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- - The “Sorrow” of Pantheism/Reincarnation/Karma (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?t=8246)
The “Sorrow” of Pantheism/Reincarnation/Karma
It has been said, if you want to see the fruits of a religious belief, go to the country they are from and see them for yourself. Well, being married to an ex-Sikh (3Ho) who lived in India for many years, I have some (albeit minor) insight into the “state of affairs” of the Indian people, a “state” caused, by-and-large, by their religious beliefs. What brought this particular subject to mind was a recent visit by the Dalai Lama to these
As mentioned before, the Dalai Lama believes in the “karmic (Cosmic) wheel,” again, not as popularly thought of by the Western mind, but as understood by the Eastern. Let me start to explain. For example, we have all seen the pictures from India on television picturing masses of children running up in droves and begging for food, money, and the like, when a westerner comes through town; anything these children can attempt to do to curb the obvious hunger and lack of necessities, as well as their families feel every day, they will. We have all seen these shots, but do you ever wonder why these children flock to the western woman or man? If you haven’t, you should start! It is primarily because of the caste system where people are believed to reincarnate into groups that are segregated according to a system of classification known as Varian, which means color. These classes include Brahmins (priests), Ksatriyas (warriors or rulers), Vaisyas (merchants), and Sudras (laborers/servants). There are even the “untouchables” who are considered impure and forbidden to have contact with the rest of society. The law of karma, then, dictates one’s social status.
Karma  comes from a root meaning “to do or to act”; karma thus involves the idea that every action yields a consequence. According to this law, then, one will be born in a higher status in the next life if one builds up good karma in the present life. Alternatively, one will be born in a lower status in the next life if one builds up bad karma in the present life. Your particular status in this life is, or, has been, caused by the building up of good or bad karma from a previous cycle of death and rebirth – known as samsara (transmigration). Samsara literally means, “to wander across.” Scholar Lewis M. Hopfe tells us that, “Indian religions believe that the life force of an individual does not die with the death of the body. Instead it ‘wanders across.’ The life force moves on to another time and body where it continues to live.”  Every person is viewed as being on the wheel of life, and salvation essentially involves breaking away from this wheel of life via reincarnation. The goal is to the cycle of karma and samsara and be free from the burden of life. Salvation comes when one realizes that one’s individual soul (atman) is identical with the Universal Soul (Brahman).
So far I have dealt with the Hindu belief of reincarnation and salvation, however, the general idea of the karmic wheel and reincarnation are understood within Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. That being said, we can begin to understand the “flocking” of children around westerners. Why? Because in
Some examples are warranted: if I was married to someone, and I beat her, treated her like the dirt on my shoes, etc., I would be storing up some pretty bad karma. When I come around for my next human life, after, of course, traveling through the fauna[?], insect, and animal lives, I would come back as the woman being beat. This is karma’s answer to evil, which is really no answer at all. In fact, it perpetuates evil. How so? It necessitates a “beatee,” which mandates a “beater.” It creates, then, a never-ending circle of violence, or, evil. In addition, it states, emphatically I might add, that we choose our current destiny (or events) in this life due to past life experiences and choices.
I wish to illustrate with some personal dialogue between some aid workers. While speaking in
Do you get it now? It takes a “Mother Teresa” to go into these embattled countries and bathe, feed, educate, care for these people – who otherwise are ignored due to harmful [worldviews] religious beliefs. Another example, albeit more poignant, is that of a mock conversation between a Buddhist named Zen, and a non-religious person named Atos.
