Nietzsche was extremely critical of Christianity in the book “The Anti-Christ.” There are scholars who believe the title of his book should have been translated as “The Anti-Christian.” It fits with the wording and matches the book’s theme.
According to Nietzsche, “The very word ‘Christianity’ is a misunderstanding — in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.”
Nietzsche felt Christianity pushed pity on followers, to the point of creating suffering among the believers. He viewed religious leaders as manipulative liars and hypocrites. He also believed faith was used to push people to accept what the church teaches, without questioning and without seeking for factual information.
His words were harsh; however, a quick review of the history of Christianity will reveal they were not unfounded.
I think, sometimes we need to pay attention to those who are critical of our belief system. I admit, it’s not an easy thing to do. However; we may find discrepancies or inadequacies that were previously missed by us. If what we believe is true, it will hold up to research and questioning. Therefore, there is no reason to refuse to check the facts behind what we are being taught.
Siddhartha Gautama (the founder of Buddhism) was born a prince and lived a life sheltered from all suffering. One day, he left his palace home and encountered the four signs: old age, pain, death, and a holy man.
He decided to renounce his life of luxury and sought answers to life’s problems through suffering. He spent years in self-deprivation, discipline, and isolation. However, he still had no answers.
Siddhartha Gautama spent three days sitting under a fig tree. He came to the realization that the path of moderation is the best way. He also learned the four noble truths and achieved enlightenment. From then on, he was known as Buddha or the Enlightened One.
While reading about Buddhism, a few questions came to mind that I think would be interesting to discuss.
Since Buddhism does not have a supreme being to worship, should it still be considered a religion? Would you call it an atheistic religion? Would it be better to describe Buddhism as a life philosophy?
The Four Noble Truths:
- Dukkha – all life is suffering
- Samudaya – suffering is caused by craving or desire
- Nirodha – to eliminate suffering, it is necessary to eliminate craving or desire
- Manga – to eliminate craving or desire, follow the eight fold path.
The Eight Fold Path:
- Right Thought
- Right Understanding
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Concentration
- Right Contemplation
(source: Know it All by Susan Aldridge, Elizabeth King Humphrey, Julie Whitaker)
I just finished reading When Skeptics Ask by Norman Heisler and Ron Brooks. I have mixed feelings about the book.
I enjoyed the section on the importance of studying topics like apologetics and logic. These subjects can make your brain tired, but they are still beneficial.
The chapter on the existence of God was a bit weak. The authors posed the usual arguments:
- Everything must have a beginning, including the universe
- If it has a beginning, then it must have been created and it must have a creator
The authors use special pleading for God. They claim God is the only thing that was not created and; therefore, doesn’t have a beginning or in need of a creator. The authors provide no valid reasons for why God is deserving of this special rule.
There is also a chapter titled “Questions about Evil” in the book. I think the authors made some very good points in this chapter; however, the way it was written was hard to follow at times.
The sections covering the Bible and Jesus Christ are the best parts of the book. I feel they did an excellent job covering the Christian viewpoint and validating their beliefs concerning these topics.
I give this book a B+
The Age of Reason by Tomas Paine is available for free with a Kindle app. In his book, Thomas Paine discusses his views on religion, Christianity, and the Bible. I found the book to be really interesting and highly recommend it.
I give it an A+