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If God exists, why does He need to be recognized? 
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Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
moulton4 wrote:
what does everyone here think about jesus?



He clearly existed in my opinion.

But there's a big but.

30 years ago I was a believing Christian. Now having had years of unanswered questions I have formed my own opinion of what most likely happened according to me.

What were things like?

2000 years ago the world was flat, the earth was the center of the universe and people were uneducated, poor and likely to die before they were 45. History shows that myths and legends abounded and there was a fierce need for support for the individual and control from organizations across the world. There was also a terrible problem of moving information. By this I mean there was no media, no internet. Stories developed and were passed across lands and generations.

What do I believe?

There was a person about 2000 years ago who was a spiritual leader for a few in the middle east
His activities gained a certain reputation amidst a group of people who coluld not understand but needed to make sense
He probably was persecuted and killed by those in power - because they wanted to keep power

Over the years the story grew
It was developed by those who could use it well for their own purposes.

We are on a learning and development curve over the last 150 years that is beyond the previous 1800
Yet in 1400 in europe and for the last 600 years, religion was used, by men for their own gain

Now we have science and in the very short space of 100 years it is starting to answer a few questions
It will answer far more over the next 100 years

Uneducated man needed help with some difficult questions
Religion did that and provided a code of ethics and morals - I think this is excellent!

What are my doubts?

With millions of species on a single planet amidst billions of planets we are the only one to have a God
Within our single species we have multiple Gods
Not one of them has shown his or her face in the last thousand years
If Gods are omnipotent - why do they do so much bad stuff - the holocaust as a starter
Jesus is depicted as a white blonde guy from the middle east - very odd


Here's what I hope
That I'm wrong, because it would be insanely cool if there was a god and a heaven, etc.


Here's what I have done
I left the Church of England
I discovered Buddhism two years ago
It has no God, after life..... more a philosophy than a religion
It simply suggests that I can find happiness by understanding the causes of my pain & suffering
It suggests that the path to happiness is ultimately about being a decent person
It provides me with a guide to get there

Part of Buddhism is not to knock other people's beliefs
another part is not to try and force it down other people's throats

Rob


Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:33 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
Arsenal84 wrote:
Me personally, even though I have fallen away from the christian faith in the past couple years, I still consider Jesus to be my savior, even if you strip away all of his divinity you simply cannot deny he had a positive impact on this world.
Going by Jesus as depicted in the Bible, probably the best thing he did was to soften up the whole "hellfire 'n' brimstone" thing. He did say some kind of creepy things (like the whole thing about hating your family and friends), but on the whole, he was very progressive.

I don't personally accept him as a savior or anything like that, but he's one of those figures who comes around every so often to shake society out of its rut. It seems like it's usually somebody with long hair and bare feet.

Arsenal84 wrote:
Did you know that Jesus is the most recognizable historical figure in the world and Hitler is the second most recognizable historical figure. Good vs Evil
Give Hitler a couple hundred years and he'll be pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. Yeah, he sucked monumentally, but people have sucked much worse in the history books. I'm betting that those statistics will change when they take this poll again in the semi-distant future.

(That's probably the best that can happen. I'm sure people as messed up as Hitler would rather be reviled than forgotten.)

I think of it as a sign of the times. Given our current value system, Hitler is about the worst that could be thrown at us. But compare him to, say, Genghis Khan, and he's just another in a long line of genocidal war criminals. I'm not so sure it's an issue of good vs. evil, so much as it is of people who buy into a delusional belief system so completely that they're willing to do anything to carry it out. Maybe if Mama Hitler had sat her boy down and taught him the virtue of taking responsibility for himself and thinking critically, he would have stuck to painting.


Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:40 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."

-- CS Lewis

Napoleon expressed the following thoughts while he was exiled on the rock of St. Helena. There, the conqueror of civilized Europe had time to reflect on the measure of his accomplishments. He called Count Montholon to his side and asked him, "Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?" The count declined to respond. Napoleon countered:

Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him. . . . I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man; none else is like Him: Jesus Christ was more than a man. . . . I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me . . . but to do this is was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lightened up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts. . . . Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man toward the unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man's creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it, which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ.


Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:28 am
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
...Well said, Moovy.


Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:38 am
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
wow Moovy...that was powerful for me


very interesting rob, i totally agree about finding happiness by understanding pains and sufferings, as well as not knocking other religions.

here's what i believe about jesus:

1. he is either EVERYTHING or NOTHING. he claimed to be the son of God, and the ONLY way to heaven. If he is that, then that is all you need. If he isn't that, then he's a liar and a phony. Now, many christian religions, unfortunately, have bent the hell out of what he represented, and many christians, unfortunately, do a half-ass, self-centered job of being christian--thus my belief that the word "christian" is a noun and not an adjective.

2. I look for evidence outside of the bible. Sure, the bible offers great promises and hope, but I need something else. there is historical evidence outside of the bible that he did exist. There are numerous references to him, including one about 80 years after his death that references a group of people who call themselves "christians", followers of christ.

3. how could ONE CARPENTER, a poor little nothing, 2000 years ago, influence SO MANY people, from thousands of areas, to write about him.

4. Christianity is the only religion where the leader of that religion dies and then returns after death--showing the eternal life we all can have.

5. Jesus fufilled so many prophecies (this is irrelevant if you think these are false), prophecies that both muslims and jewish believe in.

6. I feel bad for the God that I believe in everyday, because I think about how his simple message of love--love is something every human being wants and desires-- is not followed, and how Christians do such a poor job of it. It's just, being a follower of Jesus is hard for me. If, what I believe, believe in God's son Jesus and praising God, is the only way to eternal life, shouldn't I be inspired to tell everyone I can about it in order to save my friends and family? This comes off as narrow-minded and self-promoting, turning away the people I care about the most. But I can't give up.

just what i believe!


Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:48 am
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
moulton4 wrote:
wow Moovy...that was powerful for me


very interesting rob, i totally agree about finding happiness by understanding pains and sufferings, as well as not knocking other religions.

here's what i believe about jesus:

1. he is either EVERYTHING or NOTHING. he claimed to be the son of God, and the ONLY way to heaven. If he is that, then that is all you need. If he isn't that, then he's a liar and a phony. Now, many christian religions, unfortunately, have bent the hell out of what he represented, and many christians, unfortunately, do a half-ass, self-centered job of being christian--thus my belief that the word "christian" is a noun and not an adjective.

2. I look for evidence outside of the bible. Sure, the bible offers great promises and hope, but I need something else. there is historical evidence outside of the bible that he did exist. There are numerous references to him, including one about 80 years after his death that references a group of people who call themselves "christians", followers of christ.

3. how could ONE CARPENTER, a poor little nothing, 2000 years ago, influence SO MANY people, from thousands of areas, to write about him.

4. Christianity is the only religion where the leader of that religion dies and then returns after death--showing the eternal life we all can have.

5. Jesus fufilled so many prophecies (this is irrelevant if you think these are false), prophecies that both muslims and jewish believe in.

6. I feel bad for the God that I believe in everyday, because I think about how his simple message of love--love is something every human being wants and desires-- is not followed, and how Christians do such a poor job of it. It's just, being a follower of Jesus is hard for me. If, what I believe, believe in God's son Jesus and praising God, is the only way to eternal life, shouldn't I be inspired to tell everyone I can about it in order to save my friends and family? This comes off as narrow-minded and self-promoting, turning away the people I care about the most. But I can't give up.

just what i believe!



The state of todays Christianity is what turned me off in the first place and God is love and many christians are very selfish in the way that they are quick to judge but are blind to their own sins.

Yes Jesus did fulfill all of the messianic prophecies from the books of Daniel and Isaiah, however Muslims only see Jesus as a prophet and teacher and Jews... well if the jews believed that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies they wouldn't be jews they would be Christians. The Jewish messiah was supposed to be a military leader not a conscientious objector like Jesus.

