“That’s interesting” he remarks. “What exactly did the Buddha teach?”

    “Well,” you begin, “the Buddha was a young man who was very concerned about all the suffering he saw in the world. He discovered that although suffering is unavoidable, it can be lessened by having fewer desires or cravings and by getting rid of things like greed, anger, and ignorance. For the rest of his life, the Buddha taught that we should be loving and compassionate towards others, putting others before ourselves.”

    “Hey, I agree with all of that! But you said Buddhists don’t believe in God?”

    “Not usually,” you say. “It’s not necessary to lessening evil and suffering.”

    “But how can you be sure of what is good or evil? Who sets the standard?”

    “The Buddha showed us what is good,” you explain. “Love and compassion are good because they satisfy the most people.”

    “But didn’t he teach that we find truth within ourselves? If so, and there is no God, why can’t I set my own moral standards? Why can’t good be whatever makes me happy? Why shouldn’t I murder and steal if I feel it’s best for me?”i

    “You yourself know it’s evil to do those things,” you point out.

    “Certainly. But why must everyone avoid them and follow their conscience unless there are universal moral laws? How can there be such laws without an all-powerful law giver? You see, you do live as if there are unchanging, absolute moral laws, and yet you deny the source of them.”

What do you say?

a. “All right. Go on.” Go to page 32.

b. “Well, it’s more of a philosophy than a religion anyways.” Go to page 14.