1/15/2009                                                                                       View Comments

False hopes and the lies of Christianity

Money GrabImage by Steve Wampler via FlickrBy David S

This is actually my second writing to this website in the last month. In mid-December, 2008, I submitted my testimony as to why I shunned Christianity (and all religious beliefs). So why am I writing again? Because I truly have a passion for people to spread the word about the false promises and lies that Christianity spreads.

My wife of three years commented to me the other night that I have "hoodwinked" her and let her down because we no longer walk hand and hand with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour (well, her Lord and Saviour). My wife is what many would call an extreme Christian, who loves Jesus, believes the Bible is the literal Word of God, etc. When we married I too was walking with Jesus, but certainly was never "hook, line, and sinker" like she. I question how a man could spend 72 hours inside the belly of a whale without being digested; my wife accepts it as truth.

Religious beliefs stunt intellectual growth. Anyway, about a year ago, I renounced my religious beliefs to her, announced I was a hardcore atheist, and it has been a problem that we have swept under the rug in our relationship since. Occasionally, I will still experience some small degrees of guilt that I have let my wife down so much, but I cannot convince myself that all religions aren't delusional and in actuality stump the ability of an individual to have an intellectual understanding of the real world.

From time to time, I will peruse the religious programming on cable television, looking for any kind of sign from the religious prophets of today that the Almighty desires to convince me of his presence, and ultimately bring me back to his loving arms. The other evening, I watched quite a bit of the religious-based programming on cable.

So what did I see during my few hours of Christian programming that is being watched I suspect, by millions of people around the globe?

For one, I saw a pastor named Dr. Coontz of LeSea Ministries running a telethon from Hawaii! He was telling his audience how good God is and that to spread the Gospel to the four corners of the Earth (I am sorry, I didn't think the Earth as a sphere had corners!) he needed an immediate harvest (i.e. money). He was looking for 120 followers (i.e. idiots) who would sow a $1,000 seed in hopes of reaping a harvest themselves from God. He then recited numerous scriptures from the Good Book that promised supernatural favor from the Heavens if only you would show obedience, and trust and sow that $1,000 seed. Then another gentleman (albeit an older one) told the audience that in exchange for this $1,000 seed that Scripture promised that "destruction would come to the person on your left, and your right, and you will see it all about you, but the Lord will protect you." If I ever wanted to literally strangle a religious celebrity this was it. They were essentially promising that the Lord would protect them and provide for them during this terrible time of economic upheaval if only they would sow that seed.

I am sorry, but I have never seen an articles in a newspaper in the last two years that stated "5,000 people lose their jobs at XXX Company, but surprisingly no Christians are among those handed a pink slip." I have never turned on ABC Nightime News and witnessed the anchor man state that "Foreclosures are up again this quarter, but surprising evidence shows that among the millions losing their homes, none of them are Christians who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour."

Why can't people use their brains and see that the current economic crisis that we are in knows no bounds, including your religious faith? Everyone is subject to the same natural laws of our working world.

As the telethon continued, the older gentleman stated that the current crisis we are all involved in is one based heavily on credit (e.g. credit cards) and that Satan had created credit cards as a means of our destruction! Who knew? I thought it was just money hungry banks. Then, he wanted all the people who needed a financial miracle (as millions of us do right now), to use the credit card to sow your seed! Why use the credit card, other than the obvious way to pay for something you really cannot afford? His explanation was that in the Bible, people of faith had often used the weapon created for their destruction against those who had created the weapon. Huh? For example, David slew Goliath with Goliath's own sword. So he was asking people to sow their seed and make a stand with God and show him your faith in Him by using the credit card that Satan had created for your destruction! Am I the only person who feels tremendous disgust that these type of organizations are tax exempt? This guy is a religious Bernie Madoff! In short, I saw nothing on this channel (and I watched for a good 30 mins) that convinced me of a omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent being in the Heavens. What I witnessed was the continued exploitation of the poor, the hopeless, and the delusional people of the world.

I love how God sits idly by on his throne doing nothing, sitting silently...

