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    Default Religion is good (or bad)...

    Religion is good for you if you're a good person and bad for you if you're a bad person.
    ^ Just something I overheard. Do you agree or disagree with it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Alexis de Tocqueville
    What is most important for democracy is not that great fortunes should not exist, but that great fortunes should not remain in the same hands. In that way there are rich men, but they do not form a class.

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    As long as the purpose of religion is to keep people in line, it's bullshit.

    That quote is BS too. Every religion has a different idea of what good and bad people are. The best religions have no good or evil, right or wrong.

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    It's vague enough to be roughly true. You get what you give, what you believe is what you see, etc.
    I believe in redemption (in the non religious sense) though (even if it's rare)

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    I could see how that could be true. Speaking as someone who doesn't like organized religion, I do admit that most religions have pretty solid moral guidelines ('tho shalt not kill/commit adultery/steal'--pretty straight forward stuff). There's tons and tons of really good people who adhere to various religions. But I've seen some people who twist religion to justify whatever questionable personal habits they have, and still keep the sense of 'there's a higher authority called God who says this is okay, therefore I'm faultless'. That quote could apply to this kind of mindset in a person.

    Maybe religion encourages absolutism, so someone with a healthy moral center will become more fixed in their healthy morality with religion - whereas someone without a healthy moral center will become even more stubbornly set in their ways and feel justified about it.

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    I'm agnostic so religion to me is not something that I take seriously whether God exists or not. However, I don't really mind if people use religion as a way to encourage more positive and beneficial behavior from themselves for others. It bothers me when people use religion to appear pious in front of others by going to church every Sunday, donating to the church, praying everyday, but then they act like a horrible person outside of church.

    Maybe they think it's justified if they repent their sins, which is ridiculous if you're not truly sorry for them and the damage from doing bad deeds cannot always be reversed so unless they plan to do a complete 180 from their original awful behavior then it's meaningless. I like religion in terms of the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you". However, so few people in life actually follow this rule, religious or not.

    So religion can either be a catalyst for being a decent caring human being or a walking hypocrite depending on who you are so there is some truth in the OP's post. However, I don't think religion is necessary for good or bad behavior either though. People can be still be good outside of religion if they naturally have the empathy for it or have the desire to improve their empathy for others because of experiences they have had in life IMO.
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    My approach was always that theism was an older version of a tool and atheism was a more updated version, and the thought that others still only had possession of the out of date version was mildy disheartening. There's really no value so important you should have to compromise the truth, or the chance of discovering the truth, in order to get it, because any search for answers predicated on potentially false information is bound to yield bad conclusions. And you don't stop looking for answers and just start moving forward on faith either, because the field keeps changing and demanding you take in all the new data you can in order to update your tactics.


    It disheartens me even more to know there are people who don't truly take a literal interpretation of the existence and commands of the god they claim to observe, while still observing the structure that believing in that God provides. I don't have anecdotal experience myself that this is all that common, but I've heard it said that it's a usual thing. It's a painful notion to swallow if you're a person like myself who used to sincerely think the god he was raised to believe in was an actual super-anthropic entity that actually had his desires manifested in the material world, that observation of his commands would be the determinant of who ressurrects after the global cataclysm, and who is recycled into heat, only to later come to the conclusion that this entity is probably false. I once deeply believed one's mindlink to a creature they'd never seen marked their place on an ages-long quest that tied the fate of the entire world and centered the camera of this universe on our species, and that the improbability of that when people realize it's probably not true still doesn't always prompt them to abandon the establishment that does nothing but demand service of them puzzles me to no end. Our inborn programming to be social is the strangest of sicknesses.
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    If you're a bad person but you're sincerely trying to get better, religion can help you with that. In fact that's what it's for.

    But if you use it as a way to feel self-righteous and self-satisfied about your faults then it won't do you much good. Honest self-reflection is the key.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush View Post
    If you're a bad person but you're sincerely trying to get better, religion can help you with that. In fact that's what it's for.

    But if you use it as a way to feel self-righteous and self-satisfied about your faults then it won't do you much good. Honest self-reflection is the key.
    Yesss well put! This is essentially how I have come to view religion.
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    People form tribes around common belief systems and it doesn't matter whether or not these beliefs are factual. Tribalism makes us strong but somewhat threatening to other tribes. Beliefs aren't harmful except when they are turned against those who don't comply with them; they are often used as rallying cries to punish nonbelievers. Since people are able to use religion to do harm, the quote doesn't hold water.

