Sunday, January 09, 2005

A secular religion?

On, the Conservative Forum for UUs, a poster named Gail posited that UUism's problem is that it is a "secular religion" and there's really no such thing. Another poster mentioned buddhism and she didn't seem to know what he was talking about, so this is me explaining:

I suspect what he means is that Buddhism is, by many people's standards, secular. (Especially western Buddhism. Eastern buddhism has a lot more dogma, superstition and ritual.) Buddhism, like UUism when practiced at its best, is a holistic thing.

I know lots of religions where one seemingly lives a religious life (where one focuses on God, typically lived on Sundays and in times of crisis) and a secular life (where one focuses on right action and just getting through the day, typically lived the rest of the time.)

For Buddhism and lots of UUs, the important part is the secular, where one isn't thinking about God, one is just behaving oneself morally and doing one's best to take care of other people.

Bill Clinton seems a good example of a man who misbehaves, then begs God for forgiveness. (If he's the sex addict some claim he is, then he's probably truly remorseful between affairs, yet like an alcoholic, he keeps going back.)

As a guy who repeatedly sins and then repents, Clinton is a perfectly reasonable Baptist. He'd make a crappy Buddhist, though.

Buddhism is functionally secular. Worshipping God isn't the point. Yet Buddhism is also considered one of the world's major religions.

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