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Thoughts on Buddhism vs Christianity

EvanK
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2/18/2013 10:16:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I've pretty much given up any faith I once had in Catholicism, and Christianity in general, over the past year or 18 months. But, I've been wondering about Buddhism lately. Obviously, there's no evidence for reincarnation or anything like that, but it seems to me, that Buddhism is more moral, and provides more justice than Christianity. For example:

There are two men, John and Tom, and let's say both are atheists, or at least, non religious. John is an overall good, moral person, and Tom, not so much. Now let's say Tom murders John, and goes to prison. But, while in prison, Tom discovers Christ and becomes a born again Christian. In the Christian view of the world (at least the one I grew up around) Tom is saved, and can go to heaven, despite having murdered someone. John, on the other hand, is hell bound due to his not accepting Christ as his Lord and saviour.

On the other hand, Buddhism says both are reincarnated, each according to his karma. In other words, John is given a better life, Tom a worse life (from my limited understanding).

To me, this is moral and just. In the Christian world, there is no justice for John, and no punishment for Tom. In Buddhism, there is. Not only that, but Christianity ignores human nature, in my opinion. What I mean is, it would seem that most murderers don't become murderers over night. They typically are the way they are, due to their upbringing; something that is really out of their hands. So in a way, it would seem some are, you might say, predestined to be murderers, due to the way they were raised. In the Christian view, these people would go to hell, even though they really didn't "want" to be killers; they simply are, due to their upbringing.

Now, I'm not saying that all murderers are this way, but it's much more common for someone who grew up in a poor single parent home in the ghetto to become a murderer, than someone with a stable family life. That isn't to say it's impossible, just unusual.

That being said, in the Buddhism view of the world, the murderers would have another chance to redeem themselves, albeit not easily, but they'll still have a chance. In Christianity, they are damned to eternal punishment. No justice here, it would seem.

So, what are your thoughts?
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

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philochristos
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2/18/2013 10:47:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
First of all, I don't think you should subscribe to any religion just because you like it. If you don't actually think reincarnation is true, you shouldn't believe it just because you think that if it WERE true, it would do a better job of satisfying justice than Christianity.

Second, in Christianity, there is both justice and mercy. Everybody is a sinner because nobody is morally perfect, so everybody deserves punishment. But some people recieve mercy instead. So the injustice in Christianity isn't that sinners are punished. If there's any injustice, it's that some people receive mercy. But therein lies the good news of Christianity--that repenters can receive mercy. There's no mercy in Buddhism, and the cycle of birth and rebirth go on and on until you get it right, at which point you're extinguished.

I'm not sure how your scenario about John growing up to be a murderer works out as an argument against Christianity without also working out as an argument against Buddhism. In both cases, you have a person who murderers because of factors outside of his control. Just as in Christianity, he incurs a punishment, so also in Buddhism, he builds up karma which will affect him in his next life.

But as far as moral responsibility, if you mean to say that murderers aren't responsible for their crimes just because they didn't want to become murderers, I don't think Christians OR Buddhists would agree with that. In fact, most religious people wouldn't agree with that. If somebody commits a murder, they do so because of their own desires and dispositions, regardless of how those desires and dispositions got there. As long as you do it on purpose, you're morally responsible for it. It's no excuse to say, "Well, I have a rough childhood."

In both Christianity AND in Buddhism, the person has a chance to redeem themselves in a sense. In Christianity, the person can repent from their evil ways and be forgiven. In Buddhism, redemption comes through paying off your karma by suffering, and once your karma is paid off and you reach enlightenment, then you become extinguished. In Christianity, you are cured of your evil desires, enabling you to live forever free from karma, punishment, or death.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
EvanK
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2/18/2013 11:21:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'm replying on a phone so please bear through any spelling or grammatical errors.

At 2/18/2013 10:47:23 PM, philochristos wrote:
First of all, I don't think you should subscribe to any religion just because you like it. If you don't actually think reincarnation is true, you shouldn't believe it just because you think that if it WERE true, it would do a better job of satisfying justice than Christianity.

I agree, which is why I'm an atheist. I never said I was a Buddhist, just that I have recently found it intriguing, specifically its idea of morality


Second, in Christianity, there is both justice and mercy. Everybody is a sinner because nobody is morally perfect, so everybody deserves punishment. But some people recieve mercy instead. So the injustice in Christianity isn't that sinners are punished. If there's any injustice, it's that some people receive mercy. But therein lies the good news of Christianity--that repenters can receive mercy. There's no mercy in Buddhism, and the cycle of birth and rebirth go on and on until you get it right, at which point you're extinguished.

