Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Atheist Buddhist

The following is the result of a conversation with and atheist Buddhist. From the conversation, I realized that we agreed on a few things:

• It is difficult to prove a positive.
• It is impossible to prove a negative.
• Believing something doesn’t make it true, e.g., believing the earth is round does not make it round, and believing the earth is flat does not make it flat.

As I understand it, there are three kinds of atheists. You can recognize them by what they say:

1. “I don’t believe in God.” “Don’t” modifies “believe.” It does not modify God. This kind of atheist is really saying, “There is a God in whom I do not believe.” He is not really an atheist.
2. “I believe there is no God.” Here, “no” modifies “God.” It is a belief statement. This man is really saying, “I have a positive belief in nothing (or “matter” or “naturalism” or Darwinism). That is a greater faith than I have.
3. “There is no God.”That is a dogmatic statement about a supposed “fact.” Once someone makes a statement like this, the burden of proof rests upon him. He may not say that he sees no evidence that there is a God. The only thing that says is that he does not see the evidence. That is describing himself, not the evidence. We have already agreed that it is impossible to prove a negative. So you are forced back to options (1) or (2).

The vast majority of Buddhists, whether Theravada, Mahayana, or Vajara, are all involved in practical idolatry as evidenced by their many idols, temples, and prayer wheels. You may call this folk Buddhism, but it is not atheistic. A few years ago, the Pope visited Thailand and made a statement that Buddhism was atheistic. It caused a national uproar—a world uproar. The Buddhists said the Pope was wrong.

According to Tibetan Buddhism, Gautama did not reach Nirvana until his 50th or 51st reincarnation as a living Buddha. (Nirvana is like floating down an endless river in a coma and in a fog—no consciousness at all.)

Four or five hundred years before Gautama was even born:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.” (Psalm 19:1-6)

Verses 7-14 of Psalm 19 are about special revelation. The first six verses are about general revelation to everyone.

About the same time, Psalms 14 and 53 said: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:18-22)

In Hebrew, a “fool” is one who is morally deficient.

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)

In the Lord Jesus Christ,

Jim Wilson


Anonymous said...

You know nothing about buddhism.

James I Wilson said...

Dear Anonymous,

You mentioned that I knew nothing about Buddhism. Let's say I know a little about Buddhism. I know less about you. I am willing for you to teach me Buddhism if you can assure me that you are an expert about Buddhism.