.  It is inclusive, pervasive.  It doesn’t consist of creator and ‘his’ creation, of supreme and not supreme.  There is nothing outside of ultimate reality to serve it, or worship it.  Those who see ultimate reality this way see Christians as people who are worshiping ideas that they have created about something outside of ultimate reality, that (they think) created ultimate reality.  Atheists see such behavior as one of the quirks or attributes of ultimate reality.  Can it be called a cosmic joke?  As Christians worship something outside of ‘what is’, a little red light never ceases to blink, ‘error, error, error, error’.

Obviously, there is nothing outside of everything, but most humans seem to be at a stage of mental development where, for various reasons, especially the desire to live forever, they posit something outside of everything - a supernatural cosmic parent who promises them eternal life in paradise if they will do what ‘he’ wants them to do.

For this reason I say that Christians worship a lesser God, a divided God.  He is supreme and they are his creations - they are something else.  The creations worship the supernatural Creator.

On the other hand, atheists do not worship ultimate reality.  They are part and parcel of it.  They see no need to worship themselves, or their larger body which is the Cosmos.  There may be atheists who say that ultimate reality does not exist, but such denial is only another quirk or attribute of ‘what is’, or what DOES exist.  A nihilist may say that nothing exists, but then, as an experiment, should pinch himself hard enough to say, ‘Ouch!’ 

In Zen Buddhism, ultimate reality is called ‘Buddha’, or, ‘The Way’, or, ‘the mind ground’.  (“The teaching of the mind ground is the basis of Zen study.  The mind ground is the great awareness of being as is.”)  To become a Buddha does not mean to become a god.  It means to align oneself with the Way.  The Western expression is, ‘go with the flow’.

For egotistical reasons many people, maybe most, chose to go against the flow - their life becomes an uphill battle - a battle that can even start in childhood or early adulthood - the struggle to ‘get what I want’.  Even the Christian saint wants something - eternal life.  “The Bible, Jesus, will tell me how to act, how to live, how to be good, how to be worthy, and then I can have eternal life in paradise.”

“The urge for long life is another form of greed.” - Zen

Everywhere in nature we see the impermanence of everything.  Therefore, those who want to exist forever must create a supernatural god to provide something unnatural.  Such fantasies exist within ultimate reality . . . as fantasies.  The cosmos gives rise to consciousness.  You are it.  There’s no need to cling to the self - it is a convenience to help us remember what street we live on, and where we put the car keys.

Your introductory post is heavy on the benefit of atheism and zen but doesn’t take into account views of God which do not separate a personal being from reality.  Also, it doesn’t appear to be true to the requirement for experience of the buddha nature other than that one should not think of God as separate from reality.

As to my first objection, I can demonstrate from the writings of the prophets that God was thought to be a part of nature and at the same time outside of nature:  “he sits on the circle of the earth” versus “the voice of YHWH is upon the waters.”  In the second text, YHWH is in the position of baal the Ugarit ‘prince of the power of the air’ who was thought to be the air.

I agree that classic Christianity emphasized the transcendence of God (his supernatural attributes) but this is a part of the constantinian move to unite his empire under an orthodoxy or ‘right opinion.’  I don’t think that one needs to abandon the texts which were used in the drafting of the orthodoxy in order to embrace what you are correctly describing as the way of Zen.  Rather, I think that the eastern ideas are helping Christianity to remember her rooting in the Greco-Roman logos

If you recall the Buddha was a re-incarnation of past enlightened selves.  In Greek thought the soul was immortal (part of all that is) and, therefore, remembers the forms which could then be transferred to the consciousness of the soul in whom virtue was being cultivated as impressions in a block of softened wax (Theatetus). 

What happens in Christianity is that the idea of the forms (where the soul ‘recalls’) is made into an idea where the forms reside in God who is, then, known by those who are free from sin which can only happen as a result of the atonement.  In my view, this is a misunderstanding of the texts which were used to support the view.

Thanks for your thoughts, unsmoked.

[ Edited: 31 July 2008 12:52 PM by John Brand]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 July 2008 02:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  342
Joined  2007-10-30
unsmoked - 31 July 2008 04:12 PM

Obviously, there is nothing outside of everything, but most humans seem to be at a stage of mental development where, for various reasons, especially the desire to live forever, they posit something outside of everything - a supernatural cosmic parent who promises them eternal life in paradise if they will do what ‘he’ wants them to do.

Hi, again, unsmoked ... just a couple of questions to enlarge on my first post and more particularly on the idea of the attainment of nirvana which is comparable to the idea of living forever and the conditions which are attached to it in Jewish/Christian/Muslim thought:

(1) Are not the Five Lay Precepts conditions for nirvana? Here they are:

1. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life.
2. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given.
3. I undertake the training rule to abstain from sexual misconduct.
4. I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech.
5. I undertake the training rule to abstain from drinks and drugs that cause heedlessness.

