The Proof Is In YOUR Pudding!
Q: The one thing about religion that repulses me the most is that nothing is proven and that the answer to whether God exists or not does not lie entirely on facts, but entirely on our belief. For me, I don't believe things without concrete facts, which explains why I drifted away from a lot of religions.
I was captivated immediately when I read that Buddha is not God, but human. The plausibility of this statement caught my attention. So I started learning more and more about Buddhism by reading books. I agree a lot with their teachings, unlike the Bible which I threw away after reading the first few pages. I almost made an adamant decision to become a Buddhist, until I heard that Buddhism, just like Christianity, has their own unproven story, such as some place called pureland, reincarnation and hell. They have not been proven. I was disapointed when I heard about that, because if Buddhism isn't a religion to start with, then why are there unproven stories that depend on our belief to make it real? It just shows that Buddhism is just lilke every other religion out there that I ditched.
So my question to you is, why is Buddhism not considered a religion if it has its own fabricated stories? And also, why should we follow Buddha's teachings? Do they really work for us or is it just as fabricated as pureland, reincarnation and hell?
A: You seem to be convinced that Buddhism does not have much value, that as a religion it is just a bunch of made-up fairy tales and that other religions are just like this. I cannot make you believe as I believe, nor would I even try. I can't help thinking of the words of the character Morpheus in one of the "Matrix" films. When told by his commander, "Not everyone believes what you believe," Morpheus replies, "My beliefs do not require them to."
The Buddhist tradition, as you may be aware, insists that one validate the truth for one's self; the Buddha himself insisted on this. Anything I say to you will just be words. All I can tell you at this stage is that the Buddhist teachings work for me, and they seem to work for those who attend our temple and other temples with which I am familiar. I would not be so presumptuous as to say, "Since it works for me, it will work for you." This is something you have to find out.
If you are of the firm belief that Buddhism is just another pack of fabrications, then there's nothing I could say that would convince you otherwise. I hope at some point you will look a little more kindly on religious traditions which have brought peace and understanding to billions upon billions of people over the centuries, even though many of those people seem to act as though they didn't get the memo. Be well.