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The Contender
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Buddhism is an obviously incorrect religion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/19/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,142 times Debate No: 52718
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (1)




I am going to look at this through various perspectives. First, lets look at my statement scientifically, the world was created around 4 billion years ago through a process abbreviated as the "big bang". Therefore science states that all religions are incorrect. If we look at it from a perspective of any other religion, we can say with assurance that humans have populated the earth for AT LEAST 3500 years, because of the written accounts provided by Mesopotamian scholars. Now, to my main point. how can a religion be correct if it was created after human civilization? What happened to the human souls that lived before the "Buddha" came to be? Did millions of ancient Mesopotamians and Greeks simply go to Naraka? Naraka is to Buddhism like hell is Christianity, just if any of you did not know. And, if humans go through rebirth, "reincarnation", then none of us should exist. If none of the ancient peoples re birthed, then how are we here? My conclusion? Buddhism was created as a lifestyle, an ideology, not a religion, and anyone who thinks otherwise should really think about the origins of humanity and the origins of Buddhism.


Thank you Con, for presenting this challenge.

Even though I'm not a Buddhist myself, I believe that Buddhism is probably the only religion that might be close to a real understanding metaphysics, and therefore, is by no means "obviously wrong".

I also believe that you have misunderstood many concepts of Buddhism, and
I'd like to point out that Buddhism have several branches (1), and they can differ quite a lot between each other, so what's true for one branch might be false for others, and this is the case of the concept of Naraka, which is not accepted by some Buddhist scholars, while others believe it's something incomprehensible and impossible to describe for those who live in the real world.

You also claim that "science states that all religions are incorrect" based on the assumption that all religions were created after the appearance of human on Earth, and therefore, none of them are compatible to a world that is over 4 billion years old. This is a false assumption, the fact that religions emerged much after the world doesn't mean that they are wrong per se. The Buddhist religion is based on the concepts of karma and reincarnation, and none of them conflict with the scientific facts about the age of the universe (and by the way, the big bang and the formation of Earth were different events, separated by almost 10 billion years in the timeline of the universe)

Now about Naraka, first it's one of the many reminiscents of Hinduism that have been incorporated in some branches of Buddhism. Buddhism emerged in a Hindu society, therefore many concepts of Hinduism were incorporated in the new religion just like many concepts of Judaism are found in Christianity, but it is by no means a core principle of Buddhism, and therefore doesn't have to be accepted by every Buddhists. You also make a false correlation of Naraka and the Christian hell, they are by no means equivalent, if anything Naraka would be closer to the idea of purgatory, once those who commit specially bad acts are sent to be punished and pay for their crimes before they meet their final destiny, which in Buddhism is an endless cycle of reincarnation that can only be stopped when the soul reaches Enlightenment, when it's sent to the Nirvana, where all the suffering will be extinguished.

This in no way means that those who aren't Buddhists won't reincarnate, quite to the contrary: the destiny of every soul is to reincarnate successively, and only reaching Enlightenment can stop one from reincarnating again. In fact it could be said that the Naraka is not exactly a place where souls are sent, but rather, another world, where those who have a bad Karma (did bad things) will reincarnate to pay for their misdeeds, and after that, they'll reincarnate in our world again.

Another thing I admire in Buddhism is that, in this religion, you fate doesn't depend on your beliefs, but solely on your actions. Therefore, all of those Greeks and Mesopotamians would be rewarded with a will entirely compatible to whether or not they were good independently of the fact that they didn't believe in Buddhism. In fact, you don't even have to be a Buddhist to achieve Enlightenment. All of this is possible because Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, and therefore, the Buddhist world doesn't depend on the figure of a divine creator or revelations by superior entities. In Buddhism you are the master of your own destiny.

Debate Round No. 1


I appreciate you taking your time to differentiate naraka and the christian hell and the correlation with hinduism, but my main point which you did not rebut is that it appeared AFTER record human civilization. I would like to know how karma affects a population that is religiously apathetic as a whole, this being Mesopatamia, and ancient Greece. Wouldn't all souls become stuck in the purgatory because they all had committed evil without reconciling with themselves?


No, they wouldn't. They don't have to "reconcile with themselves", they only have to suffer enough to pay for their crimes, that is, if they commited crimes serious enough to deserve that kind of punnishment, if they haven't, they'd just reincarnate as any other soul - in a better life if they were good, or in a worse if they weren't (remember that Naraka is just for extremely bad crimes), they don't have to believe in reicarnation or any other Buddhist principles to reincarnate. Buddhists believe that animals have souls and reincarnate too, but have you ever seen a Buddhist animal?

You asume that everybody who doesn't believe in a certain religion deserves hell according to that religion. That is a Christian idea, Buddhists don't think like that.
Debate Round No. 2


you don't know what I believe, and you failed to rebut my main point again.