I personally think that you shouldn't give up witnessing to your family and friends you are only trying to save their soul. However there is a right way and wrong way of doing that. From my experience the best way to do it is through actions. Be kind to everyone show love to your fellow man. Just don't start off saying "let me talk to you about Jesus, that is very off-putting to just about everyone. I don't know if you are familiar with the website http://www.wayofthemaster.com/ but that is the wrong way to do it, the way they talk to people about Jesus is simply baffling.

It would be wrong for anyone to persecute you for your beliefs, and I hope I haven't come across as a butt-hole it was not my intention. I was in your exact position four years ago. After a lot of... I guess soul searching and trying to find answers to many of my questions I finally walked away from it all.

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.~ Proverbs 21:31


Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:50 am
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Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
Sorry, this is going to be a big post.

Ken wrote:
Well, of course there might be a god. There might be ghosts, yetis, and gnomes living underground as well. For me, it's not so much an issue of not being able to live thinking there might be a god, because this is a universe of which we've only begun to develop a working understanding.

However, it is just as unreasonable to immediately attribute everything unknown to the work of God as it is to insist that God can't exist at all. If I'm going to believe that something exists, I'll do so because it's supported by evidence sufficiently strong enough to convince me. I won't outright rule out the possibility of God, but I have no more reason to believe in a god than I do any of the other things I mentioned. Based on that, I am entirely comfortable living my life under the assumption that there is no god, while giving allowance to the scientific rule-of-thumb that all knowledge is falsifiable.


Let me clarify: I am atheist, but not in the way that I avidly reject God. For me, it's a non-issue. I am happy without Him; as far as I am concerned, the Bible is just another book among many on philosophy and mythology, including Greco-Roman myths and the Koran. I give credit to science because it is a constant search for truth through repeated results, and as I have already said, is the only thing one can truly believe in without a doubt.

moulton4 wrote:
what does everyone here think about jesus?


We've been over this. Jesus is a zombie.

Moovy1 wrote:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.


I'm not so sure about this CS Lewis quote. I mean, hasn't he ever heard of Confucius?

moulton4 wrote:
2. I look for evidence outside of the bible. Sure, the bible offers great promises and hope, but I need something else. there is historical evidence outside of the bible that he did exist. There are numerous references to him, including one about 80 years after his death that references a group of people who call themselves "christians", followers of christ.


For the sake of argument, from the research I've done, historical evidence of Jesus is kind of sketchy. There are few non-Christian sources that mention Jesus, and most of them don't even call Him by his name. They are mostly Roman historians and they usually briefly recall a man who led a movement in Israel and was put down by Pilate. Sometimes they don't even give that many details. Even then, the validity of these statements is debated because of some other things that the author has, shall we say, embellished.

However, finding historical evidence for Jesus is another non-issue; He has too great a following. It's sort of like the debate over Shakespeare writing his own stuff. It doesn't matter at this point. But like you said, some people need something else, and I agree with you; I do too. That is one of the reasons why I gave up on Christianity.


Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:02 am
Profile
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
Here's my questions:

If you believe in your God and Jesus, where does he sit next to other people's Gods? Above, below or along side?

Do you believe that Homo Sapiens is the only species that can have a God and at what point along our evolution did we get the right to have a God versus a hippopotamus.

These are questions that my Catholic sister and I discuss alot (usually over dinner and a bottle of wine) . I am genuinely not being facetious.

Rob


Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:04 am
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
Robert Holloway wrote:
Here's my questions:

If you believe in your God and Jesus, where does he sit next to other people's Gods? Above, below or along side?

Do you believe that Homo Sapiens is the only species that can have a God and at what point along our evolution did we get the right to have a God versus a hippopotamus.

These are questions that my Catholic sister and I discuss alot (usually over dinner and a bottle of wine) . I am genuinely not being facetious.

