OK, one exception: some practice of mindfulness might be helpful if you're not familiar with watching your own thoughts and feelings e.g.
"A phenomenon cannot overwhelm you as long as you can divide it into manageable parts ... By separating thought into ... parts, we divide its gripping power ... What gets conquered is the drivenness, congealing and unconsciousness that affect thought and are responsible for it being perceived as a problem." -- Shinzen YoungAnd meditation can be helpful sometimes to rest your mind and body.
Well we sure need some atheist/humanist philosophers to take the lead now that Richard Dawkins et al have done their job. So, more power to you.
For me, about the only thing that sunk in from reading Buddhism is to avoid strong attachments if they seem to be a futile waste of energy.
But then again, if something is really important to you and there's no way through but to tough it out, then I'm hanging onto my attachments.
"In order to understand how pain becomes suffering, you need to know a deep truth about the nature of suffering. Most people equate suffering with pain, but suffering is a function of two variables, not just one. Suffering is a function of pain and the degree to which the pain is being resisted. (S = P x R)" -- Shinzen Young
"The wind encounters the woods, anxious to shake up the tranquillity. It will temporarily reshape pliant limbs and trunks, but it will prune those that are brittle, rigid and resistant. Those that bend and adapt align themselves with the direction of the force, letting it go by without passing judgement and returning to normal stability and equilibrium when the force has passed... Force of strength represents a potential that is witnessed only by its effects on the self, others, or other objects. Remove that 'other' and the 'action' remains powerless, or remain in the path of a strike and grant that action a measure of effectiveness." -- Stan Wrobel: Aikido For Self-Discovery.
This is an old thread.
I happen to believe Buddhism is internally consistent. But its axioms are not sound. Ask a Buddhist how he answers to the is-ought problem, and that's when you learn that Buddhism is not an atheistic religion, but a deist religion.
Buddhism in the real world, in Buddhist-majority populations, is far from being an atheistic religion. Though there is a university-grown movement of Western philosophical Buddhists who would like to claim it to be, it is not. (I'm of the opinion that they're projecting their fantasies of an atheistic religion onto Buddhism for the "exotic" "cool" factor and they've never actually set foot in East Asia or even witnessed an elderly Buddhist lady in Chinatown praying to Guanyin. Or maybe they saw all that and were like, "la la la~ selective memory~".)
Some versions of Buddhism are deist, but then there are others that are pretty much polytheist. It varies. Siddhartha Gautama clearly told his followers not to worship him as a god when he passed. Did they listen to him? Hay-ell no! And don't even get me started on Tibetan Buddhism and the worship of the Dalai Lama as a living god...
...In conclusion, join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and be Touched by His Noodly Appendage! Ramen! :P
(But on a more serious note, yes, some aspects of some religions are helpful and fulfilling. Meditation is pretty awesome, but you don't have to call yourself a Buddhist to do it.)
I like this comment better than any. I believe all religions are dangerous and want no part of any of them. I like emocivilblog's step 3. I have my own unique simple philosophy (probably made up, in part, consciously and subconsciously from others) but it certainly does not consume my life. I do like to meditate because it is very restful.
If there are practical applications to a religion -- any religion -- I'd have no problem with taking those parts, using them, and leaving the rest. When I looked, briefly, into Buddhism the only part that really bothered me was human beings taking time, hours and hours, of spinning prayer wheels when they could have been feeding the hungry or painting the house or writing a book. But that's still a personal choice. At least Buddhists haven't tried to pass laws to force me to follow their beliefs.
I really like the ritual and link to history and fantasy that paganism affords, but I cannot believe in magic or deities, so what does that leave me with? I have an appreciation for the mythos and the observation in changes of the seasons. I term myself a pantheist because regardless of my rational lack of beliefs, I still get that awe and woo feeling when appreciating the world around me. I acknowlege it as a feeling and appreciate the moment. Fabricating on top of that seems a disservice to the experience and to reality. Nature is super itself without the supernatural. I think we can learn a lot about the human condition from all religions, for both empathy, compassion, and charity as well as the faults that so human all religions must be at the end of the day. By taking the substance and letting go the chaff, we can know ourselves and cultural background. ...But we should not get so caught up in belief systems, lest we wander into the lies that weave and catch so many.
"So my overall question is... Are atheistic religions helpful, fulfilling, and worth it or are all religions a worthless waste of time?"
All atheists, I believe, become atheists on the strength of their own freethinking. If we find something somewhere that appears closer to our thinking, we may study it as a matter of interest. It would be a waste of time to be more involved in them because you will also find many other things there that do not conform to our thinking. All religions have some sort of a regimentation. Buddhism has monks and their monasteries, it believes in proselytising. Its' mandatory chant is "Buddham saranam gacchami, Dhammam sarananam gachhami, Sangham saranam gachhami" which means "I surrender to Buddha, I surrender to the religion, I surrender to the community." Modern atheists cannot accept such notions. It is better not to waste too much time thinking about them.