Saturday, August 18, 2012

America growing increasingly Atheist

Patt Morrison (KPCC,
Smile, there may be many hells and heavens yet no "God" due to workings of  karma.
Stephen Batchelor - atheist
The belief in God, or gods, is changing and some new research shows that the practice is on the decline worldwide. 

According to a new poll by WIN-Gallup International, the percentage of Americans who identify as “religious” dropped 13 points -- from 73 to 60 percent since 2005. The number of Americans who identify as atheists jumped from 1 percent to 5 percent in the same period. 
The poll posed the same question to 50,000 people in 57 countries and five continents: “Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?”

“When we say religious, the definition of religious and religiosity has changed, especially for Americans. And so you ask the question, ‘Are you more religious?’ The answer may be that I’m not religious or as religious or more religious but I’m spiritual,” Dr. Carolyn Gordon, associate professor of communication and preaching at Fuller Seminary, told Patt Morrison. More

Was the Buddha an atheist?
Wisdom Quarterly
The Buddha surrounded by humans and devas
If theism is defined as a belief, faith, or reliance on a creator/controller "God," the Buddha certainly was an atheist. But the issue is not that straightforward. The Buddha spoke of (and to) many "gods" (brahmas and devas).
Therefore, if theism includes the belief in "gods" (devas or "shining light beings" superior to humans in happiness, beauty, longevity, and other qualities), then the Buddha was no atheist.

The Buddha pointed out the wrong-view of relying on an all-powerful God as an explanation for the universe, karma, or as a means to enlightenment and final liberation from suffering.
Buddha in Thailand (Dongissel/
Buddhism is non-theistic. That is not at all the same as atheistic. It means that whether there are or are not gods or a God makes no difference to the need to exert oneself to develop compassion, insight-wisdom, and "salvation" (liberation from ignorance and samsara, the wheel of rebirth and suffering).
There are worlds in space, "heavenly" planes, some subtle (rupa), some immaterial (arupa). But even in this Sensual Sphere (kama loka), there are better planes/worlds to be reborn in.

Therefore, there is sex after death, sex in lower "heavenly worlds." In the world of Brahma -- which transcends sex, sensuality, and sexual dimorphism (Great Brahma and the other Gods being neither male nor female) -- is peaceful and sublime. But it is no final end of suffering, no escape from the round of rebirth or karmic results. It is no solution to the problem of ignorance and the suffering it brings about.

Enlightenment is a solution.

The Buddha was not a god, prophet, avatar, or an advocate for the gods/God. Instead, he demonstrated what an ordinary human being can attain in terms of wisdom, compassion, and most importantly a liberation surpassing that of God/the gods. He is therefore regarded as a teacher of devas, brahmas, and human beings.

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