Oil and Water: Abrahamic Monotheism vs. the Buddha's Dharma (2001) (Off Site) by Gan Uesli Starling
A Buddhist philosopher responds to the often heard claim of persons being both Buddhist and theist, presenting five striking points of divergence between Buddhism's core doctrines and the concept of God, and then citing Buddhist scripture showing that Lord Buddha very specifically negates any and all theist doctrine.
In this review of Sam Harris' The End of Faith, Kenneth Krause notes Harris' most important points about the destructive nature of faith. After pointing out that hundreds of millions of Americans hold beliefs clearly inconsistent with well-established scientific and historical facts, Harris turns to a discussion of how faith adversely affects our daily lives, directly motivates religious violence, and even threatens the future of civilization. The problem is not so much specific religious doctrines as it is the principle of faith itself--a principle which eschews reason and ends all meaningful conversation. Harris also blames religious moderates as much as fundamentalists for the ongoing religious conflicts of our times. Though Krause greatly appreciates all of these points, he ends by noting at least two deficiences of this book.
"The new atheism" refers to a recent revival of popular atheist books, particularly in the United States, which critique both the grounds for belief in God and the detrimental effects of religion on society. The popularity of these books has naturally spawned a religious counteroffensive, the latest installment of which is John F. Haught's God and the New Atheism. Though Haught laments the new atheists' indifference to theology, a case could be made that theological nuances are irrelevant to the views held by most ordinary believers, and that this is the real target of critique. Moreover, Haught completely misses the main point of the new atheists: that all religious doctrines lack reasonable justification. In the end, their central point is untouched: that faith requires belief without evidence, and that in the absence of evidence, any imaginable (self-consistent) belief is as credible as any other—so there is no good reason to adopt one unevidenced belief over any other.
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