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Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism...


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#1    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:43 PM

Buddhists and Confucians are atheists, they do not believe in a god. Many Jews are also atheists, they are called humanists Jews; they make up a large minority of Jews.

So are Buddhists and Confucians not religious because they are atheists (do not believe in a god?) And are some Jews not religious because they are atheist? Can one be part of a religion and not be religious? Or can one not be part of a religion but be religious?

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#2    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:53 PM

Technically Buddhists are also pantheists, given that the second to ultimate 'evolution' for the soul is godhood and everything 'evolves'.

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#3    karmakazi

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:16 AM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 05 April 2012 - 11:43 PM, said:

Buddhists and Confucians are atheists, they do not believe in a god. Many Jews are also atheists, they are called humanists Jews; they make up a large minority of Jews.

So are Buddhists and Confucians not religious because they are atheists (do not believe in a god?) And are some Jews not religious because they are atheist? Can one be part of a religion and not be religious? Or can one not be part of a religion but be religious?

Disucss :)

Buddhists believe gods exist but they do not consider them to necessarily be higher beings in the place that monotheists hold their gods.  One of the worlds on the wheel of karma is the ream of the gods, and it is a place to which we can reincarnate and become gods ourselves.

In the technical sense of saying an atheist does not believe there is "one true god who is lord of all" then yes Buddhists would be atheists.  I do not feel that belief in a higher power is exclusively tied to religion.  People can be non-religious while also believing in a higher power and people can be religious without believing in a higher power.

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#4    Cybele

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:28 AM

Buddhism is a religion because it is a set of spiritual beliefs and teachings which, when put into practice, are supposed to lead to enlightenment and release from the cycle of reincarnation. A religion does not have to involve a god to be spiritual and may still contain elements of the supernatural. It's my understanding that quite a few Buddhists actually do worship the Buddha as a god or incorporate older polytheistic pantheons into their Buddhist practices.

Buddhism is consistently listed amongst the major world religions, so I'm curious as to why you would even ask the question.

Edited by Cybele, 06 April 2012 - 02:35 AM.

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#5    Englishgent

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:39 AM

The Oxford English Dictionary definition is as follow.
1. Belief in and worship of a god or gods.
2 A particular system of faith and worship.
Therefore, taking into account the second definition, I would say that both are religions. :)


#6    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:06 AM

IIRC on the karmic scale being a god is less important then being human as only humans can attain Nirvana. You spend some time as a cochroach and you spend some time as a god, and after you spend some time as a human you learn/achieve the balance shedding passion and apathy becoming Buddha.

I must not fear. Fear is the Mind-Killer. It is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and to move through me. And when it is gone I will turn the inner eye to see it's path.
When the fear is gone, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

#7    Paranoid Android

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:13 AM

In the matter of Judaism, it's important to remember that the term "Jew" applies to both the religion and the people of Jewish heritage.  A Jew by birth may not be a follower of Yahweh, and a non-Jew by birth may convert to Judaism.  So in terms of the thread premise, an atheist Jew might be a Jew by blood but they are not religious (excepting the controversial issue of whether they are very militant in their atheism in which case they may adopt religious attitudes towards their non-belief).  

As for Buddhism and such, only some strands of Buddhism are atheistic.  The original Theravada Buddhism incorporates no deities.  But the later traditions of Mahayana Buddhism did include the idea of deity.  Either way, they hold to a common set of principles (the Four Noble Truths, and the Eight-fold path to Enlightenment) and so therefore their common beliefs about the nature of the world we live in would constitute them to be "religions".

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#8    Simbi Laveau

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 05:04 AM

Buddhism isn't a religion ?
All these years I considered converting to it,I never knew.....

The only one you mentioned ,that isnt a religion,is Confucianism.
Jews and buddhists would be mighty surprised to hear they have no real religion.Just a guess.

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#9    Jessica Christ

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 06:18 AM

As PA noted secular Jews are exactly that, secular, and basing their Jewishness not on following any form of Judaism but instead on culture, heritage, and ethnicity.

Different types of Buddhists and not all are atheists and those that are atheists are not militaristic about it or desire to eradicate religion. At least none from the East publicize that if they do.

Confucianism? In Japan one could follow Confucianism, then consult a Buddhist monk for spiritual matters, have a white Christian wedding in a Christian church, and then light candles to their ancestors at their home altar.

It is evident that not everyone in the world approaches these matters in dogmatic, polarized, or in embittered ways.


#10    Imaginarynumber1

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 08:06 AM

Regardless of your repeated attempts to define it as such, atheism is not a religion.

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#11    eight bits

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:24 AM

Quote

Regardless of your repeated attempts to define it as such, atheism is not a religion.
Except when it is.

The OP has hit upon a nice parallel. There are people who call themselves Buddhist, Confucian and Jewish who aren't religious. These things are often called religions because there are other people who call themselves Buddhist, Confucian or Jewish and who are religious. Those religious people use these labels to describe what religion they adhere to.

Yet, even when one of these words is used as a description of religious belief, each refers to a bundle of distinct religions, plural, not a religion, singular. An observant Jew may recognize as a fellow observant Jew someone who, for religious reasons, dresses differently, eats different foods, and keeps more or fewer holy days, with different customs for each of them.

If there is a criticism to be made, it is that the OP went too far afield from the usual religions discussed here to fetch an example. The same points could be made about Christian.

