Saturday, May 1, 2010

Food for Thought

So on a slightly more serious note, I'd like to leave you all with some things to think about. As you probably all will eventually figure out, I have a serious problem with organized religion (to be more specific, Christianity). This is not to say I think badly of Christians; my problem lies more with the religion itself.

Last year while writing a short paper for school on the concept of reincarnation, I discovered that I was an accidental Buddhist. Accidental in the way that I had never really studied Buddhism and had no idea that this was the closest to religion I'd ever been. Buddhism, for those of you that don't know, does not have a God that you are expected to worship. Instead there is Siddhartha Buddha, a man who actually lived, (similar to the Jesus of Christianity). You are not expected to worship him, but instead improve your life, and your behaviors by modeling your life after his.

They believe in karma, and that karma is carried forward from one life to the next (reincarnation). Contrary to popular belief, if you lead a "bad" life, you are not reincarnated as a cow or pig (or whatever else you might come back as), but instead you come into the next life as more of a "tortured" soul, and you must work to earn good karma until your slate has been swept clean. You may reach Nirvana through practicing Dharma (protection against suffering and negativity, usually attained through meditation) and then teaching it to others.

Buddhists also believe that every living creature has a soul, and that no one life is no more important than the next.

Now when I say that I am a Buddhist, I do not mean to say that I won't kill a spider if it happens to be in my vicinity indoors (outdoors I tend to just leave them alone), or that I will repent for 7 days straight if I accidentally run over a grass hopper with my lawn mower (just kidding about that one - I don't mow lawns). Nor do I seriously meditate or teach meditation to others.

But -

I do not believe there is some higher being out there responsible for all of our comings and goings. Nor do I believe that God's little invention of free will and original sin (which by the way was blamed on a woman) serves as a sufficient explanation as to why some children get leukemia and others are millionaires.

Truthfully, the idea of gods were a creation of man designed to explain things we as human beings could not at the time explain. Someone once argued to me that existence in itself was enough proof for him that there had to be a god out there somewhere. I believe it's just another scientific explanation waiting to be discovered.

Some Christians have tried to tell me they believe in both the Bible and the theory of evolutionism. This baffles me more than anything as they are completely contradictory, and both cannot be true. I can respect a person who completely 100% stands by their convictions. Saying you believe both sides is like saying you're a "Sometimes Christian." And if this is the case are you therefore a "good" Christian or a "bad" Christian?

I would also like to comment on this all-mighty, all-knowing, all-loving God. Would a god who truly loves all his people also condemn a person to an eternal Hell for something as simple as missing church one Sunday? In Dante Alighieri's Inferno, Virgil the poet was condemned to Hell for no other reason than that he "made the mistake" of being born before Christianity was known to man. Can that truly be called loving? Or is it only the really really bad (i.e. murderers and rapists) people who are damned? If that's the case does someone who is "kind of good" get the same Heaven as someone who is purely good? If so, does that give anyone incentive to be purely good all the time? Buddhism believes in "reaping what you sow." God or no, doesn't that seem to be, in the very least, more fair? Wouldn't an all-loving God believe in justice?

This brings me to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Does it not seem ironic to any Christian that they go to church every Sunday and worship a man who was Jewish? Since the invention of Christianity, all through out history, Christian's have blamed, persecuted, and killed Jews for no other reason than that they were Jewish. They were blamed for the Bubonic Plague. Hitler blamed them for the German loss of World War I (a mere 70 years ago mind you, and people were all too willing to follow). Whatever happened to "Thou shalt not kill" and "Love thy neighbor as thyself"? It wasn't okay for the Romans to crucify Jesus, but it is okay for Christians to kill Jewish people? Should I even bother to mention the fact that The Old Testament is in fact the Jewish bible? Or that without Judaism, Christianity wouldn't even exist?

Jesus also claimed that God spoke to him. Nowadays when a man claims that God speaks to him, we label him as a schizophrenic, strap him into a nice little strait jacket, and toss him into a comfy little padded room. So Jesus can speak to God but no one else can?

Contrary to what you may be thinking now, my point is not that Christians are bad. My point is that Christianity as a whole is fairly hypocritical. It bothers me when the nuns come to my doorstep and ask if I need "saving." It's like a kind of backhanded insult. While I understand at the heart of it are good intentions, they haven't stopped to think about how what they are saying will affect the people they're saying it to. I don't knock on your door and tell you that you will become a tortured soul in the next life if you don't start meditating now. Don't Christian's believe in humility? In being humble? Isn't it rather arrogant of you to assume I need saving?

I'm not asking you to become Buddhist. I'm not even saying this is the best religion you could possibly follow. I'm asking you to stop, and think for a moment. To not simply accept what you are told, but to question it, because that is the path to enlightenment. And isn't enlightenment a form of Heaven? Isn't that what we're all working towards anyway?


8 comments:

  1. im doing buddhism gcse at the moment i found that i believed most of their teachings anyway im a catholic a very bad catholic i might add but when people ask me about my religion i dont say im catholic i say that i spose im a bit of everything isnt that what religion is though a bit of this and a bit of that and i think that buddhism is the most relaxed religion and i spose a bit of a cop out in contrast to islam etc lool very intrestiong post you have me thinkning ...

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  2. I suppose religion these days is a bit of everything- but I wouldn't say it's a cop out or even that it's more relaxed. Technically it's actually very complicated and fairly difficult to explain. I like it because I feel it offers a better explanation of the world around us while teaching us to think positively and treat all life with the same respect in which we want to be treated.

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  3. i agree but i still think that is much easier then being a catholic :) lool :)

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  4. lol yeah probably. Catholicism is probably my least favorite of the Christian religions. Catholic weddings are ridiculously long anyway. And from what I understand of it they're probably the most strict.

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  5. that sounds like my view on religion. i grew up protestant and my mother grew up seventh day baptist. where they cant dance, go to movies or pretty much do anything at all. lol i just say live your life as a good person and when you pass on to the next life or whatever happens, good things will come to you.

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  6. I think I might be an accidental Buddhist too. Anything but Mormon. Please don't make me be a Mormon.

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  7. Thanks for clarifying Chicken... Now I know where I get it from

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