Other shows during this evening promised the same thing: Dr. Charles Stanley talked about the importance of tithing, and how by strict adherence to tithing the good Lord would start to work miracles in that person's life. He then stated that if people tithed faithfully that God could even keep people out of hospitals, in good health, etc and the audience just sat there mystified! Imagine if everyone would give 10% of their money to God, we could eliminate hospitals altogether! If I had been in that audience, I promise I would have stood up and debated him about such bunk and demanded evidence! Yet all these people in the audience (i.e. lemmings) just sat there mystified as if they had been given the secrets of the Universe. It occurred to me as I watched his show that in no other "father/son" relationship that we encounter are we asked to give so much monetarily to the father who is to provide for us. Think about it: as you grew up, you more than likely did a few chores around the house in exchange for a weekly allowance. In other words, you participated in some good works, and your father rewarded you monetarily. Religion completely flips the script. Now all good works are of the Father, and you have to give Him money to show your continued obedience. To me, the only times I have heard about the sons providing monetarily for their father is when the father is incapable of providing for himself! Ah Ha! Much like our powerful (powerless) God! To see what I consider the funniest rant on religion and money watch George Carlin's speech on YouTube.

Another show included four speakers who conversed among themselves why they were excited about the imminent return of Christ. One gentleman said he physically wanted to see Jesus (Yeah, stand in line buddy; trillions of us want to physically see him.), and touch his hands where the nails had been, and bow down at his feet, thanking him for all He had done. I thought to myself, "Won't there be a long line to worship him? Do you need to take a number? How do you know you will be first in line?"

Another gentlemen spoke that he wanted to see Satan get what was coming to him. The fallen angel had started all the wars, the famine, the birth defects that we see today and it was time for payback! I thought Christianity was a religion of peace, of forgiveness, etc... Hmmmmm... Lastly, another gentleman said that wanted to see what the world was meant to be like when Jesus returned to set up his 1,000-year kingdom. He stated that plants like poison ivy would be eradicated and that meat eating animals would stop eating meat. That our world that we have experienced since birth would be replaced by the peaceful world that God had intended! What crap! Can you imagine sharks not eating not eating smaller fish, of lions not eating zebras, etc? Anyone heard of survival of the fittest? Anyway, no evidence of a Holy Spirit, wonder working God on this network.

The final show from Sid Roth Ministries told the story of a preacher named Seymour in the early 1900s who was witness to all sorts of miracles. With prayer, Mr. Seymour was actually able to regenerate a severed arm of one of his members with the help of the Holy Spirit! I imagine that this website would not even exist if you and I saw this kind of evidence in our lives. Imagine someone you know supernaturally growing a severed limb because of his or her faith in God! I think we all know where we would be Sunday morning! A great website to see on this topic is www.whywontgodhealamputees.com. But on this television network, more fantasy stories with no such evidence whatsoever!

In conclusion, I saw nothing on any of these networks that indicated to me that there is some wonder working God in control of our lives and I find it interesting that so many people without question believe it to be so. I must tell you if these are the people I saw on television that God has chosen to spread his Kingdom He should not be surprised that the belief in Him is waning and that faith is on the decline.

Outside of my television experience, I recently got into a debate with an individual who stated to me that "His Road to Damascus" experience was that God had steered his vehicle back onto the roadway when it appeared he was heading for a high speed collision with a wall. It's hard to debate someone when they feel that God saved them personally from a premature death. I then asked him why didn't this wonderful God save Stephen Curtis Chapman's adopted daughter from being run over by his son when he accidentally backed up the family SUV in the driveway? I mean, Mr. Chapman's music has inspired millions to want a relationship with God; shouldn't he receive a little bit of supernatural grace and favor down her on Earth in saving his daughter? Is that asking too much? I mean, it is a relationship right? A two-way street? Well, he replied, God must have greater plans for her in Heaven. The standard no thought required Christian response which essentially states, "I am still here and all I know is that God worked a miracle for me. If God didn't help someone else in their life on Earth, then he must be with them in Heaven". It completely ignores the ills that befall our fellow man as God is excused from any tragedy that plagues us.

I am terribly saddened when I see people clinging to a belief system that promises rewards and ultimately delivers very few if any miracles. I know people that see no evidence of God ordained miracles in their lives, and instead of questioning why they do not, cling to those beliefs even more! As their finances dwindle, and their constant prayers go unanswered, they watch more Joyce Meyer, buy another Joel Osteen book, thumb another Joyce Meyer magazine, attend another service at church, all in a desperate hope to show God that they are being faithful, and waiting for His blessings. I am saddened that an adult who lives in reality can still cling to such fantasy, essentially ignoring all the evidence around.

Religious beliefs stunt intellectual growth. Go to Youtube and search "question of miracles." It is a six-part series on Benny Hinn and the "Miracles" of God. If that doesn't convince anyone of religious faith that there is no one in Heaven listening, nothing will.