I hope, with this graphic example, one can see the problem with karma, reincarnation, and the philosophy that naturally follows. Only recently have some Indian people rejected reincarnation and started to kill the massive infestation of disease-ridden rodents that inhabit
Of importance to this conversation is the belief in pantheism. Only pantheists (or some form thereof) believe in the above subject. So I wish to quickly show some of the self-defeating aspects of this particular philosophy. Mind you that this is a philosophical problem rather than a historical one. To begin, pantheists claim that “God” is unknowable because He is above and beyond human logic. We cannot intellectually comprehend “God,” they say. But this is nonsensical and self-defeating. Why? Because the very act of claiming that God is beyond logic is a logical statement about God. Also, to say that we cannot know or comprehend God, as do the agnostics, is to say that we know God. How? I will answer this with a response to agnosticism, that can be applied to the pantheist as well, by the associate professor of philosophy and government at the
Although not the time nor place to explain the law of non-contradiction, for those who don’t know, I will briefly explain. The law of non-contradiction is simply this: “‘A’ cannot be both ‘non-A’ and ‘A’ at the same time.” In the words of professor J. P. Moreland (Ph.D.,
With this in mind, lets continue to explore a few more problems with the pantheist thought process. Another major problem that faces the pantheist is that there is no reality except the all-encompassing God. Everything else is illusion, or maya. But again, this is a nonsensical statement that is logically self-refuting. If everything is illusion, then those making that statement are themselves illusions. There’s a real problem here. As Norman Geisler (Ph.D., Loyola University of Chicago) pointed out, “One must exist in order to affirm that he does not exist” . When we claim that there is no reality except the all-encompassing God, we are proving just the opposite. The fact that we exist to make the claim demonstrates that there is a reality distinct from God, which makes this key doctrine of pantheism a self-defeating proposition. It is an untruth – by definition.
Here’s another way to see the same thing. It may be possible that nothing exists. However, it is impossible to demonstrate that nothing exists because to do so would be to deny our own existence. Don’t you see, we must exist in order to affirm that reality doesn’t exist? To claim that reality is an illusion is logically impossible because it also requires that the claim itself is unreal – a self-defeating statement. If reality is an illusion, how do we know that pantheism isn’t an illusion too?
Another problem in pantheism is God’s inability to deal with or solve the problem of evil. In fact He is the cause of it… remember, pantheists believe all is God. Pantheism may try to ignore this problem by claiming that sin and suffering is an illusion (maya), but let’s bring this philosophy down to the real world. Try to convince a man dying of cancer or a mother who just lost a child, that evil and suffering are merely illusions. Even if evil is an illusion, the illusion itself is real. In either case, evil exists. As Geisler asked, “If evil is not real, what is the origin of the illusion? Why has it been so persistent and why does it seem so real?… How can evil [u]arise from a ‘God’ who is absolutely and necessarily good?” . The answer must be that if pantheism is true, God cannot be good, and He must be the source of evil.
Between karmic destiny and the god[s] of pantheism and its dealing with pain and suffering (and consequently the promotion of it) by claiming everything is an illusion just doesn’t make sense. Mustn’t we live as if this illusion is reality? Pantheists may pawn this inane philosophy on people, but no one can live it out consistently. And when a large population tries, like in
That's my pick of the day
Is it not true, that it is not me as a person/ego, which is reincarnated, but the quantum of karma, in the original hindu system. That the ultimate goal of the system is nothing, nada, zilch, complete end, and that any idea of personal reincarnation is voided by the goal of nothing, ultimate dissipation and absorption; so that we are very much victims of a causal universe with no hope beyond the path of enlightenment - which results ultimately in extinction of the illusion of self.
Solly, You Said Something...
...That struck a cord with me. I have done only two in-depth papers on Eastern thought (that refute it that is). the following deals with what you termed "that it is not me as a person/ego". This is very important, and often overlooked by many.
By the way, Solly, thanks for the props, I appreciate it. enjoy the following.
Can Hinduism & Buddhism Explain – Philosophically & Experientially – Personality?
The problem with the concept of God in pantheistic thought is that It’s infinite, impersonal, monistic (“all is one”) origin portrays a God who is infinite but impersonal, and therefore it gives no basis for explaining the origin of personality or any logical reason for personhood to have meaning. Someone brought this up – in a sense – when they mentioned that God would have to create to express Himself. I believe this person was trying to express that an infinite, personal God seems ultimately dependant upon His creation in order to express the attributes of his own nature and personality. In other words, for all eternity prior to creation, this God would have been alone with Himself. With whom does he communicate? Whom does he love? (In part, this may explain why the absolute transcendence and “otherness” of the distinct Muslim deity, Allah, is stressed so heavily in Islam and why Allah is not truly a God of love.) It would appear that such a God is “forced” to create and is subsequently dependant upon His creation for expressing the attributes of his own personality – and is, therefore, not truly an independent or free divine Being. This is an important and genuine concern.
The Christian view of origins offers a solution to problem because the triune God (as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) has no need to create in order to express His attributes of personality. The members of the Godhead communicate together and love one another for all eternity and are never dependant upon their creation for anything.
