Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fundamentalism for the masses

Fundamentalism is a relatively new phenomenon. People had fundamentalist beliefs before but there was no fundamentalist movement. Instead, fundamentalism was for non-experts, the not so engaged lay practitioners. It was a few simple beliefs and a simple form of faith that worked for many people at a time when most people were uneducated and illiterate. It provided a workable faith for the masses and maintained social order. But the thinking part was left to the educated, the Priests, the Mullahs, the Brahmins, the Lamas, etc., who did not take a fundamentalist perspective.  Their ideas were respected by the masses, but this is no longer the case.

It is a very dangerous thing to have uneducated, simplistic thinkers as leaders of religions Being well learned is no guarantee of being a good leader, but simplistic leaders will always cause trouble, no matter how well intentioned they are. A friend of mine experienced this when his warm and loving grandparents drove up from the U.S. with a bumper sticker that said, “Thank God for Aids,” (i.e., thank God for sending a plague to wipe out homosexuals).

Unfortunately, we live in an age where learning and scholarship is not always respected. We don’t ask the furnace repairman to design rockets for space exploration, so why do we trust people with the same level of education to interpret religious texts. Religious texts should only be interpreted by qualified people. Here is a test. IF a leader says that your religious text is literally true AND/OR that he or she can reliably interpret it in the right way, THEN they are NOT qualified.

Fundamentalism is not bad if it is understood that it is a simplified form of faith for the masses. The idea that fundamentalist views represent an accurate understanding is very, very dangerous

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Different paths can be chosen but no path exists that does not contain inherent suffering. If you accept a path it means accepting the suffering associated with the path, but in accepting the suffering the suffering is greatly reduced and transformed.

I hope this is true

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jesus, Science and Logic

Wise believers can tolerate large amounts of ambiguity in their beliefs. Belief in Jesus doesn’t make sense scientifically. So you can reject science in order to believe, or you can reject Jesus. However, wise believers transcend this division. Wise believers believe in Jesus as a reality, not as a metaphor or a wise teacher, they believe that Jesus is God. Just as belief in Jesus makes no sense scientifically, it also makes no sense theologically. The idea that there is one God but that Jesus was also God makes no sense (the Muslims are right here). So again, you can choose logic or you can choose to Jesus, or you can engage in tortured and complex theology to force the two together. However, smart believers transcend the whole thing. Belief in Jesus is neither scientific nor logical, but wise believers believe in Jesus, Science and Logic

Purgatory and Suffering

Both Buddhism and Christianity have Purgatory. A place where people go to be tortured in order to work out the bad karma or sins they have accumulated. The meaning of Purgatory is very important for dealing with suffering. You are in Purgatory if you embrace your suffering, if you accept whatever suffering you have in this moment as real, unavoidable, and possibly meaningful. You are in Hell if you deny your suffering and try to flee from it, mentally or physically. The torture of striving to flee when you can't makes things a lot worse. When we suffer we want a quick escape. This is no problem if there is a quick escape. Hand on a hot stove - take it off! But when there is no obvious escape we continue to mentally thrash around with no result. In contrast, if you accept where you are the pain from thrashing around disappears, reducing suffering and allowing thought, which may actually result in finding a way to further lower your suffering. Often with humans, our suffering has no physical basis and is based purely on not accepting where we are. In this case, accepting things may entirely remove your suffering. If you are suffering, ask yourself - Am I in Purgatory or am I in Hell?


Some books I would like to read (if I ever get time!!!)


Jesus visits Ottawa to promote the legalization of pot