(2) Attainment of nirvana is necessary inorder to alleviate karma, in my understanding of Buddhist teaching.  Karma is a law of cause and effect, is it not?

My point here is that to move from ‘life is dukha or unsatisfactory experience’ (First of the Four Noble Truths) tosukha which is ‘satisfying experience’ or happiness one must follow the path which avoids that which creates dukha.

I offer the Kalama Sutta as an early Buddhist text which substantiates my view.  For example, note the first question which the Buddha poses to the Kalamas:

“What do you think, Kalamas? Does greed appear in a man for his benefit or harm?”

“For his harm, venerable sir.”

“Kalamas, being given to greed, and being overwhelmed and vanquished mentally by greed, this man takes life, steals, commits adultery, and tells lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his harm and ill?”

“Yes, venerable sir.”

Another text which I would offer as an example of the Buddha’s teaching regarding the afterlife is from the Dhammapada and is called Nirayavagga - The State of Woe.  The chapter begins with “The liar goes to a woeful state, and also he who, having done (wrong), says, ``I did not.’’ Both after death become equal, men of base actions in the other world.”

I would enjoy your incorporating these teachings into your earlier comments.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 July 2008 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1814
Joined  2006-11-10
unsmoked - 31 July 2008 04:12 PM

The cosmos gives rise to consciousness.


And fire ants and smallpox.

I can see you sniffing the air around you with a serene smile.

Are you sure you shouldn’t be charging us for this wisdom ?

Pardon me Unsmoked, but I have heard this same stuff from you already a hundred times and before that I had already read it myself.

Please, oh please find something else to post about.
Frankly, all this Zen shit is making me ill.

 Signature 

“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 August 2008 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3255
Joined  2004-12-24
John Brand - 31 July 2008 04:50 PM

Your introductory post is heavy on the benefit of atheism and zen but doesn’t take into account views of God which do not separate a personal being from reality.  Also, it doesn’t appear to be true to the requirement for experience of the buddha nature other than that one should not think of God as separate from reality.

Such gods are, always in my experience, merely aspects of the cosmos (all that is or ever was or ever will be) for which we already have perfectly good terms with the label “God” plastered carelessly over the proper term, mucking everything up with all sorts of extraneous baggage when it was perfectly clear and rational before.

Byron

 Signature 

“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 August 2008 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20
Sander - 31 July 2008 06:53 PM
unsmoked - 31 July 2008 04:12 PM

The cosmos gives rise to consciousness.


And fire ants and smallpox.

I can see you sniffing the air around you with a serene smile.

Are you sure you shouldn’t be charging us for this wisdom ?

Pardon me Unsmoked, but I have heard this same stuff from you already a hundred times and before that I had already read it myself.

Please, oh please find something else to post about.
Frankly, all this Zen shit is making me ill.

Another dose (douse?) for Sander:

“The Scripture on Infinite Light says, ‘Rivers, lakes, birds, trees, and forests all invoke Buddha, Truth, and Communion.”

Like you, my cat begs to differ with this, and agrees with your line about fire ants and smallpox.  A few weeks ago he heard a rustling in the brush and crept forward to investigate.  Some kind of silent thunderbolt struck him from above, inflicting a severe wound on top of his head and in his cheek.  He never knew what hit him - God retaliating for all the mice he had tortured and killed?  For several days he lay at death’s door.  So much for the beneficence of birds, trees and forests.

A biologist writing in National Geographic said that being attacked by a great gray owl is like being hit by a 2 X 4 with nails in it.  The rustling my cat heard in the brush, I discovered later, was caused by an owl chick.  It had left the nest but had not yet learned to fly.  Mom and Dad were guarding the chick and its siblings, and feeding them.

Yes, I’m sure I shouldn’t be charging you for this wisdom.  Sam has the copyright. 

Given your nausea, I’m not sure why you read the ‘Zen shit’.  As near as I can figure, it’s like me channel-surfing past the Christian televangelists and stopping to watch with morbid fascination and horror.  Christians, as might be expected, posit that the reason I stop to watch is because God is trying to tell me something.  If he is, he is taking the wrong approach. 

Rest assured, I do not think you read my posts because you find them in any way helpful or illuminating.  Masochism?  No.  It MUST be related to my being unable to pass up the televangelists without watching them for a minute or two.  Wait a minute; being a slow reader, I can’t keep up with all the interesting posts on the forum, let alone reading the ones that DON’T interest me.  Nihilism?  That is, a deliberate wasting of one’s time in order to demonstrate that wasting one’s time is no different from NOT wasting one’s time?