I will ask you a questions, how can 6.8 billions souls reincarnate from the 10's of thousands that existed 3000 years ago? Do souls somehow multiply? That in itself is a hole in Buddhism, and an interesting one.


I never implied to know what you believe. I simply assumed that you, like most people on this site, live in a mostly Christian society, and therefore you are influenced by the common beliefs of this religion and might perceive other religions that you don't know much about, like Buddhism, as being similar in structure to the Christian faith that you know. This in no way means that I'm implying you are a Christian (even though your profile says you are).

You also claim that I failed to rebut your main point again, however, you main point cam be summarized as:

Buddhism appeared after human civilization, therefore, it's laws (i.e.: reincarnation) couldn't be applied to people who lived before the rise of Buddhism, and they'd have been trapped in Naraka, without reincarnating.

I believe I've proved that for Buddhism the fact that the religion was created after human civilization doesn't mean that the law of karma and reincarnation didn't apply to the non-Buddhist people who lived before it, since this law governs every soul¹, independently of they being Buddhists or not. Besides, Naraka is not exactly a place for disincarnated souls¹, but rather, another plane of existence, therefore, going to Naraka is in itself a process of reincarnation. I also pointed that Naraka is a place for the punishment of really bad crimes, not for everybody who isn't Buddhist, as you imply. People who aren't Buddhists can very well be reincarnated in other conditions other planes other than Naraka, including the human world. All of this disproves your claims and assumptions about Buddhism, so I'm pretty confident that I did rebut your main point.

Now, you make an interesting point about the relation of reincarnation with the increase in human population, however, you go from a false presumption that humans only reincarnate as other humans, but as I stated earlier, in Buddhism, humans can and do reincarnate in other forms and planes, Naraka, for example is one of them, dedicated to the specially bad people, however, beings in this other planes can also be reincarnated in the human world, or in other planes. In total, Buddhists believe that there is six realms, a and each of them is the destiny for those who had certain attitudes and actions in their past lives. The six realms are: (1)

The Deva Realm: Deva is sometimes translated as gods, but they are not gods in the Christian sense, they are just supernatural creatures that live in a state of bliss. They are still under the law of karma, and therefore die and reincarnate in other realms. Those who accumulate a lot of good karma can reincarnate as devas.

The Asura Realm: Sometimes translated as demigods or demons, the Asuras are realm between humans and devas. They have less suffering than humans, but they envy the devas, and therefore is a realm of jealousy. It is usually destiny of those who had good intention but still committed bad actions.

The Human Realm: I guess you probably know about this one

The Animal Realm: This is another realm where souls¹ can be reincarnated. You probably know about this one too. People who act with ignorance and prejudice are usually reincarnated as animals.

The Preta Realm: Preta is usually translated as "hungry ghosts", they are beings that live in constant hunger and thirst but can never satisfy this needs. This realm is the destiny of those who are very possessive and have strong desires

The Naraka Realm: This one was already mentioned. It's a realm of deep suffering, but not exactly like the Christian hell, since, as in any other realm, those who are there die and can reincarnate back again in other realms. By the way, what can send you to Naraka in the next life is cultivating hatred - so, unless you believe all the greeks and mesopotamians who lived before the rise of Buddhism were very hateful people, your assumption that they all went to Naraka doesn't make any sense.

So, as you can see, the increase in human population can be explained by the fact that more creatures from the other five realms have been reincarnated in the human realm then humans have been reincarnated in those realms.


¹ - I believe that the term "soul" isn't exactly the most appropriate term for the Buddhist doctrine. Buddhists don't believe in a soul the way we conceive it, but since I'm not an expert in Buddhism, I'll stick with the term we are more familiar with.


Debate Round No. 3


Good enough answer, I didn't think about animals and plants and micro-organisms. Ok, heres another question. How is it possible to know about these realms? As far as I know, I can't remember my life 400 years ago, so how did these "realms" and the concept of reincarnation come to be? There are only two possible options, first one, you remember a past life and record all of this information, second, It was all made up.


Oh, now you are starting to make the right questions. However, I must notice that in this round you have fundamentally changed your main point, so, unless you can prove that these questions presented by you can sustain the claims you made in the first round, this should be considered a concession.

Now, to answer your questions, the truth is, despite the huge differences relative to the monotheistic religions we are used to, Buddhism is still a religion, so, a good deal of what is teached in Buddhism is based on faith. However there is a lot of logic on the idea of reincarnation, and it's by no means an "obviously incorrect" idea. In fact, many academics have studied this idea and reached surprising conclusions.

