Sunday, July 21, 2013

More Religious Harm - Buddhism, It's Your Turn!

More than once, I've been told, after making the point that religion is harmful regardless of what it teaches, that Buddhism is a religion of peace, and its teachings do not lead to violence.  Well, I beg to differ, at least as to the violence that is possible - regardless of what it teaches.

Oh, you want links?  Why didn't you say so?

This story comes from a web site called Colombo Telegraph, and the story is entitled, "Full Text Of The Banned Time Story – “The Face Of Buddhist Terror” ".  The story is in part about this man:

His name is simply Wirathu, and he is an influential Buddhist monk in Mandalay, the second largest city in Burma.  Apparently, the government of Burma has banned the printing of this story in Time magazine, probably to avoid the bad press.

(I guess they've never heard of the Streisand Affect.  But, I digress.)

Anyway, this guy, in spite of being a Buddhist monk, is responsible for inciting the local Buddhist population into a frenzy of violence against Muslims.
“Now is not the time for calm,” the monk intones, as he spends 90 minutes describing the many ways in which he detests the minority Muslims in this Buddhist-majority land. “Now is the time to rise up, to make your blood boil.”
Ok, I do get it, that his sermons and incitements to violence are not exactly in sync with the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, who supposedly lived and taught some 2500 years ago. For that matter, the actions of the Roman Catholic Church don't exactly mesh with the teachings of Jesus, either, but for well over 1600 years the RCC has justified torture, arrest, burnings and various other methods of death for a huge variety of offenses against their religion, based on what many Christians today would term twisted translations and interpretations of Old Testament verses.  There are even those who will claim that the violent verses of the Koran were superseded by more peaceful teachings later and thus should not be used to incite violence.

Which illustrates my points (made numerous times in this blog) that ANY religion can be subverted to the nefarious needs of intolerance, bigotry and sectarian chauvinism in the service of pure, unadulterated politics.  Of course, there is no doubt that virtually any ideology or creed can be so subverted for a time.  Mankind is particularly adept at twisting just about anything to serve in the name of its pet hatreds and it is not a surprise that religion can also be so twisted and melded to a cause too.

But, again, religion has a particularly nasty characteristic that simple political ideologies do not.  Religion, being the study and worship of the supernatural, has no reality check.  Since the rewards and punishments of either passing or failing a religious test are gained or suffered AFTER death, there is no way to tell if the claims it makes are true or false.

For political ideologies, there is a simple test - at some point, people will expect it to work.  Its claims of prosperity and well being must at some point be shown to actually come to pass as advertised.  If they do not, people will eventually turn to another ideology or method of governing.  If nothing else, they will compromise and add solutions seen to work elsewhere.

But for the religiously faithful how can one compromise with the devil?  If one's religious truth is revealed to you by a deity, to compromise those truths is to disobey your god.  Thus, political compromise is impossible.  Reality is ignored in favor of scripture, dogma and theology.  There is no test of whether the teachings and dogma of the religion  agree with reality.  Indeed, since the claims of most religions are about life AFTER death, a reality check is impossible.  The claims religions can make are limited solely by man's imagination.

Thus, we get, eventually, the kind of violence this story reports on.  Sectarian violence, killings and discrimination based solely on what supernatural myth you happen to think is true or on your rejection of someone else's superstition.

I guess my whole reason for tilting at this nefarious windmill is that the human race has so many different things we need to fix, and so many other ways to hate one another, why in hell do we need to make up more?

Aren't the ones we already have bad enough?

1 comment:

Tom D said...

This is so true. There is no way to verify what happens after death no one has ever came back and told me.Preachers say have faith,faith in what. I personally have prayed however I am not sure it helped. If there is a god why does he allow people to kill and fight over religion? More wars have been fought over religion than anything else, why?