Rapid-Fire Rabid Faithfuls

Ever heard the phrase, “learn to internet”? Once upon a time, when I worked in a mobile carrier’s call center, a curious behavior cropped up more than once. I would tell people the web address for the company, and next thing I know I’m being read ads for multiple carriers at crazy once-in-a-lifetime discounts and asked, “Is that you?”

They were putting the web address in the search bar and reading me the search results. This was around 2007, so the iPhone was still out of reach of most people via exclusivity agreements with AT&T (I worked for one of the others) and MySpace was still socially relevant. A person over the age of 30 not understanding the difference between a search bar and the address bar was almost understandable.

To put this in perspective, when I tried to explain this distinction, got asked, “What’s the difference?” despite my explanation, I had to resort to using analog telephones as an analogy.

“If you know the number, why would you dial 411?”

“… OHHHHH!”

The important takeaway is that we all start somewhere, and it’s perfectly understandable that someone would not know how to use a website when first diving into its basic mechanics. Much like the search/address bar fiasco, there’s a similar problem on Quora, with people posting their answers to questions as comments left on other people’s answers. What’s especially frustrating about this is that Quora is laid out in such a way that this is an almost impossible mistake to make. It’s not like Reddit or Facebook where you’ve got to try and keep track of which comment you’re replying to because you’re all just comments on the same post. Posting an answer on Quora is like making a blog post. You’re giving a prompt, and you write accordingly. When you want to answer the question, there’s an icon right below the question appropriately labeled “Answer.” When you want to comment on someone’s answer, you have to really look for the little word balloon icon and go from there. Despite this reasonable attempt at relying on common sense and basic literacy, some people still manage to give themselves concussions on the lowest of the low bars, the kind the mole men complain about.

The question in question that prompts today’s dissection of delusions of grandeur was both frustrating and kind of adorable.

Can I be a Christian and a Buddist at the same time? I truly believe in God, I love Jesus and I don’t know too much about Buddhism but I want to learn and maybe start believing in this religion tho. I know what God says about having other Gods ..

Something that’s bugged me about religion from a very young age is the packaging of beliefs, something I’ve begun to notice far too often in the socio-political sphere. It’s easy enough to parse the tribalism in our social behavior, attaching an intrinsic value to our decisions and opinions to bolster our sense of self-worth, but the mental gymnastics involved in wanting to shrink the government by scaling back regulations while also wanting to establish Christianity as the official religion and teach Young Earth Creationism in public schools is such a quagmire of bullshit you have to stand on the uneven bars to keep your head above it. I’m not saying this to put anybody down. Rather, I empathize with this struggle because it’s one I’ve been through as well. The short and simple answer is that if you want to identify as belonging to two or more separate religions, or you want to pick and choose what doctrines you do and don’t agree with from this and that path, go nuts.

Think about it. It’s exactly what Jesus did. It’s exactly what the Buddha did. It’s what… well, how do you think any religion starts?

For the sake of giving myself a challenge and giving the OP a more complex and personalized answer, I highlighted the nature of Buddhism, how although it has deities, it not only does not emphasize worshiping them, but considers it a distraction from achieving Enlightenment. I further appealed to what he likely believes God to be in terms of behavior and temperament. That is, if he were truly worried about God‘s wrath at straying from the path, he wouldn’t be asking this in the first place. Put simply, if God cares more about what school of thought you pledge allegiance to and what it is you actually do in regards to those very teachings, that’s not the hallmark of a loving, caring overseer.

Well, Irene Okosun took issue with this answer of mine… or did she?

You know that little squiggly line above the dot at the end of “What would Jesus do?” is not a reference to the Blue Oyster Cult and they’re not actually a cult, right? Speaking of which, when did you escape yours, or is this a field trip?

No you cant,

I’m not sure which part of my answer this is meant to directly refer to, which is what led me to believe this was meant to be an answer to the original question rather than a comment on my answer. I never actually gave a direct yes or no to the question in the first place. I said the two systems have a fair degree in common and it seemed like he was interested in all the parts of the overlap, compassion and selflessness in particular.

the bible says we should love God with all our heart and love our neighbour as ourself, the bible also says we shall serve no other god but him

Breathe, Irene, breathe. Five commas, one period, no apostrophe, rampant capitalization, and even questions you intend as rhetorical should still have a question mark. Sound the low-hanging fruit alarm if you want. However, as I’ve said before, if you’re going to convince me that you understand a centuries old text translated from multiple different languages and cultures all before being translated again virtually beyond recognition from whatever’s closest to the originals we still have access to, I’d be more willing to take you seriously if you could demonstrate a basic command of the language you were taught to speak and write for living in the current and modern world.

More importantly, Irene, I did not mention serving other gods in my answer. After all, I made it abundantly clear that although Buddhism has deities, it insists they not be worshipped as it is a distraction from achieving Enlightenment. At most, I may have been tacitly suggesting this policy of non-worship extend to the God of the Abrahamic religions, but that’s different from playing favorites. In fact, it’s the opposite of playing favorites. You’re going to bring up infidelity, so I’m going to make the point clear to you that it’s not cheating on someone if you’re not with them in the first place.

He is the one and true God,

Thus sayeth just about every other monotheistic religion. Irene, why do you think people go to war over religious ideologies? Is it worth asking what you think of Mormons or Jews or Muslims? One wrote Extended Universe-style fan fiction for Jesus, one doesn’t accept him as the messiah, and one’s a little fuzzy on just who he was and who brought him into this world. Seems God‘s pretty laid back when it comes to what his followers are supposed to say and do. That, or he desperately wants an excuse to send people to Hell for not guessing what number between 1 and 13 he’s thinking of. There’s another distinct possibility, but I’m not going to say what it is. Lord knows you’re probably struggling to fill in the gap between those two numbers, I’m not going to cut you a break by not adding insult to your injury. It’s important to make the most of your time when they let you out of the barn.

when we love someone with our heart we do not cheat on them or make them sad, so why would you cheat on God.

Again, Irene, Buddhism does not involve the worship of its named deities, so either your idea of what constitutes infidelity is extremely restrictive to the point of full-on abuse (it’s okay, blink your eyes if you’re in an abusive relationship with an overbearing significant other… deities included) or you didn’t actually read my answer (possibly not for any lack of trying) or you don’t know how the damn site works and wrote your answer as a comment to another answer rather than directly to the original question.

Next time you pray, Irene, ask God for a spine. It’s that part of the body the ribs are attached to, if you’re confused.

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