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Editors' Introduction

Editors' Introduction In his recent work Secular Buddhism, the renowned Buddhist writer and practitioner Stephen Batchelor observes: “Just 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.”1 Batchelor notes that once you embrace certain metaphysical claims—such as “God is good” or “life is suffering”—one has to uphold their truth against the remonstrance of opponents eagerly marshaling evidence against these supposedly straightforward assertions. Theodicy and what Batchelor calls “dukkhodicy” 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 or—which for Batchelor is an even more deplorable option—as 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 one’s opponent. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Buddhist-Christian Studies University of Hawai'I Press

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9472
Publisher site
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Abstract

In his recent work Secular Buddhism, the renowned Buddhist writer and practitioner Stephen Batchelor observes: “Just 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.”1 Batchelor notes that once you embrace certain metaphysical claims—such as “God is good” or “life is suffering”—one has to uphold their truth against the remonstrance of opponents eagerly marshaling evidence against these supposedly straightforward assertions. Theodicy and what Batchelor calls “dukkhodicy” 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 or—which for Batchelor is an even more deplorable option—as 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 one’s opponent.

Journal

Buddhist-Christian StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Oct 28, 2017

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