Dalai Lama tells his Facebook friends that religion “is no longer adequate”

Dalai Lama tells his Facebook friends that religion “is no longer adequate”
George Dvorsky

This past Monday, people who have the Dalai Lama as a Facebook friend found this little gem in their newsfeed.

All the world's major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.

The Dalai Lama's advice sounds startling familiar — one that echos the sentiment put forth by outspoken atheist Sam Harris who argues that science can answer moral questions. The Dalai Lama is no stranger to scientific discourse, and has developed a great fascination with neuroscience in particular. It's very possible, therefore, that his thinking has aligned with Harris.

In a recent interview with the Globe and Mail, Harris had this to say about science and how it should be used to inform our moral and ethical sensibilities:

Read the rest here.

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Replies to This Discussion

Melinda, the real question is why do I remember that. Didn't even know it was in there cluttering up room and taking up space I could use for some imporatant facts.Like quantam string theory, mutual gravitational attraction in microbodies travelling in a vacumn, or why the Kardashians are so popular, you know, important stull. :) LOL!

Tony, I remembered it ... and I think I even remember the bridge melody and lyrics as well, so don't feel bad!

I know, right Tony?  All of a sudden weird, useless things pop into the brain.  I might someday understand quantam string theory, or mutual gravitational attraction in microbodies travelling in a vacuum, but I will NEVER understand why the Kardashians are so poplular. LOL

... grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate.

The fact of the matter is that it was NEVER adequate.  Practitioners of religion simply resorted to apologetics, putting bandaids on broken limbs and calling them solutions, cherry-picking their holy books to get the good parts while the bad parts continue to fester and rot.

In the final analysis, a lie cannot be a solution, certainly not a long-term solution which survives the test of time.  Eventually, the lie is found out and any good that came from that lie unravels, frequently with very unfortunate side-effects.  Religion is a LIE.  Q.E.D.

Pragmatism which addresses human needs and peculiarities has a far better chance of producing real answers which raise as many boats as possible to the detriment of few or none than any religion ever did.  If we as human beings can remove the shackles of religion from our thinking and action, we have a chance to implement such answers in a far more coherent fashion than has been done to date.

It took some stones for the Dalai Lama to state the above.  Somehow, I don't see Joe the Rat or Ayatollah Khamenei doing anything similar any time soon.  Their thirst for power won't even consider it.

 

Loren, I might be wrong, but I think we are seeing is what happens when a person starts to think critically. Right before us. Applying reason and logic to every position they hold and staring unblinkingly at the responses coming in return. That he is an intelligent man, no one has ever disputed. And his kindness, compassion, most of his waking moments have been in trying to make the world better for us all is beyond reproach. It will be interesting to see if this continues, as his whole life has been immersed in his particular kind of religious woo. He is fully capable of over coming it, just will have to see if he can break the shackles. Still, the world is a better place with hin in it than not, even if he can't quite get "free". Just my thoughts. Be well, my friend. 

I'll believe it when I see it, Tony.  Too many times I've seen people make statements, only to retract them and backpedal later.  If the Dalai Lama can stand behind this statement in the face of public pressure, then we have a major-league crack in the facade of religion.

The next step comes when he confronts his own followers about this, encourages them to think outside the box, and then ... does the same with faiths outside of Buddhism.  That will take some VERY serious stones and could have some pretty ugly short-term consequences.

The question becomes: is he willing to pursue the statement I quoted above to its logical conclusion?

I know, Loren. I have my doubts, very big ones. I'm just trying to think positive. Honestly though, it probably won't happen. I think he's too much immersed in his particular profession of "faith" that it won't be possible. Still, I find it encouraging, and a crack, albeit a very, very small one, is there.

"... grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate.

The fact of the matter is that it was NEVER adequate."

THANK you for pointing that out!  That was my first thought when I read his original statement, and I was going to write a reply, and then all sorts of personal stuff derailed me.

Ever since I got the sack of religion manure off my back, I have been convinced that the priesthood is really "the world's oldest profession."  Lazy tribesmen (and women) found a way to make a living without the intense labor of hunting and gathering; just tell your tribe that you can interpret the "meaning" of natural phenomena, and what invented supernatural beings want the tribe to do.  Like feed, clothe, and shelter him (or her) in exchange for prophecies and predictions that she/he invents on the spot.

THEN they realized that their invented "abilities" gave them incredible power over everyone else, and it became an addiction.

They're still going at it. 

*************

PS: You also said, "Somehow, I don't see Joe the Rat or Ayatollah Khamenei doing anything similar any time soon.  Their thirst for power won't even consider it."

