In his recent work Secular Buddhism, the renowned Buddhist writer and practitioner Stephen Batchelor observes: âJust as Christianity has struggled to explain how an essentially good and loving God could have created a world with so much suffering, injustice, and horror, so Buddhism has struggled to account for the presence of joy, delight, and enchantment in a world that is supposedly nothing but a vale of tears.â1 Batchelor notes that once you embrace certain metaphysical claimsâsuch as âGod is goodâ or âlife is sufferingââone has to uphold their truth against the remonstrance of opponents eagerly marshaling evidence against these supposedly straightforward assertions. Theodicy and what Batchelor calls âdukkhodicyâ develop as generations of practitioners and scholars come up against evidence that seems to discredit their belief systems. Batchelor argues that the only way to avoid the trap of these apologetic dead-ends is to view traditional religious teachings as praxis-based injunctions rather than theoretical descriptions of reality orâwhich for Batchelor is an even more deplorable optionâas possible articles of belief. This distinction between belief-based and praxis-based readings of competing religious claims may help us avoid sterile debates where one is led by default to denigrate the position of oneâs opponent.
Buddhist-Christian Studies – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Oct 28, 2017
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