RE: MD On Faith

From: MarshaV (
Date: Mon Nov 01 2004 - 21:08:25 GMT

  • Next message: Platt Holden: "Re: MD Where does quality reside?"

    At 09:12 AM 11/1/2004 -0700, you wrote:

    >Suppose I said that Buddhism is bad because millions spend their
    >hard-earned money on giving offers to priests, to spin prayer wheels, etc.,
    >or because millions go around chanting "namu amida butsu" because they have
    >been told that doing so will lead them to be reborn in the Pure Land. Or
    >because many Zen monks use cribs to answer koans, and are basically serving
    >time in a monastery before they graduate so they can go out and perform
    >weddings and so forth (and get paid doing so). All of this is true (for the
    >latter, see Janwillem van der Wetterings "An Empty Mirror" -- he is by no
    >means anti-Zen, just noticed this activity when he spent time in a Japanese
    >Zen monastery). Well, I would hope you would respond by saying that, yes,
    >this is all true, but there is another, philosophical side to Buddhism,
    >which is good.

    I do not know much about Buddhism. I've read only about mindfulness, and
    nonattachment. My first exposure to Eastern thought was
    Krishnamurti. I've read all his books. What appealed most to me was that
    he said "Don't believe a word I say. Find out for yourself."

    >That is what I am trying to say about Christianity. In this culture we are
    >much more aware of the bad side of it, since we are more exposed to it. We
    >(most of us) grew up with the bad side ("Be good or God will punish you",
    >and that sort of thing). So when we reached the age of beginning to reason
    >(adolescence) many of us turned it all off. But there is a good side to it,
    >and it is not hard to find it in your local library. Theologians are aware
    >of all the criticisms that people such as you or Chuck or DMB have levelled
    >at theism and faith, and have answers to them -- and are aware that many of
    >those criticisms were not unjustified. Christianity is changing in response
    >to some of them. In this respect, I much recommend Peter Berger's book that
    >I quoted from: The Heretical Imperative.

    I have within the last year read 'Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications
    of the New Physics'
    by Diarmid O'Murchu. I liked this book very much. I've also read 'The
    Screwtape Letters' and 'The Four Loves' by C. S. Lewis. And 'The Gospel
    According To Woman: Christianity's Creation of the Sex War in the West',
    'Islam: A Short History', 'Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet' and
    'Buddha' by Karen Armstrong. In the pile of books next my bed is Karen
    Armstrong's 'A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity
    and Islam'. I am curious, not interested in participating in
    Christianity. I've shared my honest opinion in other emails.

    >For all that, I am neither a Christian nor a Buddhist. In my view, an
    >intellectual religion without faith or ritual is possible, and that is what
    >I am exploring (mostly in ways tangential to the MOQ, so I haven't talked
    >about them much, though I did get into it somewhat in the "A bit of
    >reasoning" thread). I could be wrong on this, but who knows. Anyway, I have
    >found great value in Christian thinking (as well as in other religions), so
    >I am arguing that one shouldn't just close one's mind to it. Or if one does
    >choose to close one's mind to it (there are, after all, only so many hours
    >in a day), one should not then think one is justified in attacking it.

    I have found no value in Christian thinking. I think its limitations to
    freedom and creativity are harmful. For that reason, I think it should be
    challenged, and often. It should be challenged until the popular idea of
    Christianity that has filtered into the psyche of the U.S. consciousness
    looks comical. Maybe then something more dynamic will be created.

    Looking at the state of the world, I do not know how you can justify
    Judaism, the Islamic religion or Christianity. And I don't know why you
    should admonish me for stating my view. If you feel that an intellectual
    religion without faith or ritual is good enough for you, why not everyone?


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