 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 August 2008 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
unsmoked - 01 August 2008 03:40 PM

Rest assured, I do not think you read my posts because you find them in any way helpful or illuminating.

Here’s the thing, unsmoked: There is a type of person who posts a lot of quotes from “wise sages”. What up wid dat? Is it a substitute for thinking? Sure, you can contend that any string of words is worth contemplating. Eventually. If you do it deeply enough.

Put it down.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 August 2008 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20
Salt Creek - 01 August 2008 04:18 PM
unsmoked - 01 August 2008 03:40 PM

Rest assured, I do not think you read my posts because you find them in any way helpful or illuminating.

Here’s the thing, unsmoked: There is a type of person who posts a lot of quotes from “wise sages”. What up wid dat? Is it a substitute for thinking? Sure, you can contend that any string of words is worth contemplating. Eventually. If you do it deeply enough.

Put it down.

Unsmoked:  OK.  I put it down.  Now what?

Salt Creek:  I see you cannot put it down.

 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 August 2008 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  342
Joined  2007-10-30
SkepticX - 01 August 2008 08:55 AM
John Brand - 31 July 2008 04:50 PM

Your introductory post is heavy on the benefit of atheism and zen but doesn’t take into account views of God which do not separate a personal being from reality.  Also, it doesn’t appear to be true to the requirement for experience of the buddha nature other than that one should not think of God as separate from reality.

Such gods are, always in my experience, merely aspects of the cosmos (all that is or ever was or ever will be) for which we already have perfectly good terms with the label “God” plastered carelessly over the proper term, mucking everything up with all sorts of extraneous baggage when it was perfectly clear and rational before.

Byron

Agreed. But why the evident propensity for human beings to “muck everything up with all sorts of extraneous baggage”? What human interest does it serve?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 August 2008 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3255
Joined  2004-12-24
John Brand - 01 August 2008 05:04 PM

Agreed. But why the evident propensity for human beings to “muck everything up with all sorts of extraneous baggage”? What human interest does it serve?

The exaggerated sense of self-importance perhaps? (If things are merely as they seem they’re just not neato enough for me!) combined with intellectual laziness.

It’s the cheap route to finding awe and wonder and experiencing a sense of the profound. As Carl Sagan put it:
“Science has beauty, power, and majesty that can provide spiritual as well as practical fulfillment.  But superstition and pseudoscience keep getting in the way, providing easy answers, casually pressing our awe buttons, and cheapening the experience.”

I think he included religion under the term superstition.

Byron

 Signature 

“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 August 2008 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  342
Joined  2007-10-30
SkepticX - 01 August 2008 10:51 PM
John Brand - 01 August 2008 05:04 PM

Agreed. But why the evident propensity for human beings to “muck everything up with all sorts of extraneous baggage”? What human interest does it serve?

The exaggerated sense of self-importance perhaps? (If things are merely as they seem they’re just not neato enough for me!) combined with intellectual laziness.

It’s the cheap route to finding awe and wonder and experiencing a sense of the profound. As Carl Sagan put it:
“Science has beauty, power, and majesty that can provide spiritual as well as practical fulfillment.  But superstition and pseudoscience keep getting in the way, providing easy answers, casually pressing our awe buttons, and cheapening the experience.”

I think he included religion under the term superstition.

Byron

He probably did.  In an extended dialogue with Keith (First Post, Introduction ..., he introduced me to Carl Sagan’s Dragons of Eden: The Brain and the Chariot where Sagan develops some ideas of what is happening with religion and the old brain (R-Complex).  He quotes the American philosopher Susanne Langer:

“Human life is shot through and through with ritual, as it is also with animalian practices. It is an intricate fabric of reason and rite, of knowledge and religion, prose and poetry, fact and dream….  Ritual, like art, is essentially the active termination of a symbolic transformation of experience. It is born in the cortex, not in the ‘old brain’; but it is born of an elementary need of that organ, once the organ has grown to human estate.”

Except for the fact that the R-complex is in the “old brain,” this seems to be right on target. (Sagan)

From my understanding of Sagan (very little at this point) the R-complex would be a bundle of automatic processes which easily succomb to “superstition and pseudoscience.” He compares the brain to a charioteer drawn by two horses:  “The metaphor of the chariot ... similar to MacLean’s neural chassis; the two horses, to the R-complex and the limbic cortex; and the charioteer barely in control of the careening chariot and horses, to the neocortex.” 

A favorite metaphor of the mind from Buddhism is the metaphor of the Elephant.  There is a chapter in the Dhammapada called The Elephant which has a similar meaning to what Sagan is getting at.  For example,

The man who is lazy and a glutton, who eats large meals and rolls in his sleep like a pig which is fed in the sty is reborn again and again.

Formerly this mind wandered about where it liked, wherever it willed, as it pleased; today, with wisdom (meditation) I shall control it as a mahout controls an elephant in rut.

