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Religion.. A promise to nothing?

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posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 10:46 AM
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Before I start this thread, I would like all members to view this as not being another religion basher- rather an expression of my opinions and members input either positive or negative.

Religion to me appears to be a first class ticket to an afterlife of joy and happiness, in complete disregard to what many do in this real life in accordance to what 'their' God wants. Many who appear scared of death and their own mortality follow religion to beat the fact they are scared to die, promising an afterlife will make some fearless and even quite evil considering they know they will live forever.

I class myself as being quite young and healthy (touch wood). if say I knew I had cancer and was going to die within the next year and a promise came through that I could live for eternity in a happy and tranquil existence the whole religious beliefs would be an ideological and utopian paradise.

My knowledge on religion is limited I have to admit, but the majority all promise the soul lives forever, in my eyes it does not, we do not contain a soul. If say a religion didn't promise an afterlife, would we have all these martyr bombings from all religions in the name of their God? I highly doubt it.

So in short, do people believe in religions because they can't accept their own mortality? Does the promise of a happy afterlife make people fearless to their own existence and thus are happy to die as part of their religion and their righteous God?




posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 11:11 AM
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The problem I have with all religions (I was raised a Catholic, and they've done some pretty bad stuff over the past 2000 years), is that whatever the underlying basis and positive intentions of the original inspiration, it all seems to degenerate into an excuse to victimize non-believers. At best I would say that they give some sort of psychological comfort to the people that sincerely believe in that sort of thing. At worst I think they are lethal pathologies.

I think Richard Dawkins summarizes it far more eloquently than I ever could.

www.guardian.co.uk...

Do I know some very nice people who are religious? Absolutely. Do I think the institutions cause nothing but trouble? Totally.

Off the top of my head:

Catholicism---->Spanish inquisition, counter-reformation, scientific suppression, child sex abuse

Protestantism---->anti-Catholic discrimination in England (19th c), Scotland (20th c), N.I. (today)

Christianity in general -----> anti-semitism ultimately leading to the Holocaust

Judaism-----> 'chosen people', giving an excuse for Zionism, expropriation of Palestinian land and creation of current fun and games in the middle east.

Islam ---->9/11, 7/7, concept of 'believers/unbelievers'. Probably excuse for another holocaust against Jews

Hinduism -----> sectarian muslim-hindu violence stemming from creation of India-Pakistan in 1947
Rise of the BJP, continuining sectarian violence.

I don't think that, in general, we're a very nice species. I think that religion as an institution used to express that fundamental nastiness without admitting just how vile we are in general.

TD



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 11:22 AM
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Yes I do agree, all religions have done bad. What I am trying to grasp is, in my eyes religion is solely based on an heaven, an eternity of happiness, many have little regard of their own mortality when promised an afterlife. If a religion existed minus a heaven would the same attrocities be associated with religion?

It intrigues me that many religions condone violence in the name of God and so many participants from ALL religions are happy to commit such vile crimes because they believe in a happy afterlife or pure bliss. In my eyes they can't condone their own mortality and it is easier to believe in something which keeps them in their utopia for eternity, minus that Utopia and would attrocities such as 9/11 and 7/7 have occured?


Edn

posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 02:16 PM
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You made me go have a look about wars in Buddhism, and actually I have a hard time finding much information. what I did find is there have been wars with Buddhists and there have been fights between Buddhists but apart from that and a few civil wars where the majority were Buddhists there has never been anything significant. Certenly there hasn't been anything like the masicars Christians did in Europe prity much killing anyone who refused to convert.

I think one of the main reasons for that is there isn't a happy afterlife waiting at the end of it all, its hard work if you want to archive any state of enlightenment and fighting doesn't bring you anything.



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 02:31 PM
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Originally posted by Edn
You made me go have a look about wars in Buddhism, and actually I have a hard time finding much information. what I did find is there have been wars with Buddhists and there have been fights between Buddhists but apart from that and a few civil wars where the majority were Buddhists there has never been anything significant. Certenly there hasn't been anything like the masicars Christians did in Europe prity much killing anyone who refused to convert.

I think one of the main reasons for that is there isn't a happy afterlife waiting at the end of it all, its hard work if you want to archive any state of enlightenment and fighting doesn't bring you anything.
I agree. If I was going to be religous my first xhoice would be buddhism.



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 03:04 PM
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Isn't the Buddhist religion based in and around karma, where if you are bad in life you will return as something worse? If you are good you will move up to enlightenment, or something along those lines?

