Mike Berman posted this list of why Buddhism is better. I’m not officially a Buddhist, but I’ve been interested in Buddhism for a long time.
As most readers probably know, I dislike religious dogma. The reason I like Buddhism is because it’s not dogmatic and doesn’t tell you that you have to believe a certain way or you’re going to hell. I have a problem with the whole idea that there’s a god that requires you to believe a certain way and that beliefs are more important than actions. If you do the right things (treat others with respect, be honest, don’t hurt others), it shouldn’t matter what you believe.
Here’s the list:
- It generally doesn’t take itself too seriously. Buddhists are a light-hearted, peace-loving group.
- Buddha encouraged people to “Make a proper investigation first.” Buddha did not proselytize aggressively, but suggested that people should take it or leave it according to their own personal assessment without relying on hearsay or mere tradition.
- It doesn’t have a fixed, unquestionable ideology.
- Buddhism is strictly a philosophy for rational, inquiring minds.
- In Buddhism, there is no God, nor any gods or goddesses, seraphim, cherubim, archangels, demons, mythological beasts, familiars, pan-dimensional cyborgs, or talkative shrubbery.
- Rather than submitting to a Supreme Being in whom you must believe (lest ye face lightning bolts, fire and brimstone, an eternity spent with Courtney Love), you instead accept the teachings because they’re supposed to make you happy.
- It says that you should follow its teaching because you want to, not because there are consequences if you don’t.
- Not having a central thesis or any current core figure of authority (such as the Pope), Buddhism has become richly diversified.
- The Buddha was a man, and not a god.
- The whole reason for becoming Buddhist is to achieve happiness and become “enlightened.” Not to achieve a dubious afterlife.
- There are no free passes for sinful behavior. You are responsible ultimately to yourself.
- The Five Precepts aren’t commandments given to you by an angry God who threatens you if you disobey; rather, they are guidelines meant to improve your karma and help you along the Eightfold Path to enlightenment.
- A lay Buddhist (non-monk) isn’t necessarily required to go through any special ritual.
- There’s no sacred law telling you that you ought to attend service at the temple every Wednesday and donate 10% of your income.
- The only way to reach enlightenment is to accept the Noble Truths. It requires working hard at improving oneself, not just accepting a savior.
- As a Buddhist, it is acceptable to participate in other religions.