Buddhism offers no actual advice on the question of God. Since the issue is “How may I be happy?” you don’t actually have to give up your old belief systems. It is a series of techniques, as stated by Buddha himself.
So, I had a choice to make on the burning question of God. Many of my friends are passionate Athiests. Others are passionate Christians, across many wildly varying interpretations, some few are Muslims, some are practitioners of Native American religions; some are neo-Pagans and Wiccans and yet others are sort of non-specific Shirley-MacLaine-at-the-Bodhi-Tree-Bookstore Newagey.
Which is true, which is false, which to embrace, which to reject, and the implications of that decision. As I said, Buddhism offers no real guide. (Some will undoubtedly object to this, and cite chapter and verse, and to them, with all respect, compassion and reverence, I say “Fuck you.” This is MY inner life, after all.)
But I am an American, a democrat born and bred. So, rather than say, “I am a Christian,” or “I am an Athiest” (the most popular dichotomy here on Turtle Island), I decided that the fit and proper democratic thing to do was to believe in them all. Equality is good for people, it ought to be good for Deities, as well.
Therefore, I believe in Allah, Jesus, Yahweh, Brahma, Shiva, Vishu, Ahura Mazda, Ahriman, Thor, Odin, Jove, Hera, Zeus, Minerva, The Tao, The Bible, The Koran, The Upanishads, The Arabian Nights, the Mabinogion, the Thunderbird, the Coyote, the Colored Fairy Tale books, and so on and so forth.
But don’t be harsh. I also believe in many things that we all believe in: I believe in the Dow Jones, the Federal Reserve and the Easter Bunny. I believe in the U.S. Dollar, the Gold Standard and the Single Shooter Theory. I believe in Our Goverment, the Constitution, the Labor Movement, Enlightened Capitalism and the Curve Ball. I believe in Unicorns, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the ultimate ability of Hollywood to entertain and enlighten our children with an endless parade of cartoons and 3-D animation. I believe in the NFL, NBA, NHL, NAACP, and BCS.
I believe in Mutually Assured Destruction, the United Nations, Bilbo Baggins, the Grammys and the Academy Awards. I believe in the New York Times Bestseller List, the Billboard Hot 100 and that Building Seven coming down without ever being hit is still suspicious as hell. I believe that good movies require popcorn, and that the government is putting something in the water to dumb us all down, else how do you explain Rick Perry?
I believe in the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Campfire Persons, Brownies and the Demolays. I believe in Rotary, the Lions Club, Kiwanis, Toastmasters International, the power of referral marketing, the Wankel rotary engine, the Tesla Coil, UFOs, Area 51, Xenu and the books contained in the locked stacks at Miskatonic University.
Because people are passionate in their beliefs, and love to get into huge arguments over “Do you believe in God or not?” To which I can honestly answer, “Yes and yes.”
I believe in many contradictory systems and mutually exclusive positions, and I believe that when you BELIEVE, consistency isn’t really an issue, at least as far as I’ve ever observed and I’ve observed a LOT.
Fortunately, beliefs aren’t what I base my life on.
I go with what I actually know.
Believe it or not.
Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then I contradict myself,
I am large, I contain multitudes.
…….. ~ Walt Whitman