If you want to claim Buddhism is skepticism then why all the 'woo woo' aspects of Buddhism such as meditation, zen, yin/yang. Call it skepticism, call yourself a philosopher and drop the Buddhism.
In my argument I propose that sceptic philosphers, Buddhists and Christian Mystics like Meister Eckhart were all of the same type. They were all people who had recognised abstract conceptual understandings as being ultimately meaningless, and so found themselves no longer wrapped up in ultimately meaningless activities. There was nothing left for them to do but to sit, and watch and pray. This state of disinterested apprehension of reality was blissful - and this is what they are famous for writing about.
Other people thought they could achieve the same bliss by doing as they do - by imitation. And so the woo-woo aspects emerged. People naively thought that if they simply mediatated, or simply prayed very hard then it would cause them to get the same bliss. The notion of soteriology emerged - opinions about what worked better than what emerged, 'expertise' was assumed, and before you know it you have the rituals and docrtines of religion - and all of it empty imitiation. All of it was an attempt to capture in abstraction what was the incommunicable experience of the prophet.
As you've probably gathered - I see no distinction between religion and philosophy - both of them aspire to Truth, Reality, God. But the adept will not reach their goal until they have learnt the ulitimate emptiness of the woo-woo stuff. The saint must reject scripture and ritual, the philosopher must reject concepts and reason and be
reality as it is.
What wisdom is there in believing in nothing? So you claim that recognising that we don't need to rush around is the essence of the wisdom? Why can't another Buddhist enjoy running around? Why is sitting around better?
There is a drought and it has not rained in weeks. One man is frantically devising and enacting a series of ever-elaborate raindances - absed on ill-conceived notions about reality. The other is enjoying the sunshine. Who is the wiser?
There is never anything wrong with the present moment. Enjoy the sunshine when it comes, enjoy the rain when it comes. Some people only enjoy rain after a drought. That is the opposite of what Buddha was trying to say.
And there it is. The freedom from passion. Great big empty lives wasting away rather than sucking up life and being passionate and you made the choice to be a Buddhist? No wonder you are going to die. Given life you choose not life.
When you are calmly absorbed in the scene before your eyes, your life is not wasting away - If anything, you are savouring every moment to its fullest. You are passionate about it all - so there is no passionate chasing after specific things. To view everything as wondeful, is the view of the Buddha. Most of us favour some things and not others - that restricts the amount of pleasure we end up enjoying.
I can understand how the person sat still might appear passionless - but from another perspective they are passionate about it all. So much so that they cannot tear their eyes away.
I am a highly competent skeptic (I have in various threads agreed with you that I don't see why SGR couldn't see your skeptical point) and yet I thoroughly endorse Christian views. My eyes are wide open.
I agree that you have the intellect to see the sceptical challenge, but all too often you have suggested that you prefer to act
as if the sceptical challenge isn't there. Your scepticism is shallow in that you prefer to pretend that it all makes sense really - often to preserve your faith. If you had more courage you would subject the articles of your faith to a thorough philosophical critique. This would be extremely challenging and would, I'm sure, feel like a very dark experience. But pass through it successfully and you would be able to distinguish the empty, contradictory aspects of your belief from that larger faith which cannot be denied.
Christianity has numerous examples of individuals who have passed through the 'dark night of the soul' and entered into true unassailable belief. God is the absolute ground of your being. Immerse yourself in being, know God in the here and now - not just in your thoughts and concepts but in the absolute conviction of your heart.
I feel you totally misrepresent Charles Taylor by claiming his view as Buddhist.
Taylor's approach to epistemology is extremely close to Buddhist philosophy - I consider that to be obvious. I am absolutely sure that he would agree with me on this. I know he is Roman Catholic, but there are extremely close associations between mystical threads in Christian thought and Buddhism. Thomas Merton recognised it from the Christian side, DT Suzuki from the Buddhist side.
It is for this reason that I can legitimately use Taylor's arguments to support Christianity, Buddhism and philsophical scepticism.
The work performed in challenging assumptions has been amongst the most valuable work performed throughout human history. To them claim that as Buddhist is absurd.
I'm not saying that they are uniquely Buddhist, challenging assumptions is universal. But Buddhism has scepticism about conceptual knowledge at its very heart. Scepticism is to Buddhism what Love is to the Christian. Thats not to see that Christianity is intrinsically credulous, nor Buddhism unloving. But Love is the kernel of Christianity, and the rejection of the illusions caused by belief in false concepts is the kernel of Buddhism.
Skepticism is a tool not an end. It's the water you pour onto the clay to find the gems beneath. Buddhism is the direct opposite of skepticism as the Buddhist surrenders reality by throwing out the gems the skeptic was searching for.
The gem is transcendent, like God is and like the Truth of Buddhism is. Buddhism goes awry when it thinks that enlightenment can be achieved by doing x, y and z. Christianity goes awry when Chrisitans think that they understand who God is, what he likes/dislikes etc. Don't pretend to know this stuff, don't try and use scepticism as a tool to know it. Surrender to ignorance, dismantle your ill-conceived notions and throw them to the dogs. Put yourself in God's hand in all your simplicity and ignorance. Be as Socrates was, as Therese of Lisieux was. Know your ignorance and then you will find your gem - and that it wasn't anything like the gem you thought you were looking for.
I'm not sure what you make of this sentiment - but there are many Christians who have inspired me to make it. It goes without saying that people are wrong to think of Buddhism as some sort of heathen rival to Christinaity (I'm not saying you are doing this). They are extremely complementary with each other - and also to much 'secular' philosphy.
Best wishes, Nikolai