>Why I’m a Buddhist

15 ខែមករា 2011 § បញ្ចេញមតិ

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JIM BARCUS/The Kansas City Star
Faith Walk portrait of Marc Robinson. JIM BARCUS/The Kansas City Star

Some years ago, I bumped into a classmate I hadn’t seen in a long time. He had a lot to say, so mostly I listened, but his personal stories were only the lead-in. Soon he switched to his faith and spent hours trying to bring me to Jesus.

This was not the first such lecture I’ve endured. The worst was the day my wife and I were married, and the minister spent the morning evangelizing us. Those hours were among the most uncomfortable of my life, and I got through them only because I had to in order to be joined to the woman I wanted to spend my life with.

My aversion to being recruited goes back a long way. My mother was Catholic. My father was an atheist. I attended both parochial and secular schools, and they taught conflicting histories. The result was that I started asking questions, and none of the answers was satisfactory. More to the point, I discovered that I wasn’t capable of posing meaningful questions about “God” and other matters infinitely larger than my limited brain.

If I couldn’t ask such questions properly, then I couldn’t answer them, either. I concluded that questions about God are unproductive.

I am now neither believer, nor atheist, nor agnostic. I grant that saying “I can’t know, so I won’t bother” is choosing the path of least resistance; it only rationalizes my failure. But billions of people, including atheists, claim to have the truth, and they can’t agree with each other even when they share a creed. Sunnis kill Shiites, and Catholics see Protestants as dissenters from the true dogma. Mormons claim to be Christian, but Christians don’t agree.

So whom should I believe? Like an Italian in the voting booth, I have too many parties from which to choose.

I became a Buddhist because Buddhism maintains silence on the subject of God, and because it matches my experience more closely than any other religion. I’m unorthodox, though. You might call me the Buddhist equivalent of a cafeteria Catholic. My beliefs are so varied and uncertain that it’s difficult to explain them. Even if I wanted to convert someone, I couldn’t — and I don’t want to. I only ask that others extend me the same consideration.

Source: Kansas City

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