Thursday, September 29, 2011

Buddhists, Muslims, and Executing Infidels

Iranian Pastor Faces Execution for Refusing to Recant Christian Faith

Published September 29, 2011

 Yusuf Naderkhani and family

An undated photograph circulated by religious rights organizations shows Youcef Nadarkhani and his family.

The lawyer of an Iranian pastor sentenced to death for refusing to renounce his Christian faith is hopeful an appeals court will acquit his client.

Attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah says he believes there's a "95 percent chance" of acquittal for 32-year-old Yusuf Naderkhani.

Additionally, CBN News is reporting that the death penalty sentence for Naderkhani may be overturned.
Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said in an email Wednesday evening that he'd gotten word of the chief judge's decision, although official notice from the court had not yet been received.

He stressed that the ruling doesn't mean that Naderkhani "will be set free without some additional punishment, potentially a long jail sentence or worse."

The Practical Buddhist Responds

Powerful Iranian clerics teach that apostasy (leaving Islam) should merit the death penalty. If they let Pastor Youcef off the hook if will be because he can prove he was never a Muslim in the first place. But don’t trash Islam and claim your Christianity is more humane or enlightened.

Even today, bishops regularly “excommunicate” apostates (those who leave Christianity in a public way) and “heretics” (those who embrace other flavors of the Faith). It goes on here in Phoenix.  

Excommunication is a kind of spiritual death sentence: no sacraments, and presumably, no salvation.  This recalls the Inquisition when threats of torture and death kept would-be heretics in line, and kept Jews in their place.

It’s about power and centralized control, control that extends to private thoughts.

The Buddha had a disciple named Sunakkhatta who decided to renounce the Teacher and all he stood for. The Buddha responded “Did I ever tell you to live by my teachings? Did you ever say you wanted to live by my teachings?  If not, what exactly are you renouncing?”

Buddhist teachings (like the teachings of Jesus) are powerful and transforming.  The difference is that most Buddhist teachings are ethical, not doctrinal, and that there is no set of required beliefs.  If you want to be a Buddhist, just find refuge in the Buddha, the Buddha’s teaching, and the Buddhist community. No Baptism or enrollment required. You don’t even have to give up being Lutheran or Baptist!

Christianity and Islam are beautiful religions, but dangerous to your health if you stray. Buddhism is like home: you’re always welcome, no matter what.

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