Scott McMahan
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Buddhism Part 2 of 2
MONDAY, MAY 15, 2006
Posted by: Scott McMahan | more..
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Buddhism, on the surface, seems to have something in common with Calvinism, and the two appear to be unique among world religions in this respect. Total depravity. On the surface, Buddhism has four noble truths which seem to go along with the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity. I spent years of study before I discovered this was not true, and when I did I had to repudiate Buddhism.

Buddhism does uphold that life is suffering. This is close to total depravity. I had to study this a long time, and maybe I'm just slow, but I began to see that what Buddhism says is that life is suffering, but that all suffering is external to people. The Buddhists say suffering is created by clinging to things in this world, and to personal expectations of how things should be. To stop suffering, stop clinging. But this doesn't work, obviously, in many cases. So the Buddhist doctines are an escallating spiral of denial. They go so far as to deny the self, the famous no-self doctrine, because the only real way to stop suffering is to deny that there is a self that suffers. This is nonesense.

All world religions and philosophies I've encountered assume that mankind is basicaly good, and that something has happened somehow to obscure this goodness. If someone believes mankind is basically good, then the first problem is how to reconcile this belief with human history, which is an indelible record of people being bad. The way religions and philosophies do this is to say mankind is basically good, except ... and then they come up with something. Buddhism says mankind is deluded by their thoughts, and to still the thoughts. Hinduism says mankind is caught in the net of illusion, and to merge back with the cosmic consciousness. Marxism says mankind is not equal, and to share everything. Rousseau says private property causes badness. Political liberals believe people are not educated enough, or else they wouldn't be bad (they get this directly from Plato), and the cure is more education. Scientology says people have too much money, and if you give them your money, when you don't have anymore, you'll be "clear" and they can find someone else. And so on and on and on. Show me any religion or philosophy which doesn't admit the total depravity of man, and I'll show you this pattern.

I'll talk more about total depravity soon, but first a detour ...

Category:  Calvinism

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