Thursday, December 21, 2006

Is Buddhism a religion?

If I can be allowed to redefine religion as a belief in metaphysical ideas, such as reincarnation or other things based on a system of ontological dualism, I would say yes.

But, I don’t think I have to go that far.

I think karma can readily be understood as an impersonal Higher Power/Ground of Being, one that is not worshipped but is nonetheless seen in some way as omnipotent, then it qualifies on that ground, too, in my understanding.

Let’s put it this way. If we call religion a focus on a metaphysical ultimate principal of organization (another way of saying Ground of Being), it qualifies.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Why “the prayer of Jabez”? Why not “the vow of Jephthah”?

I’m in the midst of reading through Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” at the point where he mentions the vow of Jephthah in the book of Judges, after defeating the Ammonites, to sacrifice the first living thing he meets from his house.

That “living thing” is his daughter. And, unlike with the “sacrifice” of Isaac, nobody does any editorial tidying to this story, perhaps because she is female and not male. She gets sacrificed and that’s that.

Why, instead of the “prayer of Jabez” to get rich, don’t conservative Christians instead cite the “vow of Jephthah” as an example of God-pleasing (hey, the sacrifice was not only not interrupted, it is nowhere condemned in Judges) resolute single-mindedness?