Rob


Others may answer this better than I, but I'll give it a try:

I, believing in God and Jesus, put him above all other Gods--from my perspective, because the only way is through jesus, he is automatically the most important, and the one true creator.

It says in the bible that God made animals for humans enjoyment (including food), so yes, I believe that humans are the only being with an eternal soul--no one can answer this second question really, but let me leave with a thought:


if God made it "without a doubt" and "for certain", it wouldn't be true love and faith, and faith is a vital part of any religion--you have to believe in what the religion is saying. he gives us a choice to believe or not believe--free will--and thus, when you give God your heart, even when you're not given "100 percent evidence", it means so much more, in my opinion.


Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:37 am
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
Robert Holloway wrote:
Here's my questions:

If you believe in your God and Jesus, where does he sit next to other people's Gods? Above, below or along side?

Do you believe that Homo Sapiens is the only species that can have a God and at what point along our evolution did we get the right to have a God versus a hippopotamus.

These are questions that my Catholic sister and I discuss alot (usually over dinner and a bottle of wine) . I am genuinely not being facetious.

Rob


awesome post, rob.

now, being an atheist, i dont exactly qualify. but if i did believe the religion i was born into(sikhism, only till i was 6 years old, not even that i think) and from that point of view - all religions are equal. there's just one god they all preach to, in different forms. its your actions that matter, not your religion. its very ambiguous on god, anyway.

second question - it has a theory, that all other species of animal are just part of a cycle that a soul goes through. and the end is humans. once there, you get judged on your actions, and if you pass - heaven. fail - go through the cycle again and wait your turn.


moulton4 wrote:
Others may answer this better than I, but I'll give it a try:

I, believing in God and Jesus, put him above all other Gods--from my perspective, because the only way is through jesus, he is automatically the most important, and the one true creator.

It says in the bible that God made animals for humans enjoyment (including food), so yes, I believe that humans are the only being with an eternal soul--no one can answer this second question really


really? i mean, i dont know anything about the bible. or rather i only know what the average layman knows so this is a genuine curiosity. but, really? so the bible says that god created all this fauna just for mcdonalds and circuses? isn't that kind of...cruel? i dont know if cruel is the right word, but you know what i mean. a gorilla that is full of life, eats, sleeps, that cares for its children and would kill and die to protect them....its just there for my enjoyment? i guess cruel is the right word.


its very good reading different opinions on this, by the way.

moulton4 wrote:
if God made it "without a doubt" and "for certain", it wouldn't be true love and faith, and faith is a vital part of any religion--you have to believe in what the religion is saying. he gives us a choice to believe or not believe--free will--and thus, when you give God your heart, even when you're not given "100 percent evidence", it means so much more, in my opinion.


have you read the graphic novel Preacher? i dont know why, but i was reminded of it as i read the last paragraph. it made a similar point. but took a different stand on it.


Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:06 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
moulton4 wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:
Here's my questions:

If you believe in your God and Jesus, where does he sit next to other people's Gods? Above, below or along side?

Do you believe that Homo Sapiens is the only species that can have a God and at what point along our evolution did we get the right to have a God versus a hippopotamus.

These are questions that my Catholic sister and I discuss alot (usually over dinner and a bottle of wine) . I am genuinely not being facetious.

Rob


Others may answer this better than I, but I'll give it a try:

I, believing in God and Jesus, put him above all other Gods--from my perspective, because the only way is through jesus, he is automatically the most important, and the one true creator.

It says in the bible that God made animals for humans enjoyment (including food), so yes, I believe that humans are the only being with an eternal soul--no one can answer this second question really, but let me leave with a thought:


if God made it "without a doubt" and "for certain", it wouldn't be true love and faith, and faith is a vital part of any religion--you have to believe in what the religion is saying. he gives us a choice to believe or not believe--free will--and thus, when you give God your heart, even when you're not given "100 percent evidence", it means so much more, in my opinion.