This distinction explains why, in both Hinduism and Buddhism, the personality is seen as an “enemy” and is finally destroyed by absorption into Brahmin or Nirvana. Not only the material creation but human existence, body and personality, are either an illusion and in Hinduism (maya), or so empty and impermanent as in Buddhism (sunyata), the they are ultimately meaningless. In the end, man himself is a hindrance to spiritual enlightenment and must be “destroyed” to find so called “liberation.” As Dr. Frits Staal comments in an article entitled, Indian Concepts of the Body, “Whatever the alleged differences between Hindu and Buddhist doctrines, one conclusion follows from the preceding analysis. No features of the individual personality survive death in either state” (Somantics: The Magazine/Journal of the Bodily Arts and Sciences, Autumn/Winter 1983-1984, p. 33).
But is an impersonal “ immortality” truly meaningful when it extinguishes our personal existence forever? Is it even desirable? As Sri Lanken Ajith Fernando, who has spoken to hundreds of Buddhists and Hindus, illustrates:
In addition, monistic philosophies provide no explanation for the diversity within creation. If “God is one,” and the only reality… then diversity – all creation – is by definition part of the illusion of duality. That includes all morality, all human hopes and aspirations, and everything else that matters. In the end, despite having an infinite reference point, we are left with only a destructive nihilistic outlook on life. As Charles Manson noted, “if all is one, what is bad?”
Indeed, Eastern gurus frequently emphasize, often quite offensively, that life is unreal, meaningless, and finally worthless, which is why it must be denied and “transcended.”
The concept of an infinite personal triune God addresses these issues as well. Because God is personal, human personality has genuine and eternal significance. The only kind of eternity that has any meaning, or gives this life any meaning, is an eternity of personal immortality. And because Christianity involves a philosophy of religious dualism, God is the creator of a real creation. The creation is not simply the illusory emanation of an impersonal divine substance. As a result, there in no need to face the very destructive individual and public consequences of nihilism. (Materialism faces these same problems when interpreting meaning into life, as I have shown in a previous post.)
The desire of every Buddhist is to be free from the problems of life; to be free from pain and suffering. As their saying goes, “As the water of the sea tastes of salt, so all life tastes of suffering.” Their goal is to develop a detachment from life. Buddha taught that desire is the root of all evil. to exist is to suffer and the answer to suffering is Nirvana (annihilation) which is achievable by successive reincarnation. Hence, Buddhism insists, “Those who love a hundred have a hundred woes. Those who love ten have ten woes. Those who love one have one woe. Those who love none have no woes.” The goal of life is to reach the stage of desirelessness. When one ceases to desire we have overcome the burden of life. How one is suppose to be desirelessness without desiring that quality is a problem few have any time to answer.
A funny story is told of a Buddhist monk in prayer was approached and asked by a Christian what he was doing. The Buddhist monk replied, “I am praying to nobody for nothing.” G. K. Chesterton rightly notes, “We may call Buddhism a faith; though to us it seems more like a doubt.”
The point of the above post and comparison between the main philosophies of these great religions, is this: What do our every day experiences tell us about the truth of the above beliefs? When we encounter evil – say, a child being abused – can we not rightly rebuke such an act, or is this act no different than placing gum under a table at a restaurant, or choosing vanilla ice-cream.
You see, I believe that when one compares all the worlds religions and cults, Christianity is the only philosophical construct that fits with what we actually experience. If one chooses Buddhism as a path, they have to spend a lifetime denying [this] reality, always “desiring a desireless goal.” The proposition just stated is self-refuting, and against our daily experiences and common intuitiveness.
I don’t post this to be politically correct – to claim one worldview is better at interpreting and answering what we find in reality is to say one-way is better than another. This, by definition, is politically incorrect. However, I believe strongly that if one sets aside their already assumed biases about why they have rejected the Christian worldview, and proceeds to look deeper into the differences between the worlds great religions, I believe said person will eventually accept Christianity as the way closest to the truth of reality. And although my goal is not to convert anyone here, that goal is implicit in coming to a logical conclusive end to one’s investigation into these (and other) matters of such import. Dr. Vernon Grounds was not off the mark when he wrote:
I want to leave the reader with this thought by Robert Hume. In his book, The World’s Living Religions, he comments that there are three features of Christian faith that “cannot be paralleled anywhere among the religions of the world.” These include the character of God as a loving Heavenly Father, the character of the founder of Christianity as the Son of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Further, he says:
Buddha could have never given the Sermon on the Mount, nor Muhammad, nor Zoroaster, or any other religious figure! Why? Because Jesus was the only consistent person in whom he claimed to be.
