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POLL Richard Gere & Stephen Colbert discuss Christianity, Buddhism & Philosophy

I love Richard Gere and don't give a rat's dick who knows it.

Concerning my love for Dick Gere...

  • 0 votes
  • 1 vote
rainmanjr 8 Oct 24

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Colbert is funny and he is a serious Catholic. Gere is wonderful actor and seems to be a kind person.
Colbert had plenty of tragedy in his life and Gere had his dad around longer but apparently out in the community quite a bit.
Our deepest influences are those who raised us and interacted with us. As adults we can expand the influence or not.
My Dad was the youngest of six kids in a deeply Catholic family. He was suppose to be a priest. He was kicked out of Catholic school and by the time we came along he was atheist. We kids were baptized in and went to the Methodist church. I quit going when I was 12. It was all bullshit to me.
Thanks for posting but I had no interest in either voting option.


Rant Alert: I seem to be constitutionally incappable of being succinct, so stop now if you don't have the patience, lol.

I have to vote for none of the above. I am amused by Colbert and appreciate his attitude and willingness to talk with others of differing beliefs without being too preachy, but he's still Catholic, which I naturally consider to be bogus. Gere strikes me as thoughtful, but I would have to hear much more of his perspective before I could know if I predominantly can agree with him or not.

The interview was humerous, due mostly to Colbert. Buddhism is indeed the most thoughtful/intelligent of all religions, mostly because it rejects the cop out of claiming a god/magic sky daddy to explain what is not known or understood. It has a whole lot of really intelligent and impressive effort at understanding the nature of existance, life, consciousness, etc. But that is only partly true. It is also corrupted by humans and human culture. (Ack! Ok, "Corrupted" is a problematic choice of term, because it implies humans did not create Buddhism, but merely "discovered" it. Hmm....)
Anyway, Buddhism varies widely among groups that subscribe to it. It is philosophy to some, religion to others. It is politicized in places. People have killed and practiced genocide in the name of Buddhism, crazy as that sounds, just as with all religions.

As religion ANY belief system runs the risk of encouraging practitioners to trade away careful thought for blind faith, which is dangerous....but humans seem predisposed to that inclination, anyway, perhaps.

As a philosophy, that is, separate and apart from ritual and traditions and faith, Buddhism can be a great system for getting people to humbly consider what values of life are important to them and how to navigate life in a way that makes suffering bearable and less overwhelming. So maybe(?) Gere looks at Buddhism that way. I am not sure.

[I have read a couple books on the subject that intrigued me greatly, ...
"Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment" by Robert Wright, and "Buddhism Withou Beliefs" by Stephen Batchelor. You could add to that an honorable mention to Sam Harris' "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion," which certainly references Buddhism a fair amount.]

...but my eyes still glaze over with boredom when people start waxing poetic about how "reality doesn't exist." Sorry Gere, but that's bullshit. To be cheritable to Gere, maybe he meant that human senses lack the ability to ever perceive reality wholly objectively, and therefore we can never absolutely know it. I could agree with that, but that was not what I heard him say.

Here's succinct, it's fucking bullshit. The church of humor on the other hand is real and just try not to suck at being human.

@silverotter11 agreed. Honestly, I marvel at some insights that Buddhism hammered out so many centuries ago, especially regarding the nature of consciousness and of how our minds construct so much from the raw data bits our senses register. But in the end, I think Buddhism takes some core goals right over a cliff. If the goal is to escape suffering, Buddhism teaches we should lose ourselves, become one with the universe, blah blah blah.
Bullshit. Suffering is an integral part of life. We want to tolerate it, not be overwhelmed by it, and absolutely find pleasure and sense of fulfillment in life that balances that suffering, but escaping it utterly? Red herring.

Likewise, the goal of abandoning our sense of individuality also stinks. Our individuality is what makes conscious life precious even though our perceptions and perspectives are "hopelessly" subjective, to be AWARE about those facts is a good thing, some bit of enlightenment. To try to stamp out our subjectivity, however, is a lost cause, unnecessary, and tantamount to squashing our own existance.
(In my not so humble opinion)

Both men are, in my opinion, an easier listen than anything on CNN at the moment. I'm tired of "news" so look for alternative conversations but this one doesn't try to convince us. I took it as a stop during the cocktail party to listen in and have a laugh. As I'm not a Buddhist, only in that neighborhood, I didn't take it as anything more than that. Concerning the illusion, however, Gere is talking about how our brain (or our NN) interpretes all the stimuli and then sees what it has processed. It makes our "reality" so we are seeing the interpretation. As our senses are incomplete (light wave recognition, for instance) the interpretation is also incomplete and what we see is illusionary. This is not conjecture but scientific truth concerning brain operation. As for being succinct; you are under no obligation for that. There's plenty of digital space to fill.