Hi Moulton

Great post, I enjoy discussing this with you. I admire and envy your beliefs. My mother is very similar :-)

My understanding from your post is that you don't recognize the existence of other people's Gods and that your God is the only one - correct? If so, why would your God be the right one?

You also believe that animals are here for our enjoyment? How does that work with all the scientific evidence that man was an animal? I assume that you must believe in creationism? This is where my mother struggles most because she accepts that we evolved from single cell organisms through apes and various stages of homo species over hundreds of millions of years.

I genuinely don't have an issue with your position of beliefs because they are yours and not for anyone to say are wrong. in fact, I'm not sure that a belief can be wrong - per se?

Cool stuff
Rob


Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:26 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
I have a question for the Buddhists reading this thread (I suppose that's you, Rob) or anybody who is knowledgeable about the subject.

It is often stated that Buddhism is a "religion without deities" or a "non-religion" and more akin to a school of philosophy. Is this statement correct?

I'm asking because I once visited the Buddhist monastery on Lantau island, Hong Kong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tian_Tan_Buddha). My perception was that a lot of the statues at the main temple and around the giant Buddha statue depicted deities (or saints), some seemed to resemble Taoist deities very closely. Also, the giant Buddha statue contains a shard of Buddha - it was explained that Buddha literally broke into thousands of shards upon the death of his physical body. This appears to be similar to Catholic relics. Further, the monastery claimed to be one of the most important places of Buddhism, which invites comparison to Islam (Mekka) or, again, Catholicism (Rome).

In other words: The Buddhism practiced at this particular temple (I'm aware that there are different, well, demoninations) appeared to resemble Western religions in many aspects, which doesn't really correspond with the statememt that Buddhism would be a "religion without a god".

Could somebody explain this to me? I'm genuinely interested.


Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:14 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
unke wrote:
I have a question for the Buddhists reading this thread (I suppose that's you, Rob) or anybody who is knowledgeable about the subject.

It is often stated that Buddhism is a "religion without deities" or a "non-religion" and more akin to a school of philosophy. Is this statement correct?

I'm asking because I once visited the Buddhist monastery on Lantau island, Hong Kong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tian_Tan_Buddha). My perception was that a lot of the statues at the main temple and around the giant Buddha statue depicted deities (or saints), some seemed to resemble Taoist deities very closely. Also, the giant Buddha statue contains a shard of Buddha - it was explained that Buddha literally broke into thousands of shards upon the death of his physical body. This appears to be similar to Catholic relics. Further, the monastery claimed to be one of the most important places of Buddhism, which invites comparison to Islam (Mekka) or, again, Catholicism (Rome).

In other words: The Buddhism practiced at this particular temple (I'm aware that there are different, well, demoninations) appeared to resemble Western religions in many aspects, which doesn't really correspond with the statememt that Buddhism would be a "religion without a god".

Could somebody explain this to me? I'm genuinely interested.


Ahh the question of whether Buddhism is a philosophy or a religion. Well Buddhism has no God so it is not technically a religion the only way I think Buddhism would be considered a religion is a government census.

I think it all depends on the individual to decide. I know that Zen Buddhism borrows a lot of Taoist ideas but I do not know about the other forms of buddhism.

There are however two schools of Buddhist thought the Therevada, and the Mahayana. From my limited knowledge of both schools Therevada buddhists rely heavily on learning from Buddhist Scriptures and Mahayana focuses more on meditation whether it is chanting or sitting in a lotus position.

The deities that you saw at the temple are likely different buddhist masters throughout the centuries.

You are correct to assume that Buddhism resembles western religion because Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed.. etc all taught relatively the same thing Love.

I hope you don't mind a story I read that may help.

It is called "The Christian Buddha"

One of master Gasan's monks visited the university in Tokyo. When he returned, he asked the master if he had ever read the Christian Bible.

"No," Gasan replied, "Please read some of it to me."

