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Religious perspective

Posted 06-01-2020 at 05:48 PM by phetaroi
Updated 06-22-2020 at 09:11 AM by phetaroi


None of the major world religions have it “right”, but many of the major world religions have some principles that are worthwhile to understand and, perhaps, after personally testing them, those select principles might be incorporated into one’s personal path through life.

Religionists should stop preaching the “facts” in scriptures that are thousands of years old. Few of the facts are supportable, and it’s impossible for us to determine what is fact and what is fiction, so we should consider it all fiction. There is no reason to believe that the world operated vastly differently in the past (in terms of things like miracles) than it does today. Stick with principles. And don’t just mouth them, test them. Don’t just “buy” a belief system lock, stock, and barrel. Wisdom can be found in many places…and so can foolishness.

For me, the closest match to what I believe in is Buddhism. I believe in a balanced view of the Four Noble Truths, centered around the concept that man’s craving for unimportant things is the most important, long lasting cause of suffering. However, there are things that people long for that are not “useless cravings”, and may even be noble.

Things get more complicated with the Noble Eightfold Path. Concepts such as right view, right intent, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, and right livelihood can be, in some instances, situational. The question sometimes is whether or not eliminating all suffering is always desirable or even possible. Sometimes reducing suffering may come into conflict with other aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path.

The concept of karma seems to me (and many) to be a logical cause and effect situation. It is not a cosmic justice system. It is simply that making good choices is more likely to bring about a positive outcome, as compared to making bad choices. Rebirth, another integral part of Buddhist thought, is more difficult to resolve. Due to my own personal experiences, I lean toward believing it, but that is far from certain and I acknowledge that I can provide no definitive evidence of the concept.

As with the Noble Eightfold Path, how stringent one should be with the Five Precepts is also sometimes situational. Abstaining from taking life seems logical…in most cases. What is “sensuous misconduct”? Is “false speech” always bad? However, I always abstain from intoxicants (and I use that word in the broad sense).

I firmly believe that people should not proselytize, however, if another person asks for guidance about religious/spiritual matters, that is a different matter as long as one provides resources, not heavy handed persuasion. A person’s religious/spiritual beliefs should have no affect whatsoever on others. People are intelligent enough to seek the help they need. It’s an individual path, and that is central to Buddhist thought – that a person is his own master, and will reap the rewards or the suffering for the choices he or she makes.
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