On the contrary , if we pay our attention to the original report of the debate we can understand that the debate is not only a debate between Buddhism and Christianity rather it is a debate between Eastern epistemological tradition and modern western philosophy and science. Need not to mention that the both parties involved in the debate had not systematically studied western philosophy and science and you cannot find a bulk of philosophical and scientific buzzwords here, but the most fundemental ideas which run the modern philosophy and science were strictly challenged in the deabate. To mention a few,
Aristotlean dialectic , causuality, deduction, the intolerance of action at a distance and Newtonian Mechanics.
The debate is full of rhetorics and humorous statements as common in every debate. The philosophical background underlying the debate is unimaginable comparing to the usual prejudices about Buddhist education. We can understand when we inspect into the report that the academic background of Buddhist scholars then was much better than the background of the participants of the academic discussions, university educated people, now in Sri Lanka.
1873 was yet the fruitful years of Newtonian Physics and yet Newtonian mechanics was not tought properly in Sri Lanka (As far as I know, it was not in academic curriculum that time.). Therefore it is a curious to know that Buddhists were able to present the books containing alternative western views to Newtonian Mechanics. I do not say at this movement they have properly studied Newtonian Mechanics or alternative views, but they knew such views were existed. It is a great forwardness because most of the educated Sri Lankan people in physics surely do not know even if any alternative views to Newtonian Mechanics exists.
- Thamalu Maliththa Piyadigama
The Great Debate Buddhism and Christianity - Face to Face
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