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Is everyone here an atheist?
Is everyone here an atheist?
Depends on your exact definition, I guess. I don't believe in an Abrahamic God of any sort. I don't believe in any omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent etc etc God. I don't believe there is a being out there somewhere that listens to what I think or say and grants or doesn't grand favors/blessings based on my belief in him. Not even one bit. Never have, though there have been times in my life I wished I could.
Do I believe there could be some sort of grand creative force? I guess, in some way, but I'd call it the universe or nature and that is as far as I would go. Nothing remotely human in any attribute.
Sounds like you are talking about a deistic God (rather than a theistic God).
Not really. I don't believe in a god at all, whether considering whether he/it interacts with the world or not. I know people who largely say they believe in god because they believe something created the universe, but they aren't comfortable not calling it god because to do so makes life complicated for them. I don't believe in a divine being at all, on any level.
Who wants to know ? ( )
I can't really speak for other Dharma followers ...
However if by atheist you mean non-theistic in my approach to the Dharma then yes I find Buddhism is in this sense non-theistic ....and I guess if you mean no belief whatsoever in an almighty creator god, then yes again...( clockwise/deist or anti-clockwise/theist )
There's no room in my 'personal' practice for 'any' deities whatsoever...It's just extra unnecessary baggage to contend with on the raft...
What others use to help them stay afloat and paddle the raft is up to them...
Strictly speaking, I am agnostic but can come off as atheistic when Abrahamic religions are involved.
If I said yes, I would be in the same trouble I would be if I said no.
All things considered, I think I'd rather play bingo.
Would I care to elaborate? Not much.
Buddhism, meditation practice can be practiced effectively independently of Cods, gods irrelevancies. Effective dharma is a good start.
There is no requirement for interaction with deity, contemplation of deity, deity practice (an imaginary but skilful visualisation) or Thor and Big Daddy (Yo Din). No Allah, Trinity, Matrix, Ultimate Buddha Disney world or Pureland, Q from the Continuum, Cosmic Big Cheese etc. ?
What you are really asking about is meaning and transcendence? Required? No. ???
Wake up required? Yes. Kind of the priority ...
Ah, so you're Catholic!
I'm less worried about doing/saying right or wrong - been happening slowly but surely as life goes on. I don't know if I still say I believe in Jesus Christ because believing was and is a comfort - maybe just kidding myself. More and more, I believe less and less in a big guy in the sky but maybe I best say Yes in case the Big Kahuna's listening.
Well, it's always possible to believe in Jesus as a philospher!
One day in Thailand I saw quite a few Thais worshiping in front of a Hindu statue, and I asked a friend why Buddhists would do that. He literally said, "You never know. We could be wrong. So we shouldn't take any chances."
After picking up a Buddhist practice I am learning more and more that there is something larger than ourselves out there which we can tap into.
I have been reading the Gita lately, specifically verses on bhatki because it reminds me of the devotional study to Amida in Pure Land. But there are actually 4 paths of practice within Hinduism.
From my understanding garnered by The World's Religions by Huston Smith and lesser sources these paths were laid with the variability of practitioners in mind and they all lead to the same end point. In the same book it was said that the many figures of Hinduism all represent God, who in turn is a manifestation of the larger cosmic universe. Practice can be focused upon any avatars or forms, or the universe itself in totality.
In the end, it doesn't matter as long as the practice serves the practitioner and helps them gain fulfillment... This is how I view matters of theism. If one believes in God in a healthy, loving way, then they could be happier than an angry nihilistic atheist. Also, an atheist who focuses on humanity and finds freedom in releasing the notion of a God could be happier than staunch theists oppressed by their own figurehead.
I do wonder about the afterlife, and who is "proven" right. But I won't know for sure until I die. So I don't really consider it in the meantime. I do consider practices which help me in the present.
