Indifferent about the Judeo-Christian Bible

Mar 2012
4,412
#51
As someone interested in history, I find the Judeo-Christian bible far more interesting than any of the Indian sacred text, which I find completely lacking in history and tedious too boot. At least the Judeo-Christian bible is short enough to be combined in one text, a lot more than what you can say of the Indian text.

As for history, there is some genuine history that you can sift through the record. In the book of Kings and Chronicles, there is some genuine history to be found - the account of the Assyrian Siege of Jerusalem can be compared with the Assyrian account of the same event. The details of the Temple construction is similar to what we find in the archaeology of Canaanite temples in the same region and time.

Luke's account of Paul's shipwreck provides interesting detail of 1st century ship, such as using ropes to strengthen the ships hung, number of passengers an ordinary ship could carry, the fact that ships would have figureheads. An interesting item is that the idol makers at Ephesus were complaining about the fall off in sacrifices due to the Christian activity, a complaint that echoes Pliny the Younger's comment to Trajan about how sacrifices had fallen due to Christian activity. It helps understand that some of the opposition to Christians might have been financially motivated by those (sellers of animals for sacrifice, idol makers0 that could be threaten by the rise of Christian influence. (Note, even a work of complete fiction can still give valuable and reliable historical information about the time the story is set in, even if the characters are all fictitious. For example, a wartime detective novel might provide accurate information of things like how gas rationing worked, and how night time curfews operated.)
You are comparing apples and oranges. History is a very minor concern for most India sacred texts. Unlike Christsian texts, Buddhist texts actually have practical value in serving as a guide and manual for one in meditation, and describes reality as experienced in such states.
 
Mar 2012
4,412
#52
Of course, I started becoming hostile against the Judeo-Christian Bible and later, Buddhism other than the nirvana-originated Buddhism; my own discovery is that time is passing, and I learned relatively little.
By nirvana originated Buddhism, are you refering to original "Hinayana"? I treated Buddhism little different from other religions until I encountered Mahayana thought. Hinayana does not at all paint a clear picture or provides a powerful refutation of materialism.

Whether its original Buddhism is completely irrelevant to me and this might be because I was brought up in a strictly athiestic environment and still isn't religious whatsoever. For me, Buddhism, like science, advances in thought and methods through time, and Mahayana's philosophy is a stage more sophisticated than original Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhismis the only doctrine I would place above scientific materialism in empirical truth as its the only teaching that has a sophisticated logic which has internal coherence in proving its authenticity and doesn't just rely on blind faith. However, the supernatural element in it that was picked up from other religions is very distateful and I think a secular movement similar to Tang era zen (not the western kind) is in need.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,553
Florania
#53
By nirvana originated Buddhism, are you refering to original "Hinayana"? I treated Buddhism little different from other religions until I encountered Mahayana thought. Hinayana does not at all paint a clear picture or provides a powerful refutation of materialism.

Whether its original Buddhism is completely irrelevant to me and this might be because I was brought up in a strictly athiestic environment and still isn't religious whatsoever. For me, Buddhism, like science, advances in thought and methods through time, and Mahayana's philosophy is a stage more sophisticated than original Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhismis the only doctrine I would place above scientific materialism in empirical truth as its the only teaching that has a sophisticated logic which has internal coherence in proving its authenticity and doesn't just rely on blind faith. However, the supernatural element in it that was picked up from other religions is very distateful and I think a secular movement similar to Tang era zen (not the western kind) is in need.
We are rewinding the clock back to Buddhism as it was 2500 years back, without the later additives.
I spent a few years as an atheist as well; perhaps I had previous inclination towards Buddhism, since no people in my near circle share my spirituality.
 
Mar 2012
4,412
#54
We are rewinding the clock back to Buddhism as it was 2500 years back, without the later additives.
I spent a few years as an atheist as well; perhaps I had previous inclination towards Buddhism, since no people in my near circle share my spirituality.

This assumes we can properly construct original Buddhism and that original Buddhism is superior to the Mahayana movement. Mahayana thoughts on sunyata isn't a new religion based on a new faith, its a more detailed doctrine developed to explain the reality of sunyata as experienced by plenty of people after Gautama (even if it attributes everything to him).
You can easily be both atheist and Buddhist; not the western secular kind of atheism because they are essentially materialists. Most of these western secular Buddhists confuses empirical skepticism with materialism, when in reality, materialism should be the first thing to be doubted if one is to adopt naked skepticism.
 
Mar 2012
4,412
#55
I spent a few years as an atheist as well; perhaps I had previous inclination towards Buddhism, since no people in my near circle share my spirituality.

