Recently I was chatting with some Christian friends and we were recollecting some of Jesus' teachings - I, particularly, specified a couple aspects of the New Testament that were downright absurd; one is resurrection: one group of Christians believe Christ had actually raised from the dead, and the other that it was a metaphor. The first view is obviously non-scientific, and one might actually argue it makes no sense.
I have been reading the nikayas myself and although I have found them to be beautiful, I cannot avoid detecting leftovers of Hinduism and absurdity in Buddha's sayings - if taken literally. I have already asked a question about the absurdity of interpreting rebirth literally, and was satisfied with Buddhadasa Bikkhu's view that it should be interpreted metaphorically - even though Buddha explicitly said that rebirth also happened after death (references can be found in the linked question). I now have read more suttas and am very dislocated with regards to many passages. I list some of them below.
Buddha affirms ugliness is a direct consequence of past lives (MN 135):
There is the case, where a woman or man is ill-tempered & easily upset; even when lightly criticized, he/she grows offended, provoked, malicious, & resentful; shows annoyance, aversion, & bitterness. Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in the plane of deprivation... If instead he/she comes to the human state, then he/she is ugly wherever reborn.
Buddha affirms conception is only possible with the presence of a lesser metaphysical creature to be reborn in the foetus (MN 93):
"'Do you know how there is the descent of an embryo?'
"'Yes, master, we know how there is the descent of an embryo. There is the case where the mother & father have come together, the mother is fertile, and a gandhabba [the being about to be reborn] is standing present. The coming together of these three is the descent of the embryo.'
Buddha affirms that Dhamma practise will turn a person into, let's face it, some sort of superman (DN 2):
With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the modes of supranormal powers. He wields manifold supranormal powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting cross-legged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds.
If taken metaphorically, the last quote can make sense. The first and second are fruits of a mind that was born in the VI BCE, before the discovery of genetics and physiology.
A previous question has answers that say that to be a Buddhism a person has to have "unwavering faith in Buddha". Does that mean that to become a Buddhist I must give hand of science and start believing nonsense like this? Is it part of being a Buddhist believing everything the Buddha said is true, or must I be discerning and throw away things that are now know to be false?
I have already understood that the role of Buddha is taken to be showing mankind the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. These do make sense for me, completely... But I'm stuck with those esoteric aspects of Buddhism.