Buddhism and the Supernatural

This is an abridged version of the full article which can be found on the Absurd Being website here.

 

All religions are full of supernatural nonsense. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be religions. But there is another way to think about them. Rather than asking how much supernatural nonsense a particular religion contains, we can instead ask, “How dependent on that supernatural nonsense is it?”

Most religions don’t fare well under either question. Consider Christianity. Removing the notions of God, heaven and salvation leaves pretty much nothing behind. You might argue that we can shunt the supernatural aside in which case Christianity will be all about community; strengthening social bonds, loving thy neighbour, etc. Possibly. But in that case, how is Christianity different from secular humanism which attempts to ground modern values and ideals on reason rather than the supernatural crutches religions rely on? Specifically, where would Christianity’s authority come from if we reject the ideas of God and eternal salvation? Bottom line: in the case of Christianity (and most other religions), you can’t throw out the bathwater without also throwing out the baby. Continue reading

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Muslim Polls and the Rise of the Far Right

This is an abridged version of two articles which can be found on the Absurd Being website, one about the rise of the far right and one about the poll fetish of the anti-Muslim campaigners.

 

I have talked about the anti-Muslim far-right’s obsession with statistics before but their fixation on polls has taken this to new heights of madness. There are a number of problems with their “reporting” when it comes to poll results, from poor methodology and semantic glosses to irresponsible and illegitimate interpretations, but in general the biggest problem is that none of their “findings” come as part of a comprehensive, balanced and focused study. At those odd times when such studies are referenced, the results are cherry-picked and only the most inflammatory survive the cull. Only Christians in their reading of the Bible can match this blatant disregard for the truth. Polls of Muslims show us what we have always known; most European Muslims share the values and ideals of the country they live in but there are a minority who don’t; a sentence that could be applied to virtually any group in any country in the world. Continue reading