Thanks for reading and I welcome replies!

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35 comments:

webmdave said...

DONT let your wife watch pinochio, whatever you do!!!!!

webmdave said...

in all seriousness, i recommend exposing christianity.com and joy of satan.com

webmdave said...

Thank you Atf
for the extra info.

webmdave said...

Poe's Law states:

"Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing."

webmdave said...

David - Even though this matter has been mentioned thousands of times here, I admire your perspective on the "Con" game that's perpetrated against millions of mindless people daily! This is one of my favorite rants ever! Well done!

Since my divorce, 8 years ago, I have all but stopped trying to find a decent woman who is not in the grip of religion. Around here, they dare not step out from behind their buybull thumping disguises and any Atheist group that tries to become established, gets quickly taken down!

webmdave said...

Gary is a mindless drive by xtian...........I won't attack him, it's a waste of my time!

webmdave said...

I don't think it's fair to lump all religions together as nonsensical if you haven't investigated them all. There are non-theistic religions, namely Buddhism, which are very logical, free from Dogma, and seek to help you end suffering. Yes, there are supernatural aspects in certain Buddhist practices, but the Buddhist community seems to embrace and encourage different interpretations of texts and the questioning of practices. Buddhism also seems to embrace science and logic where other religions don't. My point is, don't lump all religion together without learning about other religions.

webmdave said...

I must say, Gary, I appreciate your respect and courtesy. Some of the xristians who come in here make me feel as though we are dealing with unfriendly farm animals.

About design in the universe: as I never tire of repeating, seeing design in the universe tells us nothing about the nature of the designer. Most xristians point out the irreducible complexity in nature, and then make this impossible jump to the truth of their judeo-xristian deity; the truth of the incarnation; of the atonement; of the resurrection; of damnation. If you look at nature, the best you can come up with is deism; even so, there is no reassurance that this deity--this designer--cares about any of us, or even notices us.

Gary, you expressed sorrow that David had "left the faith". I am sorry that you returned to it. Atheism is a high calling; it is the highest calling. Some people can't live up to it.

I usually identify myself as an atheist, but there really is not a name for people like me. I am indifferent to god's existence or non-existence; in short, I don't give a goddamn.

If you find comfort or direction in your church or in some version of xristian theology, that's fine, but I do not see that life is so complex or so mysterious that we need philosophers or theologians to explain it to us. I have been studying philosophy and religion since I was 15. I recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from a tough catholic college with a major in phil and a minor in rel. It took me quite awhile to get the stench of BS out of my nostrils.

About your last point: If there is no god, then the universe has neither goal nor purpose. We are sophisticated animals up on our hind legs. Taking just a brief look at history, and at various ethnic groups here and there in the world, tells us that there is no "morality". Our behaviour is ours to choose.

webmdave said...

Gary - the so-called former "atheist" - proclaimed that as an atheist, "There are now no moral rules to life. The conscience can be thrown out of the window, this would be a logical conclusion to reach. At least that is what I though when I was an atheist."

Obviously Gary, your thinking was as flawed as an "atheist" as it is now as a xtian. If you can't figure out for yourself why humans have morals, perhaps it will behoove you to do a little research. Try googling "Why do atheists have morals" and look at all the information you can find. Just for starters, try here:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mark_vuletic/mfound.html

If believing in the wrath and punishment of a god keeps you from committing horrendous acts, then for the sake of humanity, please do keep your faith -- just keep it to yourself and keep it out of our government, schools, society, and website. After all, your faith is not a religion. It is a "personal relationship with god" right? Keep it that way.

--buffettphan
an atheist living in the buybull belt who finds herself quite cranky today -- thanks to all the buybull bullsh*t she sees everywhere around her day after day after day after day........

Now I feel better.
;-)

webmdave said...

Dave
Being an athiest helps me be MORE moral. I find it easier to do the right thing when I don't have to guess what catagory of sin it falls into or when I will confess such a thing.

Now I find it easier because I do the right thing all the time. I am far from perfect, but not having a god to look to helped me and I find the christian idea that we would all run amock if not controled by religion is false. I can control myself. Why can't christians?
nina

webmdave said...

Gary, what you have just said is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.

webmdave said...

There are non-theistic religions, namely Buddhism, which are very logical, free from Dogma, and seek to help you end suffering.