The mercy in Buddhism is your other chances at life, it would seem. Furthermore, in order to achieve good karma and eventually nirvana, you ultimately have to be a good person, and reconcile with humanity. In Christianity, you ultimately have to reconcile with God. God takes a priority of humans, and thus morally good people can be damned to he'll for not believing in God, or the right God, and murderers can enter heaven by simply repenting.


I'm not sure how your scenario about John growing up to be a murderer works out as an argument against Christianity without also working out as an argument against Buddhism. In both cases, you have a person who murderers because of factors outside of his control. Just as in Christianity, he incurs a punishment, so also in Buddhism, he builds up karma which will affect him in his next life.

I'm not necessarily saying Buddhism is perfect, but superior, maybe. While he murders because of outside factors, he gets a second chance at life in Buddhism (actually many) and he has to reconcile by becoming a good person, and be good to humanity in return for damaging humanity. In Christianity, he need only reconcile himself with God to gain heaven. No punishment either, outside of earthly punishment.


But as far as moral responsibility, if you mean to say that murderers aren't responsible for their crimes just because they didn't want to become murderers, I don't think Christians OR Buddhists would agree with that. In fact, most religious people wouldn't agree with that. If somebody commits a murder, they do so because of their own desires and dispositions, regardless of how those desires and dispositions got there. As long as you do it on purpose, you're morally responsible for it. It's no excuse to say, "Well, I have a rough childhood."

Personally, I'm more of a relativist who doesn't blame bad behavior entirely on free will. Am I saying that murderers shouldn't be punished due to a bad childhood? No. What I'm saying is, at heart, it really isn't their fault. They were raised in such a way that murder isn't as bad to them as it is to you or I, hence me being a relativist. However, in Buddhism, the murderer has a chance at redeeming himself by bettering himself and humanity, whereas Christianity simply damns him eternally unless he says the right prayers to the right God.


In both Christianity AND in Buddhism, the person has a chance to redeem themselves in a sense. In Christianity, the person can repent from their evil ways and be forgiven. In Buddhism, redemption comes through paying off your karma by suffering, and once your karma is paid off and you reach enlightenment, then you become extinguished. In Christianity, you are cured of your evil desires, enabling you to live forever free from karma, punishment, or death.

But in Christianity, there is only justice for those who say the right prayers to the right God, regardless of any other actions. It's God first, humanity second. Hence, good people can be damned, and evil people saved. In Buddhism, you aren't eternally punished for something outside of your power, whether it's your preconditioning for murder, or your lack of belief in the right God. Seems a bit more just to me, personally.
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
Logic_on_rails
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2/18/2013 11:36:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I respectfully must disagree with the OP - the conception of Hell espoused in it is, put bluntly, incorrect.

Evan, you are presuming an exclusivist viewpoint of Hell. That's not a given. I'm Christian yet hold an inclusivist viewpoint. Furthermore, many hold universalism as a belief. All this is to say that your analogy is fatally flawed, and the implications false, depending on the depiction of Hell you infer - that's a theological debate (indeed, I did one on this subject http://www.debate.org...) .

As to your conclusion "In Christianity, they are damned to eternal punishment. [emphasis mine] No justice here, it would seem," , people don't even agree on whether Hell is an eternal punishment. There's annihilationists for instance. You're making numerous theological assumptions despite possible ignorance, and then deriding Christianity for this. I humbly suggest that you first justify the theological assumptions you make before asserting their wickedness.
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philochristos
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2/18/2013 11:58:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 11:21:29 PM, EvanK wrote:
The mercy in Buddhism is your other chances at life, it would seem.

That's not a very Buddhist way of looking at it, though. The goal in Buddhism is to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. Other lives are not seen as "more chances." They're not merciful. On the contrary, new lives exist so you can pay for the crimes committed in the previous life.

Furthermore, in order to achieve good karma and eventually nirvana, you ultimately have to be a good person, and reconcile with humanity.