Obviously, religion, in this context is only going to keep one in the vicious cycle but learning to train the ‘elephant in a rut’ is a metaphor for getting out of the cycle.

To return to my question:  Why do human beings muck up the concept of God?  Isn’t one of the biggest reasons a desire for control because of fears within the mind?  If I can create a god outside of me and, then, propitiate that god, I don’t have to worry about moving through the arduous process of change that is really required for balance, etc..  This is what I would understand as intellectual laziness.

[ Edited: 01 August 2008 07:34 PM by John Brand]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 August 2008 12:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20
John Brand - 01 August 2008 11:30 PM

To return to my question:  Why do human beings muck up the concept of God?  Isn’t one of the biggest reasons a desire for control because of fears within the mind?

Many, maybe most people want to live forever.  They look around and see that in nature, nothing is permanent.  In order to establish the conviction or ‘certainty’ that personal memories can continue after the death of the brain one has to do a lot of mucking - carry a lot of notions and ideas and beliefs.

Once a house of cards is built to support something unnatural, and it is painted with high-sounding pontifical language, then you must further establish that, NOT to believe in the paper house is a cardinal sin, a heresy.  Those who do NOT believe in the fantasy will be punished for all eternity.  It takes a ponderous amount of baggage, (thankfully contained in a book written by God that we can refer to at any time) an awful lot of mucking, superstition, and conditioning to sew this all up and maintain it.

Happily for the priests, and all those who profit from the maintenance of this unnatural phantasmagoria, most people are willing to swallow just about anything if it will convince them that their memories (and form?) will continue after they die.  Further, as Tony Parsons suggested, “It seems that the seeking mind is fascinated by struggle and complexity.”  On top of that, priests are kept in business by the fact that very few trust themselves.  The masses look to authorities to tell them what to believe, what to think and how to behave.  The more muddled it all is, the more people will think they need priests and pastors and books written by God to explain it to them. 

Imagine the gall of that stupid Zen master who said, “Luckily you are alright by yourself!”  As though humans were born complete like birds or tigers!

 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 August 2008 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3255
Joined  2004-12-24

Running with what Unsmoked wrote, at the core of all of this an individual has to consider himself more important than other nature to feel the fear that he will meet the same natural end. Though I suppose if he also feels that same fear for other beings self-importance wouldn’t be the source of the fear. I don’t think that’s very likely to be the deal in many cases though, if any.

I think John is right though. From self-importance comes the fear of death which in turn leads to fear of the lack of control over a clearly potentially deadly environment, and gods are means to convince ourselves we have a powerful advocate who can be perceived as in control. It’s all such folly though. It just seems so completely childish to play this game as if our wishful thinking had any actual effect on reality—as if reality were somehow obliged to indulge our personal sensibilities. It’s the narcissism of a two-year-old being manifest in adults. I guess when the stakes are high enough ...

Byron

 Signature 

“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 August 2008 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20
John Brand - 31 July 2008 06:26 PM

Another text which I would offer as an example of the Buddha’s teaching regarding the afterlife is from the Dhammapada and is called Nirayavagga - The State of Woe.  The chapter begins with “The liar goes to a woeful state, and also he who, having done (wrong), says, ``I did not.’’ Both after death become equal, men of base actions in the other world.”

I would enjoy your incorporating these teachings into your earlier comments.

One of Buddha’s most famous comments regarding the ‘afterlife’ goes something like this:

After hearing a talk by Gautama (Buddha) a layman said to him, “Sir, please give me a simple answer.  Is there life after death?”  Gautama replied, “If you extinguish a candle flame, then light it again, is it the same flame or a different flame?”

The religious person’s belief of personal memories continuing after the brain dies is as fantastic as a child’s belief in Santa Claus.  As SkepticX mentioned above, it is pure infantalism.  The believer will swallow just about any nonsense in order to get what he or she wants - ME FOREVER!  Very few believers, if any, ever stop to consider the unnatural freakishness of this desire.  Flying reindeer are more plausible.  What a grand, highfalutin edifice it takes to maintain such claptrap!

How else can science look on this except as a phenomenon of human evolution?  Will this infantile mentality destroy us before the species matures?  I think this is why Sam Harris wrote the ‘The End of Faith’ and lectures as he does.  The infants are pressing for the ‘end times’ before science is able to show them the truth.

The urge to compete with or eliminate other dogmas - “Your way to eternal life is false!  Mine is real!  Change or go to hell!” - continues to inspire war and suffering, with WMD’s in the offing.  It is the Red Santa and the Green Santa flying full tilt at each other with lances leveled.  There must be a better way to go than being obliterated by nonsense.

[ Edited: 03 August 2008 12:59 PM by unsmoked]
 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 4
1
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed