Buddhists Beliefs about God
Contradictory views are often expressed in western literature regarding the attitude Buddhists have towards the concept of gods and God. The ideal of a creator god that is conceived to be omnipotent and external and personal deity is not compatible with the teachings of Buddha.
In Buddhist literature, belief in a creator god is mentioned frequently and rejected along with other causes that are wrongly adduced to explain where the world originated from for example time, world soul, nature etc.
Belief in God is placed in the same category as destructive wrong views that deny kammic results of action and assume fortuitous origin or nature and man or teach absolute determinism. The God idea which attempted to explain the universe, its origin as well as the situation of man in this world was found to be unconvincing by the Buddhists.
As a result of this, over the centuries, Buddhist philosophers have formulated arguments that refute the doctrine of a creator God. They make the following arguments:
- Man found himself in a world that was hostile and dangerous. His fear of wild animals, disease or injury, inability to find enough food and natural phenomena such as lightening, volcanoes and thunder was with him constantly. Finding there was no security, man created the idea gods or god to give him strength to deal with life. Buddhists argue that man says he prays to a particular God at a time of need and he answered their prayers. As such, the Buddhist response to God is that god-idea is a response of man’s frustration and fear. They argue that Buddha taught them to try and understand their fears, lessen their desires and courageously and calmly accept the things they cannot change. In addition to this, they claim the irrational belief was replaced with rational understanding.
- Secondly, Buddhists believe there is no evidence to support the idea of a God. They argue there are numerous religions that claim they have god’s words preserved in their holy books and that they alone understand his nature and that while their gods exists the gods of other religions do not. Buddhists also argue that while there are several religions that have spent years trying to prove their god is real none has provided any concrete, real, irrefutable or substantial evidence to support their claims.
- Buddhists also argue that the belief there is a God is not necessary. There are those who claim that the belief in a God as a way of explaining the universe is not necessary and that science has proven the world came into been without introduction of the God idea.
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