Yeah, morality is a problem I have with Buddhism. It's not clear to me how morality can exist in a Buddhist worldview. There's no deity in Buddhism, yet morality seems to be an objective feature of the world because it determines your karma. There's no judge in Buddhism, yet your Karma is supposedly fair, and there's some mechanism to cause you to be born in certain circumstances depending on whether you deserve it or not. That makes no sense to me. Of course I used to know a Buddhist who didn't believe in objective morality. When I asked him how there could be an eight fold path (including "right action") if there's no morality, he was stumped, so I don't know if that's a normal belief in Buddhism or if that was just him.

In Christianity, you ultimately have to reconcile with God. God takes a priority of humans, and thus morally good people can be damned to he'll for not believing in God, or the right God, and murderers can enter heaven by simply repenting.

It's not just for not believing in God that people are sent to hell. People are sent to hell for their wrong-doing. And yes, a murderer who repents can receive mercy and not go to hell.

I'm not necessarily saying Buddhism is perfect, but superior, maybe. While he murders because of outside factors, he gets a second chance at life in Buddhism (actually many) and he has to reconcile by becoming a good person, and be good to humanity in return for damaging humanity. In Christianity, he need only reconcile himself with God to gain heaven. No punishment either, outside of earthly punishment.

That's all true except that a Buddhist wouldn't characterize it as "a second chance at life," but rather, as having to be reborn because one hasn't reached enlightenment yet. Also, in Christianity, if you gain heaven, you DO become a good person, and Christian morality does demand that you reconcile with other humans as far as possible. Jesus said, "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering" (Matthew 5:23-24).

Personally, I'm more of a relativist who doesn't blame bad behavior entirely on free will.

Moral relativism is inconsistent with both Christianity and Buddhism. But you seem to be assuming moral objectivism when you say that Buddhism is morally superior to Christianity.

Am I saying that murderers shouldn't be punished due to a bad childhood? No. What I'm saying is, at heart, it really isn't their fault.

I don't think Christians OR Buddhists would agree with that.

They were raised in such a way that murder isn't as bad to them as it is to you or I, hence me being a relativist.

Are you saying murderers are moral relativists? I think the difference between generally good people and generally bad people isn't that one believes in morality and the other doesn't, but that one cares and the other doesn't. If you talk to murderers in prison (the ones who aren't sociopaths anyway), they know what they did was wrong.

But in Christianity, there is only justice for those who say the right prayers to the right God, regardless of any other actions.

On the contrary, in Christianity, justice is served for those who do NOT pray to the right God. Justice is getting what you deserve, and everybody deserves punishment. Being forgiven is mercy, not justice.

It's God first, humanity second.

That is very true.

Hence, good people can be damned, and evil people saved.

In Christianity, there are no good people. At least not perfectly good people. There aren't in Buddhism either, if you think about it, because in Buddhism, if you somehow become perfect, you end the cycle of birth and rebirth. So all the people being born into the world are born into the world because they're not perfect. And most people who die will be reborn because they're STILL not perfect. So the correct view in Christianity is that some moral criminals will be damned, and some moral criminals will be saved.

In Buddhism, you aren't eternally punished for something outside of your power, whether it's your preconditioning for murder, or your lack of belief in the right God. Seems a bit more just to me, personally.

In both Christianity and Buddhism, people are responsible for their own actions, and they get what they deserve. The difference is that in Christianity, some people don't get what they deserve. They get let off the hook.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
suttichart.denpruektham
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2/19/2013 1:53:50 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 11:58:21 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 2/18/2013 11:21:29 PM, EvanK wrote:
The mercy in Buddhism is your other chances at life, it would seem.

That's not a very Buddhist way of looking at it, though. The goal in Buddhism is to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. Other lives are not seen as "more chances." They're not merciful. On the contrary, new lives exist so you can pay for the crimes committed in the previous life.

Furthermore, in order to achieve good karma and eventually nirvana, you ultimately have to be a good person, and reconcile with humanity.

Yeah, morality is a problem I have with Buddhism. It's not clear to me how morality can exist in a Buddhist worldview. There's no deity in Buddhism, yet morality seems to be an objective feature of the world because it determines your karma. There's no judge in Buddhism, yet your Karma is supposedly fair, and there's some mechanism to cause you to be born in certain circumstances depending on whether you deserve it or not. That makes no sense to me. Of course I used to know a Buddhist who didn't believe in objective morality. When I asked him how there could be an eight fold path (including "right action") if there's no morality, he was stumped, so I don't know if that's a normal belief in Buddhism or if that was just him.

In Christianity, you ultimately have to reconcile with God. God takes a priority of humans, and thus morally good people can be damned to he'll for not believing in God, or the right God, and murderers can enter heaven by simply repenting.

