Buddhism actively tells you to question it.

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

I am rather a lapsed Buddhist at the moment but I would call myself that rather than anything else, and an old (doubtless now out of print) library book called The Heart of Buddhism by Guy Klaxon, that contained nothing otherworldly at all, led me out of Christian Science when I was a teenager, which I have always been very grateful for.the Heart of Buddhism

There are a lot of different ‘flavours’ of Buddhism that have taken on the cultural aesthetics of the countries they originated from. The thing that appeals to me is that the Buddha (allegedly) said to give his teaching a try and if you find it doesn’t work then discard it. I found that very refreshing after having tried to cram Christian Science blind faith cognitive dissonance into my head to the point I thought I would go mad, and that’s really the thing that put me off theistic religions in general. I just cannot make myself go back to trying to believe something I can see no evidence for. Not again.

In the end I settled on SE Asian (Hinayana, or the so called ‘Lesser Vehicle) Buddhism as it is very straightforward. There is no official stance on reincarnation, the Buddha is presented as a regular person who figured things out on his own rather than having been born from a magical tusk or whatever, and it is not in any way supernatural.

Buddhism is the only religion—although more a philosophy—I have found that actively tells you to question it while you are practising, rather than just believe something and get a reward after death which, like I mentioned, was important to me after Christian Science.

Continue reading “Buddhism actively tells you to question it.”

Everything I knew about Buddhism and the Dalai Lama I learned from Facebook memes

By Kat, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor

dali lama meme

Until recently, everything I learned about Buddhism and the Dalai Lama I learned from Facebook memes, which meant it was pretty much limited to some feel-good pull quotes espousing some fairly logical, universalsounding truths. It was a start and I was intrigued, so I looked up the Dalai Lama’s website. He’s a pretty hip dude who has accomplished quite a lot for being a “simple Buddhist monk.”

Instead of skipping straight to the Dalai Lama’s teachings, I instead decided to further investigate the origins of Buddhism. I listened to a few comparative religion podcasts and got some books about the subject.

I really liked what John Snellling says in The Buddhist Handbook, right up front on page 3:

Buddhism does not demand that anyone accepts its teachings on trust. The practitioner is instead invited to try them out, to experiment with them. If he finds that they work in practice, then by all means he can take them on board. But there is no compulsion; and if he happens to find the truth elsewhere or otherwise, then all is good.

This point is reiterated on page 43:

Buddhism is not a fundamentalist religion. Its teachings are not dogmas or articles of faith that have to be blindly accepted at the cost of suspending reason, critical judgement, common sense, or experience. Quite the contrary, in fact; their basic aim is to help us gain direct insight into the truth for ourselves. We are therefore invited to try these teachings in our everyday lives. If they work, then we will want to naturally take them on board. If they don’t work for us, then we can cast them aside with no qualms.

The Noble Eightfold Path (detailed on page 46) also holds basic appeal, and the echo (or are perhaps echoed?) by Paul in Philippians 4:8 (NIV) where he says:

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

The Noble Eightfold Path is as follows:

  1. Right understanding
  2. Right thought
  3. Right speech
  4. Right action
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

If people are focused on doing/thinking/acting on what is right, pure, lovely admirable, excellent and praiseworthy in all aspects of their life, then their lives will likely neatly mesh with the eight “right” things.

My take-away from Buddhism is this: I like the message, I like the aspect of kindness, the lack of dogma and faith. I’m a little fuzzy on the issues of reincarnation and nirvana, but Buddhism seems to encourage people to take what works for them in a way Christianity does not. I don’t feel comfortable labeling myself a Buddhist, but I do feel the noble eightfold path is a useful system through which to filter thoughts and actions.

I was/am healthcare proxy for my Christian Scientist parents

By Abigail, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor. Abigail is a pseudonym, to ensure anonymity.

 

I was healthcare proxy for my Christian Scientist dad, and I am healthcare proxy for my Christian Scientist mom. The guilt is excruciating, and a big part of why I’ve reached out for the support of this group. It’s something only we can truly understand.

Throughout the parental situations I’ve encountered, my parents have all been conscious and able to make their own decisions, so I haven’t felt like I could force the medical issue. That hasn’t lessened the guilt I feel for not somehow forcing them to get medical care. Thankfully, my dad’s passing was relatively quick and painless.

Christian Scientists make decisions they feel are right for them, but they don’t understand how they are harming the younger generations. It’s not just young children who suffer because of their parents’ choices.

Launching www.ExChristianScience.com

unnamed-2A group of former members of the Christian Science Church have launched a new website designed as a resource for people who have left or are considering leaving the Christian Science faith. Christian Science (not to be confused with Scientology) was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in the late 19th century and is perhaps best known as a sect that rejects medical treatment, advocating prayer exclusively for healing.

The website, called The Ex-Christian Scientist (www.exchristianscience.com), is maintained by an informal group of about fifty former Christian Scientists “who strive to assist those questioning their commitment to Christian Science as well as those who have already left it.” Individual members of the group left Christian Science for varying reasons. Some are still religious, some are not. All, however, are united in their desire to help those who are questioning Christian Science to decide if there is a more appropriate path for themselves, and to provide an inclusive and understanding community for those who leave the faith.

Visitors to the website will find testimonials, including stories of childhoods adversely affected by Christian Science, stories of why and how folks left the faith, and first-time experiences with medical care. Visitors will also find reviews of books of particular interest to those who are questioning Christian Science as well as links to online resources. A future roll-out will include a guide to the basics of accessing medical care, which can be a confusing new world to someone who has spent a lifetime in a faith that rejects modern medicine.

The overarching goal of The Ex-Christian Scientist is to offer an inclusive, understanding, and supportive community for former Christian Scientists and those questioning Christian Science, regardless of the direction of their journey to a new faith or non-faith outlook. We are all refugees from a strange and obscure religion, and sometimes the best therapy is the company of those who understand the unique path we have walked.

 

Website: www.exchristianscience.com

Contact: [email protected]