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Skeptics Dilemma


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#16    Zaphod222

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:30 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 23 January 2013 - 07:35 AM, said:

This unfortunately must include WWII style Shinto.  It was more of a native Japanese traditional belief than "pure" Buddhism, but recognized certain Buddhist ideas and called itself Buddhist, so we accept it as a Buddhist sect.  This is so yet we abhor some of the things they did (and largely so does modern Shinto).

This is the first time I have heard anybody describe Shinto as "buddhist sect", and I am pretty sure you would surprise the heck out of both buddhist and shinto priests with that claim.

Here in Japan, they are certainly not viewed as the same. Buddhists have their temples, and Shintoism has its shrines, and the Japanese population happily goes to both them them, but not for a moment thinks it is the same thing. Afaik, Shintoism preceeds Buddhism by a long time (it is native to Japan, while Buddhism was brought here).
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Edited by Zaphod222, 24 January 2013 - 09:30 AM.

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#17    Frank Merton

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:36 AM

View PostZaphod222, on 24 January 2013 - 09:30 AM, said:

This is the first time I have heard anybody describe Shinto as "buddhist sect", and I am pretty sure you would surprise the heck out of both buddhist and shinto priests with that claim.

Here in Japan, they are certainly not viewed as the same. Buddhists have their temples, and Shintoism has its shrines, and the Japanese population happily goes to both them them, but not for a moment thinks it is the same thing. Afaik, Shintoism preceeds Buddhism by a long time (it is native to Japan, while Buddhism was brought here).
.
This is good for me to know.  Vietnamese war propaganda of course denounces Japan as an entity, and makes no fine distinctions.  I am well aware that Shinto preceded Buddhism in Japan, but had pictured the two as merging somewhat, as Taoism and Buddhism did in China (while still plainly maintaining their separate identities).

I would be curious as to what you know of the Buddhist participation in the War and its aftermath if it is okay for you to rehearse such difficult things.


#18    Emma_Acid

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

View PostI believe you, on 22 January 2013 - 07:57 PM, said:

OK skeptics. What if science proves that the majority of people are always going to create myths and believe in them? Here is your task.

Describe a religion that you would find acceptable, people need the magic and stuff remember, so what is the most benign way you could package it so religion would do the world least harm.

Organised religion by definition opposes free thought and therefore progress. This will always do harm, and in most cases lead to extremism. You don't get extremists without a middle ground.

People are not "always going to believe myths", and there is more than enough magic in the universe without making stuff up.

I do not find any organised religion acceptable.

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#19    Frank Merton

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:12 AM

View PostEmma_Acid, on 24 January 2013 - 10:53 AM, said:

Organised religion by definition opposes free thought and therefore progress. This will always do harm, and in most cases lead to extremism. You don't get extremists without a middle ground.
I'm not sure what you mean by "organized" when it comes to religions.  To me that implies a hierarchy such as found in some Christian denominations, but most religions are not "organized."  Oh to be sure there are associations and clubs and in some groups certain people have certain responsibilities (such as, say, sweeping the temple steps every morning), but this doesn't quite fit the feeling I get in your use of the word "organized."

I also don't see why even the tightest organization should "by definition" oppose free thought and progress.  What if the leadership of such an organization favors free thought and progress and even pro-actively encourages it?

Quote

People are not "always going to believe myths", and there is more than enough magic in the universe without making stuff up.
People tend to believe what they were indoctrinated as children to believe, although this is becoming less and less the case as people become more and more exposed to alternative thinking.  Still, there will always be a large number who never give up the beliefs of childhood.  The body gives us too much pleasure and joy when we stick with them.

Quote

I do not find any organised religion acceptable.
The religions I tend to like tend to be somewhat disorganized, to be sure, but it seems an organized religion can and some do a lot of good in the world -- such as organizing charities, pushing literacy, organizing against the world's evils, and so on.


#20    AsteroidX

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:12 AM

people enjoy stories. all religions have been based on storytelling in one form or another (it least that Im aware of). The ones that provide a moral compass at the same time are ones I will read about and try to learn something from.

But a good story is still a good story. No matter where it comes from wether I believe the story or not. If it is told well it is pleasant to hear.


#21    Zaphod222

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:25 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 24 January 2013 - 09:36 AM, said:


I would be curious as to what you know of the Buddhist participation in the War and its aftermath if it is okay for you to rehearse such difficult things.

That is an interesting question, and certainly worth some research. I do not know. The role of Shinto in Japanese militarism is obvious; the imperalist government integrated Shinto teachings and ceremonies into their propaganda, and the emperor himself was seen as Shinto deity. I am not aware that buddhism was used in such a way; for all I know it stayed out of politics.

Maybe the fact that Buddhism is an import made it unsuitable for use in nationalistic ideology? I will try to find someone more knowlegeable about that. (I live in Japan, but I am not Japanese.)

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#22    Verloc

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:43 PM

I espouse the idea that WE DON'T KNOW YET,we should be trying to advance our understanding of the universe,what God actually is,however you want to put it, instead we guess.All religion is guesswork, for there is no way to know for sure if it's the truth or not.


So the "religion" i would create would differ from all the others in the sense that we do not think we have all the answers and try to force it on other people, but to admit that we dont have the answers, and that God/Supreme Being/Deity is something much bigger and unfathomable,  than the simplistic views humans have created.




