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February 15, 2011


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I know quite a few people that if it were not for ‘modern’ medicine, they would have suffered more and would have been long dead by now. Hence, I think it’s a simplistic stretch to insinuate that all or most aspects of ‘modern’ medicine have not undergone a process of effective advances. A lot of times I have undergone medical treatment with the ‘hope’ of it being effective for which it has been on many occasions. I placed my hope in something that was factually true, not fancifully imagined, i.e., true hope instead of false hope -- true faith instead of false faith.

I’m not defending modern medicine (nor religion in general) to the point of affirming that it is not without it’s flaws -- far from it. As a matter of fact it was a practitioner of ‘modern’ medicine that persisted in giving my father a sense of false hope until the day he died of bone cancer. But there have been many, many, survivors of cancer wherein ‘modern’ medicine played a central role, giving hope to those individuals while those same individuals underwent treatment and were basically ‘cured’ (went into remission, or whatever).

When you stated, “Without hope injected into the idea of God, God is an empty word,” I can accept that as an astute conclusion. However, ‘religion’ isn’t just about ‘God’ or ‘hope’. True, it plays a big role, in a religious community of participants who in some cogent ways identify or have something in common about those aspects. I don’t participate in a religious community, but I am religious -- Christian with Zen Buddhist philosophical accoutrements. I practice ‘my’ religion for spiritual, non-materistic reasons (benefits). But regardless of whether I have a belief in ‘God’, is that much different than a Zen Buddhist practicing for spiritual, non-materistic reasons (benefits) regardless whether they don’t generally refer to their belief system as ‘religion’ or retain a belief and hope in a god? Don’t both Zen Buddhists, Christians, or a mixture of the two all ‘hope’ that something beneficial will be derived from their religious/spirtiual/medatative practice? One may not have a belief in a supreme being (God), while the other does, but they both *believe* in something not of this mortal, material world. Could the statement: “Without hope injected into the idea of the Dharma (true reality), Dharma is an empty word.“ be equally true?

Further, modern medicine isn’t just about curing a body that is at dis-ease, but also about keeping a body at-ease (healthy). Even if there was a cure for all cancer, modern medicine would still have a function, but only for different objectives. I think religion can work the same way. Even if I were to have a ‘real’ epiphany and actually see and converse with ‘the’ God, I would still need hope that I could be all that He would have me be. Hence, even if I were to have a ‘real’ epiphany and actually come to a full realization of ‘true reality’ as did the Buddha, I would still need hope that I could be all that the Buddha would have me be.

Sorry for the long reply and counter comments, but I really enjoy your blog and get a lot out of it.

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