Studying world religions in college, I found there was something profoundly appealing about all of them, except Buddhism. To me, Buddhism felt tepid, lukewarm. The ideal of moderation in all things I do not find ... inspiring. The Buddhist way of being sounded very dull and boring to me.
Also, I think Buddhism is the most difficult of the major world religions to reconcile with a western-rationalist worldview. I appreciate having some ambiguity, some paradox--but some of those maxims and koans and stuff in the Buddhist tradition seem quite anti-rational; they offend my desire to undertand and make sense of the world--as well as my expectation of others that they should communicate clearly and try to facilitate mutual understanding (not confustication).
But I think most of all, what bothered me about Buddhism is the idea of evil being an illusion. It's very important to me, both because of my personal history and as a disciple of Jesus Christ, to name and confront evil. Unmasking the wicked injustices of his time was a very important aspect of Jesus' ministry--culminating in his crucifixion. The crucified Son of God is the ultimate witness against human violence and degradation. We are rightly ashamed to acknowledge that the execution of an innocent man is no aberration in an otherwise peaceful society, but rather that it is representative and symbolic of how human beings normally treat each other ...
And of course, the Christian understanding is that only by naming and confronting evil can it be overcome. Forgiveness required a cross. Evil could not simply be ignored and quietly pardoned, under the table, as it were.
Anyway, that's why I always felt antagonistic toward the ideas of Buddhism. But recently I've gotten more interested in meditation (through self hypnosis, which I learned about from a library book years ago). And I started thinking: you know, some kinds of evil actually are illusions, in a sense. Some evil comes simply from wrong ways of thinking and faulty beliefs that I have. They have no objective reality; they're just psychological mistakes I keep making, over and over. And I think meditation can help to free me of such "illusive" evils.
Anyway, that's something I've been thinking about ...
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