Most people are surprised to learn that Buddhism does not believe in the existence of God, or rather, that the path to enlightenment does not require the need to acknowledge the existence of God nor promotes the worship of a deity. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Atheism, which denies the existence of God entirely.
The issue of this blog post is to attempt to grapple whether the concept of “God is nothing” effectively invalidates God’s existence pursuant to Atheism and Buddhism.
For the sake of this blog post, let’s define religion as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” Thus, there are two parts of the composition of religion: 1) belief and 2) worship of God.
Accordingly, many would argue that Atheism is not a religion, but Atheists still hold a religious belief made from the claim that there is no God. Further, if there is no God to worship, the second element defining religion would be largely impossible. Now, Buddhism is considered a main-stream religion by all accounts, but also teaches enlightenment achieved by nirvana, which is freedom from reincarnation and suffering. However, it should be noted that Buddhism neither worships a superhuman controlling power either.
However regardless of how one define’s religion, both Atheism and Buddhism do seem in denial of the existence of God. Perhaps, Buddhism could be said to be agnostic (indifferent) to the existence of God.
However, for the sake of this blog post, let’s remove the concept of religion and focus on solely both Atheism and Buddhism disbelief (or indifference) to God, and avoid the question as it relates to whether Buddhists are Agnostics for the time being.
Rectifying the Concept of Nothing with Science
Debatably, if men lived forever, the belief in a God would decline as there would be no need to spend life preparing for an afterlife. However, Buddhism tackles the afterlife by stressing the concept of enlightenment through nirvana to be free of endless cycles of re-birth.
In short, nirvana is essentially the concept of bliss as being free of desire which is suffering. This bliss is achieved by being becoming nothing for satisfaction. Atheism simply believes there is nothing after death. (Now, I am not Buddhist or Atheist, and am just am explaining from my viewpoint, which is subject to change, but roughly how I relate to both concepts but keep in mind – there is danger into that as well).
Using Science to Rectify the Concept of Nothing
Interestingly enough, in an Ancient Greek and Rome, the gods of mythology could be debatably linked to the confused unison of science and religion as representative of the natural process of nature.
However, an interesting scientific question, would be: is it possible that man, through a soul, possesses an energy that is recycled or returned to his or her God based based on the power of belief?
Ironically, science may be the missing link to prove explore these questions, although to involve science in most religious discussions is the ultimate “taboo” as religion divorce science hundreds of years ago. This is one fascinating concept that the 14th Dalai Lama is refreshingly open towards – that is rare in any religious setting.
Damon Isherwood states in the article Science At Last Explains Our Soul: “Recently two quantum scientists have claimed that they can prove the existence of the soul, a quantum entity that acts as the program for the computer of our brain, and exists independently of the physical body after death.”
American Dr Stuart Hameroff and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose developed a quantum theory of consciousness asserting that our souls are contained inside structures called microtubules which live within our brain cells. More specifically, the article states: “In a near-death experience the microtubules lose their quantum state, but the information within them is not destroyed. Or in layman’s terms, the soul does not die but returns to the universe.”
As I am not a science savant by any means, this concept can be related in a peculiar way to money. Money is “currency”and a product of energy used to represent the amount of labor one exerts on a specific task. However, such currency is exchanged in the form of mere paper, which in and of itself, is worth very little. Thus, if we view the body as the paper that is used to represent the currency, it could be followed that the same concept exists with soul and body.
Assuming such information is indeed “energy”, science poses the question that if one was to take all the energy of humanity as to whether that could, in essence, represent “God”. If we view the power of belief as elemental to “God”, one could perhaps surmise why ancient religions viewed man as gods relative to being divested of such energy.
So, now imagine that all souls in the world achieved the concept of nirvana that compromised all the energy relative to “God”. Would an Atheist then believe that no God existed because such God was effectively in a state of “nothingness”?
Granted, here I am stretching, but it is an interesting question that would first have to be merited with valid scientific evidence.
However, if it were true, the concept that follows is God sacrificed His energy to mankind for our existence (the breath of life). So, if God is indeed nothing because His energy is divested (making Him everywhere), than even in Buddhism and Atheism, “God” would still exist as nothing , but yet as everything divested by His creation.
So…if God is nothing (or conversely everything because of the sacrifice of nothing), could it be logically foreseen that both Atheism and Buddhism believe in the existence of no God, but God is there in the state of nothing having divested His energy mankind?
*Please take note that I am merely offering an interesting correlation of which Science could perhaps shine light and also a bridge. There are many holes in my logic, but an interesting area of exploration that my mind likes to contemplate in order to understand my Father, God, who is most likely not to happy with me at the moment…but I always see Him everywhere.