I find it highly interesting that if you remove the ease of living in paradise and live along the lines of karma, the world would generally be more peaceful.

It amazes me how many can justify killing in the name of God thinking they are going to heaven, no religion appears to peaceful as no religion, minus Buddhism, appears to express the very mortality of the human being.



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 03:26 PM
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Originally posted by Edn
You made me go have a look about wars in Buddhism, and actually I have a hard time finding much information. what I did find is there have been wars with Buddhists and there have been fights between Buddhists but apart from that and a few civil wars where the majority were Buddhists there has never been anything significant...

Did you consider the horrors of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge? A million people murdered, countless more tortured, raped and forced to undertake slave labour, pyramids of skulls piled up as an example to the survivors? Buddhists did the killing. The people they killed were Buddhists, too. Several leading Khmers Rouges were Buddhist monks or novices before they took to slaughter.

Have you thought about Burma, suffocating in the death-grip of a military oligarchy, where the same sort of things we know about from Cambodia still happen every day? Those generals are Buddhists. So are their victims.

Did you forget Sri Lanka, where the Sinhalese-Buddhist majority has been persecuting the Tamil (Hindu and Christian) minority for over half a century, igniting and continuing to fuel a vicious civil war which is actually just the latest phase in a conflict that has been going on since the 2nd century BC, though interrupted for 400 years or so by European intervention?

An early history of that conflict is to be found in the Mahavamsa, the Great Chronicle of the Sinhalese people, written by Buddhist monks in the 5th century AD. Here is an extract. Datthagamini, the great war hero-king of the Sinhalese, having won a great war, goes before a group of Buddhist monks and expresses his regret at having killed millions (a pious exaggeration, no doubt) of Tamils.

"And thereon the king said again... `How shall there be any comfort for me, O Venerable Sirs, since by me was caused the slaughter of a great host numbering millions?'"

This is the monks' -- the Buddhist monks' reply:

"'From this deed arises no hindrance in thy way to heaven. Only one and a half human beings have been slain here by thee, O Lord of Men. The one had come unto the (three) refuges, the other had taken on himself the five precepts. Unbelievers and men of evil life were the rest, not more to be esteemed than beasts. But as for thee, thou wilt bring glory to the doctrine of the Buddha in manifold ways; therefore cast away care from thy heart, O ruler of men!'" (Mahavamsa, Ch. 25, Wilhelm Geiger trans.)

Meaning: one was a Buddhist, therefore a human being.

One had espoused the Buddhist rule of life without converting. Therefore he was half human.

The rest weren't Buddhists, so killing them was no worse than killing animals.

Meditate upon those words, written and putatively uttered by Buddhist monks, and ask yourself if perhaps you haven't been a bit too lenient on that particular faith.

The Buddhist ideal is extinction. Not just the extinction of the ego, or of the Self, but ultimately of everything. And everybody. This is Buddhist philosophy: life stinks, the only way to attain peace is to stop living. This is what Nirvana is: extinction. The word, in Sanskrit, means 'snuffing out' in the sense of snuffing out a flame.

Some Buddhists choose to take an active hand in this snuffing-out process. Have you heard of the Tantric Buddhist sects of the twelfth century and after, who practised ritual human sacrifice and drank the blood of victims from bowls made of their skulls? There's a statue in the Jakarta museum of a 12th-century king in Sumatra called Adithyavarman, all dressed up as a Tantric bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) complete with skulls, ritual knife, etc. Find a photo, check it out and ask yourself whether this so-called religion of non-violence is all it's (pardon the pun) cracked up to be.

Buddhism is no different from any other religion. All religion is evil. Religion is an instrument of social control and manipulation, a source of comfort to cowards, a means of justification to the bloodthirsty, and an agent of moral corruption to just about everybody. Above all, it is a lie.



posted on Sep, 3 2006 @ 04:07 PM
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Firstly, just a minor thank you for your detailed and enlightening input.

You have voted Astyanax for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have two more votes this month.


One thing I did noticed through the attrocities is the fact that none (atleast to my knowledge) were recent massacres/ killings?

Another thing which I also want to question is your opinion on this Nirvana. Now I was under the impression Nirvana didn't mean death, instead it was the term for passing on to the after life. They have fulfilled their role in life of being born and born again and have lived in accordance of peace and thus are enlightened. In my eyes is Nirvana was as you say a term in comparison to being 'snuffed out' this would not be Nirvana as one sin't enlightened, you would simply re-enter the chain and Nirvana wouldn't be accomplished.