I do not much understand where Buddhas and Bodhisattvas lie in this debate. Are they active in the world now? Are they inside of ourselves? Do they exist at all, or is it just scriptural fabrications? Did they exist, then die, and their memories were enshrined in myth? I am not sure if they are supposed to be energies, saints, Gods, or teachers. But I do know they are very good examples to remember. And with the nature of Buddha-nature, by focusing on them I am manifesting better qualities within myself.
When we talk of theism it is a very absolute concept with lots of implications that I am uncomfortable assuming. As Buddha said, we can practice regardless of our beliefs. Buddha also said that we must measure our practices and study by our own personal truth. Right now, all I get are a lot of questions with no answers...so I tuck the pondering away. It is of no use to me.
For me, I guess I define "something more" as a force rather than a being. Beings are limited if solely by definition. I think our universe is much larger than humans and their image, and the way we try to understand the vastness of it in only our human terms. I do believe we are microcosms of the universe as a whole, and if there is "something more" to me, which I do sense, then there must be for the universe as well. But I think, as with a lot of things, language diminishes the concept. I can sense and feel things, but when I try to discuss them, words lack. Someone said once (I know the quote but don't recall the author) that "history becomes fiction once it is written down" and I tend to think the same of most topics, maybe especially our attempts to convey our spirituality to others.
@karasti the evidence of consciousness is my biggest reasoning for belief. there is no scientific or biological explanation for consciousness. you are right in that humans and language are very limited. but the fact that we exist at all or have language to utilize is quite phenomenal. other organisms have means of communication, but only humans alone use those means to communicate with themselves and explore disembodied concepts. but on the other hand we are killing our own planet, and in all likelihood will fade out of existence with time. the same tools which enable us to see the vastness of existence also create our narrow imperceptions... is that miraculous too? of course!
in the end maybe we are cosmic mosquitoes. no matter what we have a lasting effect
No. (Trying to practise) Buddhism has made me be mindful to focus on being a better Jew.
I'm still a work in progress. On both counts.
Interesting. I do not see it as exclusive, either. But I am no longer a theist in terms of religion. Perhaps a deist, perhaps an agnostic, perhaps an atheist. Haven't figured all that out yet.
Interesting article ...
Atheism and Devotion in Buddhism
If atheism is the absence of belief in a God or gods, then many Buddhists are, indeed, atheists.
Buddhism is not about either believing or not believing in God or gods. Rather, the historical Buddha taught that believing in gods was not useful for those seeking to realize enlightenment. In other words, God is unnecessary in Buddhism, as this is a practical religion and philosophy that emphasizes practical results over faith in beliefs or deities.
For this reason, Buddhism is more accurately called nontheistic rather than atheistic.
I guess if I were to put it all out there I would be an omnitheistic leaning agnostic but strictly atheistic where any first cause is concerned.
I can envision a universal consciousness akin to the poem by Thich Nhat Hanh "Call Me by my True Names" even if it's only aware through beings like us.
Omnitheism is the belief that all deities exist on some level even if it is only in the minds of beings like us.
I've never heard of this term. I have to investigate it as it sounds fascinating.
You may find people lump it in with Omnism but it isn't the same at all. The term was never officially coined even as a few of us tried to get it off the ground. If you find an old Omnitheism forum, I was named Stonestongue, lol.
Thanks @Shoshin - good article. The Tao part of Zen, the emptiness of form, the becoming of deity in Tantra ... can you believe that can be upaya (skilful means)? Sure. Are the transcendent mystics from the article quoted below experiencing enlightenment? You bet your nonexistent Cloud God ... ( whatever that is ... )
Some medieval Christian mystics, such as the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing, argued that it is incorrect to say that God exists because existence amounts to taking a particular form within a space of time. Because God has no particular form and is outside of time, God, therefore, cannot be said to exist. However, God is. That's an argument that many of us atheistic Buddhists can appreciate.
Ay caramba sounds just like Nibbana ... the fruity oneness ...
And many are not! Because there is certainly a lot that believe in other deities besides God, as described by the Buddha in various scriptures. For example, yakkhas, gandhabbas, asuras, pretas, etc. Tibetan Buddhism has a lot of specific deities.
If that means "a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods."