Unfortunately, on the path to "end suffering", aka "Enlightenment", human "suffering" is seen as "virtuous"...or at the least, "necessary".

I don't buy it, and BTW, I'd like to know how "soul recycling" is classified as "very logical".

webmdave said...

I understand that there are many ideas floating around about the origin of the universe, but it really comes down to how we interpret the evivdence. DNA is DNA. However like a computer it doesn't just happen. An intelligent person programmes it.

And this leads one to Christianity ... how?

webmdave said...

Hey I live in Mesa too! I am very happily married though, sorry. You're right most people are pretty religious here. Mesa sucks. Lots of Mormons, and we are one of the most boring cities in the country according to Forbes magazine. I've got to move back to Phoenix.

webmdave said...

David, I suggest you listen to the 3 sermons by Michael Ramsden at my Church last Sunday.

http://www.islandecc.hk/resources/sermons.htm

webmdave said...

I don't know much about Buddhism, but I'm skeptical because there is still a component of a person not being good enough the way they are. At least to me it seems as if trying to reach enlightenment means that there is something greater or better and we need to somehow achieve it. That in my opinion is a dangerous concept. It is a little too close to the concept in christianity that says we are sinners and need to follow Jesus example in order to be sanctified.

Maybe I'm wrong, like I said my knowledge of buddhism is very very limited. I'm just skeptical of any "system" or "program." For me the best option is to avoid all of them. All religion leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

daytripper

webmdave said...

Thackerie,

The three-breasted queen of Romulus 5? LOL! Diana of Ephesus can't find a bra either......

http://www.sporadestours.com/beautiful-artemis-fr.jpg

webmdave said...

David,

This $1000/$84 month seed must be what works on the blind. I see this all the time on TV and I get amazed that people fall for these tactics. Mike Murdock was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Making all types of ridiculous promises and, God told me this or that crap.

Show your wife some of the outright lies in the bible pasted at the end of this posting. The bible is the foundation of the Christian faith and if the bible is shown to be full of lies then the Christian faith falls. The bible is nothing more than a man made book, written by men, transcribe by men, put together by men, translated and interpreted by men, ETC!

Isn't it amazing that a god who loves us humans, allegedly created billions of galaxies containing billions of stars, the universes, our solar system, the Earth and everything in it, etc. etc BUT, doesn't create his own instruction booklet, instead leaves it up to thousands of imperfect men over eons of time, to create something so important?

Examples of Outright lies in the bible

John 14:12-14 KJV

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. ( Grand Daddy of lies)

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Matt 7:7-8 and Luke 11:9-10 KJV

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Matt 18:19

19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

1 Cor 14:33 KJV

33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

( That’s why we have over 10,000 Christian denominations because God is so clear! )

webmdave said...

Thanks daytripper'. I try to change it up as much as possible, considering my antagonist's arguments never change one iota.

BTW, cool hoop earrings.

Boom'.

webmdave said...

From what little I've read on the subject, there are two schools of buddhism. One is semi-god oriented, but for the most part it is non god-based. Really, it should not even be called a religion, more of a philosophy--same is true for Taoism. Buddhism, however, teaches self improvement through meditation and contemplation, and some kind of weird universal energy thingy--which is seems kinda devine, but there is no real suggestion of that thingy being sentient. At least that is how I understand it.

Overall, I agree that it still sounds shaky, and I too would be suspicious.

webmdave said...

Gary:
"...but it really comes down to how we interpret the evidence. DNA is DNA. However like a computer it doesn't just happen. An intelligent person programmes it. "

Ah ! There's the misunderstanding. "An intelligent person programmes it. " No Gary, an Intelligent Bunny programs it. As a follower of the Easter Bunny we who are faithful know the source of creation. Unlike all the misguided atheists on this site, we know , through our faith and scriptures that the Easter Bunny is the source of creation. We even have an annual ceremony where after his divine miracle, we eat His body. Usually starting with His ears. Transubstantiation .
We also use capital letters for His holy name. How can you look at the vastness of the universe, from the wonder of childbirth to the countless stars in the sky and not know a loving Bunny created it.
My Easter Bunny is Bunny of love and generosity. No historian in the history of mankind has EVER disputed this.
Your god is historically cruel and barbaric, prone to throwing tantrums like a liquored up pub crawler that can't get any respect. Lots of blood and violence in a pitiful attempt to earn respect.
The only violence ever committed in the name of Our Bunny Who Art In Heaven is when my sisters got one more Holy Egg in their basket than me. And that was really only a little pushing and shoving, no blood was spilled.
So when I look out at the wonder of creation, I know there can only be One who could have created such magnificence.
May you be blessed with the spirit of love and generosity that He alone can fill your basket to overflowing with.

webmdave said...

daytripper,

You weren't around here when we had our long debate with a visiting Buddhist.