The monk opened the Bible to the Sermon on the Mount in St. Matthew, and began reading. After reading Christ's words about the lilies in the field, he paused. Master Gasan was silent for a long time.

"Yes," he finally said, "Whoever uttered these words is an enlightened being. What you have read to me is the essence of everything I have been trying to teach you here!"


Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:49 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
Unke wrote:
I have a question for the Buddhists reading this thread (I suppose that's you, Rob) or anybody who is knowledgeable about the subject.

It is often stated that Buddhism is a "religion without deities" or a "non-religion" and more akin to a school of philosophy. Is this statement correct?

I'm asking because I once visited the Buddhist monastery on Lantau island, Hong Kong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tian_Tan_Buddha). My perception was that a lot of the statues at the main temple and around the giant Buddha statue depicted deities (or saints), some seemed to resemble Taoist deities very closely. Also, the giant Buddha statue contains a shard of Buddha - it was explained that Buddha literally broke into thousands of shards upon the death of his physical body. This appears to be similar to Catholic relics. Further, the monastery claimed to be one of the most important places of Buddhism, which invites comparison to Islam (Mekka) or, again, Catholicism (Rome).

In other words: The Buddhism practiced at this particular temple (I'm aware that there are different, well, demoninations) appeared to resemble Western religions in many aspects, which doesn't really correspond with the statememt that Buddhism would be a "religion without a god".

Could somebody explain this to me? I'm genuinely interested.


Hi Unke

Great post and questions! Really nice response from Arsenal84.

I am not an expert!

These are oft discussed topics. Is Buddhism a religion of a philisophy. You'll hear counter arguments each way, but the prevailing idea is that it is closer to a philospophy than a religion. Here's why.

Unfortunately, in the West, probably due to it's Eastern origins, there is much confusion about Buddhism. I too was confused until I took some time to learn. in a few hours much had become clear.

Buddhists have no God, or Jesus figure. We have no after life and no reincarnation as many think about the idea of being reborn, etc. We have no churches, no heaven, no hell, no judgment and we respect animals.

History - Without getting into too much detail, there are different schools of Buddhism from different parts of asia. I have not conducted anything more than a cursory study of Buddhist history, however it seems to have started in about 500BC. The founder of buddhism is generally considered to be a spiritual eacher called Siddhatta Gotama from Nepal.

The core idea of Buddhism is that is provides a path towards enlightenment and happiness. It is important to note that this is personal enlightenment and not about recognizing a God or something like that. A Buddhist is constantly trying to improve his of her life to reach a state of happiness and remove suffering.

Buddha and his disciples developed a series of teachings that we follow to try and eliminate suffering and reach happiness. The teaching s are built around what we call noble truths. These essentially say that life is full of suffering that is created by the mind and its cravings. if you eliminate craving you can find enlightenment. the way to achieve this is to follow a path laid out by the Buddha. The teachings of Buddha are called the 'Dharma" . His ask was that people follow and develop his teachings, not him.

Underneath these truths are lots of details about the nature of suffering, the challenges you will meet along the path and the wisdom and learning of others who have been there before. there is a recognition within Buddhism that the path is a hard one to follow and that very reach enlightenment.

FYI - We've talked about animals in this thread. Budhhism sees creatures on the same level as humans and specifically teaches us not to undertake activities that harm creatures or the earth.

One of the aspects of Buddhism that causes most interest in the west is meditation. We see the source of pain as the wanderings and cravings of the mind. It;'s interesting how much time we devote to getting our body fit, and how little time we spend on our minds. Put simply, meditation is a way to gain control of your mind and master it's activities. My sister calls it mind control :-) We sit for between 20-30 minutes and try to stop thinking and focus on nothing. It is incredibly difficult and the effect is hard to describe. Out of meditation comes focus, relaxation and an air or tranquility and serenity. I think of meditation as the same as my mountain bike ride or my daily run.

