On @happy_ops we generally take the approach of being neutral towards theistic religions and encourage integration and understanding. However, we found one particular interview to be particularly halting. It is with the British comedian Stephen Fry. Stephen Fry says it so much better:
Buddhism starts out with the Four Noble Truths by stating that the world and indeed all of Samsara is a terrible place. Buddhism acknowledges that the world is filled with suffering and pain for all those that reside within it. But through the development of virtuous qualities within our own minds usually in relationship to others, we can move beyond Samsara.
This conflicts with theistic religions in two ways in particular:
- There is no middle-man involved. Virtuous qualities are developed within our own minds usually in relationship towards others. For example, to practice generosity, kindness, and patience you need somebody else to actually give something, be kind to them, or be patient towards. You’ve practiced generosity and somebody has dinner today. There is no complications from a middle-man to be exalted or worshipped.
- If the world is created by intelligent design (a god or other intelligent being) then what a terrible world they have created. It is filled with child poverty and disease, hunger and famine, injustice and human slavery, materialistic greed of the few, and all of the diseases and viruses of the world. What sort of monster would force people, animals, and other beings to experience such terrors of their own making? Why would they make such a world and make people suffer so much?