As I recall, he was convinced that all souls move between various life forms.
If you did 'well' as a human, then you either moved up the 'food chain' or became part of this 'collective god energy' of sorts.
If you did poorly instead, you might be reduced to living as a Rat etc..

The topic when on for quite a long time and in much detail.

I'm sure it's still in the achieves, if you search for it.
The debate was mostly with this one very outspoken Buddhist and his strange philosophy, with BoomSLANG and myself taking the opposing viewpoints.

As you suggested here, even this 'tame' religion comes across with the idea that we humans are 'lacking' and can only reach a higher-plane in the universe with some special knowledge etc.. Of course, this special knowledge is held by a select few, who I'm sure are eager to have followers in their footsteps.

While Buddhist don't tell us that we 'sin', the basic idea is the same in that we are lacking as-is.

ATF (Who can't help but to laugh about the frogs in that old debate)

webmdave said...

Daytripper,

Here is the link for the buddhism/frog-snake episode

http://exchristian.net/testimonies/2007/12/there-is-no-god.html?ext-ref=comm-sub-email

ATF

webmdave said...

I am a buddhist and not all believe that we will go to various life forms. In fact I enjoy this site and most comments. And to be straight. Buddhism is not a religion.There are various beliefs amongst as there are with you

webmdave said...

Gary,

Your comment is courteous and, by your lights, well thought out.

Here:

"Why would want to marry if you are an athiest? There are now no moral rules to life. The conscience can be thrown out of the window, this would be a logical conclusion to reach. At least that is what I though when I was an atheist."

however, you go completely astray. To assert that morals are the province, solely, of religions in general and xtianity in particular is ignorant and demonstrative of inexperience.

DNA does "just happen". DNA is NOT a computer. Your analogy is so desperately stretched that it betrays the paucity of the cretinist (did I miss a couple of letters?) case.

The only question that you need anser is this:

You are obviously unhappy about the concept of life happening spontaneously and without a creator, yet you are happy to ascribe these conditions to the creator; how are you able to cope with the cognitive dissonance this inevitable produces?

Peace,

David

webmdave said...

Bull Hockey! If you were once an atheist, I was once the three-breasted queen of Romulus 5. Only a lying and/or deluded christian imagines that atheists have no morals. Shame on you!

webmdave said...

Shela,

I was stating what this one particular Buddhist visitor was trying to convince us about.

I did not mean to imply that 'all' Buddhist held to the same exacting beliefs that this one visitor did with us, where one moves through various life-forms or that life forms evolve because knowledge is transferred from a previous life into the next via some spirit means.

That said, I see no intrinsic value in that philosophy that would make my life any 'better'.
That's not to say that others don't benefit from some of it's teachings, but again, it's not for me.

Frankly, I think it's just more woo-woo type stuff, however on the positive side, it doesn't normally force itself upon others, nor does it's philosophy demand that non-believers convert or be killed either.

To ME, it's just a don't-care-about-it type of religion.

ATF

webmdave said...

Sorry but these EX'S are laughing in their sleep

webmdave said...

shela,

And to be straight. Buddhism is not a religion.

Oh here we go.

That's highly debatable, because practitioners, from both camps, can't agree.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism.htm

Additionally, when a religion or whatever you call it, can't even, agree, if it's a religion or not, let alone, it's doctrinal beliefs, like being re-born, into any possible, forms of sentient life, then It becomes like, any other religion, where you pick and choose, what you want to believe in, constructing a reality that suits you, which, obliterates what you call truth and renders the whole thing ridiculous.

--S.

webmdave said...

Shela: "Buddhism is not a religion."

Neither is christianity, or so we've been told....again and again and again.

webmdave said...