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    Once you come to a certain level of understanding about the world around you, religion is just plain stupid and not necessary. Even if they get some of the morality approximately right, humans are born with a capacity for moral reasoning and do not need the dogmatic tenets of religion to give a false sense of security. People who are ignorant of the world do seem to need religion like a big fluffy blanket on a cold winter's night. That's okay, as long as they leave the rest of us alone.

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    Religion is nothing but superstition, which has no value whatsoever. Anything of tangible benefit can be achieved without following claims that are unfalsifiable. Following dogma just leads to people carrying out harmful actions in the hope of some intangible reward: the classic examples of this in regards religion is adherents valuing death (or an intangible life after death) more than life, and believing they are objectively moral because they believe they are following an objective being (why such people believe their interpretation to be infallible I have never been able to understand).

    Religions that tell individuals they are inherently flawed, teach that suffering is desirable, or regard torture (i.e. the dogma of hell) as acceptable for those who do not follow them, are especially destructive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subteigh View Post
    Religion is nothing but superstition, which has no value whatsoever. Anything of tangible benefit can be achieved without following claims that are unfalsifiable. Following dogma just leads to people carrying out harmful actions in the hope of some intangible reward: the classic examples of this in regards religion is adherents valuing death (or an intangible life after death) more than life, and believing they are objectively moral because they believe they are following an objective being (why such people believe their interpretation to be infallible I have never been able to understand).

    Religions that tell individuals they are inherently flawed, teach that suffering is desirable, or regard torture (i.e. the dogma of hell) as acceptable for those who do not follow them, are especially destructive.
    So you are basically ignoring the psychic reality of superstition and religion. Both are obviously symbolic. You don't see the connection between superstition/religion and art??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallmo View Post
    So you are basically ignoring the psychic reality of superstition and religion. Both are obviously symbolic. You don't see the connection between superstition/religion and art??
    I don't think I understand the question. I don't know what you mean by "psychic reality". I don't see reason to doubt there is a connection between superstition/religion and art in some cases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrickyDlck View Post
    ^ Just something I overheard. Do you agree or disagree with it?
    Disagree. I think the very notion of addressing "religion" categorically only has meaning to people that subscribe to none or on the most superficial level. The nature, truth, and effects of disparate religions are likewise disparate. To the religious it's a question of true and false at least as much as one of utility. Purely utilitarian evaluations of religion(s) beg the question of non-belief.
    Last edited by Oppai Anschluss; 12-07-2018 at 10:18 PM.
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    If we're talking about Christianity, I've come to see it as a means of social control. Christians don't just try to do what they are told is good or right, but they end up enforcing values on a community of people, such as homosexuality being bad or something or not having sex until marriage or no drinking and so forth. So it might apply to criticism of Christianity.

    But I know Buddhism is more about the self, less about worrying about everyone else. More about coming to terms with reality and yourself and what's in your control and such. I kind of like Buddhism. I don't think the question applies well to Buddhism for example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalek Caan View Post
    If we're talking about Christianity, I've come to see it as a means of social control. Christians don't just try to do what they are told is good or right, but they end up enforcing values on a community of people, such as homosexuality being bad or something or not having sex until marriage or no drinking and so forth. So it might apply to criticism of Christianity.

    But I know Buddhism is more about the self, less about worrying about everyone else. More about coming to terms with reality and yourself and what's in your control and such. I kind of like Buddhism. I don't think the question applies well to Buddhism for example.
    Yeah I agree. I'm atheist myself but can still appreciate religions that interesting to learn about. Modern Christianity is fucking lame imo and it's goal seems be but neuter the population and make behave lawfully and docile. I think's its no coincidence Rome fell shortly after adopting Christianity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddy View Post
    Yeah I agree. I'm atheist myself but can still appreciate religions that interesting to learn about. Modern Christianity is fucking lame imo and it's goal seems be but neuter the population and make behave lawfully and docile. I think's its no coincidence Rome fell shortly after adopting Christianity.
    So you think a religion promoting lawful docility caused the collapse of an empire? How does that square with the fact that the Goths and Vandals were Arian Christians? If you're comparing the Christianity of Rome and later Charlemagne to today's ecumenical modernist heresies LARPing as the Church wew lad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oppai Anschluss View Post
    So you think a religion promoting lawful docility caused the collapse of an empire? How does that square with the fact that the Goths and Vandals were Arian Christians? If you're comparing the Christianity of Rome and later Charlemagne to today's ecumenical modernist heresies LARPing as the Church wew lad.
    Whatever bro.