My standpoint is that I certainly don't believe in an Abrahamic God as a creator of the universe, judge of the dead or omniscient or omnipotent entity. I don't think that within science's wide investigations of the universe there is any reason to postulate a god of any type.
I'm agnostic towards the point of view that there may or may not be a prime mover, a creative force that set the universe into motion those roughly thirteen billion years ago. But I'm very reluctant to ascribe to such a force the capacity to design the outcome.
I do however believe in a spiritual dimension to the universe, linked to consciousness and beyond the realms we can easily perceive, which hosts spiritual beings of various types that sometimes manifest to us. But I believe these have a very limited ability to affect the physical world and so shouldn't rightly be called gods.
I once asked my Zen teacher if hope and belief had a role to play in the practice we preferred. "For the first four or five years [of practice]," he replied, "hope and belief are important." "And after that?" I asked. "After that, they are not so important."
Belief and hope inspire action ... for a while. Belief and disbelief amount to the same thing spelled differently. But when experience starts to kick in, hope and belief are not so necessary because experience trumps belief, disbelief and hope. Being an atheist, agnostic or believer is a little like talking about lug nuts in a discussion about spaghetti: You can do it, but its relevance is highly questionable and possibly stupid.
@Kannon I don't deny consciousness, not of us, other beings, or the universe as a whole (though I couldn't say either way). But I don't think it requires a divine being for it to exist, or to have created it. When you look close enough, everything that unfolds is a small miracle in itself. To me, that doesn't mean it has to have been designed by a being for that to happen, though.
No. I am a Buddhist.
You ask the question almost with the presumption that everyone would be which I find a little surprising? You are on a Buddhist website after all....
I was an atheist until I started to study Buddhism and meditate. Since then, I see God everywhere.
It depends. I don't posit a theory of a deity. But I don't posit the non-existence either.
On the other hand I don't believe political elections are predetermined and that the rapture is coming so I guess I don't have those thoughts in common and so forth.
I also don't posit a theory of a mind that requires a deity. I'm not sure what the mind is but you can say you see things from your unconscious too or from the corner of your eye.
not an atheist. more a combinate of three--deist,doaist,dharma.triple d ,lol.
how does it apply to my personal life? everyday practicality--dharma with dao support,when i need luck.and deity praise,and communion through jhanna coffee and smokes in the morning.i am a tad bit nutty,well alot.
For me atheism means a lack of belief in God not a belief in the lack of God. So like the above posts the idea of God plays no role in my life and practice. It appears to be an unanswerable question and there is so much of practical benefit that can be applied and worked on in Buddhism that I'd rather just focus on the things I can know and do.
From what I've gathered, in a lot of Buddhist countries the populace views the various buddhas and bodhisattvas as deities and pray directly to them. I'm not sure what the majority of American Buddhists believe. I know my lama has mentioned nagas in a very real and personal way, and he clearly believes in them. But he has also said is unnecessary to believe in deities and spirits to practice Buddhism.
Personally, I focus on the Buddhist practices and maintain a healthy agnosticism when it comes to the supernatural and metaphysical.
@vinlyn may I ask what brought you to ask the question?
It's an odd one, because so many in our society (in the US) think atheist means you are anti-religion. That you don't believe in anything at all, which of course isn't the case. If I were to tell most people I was Atheist, to them that would be incompatible with Buddhism. The people I know, I mean. I know very few people who say they are Atheist. Many who are agnostic though.
It's too personal for me to discuss online. But suffice to say that in a minute I lost any belief I had in a theistic God. Deistic, perhaps. No god, perhaps.
Complicated ain't it. Mostly irrelevant.
If through meditation 'God is everywhere', we continue. Is God or indeed anything within? We continue. Gods and gods, demons, fears, conflicted emotions and experiences come and go.
So do we.
A Meal of Fresh Octopus Ikkyu
Lots of arms, just like Kannon the Goddess;
Sacrificed for me, garnished with citron, I revere it so!
The taste of the sea, just divine!
Sorry, Buddha, this is another precept I just cannot keep.