It's not just for not believing in God that people are sent to hell. People are sent to hell for their wrong-doing. And yes, a murderer who repents can receive mercy and not go to hell.

I'm not necessarily saying Buddhism is perfect, but superior, maybe. While he murders because of outside factors, he gets a second chance at life in Buddhism (actually many) and he has to reconcile by becoming a good person, and be good to humanity in return for damaging humanity. In Christianity, he need only reconcile himself with God to gain heaven. No punishment either, outside of earthly punishment.

That's all true except that a Buddhist wouldn't characterize it as "a second chance at life," but rather, as having to be reborn because one hasn't reached enlightenment yet. Also, in Christianity, if you gain heaven, you DO become a good person, and Christian morality does demand that you reconcile with other humans as far as possible. Jesus said, "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering" (Matthew 5:23-24).

Personally, I'm more of a relativist who doesn't blame bad behavior entirely on free will.

Moral relativism is inconsistent with both Christianity and Buddhism. But you seem to be assuming moral objectivism when you say that Buddhism is morally superior to Christianity.

Am I saying that murderers shouldn't be punished due to a bad childhood? No. What I'm saying is, at heart, it really isn't their fault.

I don't think Christians OR Buddhists would agree with that.

They were raised in such a way that murder isn't as bad to them as it is to you or I, hence me being a relativist.

Are you saying murderers are moral relativists? I think the difference between generally good people and generally bad people isn't that one believes in morality and the other doesn't, but that one cares and the other doesn't. If you talk to murderers in prison (the ones who aren't sociopaths anyway), they know what they did was wrong.

But in Christianity, there is only justice for those who say the right prayers to the right God, regardless of any other actions.

On the contrary, in Christianity, justice is served for those who do NOT pray to the right God. Justice is getting what you deserve, and everybody deserves punishment. Being forgiven is mercy, not justice.

It's God first, humanity second.

That is very true.

Hence, good people can be damned, and evil people saved.

In Christianity, there are no good people. At least not perfectly good people. There aren't in Buddhism either, if you think about it, because in Buddhism, if you somehow become perfect, you end the cycle of birth and rebirth. So all the people being born into the world are born into the world because they're not perfect. And most people who die will be reborn because they're STILL not perfect. So the correct view in Christianity is that some moral criminals will be damned, and some moral criminals will be saved.

In Buddhism, you aren't eternally punished for something outside of your power, whether it's your preconditioning for murder, or your lack of belief in the right God. Seems a bit more just to me, personally.

In both Christianity and Buddhism, people are responsible for their own actions, and they get what they deserve. The difference is that in Christianity, some people don't get what they deserve. They get let off the hook.

I think I can clarify some of the point you are asking, I am born in a very serious Buddhist family and know quite a thing about it (don't know if I can consider a Buddhist myself but I will try.)

1. Buddhism can be very varied in definition and concept, while in some it is closer to Aristocratic philosophy and other are purely Pegan so it is really depend on your definition. My mother is from a realistic sect of Buddhism and for her religion affair is purely technique to improve efficiency of mind and peacefulness. My father on the other hand is from divination sect and gods or deities is a norm in his belief, moral (which please the gods) is keep only for you ascend in to heaven. Hell is for those who caused divine anger which can be even more gods-focused than Christianity.

2. On realistic point of view, the Buddhist only concern itself with how to maximize happiness in mind of its believer, you can say that it is similar to mental hedonism. It does not concern with the concept of morality at all. Its code of conduct, precepts etc. is only a guideline on how to keep your mind stable and happy. After all, body affect the mind, controlling body behavior and you will control your mind, if your brain pump you full of chemical from greed, angry, or lust it will be almost impossible to maintain the peacefulness in the mind and thus are inadvisable to those who wish to those who practice it. Right or wrong is absolutely not of their concern.

3. Buddhism is Newtonic it believes that action = reaction. Karma is a reaction of your action it is the fruit of an action you've done to your body, your mind and each other body and mind. The shape of your body and mind is what determined how are you going to be reincarnated, the religion or the Buddha play no part in that. If your mind have a shape of dog you are likely to reincarnate as dog, if you don't like that you can only shape your mind in to something else or extinguish it altogether.

