Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Logical Flaws Of Buddhism And Hinduism

"Buddhism and Hinduism, currently in vogue among many Westerners, are both directly concerned with humanity's discontentment and have similar prescriptions to the problem of desire.

For example, "The Four Noble Truths" of Buddhism (arguably the central teaching of that religion) address the problem of humanity's unfulfilled longing explicitly. The first truth is that life lacks satisfaction. While people may find happiness for a moment here and there, it is always fleeting. Everything changes and so nothing keeps us content. The second truth is that we are dissatisfied because we crave and cleave and thirst. We need to get rid of that desire, which is the result of ignorance. The problem is that we see a distinction between ourselves and the thing we desire. We think that the things of the world will add something to our lives if we could only attach ourselves to them. All is one. To desire something is to mistakenly think that you exist independently from the thing you desire. The third and fourth truths teach how to reach a level of experience in which you "realize emptiness" and cease to desire anything, largely because there ceases to be a "you" to do anything at all. All distinctions are gone.

Hinduism, for its part, similarly teaches that the goal of its various paths and stages of life is "liberation" from the desires of life and union with the divine. Although it recognizes that people can legitimately give themselves to lesser goals...ultimately the goal is to escape worldly pursuits and the worldly cycle of death and rebirth to enter Nirvana, where these desires will be no more.

In discussing and evaluating these positions, I usually emphasize the logical ramifications of the teaching that all distinctions are illusions. If everything is actually one, not only are you not different from the thing you desire, you are no different than me or that tree over there. Personhood is an illusion...No one lives as if that is true. Also, this teaching means that there is no such thing as good or evil, as those distinctions are illusory as well.,,those worldviews explain away a plain sense interpretation of our most basic experiences (i.e. , being different from a rock, judging Hitler as evil) as illusions, Christianity accepts them as valid and correct."

Donald J. Johnson, How to Talk to a Skeptic, p. 203-205

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