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    which religion? good for what and who? how was it used? in which its part?

    detailes...

    P.S. any irrational thoughts are a kind of religion. political, philosophical, ethical, much of economical ones, etc.

    today popular religions have good and doubtful parts. they contradict even to themselves sometimes. while the ones who think themselves as followers and on words support something - may behave the other on practice, what means they do not care much about that religion

    On of examples is Christianity and liberal philosophy/economy which are opposite, while you may meet many of people who formally relate themselves to the both.
    Types examples: video bloggers, actors

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    Buddhism works because it forgoes attachment to dogma and therefore permits its followers to accommodate for new information. Consequently, it stands out as a religion of realism.

    Certainly, its adherents often fail to follow the Noble Eightfold Path, and hypocrisy develops... but holding on to guilt about failures in consistency creates more inconsistency in that the attachment causes pain. It's a Catch-22 that you only escape through complete detachment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddy View Post
    Modern Christianity is fucking lame imo and it's goal seems be but neuter the population and make behave lawfully and docile.
    Basically. They tell you to turn the other cheek as a boot stamps on your face.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karatos View Post
    Buddhism works because it forgoes attachment to dogma and therefore permits its followers to accommodate for new information. Consequently, it stands out as a religion of realism.

    Certainly, its adherents often fail to follow the Noble Eightfold Path, and hypocrisy develops... but holding on to guilt about failures in consistency creates more inconsistency in that the attachment causes pain. It's a Catch-22 that you only escape through complete detachment.
    Is it consistent to expect Buddhists to follow the Noble Eightfold Path while expecting them to forgo attachment to dogma?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subteigh View Post
    Is it consistent to expect Buddhists to follow the Noble Eightfold Path while expecting them to forgo attachment to dogma?
    Expectation creates attachment, so it's not consistent in that expectation can't exactly dovetail with the end goal: peace of mind, Nirvana, for oneself.

    As far as how one chooses to live, it's only "consistent" in that attachment is a necessary step towards peace if mind.

    Ie. as a philosophical body, it's not exactly consistent - but as a process, it is consistent. This is where it tends to differ from modern, Western modes of philosophy, theology, and religion. Where Western religions tend to emphasize belief through static, often inconsistent, first-order logic, Buddhism places a greater emphasis on a way of living.

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    Doesn’t Christianity assume that all people are sinful and bad in the first place? Like everyone is bad people, and it’s good for everyone.

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    ^ I believe so. They say Jesus died for our sins, as a way of I guess "substituted atonement", so we can become Christians and good I think. Maybe I'm not sure...that always sounded odd to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbbds View Post
    Doesn’t Christianity assume that all people are sinful and bad in the first place? Like everyone is bad people, and it’s good for everyone.
    The short answer is yes. The only 2 people that lived without sin were Christ and Mary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oppai Anschluss View Post
    The short answer is yes. The only 2 people that lived without sin were Christ and Mary.
    What?

    I'm pretty sure my Great Aunt did, too. At least, that's my impression from listening to her.

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    I once attended a Mormon church service at the request of a family friend. The main speaker was this red-haired IEI girl with tattoos, who not too long into her speech, starting crying hysterically while extolling the grace and beauty of her path to God and what it meant to her to have found such peace. Then I learned about Mormon "life policies," and how a guy who was waiting to get married to his girlfriend would, as a substitute, simply watch porn (as in, just watch). Or, to give a more general example, my dad told me about this idiot he had to fire once, who, when questioned on his misuse of company funds, clasped his hands in complacent glory, and said, "I answer to a higher power." So, I think the quote is effectively bullshit. Religion will do whatever you want it to for you if you're a good person; and if you're a bad person, what does it even matter?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oppai Anschluss View Post
    So you think a religion promoting lawful docility caused the collapse of an empire? How does that square with the fact that the Goths and Vandals were Arian Christians? If you're comparing the Christianity of Rome and later Charlemagne to today's ecumenical modernist heresies LARPing as the Church wew lad.
    Were the goths christianized by 400 CE? My history is a bit rough.

    Christianity is kinda schizophrenic. Believe in love or die. @Muddy was right.