4. Justice in Buddhism came from all beings who were affected by your action (including your own body and mind). At one point, when you have become weakened enough, those who were hurt by your action in the past and wish for revenge will take it from you. Likewise those appreciate your action in the past and wish to repay it will done so when they can. That is how the karma work and it affect everything you ever interact with whether it is living or non-living, concision or unconscious (something like if you drive heavy car on the road it is easier to corrode than driving a light one).

Hope that explain to you how morality in Buddhism work. I am not quite a serious believer myself (you can say that I am a Buddhist is a most secular sense) but a
EvanK
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2/19/2013 5:51:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 11:36:04 PM, Logic_on_rails wrote:
I respectfully must disagree with the OP - the conception of Hell espoused in it is, put bluntly, incorrect.

I'm going off of what I was taught-a literal, fiery pit for those who ultimately don't accept Christ.


Evan, you are presuming an exclusivist viewpoint of Hell.

There are far too many different versions for me to give enough examples. I'm going off of, as I said, what I was taught. I dare say the argument still stands, no matter what hell actually is, or is believed to be.

That's not a given. I'm Christian yet hold an inclusivist viewpoint. Furthermore, many hold universalism as a belief. All this is to say that your analogy is fatally flawed, and the implications false, depending on the depiction of Hell you infer - that's a theological debate (indeed, I did one on this subject http://www.debate.org...) .

As to your conclusion "In Christianity, they are damned to eternal punishment. [emphasis mine] No justice here, it would seem," , people don't even agree on whether Hell is an eternal punishment. There's annihilationists for instance. You're making numerous theological assumptions despite possible ignorance, and then deriding Christianity for this.

Ignorance? Yes, perhaps. Ignorance of every possible explanation for what hell is. But it seems most people I come into contact with either believe-A) Hell is a fiery pit for those who don't accept God. Or B) As you mentioned, are annihilationists. There are many opinions on "hell", but I think the one thing that they all have in common, it would seem (correct me if I'm wrong) is that it is a place, or a punishment at least, for those who ultimately don't reconcile with God. And the punishment is always eternal. It could be literal fire, it could be annihilation, or any number of things, but I believe that whatever the case, my point still stands.

I humbly suggest that you first justify the theological assumptions you make before asserting their wickedness.

I find hell, whatever the case, to be wicked, but I could go on as to why (perhaps we can have a discussion in another thread on the morality of Christianity). But if you apply my reasoning in this post to my OP, I hope my opinion is made more clear. Please don't think I'm trying to bash anyone here. Just looking for some opinions. If you wish for more clarification, let me know.
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
EvanK
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2/19/2013 6:26:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 11:58:21 PM, philochristos wrote:
That's not a very Buddhist way of looking at it, though. The goal in Buddhism is to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. Other lives are not seen as "more chances." They're not merciful. On the contrary, new lives exist so you can pay for the crimes committed in the previous life.

That is true. But my point is, there are more chances to redeem yourself, rather than an eternal punishment. The new lives, yes, are there for you to pay for crimes committed in past lives, but I find that to be morally superiour to Christianity, which offers one chance at life, and if you "mess up" (what that means is very subjective) you get eternal punishment.

Yeah, morality is a problem I have with Buddhism. It's not clear to me how morality can exist in a Buddhist worldview. There's no deity in Buddhism, yet morality seems to be an objective feature of the world because it determines your karma. There's no judge in Buddhism, yet your Karma is supposedly fair, and there's some mechanism to cause you to be born in certain circumstances depending on whether you deserve it or not. That makes no sense to me. Of course I used to know a Buddhist who didn't believe in objective morality. When I asked him how there could be an eight fold path (including "right action") if there's no morality, he was stumped, so I don't know if that's a normal belief in Buddhism or if that was just him.

I'm not an expert in Buddhism (I started this thread to get some input, to hopefully expand my knowledge on the subject) so I cannot give a good answer as to where Buddhism can get objective morality. It seems to me, the morals are based off of....harmony I guess is the word. I guessed I viewed the "deity" of Buddhism (I know one doesn't exist) to be a natural force, and Karma is dealt out in terms of how you acted, meaning if you are good, the world is more harmonious, and you get good Karma. And vice versa.

It's not just for not believing in God that people are sent to hell. People are sent to hell for their wrong-doing. And yes, a murderer who repents can receive mercy and not go to hell.

I understand that, but I was taught that when you sin, you sin against God, which is the ultimate offense. In other words, you murder someone, it's a sin against God. And in order to reconcile your crime, a crime against humanity, you reconcile with God, rather than humanity, which I don't personally consider moral. So it seems your relationship with God is more important than anything else in your life, meaning yes, a murderer can recieve mercy, while a good person, who happens to not believe, does not.

