10 September, 2011

Buddhist 'Spirituality'

Atheist or Agnostic?

Secular Buddhism (The Four Noble Truths and the Eight-fold path is the only thing Siddartha taught - http://goo.gl/BAsuF) does not contain a deity of any kind.

So the basis of Buddhism is ATHEISTIC.

Same thing with Zen Buddhism, because Zen 'in and of its self' inherently is not capable of theistic concepts.

In either case, with '
Secular Buddhism' and / or 'Zen Buddhism', there is no worship.

Collecting and comparing newer the codified / edified / administered versions of modern Buddhism in the category of agnostic is fair... But to clarify it... These are non-secular Buddhism and most do worship 'The Buddha'.

Many seem to use the terms Agnostic and Atheist interchangeably (and incorrectly):

From the origins of these words, here is how they define in the concept of religion / mythology / philosophy:

Atheist = No theism (god) to worship.
Agnostic = Knowledge of / acknowledging (a god), but not worshiping (rooted in the Greek word 'gnosis').

Few of the discussions I have encountered seem to grasp this concept, or how it applies to Buddhism in its various inceptions, and how they divert from the origins of that philosophy.

It this context (regardless of convictions) an individual is either a:

  • worshiping believer (theist)
  • non-worshiping believer (agnostic)
  • non-worshiping non-believer (atheist)
  • Ignorant or unaware of the subject
Interestingly enough, there will always remain some amount of ambiguity as to what it means to 'worship'. Luckily, that concept (regardless of outside opinions) is also entirely up to the individual to decide.

As far as Terms like 'GNOSTIC ATHEIST' or 'AGNOSTIC ATHEIST' go...

GNOSIS doesn't really fit in to what 'ATHEISM' infers... So neither would 'AGNOSIS'

GNOSIS: With knowledge, possessing knowledge of.
AGNOSIS: Without knowledge, absent any knowledge of.

While those terms can be used in conjunction things like:

We are gnostic towards what constitutes water
We are agnostic towards what created the cosmos.

These terms are inappropriate to apply to the term atheist.

If we visit a favorite construct of mine:
One cannot BE an 'Atheist', because 'Atheist' is not an action or a 'method'. It is a decision. Just as is deciding to not drink a glass of Habanero juice...

One IS an Atheist as the default setting upon rejecting a specific claim.
One is A-Habanero as the default setting upon rejecting the beverage.

There is no belief as a criteria for this concept.

Regarding the person rejecting the 'beverage' ᄈ

Is that person (GNOSTIC) possessing knowledge of the beverage?
Is that person (AGNOSTIC) absent any knowledge of beverage?

Both and, neither?

How does one posses knowledge of something they then dismiss?

That rejection is based on a lack of evidence / knowledge.

In the end, I'm left asserting that the term 'ATHEIST'; Cannot be correctly described when paired up with either GNOSTIC or AGNOSTIC - That instead, such pairings simply allow the concept / term to be convoluted, and left in a state where it can be manipulated by semantic deconstructions and rendered as an argument rather than as a statement of rejection.

In addition to adding confusion to the topic, such are easily obtainable attempts by Theists to put Atheists on the defensive by semantically obfuscating the concept


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