Discussing God

Questions for discussion

  • The Buddha is portrayed as asking the two brahmins, Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja, whether anyone they knew had actually seen Brahmā face to face. The implication was that pursuing a goal that no one can show has ever been reached is a laughable waste of time and effort. How convincing is that implied conclusion? If one is living in modern times and has never met anyone who has achieved nirvana, is it a laughable waste of time and effort to practice Buddhism? How might one go about deciding this issue?
  • Vasubandhu claims, “If the world had a single cause, whether that single cause be God or something else, the entire universe would have to arise all at once.” Is there any good reason to believe that claim? What reasons can be found in support of that conclusion? What counterarguments might one make against it?
  • In discussing the question of why a creator may have made the world, the Buddhist argument was that if the creator had no purpose at all, then the creator was acting like a lunatic whose actions are random and purposeless. But if the creator did have a purpose, then the creator must have been trying to compensate for some lack or deficiency. How convincing is this argument? How might the argument be made stronger? How might one argue against that position?

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