Modern Times Religion And Science Essay
Despite its brief history in the West, Buddhism has gained increasing popularity in part due to its frequent portrayal as an exception to the conflict between scientific and spiritual thought. Proponents of this view—deemed “Buddhist Modernists” or “Secular Buddhists”—argue that Buddhism possesses certain qualities which make it compatible with a secular view of the world, while providing a source of purpose and moral guidance.
Keown summarizes some of these qualities, including (1) a lack of a personal deity; (2) a non-dogmatic worldview (not tending to present principles as undeniably true); (3) few ritual or other requirements and (4) moral teachings expressed as rational philosophy (119-121) but also notes that “...’Buddhist modernism’ suppresses certain features of the religion which have been present since the earliest times which are less in harmony with contemporary Western attitudes” (122) and warns “Various Western ‘readings’ of Buddhism… [often] tell us more about changing fashions in the West than they do about Buddhism” (119).
Can the fundamental tenets of Buddhism coexist with a secular worldview? Attempts to answer this…