Download An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity Is Better Off with by Bruce Sheiman PDF

By Bruce Sheiman

A new perspective.

Defending faith as a cultural establishment within the face of resurgent atheistic notion. for hundreds of years, the theism-atheism debate has been ruled by means of positions: stringent believers devoted to the "yes, there's a God" argument, and atheists vehemently pushed to repudiate not just God, but additionally faith as a cultural establishment. up to now, this is often the 1st and basically mainstream ebook within which a nonbeliever criticizes atheism and affirms faith. An Atheist Defends faith persuasively argues that faith is overwhelmingly necessary for humanity, whether God exists, in line with a brand new paradigm of 10 affirmative dimensions that make up non secular event. It additionally places to relaxation the idea that faith is in the back of many of the world's sectarian violence via displaying that faith turns into evil while it truly is politicized. Readers will research they don't have to be fundamentalists to be believers, and in regards to the worth and advantages of faith itself.

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From the second century BC onwards it not only infused a spirit of nationalism into the Buddhism of Ceylon and made the monks prone to political intrigue, but it also led them to enthusiastically support the national wars of their kings. They assured king Dutta Gámaní (101–77 BC) that the killing of many thousands of enemies was of no account, because as unbelievers they were really no more than animals. They accompanied the army of the same king, “since the sight of bhikkhus is both blessing and protection for us”, and the king himself had a relic of the Buddha put into his spear.

They can be summarized under five headings: 1. As concerns the goal there is a shift from the Arhat-ideal to the Bodhisattva-ideal; 2. A new way of salvation is worked out, in which compassion ranks equal with wisdom, and which is marked by the gradual advance through six “perfections” (páramitá); 3. Faith is given a new range by being provided with a new pantheon of deities, or rather of persons more than divine; 4. “Skill in means” (upáyakausOalya), an entirely new virtue, becomes essential to the saint, and is placed even above wisdom, the highest virtue so far; 5.

These were the beliefs which helped to maintain the monastic institutions. The voluntary and sporadic support of a population tied to them by links as tenuous as these would, however, not have kept the Order going for long. The secret behind its social survival over the centuries lay in the ability of the Buddhists, repeated over and over again, to enlist the support of Asian rulers, who maintained the monastic institutions out of government funds. In default of this, the monks were driven to become large property owners in their own right and to dispense altogether with the capricious rewards of begging from house to house.

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