Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

For discussions about religion, but not specifically Christianity.
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For discussions about religion, but not specifically Christianity. Christians and members of any faith or of no faith are welcome, provided they treat others with respect at all times. Remember that detailed discussion about the beliefs of a particular faith will be difficult if no member of that faith is available to take part.

Re: Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

Postby GregB » March 18th, 2015, 7:44 am


If he'd been an Aussie bar manager, could he have been accused of Fostering disrespect...? (Ouch!)

More seriously, on the second article there (about Buddhist violence against Muslims in Myanmar), here's an extract from another article about the situation:
It is clear that Buddhists are responding to existential threats posed by the Muslims living among and around them. They know that, left unchecked, the Muslim minority living among them—which began hostilities—will grow more aggressive, a historically demonstrative fact. As in other countries, the Muslims of Myanmar have engaged in violence, jihadi terror, and rape of Buddhist girls. And that’s as a minority. Myanmar’s Buddhists are also cognizant that, in neighboring nations like Bangladesh where Muslims are the majority, all non-Muslims are being ruthlessly persecuted into extinction. But even in bordering Thailand, where Buddhists are the majority and Muslims a minority, in the south where Muslims make for large numbers, thousands of Buddhists—men, women, and children—have been slaughtered, beheaded, and raped, as separatist Muslims try to cleanse the region of all “infidel” presence.

However, it's sad if Buddhists in Myanmar are becoming more generally hard-line and intolerant, as the second article in the link suggests.
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Re: Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

Postby Lyn » March 18th, 2015, 12:49 pm

Very sad indeed.
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Re: Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

Postby different glory » March 19th, 2015, 10:17 am

I feel as if savagery and violence cloaked in religious fervour is on the rise everywhere - Hindu violence against Christians is another case in point. :(


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Re: Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

Postby Sprocket » March 19th, 2015, 10:31 am

On a slightly pedantic point - the country is called Burma. It's only the nasty regime in charge that calls it Myanmar. Aung San Soo Kyi and other campaigners for the restoration of democracy call it Burma, so I think we should too. from Wikipedia:
n 1989, the military government officially changed the English translations of many names dating back to Burma's colonial period or earlier, including that of the country itself: "Burma" became "Myanmar". The renaming remains a contested issue. Many political and ethnic opposition groups and countries continue to use "Burma" because they do not recognise the legitimacy of the ruling military government or its authority to rename the country.
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Re: Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

Postby GregB » March 19th, 2015, 1:25 pm

Actually, I agree - I've never been happy with that new name, whatever the reason for its change (I wasn't even keen on 'Sri Lanka' for Ceylon.) And George Orwell would spin in his grave at 'Myanmarese Days'... :shock:
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Re: Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

Postby Theophilus » March 19th, 2015, 6:00 pm

Bringing up Sri Lanka/Ceylon is a reminder that "Buddhist violence" is not an aberration limited to Burma. In 2009 the secularist/left-wing Tamil Tigers were finally wiped out by the Buddhist president (the country is 70% Buddhist) in an unrelenting and merciless campaign (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008%E2%80 ... _offensive) egged on by Buddhist monks.

Going further back, in the medieval period Tibetan Buddhists used violence to suppress that region's indigenous religion and later there was much infighting between various Buddhist denominations.
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Re: Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

Postby Sprocket » March 20th, 2015, 8:47 am

Well, Christianity's record isn't very good, is it? Buddhist violence is relatively rare, and Buddhists don't generally organise crusades or pogroms.
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Re: Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

Postby Lyn » March 20th, 2015, 12:06 pm

Very true which is why I found the Buddhist reference particularly sad, Hard to credit it.
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Re: Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

Postby Theophilus » March 20th, 2015, 2:27 pm

Sprocket wrote:Buddhist violence is relatively rare, and Buddhists don't generally organise crusades or pogroms.


That is the perception, which is why I wrote something more factual. Christianity doesn't "generally" organise crusades or pogroms either, but you are more aware of the rare instances when Christians have than when other religions have. Pacifism is arguably more central to Christianity than it is to Buddhism, as the former links even hatred to violence whereas the latter teaches detachment (i.e. no hate but no love either).
Last edited by Theophilus on March 20th, 2015, 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Items of interest (but maybe not long discussion)

Postby GregB » March 20th, 2015, 3:02 pm

Sprocket wrote:Well, Christianity's record isn't very good, is it? Buddhist violence is relatively rare, and Buddhists don't generally organise crusades or pogroms.

Buddhist violence is relatively rare for various reasons historically (though see Theo's earlier post), but it doesn't follow that Buddhists themselves, notably monks, are incapable of violence when the propitious circumstances arise and, in my view, that is fundamentally because human beings sui generis are inherently violent (as arch-sceptic Stanley Kubrick brilliantly demonstrated in various of his films - scratch a 'civilised' person and you'll probably find a murderous savage lurking beneath the skin.) There are certainly individuals who espouse non-violence, religious and non-religious, but adherence to a particular religion does not automatically turn potential wolves en masse into sheep.

It's a misconceived trope to label the Crusades as some kind of inexcusable blemish on the history of the Christian church, gratuitous 'evidence' of Christian violence (as Obama recently did, putting it on a par with the bloodthirsty, hate-inspired savagery of Muslim radicals.) Their primary purpose was to recover the Holy Land for Christianity after it had been brutally conquered and occupied by the Muslim hordes which erupted from Arabia in the 7th century in the name of their psychotic warlord founder and that inevitably entailed warfare against them, and warfare involves killing. (There were lamentable episodes, such as the sacking of Constantinople in 1204 by Crusaders, but that was separate to the original goals.)

As for pogroms, most of them were not carried out under the auspices of the church but as one element in the recurring waves of anti-semitism which plagued Europe and Russia for centuries. The biggest 'pogrom' of them all, the Holocaust, was enacted in the name of a godless political ideology.
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