Posted with Love and much thought, SeanG (Much here taken from the book, Fast Facts on Defending Your Faith, by John Ankerberg & John Weldon.)
You compare Christianity with Hinduism and Buddhism and find that Christianity is better. However, what are the criteria that you are using to make the comparison? Are they indepemdent criteria or are they Christian criteria? If you are using Christian criteria then all that your result is saying is that Christianity is more like Christianity than either Buddhism or Hinduism. True, but not very useful.
If you used Buddhist criteria to do the comparison then Buddhism would come out on top. If you used Hindu criteria then Hinduism would do best. The result of the comparison is dependent on the criteria that are used to make the comparison.
Taking a comparison of Buddhism and a theistic religion like Christianity from a Buddhist perspective (see this webpage):
From this it is "obvious" that Buddhism is better. In Buddhism there is an objective morality which all gods have to follow if they are to attain Nirvana, while Christian morality is set at will by a God who changes his mind about things like male circumcision. In Buddhism all living beings will get to Nirvana eventually, while Christianity only allows some angels and some humans into Heaven, all other humans and angels are comdemned to eternal Hell and other living beings have no future at all.
Of course here I am using Buddhist criteria to make the judgement so the result should not be a surprise and is not very convincing to a non-Buddhist. Similarly your piece is not very convincing to a non-Christian.
Eastern philosophies teach that if I beat my wife continuously, that for every “evil” (I highlight evil because Buddhism or Hinduism have no epistemology to call something evil) done one will get it thirty times worse in a later life. This creates an endless cycle of evil, not an answer or end to it.
Also, Hinduism teaches that if “one” (I highlight one because there is no “person” in Buddhism or Hinduism) does in fact escape karma, they will do so for only 10,000 thousand years before dropping back into “reality” ( I highlight reality because a Buddhist or Hindu do not believe in reality).
I want to make a point from one of your points… when you said:
Who, then, is to say what uplifts and empowers beings? You? The Highest Truth cannot for it is an impersonal part of nature, subject to its laws and consequences.
For instance: at one point in our evolutionary history, assuming evolution to be true – which Buddhism and Hinduism do to some extent – the only way mankind could most likely propagate its species was through rape, that is, the forceful taking of woman in general or from other tribal rivalries. Thus, survival of the fittest was the moral goal, and I now know… thanks to you, that “that which empowers and uplifts sentient beings is said to be right.” Who are you to say rape has been morally wrong through all times and places in the history of mankind? Theism can assert this, Eastern philosophy cannot. Survival of our species is an act that “empowers and uplifts” us, is it not? And since rape and non-rape are both Dharmatic infusions, who are you to say which is negative or positive to the “individual?”… Why… you would need,… some sort of… mmmm, let me think,… ahhh yes,… an absolute cosmic scale to claim such… and Eastern thought doesn’t supply you with one.
You are equating morality and choices stemming from such with choices in chocolate or vanilla ice cream. I may choose chocolate over vanilla, but because both are expressions of the Dharma (as you say), both have the same moral weight. Right and wrong cannot be self-defining, a rock “being” a rock is not right or wrong. It cannot define itself, and with Eastern belief, we are merely that rock. If the wind were to blow the rock down a cliff, this would not be an immoral act. but we are just as significant as this action, so-called.
The following is very important, and should be understood by all. It is taken from a previous debate, so excuse the subject variation… however, the main point can be applied here.
So should I not commit a rape Rossum. And if I should not, why not? Is the act morally wrong at all times and in all places in this cosmos?
Buddhist Moral Law
Thankyou for your reply,
I have not seen the "thirty times" figure before, can you please give a source for this. It might be from a Hindu scripture, I have certainly seen no such figure in Buddhist scripture. For example:
You are right that there is a cycle of good and bad actions followed by their respective consequences. This cycle is indeed very difficult to escape from; that it is possible is shown by the fact that the Buddha did so. Best to start by stopping beating your wife.