That's all true except that a Buddhist wouldn't characterize it as "a second chance at life," but rather, as having to be reborn because one hasn't reached enlightenment yet. Also, in Christianity, if you gain heaven, you DO become a good person, and Christian morality does demand that you reconcile with other humans as far as possible. Jesus said, "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering" (Matthew 5:23-24).

Yes, I get that. I suppose it's hard to look from the POV of an eastern religion/philosophy, being accustomed to western philosophy, but it really is a second chance at life. Instead of being damned to an eternal punishment, you get another chance. You get justice, as does anyone you have done wrong by.

In Christianity, your ultimate goal is to worship God. Despite the verse you posted, I wasn't taught that. I was taught that your purpose in life was to "know, love, and serve God". That being said, a murderer who repented with God is considered to be a morally superior person in Christianity, compared to the atheist who was a better person in relation to humanity.

Moral relativism is inconsistent with both Christianity and Buddhism. But you seem to be assuming moral objectivism when you say that Buddhism is morally superior to Christianity.

Yes, I understand which is why I cannot see myself converting to anything any time soon. I am trying to shake off my relativistic convictions for this discussion, but not necessarily succeeding :P

I am speaking from my opinion, though, when I say that Buddhism is morally superior to Christianity, I'm not implying any kind of universal truth that everyone else has to agree with. I am simply putting forth an opinion, and asking others for theirs.

I don't think Christians OR Buddhists would agree with that.

I know Christians wouldn't, but I am too ignorant on Buddhism to know what they would think (sadly, I've never spoken to a Buddhist irl).

Are you saying murderers are moral relativists? I think the difference between generally good people and generally bad people isn't that one believes in morality and the other doesn't, but that one cares and the other doesn't. If you talk to murderers in prison (the ones who aren't sociopaths anyway), they know what they did was wrong.

Using murderers in a broad, general sense won't go anywhere, but I think that the majority of murderers don't care about morality. The sociopaths do what they do due to mental problems, and cannot think clearly compared to the average person. Others who aren't, well, they didn't necessarily do what they did because they didn't think it was wrong. In fact, I'm sure most of them knew what they did was wrong, in some sense. But they did it anyway, for whatever reason. There are so many different cases, it's impossible not to generalize.

Do I think that murderers are relativists? Absolutely not. I don't think they consider morality one bit. What I mean is, I think most murderers are preconditioned to be murderers, due largely to upbringing. Because of this, I don't think that that they deserve an eternal punishment, because deep down, I don't think they are truely evil people. In Buddhism, they would get another chance to get it right (whether or not they view it this way) and in Christianity, it's eternal punishment, unless they reconcile with God.

On the contrary, in Christianity, justice is served for those who do NOT pray to the right God. Justice is getting what you deserve, and everybody deserves punishment. Being forgiven is mercy, not justice.

I should have said mercy, sorry for the mistake. But Your point on justice being served to those who don't pray to the right God is my overall point, praying and worshipping God comes before being good to your fellow man.

That is very true.

I have lots of problems with that, but I am running out of characters.

In Christianity, there are no good people. At least not perfectly good people. There aren't in Buddhism either, if you think about it, because in Buddhism, if you somehow become perfect, you end the cycle of birth and rebirth. So all the people being born into the world are born into the world because they're not perfect. And most people who die will be reborn because they're STILL not perfect. So the correct view in Christianity is that some moral criminals will be damned, and some moral criminals will be saved.

But the overall basis for morality in Christianity is being good to God, not to man. As far as calling moral people "criminals", well, again I could say a lot of things, but I'm running out of room. Let me just say that there is something really wrong, imo, with calling good people criminals simply because they don't worship the right God.

In both Christianity and Buddhism, people are responsible for their own actions, and they get what they deserve. The difference is that in Christianity, some people don't get what they deserve. They get let off the hook.

Paraphrasing the late and great Hitch, "We are born sick, and commanded to be well, or face et
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
EvanK
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2/19/2013 6:27:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Last bit should read "or face eternal punishment". Something very sick about that teaching.
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
EvanK
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2/19/2013 6:54:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 1:53:50 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
I think I can clarify some of the point you are asking, I am born in a very serious Buddhist family and know quite a thing about it (don't know if I can consider a Buddhist myself but I will try.)