It's funny how nobody boldly says, I am an atheist. There is always a but. I don't believe in Abrahamic gods but wait, I believe in something else. I believe in nature. I believe in universal force. I believe in this or that. In other words, nobody is an unbeliever in the real sense of the term. Everybody believes in something, probably because it's comforting.
@vinlyn whatever the situation, metta to you
@Rodrigo what a simple description of something I also experienced but could not express.
I wholeheartedly recommend Beyond Imagination: A Path to God and the Divine Realm by Blake Sinclair to anyone allowing of faithful, ritual, and devotional practices. It is almost of a Baha'i in nature. In another thread on the Atthagakavagga it is said the Buddha emphasized religious or spritiual merit does not lie in objects of worship. As a Mahayana Buddhist I really like upaya. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upaya
@paulyso Right on! Have you heard of Nyongpa? Or Ji Gong?
@nakazcid your lama sounds wonderfully practical about the topic of personal faith and belief.
@lobster what a great set of poems. some funny lines I laughed at:
Ikkyu: "Exhausted with gay pleasures, I embrace my wife."
Basho: "O bush warblers!
Now you’ve shit all over
my rice cake on the porch"
(less funny but beautiful:
"Nothing in the cry
of cicadas suggests they
are about to die")
Ryokan: "Yes, I’m truly a dunce
Living among trees and plants.
Please don’t question me about illusion and enlightenment --
This old fellow just likes to smile to himself.
I wade across streams with bony legs,
And carry a bag about in fine spring weather.
That’s my life,
And the world owes me nothing."
The idea of God is usually lurking about. Why pick it up. It's quite a burden.
In your eyes it's a burden
Pffff...you want to come and have dinner with my ex wife and father some time. Two more anti religious out spoken atheists you'll never meet!
Its not a burden for me at all @dhammachick. At any of the six gates.
hi kannon.never heard of nyongpa.that sounds extraggavent. there is some simularity and differences in behaviors. but this is coming from a layperson.i don't wear extraggavent cloths.i wear clothes donated by people.i graciously accept.i do eat meat but don't drink alchol.the tharavada approach eat what they serve you has helped me.i do masterbate alot.im guessing monks refrain from that.higher training,respect to them.and ji gong sounds like an interesting person. in the end im reminded of my mantra , personal liberty and personal responsibility--a balance of dharma and karma.as we develop in the way,our mind-heart ripen to maturity,my hope anyway.
Atheism is the belief that there is no God or gods. Neat little definition. The definition of God or gods is significantly less neat. If and when I get a clean definition of God or gods I may be able to answer the question.
I'm not. I don't know what is out there, I think there has to be something. It can't be proven or disproven, so, it's irresponsible to say one way or another. I'm sure I'll find out someday.
I am, whether there is a god or isn't I can't possibly know. You could call that agnostic but would that make me agnostic towards fairies and unicorns too? There could be a god but at the moment there is no evidence of one so we could quite rightfully assume there isn't, so to me there is no point trying to please said god. An all knowing all powerful sentient being might be fun to think about but it's no more a possibility than there actually being pokemon in the wild.
No. Fairies and unicorns definitely exist. Damn heretics...
I'm of the faith WouldaCouldaShouldaBuddha
@techie that was part of my earlier point, that people hesitate to even say they are atheist because along with that comes the implication that you believe in "nothing" which isn't even really possible. Even if you believe we are nothing but organic material that returns to the earth as rotting flesh, that's still something. I know a lot of people who are happy to say they believe in no God or gods at all. But they hesitate with atheist because so many assume that means you are a cold person who believes in nothing, which isn't the truth for most people I know. Some of the coldest people I know are the most religious!
The belief that you cannot have a moral compass without religion is widespread. Therefore, saying that you are an atheist will communicate to many people that you are somewhere on the continuum between sociopath and psychopath. There are so many emotionally charged words out there that vast swaths of people attach unsubstantiated beliefs to, that I have found it is often better to avoid using them. "Atheist" is one of them.