How to Be an Atheist: Rule #3

Rule #3: Learn about Buddhism

I’m not saying that you need to become a Buddhist or start meditating, but you should at least know something about Buddhism, because Buddhism is easily the world’s most well-known and popular atheistic religion.

Yes, that’s right: Buddhism has no deities. The Buddha himself was considered a philosopher and teacher, not a god. That’s not to say it doesn’t have any scientifically unsound beliefs (there’s really no logic behind Nirvana), but it definitely does not have deities.

This is important to know because Christians tend to be locked into a mindset which says that there are basically two choices in life: religion (by which they mean “a religion like mine”) and atheism. The idea of a well-known and respected atheistic religion is a bit of a mind-blower to them; most Christians think that Buddha is just an eastern version of Jesus.

Pointing out the existence of a respected atheistic religion throws a bit of a wrench into their thinking, and may help deflect the inevitable accusation that atheists either have no morality or are all Communists. Of course, there are logical ways to refute those assumptions, but human beings are not very logical creatures. I find that it works better to approach them from the standpoint of a rival religion than no religion at all, if they’re the type who are willing to listen at all.

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3 Responses to How to Be an Atheist: Rule #3

  1. Orchid says:

    This has some mistakes I must point out.Buddhism is far from atheistic.Much of Buddhism derives from Hindu Dharma and early Buddhists in India accepted alot of Hindu cosmology,they just simply did not think it as important as personal enlightment.And what of Bodhisatvas in Mahayana sects?They are most definitely supernatural beings.Also the theories of Siddhartha Gautama being one of Vishnus Avatars.

  2. Michael Wong says:

    “Atheist” actually does not mean “does not believe in anything other than science”. It just means you have no deity, ie- no God. Buddhism has no god; you do not worship anyone, or make sacrifices to anyone, or ask for anyone’s salvation.

    It is possible to believe in some silly supernatural idea without actually believing in a god.

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