If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But you can survive without it.

Dalai Lama

Dalai lama ia the most highly respected religious leadre today. Many of his thoughts are very l;iberal. What does he want to say here? Is it better to have religion? Can we just manage to survive without it?

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Did he say "...,But can you survive without it?" Maslow's hierarchy of needs outlines what we need. 

Maslow's hierarchy also supports Dalai Lama. It does not show religion as a basic need.

I reread the Dalai Lama quote again and understand it now. I thought it was a typo because I thought the Dali Lama would claim people need religion. In reality Buddhism isn't a religion because with Buddhism  there is no god to worship.

I'm glad you saw that Maslow left religion out as a basic need. 

Chris G

Buddhism is a religion and for hundreds of yerrs it has been called a religion, only it is an atheist religion. There is another religion, known as Jainism, which is largely practiced in India and it too is an atheist religion. A religion is a set of certain principles for it's adherents to follow. Buddhism and Jainism both have all atttributes of religion.

What remarkable in Dalai Lama's quote that despite being a religious head, he says that having a religion is not absolutely a must.

I'd like to know a word that describes spiritual beliefs in reincarnation, life after death, the belief that we came from another planet, and etcetera that's more definitive than the word religion. I'd like to see religion reserved for a belief in a supreme being worthy of worship. The English language often lacks words to describe specific thoughts and feelings. The word love is a good example. There are a lot of different kinds of love. The love of a wife, the love of a child, the love of a parent, the love of a sibling, and etcetera. The one word love is used to describe all these different kinds of relationships. It lacks depth.  

The definition of the word religion might be an interesting discussion.

Chris G

No word comes to my mind to describe spiritual beliefs, but philosophy or siirituality may fill the bill. It is difficult to think of a word like you want because nobody seems to have seperated the supernatural from the spiritual beliefs.

Buddhism does not believe in any supernatural and so their spirituality is free from such belief, but, since it came into existance, Buddhism has been called a religion.

Believing in reincarnation is supernatural. This has been discussed before on Atheist Nexus and in the discussion I followed the conclusion was that Buddhism isn't a religion because they don't believe in a god, or gods. Even though dictionaries and encyclopedias may differ on that the atheist community involved in that discussion argued that it wasn't a religion. 

Religion is a code of behaviour and worship, sometimes this code is said to be given by a god and sometimes it is given by some scriptures or some individual like the Buddha. Budhism, Jainism are religions where the code has not come from a god but a code of worship and code of behaviour exists for both these religions. Another India born religion, Sikhism, beleives in god but the source of religious conduct comes entirely from a scripture written by the founder guru, Guru Nanak. Westerners are not aware of this concept of religions, which existed only in India. Therefore some do not understand that these are religions too. However, this is not the case with all weterners.

I think the word religion is inadequate. Maybe the word atheist is too. Is there a word in any language that means "without supernatural beliefs"?

Chris G

The Sanskrit language word 'Nastik'  in ancient times only meant 'one who does not believe in Vedas', later it came to be used as meaning as 'one who does not believe in god' and now it is used in the sense you mean.



1.  a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

2.  a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

3.  the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

4.  the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.

5.  the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

You can't re-write the dictionary in a discussion in AN.  Although I do realise that words can change their meaning.  This usually happens slowly over time when the majority of people start to use the word in a different context, or come up with new words.

I think it is Greek that has so many words for love, which I agree is nice.  French apparently has very few words compared to English.  I see no reason why we can't use them also.  It's not unusual for foreign words to be used in English.

The word religion, all seems to point at belief without evidence - faith.

Buddhism do have their own form of evidence for reincarnation - they show the child the items of the last Lama, and if the child is the last Lama then they will choose the correct items.  Although this is hardly scientific enough to pass as the scientific method.




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