I am not Buddhist nor spiritual, in the sense that I do not follow its tenets, wants to be identified with the tradition, believe in the supernatural elements contained in it or meditate regularly. However, I find the Mahayana Buddhist doctrine on reality (sunyata) more convincing than any other, including scientific materialism. This doesn't come from faith (so I am no more Buddhist than I am a scientist in just believing in scientific facts), it comes from empiricism and an understanding of Buddhist logic. Theravada Buddhism would not have made the same impact. However, I can easily become Buddhist if I start practicing the tenets and meditate and still be as atheist as any atheistic skeptic today minus the materialism part and a believe in coherent existence of things.
 
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VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,553
Florania
#56
I am not Buddhist nor spiritual, in the sense that I do not follow its tenets, wants to be identified with the tradition, believe in the supernatural elements contained in it or meditate regularly. However, I find the Mahayana Buddhist doctrine on reality (sunyata) more convincing than any other, including scientific materialism. This doesn't come from faith (so I am no more Buddhist than I am a scientist in just believing in scientific facts), it comes from empiricism and an understanding of Buddhist logic. Theravada Buddhism would not have made the same impact. However, I can easily become Buddhist if I start practicing the tenets and meditate and still be as atheist as any atheistic skeptic today minus the materialism part and a believe in coherent existence of things.
Mahayana is also named 大众部 (or the popular branch), and it fits the psyche of more people.
 
Mar 2012
4,412
#57
Mahayana is also named 大众部 (or the popular branch), and it fits the psyche of more people.
No, Mahayana spawned from Mahasamghika, but its not the same thing. Mahasamghika is still a Hinayana school and Mahayana uses different sutras and discourses. The reason Mahayana satisfies more people is because of its Boddhisatva doctrines and pureland, which appeals to the masses who are not interested in philosophical inquiries. That however, is what is the most distasteful for me as I am not religious whatsoever. However, Mahayana not only appeals to the masses because of its religious aspect, it also appeals to the intellect because of its more profound philosophical doctrine, and it is the later which I find interesting.
 
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Jan 2017
882
Tampa, FL
#58
While the Judeo-Christian Bible is still quite a popular text, I still would like to explain why I'm currently indifferent about it.
The discarding of the Judeo-Christian Bible happened way after I lost interests in the actual texts, and eventually, I found their physical presence in my home annoying.
Plus, I wanted to test the threats of the Christians; as I expected, no consequences whatsoever.
Since I learned about evolution and development of stars and planets, I have no interest in the Genesis.
After I learned that much of the Judeo-Christian Bible is pseudo-historical, I lost interests in the Biblical "records".
Learning that the teachings and lessons aren't that unique to Judeo-Christian Bible and they are scattered and disorganized, I lost general interest in it.
I always think of this little story: about Joseph Campbell

"Campbell told the story of the young Hindu who called on him in New York and said, “When I visit a foreign country, I like to acquaint myself with its religion. So I bought myself a Bible and for some months now have been reading it from the beginning. But, you know, I can’t find any religion in it.”"

I never thought the bible had much value as a "spiritual" text. But I think it's hugely important as a piece of literature. It's influence on modern thinking and vernacular is huge.

-Dave K
 
Mar 2012
4,412
#59
There is no real systematic "spiritual text" in the sense that it introduces you to meditation and describes the experience step by step, much less philosophize it in the western tradition.

Sufi writings and Kabbalah are the closest you'll get, but they are nothing comparable to the details and philosophical inquiry you have in Buddhism.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,553
Florania
#60
Let's explain my "evolved feelings" towards the Christian Scripture:

As a child, I went to a Christian "summer Christian Scripture class" and was a little impressed; then, I read part of the "New Testament".
My brother went to a Christian secondary school and had a few books of "testimonies of faiths".
Interestingly enough, my brother remains non-religious and almost an atheist.
I had a state of "superficial belief" from childhood to the third year of university.
I learned about Lucy the australopithecus and rejected the Genesis story.
This was my turn towards agnostic atheism, and today I understand that Buddhism is agnostic atheistic.
Still at that point, I valued the Christian Scripture as a valuable piece of literature and ethic guide.
Then, at one point, I tried to "test" the threats of Christians and discarded all copies of Christian Scripture and Christian pamphlets.
Nothing happens, of course.
Some people have suggested that the Christian Scripture is the most owned and least read texts.
Funny enough, some testimonies state that full reading of the Christian Scripture turned some Christians into ex-Christians.
 

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