This post was initially made in another topic but I was suggested to start a new thread rather than be offtopic. The question is nevertheless important. Buddhist who have found value in the dhamma and realize it’s importance, will make spreading the dhamma one of their main goals. Many dedicate time and effort into social or political causes. Yet, as a buddhist, the highest cause one can dedicate himself to is spreading the dhamma.
While reading buddhist forums, I have noticed that some people believe that christianity has many in common with buddhism and that buddhism, by being also a religion, should somehow be an ally of it and be against atheism. I want to make a case for the opposite.
I live in a country where no buddhist communities can be said to exist. It’s also the most religious country in europe and one of the few, if not the only, christian country to make it in the top 10 most religious countries on earth.
What is needed for buddhist communities to grow, besides better marketing, is also space made by removal of christianity. Only countries with a significant percent of atheist have any significant buddhist presence in them.
As a convert religion, buddhism can only win by debate. It can only win if a person mind is allowed to listen to it’s arguments. If a person mind is closed through cult methods, he can never even hear what buddhism has to say.
Asian religions are religions created by normal people who tried to make sense of the world, then studied it, analyzed it, debated it, studied cause and effect, etc. and in the end, they ended up with hinduism, buddhism, taoism, etc.
Abrahamic religions were created by kings (King David, King Constantine, Kind Mohamed) for control of population. The presence of Jesus into the ecuation is one of the only things that made them worth something in terms of personal development. They are like a vise on one’s head. You got eternal heaven, even 72 virgins in some cases, promised for doing very little, if any, effort of improving yourself in this life. And on the other hand you’re threatened with eternal hell if you even listen to what other religions have to say. The most respected monk in today Romania considers that protestant books are the work of the devil, that protestant churches are “churches of the devil” and that their books should be burned because there is no sin, but a good deed, in burning their books. This kind of attitude is something normal for my country. Listening to other opinions is the devil trying to tempt you and the faster you banish him, the better of a christian you are. This kind of attitude, if instilled since childhood and practiced over a long term, becomes very powerful.
As a buddhist in such a country, the biggest problem one faces is convincing through debate his loved ones and dragging them towards the buddhist dhamma, towards something of infinitely more wisdom than the current dhamma they posses. Opening the vise of population-control type of religions is no doubt a frustrating activity.
Therefore, for the progress of dhamma and appearence of buddhist communities, popularity of “vise-on-your-brain” beliefs has to be reduced. As a buddhist, in my opinion, one should definitely support the spread of atheism on the global level. I’ve seen many claim that christianity is promoting the same values as buddhism and we should support it rather than atheism. I could not disagree more. Atheism is not a vise on one’s head, the religion of King Constantine (not of Jesus), is.
ALSO NOTE: The huge majority of people that change religion, do it in adolescence or early adulthood.