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OK, I Confess [Apr. 1st, 2009|08:40 pm]
Sorry if I misled anyone. If I really was pressed to identify with a religion, I could say I was a Zen or Theravadin Buddhist, but I don't. The clue that should have given away the joke was the mention of Mahayana Buddhism, which embodies so much of the supernaturalism I reject.

This prank was a response to a couple of posts on Pharyngula.

Someone posted a positive response a comment of mine on Russell Blackford's blog about a reported statement from the Buddha that public statements of faith are political acts. A response to that response said "you aren't going all Buddhist on us, are you?". That attitude needed mocking - that reporting the supposed words of a historical figure associated with religion makes one subject to the accusation of being religious. Even agreeing with the ideas of such a historical figure does not make one religious, especially when the ideas one is agreeing with are about rationality and the rejection of dogma. My comment was mean to indicate the complexity and irony of ideas: that followers of a possibly historical figure we consider religious are trying to promote the idea that faith is not just an intellectual problem, but a problem for the functioning of society. This is yet another way that the idea of religion as most people understand it is a mass of self-destructive contradictions.

I am no more Buddhist for finding what the Buddha said interesting than the historian David Starkey is a Tudor for finding the life of Henry VIII a subject to study.

[User Picture]From: techiebabe
2009-04-01 10:07 pm (UTC)
I really thought it was an April Fools joke, but it was posted at 12.00 and I thought April Fools ended at 11.59!

Also, I didn't want to go "aha! Fool!" in case you actually were serious and I embarrassed myself :| Glad my instinct was right though.

It encouraged me to find out more about the types of buddhism and to take a belief test online; I'm pleased to discover that 100% of my values tie in with secular humanism, because that's where I would have placed myself.

So you got me thinking, even though I didn't believe you!
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[User Picture]From: zarbi
2009-04-01 10:12 pm (UTC)
You are very kind, but in view of my previous posts, it surely wasn't very likely!

I am fascinated by the way that some versions of the "religion" called Buddhism can also match secular humanism, with no supernaturalism at all.

So what is "religion"? This also means I have a problem with anyone who says "religion is about supernatural nonsense and believing dogma", which clearly doesn't apply for billions of people.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-04-02 01:15 pm (UTC)

I've been reading a little of the original sources, as planned. They are drenched with portents surrounding the life of Buddha. So far, I haven't come across any teaching of his invoking the supernatural, as you said.
I imagine that believers accept that narrative in its entirety, though.

Furthermore, chastity is preached and prescribed as if it were the epitome of morality. Once again, prudes in robes dictating how to run one's sex-life with harmful precepts pulled out of their arses, just like any other religion.
I will pen a longer post once I've finished reading the Pali Canon.

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[User Picture]From: zarbi
2009-04-02 01:19 pm (UTC)
I imagine that believers accept that narrative in its entirety, though

You will find dramatic differences in that respect between, say, Zen and Tibetan schools of Buddhism.

Furthermore, chastity is preached and prescribed as if it were the epitome of morality.

Only for those who choose to be monks, as I understand it.
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[User Picture]From: techiebabe
2009-04-01 10:08 pm (UTC)
Another thing, since you highlight the word faith.

There seems to be a big difference between religion, faith, and belief. I always thought they were similar and lumped "religious" people together. But now I find friends with a strong Christian faith who think "religion" is just a set of rules and they think it's bollocks just as strongly as I do. So now I am confused by terminology.
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[User Picture]From: zarbi
2009-04-01 10:13 pm (UTC)
You and me both! Perhaps the simple public identification of oneself as "a person of faith" is political, whatever you mean by "faith".
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