1. Buddhism can be very varied in definition and concept, while in some it is closer to Aristocratic philosophy and other are purely Pegan so it is really depend on your definition. My mother is from a realistic sect of Buddhism and for her religion affair is purely technique to improve efficiency of mind and peacefulness. My father on the other hand is from divination sect and gods or deities is a norm in his belief, moral (which please the gods) is keep only for you ascend in to heaven. Hell is for those who caused divine anger which can be even more gods-focused than Christianity.

2. On realistic point of view, the Buddhist only concern itself with how to maximize happiness in mind of its believer, you can say that it is similar to mental hedonism. It does not concern with the concept of morality at all. Its code of conduct, precepts etc. is only a guideline on how to keep your mind stable and happy. After all, body affect the mind, controlling body behavior and you will control your mind, if your brain pump you full of chemical from greed, angry, or lust it will be almost impossible to maintain the peacefulness in the mind and thus are inadvisable to those who wish to those who practice it. Right or wrong is absolutely not of their concern.

3. Buddhism is Newtonic it believes that action = reaction. Karma is a reaction of your action it is the fruit of an action you've done to your body, your mind and each other body and mind. The shape of your body and mind is what determined how are you going to be reincarnated, the religion or the Buddha play no part in that. If your mind have a shape of dog you are likely to reincarnate as dog, if you don't like that you can only shape your mind in to something else or extinguish it altogether.

4. Justice in Buddhism came from all beings who were affected by your action (including your own body and mind). At one point, when you have become weakened enough, those who were hurt by your action in the past and wish for revenge will take it from you. Likewise those appreciate your action in the past and wish to repay it will done so when they can. That is how the karma work and it affect everything you ever interact with whether it is living or non-living, concision or unconscious (something like if you drive heavy car on the road it is easier to corrode than driving a light one).

Hope that explain to you how morality in Budd

I do appreciate the input. Thank you.
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
Polaris
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2/19/2013 6:58:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/18/2013 10:47:23 PM, philochristos wrote:
First of all, I don't think you should subscribe to any religion just because you like it. If you don't actually think reincarnation is true, you shouldn't believe it just because you think that if it WERE true, it would do a better job of satisfying justice than Christianity.

This is the same point atheists often bring up in regards to Pascal's wager.

Second, in Christianity, there is both justice and mercy. Everybody is a sinner because nobody is morally perfect, so everybody deserves punishment. But some people recieve mercy instead. So the injustice in Christianity isn't that sinners are punished. If there's any injustice, it's that some people receive mercy. But therein lies the good news of Christianity--that repenters can receive mercy. There's no mercy in Buddhism, and the cycle of birth and rebirth go on and on until you get it right, at which point you're extinguished.

In Buddhism, the escape from the cycle of death and rebirth is considered a very positive thing- Nirvana, a state of existential bliss. It is to return to the Godforce Brahman.
philochristos
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2/19/2013 8:06:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 6:58:02 PM, Polaris wrote:
In Buddhism, the escape from the cycle of death and rebirth is considered a very positive thing- Nirvana, a state of existential bliss. It is to return to the Godforce Brahman.

I think you have Buddhism mixed up with Hinduism. The goal in both is to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth, but the end result is different. In Hinduism, you get absorbed back into Brahman, but in Buddhism, it's Nirvana, and as I understand it, Nirvana is basically a state of non-existence. You are extinguished. I don't see how bliss is possible in Buddhism.

But like somebody said earlier, there are many schools of thought in Buddhism. Buddhism, at its core, is just the four nobel truths, which have nothing to do with reincarnation, karma, nirvana, or anything like that. According to one book I read (World Religions by Huston Smith), the Buddha himself avoided metaphysical speculation. So all this other stuff was just extra baggage later Buddhists added on to the religion.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
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2/19/2013 8:16:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 6:26:23 PM, EvanK wrote:
I understand that, but I was taught that when you sin, you sin against God, which is the ultimate offense. In other words, you murder someone, it's a sin against God. And in order to reconcile your crime, a crime against humanity, you reconcile with God, rather than humanity, which I don't personally consider moral.

Well, that's a false dichotomy. It's not God or humans; it's both. If you wrong somebody, then you have ought to try to make amends with that person, but you also owe God a debt. It's really not different than criminal laws. If you assault somebody, then you've broken a law against the state, and you owe a debt to the public. But you also owe a debt to the person you assaulted.