For example, Dr Jim B. Tucker (1), a prominent scholar in child psychiatry, have conducted several studies in young children that had been said to have memories of past lifes. In one of the many cases (2) he studied, a child of just 2 years old started having nightmares in which he was in plane crash. When his parents asked for details in his dreams, he said that he was a pilot and that his plane had been shot down in Iwo Jima, he also remembered of a boat named Natoma, and that he had a friend there named Jack Larsen. After several years researching the battle of Iwo Jima, his father discovered that there was a real carrier named Natoma, and that this carrier did had a plane that was shot down in the battle of Iwo Jima, and also one of the pilots there was named Jack Larsen. This is just an example, there are many other cases studied by Tucker, and in most of the cases, this memories appears in very young children, and they disappear when they reach 5, 6 or 7 years of age. Now, it's possible that there are other explanations for this, but so far, it seems to be a strong evidence of reincarnation.

There is not enough scientific evidence to prove that the mind is part of the physical reality. It's actually very likely that consciousness exists as a separate entity from the physical world, and if that's the case, it's not impossible that, once a consciousness is detached from a physical body (through death), it can reconnect with another body that doesn't yet have a consciousness. A counsciousness doesn't need to have all the memories it had gone through. People can suffer amnesia and memory loss, but their consciousness remain the same, it's totaly possible that a traumatic experience such as death could earase most or all of the memory of a consciousness without destroying the consciousness itself.

Yet Buddhism has a much more complex way of understand consciousness that personally I don't comprehend entirely, but, as I sid in the note I gave in the last round, Buddhists don't believe in a "soul" as we commonly understand. Buddhists actually believe that durring the process of rebirth, the consciousness of the person or creature being born isn't entirely the same as the one of that person or creature that died, but rather something that is neither identical nor completely different from the original consciousness (3). Apparently, this is just as complex as it sounds, so we would need years of study to fully understand this logic, but one thing is certain: It's not illogical at all.

Debate Round No. 4


So, the fundamentals of Buddhism were created by some 4 year olds? In order to know about all these "realms", you must know about it, If you know what I mean. I don't think you explained that to me well enough. And another thing which I thought about immediately after I posted my last argument, yes, human souls can multiply from the animals and plants and micro organisms, but they must come from something? When a plant sows a seed in the ground, where is that soul coming from? There are probably more plants and animals and humans then 3000 years ago, so therefore not all organism can have souls, because there are more then before 3000 years ago. Ultimately Buddhism is left with big 2 holes, either of which cannot be logically explained without first-hand experience which only a handful of people have claimed. And another thing, a child remembering some "past life" is hardly evidence of reincarnation, it just means he has a healthy imagination. Coincedences happen all the time, and if we all were remembering stuff from past lives, then and only then would I consider Buddhism as a true religion.


Since this is the last round, I feel I must point out that you have failed to present any argument that supports your case. Your resolution claims that Buddhism is "obviously wrong". You proposed such a resolution and the burden of proof lies on you. In order to prove your resolution, you had to show that Buddhism is unquestionably wrong, while I only had to show that there is a logical possibility that Buddhism might not be wrong. Throughout the debate all you did was questioning the evidences and explanations I brought. You never constructed an argument consistent with the resolution, while I not only brought arguments that denies the idea that Buddhism is obviously wrong, but also showed there is a possibility that Buddhism might actually be right.

Anyway, to answer your questions, as I said on the last round, Buddhism as a religion have much of it's doctrine based on belief. The supernatural realms for example, can't be objectively proved, they are the way that Buddhists found to explain what can't be explained by empirical analysis alone, and most of their structures are strongly based on similar concepts of Hinduism, from which the Buddhist religion derived, the same way the Christian ideas of Heaven and Hell are derived from similar concepts found in Judaism and Zoroastrianism, the preceding religions of Christianity.

As for your question about souls multiplications, first I must poit out that Buddhism doesn't say anything about a "Plant Realm", therefore I don't think the main branches of Buddhism consider plants as part of the reincarnation cycle. Anyway, although there are data that proves a great increase in the human population during it's existence on Earth, there is no proof that there are more animals now than 3000 years ago, as you claim. In fact many species have been extincted since then, so it's possible that there was actually a decrease in animal population. And even if there wasn't, we don't know anything about the population of the other 4 realms, so it's impossible to prove Buddhism wrong simply by pointing out changes in human and animal populations.

Also I must remember you that in Buddhism it's not exactly a single soul that gets reincarnated over and over, but rather a new consciusness that arises as a product of the previous consciousness at each process of rebirth, it's not impossible that new consciouness can appear without needing a previous one.

You say that reincarnation is false because it can't be explained by first-hand experience. But most things can't be experienced by forst-hand. For example, you can't experience the sinking of the Titanic, because you are not there and it's a claim that is besed entired on third persons accounts, yet, that doesn't mean the Titanic didn't sink. You also claim that the evidence for reincarnation I presented could be just coincidences, however it's extremely unlikely that all detailed similarities between a 2 year-old account and an obscure event that happened decades ago that almost no one ever heard about were just a coincidence. You could also claim that the fact that an iceberg hit the Titanic was just a coincidence and not the cause of the sinking, but logic dictates that the simplest explanation is the one that should be considered. (1)

Debate Round No. 5
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: pro had no sources, and ended up asking questions in the end.

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