The Buddha said: “If outsiders speak against me, the Teaching, or the Order, you should not be angry, for that would prevent your own self-conquest. Similarly, if they praise us. But you should find out what is false or true, and acknowledge the fact. And even in praise it is only of trifling matters that an unconverted man might speak of me.”

I am really intolerant of intolerant people!

Thus goes the circle of hate and bigotry. I have read several comments to articles in the last weeks that have really hit this point home:

I’m all for humor and poking fun. However these folks find the show offensive. If it was Buddha or Mohamad showing up would it be any less offensive?

Alvin York on The Search for a Good Story in regards to the new TV show The Book of Daniel

it is either the truth or a lie, but chritianity espouses no theories.why do you not rail against ra , vishnu or the odyssey? is it because your not afraid they might be true? (sic)

-Floyd on Heretical Ideas in regards to a post about the DVDThe God Who Wasn’t There

However, a rigid worldview based on the teachings of a book – any book – might not be the best way to approach things. We have an amazing intellect at our beck and call, and yet so many people shelve it to allow others to do their thinking for them. They let their governments choose what is good and bad for them, and they sit in churches letting a pastor, priest or imam tell them what to think about social and philosophical topics.

It’s this kind of reliance on others thinking for your basic belief structure that breeds murdercide and the bombing of abortion clinics. If you really have the truth, why do you need to kill people that disagree? It’s only through your own disbelief that such acts are fostered. And that really troubles me. It’s like the world needs a wake up call. 9/11 seems to not have been it. What’s next?

I will leave with some thoughts from the Dalai Lama:

Buddha always emphasized the rational pursuit of truth. “He instructed his disciples to critically judge his words before accepting them. He always advocated reason over blind faith.”

“Buddha was speaking about reality,” says the Dalai Lama. “Reality may be one, in its deepest essence, but Buddha also stated that all propositions about reality are only contingent. Reality is devoid of any intrinsic identity that can be captured by any one single proposition , that is what Buddha meant by “voidness.” Therefore, Buddhism strongly discourages blind faith and fanaticism.”

“Of course, there are different truths on different levels. Things are true relative to other things; “long” and “short” relate to each other, “high” and “low,” and so on. But is there any absolute truth? Something self-sufficient, independently true in itself? I don’t think so.”

“In Buddhism we have the concept of “interpretable truths,” teachings that are reasonable and logical for certain people in certain situations. Buddha himself taught different teachings to different people under different circumstances. For some people, there are beliefs based on a Creator. For others, no Creator. The only “definitive truth” for Buddhism is the absolute negation of any one truth as the Definitive Truth.”


6 thoughts on “Intolerance”

  1. I don’t think that <strong>all</strong><strong> </strong>of the followers of said Judaeo-Christian moral underpinnings are mindless. I think that there is a underlying current in the teachings to simply accept said teachings on Faith, rather then to make sure that they are constant and valid. And, while it might have been a good way to control the masses in the past, I think that we are at a point in our evolution as a society (we westerners) where the ‘old ways’ are not good enough anymore. We are facing one of the most radical changes to our way of life over the next 40 years that has ever happened. We need a new outlook.

    On that topic – Judaism and Christianity have very little in common, other then coming out of the same portion of the world – but that’s another topic :)

    I think that many of the issues with <a rel="nofollow" href="">Kool Aid</a> in the past might have been mitigated if we taught more moral, ethical and commonsensical self-reliance to our children.

    As far as Moral Relativism – I would say that it is correct in many cases. However, there are some underlying morals that should cross sociopolitical boundaries – not harming others for example. Again, however "<em>The on</em><em>ly ‘definitive truth”…is the absolute negation of any one truth as the Definitive Truth.</em>”, what ever that means :)

  2. Interesting discussion. At times, Tsykoduk, it appears that you are attempting to make a case for moral relativism. The dominant Western ethics is undeniably based on a Judaeo-Christian foundation, and I wonder what you think of the proposition that it may have evolved that way because it is a workable system to regulate the behavior of human beings living in large communities.

    That proposition is quite different than stating that subscribers to a Judaeo-Christian based morality are mindless automatons following the directions of an outdated book authored by ignorant desert nomads in remote antiquity. Please also note that approximately 50% of humanity has an IQ less than 100, and, in those people, it is quite useful to have them entrained to parroting a workable system of ethics.

  3. As far as Aum Shin Rikyo goes – I would say, um, no.

    <blockquote>The cult’s tenets are based on ancient yoga and primitive Buddhism. They also worship the Hindu god Shiva, who holds the keys to both destruction and creation. Destruction and creation, in the cult’s view, are one in the same.</blockquote>

    So, they take what they want from Buddhism, Hindusm, and who knows what else, and forge their own path.

