This post is a censored comment of mine. I made the censored comment on an excellent Buddhist blog called Theravadin. The author of the post was Brian Ānanda Johnson, who teaches about Buddhism at a Unitarian Universalist Church in Valdosta, Georgia. In his post he wrote that:
“The Buddhist worldview, which is heavily supported by Quantum Mechanics…”.
— Brian Ānanda
When I briefly challenged Brian’s comment, he wrote back with a long rebuke and a few questions but he did not allow my reply. I was surprised at the censor — well, only partially surprised. Such embracing of Quantum Mechanics by Buddhists is common. As an example, on the right is a book by two of my, otherwise, favorite writers who try and sell Buddhism with Quantum Mechanics. Heck, I even some liberal Christians try to make Quantum Mechanics their own and here is why:
Most religions eagerly grab new science discoveries to show how they confirm their faith’s essential insights. Some resist, of course, but we all know that eventually resistance is futile and the smarter move is to reinterpret and incorporate. Evolution, Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics are just a few of the most recent theological incorporations that are attempted by many religions. Heck, back in the day, believers scramble to incorporate the metaphor of X-rays into their apologetics.
This apologetic reflex retrofits a “science mentality” back into iron age ideologies where it did not exist — it is a strain at best. Yet since science is such a powerful voice in our present lives, one can understand the enthusiastic theological gymnastics. I have read several sites that painful show their believers (Christian and Muslim in these cases), how their holy scriptures were prescient the insights of evolution. Buddhism has, and is still doing similar contortions.
In chapter 4 of David McMahan’s book, “The Making of Buddhist Modernism“, he tells of how science is used to sell Buddhism. Here is a quote from Dharmapala one of the first outspoken famous Theravadans to introduce his brand of Buddhism to Americans at the Parliament of the World’s Religion in 1893:
“The message of the Buddha that I bring to you is free from theology, priestcraft, rituals, ceremonies, dogmas, heavens, hells and other theological shibboleths. The Buddha taught to the civilized Aryans of India twenty-five centuries ago a scientific religion of life built on psychological mysticism and cosmology which is in harmony with geology, agronomy, radioactivity and reality.
To which McMahan then comments:
“Even a cursory knowledge of Sinhalese Buddhism on the ground belies this portrayal of Buddhism as free from rituals, priests, ceremony, heavens and hells; yet early apologists repeated this sentiment often, and its echo continues today.”
(McMahan, pg 96)”
I want to keep this post short but maybe I can later explore this theme more. What do you think?