When ever you question something that is supposedly controversial, they tell you to read more on buddhism
Leaving aside Buddhism even in any forums if you ask some basic questions some may not always be motivated to answer. This response is nothing much to do with Buddhism but more to do with internet culture. This is termed as Help Vampires. See: The Help Vampire problem, Help Vampires: A Spotter’s Guide.
Generally people will answer question based on different motivation out of which some are the following:
- if they are intellectually stimulating
- is of interest to them
- to be benevolent (if they think answering it will be of benefit and will not answer if they do not think answering it will make)
- opportunity cost of time and effort to answer vs doing something else or perhaps answering another question
- not too difficult for the person to answer
- not beyond the person's understanding
Ultimately to get answers from Buddhists and anybody the way you put a question should be interesting enough to warrant an answer from the person you ask for taking the trouble to answer a question. Also be mindful of the capacity of the person you are asking, i.e., the question is not too elementary or too advance.
they tell you to read more on buddhism
This can be more effective and sometimes the best than trying to learn from someone who may not be too knowledgeable in Buddhism, if this is the reason they ask you to do it. I.e., the question is above their heads to answer.
Maybe you can try reading a book like: In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon, Edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi. This will give you an elementary to mid level knowledge about Buddhism.
They say that way, you could understand for yourself.
Buddhism has is system with is 3 folds:
- a practice to understand, experience and verify the theory at the experiential level
- understanding gained by experiencing the theory through the practice
So it is a valid response to verify things for yourself. (Though not in the context when answering question on this site.)
Say there is a person who has not experienced some aspect of the teaching. If it is purely theoretical he may even have doubt if he understood it correctly. If such a person is asked what is so and so the better response would be to find out yourself than try to explain something the person does not have a full understanding himself. Understanding yourself the aspects would be more clearer than perhaps an explanation the person you ask might be able to give.
Also such understanding is 3 folds:
- basic theoretical understanding by reading and learning
- further understanding by logical induction
- ultimate understanding through meditation, mental cultivation and development of wisdom
still makes them hostile when their beliefs are questioned?
A Buddhist, a non Buddhist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew or whatever you call yourself, people get attached to belief systems and view. If you are not an Arahat then this is the natural reaction of any worldly person. If you challenge their view them they get offended or hostile.
Leaving a Buddhism aside link about discussing politics, sports, or any other topic these tendencies persist.
Just because you are a Buddhist you cannot get over these tendencies. To get over the you have to do Vipassanā and achieve the penetrating wisdom to overcome these tendencies. A person with no deep wisdom developed is in most cases subjected to perversions which can manifest as hostility. Someone who has not overcome these tendencies even they call the a Buddhism will have these tendencies.
More on perversion see: Vipallasa Sutta
Why is a religion that keeps its followers in abject poverty
Buddhism does not keep any body in poverty. The poverty in Tibet is due to its social, political and economic situations than to do with Buddhism.
If you take some african and some latin american countries many are non Buddhists but poverty still prevails.
There is a misconception about Buddhism that Buddhists are content hence do not make effort to progress. But if you take the perfection it contain determination and effort without which you cannot achieve any spiritual progress. This can be generalised to worldly and mundane endeavors also. Once you put in effort you should not get stressed out or saddened or emotional if things do not go your way. This is one thing achieved through desire or wishing, but only be realised through the practice of meditation or mental cultivation.
I would like to know what religion is real.
A religion you can verify there and now can be considered a real religion. Buddhism have meditation systems whereby you can ascertain the theory is infact real at an experiential level. When you verify something at the experiential level, you do not have to just believe something or have faith on something which you cannot verify.
Also Buddhism does not fit the traditional definitions of religion hence not considered by some as a religion.
But all of them seems to contradict each other and there is no basis for their beliefs.
There will be may contradicting view. Brahmajāla Sutta does mentions many forms of such conflicting religions view and their origin.
Its not like my community is small either but there are a lot of us who drive fast cars and have a lot of fun.
Enjoying life is not an issue. The issue arises when things do not go your way. They you may get emotional or stressed. This is the issue. I a sure you and your community would have felt some emotions of the other at some point of time.
Buddhism aims to make you mind balanced through wisdom so you do not lose the balance of your mind when things do not go your way.
In my thinking religion is a mind control virus. So, all this talk about going to hell and heaven is based on being controlled and the virus talking.
Some religions promise reward in heaven and damnation in hell or punishment as means to control people and beliefs. Buddhism does not do that. It just shows the repercussions of actions you take but it is up to you to burn your hand or not. Also this is not limited to belief but can be verified through meditation.
I mean which hell
Buddhism has multiple hells. One hell we can see are the animals. Some animals hunt others. So the hunted live in fear and when hunted they die in pain. There is also decies and famines which affect them. This is considered one form of hellish existence.