"Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
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08-06-2014, 11:30 PM
"Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
I often get asked this question a lot by people when they ask me about being a Buddhist. A conversation on this usually goes something like this:

Person: Why do I need religion to be a good person?

Me: You don't.

Person: But you believe in the existence of a god or gods?

Me: No, I do not.

Person: Isn't The Buddha your god?

Me: No, he is not a God. I have no gods. The Buddha was a mortal man like the rest of us. I am a student of his teachings.

Person: So, you're Buddhist, but you're also an atheist?

Me: Yes.

Person: So why be a Buddhist? Do you feel the need to follow some religion in order to be a good person?

Me: Of course not! Being a Buddhist is my own personal journey that I have chosen. Nobody has to take the same path as me. I think we all have to find our own path to happiness. No person needs to study The Buddha's teachings to do this. I have personally chosen to become a student of his teachings. I have come across many wonderful people, many of whom were not Buddhists. They understood the importance of compassion, and how good deeds pass on positive feelings for others. They understood that happiness does not come from stepping on others and treating them as though they are below us.

Person: So what is the one true path to happiness?

Me: There isn't one. You must find your own path.

This usually results in more confusion. People seem to have an obsession with trying to find an ideal way of achieving happiness. They want to have a foolproof set of rules that they can follow. It doesn't work that way. We are all individuals, and what works for me may not work for the next person. There is nothing wrong with that, but many people seem so confused by this.

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09-06-2014, 05:55 AM (This post was last modified: 09-06-2014 03:31 PM by WindyCityJazz.)
RE: "Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
(08-06-2014 11:30 PM)Compassion4Life Wrote:  I often get asked this question a lot by people when they ask me about being a Buddhist. A conversation on this usually goes something like this:

Person: Why do I need religion to be a good person?

Me: You don't.

Person: But you believe in the existence of a god or gods?

Me: No, I do not.

Person: Isn't The Buddha your god?

Me: No, he is not a God. I have no gods. The Buddha was a mortal man like the rest of us. I am a student of his teachings.

Person: So, you're Buddhist, but you're also an atheist?

Me: Yes.

Person: So why be a Buddhist? Do you feel the need to follow some religion in order to be a good person?

Me: Of course not! Being a Buddhist is my own personal journey that I have chosen. Nobody has to take the same path as me. I think we all have to find our own path to happiness. No person needs to study The Buddha's teachings to do this. I have personally chosen to become a student of his teachings. I have come across many wonderful people, many of whom were not Buddhists. They understood the importance of compassion, and how good deeds pass on positive feelings for others. They understood that happiness does not come from stepping on others and treating them as though they are below us.

Person: So what is the one true path to happiness?

Me: There isn't one. You must find your own path.

This usually results in more confusion. People seem to have an obsession with trying to find an ideal way of achieving happiness. They want to have a foolproof set of rules that they can follow. It doesn't work that way. We are all individuals, and what works for me may not work for the next person. There is nothing wrong with that, but many people seem so confused by this.

I think there's a bit of an ethnocentric attitude involved in people who misunderstand Buddhists. People born and raised in western cultures where religions like Christianity and Islam are very dominant expect gods to be involved, as well as holy books filled with rules that you need to follow. They just make the assumption that this is the way all religions work.

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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09-06-2014, 07:11 AM
RE: "Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
(08-06-2014 11:30 PM)Compassion4Life Wrote:  This usually results in more confusion. People seem to have an obsession with trying to find an ideal way of achieving happiness. They want to have a foolproof set of rules that they can follow. It doesn't work that way. We are all individuals, and what works for me may not work for the next person. There is nothing wrong with that, but many people seem so confused by this.

I think WCJ hit on something with the notion of the Abrahamic religions having a "very active" god* in the core of the belief. In addition, I think it also comes down to the notion that their religion is the correct one, and it is also supposed to be of absolute importance. So, in their mind, you need to be religion X to be correct, so when you say "find your own way" that's enough of a paradigm shift to them that it sounds beyond wrong. Hell, just look at the sheer number of denominations in Christianity alone. Many of them consider they are the One True way, and that the other 95+% of Christians are going to hell.


