Tuesday, March 22, 2016

BRUSSELS, VIOLENT BUDDHISTS AND AD HOC RELIGION

The day after the Brussels terrorist attacks, Bernie Sanders echoed most sane leaders: "We're fighting a gang of terrorists, not a religion."  Opportunists like Cruz and Company rage over such failures to call the attacks "Radical Islamic Terrorism," mostly to gratify fearful xenophobes who vote. 

Fact is, every religion, including Buddhism, has violent members including clergy, who use teaching and traditions to justify murder. Click for Ten Violent Buddhists


In the 1970's Thai nationalist monk Phra Kittiwutto taught widely that that killing communists was a good idea and violated nothing in the Dharma.  Burmese monks were at the center of sometimes violent protests . Some sponsored ethnic cleansing of the Royingya people and other Muslims, inspired by Wirathu, who made the Time cover in 2013. 

You'll say it's crazy to point to a few decidedly un-Buddhist monks and claim gentle Buddhism can be a violent religion. 

 You'll almost certainly point out that the Holocaust was not a Christian plot, even though most perpetrators were nominal Christians living in Christian countries.  

I'll say that's what you're doing with Islam.  These crazed bombers share passions based on twisted and superstitious version of Islam. The teachings of Mohammed, the Buddha, and Jesus do not create terrorists.  All call for peace and tolerance.  

I've claimed before that fervid Trump followers are motivated by a kind of ad hoc religion. It's not any typical faith. It's a religion they create to justify various hatreds and invitations to violence, whether at rallies or in the Middle East. Like smug Gnostics, they see themselves as an elite with superior knowledge and judgment, worthy of deference, and entitled to live with their own kind. 

Every ad hoc religion (fascism, Soviet communism, North Korean dictator veneration, and the extreme nationalism of wartime) shares the same vile beliefs and motives.  

Every lasting religion, no matter the language, insists that we love one another.