I am a cultural Christian, my religion, however, is agnostic. There are plenty of cultural Christians. Used alone, though, the word typically means something or somebody religious. When it is used as a religious word, Christian refers to thousands of distinct belief and ritual systems, not one singular religion.

As words go, atheism has only relatively recently acquired the meaning of voluntarily having no godly traffic. It is obvious that the langauge hasn't yet completely sorted out this word's distinction from other forms of informed restraint in trafficking, like that described by the even newer word, agnsoticism. We still don't have a word for those who would give only a non-responsive answer to the question of God.

Nevertheless, the outlines of usage are emerging, and they are just as the OP suggests. Although it isn't yet at the buzz level, "cultural atheist" makes perfect sense as a term. It makes perfect sense because of its obvious parallelism with "cultural Christian" and "cultural Jew." It isn't buzz yet, I think, because there aren't enough atheists for many other folks to care which ones are religious and which ones aren't. Among those whose religion is atheism, there are distinct viewpoints about religious questions. All that atheists, religious or otherwise, have in common is their answer to one question.

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#12    Sherapy

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 03:49 PM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 05 April 2012 - 11:43 PM, said:

Buddhists and Confucians are atheists, they do not believe in a god. Many Jews are also atheists, they are called humanists Jews; they make up a large minority of Jews.

So are Buddhists and Confucians not religious because they are atheists (do not believe in a god?) And are some Jews not religious because they are atheist? Can one be part of a religion and not be religious? Or can one not be part of a religion but be religious?

Disucss :)

Absolutely, one can be part of a religion and not be religious. I am Catholic by family tradition, but my personal stance/'religion (if you will)  is  Atheism/Buddhism these days..  

And, with this comes specific ideas from each position  that I support, for now.

Also, on very specific questions I'd label myself  Agnostic, because  it best defines my posit at this time..

Edited by Sherapy, 06 April 2012 - 04:02 PM.


#13    Euphorbia

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 05:12 PM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 05 April 2012 - 11:43 PM, said:

Buddhists and Confucians are atheists, they do not believe in a god. Many Jews are also atheists, they are called humanists Jews; they make up a large minority of Jews.

So are Buddhists and Confucians not religious because they are atheists (do not believe in a god?) And are some Jews not religious because they are atheist? Can one be part of a religion and not be religious? Or can one not be part of a religion but be religious?

Disucss :)

As much as I hate being labeled or put in a box, I generally go by Atheist. Someone a while back put up a link to a site that asked specific questions as to how you felt about things regarding religion and spirituality, as well as a few other beliefs. I'm sure many of you remember this questionnaire. I came out being labeled by this questionnaire as a Secular Humanist. Some want to drop the "Secular" part and just call it "Humanism".

There must be some kind of term that encompasses people like me that lack a belief in god, are not spiritual, are not part of any group or organization, and have no rituals or customs.

Even then, some will call this a religion...........which is just sad!

Not that I necessarily want to go by any label, but I would at least like to have a proper term for my position.

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#14    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:05 AM

View Posteight bits, on 06 April 2012 - 09:24 AM, said:

Except when it is.

The OP has hit upon a nice parallel. There are people who call themselves Buddhist, Confucian and Jewish who aren't religious. These things are often called religions because there are other people who call themselves Buddhist, Confucian or Jewish and who are religious. Those religious people use these labels to describe what religion they adhere to.

Yet, even when one of these words is used as a description of religious belief, each refers to a bundle of distinct religions, plural, not a religion, singular. An observant Jew may recognize as a fellow observant Jew someone who, for religious reasons, dresses differently, eats different foods, and keeps more or fewer holy days, with different customs for each of them.

If there is a criticism to be made, it is that the OP went too far afield from the usual religions discussed here to fetch an example. The same points could be made about Christian.

I am a cultural Christian, my religion, however, is agnostic. There are plenty of cultural Christians. Used alone, though, the word typically means something or somebody religious. When it is used as a religious word, Christian refers to thousands of distinct belief and ritual systems, not one singular religion.

As words go, atheism has only relatively recently acquired the meaning of voluntarily having no godly traffic. It is obvious that the langauge hasn't yet completely sorted out this word's distinction from other forms of informed restraint in trafficking, like that described by the even newer word, agnsoticism. We still don't have a word for those who would give only a non-responsive answer to the question of God.

Nevertheless, the outlines of usage are emerging, and they are just as the OP suggests. Although it isn't yet at the buzz level, "cultural atheist" makes perfect sense as a term. It makes perfect sense because of its obvious parallelism with "cultural Christian" and "cultural Jew." It isn't buzz yet, I think, because there aren't enough atheists for many other folks to care which ones are religious and which ones aren't. Among those whose religion is atheism, there are distinct viewpoints about religious questions. All that atheists, religious or otherwise, have in common is their answer to one question.

Exactly

I think the point is that things are messy. One cannot just lump everyone into a group. Jews are especially tricky. Is it a religion, culture, ethnic group? There are secular Jews, Eastern European Jews, Arab Jews, and more.

The reason I used Confucianism and Buddhism as examples is because they show us Eastern philosophy and religion. The Eastern way of thinking is one of the reason the definition of religion had to be expanded. Most people here will only be looking at things though the Western mindset.

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#15    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:16 PM

I've often heard it said "Christian by religion, Catholic by practice, Buddhist by philosophy", mostly by me ;)

I must not fear. Fear is the Mind-Killer. It is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and to move through me. And when it is gone I will turn the inner eye to see it's path.
When the fear is gone, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.




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