* This depends on if they're talking to a fellow believer or a skeptic. When talking to a skeptic, their god has a tendency to become super vague and meaningless.
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09-06-2014, 12:00 PM
RE: "Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
(08-06-2014 11:30 PM)Compassion4Life Wrote:  I often get asked this question a lot by people when they ask me about being a Buddhist. A conversation on this usually goes something like this:

Person: Why do I need religion to be a good person?

Me: You don't.

Person: But you believe in the existence of a god or gods?

Me: No, I do not.

Person: Isn't The Buddha your god?

Me: No, he is not a God. I have no gods. The Buddha was a mortal man like the rest of us. I am a student of his teachings.

Person: So, you're Buddhist, but you're also an atheist?

Me: Yes.

Person: So why be a Buddhist? Do you feel the need to follow some religion in order to be a good person?

Me: Of course not! Being a Buddhist is my own personal journey that I have chosen. Nobody has to take the same path as me. I think we all have to find our own path to happiness. No person needs to study The Buddha's teachings to do this. I have personally chosen to become a student of his teachings. I have come across many wonderful people, many of whom were not Buddhists. They understood the importance of compassion, and how good deeds pass on positive feelings for others. They understood that happiness does not come from stepping on others and treating them as though they are below us.

Person: So what is the one true path to happiness?

Me: There isn't one. You must find your own path.

This usually results in more confusion. People seem to have an obsession with trying to find an ideal way of achieving happiness. They want to have a foolproof set of rules that they can follow. It doesn't work that way. We are all individuals, and what works for me may not work for the next person. There is nothing wrong with that, but many people seem so confused by this.

There is something wrong with your view.

Would you care to know what it is?
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09-06-2014, 12:11 PM
RE: "Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
(09-06-2014 12:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  
(08-06-2014 11:30 PM)Compassion4Life Wrote:  I often get asked this question a lot by people when they ask me about being a Buddhist. A conversation on this usually goes something like this:

Person: Why do I need religion to be a good person?

Me: You don't.

Person: But you believe in the existence of a god or gods?

Me: No, I do not.

Person: Isn't The Buddha your god?

Me: No, he is not a God. I have no gods. The Buddha was a mortal man like the rest of us. I am a student of his teachings.

Person: So, you're Buddhist, but you're also an atheist?

Me: Yes.

Person: So why be a Buddhist? Do you feel the need to follow some religion in order to be a good person?

Me: Of course not! Being a Buddhist is my own personal journey that I have chosen. Nobody has to take the same path as me. I think we all have to find our own path to happiness. No person needs to study The Buddha's teachings to do this. I have personally chosen to become a student of his teachings. I have come across many wonderful people, many of whom were not Buddhists. They understood the importance of compassion, and how good deeds pass on positive feelings for others. They understood that happiness does not come from stepping on others and treating them as though they are below us.

Person: So what is the one true path to happiness?

Me: There isn't one. You must find your own path.

This usually results in more confusion. People seem to have an obsession with trying to find an ideal way of achieving happiness. They want to have a foolproof set of rules that they can follow. It doesn't work that way. We are all individuals, and what works for me may not work for the next person. There is nothing wrong with that, but many people seem so confused by this.

There is something wrong with your view.

Would you care to know what it is?

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(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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09-06-2014, 02:07 PM
RE: "Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
(09-06-2014 12:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  
(08-06-2014 11:30 PM)Compassion4Life Wrote:  I often get asked this question a lot by people when they ask me about being a Buddhist. A conversation on this usually goes something like this:

Person: Why do I need religion to be a good person?

Me: You don't.

Person: But you believe in the existence of a god or gods?

Me: No, I do not.

Person: Isn't The Buddha your god?

Me: No, he is not a God. I have no gods. The Buddha was a mortal man like the rest of us. I am a student of his teachings.

Person: So, you're Buddhist, but you're also an atheist?

Me: Yes.

Person: So why be a Buddhist? Do you feel the need to follow some religion in order to be a good person?

Me: Of course not! Being a Buddhist is my own personal journey that I have chosen. Nobody has to take the same path as me. I think we all have to find our own path to happiness. No person needs to study The Buddha's teachings to do this. I have personally chosen to become a student of his teachings. I have come across many wonderful people, many of whom were not Buddhists. They understood the importance of compassion, and how good deeds pass on positive feelings for others. They understood that happiness does not come from stepping on others and treating them as though they are below us.

