I was deeply distressed the other day to hear a Buddhist friend of mine tell me that Buddhism required faith.

Faith is an artifact of religions that state things which one must accept blindly. Buddhism -- at least my branch of it -- has never made such a demand.

I made the leap from Catholicism to Buddhism at a very young age. I went from hearing, "God works in mysterious ways," to hearing, "All effects have a cause." Even as a child, who understood maybe a tenth of what went on around him, I was far, far more comfortable with the idea that my world could explored and that I didn't have to worry about faith - my ability to believe in something without condition.

So when my friend starts talking to me about the mystic law and the true Buddha -- concepts that are unprovable, and (frankly) useless, I got the idea that I was being told that, basically, God works in mysterious ways. I said as much to him, and he told me my faith was lacking.


The Buddha repeatedly said that his followers should doubt and test concepts.

My friend wants me to help present a Buddhist topic at his meeting on Friday. I'm afraid anything I had to say would thoroughly upset him.