Your question is wrongly put. It starts "Who..."; why does the answeer have to be a "who"? The answer is in fact a "what". Christian morality is constructed on the analogy of the Law of the Land, with God as both legislator and enforcer of the law. The analogy for Buddhist morality is the Law of Gravity; moral law is part of the structure of the universe and is enforced impersonally by nature as part of its laws and consequences. Gravity does not require a God of Gravity to enforce it, nor does moral law. Gods are as subject to moral law as any other living being.
This is a very strange view of both evolution and history. Evolution is a scientific theory, not a religion. It makes as much sense to look for moral guidance in the Theory of Evolution as it does to look for moral guidance in the Theory of Heat Flow in Solids. Evolution contradicts a literal reading of Buddhist and Hindu scriptures just as it contradicts a literal reading of the Bible. The standard scientific timescale of a 13.7 billion year old universe is far too short for the timescales given by a literal reading Buddhist scriptures.
History is a description of what happened, not what should have happened or what we would have liked to have happened. Yes, some very nasty things did happen in history, Numbers 31 and the Killing Fields of Cambodia are cases in point. Just because something happened does not make it right. Rape happens and it is wrong.
In Buddhism ignorance and delusion are given more prominence than evil. Remember that Buddhist moral law is like gravity. It is not evil to jump off a high cliff. It is ignorant or deluded to do so and not expect to fall to the bottom. Wrong actions bring their unpleasant consequences. Not to realise this is to be ignorant. To ignore this is to be deluded. Moral law is part of the universe, it is imperative that all of us are aware of it and act in accord with it if we are to avoid unpleasant consequences.
You talk about the problems a relativist has with using words. An absolutist has the same problem, since words are not absolute - words change their meaning over time so it is impossible to describe any absolute truth in changing words. As well as words changing meaning, our own knowledge of the meaning of words changes, especially when dealing with ancient words. For example see this webpage about changes in our modern understanding of the ancient Hebrew word reem. Even beyond the meaning of words is the cultural background to which they refer and is implicit in every piece of writing. Knowing that the translation of "red herring" is "pink fish" does not greatly help our understanding unless we know the underlying cultural reference.
No you should not commit rape. There are five moral rules:
Rape breaks the first and third, and if alcohol or drugs are involved breaks the fifth as well.
Moral law can be summarised as:
Rape certainly does not conform to this.
You should not commit rape because you will suffer unpleasant consequences, up to and including one or more lifetimes in one of the Hells. You would be either ignorant or deluded to act so. I have not been to all times and all places in the cosmos so I cannot answer that part of your question. However it would seem difficult for an alien lifeform that reproduces asexually to commit rape, so interpretations of the rules are probably dependent on the nature of the species to which they are applied.
I know the moral rules that operate in this time and this place in the cosmos, which is sufficient for me.
More later... got to go
Although I wouldn’t agree with your synopsis that the theory of evolution is irreligious, I would agree with you on a point you made, which was my point. The Law of Gravity is not a “moral” proposition. Much like the rock (substitute a human in its place) being blown down a hill (the rock being acted upon by natural forces – e.g., the wind and gravity… or, alternatively, a man going into McDonalds and killing a family intermittently), if “morals” were derived from natural law and not Natural Law, you would not be able to say something is morally wrong and morally right… or, what one ought or not ought to do.
Evolution does impose a set of values/morals on life and death. I will make note of that quickly here:
These few statements here show how a set of values from a particular philosophy impose a set of moral outcomes.
You are right that words change over time, but not the concepts behind the words. For instance: when the founders of
Whether torturing a baby for fun hasn’t always been referred to as literally “morally wrong,” the concept behind “morally wrong” has always been the same. Your example – for example – makes another point that wholly supports the absolutist. The word reem found in the Hebrew, has always meant one thing. This meaning… however, was lost to modern translators. The study of ancient culture, however, has shown it to mean that one thing. This is why Hebrew/Greek concordances are a must for any serious student of the Bible. The word reem has only one true meaning, we are just now discovering it.
As per your sensual misconduct… so you mean to tell me that there is an absolute rule found in nature that accords with how one ought to act in sexual relations between two individuals? You mean to tell me that there is a moral natural law that tells us we should “do onto others as we would want done unto us?” Because as many point out, nature “is red in claw and tooth.”