Person: So what is the one true path to happiness?

Me: There isn't one. You must find your own path.

This usually results in more confusion. People seem to have an obsession with trying to find an ideal way of achieving happiness. They want to have a foolproof set of rules that they can follow. It doesn't work that way. We are all individuals, and what works for me may not work for the next person. There is nothing wrong with that, but many people seem so confused by this.

There is something wrong with your view.

Would you care to know what it is?

I'm curious. Enlighten us, oh enlightener.

“You see… sometimes life gives you lemons. And when that happens… you need to find some spell that makes lemons explode, because lemons are terrible. I only ate them once and I can say with certainty they are the worst fruit. If life gave me lemons, I would view it as nothing short of a declaration of war."
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09-06-2014, 07:24 PM
RE: "Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
(09-06-2014 12:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  There is something wrong with your view.

Would you care to know what it is?

Let me guess: the fact that he doesn't follow what YOU were indoctrinated with, right?

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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10-06-2014, 03:54 AM
RE: "Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
Alright, who let the bot out of it's cage again? Facepalm

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10-06-2014, 09:14 AM
RE: "Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
(09-06-2014 12:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  
(08-06-2014 11:30 PM)Compassion4Life Wrote:  I often get asked this question a lot by people when they ask me about being a Buddhist. A conversation on this usually goes something like this:

Person: Why do I need religion to be a good person?

Me: You don't.

Person: But you believe in the existence of a god or gods?

Me: No, I do not.

Person: Isn't The Buddha your god?

Me: No, he is not a God. I have no gods. The Buddha was a mortal man like the rest of us. I am a student of his teachings.

Person: So, you're Buddhist, but you're also an atheist?

Me: Yes.

Person: So why be a Buddhist? Do you feel the need to follow some religion in order to be a good person?

Me: Of course not! Being a Buddhist is my own personal journey that I have chosen. Nobody has to take the same path as me. I think we all have to find our own path to happiness. No person needs to study The Buddha's teachings to do this. I have personally chosen to become a student of his teachings. I have come across many wonderful people, many of whom were not Buddhists. They understood the importance of compassion, and how good deeds pass on positive feelings for others. They understood that happiness does not come from stepping on others and treating them as though they are below us.

Person: So what is the one true path to happiness?

Me: There isn't one. You must find your own path.

This usually results in more confusion. People seem to have an obsession with trying to find an ideal way of achieving happiness. They want to have a foolproof set of rules that they can follow. It doesn't work that way. We are all individuals, and what works for me may not work for the next person. There is nothing wrong with that, but many people seem so confused by this.

There is something wrong with your view.

Would you care to know what it is?
The only thing I see wrong with the view is you're trying to block it. Drinking Beverage

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
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10-06-2014, 11:32 AM
RE: "Why Do I Need Religion To Be A Good Person?" Answer: You Don't
(08-06-2014 11:30 PM)Compassion4Life Wrote:  I often get asked this question a lot by people when they ask me about being a Buddhist. A conversation on this usually goes something like this:

Person: Why do I need religion to be a good person?

Me: You don't.

Person: But you believe in the existence of a god or gods?

Me: No, I do not.

Person: Isn't The Buddha your god?

Me: No, he is not a God. I have no gods. The Buddha was a mortal man like the rest of us. I am a student of his teachings.

Person: So, you're Buddhist, but you're also an atheist?

Me: Yes.

Person: So why be a Buddhist? Do you feel the need to follow some religion in order to be a good person?

Me: Of course not! Being a Buddhist is my own personal journey that I have chosen. Nobody has to take the same path as me. I think we all have to find our own path to happiness. No person needs to study The Buddha's teachings to do this. I have personally chosen to become a student of his teachings. I have come across many wonderful people, many of whom were not Buddhists. They understood the importance of compassion, and how good deeds pass on positive feelings for others. They understood that happiness does not come from stepping on others and treating them as though they are below us.

Person: So what is the one true path to happiness?

Me: There isn't one. You must find your own path.

This usually results in more confusion. People seem to have an obsession with trying to find an ideal way of achieving happiness. They want to have a foolproof set of rules that they can follow. It doesn't work that way. We are all individuals, and what works for me may not work for the next person. There is nothing wrong with that, but many people seem so confused by this.

Do you believe in samsara?

...
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