Another element is Karma - this is in essence the idea that bad actions yield bad results. Whereas a good action yields good results. One of my teachers asked us to try an experiment. He told us to do something small unusual and kind for someone every day for a week until we returned. This was a remarkable eye opener for me that I have continued ever since. I was surprised at how I felt after doing something for someone else that they did not expect. I was even more surprised at their reaction. i am not talking about huge gestures. Holding a door, seeing someone struggling with a heavy bag, the person who is short of change for their coffee, the individual near a landmark who does not have a camera.... little things.

Symbols, statues and "churches" - When I first went to my local Buddhist temple in Berkelely California I was surprised by the statues, music, chants and paraphernalia. I was embarassed to ask the teacher about this. I asked a fellow student and was told that it was all about creating an atmosphere of calm and that they are all symbolic. Arsenal84 has already mentioned that there are different strands of Buddhism.

I have been involved for two years. However, I was in Northern india about 15 years ago. I was an aspiring executive rapidly climbing up the corporate ladder of a large American company. I had my beliefs and values and they were driven by the dollar. My friend was really keen to visit Sarnath which is an important part of Buddhism in india. We intended to stay at the temple for an hour and ended up there for close to five hours. I sat silent and watched monks in orange robes walking around in what seemed a state of happiness and serenity that I had never seen in the Uk or the US. I wondered about what i was trying to achieve and how i defined happiness. Of course, at the time i had no interest in Buddhism. A few weeks later i was in meetings and Sarnath was forgotten. I have often wondered if a seed was planted 15 years ago.

For christmas last year (the irony is not lost) my Mother bought me a six inch high statue of the Buddha. He sits next to my cooker in the kitchen. Earlier that year I had bought my girlfriend an eighteen inch stone laughing Buddha, it is she says, her most prized possession. Mine sits there each day as a nudge to think about what I am doing. He makes me smile and happy. I don't worship Buddha, prey to him, ask for forgiveness. He has no divine power or rights. He is a teacher, that's all and I follow his lessons through the work of others..

I have never heard this story about shards of Buddha. I'll ask though. I think it's important to remember that Buddhism comes from Northern india 2500 years ago. Times were different and things became shrouded in myths and legends. From my experience the imagery, and stories from the past are interesting, however, the focus is on using the methodologies outlined in the teachings to try and improve oneself.

A final thought. Christianity and Buddhism have much in common. There are many universal elements and both focus on the good. the issues with religions occur when individuals seek to impress their beliefs on others.

I can only say that Buddhism works for me as support in life. In fact it has changed my life
Rob


Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:11 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
Rob,
Just a little curious what form of Buddhism do you practice Zen, Tibetan? (unfortunately those are the only two I know of)

Me personally, I don't consider myself to be a Buddhist even though I identify with Buddhism much more than with Christianity. I still find it difficult to completely turn away from Jesus and I do consider him my savior.

The only problem with Christianity I have is with the evangelical fundamentalists I feel that they are the reason why Christians are considered hypocrites today. They tend to give literal interpretations of the bible which misses the point altogether, and they simply scoff at and try to discredit other religions when other religions such as Hinduism Islam and Buddhism all recognize Jesus as a great healer, prophet and Bodhisattva. They understand something that the Evangelicals don't. Religion is all similar because they all lead to God

It is like this 6th century poet when speaking to God said " There are many roads, some are straight some are crooked but they all lead to the ocean"


Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:50 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
Arsenal84 wrote:
Rob,
Just a little curious what form of Buddhism do you practice Zen, Tibetan? (unfortunately those are the only two I know of)

Me personally, I don't consider myself to be a Buddhist even though I identify with Buddhism much more than with Christianity. I still find it difficult to completely turn away from Jesus and I do consider him my savior.