#23    Frank Merton

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:59 PM

View PostVerloc, on 24 January 2013 - 01:43 PM, said:

So the "religion" i would create would differ from all the others in the sense that we do not think we have all the answers and try to force it on other people, but to admit that we dont have the answers, and that God/Supreme Being/Deity is something much bigger and unfathomable,  than the simplistic views humans have created.

I think there are a lot of religions around now that would endorse what you say.


#24    Verloc

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:29 PM

Really?can you name a few? from my experience, in my country/locality, Christians are not inclined to agree with me at all, in fact they get agitated when discuss it.


#25    Verloc

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:31 PM

I admit, that I've never really had a discussion about it with people from a different religion, say Muslim or Bhuddist.I'm curious how they would react to it.


#26    Frank Merton

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:34 PM

My experience with Christians is largely limited to Roman Catholics, and they are not open the way you are.  However, I've spent time in the States and in Europe and think the Anglicans/Episcopalians are, as are Unitarians.

Among non-Christians, almost everyone thinks as you do except Muslims, Conservative Jews, Conservative Hindus and CaoDai.  That would include the great religions of East Asia (Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Jainism, and of course most Animist groups.  I think many modern "pagans" are similarly open-minded.


#27    Frank Merton

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:41 PM

View PostVerloc, on 24 January 2013 - 02:31 PM, said:

I admit, that I've never really had a discussion about it with people from a different religion, say Muslim or Bhuddist.I'm curious how they would react to it.
I am being very careful not to push Buddhism here, as I am in fact a very bad Buddhist in that I don't seriously "buy" a lot of it, but I can assure you that although most Buddhists are atheistic (I mean kinda like atheists but not of the Western materialist sort), every monk I know will start any disagreement with what anyone says with, "You are probably right."

The one thing any Buddhist will say when there is religious disagreement is to tell you the famous parable of the blind men and the elephant each feeling a different part of the animal and coming back disagreeing strongly about what sort of beast it is.  It's a matter of perspective -- and we each see the world through different eyes and interpret it with different brains.


#28    Paranoid Android

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 03:03 PM

View PostVerloc, on 24 January 2013 - 02:31 PM, said:

I admit, that I've never really had a discussion about it with people from a different religion, say Muslim or Bhuddist.I'm curious how they would react to it.
Where I live in my part of Australia, I cannot help but meet with different people of different religions.  9-out-of-10 people I meet come from non-English backgrounds (heck, come to think of it, my father was Latvian so I come from a non-English background).  Christianity is not the major belief here.  Christians share the spotlight in South-West Sydney with Muslims and Buddhists.  And depending on which suburb specifically it could be very much more (I've taught at two schools where Muslim holidays such as Eid meant that of 400 kids only fifteen turn up to school on that special day).

What I'm getting at is that my experience is very different to yours.  I've met and spoken with Christians of many different varieties.  I've met with Muslims and Buddhists, and studied what they believe - because to NOT study what they believe leaves me at a state of ignorance when speaking to a majority of people I meet.

Just saying,

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#29    Ryu

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:49 PM

View PostZaphod222, on 23 January 2013 - 12:11 AM, said:

Careful with Shintoism, pal.... that was the religious platform the Japanese emperor used pre and during WW2. You could have found a better example. Take Jainism, if you want to be on the safe path. Jainism is pacifist to a degree that is almost ridiculous. But Shintoism... err, no. Make a visit to Yasukuni Shrine and learn, grasshopper.

Are you threatening me?
Just because someone used a belief to do something bad doesn't make the belief system bad. After all the same can be said of the swastika...people think it represents evil when it was a hindu ( I think) symbol meaning unity or something.

You can find something 'bad' in every single religion as someone will have used it to further their own ends be it Christianity, or any other.

Edited by Ryu, 24 January 2013 - 04:58 PM.


#30    Verloc

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:03 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 24 January 2013 - 03:03 PM, said:

What I'm getting at is that my experience is very different to yours.  I've met and spoken with Christians of many different varieties.  I've met with Muslims and Buddhists, and studied what they believe - because to NOT study what they believe leaves me at a state of ignorance when speaking to a majority of people I meet.

Just saying,

~ Regards, PA

Don't get me wrong, I know and understand as much about Christianity as any other Christian, maybe even more, I was brought up as one.i also have knowledge of most of the other religions, what they believe, the doctrine etc.
I always try to stay respectfull of other people's views and beliefs, as Frank Merton above:

Quote

The one thing any Buddhist will say when there is religious disagreement is to tell you the famous parable of the blind men and the elephant each feeling a different part of the animal and coming back disagreeing strongly about what sort of beast it is.  It's a matter of perspective -- and we each see the world through different eyes and interpret it with different brains.

I agree with that, and yet let me ask you.have you never spoken with a religious person, and gotten the distinct impression that this person is trying to convince you
that his/her religion is correct, and they have absolutely no intention to even acknowledge your beliefs on equal ground?

You get what Im saying?

Mind you not all of them are like that, I have spoken and debated with many open minded christians, but in the end, even if you proved your point beyond a doubt, they will ignore it or shrug it off.

Edited by Verloc, 25 January 2013 - 08:05 AM.





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