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Buddhism and Anti-Natalism

David Benatar is the head of philosophy at Cape Town University and the author of Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.   In his book, David argues that bringing new life into the world is an immoral act.  In order to make this argument he uses an axiological asymmetrical argument, which states: If a being exists, suffering is bad and pleasure is good.  However, if a being does not exist, missing out on pleasure isn't bad, however missing out on suffering is good.  In other words, life is suffering. Suffering is bad.  Therefore, it's better to not be born, so that we never experience suffering.  It's important to note, that Benatar does not include any caveats to this argument.   In fact, in this interview with Sam Harris, he suggests that there is no way to make a life good enough that it is better than not existing. Naturally, this view point has received pushback in the philosophy community.  For my part, I'd like to tackle Benatar's unde

Rescue Me From Hell

As a child, I became well-versed in the concept of hell.  It was an important part of my training in the Christian, evangelical church.  After all, how could I be a good emissary for the lord if I didn't know what was at stake.   Yes, church picnics and bible camps were fun, but they were also superfluous.  The purpose of Christianity wasn't to help me sell cookies at the church bake sale.  Rather, it was to protect me from an eternity of hellfire and torment   The rules were simple. I had to accept Jesus as my lord and savior, attend church regularly, and pay my tithes.  To do anything less would result in punishment as shown in John 3:16 and John 3:36: (16) For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (36) The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him. Just as as a loving parent will punish thei

The Enlightenment Scam

When I started practicing Buddhism, I had one goal.  I wanted to attain enlightenment.  I wanted the spiritual maturity, unshakable confidence, and endless calm that I envisioned the Buddha having 2,600 years ago.   I spent endless hours scouring the internet, and pouring through books in search of a Buddhist school to dedicate myself too.  Eventually, I settled on Zen because it seemed like the most direct, no-nonsense approach.   I practiced faithfully for several years, and I slowly started to make progress.  My mind became calmer, my heart became gentler, and the world didn't seem like such a dark place.  But I didn't feel any closer to enlightenment.   Then I heard the practice described as walking through a fog , and suddenly realizing that you're soaking wet.  That seemed logical.  Buddha practiced for 6 years before having his awakening under the Bodhi tree, so why should I be any different?  I just needed to sit, and keep sitting until something &quo