I am reposting this from my other blog.
The blog entry is Reason, Gut Feel, Or Faith.
This is to add to a previous blog entry in this website: If Critical Thinking Were A Religion.
A lot of religions are faith based. I got surprised when I found out that one was not. Buddhism claims to be logical. Buddha even went to an extent to show how logical he was by instructing the kalamas with what is known now as the Kalama Sutta:
Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing ;
nor upon rumor ;
nor upon what is in a scripture ;
nor upon tradition
nor upon surmise;
nor upon an axiom;
nor upon specious reasoning;
nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over;
nor upon another’s seeming ability;
nor upon the consideration, “The monk is our teacher.”
Kalamas, when you yourselves know: “These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them.’
I find the writing, very nice, concise and direct to the point, something I frankly woulnd’t expect from a religion. Buddhism though did not stop at rationalization, how then would buddha be able to explain his views on the afterlife and even his previous reincarnations. Although the public was urged to test ideas given by faith with logic, it seemed that the more enlightened ones would acquire knowledge from still other sources.
Different people have different ways of getting knowledge. Some use the words gut feel, intuition, even divine inspiration. I prefer to use the term intuition, ‘gut feel ‘to me sounds like I’m waiting for a disaster to happen and the term ‘divine inspiration’ seems to suggest that the person who gets the knowledge can not be questioned because it is from God. I feel that all intuition must be taken with a grain of salt and validated before being taken seriously. Schizophrenics also receive messages by hearing voices in their heads, but they are not necessarily correct.
Different strokes for different folks. I feel that if one is enlightened, or simply deeply intuitive, he/she must be able to discern what is right or wrong because he/she has evolved to such a state that just thinking of doing something bad is disgusting to him/her. This person does things not out of faith, not out of fear from retribution of people, not out of fear of going to hell, but simply because he/she knows what is right and wrong. Other people though who are not yet in this state, have to be told what to do, what is right and wrong. If this is the case, then so be it, it is best that they behave out of faith than out of intuition.
There are those who believe that man must believe in God. They feel that without any concept in God, man will go amock and do what is wrong. Excuse me, not all people are like that, there are people who behave even when they are not threatened. Buddhists are basically atheist, they have no belief in a creator God. How often have you heard of an unpleasant Buddhist. People who are inherently good are better than people who have to be threatened to be good. If you have a dog, would you want a dog who only behaves when it is on a leash, or a dog which behaves even when it is not on a leash.