@silverotter11 alas, there are many many ways to suck at being human. Namaste. 😉

@rainmanjr I agree with you, and I am not anti- either one of them. I believe both are bright and thoughtful. As for Colbert, I have been a fan for years, and I do believe religion is largely what people make of it, and Colbert is a pretty positive Catholic, all that despite the fact I believe the underlying paradigm is a complete fairytail and Catholicism has done far more harm in the world than good. As a self-aware gay man, that is painfully obvious to me.
I also agree with your point on what Gere was trying to say. I just don't believe he actually said that. What he said was wrong, factually, overreach. But it did make for a more humorous interview, which is always Colbert's goal.
This clip below, btw, is arguably my all-time favorite speach utterly dismantling the Catholic church, and I LOVE Stephen Fry for it. It is sheer passionate brilliance.

@MikeInBatonRouge I will only address suffering as a concept here since you have it wrong (as I understand it from a Taoist aspect). Suffering is inherent. It is an aspect of consciousness which causes us to question and search for release from. Doing so does not take away our individuality but we are all the same creatures so have the same experience for vanquishing it. Meditation and The Dharma principles of detachment, letting go, being in present. Suffering torments our consciousness until we find this calm. Yes, we can all be Buddhas but it is also fair to say, as Tao does, that we can all be free of suffering's effects (but not of suffering) and experience relief from it. That relief leads us to a whole new level of understanding, however. Buddhisms effect on humans is kindness, introspection, teaching (or communication), and minimalism. Some people, inclined toward violence or ignoring the precepts of non-violence, have killed to protect it (as in the case of Tibet's warriors) But non-violence does not mean to always be non-violent. Buddhism teaches that one should do only what is necessary to defend oneself. Martial Arts therefore practice disarmament and deflection of a blow before using force.

@MikeInBatonRouge Fry gets no disagreement from me for anything said in this video. Catholicism, as is Islam and Hinduism, evil.

@rainmanjr re. suffering, Buddhism, etc., If you say so. I have heard some version of the points you have just made, and they are good. But I return to my earlier point that when Buddhism is followed as religion, somehow it gets caught up in human cultures and starts to "reflect" cultural values of those peoples, rather than simply informing their values. I was thinking of the current example of Myanmar's genocide toward its Muslim minority.
There is also no one single authority on what Buddhism's core tenets are. It took me many years to finally be aware of that fact. In some ways in modern enlightnment discussion circles, Buddhism has come to be popularly seen as representing somehow all that is morally good. I think that is because it is shifting sand to try to nail down what its "revealed truths" are. As I said earlier, religion is what one makes of it, and the fact that Buddhism is godless is indeed appealing for a anti-theist. But that does not make Buddhism automatically the key to all that is good. If a good person, seeking to be a better person, wants to embrace the basic Buddhism paradigm as a strategy for self-improvement, well they certainly could do far worse. I just find, in a curmudgenly way, that I have little patience for ANY discorse which chooses mysticism verbage over a plain-spoken approach to reality.
Personal preference.

@MikeInBatonRouge We are not (as I'm sure you're aware) in major disagreement. I also reject Buddhism, obviously, for a train of thought which says "Find your own contentment within this simple idea." But I will stop short of blaming a practice for the human misdirections of that practice. Buddhism, and everything is only as I understand it to be, would say look inside before embracing cultural values. Culture is a short-handed manner of finding truths we all yearn for but, on occasion, we find that everyone is wrong except for one person (as proof I give you Rep Barbara Lee in 2003). Only by going inside and allowing calm mind to examine self can we determine what is not inside the self. Illusion pretty much teaches that ALL is inside the self. But people are busy so will attempt to simply adapt ideas held by others we respect (often for reasons other than their mental abilities) instead of finding our own nature. Namaste and hugs.


Ricard Gere is the most boring person I've ever heard in my life. Steven Colbert made that short video somewhat bearable.

I would have to disagree.

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