“Buddhism” in Invitations to World Religions

DISCUSSION BOARD CRITIQUE
INSTRUCTIONS

1. Read Chapter Five “Buddhism” in Invitations to World Religions, Jeffrey Brodd, et al, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2016.

2. Prepare your Discussion Board Critique (DBC) response is an extensive document with a minimum of 300-400 words. The purpose of your DBC response is:

– To bring out the insights in what your fellow students are saying – by adding to their contributions, entering into dialogue with them, and expanding on their points. To provide the foundation for learning from each other.

. To engage with your fellow classmates. A great classroom discussion is the responsibility of everyone in the lecture. This means asking questions and requesting points of clarification from your fellow students, or adding new insights to what they have to say. But be careful not to be critical, demeaning, or to enter into a two-way debate with the other student that shuts out contributions from the rest of the class.

3. You DBE and DBC responses should be representative of your best work and should demonstrate that you understand and have gained some insights into the themes and concepts presented in the chapter for this week. Your writing should be clear, comprehensive and concise.

5. Remember to proof your work. Your submitted document should be mechanically and grammatically correct and citations have been appropriately formatted.

REMEMBER TO CITE ALL RESOURCES AND REFERENCES USED TO DEVELOP YOUR CRITIQUE, INCLUDING THE TEXTBOOK. THIS IS NOT MERELY AN OPINION PAPER OR RESPONSE, BUT ONE WHICH REQUIRES THAT YOU USE REFERENCES TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIMS.
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I find your argument to be very realistic in its approach, I would disagree that religion as a form of justification for conflict in subsuming weak actors as a “new normal” might be a bit brash; e. g., you frequently mention that the U.S. government is not using religion to justify its conflicts. Isn’t this contradictory to your assertions? I would argue that Americans who profess to be religious, believe that God, or whatever is considered to be their deity, is on our side in conflict. This faith perspective is evident considering the widespread support of the Military Chaplains in a Government agency. The U.S 2nd Court of Appeals argued for a need for chaplains by stating that the “morale of our Soldiers, their willingness to serve, and the efficiency of the Army as an instrument for our national defense rests in substantial part on the military chaplaincy” (Waggoner, 707).
According to your quoted sources, religion has “been a force of often dramatic social transformation and political influence, and, at times violence [..]” I interpret this to mean that religion is both a force for dramatic change and that violence is the exception – not the rule.  Religion has further been recognized as an agent of peace by the World Bank, which argues that religion is “an agent for globalization and for allowing dialogue for conflict resolution between actors, which has created “a global civil society capable challenging hegemonic discourses on a number of issues ranging from human rights to poverty alleviation” (Bradley, 267). So perhaps actors use religion to justify their casus belli for war? Can we really say that religion is the cause for this conflict? Should we be using “religion” to justify conflict?

Sources:

Bradley, Tamsin. “Religion and Globalisation: Bringing Anthropology and International Relations Together in The Study of Religious-Political Transnational Movements.” Globalizations 6.2 (2009): 265-279. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Mar. 2016

Waggoner, Ed. “Taking Religion Seriously in The U.S. Military: The Chaplaincy as A National Strategic Asset.” Journal of The American Academy of Religion 82.3 (2014): 702-735. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Mar. 2016.
Question 2: Write an essay which discusses the place of Buddhism in the world today. Discuss in some depth if you think it will become a more popular religion in the future and why you believe it will or will not.
Buddhism dates back to around 2,500 years ago, when Siddhartha Gautama – better known as “the Buddha” – was enlightened and founded Buddhism. After two millenniums, Buddhists now represent 7.1% of our world population (Pew Research Center, 2010). It is incredible that one person changed the life of millions and millions of people that now add up to around 500 million. Even though this religion represents a great number of people, in my opinion, I believe that the number of Buddhists will decline in the future and become less of a popular religion because of a few reasons that I will go into more deeply in this essay.
To begin with, in Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths are: “1. Suffering is inherent in life. 2. The cause of suffering is desire. 3. There is a way to put an end to desire and suffering. 4. The way is the Noble Eightfold Path.” (Brodd, 2013). Buddhism preaches that suffering can be eliminated though the Noble Eightfold Path, however, we live in a world where suffering is immense. We see innocent children dying, people hating on each other, wars, hunger, families separating, just to name a few issues that so many people face every day. I feel like Buddhism is a very hard religion to preach to people that are under these types of circumstances.
Secondly, we live in a very superficial and materialistic world. Even though Buddhists live the “principle of the Middle way” as the foundation of their religion, not many people would like to renounce to all of their worldly attachments. I believe that every day, more people want a more comfortable religion that does not ask that much of them.
Thirdly, Buddhism is an “atheistic religion” or at least a “transtheistic”, which means that either they do not believe in any gods, or they acknowledge their existence, but it is basically unimportant when it comes to the “quest for enlightenment”. In the world, more than 70% of the global population, is part of a religion that believes in a range from one to many gods (Pew Research Center, 2010). But in the end, an enormous percentage of the world population believes in God or gods. It is very hard to think of a religion, where god will be just acknowledged but not cared for. I think that this is a particular thing that will make Buddhism decline in its popularity. Now a day, it is important to at least believe that there is a greater force beyond this world that will eventually make things better – consolation of promise.
In conclusion, Buddhism encompasses at least 500 million people in the world, which is roughly 7.1% of our population (Pew Research Center, 2010). But in my opinion, this religion will become less popular in the future because of its ideas that suffering can be eliminated by following the Noble Eightfold Path, because we live in a very superficial and materialistic world and finally because it is an atheistic religion. However, this religion preaches basically the five universal ethics which are not to kill, not to steal, not to commit inappropriate sexual acts, not to lie and not to use intoxicants. And it also preaches love to others and service to those in need. So in the end, once again, I hope that we can all come together as a world and be less separated by differences in religion.
References
Brood, Jeffrey. Invitation to World Religions. 2013. Oxford University Press. Print.

Pew Research Center. 2014. Global Religious Diversity. http://www.pewforum.org/2014/04/04/global-religious-diversity/

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