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 02:56 AM
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Originally posted by Knights
Firstly, just a minor thank you for your detailed and enlightening input.


You have voted Astyanax for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have two more votes this month.

Many thanks, Knights.


One thing I did noticed through the attrocities is the fact that none (atleast to my knowledge) were recent massacres/ killings?

Unfortunately, this is not true. Check this link for news of a very recent massacre perpetrated by people who call themselves Buddhists.

The Khmer Rouge despoiled Cambodia in the 1970s. The troubles in Burma have been going on since 1948; they continue to this day.

You may also remember the atrocities committed by Japanese troops during WWII, particularly in China, and the well-known horrors of their prisoner-of-war camps. Many of those Japanese soldiers and prison guards were Buddhists.

I'm sorry to say that I don't know of any religion whose adherents are all free from violence and hatred. Buddhism hasn't propagated itself with fire and sword, as Christianity and Islam have done, but there's been plenty of violence associated with it -- even religious wars, usually between opposed sects.

Now for your question about nirvana. There is a substantial difference in Buddhist thought between nirvana and enlightenment.

Enlightenment is the understanding (not an intellectual understanding, but a kind of instantaneous gestalt perception, felt as much as known) of the so-called Four Noble Truths. The Buddha is supposed to have achieved enlightenment after years of wandering, study and meditation. At that moment, he became free of attachment and achieved Buddhahood, becoming the Thathagatha, the 'one who has crossed over.' His karmic burden fell away, leaving only a small residue that he would work out during the remainder of his natural life. At the end of that life he was not reborn, as other beings are, but simply ceased to exist in any form whatsoever.

This cessation of existence is called nirvana, or as Theravada Buddhists pronounce it, nibbana. Nirvana is, simply: ceasing to be reborn.

Nothing -- no self, no soul, no spirit, no atman, nothing -- survives nirvana.

This may be a little difficult for someone raised purely in the traditions of Western thought to understand. The culture into which the the Buddha-to-be, Siddhartha Gautama, was born believed in rebirth. It was thought that everyone lived for ever, not in a single unbroken span but it in a near-infinite succession of mortal lives, punctuated by death and rebirth.

The Buddha's basic insight (if you can call it that) is that, since all life entails suffering and death, the only way to escape suffering and death is to stop living. In effect, the only way to 'save' oneself is to get off the wheel. Lovers of life, such as myself, may consider this 'cure' to be worse than the disease.

It is karma, the principle of action and reaction, that binds beings to life; all karma, good and bad, has to be discharged before existence can cease. This is almost impossible since every human action, word, or thought has a karmic effect. The only way to stop accumulating karma is to stop acting, speaking and thinking. When these manifestations cease, karma dissolves and the being ceases to exist.

But how does one stop acting, speaking and thinking? According to the Buddha, one does this by finding less and less to do, say and think. This in turn is achieved by detaching oneself from life and society, which one can only do by ceasing to want things. In the end, one even has to stop wanting nirvana.

When one finally does that, one attains it. And ceases to exist.

Buddhism is not a sociable religion. In its purest form it is a monkish discipline that renounces the world entirely. The monk lives as a parasite on the society he has spurned, begging for his sustenance and repaying it only with instruction in the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, etc. If everyone, or even a large minority of human beings became Buddhist monks, society would collapse. This would be perfectly in keeping with Buddhist ideas so long as everyone attained Enlightenment before dying of starvation and disease.

But since the monks need society to sustain them, there is a more lenient kind of Buddhism that lay folk can practise. This will not lead to the attainment of enlightenment, at least not for the next few dozen, or hundred, or thousand lives. It will, however, allow the practitioner to be reborn into happier circumstances than he or she currently enjoys.

Most Buddhists practise the lay rule, hoping to be reborn into a better life (one can even be reborn as a god and live for ages in perfect felicity, but even the gods must die and be reborn, usually into much unhappier circumstances since divinity tends to accumulate lots of karma). In this sense, Buddhism is even more corrupting than the monotheistic religions which offer salvation and an eternal afterlife, because what it sets out on its stall isn't even some mystical, spiritual state of eternal disembodied life, but straightforward, corporeal existence, only better than the one you're living now.

If you'd like to learn more about Buddhism, from the Theravada perspective at least, you'll find everything you need -- in massive detail -- at this site. It contains introductory material, philosophical exegesis and the Theravada scriptures in their entirety -- as well as lots of insightful commentary from the author of the site, a deeply committed Buddhist.