    <blockquote>In all of Buddhist history, there has never been a holy war. Surely Buddhist kings have waged war against one another, and they may even have claimed to be doing so for the benefit of humankind or the Buddhist religion, but they could not quote any saying of the Buddha to support them. The Buddha was quite clear in his renunciation of violence: "Victory creates hatred. Defeat creates suffering. The wise ones desire neither victory nor defeat… Anger creates anger… He who kills will be killed. He who wins will be defeated… Revenge can only be overcome by abandoning revenge… The wise seek neither victory nor defeat."</blockquote>

    as opposed to the bible, which is rife with intolerance and God sponsored violence. There are plenty of gems in the rough as it were, however the way the bible is today is simply medival.

    I never said nor belived that any religion will make any person into a saint. I belive that some religions are based on a faulty foundation, however. What scares me is not the foundations – it’s that people are trained to simply accept the teachings with out thinking.

    For me, Gay Marrage is not a moral issue. It’s simply granting folks the rights to make their own moral choices. I might or might not agree with it – but it’s not my place to tell some one that they cannot do something which does no harm to others.

  4. Do <a href="; rel="nofollow">these guys</a> count?

    Most people seem bent on destroying anyone who is not ‘their kind.’ No region of the world has been free from war and violence for any signifigant period of time. Religion is often used as a means to define the ‘other’ but people would tend to find some means regardless.

    Do you think that most Buddhists have a deep understanding of their religion or are they just as plastic as the Christians? Certainly there are plenty of hippocrits out there. Few of us match up to our ethical beliefs regardless of what the source of those beliefs is.

    Naturally in a majority Christian nation, the majority of the jerks one encounters will be Christian. It would be nice if a religios belief, any religios belief (or even not having a religious belief at all) would make the believers into instant saints. Doesn’t work that way.

    I don’t know that this is the time or the place to get into the gay marriage debate, and I agree with you that it should be legal, but it is worth noting that your moral view that homosexual marriage should be tolerated and legally recognized is something that you want to be ‘encoded into the legal system.’

  5. There is not a international network of Buddhist terrorists that I am aware of – but that does not mean that Buddhists cannot be violent. I would question a violent Buddhist and their motives as much as I question a violent Christian or Muslim.

    Here is the rub however – All of the Middle Eastern religions seem bent on destroying anyone who does not agree with them. Look to the Crusades and the current spat of terror. I agree that there are other circumstances that contribute to these acts of horror, however the common thread is following a religion based on the holding of absolute truth. I believe that absolute truth (and the possession of it) breeds intolerance, and intolerance breeds violence.

    Look at the question of Homosexual marriage in the United States. Would it harm a Christian to allow some one to make that choice? In any manner? No. But some Christians make a Federal case out of the matter – not only forcing their morality onto others, but encoding into the legal system.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I say that if the Christians were a minority in this country, they would be just as hurt and offended if another group conspired to take their rights to worship as they see fit away, or their right to marry and carry bibles or what ever. They have this great rule – their golden rule – and many of them simply do not follow it except to pay it lip service.

    Perhaps it’s just human nature to treat your fellow beings with disdain and disregard, however I for one think that the world would be a better place with a touch more compassion and tolerance. I have walked the path of the Christian, and the majority that I personally found were hollow people made out of plastic. The type that read the bible on Sunday with tears in their eyes, proclaiming the love for love it’self – and as they pull out of the Church’s parking lot, and flip another driver off with hatred in their eyes.

    A grand example – I was trying to merge into traffic a few years ago. A lady in a minivan, with her three kids and Jesus stickers plastered all over the back, screamed at me because she thought that I cut her off. She used some pretty foul language. Honestly, I do not think that I did cut her off, but I might have. So, I yelled back at her, "Jesus loves you too!" and she turned white.

    I get really tired of hypocritical and intolerant people – be they Buddhists, Wiccans, Christians or Atheists. Honestly, I feel that intolerance is a sign of immaturity. I don’t really know – but I do know that I was pretty intolerant when I was younger. I probably am still – but of different things now. I truly am intolerant of intolerance. :)

  6. Buddhism of course is not free from terrorists either.

    One has to wonder if reliance on an authority figure for guidance about morality is inherently wrong, why you would quote the Dalia Lama.

    I also question the concept that disliking the protrayal of ones religion in a public forum, and expressing that dislike is part and parcel with blowing other people up. One can find criminals and murders who ostensibly believe any philosophy known to man. Some of them use whatever religious or philosophical beliefs they hold as justification for their crimes.

    Further, the notion that religion is the driving force behind any terrorism (rather than an excuse for it) doesn’t seem to fit the facts that we have very well. Terrorism seems to arise from political, rather than religious aims and terrorist themselves seem to be based upon an alienation and political impotence with relgion being a cover for those feelings. If religion didn’t exist another means of group identification would take its place. Human’s being a gregarious species, group identification will always exist.

    I expect that you would deny, and be mildly offended by someone who claimed that you were merely parroting the teachings of Buddhism and didn’t apply any critical thinking of your own in analyzing those teachings. I don’t see therefore why you would assume that those of a different faith don’t approach things in the same way. Perhaps it is that you are sure that anyone who ‘thought’ about things would of necessity agree with you, if so that is an amazing degree of arrogance.

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