Buddhism is an Atheistic Religion
As between theist and atheist positions, Buddhism is atheist, but it would be more correct to say that it analyses the complex of conflicting ideas compromise in the term God with the same dispassionate care as it analyses the so-called soul (Humphreys p79).” To agree or disagree with the statement given you first must analyse it. The First word that comes into question is atheist, the Macquarie dictionary says atheist means the doctrine that says there in no God, the belief that God does not exists. The second word that comes into question is religion, to say Buddhism is a religion is wrong, Buddhism is a way of life or a philosophy. To say that there is no God the All-mighty is very hard statement for Westerner, predominantly Christians to understand. Although it is true Buddhist are atheist meaning they believe in no one God. Everything a Buddhist does is because of him being a Buddhist, the way they think the way they act the food they eat and every aspect of there life is because of there belief in Buddha.
“The World is without a Creator God” (Edirweera p22) Buddha says. This says that there is no creator God or all-mighty God. Some
Buddhist believe in gods though, they are sometimes Hindu gods and some do not believe in any gods at all. The new belief is they are not Hindu they are Buddhist so why should they worship Hindu gods. One Buddhist women said to me “when I am nervous about a test or need help in something I pray to Hindu gods. This is just comforting to me, I really do not believe in them.” The change and impermanence of beliefs is normal according to Buddha, and his teachings. “Impermanence is the nature of all things-be it man, animal, god or anything else. Everything comes into existence fails to last and finally perishes (Edirweera p18).” The Buddhism does believe in many types of beings- human, animal, some in lower planes, and others in higher forms. The ones in higher forms are called “devas” which loosely translates as gods. The main difference between devas and God is God is seen as the almighty the one that rules and created everything (according to the Bible), and devas are more of prophets or people that have done the write thing. Buddha was a deva he was a prophet he carried the truth and lived in peace following the four Noble truths. “God was Created in there
ignorance, superstition, and fear for material comfort (Ederweera p22)”. This statement says that God was made up because of the fear of he unknown after death or for superstitious reasons. If someone needs a God to feel as though they have propose in life then it is for material comfort. If anyone told you that two plus two equalled five you would want proof, It is the same with God, Someone says that there is a God, what proof do you have? There is no evidence that there is a or ever has been a God. Buddhism believes if there was a God why is there so much misfortune, injustice, and hate in the world. God would not allow such a thing, that is why there is no God, there is ‘Dukkha’. Which comes upon the ones that do wrong in this life or past lives. Although you always are born with Dukkha you may cease it. The Bible tells us stories about a God, but that is it, anybody can tell stories about anything.
“Buddhism believe in giving reverence to Buddha, Dhamn and Sanha also to parents, elders, wise men, and teachers (Tachibana p214).” To show reverence is to show respect and honour there wishes and teachings. The reverence that you give is an emotion
towards a superior being, it is religiously sacred. To show these people reverence is not believe that they are a God but that they are here to support and teach you the correct paths of life. To believe that there is no God is to believe there is no soul as Humphreys mentions earlier. Soul is idea of a permanent entity, ”individuals consist of Mind and Body (or more detail the five aggregates) which are constantly changing. Where there is change there cannot be a permanent entity, an immortal soul does not and cannot exist (Edirweera p20).” The body is soul-less and Buddha explains it in the Anattalakkhana sutta: “Does Your body listen to you when it comes to illness, old age and death?” “It does not”. One cannot order and stop one’s illness. One cannot order and stop on coming old age, One cannot order and stop one’s death. Since the body changes every second can it contain an unchanging soul? It cannot.
The mind is the same according to Buddha, sensations, perceptions, mental and consciousness is always changing. Thus the mind and Body cannot contain a never changing soul.
The many different beliefs in Buddhism shows how relaxed and non-conforming the religion is. Buddhist are all different some believe in gods and some do not. One women said “god is in our minds...that is god he is part all of us (Cabezon p96)”. Another women said “Just keep our mind pure and Don’t steal, don’t lie, if you see a crippled or a blind person help them cross the street, if a child falls help him up. That’s god, and who ever does that is god’s man (Cabezon p95)”. Along with the different beliefs there poems and songs that sign about god’s. The “Vedas are a collection of hymns at which the same time body of myths in which natural phenomena or powers are personified and supposed to act beings do in the social and private life. These gods are created to pious poetical priest (Tachibana p26).” Through these poems they tell how you are suppose to live and act. These poems tell of good gods and wicked gods. The natural phenomena which are in theses poems includes fire or thunder, here are some of the gods that cause these natural phenomena’s: Agni the god of fire, Gihaspati the lord or god of the house, and Indu the god of thunder. These gods play
a part in the weather and people lives. The concept that is hard to understand is the difference between God and the gods. The gods are ordinary people that live life and understand the meaning of life according to Buddha. The impermanence that cause things to changed changed these extra-ordinary people into gods. These gods are not considered to be better just more wise, Tachibana says “those who have attained the position of self-perfection through own power are higher than any god (p32).” Buddha did not talk about the Almighty God to much during his life, and there is many reason for this, such as, people not accepting his thought and hating him or even trying to kill him. Although Buddha did not say much about God he did not think there was one God. Buddha says “If one gets caught in a current of water, with great effort one can save himself. If one gets caught in a strong current and one just prays to God one will get drowned.” The belief if there was a God then there would not be misfortune goes along with what Buddhism is founded on. The belief that misfortune is a part of life and the only way to get rid of the misfortune is to live according to the teaching of Buddha. To achieve the ultimate, Nirvana, according
to Buddha one must do it by them self, no God will be there to help them. The after-life in Buddhism is not heaven, but is re-birth or reincarnation. The goal is to reach Nirvana that is perfection, that is when you are not reborn into this world but reach the ultimate aim of Buddhist. One who reaches this Nirvana is called a Arahant. “one who reaches Nirvana is free from all forms of self identification. The concept of self is no more (Ediriweera p39).” Nirvana is not place to enter into. Venerable Nagasena’s reply to King Milinda’s question “in what region is Nirvana located’? was “great king there is no place where Nirvana is located. Neverless this Nirvana exists. The fact being that a man by diligent mental effort realises Nirvana. Realising that there is no true God is one step in reaching Nirvana, that man is master of his fate, man is his own saviour or destroyer.”
The belief that there is no God is hard to understand but through research and thought the belief is understandable. The Buddhist belief that there is many small gods is changing, but still exists. This religion is similar to the American Indian religion, where they believe in many gods but no God. The gods always have a purpose and the purpose is to
help when a Buddhist has confusing thought of religion or having troubles in life. These gods comfort and help them understand. Buddhism is a difficult but very simple religion, concepts are simple, to follow them is difficult.