Thursday, March 31, 2005

The irrationality of Buddhism

On the first day of class, my comparitive religion teacher, who is a Mayahana Buddhist, said, "Christianity is an irrational religion. Buddhism is a rational religion." I was shocked at what he said, because I had taken three of his classes before, and every semester, I had gotten into a debate with him about the validity of logic. I, a Christian, have defended logic, and he, a Buddhist, has rejected it. Every semester, he has us reading irrational non-sense like Morris Berman's Reenchantment of the World. He has continually pushed his irrational anti-logic, anti-science, anti-reason point of view every semester I've had him.

Well, it turns out that his illogical point of view comes from his Buddhist worldview. You see, there's this guy named Nagarjuna who lived in the second century and founded the Middle Way school of Mayahana Buddhism. In his writings, he denied all of the basic laws of logic--the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, and the law of excluded middle. His philosophy is full of irrational nonsense, and my teacher apparently takes it very seriously.

If anybody is interested, there's a critique of Nagarjuna's arguments here.


At 4/14/2005 12:25 PM , Blogger Mike - said...

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At 4/14/2005 12:31 PM , Blogger Mike - said...

So when he says "rational" and "irrational," he must be meaning somthing other than "logical" and "illogical." But then, of course, if he rejects the rules of logic, his statement can mean what it doesn't mean, and it can mean nothing at all, all at the same time. (And it also cannot.)

Rejecting logic is like rejecting the possiblity of ideas, which is self refuting.

At 4/14/2005 5:47 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

I considered that. I thought maybe what he meant by "irrational" is simply "hard to believe." The fact that Christians believe in miracles might be an example of an irrational belief. But the example he used to show that Christianity is irrational was the incarnation. He thought it was irrational because on the one hand, Christians say Jesus is finite, but on the other hand, they say he is infinite. That sounded to me like a logical problem.

At 4/01/2007 12:35 PM , Blogger Paul said...

It has been my repeated experience that people use logic -- they always use it -- only so far as it serves their purpose.


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