But the overall basis for morality in Christianity is being good to God, not to man.

That's just a false dichotomy, and it contradicts what Jesus said are the greatest two commandments--(1) to love God, and (2) to love your neighbor.

As far as calling moral people "criminals", well, again I could say a lot of things, but I'm running out of room. Let me just say that there is something really wrong, imo, with calling good people criminals simply because they don't worship the right God.

Of course that's not why I'm calling them criminals. I call anybody a "moral criminal" who has every done anything morally wrong. And that's pretty much all of us.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Polaris
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2/19/2013 8:25:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 8:06:52 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 2/19/2013 6:58:02 PM, Polaris wrote:
In Buddhism, the escape from the cycle of death and rebirth is considered a very positive thing- Nirvana, a state of existential bliss. It is to return to the Godforce Brahman.

I think you have Buddhism mixed up with Hinduism. The goal in both is to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth, but the end result is different. In Hinduism, you get absorbed back into Brahman, but in Buddhism, it's Nirvana, and as I understand it, Nirvana is basically a state of non-existence. You are extinguished. I don't see how bliss is possible in Buddhism.

But like somebody said earlier, there are many schools of thought in Buddhism. Buddhism, at its core, is just the four nobel truths, which have nothing to do with reincarnation, karma, nirvana, or anything like that. According to one book I read (World Religions by Huston Smith), the Buddha himself avoided metaphysical speculation. So all this other stuff was just extra baggage later Buddhists added on to the religion.

Well depending on the sect which vary greatly, much of Buddhism borrows heavily from Hinduism. But in any case, Nirvana is regarded as the desired goal, a liberation, or a state of peace.
Logic_on_rails
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2/20/2013 11:41:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Firsrtly, let me apologise for the rather stern, yet aggressive tone of my previous post.

At 2/19/2013 5:51:01 PM, EvanK wrote:
At 2/18/2013 11:36:04 PM, Logic_on_rails wrote:
I respectfully must disagree with the OP - the conception of Hell espoused in it is, put bluntly, incorrect.

I'm going off of what I was taught-a literal, fiery pit for those who ultimately don't accept Christ.

Fair enough, but condemning Christian justice based on this is a questionable act - a lack of knowledge or information regarding a topic can, in some cases, render their judgement rather weak or unsubstantiated. In this manner, I think your attack is potentially ill-conceived.



There are far too many different versions for me to give enough examples. I'm going off of, as I said, what I was taught. I dare say the argument still stands, no matter what hell actually is, or is believed to be.

Your argument discusses how 2 characters live their lives, and whom is punished and rewarded, while also noting how many people are 'predestined' to be murders. Clearly, the criteria for punishment matters, otherwise the analogy doesn't hold. Clearly, the question of whether murderers do get a chance to redeem themselves is also key! Universalism posits that everybody gets to Heaven in due course, some merely take longer than others. I don't fully agree, but don't you think that such a shift in thinking possibly radically undermines your point?


Ignorance? Yes, perhaps. Ignorance of every possible explanation for what hell is. But it seems most people I come into contact with either believe-A) Hell is a fiery pit for those who don't accept God. Or B) As you mentioned, are annihilationists. There are many opinions on "hell", but I think the one thing that they all have in common, it would seem (correct me if I'm wrong) is that it is a place, or a punishment at least, for those who ultimately don't reconcile with God. And the punishment is always eternal. It could be literal fire, it could be annihilation, or any number of things, but I believe that whatever the case, my point still stands.

Annihilationism isn't eternal - people are annihilated, they cease to exist, they cease to experience anything, suffering included. Obviously, ceasing to exist is eternal, but is it an eternal punishment? It's certainly no different to atheism in the end result.

As to the matter of all the interpretations of Hell, I understand your point. It's hard to grasp all possible ways Hell could be, should it exist. That's a matter of theological debate, and a contentious one at that. I wouldn't expect most people to know of the finer details; most believe in the version you've espoused. I do think people ought not to dismiss religions on the grounds of a view that isn't necessarily accurate. I might be wrong in my belief in the conception of Hell, but it's worth considering at the least. Indeed, I take a more philosophical bent to my arguments for God than theological bent; philosophical arguments are my primary weapon in the theological debate on the conception of Hell!

I hope I've made things somewhat clearer.
"Tis not in mortals to command success
But we"ll do more, Sempronius, we"ll deserve it