Are Buddhists Included
In Atheist Count?
When you say, "one-fifth of the population", are you including religions that are (mostly) atheistic, such as Buddhism?
"Superstition ain't the way."
-- Stevie Wonder
From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <email@example.com>
To: "Bob Webster"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Monday, March 19, 2001 8:45 PM
I don't think so. I think they're talking those who are Positive Atheists plus those who lack any religious faith. You will notice on the chart in Encarta, my source for this figure, that Buddhism is a separate category, apprximately equal in size to all of Protestantism.
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I suppose you could argue that being characterized as a Buddhist says nothing about whether you believe in a god. According to the teachings, the Buddha (if indeed he ever existed) explicitly mentioned that he had nothing to say on the subject. Whenever gods are mentioned in the teachings, it is as servants and followers of the Buddha, and beings as much in need of enlightenment as ourselves. Also, some forms of Buddhism treat the Buddha(s) as substitutes for gods, and peasant belief systems frequently include their pantheon alongside the Buddhas. So, maybe it shouldn't be characterized as Atheist after all. Even in my own sect, we have people who believe in angels and such.
"Where ignorance is bliss
Is it foolish to be wise?"
-- With apologies to Thomas Gray
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