The only problem with Christianity I have is with the evangelical fundamentalists I feel that they are the reason why Christians are considered hypocrites today. They tend to give literal interpretations of the bible which misses the point altogether, and they simply scoff at and try to discredit other religions when other religions such as Hinduism Islam and Buddhism all recognize Jesus as a great healer, prophet and Bodhisattva. They understand something that the Evangelicals don't. Religion is all similar because they all lead to God

It is like this 6th century poet when speaking to God said " There are many roads, some are straight some are crooked but they all lead to the ocean"



Hi there Arsenal84

This is a more complex question than may appear. Our local Buddhist priory is Soto Zen (Japanese) with influences of Ts'ao-Tung Ch'an (Chinese). In essence their focus is on meditation. The reality is that we go there to learn more about the basics of Buddhism and most importantly as a place of meditation and refocus on what we are trying to achieve.

Our main source of learning on Buddhism comes from the web. We listen to many podcasts where there are teachings and discussions about the key elements of the noble truths, hindrances, meditation and other aspects. Our hero is Gil Fronsdal who we call the cyber-buddha. There are literally hundreds of Buddhacasts complete with cool trance music et al. Gil is outstanding because he's very natural, fun and recognizes that this is not easy. He's actually quite addictive - I've listened to too many!

My mother's vicar has the same point about EF's as he calls them. He too is very curious about Buddhism as well. he gets frustrated by the closed nature of his colleagues and their lack of openess to understand other religions and philosophies. Anyway, why should you give up or even have to defend your feelings towards Jesus?

I understand your feelings towards Buddhism. there;'s something obvious, natural and non threatening about it. It asks nothing of you. No need to believe in anything. If you are interested to understand a little more there is a great podcast by Gil that talks about the 4 noble Truths. You won't get converted or anything like that but you'll get an insight into what it's all about. I am always amazed at the production values of these Podcasts. however, they are recordings of Gil speaking to classes at his center in the Bay Area.

Stay happy!
Rob


Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:56 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
buddha's body was cremated and the remains were kept as relics at different places.

Wikipedia's your friend. use it. :)

fun irrelevant fact: the "dharma" you mentioned rob, literally translates into "religion", or if you wanna get too literal, "law". and "karma" into "action".


Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:01 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
aameen wrote:
buddha's body was cremated and the remains were kept as relics at different places.

Wikipedia's your friend. use it. :)

fun irrelevant fact: the "dharma" you mentioned rob, literally translates into "religion", or if you wanna get too literal, "law". and "karma" into "action".



Hi Aameen

I try tried to write about my understanding and experience. Regurgitating Wikipedia is of no real use

I checked and it does refer to Dharma as teachings and a path. That's how I've always heard it in my experience.

But I'm no expert :-)

Rob


Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:12 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
Here is an excerpt to a book being written by the theologian I mentioned above, Mike Heiser. I think believers and non-believers alike will find it worth your time so go ahead and give it a go!

http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/Introdu ... 20MTIT.pdf

Other excerpts can be found at www.thedivinecouncil.com and they are equally informative...

Enjoy! :)


Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:42 pm
Post Re: If God exists, why does He need to be recognized?
Robert Holloway wrote:
aameen wrote:
buddha's body was cremated and the remains were kept as relics at different places.

Wikipedia's your friend. use it. :)

fun irrelevant fact: the "dharma" you mentioned rob, literally translates into "religion", or if you wanna get too literal, "law". and "karma" into "action".



Hi Aameen

I try tried to write about my understanding and experience. Regurgitating Wikipedia is of no real use

I checked and it does refer to Dharma as teachings and a path. That's how I've always heard it in my experience.

But I'm no expert :-)

Rob


haha...umm..... i wasn't doing what i think you thought i was doing. i was just referring to the literal translation, thats why i said it was irrelevant. not the meaning, of either word. i know the meanings have developed, especially with karma. and the relics bit, that was a response to unke's original post and the uncertainty about that particular fact, the "shards" bit.
personally, i know nothing of buddhism. or at least, nothing outside the general public image of it. so this thread is interesting, at worst.


Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:43 pm
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