[Buddha-l] Paul Williams

Erik Hoogcarspel jehms at xs4all.nl
Sat Dec 22 13:49:17 MST 2007

Ngawang Dorje schreef:
> Hi,
>   More spesifically.
>   From a book:
>   Among the factors involved in his eventual rejection of Buddhism were (1) his conviction about the incoherence of the allegedly nondualistic introspective experiences at the heart of Buddhism, (2) the inability of Buddhism to account for the integrity of the human person, and (3) the inability of Buddhism to account for the contingency of the universe. In particular it was Buddhism’s failure to address specifically the question, “why is there something instead of nothing?” that prompted Williams to look again at theism. As Williams puts it, “I have come to believe that there is a gap in the Buddhist explanation of things which for me can only be filled by God, the sort of God spoken of in the Christian tradition such as that of St Thomas Aquinas.
>   The issue of contingency was critical for Williams, and he is worth quoting at length on this point
>   “Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there anything at all? And why is there a world in which, among other things, the processes (causation etc.) detected by the Buddha are the case? Why is it that this way is things is the way of things? As the Buddhist scriptures (sutras) have it: ‘Whether Buddhas occur or do not occur, the true way of things (Sanskrit:dharmata) remains.’ Why? Why is it like that? The dharmata is not what we call ‘necessarily existent.’ That is, there is no logical contradiction in a world in which things are not like that….Thus, the dharmata, the true way of things, is contingent. It could have been otherwise….We have a contingent fact or state of affairs, how things happen to be in the actual world, for which we are entitled to ask the reason…..
>   An answer to that question – if there is one- would have to be a necessary being., a being about which it would make no sense to ask the question why that exist rather than not. For the theist God is the answer to this question, and God is needed to as the ultimate explanation for existence at any time, keeping things in whatever existence things have.
>   I think I have to agree with the theist."
The world is contingent or not. If it's not, there is a reason for the 
existence and essence of things as they are. Nobody ever gave a coherent 
explanation for this. If this world with its immense suffering is 
organised by a god, this god cannot be both allmighty and benign. If God 
is benign He suffers with humanity and we should have pity on Him, 
asking for His Assistance would be in vain. If He's Allmighty, He is a 
Sadist Bastard and should be feared above anything else. So the only 
excuse for God is that He doesn't exist.
Since God's Wisdom is not understandable for a human mind we never know 
if we act according to His wishes, so it's useless to speculate about 
Him. We'll thus never know God's reasons for creating the world. For us 
it must look like the world is contingent.
Science does a far better job in explaining the essence of things than 
both Buddhism and Christendom and it is still improving itself, 
something which Christendom or Buddhism doesn't allow themselves.
Another point is that you cannot escape contingency, because the 
question of metaphysical ground, 'why is there something rather then 
nothing', is itself contingent. If you ask 'why do you want to know?', 
you can always ask the question again after any answer. God is no answer 
because He is contingent Himself. 'Why is there a necessary being?' 
Answer:'Because I just happen to believe there is'.


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