... okay, I'm back
A good article can be found at: http://www.str.org/free/commentaries...y/themusic.htm
However, I really enjoyed this article, of which I will clip a statement or two from, because Rossum, you haven’t dealt with yet my main premise, the illusory aspect of reality?
Natural and Supernatural
I think that we are using different definitions of "natural". In this discussion I am using "natural" in a wider meaning than science, so that my usage includes a number of things that science would classify as supernatural. The derivation of moral law from the natural world is from those non-scientific elements: karma/phala, reincarnation, heavens, hells and meditation. Scientific theories are not relevant to the subject.
To me it seems that you think that I am deriving Buddhist moral law from the scientific definition of "natural". This is not correct. Buddhist moral law is derived from Buddhist scripture, just as Christian moral law is derived from Christian scripture. The original source of Buddhist scripture is the word of the Buddha, which is derived from his insights into the nature of the universe as a result of his meditation. These insights of the Buddha are not scientific, in the sense that modern materialist science defines it. Notice that Buddhist moral law includes all sorts of things that science would define as supernatural: heavens, hells, reincarnation etc. Evolution or gravity have as little to do with the derivation of Buddhist moral law as they have to do with the derivation of Christian moral law.
You quote Sir Arthur Keith. I do not think his points are relevant to Buddhist moral law, as I explained above.
I disagree. It is clear from the reference that I gave that at one point the Jewish translators did not know the meaning of the word and left it untranslated. The Greek translators gave a literal, but misleading translation: monoceros. Even now, our theory about the meaning of the word depends on the equivalence between the Assyrian rimu and the Hebrew reem. It is possible that this theory is wrong and that we still do not know the correct meaning of the word, if such a meaning can be said to exist after all this time. I am not interested in an absolute truth if there is no way to access that truth. Being inaccessible it effectively becomes useless.
In your second post you do not give a source for your first quote. Should I wish to take up my issues with the second post I will contact the author directly. As a general point I would not expect to get a good picture of Christianity solely by reading websites called "Why Buddhism is better than Christianity". The same is true in reverse. As I said in my first post, if Buddhism is judged using Christian criteria then the result will be a foregone conclusion and of very little interest.
Reality is not always what it appears to be. Mountains appear to be permanent and unchanging: they aren't. We need to be very careful when dealing with reality because things are not what they seem. We will not find happiness if we look for happiness in things that are fundamentally unhappy. If we persist then we are going to be repeatedly disappointed. Looked at correctly there is far more change, and far less permanence in reality than at first appears. Humans seem to have a tendency towards reification - projecting absolutes from non-absolute reality. It is illusory to mistake our own mental constructions for reality. We need to see things as they really are, and not as we would like them to be. This is not an easy job. We will only finish it when we become enlightened.
You had compared it to the law of gravity, which is a scientific formulation separate from Natural Law as implemented, say, by the Founding Fathers.
In evolutionary thinking, the production of higher taxa is through was and death and struggle. This makes war, death, and struggle necessary for the furtherance of species… thus, wars, death, and struggle are not looked upon as morally repugnant – speaking to a deep-seated need for a better possible world without such things (which the Christian God originally made, and which we all desire again) – theses things are looked upon as necessary. I am making the point that evolution, as currently understood and taught, is not scientific (which you said it was), but a religious worldview.
Torcaso v. Watkins made Buddhism, an atheistic belief system (along with secular humanism and other faiths), an official religion. There are tax-exempt atheistic chapels, believe it or not. At any rate the point you made earlier about evolution being merely scientific is misguided, it is a worldview that defines mans relation to the universe.
On the word reem, the Hebrew translators lost the meaning to the word, much like mankind lost the ability to produce electricity (gold electroplated metal objects found in ancient cultures like the Egyptians, and the battery found in Babylonian ruins). In fact, archaeological finds of the LXX translators notes and writings have shed lots of light upon the more ancient form of Hebrew. Also, if we still – to this day – haven’t found the exact meaning of the word reem, it is still meant to mean one thing in its original context and understanding. We just haven’t found it yet. But you seem to be missing the point, the word reem does mean one thing… that “one thing” has just been lost to us (much like many things are through time, wars, and famine).
