…about Christianity. I’ve been looking into the Eastern religions, not to convert, just out of interest, and they seem to have this, “We know the true nature of reality and we’re not going to tell you” attitude. I don’t know, it sometimes seems like Buddhism and Hinduism “get it” while Christianity is kind of, I don’t know, in the dark. We struggle with faith and prayer while they use analytical meditation, apparently successfully. They have all these “mystics”, Buddhism is being backed by neuroscience, and Christianity is stuck with faith. How do we go about explaining miracles and mystics in other faiths? Are they all the work of Satan? Don’t get me wrong, I believe in Catholicism, I really do. It’s just that, my faith is being tested right now. If it’s not God these people are seeing, then, what is it?
If they all saw God as they claim to do, firstly they would all be the same religion, no? God surely exists outside of humanity and independently of it, so surely He (or she or it or they if you will) isn’t/aren’t a relativist or relativists. See how confusing it gets? Why would there be more than one spiritual reality and why so very different realities for different individuals?
Buddhism is being backed by neuroscience? You mean their style of meditation is shown to have impact on a physical level? Big whoop, so do other forms of self-hypnosis, biofeedback etc, which aren’t religion-based at all.
Well, one could say that the conception of the self just happens, for no apparent reason. The realization of the intrinsic “oneness” of all reality is ultimately ineffeble and may be the same thing, but expressed differently by the Buddhists as Nirvana or Hindus as Moksha. It does not need an organized religion.
Buddhist meditation can lower blood pressure. That is light-years away from being proven as a religion. Is Inderal a religion? It lowers b/p too.
I was Buddhist for a long time. Like many people I knew who got into Buddhism, I became suicidally depressed. Getting out of Buddhism cut my suicidal ideation and depression significantly. If mood and physical effects are evidence for or against a religion, Catholicism has been proven in my life. I feel far better now.
Buddhism’s claims are pretty simple. The Four Noble Truths:Life is suffering (an oversimplification), Desire is the source of suffering (a tautology if you think about it), Ending desire ends suffering (pretty close to being a restatement of the previous one), and Following the Eightfold Path ends desire (disproven in the experiences of most peope who try it from what I can see).
To get another perspective, get the book ‘The Death of the Guru’ on why Hindus sometimes are turning to Christianity, and what they find there that they do not find in their own religion
Here is a short version of that:
Christianity (and especially Catholicism) has its own mystics as well, of course.
If you have become interested in meditation and ecstatic experiences of the Divine, you might be better off looking first within our own tradition.