    Jesus loves you. Now let him in or suffer. Jesus Christ: the ultimate rapist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramas View Post
    Were the goths christianized by 400 CE? My history is a bit rough.
    Yes, they converted in the 300s. They were followers of Arianism when they sacked Rome. This is why Churches were effective sanctuaries (offered to Christian and Pagan alike) from the sacking.
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    Most religions have obstructed utilitarianism and scientific inquiry, so they've stalled out solutions that would otherwise increase quality of life and happiness. For example, many Evangelical sects rely on dubious practices of faith healing to accomplish what modern medicine could do on its own, reducing their quality of life. Christians in the U.S. frequently resist the notion of climate change on religious grounds, immobilizing democratically determined legislation that would otherwise curb harmful pollutants. Historically, Judeo-Christian religions have found themselves at odds with naturalistic interpretations of the world and the universe, paralyzing the advancement of medicine and other life enhancing artifice, reducing the quality of life. Generally, any religion that prioritizes faith over works, and makes "belief" the end-all be-all of morality, in the same vein as Kant's categorical imperative, suffers from a mal-adaptive kind of morality that scarcely takes consequences into consideration, disregarding the scope of what improves life. And, even more broadly, religion tends to enforce delusions, however blissful, that create blindspots about one's own self, one's own bell being, and the well being of others. The Biblical story that epitomizes a kind of disregard for utilitarianism, humanism, and personal responsibility is the story of Abraham and Isaac, a story in which Abraham effectively relinquished his responsibility to God (ie. the imaginary voices, aka. Jigglypuff in space) and basically primed himself to slaughter his own son. So, taking this lesson to heart, Christians are bound to do a bunch of crazy horseshit so long as they believe they are being obedient. Inject whatever messages you want into a person's religious framework, and you can modify their behavior and practically force compliance - political messages, personal messages, whatever. And, since many religious figures symbolize self-sacrifice, the clergy gladly follows in the footsteps of their leader, however contaminated the original message becomes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oppai Anschluss View Post
    Yes, they converted in the 300s. They were followers of Arianism when they sacked Rome. This is why Churches were effective sanctuaries (offered to Christian and Pagan alike) from the sacking.
    Go figure. As with most religions, they had their own interpretation that came from a pre-existing worldview.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karatos View Post
    Expectation creates attachment, so it's not consistent in that expectation can't exactly dovetail with the end goal: peace of mind, Nirvana, for oneself.

    As far as how one chooses to live, it's only "consistent" in that attachment is a necessary step towards peace if mind.

    Ie. as a philosophical body, it's not exactly consistent - but as a process, it is consistent. This is where it tends to differ from modern, Western modes of philosophy, theology, and religion. Where Western religions tend to emphasize belief through static, often inconsistent, first-order logic, Buddhism places a greater emphasis on a way of living.
    hmm. I find it difficult to comprehend your argument: you refer to dogmas that are central to Buddhism just as much as dogmas are central to other religions (and certain ideologies). Is there a way of saying that Buddhism is free from dogma while saying it has no undeniable tenets e.g. regarding Nirvana?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subteigh View Post
    hmm. I find it difficult to comprehend your argument: you refer to dogmas that are central to Buddhism just as much as dogmas are central to other religions (and certain ideologies). Is there a way of saying that Buddhism is free from dogma while saying it has no undeniable tenets e.g. regarding Nirvana?
    This is one of the most challenging aspects of Buddhism in that Buddhism demands what appears to be a logical impossibility. If you're attached to the precepts of Buddhism, you can't reach what's touted as the objective, since the objective, by definition, demands a lack of attachment. This challenging aspect is exemplified in some sects of Buddhism that are more "dogmatic" and authoritarian than others. For example, Tibetan Buddhism tends to be more rigid, didactic, and autocratic than Zen counterparts.

    If we continued to rely on rational discourse to resolve the discrepancy here, then the issue would just become more muddled. It's impossible to convey central aspects of Buddhism through rational discourse because rational discourse entails attachment to premises and arguments.

    Nevertheless, detachment is possible and happiness is possible through practices of mindfulness. So, if you're interested in what it is that I'm referring to, as opposed to my references themselves, then you should meditate, check out a local Sanga, or investigate Buddhist literature that does a better job of allowing the reader to peer through the cracks of the arguments, so to speak, than I do. Thich Nhat Hahn produced a good introductory book: "The Heart of Buddha's Teaching", which you should be able to find as a free pdf.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramas View Post
    Jesus loves you. Now let him in or suffer. Jesus Christ: the ultimate rapist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karatos View Post
    Forget the cross. Kill it with fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karatos View Post
    This is one of the most challenging aspects of Buddhism in that Buddhism demands what appears to be a logical impossibility. If you're attached to the precepts of Buddhism, you can't reach what's touted as the objective, since the objective, by definition, demands a lack of attachment. This challenging aspect is exemplified in some sects of Buddhism that are more "dogmatic" and authoritarian than others. For example, Tibetan Buddhism tends to be more rigid, didactic, and autocratic than Zen counterparts.