I was a transmitter Engineer for LeSea Broadcasting. I kept the TV, satellite and that big honking 200 KW shortwave facility going for 9 years. When other facilities in the "ministry" were having trouble and prayer wasn't getting the job done, they'd either fly me or have me drive the 150,000 mile-old station van to get them going again.
One occassion that will never leave me was when I was sent to Columbus OH to uplink Rod Parsley's participation from HIS "World Harvest Church" for the summer "Praise-a-Thon". I think Lester was grooming Rod to be the Heir Apparent because the Sumrall boys were fuck-ups.
I set my little trailer up on the south side of the church, right where the Parsley family parked their M-B's, BMW's and Caddies...
This was back when Rod was all about the "Blab and Grab" prosperity "theology", long before he got caught up in this "Kill a Muslim for Jeebus" crap.
When Ol' Lester "went home", there was NO way the boys were gonna let some outlander take over THEIR business. I'm not really sure how it all came to be, but Pete Sumrall wound up on top, and then ditched his wife and kids for the daughter of Maureen Salmann, the "High Priestess of the High Colonic"...
They ran my Mentor (one of the smartest guys to ever push a "High Voltage ON" button)out of there and replaced him with some True Believer.

webmdave said...

Well, D,

You are either an atheist/ex-cxtian with a good feel for satire, or you are really as dumb, indoctrinated and deluded as your post makes you sound.

If the former then well done!

If the latter, please assure us all that you are undergoing, or at least seeking counselling for your lack of a rounded education (home-schooled?) and total dearth of thinking skils

Peace,

David

webmdave said...

justelise: There's no concept of "soul recycling" in Buddhism. Rebirth is *NOT* reincarnation,.....

Let's see, "REBIRTH", what could this word possible mean, hmmm.

Well, "RE" would loosely mean, to do it again or use it again, such as in REPEAT or RECYCLE.

So if one's physical body isn't going through the birth process again, then what part of "us" would be, other than this "soul" that so many believe in?

If it's not our soul but some other means to carry our existing 'minds' forward into a new body, then why are only some rare folks able to see pieces of their past lives?
If the majority can't know of their past lives, then what purpose does re-birthing a piece of us, living out a whole new life, then do for us in the long run?

ATF (Who thinks one fairy tale is a bogus as another)

webmdave said...

Justelise,

I have found insight in the writings attributed to Buddha, but... it appears the discussion here is about "religionizing".

Religionize: "To bring under the influence of religion."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religionize

Buddha's writings were taken, and religionized by a sect after his death. "I" have not personally religionized his writings, nor do I deify him as a god. So, to me... I do not ascribe to a religionized form of buddhism using writings, and added additional ideas/beliefs, thoughts, etc,. for depth.

In all fairness, the only true "followers" of Buddha, were those who lived and physically interacted with him, what we have left, are fragments of the core ideas that underscored his insights. So, while I may consider myself a "benefactor" of his insights, his insights actually suggest that people refrain from attachment... to include "religious" attachment.

I enjoy Christmas, because it represents a time for festivities, family gatherings, etc... However, there are some who adhere to a "religionized" Christmas theme... and hold "contempt" for many who do not ascribe to such a POV. It would seem "anything" can be religionized to some degree... and thus, it becomes important to present our POVs in context when there is the possibility of miscommunication.

When someone asks me if I am a Buddhist... I reply; I am not religious, but I find value in the core writings attributed to Buddha, as well as hundreds of other authors throughout history.

However, providing an answer to anyone in regards to one's personal values/insights, beliefs, etc., should be done with discretion... I've been painted as a platinum card carrier for hell/outer-darkness... because some "need", or are "limited" to perceiving me from their religious POV - I tend to distance my self from such conversationalists.

webmdave said...

Concerning Buddhism,
There are probably as many varieties of Buddhism as there are Christianity, perhaps even more. The only thing that unites them is their search for enlightenment (and some of them not even that) and that they can all somehow historically trace their tradition back to Sakyamuni, the founder of the religion.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/subdivisions/index.shtml

In a nutshell, the original teachings of Sakyamuni said that human sadness was caused by desire, and that the only way to be happy is to have no ambition. There was a moral code, and the path to enlightenment was by meditation. He taught nothing of deities, the afterlife, or the cycle of death-rebirth. All that religion stuff was added on by later generations of Buddhists. For a good treatment of what Sakyamuni taught, read "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula.

Here in China, the folk religion that they practice and call Buddhism is more similar to the ancient Roman polytheistic religion, which consisted mainly of appeasing the gods to get what you want, than it is to what the Buddha taught.

The Tibetan variety of Buddhism allows its priests to marry and eat meat.

My favorite form of Buddhism would have to be Zen Buddhism with it's emphasis on wisdom, meditation, and seeking the truth. No talk of deities.