The other site I've linked to above is also useful.

If you would like to read a brief and sympathetic -- if somewhat blandly accepting -- account of the Buddha's life and teachings, try Buddha by Karen Armstrong.

Like all religions and probably more than most, Buddhism has a lot in it that is good. But -- again, like all religions, at least in my opinion -- the harm it has done mankind far outweighs any good to which its adherents might lay an honest claim.



posted on Sep, 4 2006 @ 05:59 AM
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Small correction: Adityavarman was a 14th century (around 1340) monarch, not 12th century as I previously stated.

Here's a picture of his statue. Sorry you can't see the skull bowl too well. My copy of this book contains a far better picture, but sadly it appears to be out of print.



posted on Sep, 6 2006 @ 10:17 PM
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The reason you dont understand is because you cant. And you cant because you have already made up your mind toward 1 answer, you do not think humans contain souls. Perfectly acceptable belief, I'm sure there are more Athiests in my country than any single type of Religous sect.

But, for mainly the same reason, be it a hunch or just my logical conclusion to existance and reality and so forth, I think we do have souls, or something unique like it. I dont think the universe, and whatevers beyond it, could just naturally exist for infinity in both directions of time, negative and forward into the future. A giant endless something of space eh.. it logicly doesnt make sense in its own right. I'd naturally say, anything on Earth or should i say, according to physics anything containing things must be contained by something. Because the notion of 1 thing being contained in another, me on this earth, the earth in the galaxy, the galaxy in the universe. Blip, thats where it cuts off, mankind has no understanding beyond universe that is certain, to us its the ultimate end that we just cant figure out. We think we can, but in reality no one can explain what is beyond the universe, what is the universe contained in? Its just mind boggling.

Theres a reason for this!

We are not the ultimate, we do not know all. We dont know all and we dont know whats beyond the universe and whats beyond reality and life as we know it, is because there has to be free choice and free thought, thus we have to be able to pick between thinking theres something and thinking theres nothing. Whichever seems easier to decide for yourself is what you pick; I think more people pick nothing over thinking theres an afterlife and thus a creator or creation.

But dont you think if there really was an afterlife, that it would be for the elect as the books say, the "chosen ones"? Thats just another way of saying people who are in the minority that think they have souls and that there is a God and that we are going to be judged in some way for our time on Earth.

Lets take it in the Athiest direction. Lets say we evolved up to Neanderthal and then Aliens came and geneticly bioengineered us with their DNA, and the Neanderthal DNA. Each person has a 100% unique fingerprint, thus everyones right hand is 100% different, and everyones genetic code is 100% different. Lets say these aliens were masters of all kinds of # and had a list of all the dna codes (people) that were to ever be born, ever, in all of the history of mankind (the "book of life"). Lets say we dont have souls, and when we die we are just 100% fleshy parts, theres nothing of another nature, an essence of any kind, and we decay until our body is gone, in a non-existant state akin to the deepest sleep you've ever been in. Can't remember how it felt? Exactly.

Now lets say these Aliens decide to "rebuild" each person to "judge" them before letting them into the "real world" aka "heaven" after passing the test of living in literal time as we know it and thus they let us into their timeless world if we pass the test by our lives. These aliens have the power once they reanimate you to delete you or let you exist eternally, and judge you.

Sound like a sci fi flick or novel? Ok. Can you understand the plot? Well, replace Aliens with God and thats the basis of Monotheistic Religon.


[edit on 6-9-2006 by runetang]



posted on Sep, 7 2006 @ 06:11 PM
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Reply to runetang. K I can't tell if you are joking or being serious. This reply is asuming that you are being serious.
First point, you use physics in your argument which you apparently don't understand. You should check out the M-theory and Megaverse theories before you start saying "A giant endless something of space eh.. it logicly doesnt make sense in its own right." or "according to physics anything containing things must be contained by something.".
Second point, you said "everyones genetic code is 100% different.", that is very incorrect; mory like 1% different.
Point three you said "Whichever seems easier to decide for yourself is what you pick; I think more people pick nothing over thinking theres an afterlife and thus a creator or creation. ", this is a very big asumption on your part and thus having no use in your argument.



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 12:40 AM
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I think the literary genres may be getting a bit mixed up here.

If the aliens meddled with Neanderthal DNA to make humans, that's science fiction.

If a god did it, that's fantasy.

Science fiction fans (like me) are forever insisting on the difference, but somehow the great mass of readers out there just doesn't see it.

[edit on 9-9-2006 by Astyanax]



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