There's a long, long list of other very wealthy power addicts that should be added to those two.  HillBilly Graham-Cracker, Paddy the Robber's Son, Rick-Rolling Warren, Paul and Jumping Jan Crouch Potatoes, whoever is Prez/Prophet of the LSD Crutch, and whoever is now running ElRon's Engram Scam. The numbers of sheeple in the USA who sincerely believe all those wild-ass cults is amazing.  And frighteninig.

One prime reason for establishing state-supported public schools was to have an electorate capable of making educated, informed decisions.  WTF went wrong?

WTF went wrong?

C'mon, sk8eycat, you know the answer to that one as well as I do.  People got LAZY, sat back on their overstuffed laurels, started figuring that SOMEONE would figure it all out so why should they bother?  About the same time, they get all these neat new toys to do the work for them, from calculators and computers to websites with papers they can crib from to "write" their term papers from, among too many other things.

And they got stupid from watching Jerry Springer or Oprah or Faux Noise and listening to Rush or Glen when they might have done better checking out Brian Williams or Scott Pelley and listening to NPR.  Problem is, that takes an exercise of intellect, and they don't want to be bothered.

At some point or other, you've probably seen this one:

Sad to say, that one picture and its caption says TONS.  Hell of it is, I had to have someone TELL ME that the guy in the lower left was Nicolai Tesla (I'd heard a LOT about Tesla, but never saw a shot of him [shrug]).  As for the gal on the right ... I THINK I know who she is ("Snooki," right???), but what she's about, I have ZERO idea, and I'd love for someone to tell me WHY it is that I NEED to know about her.

Laziness and stupidity are slowly but surely killing the US, and if it doesn't kill it, it will leave it unprepared when Dominionism or something like it takes over and TRULY screws things up.  I hope I have the common sense to move to Canada BEFORE that happens ... but the hell of it is, I love this country and where I live so much that I'd be hard pressed to abandon it ... and yeah, I think I'd be willing to fight for what it can be rather than let it devolve.

Hell of a note, eh?

But-but-but, other industrialized nations got the same "advantages" and "toys" when we did, but  their kids are allowed to learn, figure things out for themselves, and are turning their backs on god swill faster than ours are...although I do find the rapid growth of orgs like Secular Student Alliance encouraging.

But high schools (mostly in the South) teach their students that something dreadful might happen if they don't all pray together before sports events, meetings, meals. 

In the late 1950s I was in Holiday with a LOT of skaters from Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, etc.,and we tallked about our different high school customs (Most of us were 17 - 20) .  NOBODY prayed before football games, or if they did, they did it privately.  They sang "Dixie."  Eww.

This rampant evangelism seems to have started during the Reagan administration... when he invited bottm-feeding, knuckle-draggers like FoulWell to the White House, and treated them as though they were heads of state. 

Now I'm curious to find out who was his Chief of Protocol...

(Yeah, I know.  HillBilly Graham-cracker was a constant visitor at the WH from the Eisenhower days onward, but as far as I know, he was the only one.  Then.)

PS: We played Greenville, SC every year...VERY uptight little town!  The first time I was there (fall of '57), I wanted to see Bob Jones University because a group from there had come to our church to recruit, and even the most devout older kids in our Sunday school class made jokes about the place.  ("They'll expel you if you get a hole in the knee of your bathing suit.") I was curious.  My nerves!  You needed a pass to visit the campus, so some of us just drove by the place.  It looked like a PRISON! Chain-link fences everywhere, boxy buildings...ugly, ugly, ugly.  NOT a place where a presidential wannabe would kick off his/her campaign.

Or, to quote my all-time favorite line from the original version of "The Producers," "Well!  talk about BAD TASTE!"

Sk8eycat, you said

But-but-but, other industrialized nations got the same "advantages" and "toys" ... but  their kids ... turning their backs on god swill faster than ours are.

The US is in a feedback loop, despite our "toys". Religion rises when people are insecure, because there are few safety nets. Right wing politicians unite with fundamentalist religions and prey on an insecure public with fear. When elected they strip away the vestigial security nets that were left. Rinse and repeat.

but  their kids are allowed to learn, figure things out for themselves,

I'm afraid that quality of life is going downhill, as far as I can see here. Children have the freedom to figure things out for themselves, but they don't do it. Their daily program is filled to the brim with school, the competitions about clothes and the things they feel they must have, tv, frantic communication by phone or other gadgets. What they haven't got is the time to think, to be bored, to ponder or to wonder. School education here in the Netherlands is no longer a means to learn to think, but just the shortest and easiest way to get a job qualification, and I see no change for the better now that the economy seems to be more important than the quality of life.

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