Another point you seem to have glossed over is when you said,
Who is looking? Who is unhappy? If you sai, “I am unhappy,” is this a real person saying this? If I say, “I exist.” Do I have to exist to say such?
I used Gravity as an analogy. Please do not press the analogy too far. As I clearly said:
I repeat, evolution is a scientific theory. It has nothing to do with the derivation of morality. My morality is derived from scripture not from science. Scripture and morality were both in place long before 1859 when
You paste an anonymous internet quote which itself quotes Webster’s New World Dictionary and Funk and Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary on the definition of religion. I note that these definitions do not fit science in general or the Theory of Evolution in particular. For instance, neither science nor evolution include "worship" as in the Webster's definition.
Your second anonymous internet quote itself quoted Shankara and Vivekananda, who were both Hindus. I suggest that you direct the quote to a Hindu if you need a response.
Your third internet quote again talks about Hinduism and assumes a Christian definition of "person". As I have said before, a loaded question gives a biased answer. I am not interested in discussions where the initial conditions are loaded.
Before I answer this question, we are going to have to agree a mutually acceptable definition of "person". The standard Christian definition of "person" covers a single lifetime, an unchanging semi-immortal soul, an eternity in heaven or hell and a bodily resurrection at some point in the future. The Buddhist definition is a constantly changing ongoing stream passing through very many lifetimes, no unchanging soul, many temporary sojourns in the various heavens and hells ending in an indescribable nirvana. Without a mutually agreed definition we would be arguing at cross-purposes. Can you please propose a definition of "person" which will unite these two very different ideas?
Rossum, you are right, most of what I posted was about reincarnation in general and included many Hindu quotes. Although Buddhism is a breakaway from Hinduism, I will post an Internet article that explains much of the same problems found in Buddhism that are in Hinduism. (FYI, the first wrote was from a paper I did, the second was from two articles from http://www.christiananswers.net/ )
Ref: http://www.comparativereligion.com/buddhism.html (I suggest reading the whole article)
Another funny aspect of the end result of a self-refuting philosophy is this:
Another refutation of pantheism – in general.
I would just like to say this is fascinanting thread.
Cheers for both of you.
And Rossum, Evolution has become a religious tenant. But that's another thread.
Thank you for the compliment. And you are right; Evolution (origin science) has become a religion. I am not talking, of course, about the atomic weight of a particle, or the laws of nature (i.e., gravity), or the chemical make up of a mineral. I am speaking to something beyond this, philosophical naturalism. For instance, Nature magazine said that about 40% of all American scientists pray to a personal God, this belief in a personal God, however, does not interfere with there laboratory science. When you ask them though, if the beginning of life was accidental or designed, they will give an answer that confirms their personal God (I say personal God because theism is the only branch of religion who has a personal God to pray to).
This led these scientists shortly after a PBS special to buy a full page add in a newspaper:
A quick thought
I've only skimmed this thread, as I've got a ton of other replies to make elsewhere in these forums, but I couldn't help but add my two cents here.
seang200, I've done a little of my own research into Buddhism and Hinduism, and I came to many of the same conclusions that you did. Karma-based religions are responsible for the caste systems of countries like
But one thing that struck me about these religions is as follows:
-The law of karma seems to guarantee that noone will reach nirvana. Because existence is suffering, it seems to condemn all souls to an eternity of suffering.
-If somehow someone manages to escape the rebirth cycle and reach nirvana, then nirvana doesn't seem all that appealing anyway. In fact, the Hindu and Buddhist concepts of nirvana both look suspiciously similar to many Christian concepts of hell...
And people get angry at Christianity for condemning some people to hell for eternity... it would seem to me that karma-based religions condemn everyone to some form of hell for eternity... I think it's also worth noting that if we suppose that Christianity is true, then Hindus and Buddhists will reach the "nirvana" that they are striving for...
I also noted that the Buddhist moral laws didn't preclude suicide - so what I want to know is, wouldn't the most logical thing to do as a Buddhist/Hindu be to commit suicide? The longer that one lives, not only does this merely prolong their suffering, it also prevents one accumulating any more bad karma - thereby shortening the rebirth cycle. Given the fundamental tenets of these religions, isn't this the logical option? It seems to me that I must have misunderstood something about these religions to have come to this conclusion... have I?