    If we continued to rely on rational discourse to resolve the discrepancy here, then the issue would just become more muddled. It's impossible to convey central aspects of Buddhism through rational discourse because rational discourse entails attachment to premises and arguments.

    Nevertheless, detachment is possible and happiness is possible through practices of mindfulness. So, if you're interested in what it is that I'm referring to, as opposed to my references themselves, then you should meditate, check out a local Sanga, or investigate Buddhist literature that does a better job of allowing the reader to peer through the cracks of the arguments, so to speak, than I do. Thich Nhat Hahn produced a good introductory book: "The Heart of Buddha's Teaching", which you should be able to find as a free pdf.
    Did you mean... Thicc Nathan?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karatos View Post
    This is one of the most challenging aspects of Buddhism in that Buddhism demands what appears to be a logical impossibility. If you're attached to the precepts of Buddhism, you can't reach what's touted as the objective, since the objective, by definition, demands a lack of attachment. This challenging aspect is exemplified in some sects of Buddhism that are more "dogmatic" and authoritarian than others. For example, Tibetan Buddhism tends to be more rigid, didactic, and autocratic than Zen counterparts.

    If we continued to rely on rational discourse to resolve the discrepancy here, then the issue would just become more muddled. It's impossible to convey central aspects of Buddhism through rational discourse because rational discourse entails attachment to premises and arguments.

    Nevertheless, detachment is possible and happiness is possible through practices of mindfulness. So, if you're interested in what it is that I'm referring to, as opposed to my references themselves, then you should meditate, check out a local Sanga, or investigate Buddhist literature that does a better job of allowing the reader to peer through the cracks of the arguments, so to speak, than I do. Thich Nhat Hahn produced a good introductory book: "The Heart of Buddha's Teaching", which you should be able to find as a free pdf.
    To me, Buddhism is religious dogma because it takes as a given that is some supernatural or superhuman force, which motivates followers to believe for example that suffering is desirable and that the emphasis of a person's life should not be on material things but on an afterlife.

    Claims about happiness through meditation, mindfulness etc. could feasibly be proven true, although in my view, such practices are activities than can be done independently of religion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subteigh View Post
    To me, Buddhism is religious dogma because it takes as a given that is some supernatural or superhuman force, which motivates followers to believe for example that suffering is desirable and that the emphasis of a person's life should not be on material things but on an afterlife.

    Claims about happiness through meditation, mindfulness etc. could feasibly be proven true, although in my view, such practices are activities than can be done independently of religion.
    Secular Buddhism doesn't posit that an afterlife exists or that supernatural entities exist. It doesn't posit that suffering is the final object, either - rather the teaching is that things in life have impermanence and therefore life consists of suffering because impermanence forcefully severs attachment. Simply acknowledging this fact of life tends to create a sustainable form of happiness - more accurately described as a lack of despair - by essentially lowering expectations.

    I do think that meditation/mindfulness can be practiced independently of organized religion, though it does tend to require guided practice because it's very unlikely that the average person independently develops such practices when practical demands, consumerism, and other factors that encourage external attachments have such a high degree of influence over the average person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karatos View Post
    Secular Buddhism doesn't posit that an afterlife exists or that supernatural entities exist. It doesn't posit that suffering is the final object, either - rather the teaching is that things in life have impermanence and therefore life consists of suffering because impermanence forcefully severs attachment. Simply acknowledging this fact of life tends to create a sustainable form of happiness - more accurately described as a lack of despair - by essentially lowering expectations.

    I do think that meditation/mindfulness can be practiced independently of organized religion, though it does tend to require guided practice because it's very unlikely that the average person independently develops such practices when practical demands, consumerism, and other factors that encourage external attachments have such a high degree of influence over the average person.
    Even with "Secular" Buddhism, from what you describe, it adds an overarching narrative to the whole of existence that is not falsifiable. That is still a supernatural or superhuman element.

    Suffering is not fundamentally a necessary part of existence. Suffering exists because pain is overall an advantage to beings that need to avoid harm in order to prosper.

    I think it is fear of the unknown rather than the state of impermanence causing suffering due to the severance of attachments.

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