Originally Posted by Legion
In a dualistic worldview, there is no such thing as "blessing". All things are acceptable; all things are "good" (the word "good" here meaning "good and evil". Obviously). There is nothing. -1+1=0. If you truly believe what you say, you will have no reason to respond to this post.
Well, with an invitation like that, how could I refuse!
Seriously, I came here to be challenged among other reasons, so I'm very glad for your response.
I have to admit, I don't quite follow your reasoning. How do you extrapolate from the idea that good and evil are mental concepts we use to make sense of the world, concepts that are difficult if not impossible to pin down to static realities, to the idea that such a worldview necessarily precludes any sort of ethical discernment?
One of the great ironies of religious debate is that people spend more time looking for differences, typically but not always to convince other people to believe the way they do, and wind up overlooking common ground. Terminology has a lot to do with it; Christians use very different language from Buddhists. It's easy to fixate on that and say that there are problems with what you perceive the other's viewpoint to be.
A concrete example: just this morning, I had a major explosion of road rage. Completely unjustified, of course; the right thing to do would have been to let the other guy have his way. But there I was, honking my horn, flipping the bird, rolling down my window and cussing the guy out. It was over in a few minutes, and I went on to work as normal. But the unsettled feeling wouldn't go away and I felt not quite right the whole day.
Thursday nights I have a group meditation, so I had a chance to look at that feeling in detail. The sitting was not exactly restful. Flashes of anger kept popping up, and I felt sad for bringing that suffering into my life, and into the other guy's too. Then quite unexpectedly, my awareness expanded and the river of suffering touched his suffering (what made him react so badly this morning? I don't know), it touched street violence, hate crimes, suicide bombings, the mess in Iraq, and I understood, not just intellectually but on a soul level, I saw how it's all of a piece. I'm not so much different; had I grown up in a different milieu, one that glorifies violence, I could be one of them. During walking meditation, this sense of connection melted into compassion. (Usually my meditation is a lot more mundane--this was a wild ride
I could explain the same experience in terms of sin and redemption, of course--to oversimplify terribly, "I prayed for forgiveness and God taught me what humility is"--and I can imagine how meditating on original sin can lead to the same insights. My conditioning--a tendency toward self-doubt at least, if not self-loathing--leads me to flinch a bit when I hear too much emphasis on "sin," but if I look more deeply, try to see what's behind the word, I can draw a connection.
I don't know if I can really say we believe "the same" thing underneath the language, but when you write, "I, too, pray that we may hope for God's love, but hoping for God's love does not require ignoring our sinful condition," I recognize that in Buddhist practice too. I'd say it requires not
ignoring said condition!
I've rattled on a bit, time to be quiet and listen.