Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:34 pm

appicchato wrote:
The government purchased their equipment because it was the best...


Not by a long shot they didn't...

:thumbsup: contracts go to the lowest bidder right?
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:40 pm

poto wrote:Many Muslims already see the US presence (or the very existence of the US) as a cause for jihad. Altering a naming convention will not do anything to change that. Really, short of removing ourselves from the planet or converting to Islam, it's not going to change the mindset of the extremists.

I find it absurd that more of my tax payer dollars are going to be spent to buy 'politically correct' weapons of death and destruction. As if that will make all the killing and wars somehow better.

It is a small thing in the scheme of things and doing something about it would not be for the true believers with guns and strapped on bombs; it is for the others who are paying attention. Little things count sometimes.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby poto » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:52 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:
appicchato wrote:
The government purchased their equipment because it was the best...


Not by a long shot they didn't...

:thumbsup: contracts go to the lowest bidder right?


I had a feeling somebody was going to mention the lowest bidder thing. US mil spec is among the best in the world. You can split hairs over DoD contracts, selection procedures and other details, but the fact is it still manages to produce some of the finest killing machines in the world.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby poto » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:58 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
poto wrote:Many Muslims already see the US presence (or the very existence of the US) as a cause for jihad. Altering a naming convention will not do anything to change that. Really, short of removing ourselves from the planet or converting to Islam, it's not going to change the mindset of the extremists.

I find it absurd that more of my tax payer dollars are going to be spent to buy 'politically correct' weapons of death and destruction. As if that will make all the killing and wars somehow better.

It is a small thing in the scheme of things and doing something about it would not be for the true believers with guns and strapped on bombs; it is for the others who are paying attention. Little things count sometimes.


Sometime the small things do count. I just don't think this is one of them.

IMHO, the root of this whole thing is people and especially extremists who have unwholesome and wrong views based on their interpretations of their religions. Until they can overcome that, we will not see any real positive changes. As such, I don't think making minor changes in equipment to pander to people with wrong views will be of benefit.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:11 pm

poto wrote:IMHO, the root of this whole thing is people and especially extremists who have unwholesome and wrong views based on their interpretations of their religions. Until they can overcome that, we will not see any real positive changes. As such, I don't think making minor changes in equipment to pander to people with wrong views will be of benefit.

As I said, it is a small thing, but addressing this is not directed at the extremists wackjobs, but it is for other Muslims who are paying attention.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:51 pm

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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby fig tree » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:29 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:Maybe I'm missing something with this story, but it seems to of like controversy for controversy's sake.

First, it's not quite so subtle. I suppose you have to look closely to see the serial number, but the added text is in the same type, not some kind of microprinting or hidden in source code that most people don't see. I don't know whether you're familiar with the Bible, but to people who are, "JN8:12" or "2COR4:6" looks like a Bible verse reference, more so than "BDS" would necessarily remind one of the triple gem. It was unsubtle enough that people noticed it. (If you had managed to carve "SN42.3" somewhere visible, they also might not have caught the reference, but they would have had somewhat more cause to be miffed, wouldn't they?)

I understand how people can feel irritated at being asked to be careful in what they say to people who are too easily offended to begin with. But this is something that a lot of people have to do all the time. The things that you should in theory be able to say to or about people above one at work without upsetting them, quite often include many things that will be badly regarded and probably should be avoided. If you want to make it more fair, be careful in a similar way with abrasive speech toward people who you know are less easily offended and/or less able to make things unpleasant for you.

If the issue had started and stopped with the inscriptions, I would consider it much less of a problem, but from the story you can see how people have compounded it. Instead of just saying that they had regarded themselves as incorporating a little something personal into their work, they described themselves as showing respect for what makes American society a good society, namely, that so many Americans are good because they're Christians. They dismissed the complaint as coming from a "non-Christian" group. There are reports of commanders calling them "spiritually transformed firearm[s] of Jesus Christ." It also follows various other incidents in which Christianity talk has been inserted into military communications.

poto wrote:I think it's a big deal over nothing.

I think my idea of "making a big deal out of something" is somewhat narrower than yours.

poto wrote:A private company used religion as part of their naming convention for their serial codes. Private companies and individuals are free to do as they please.

No, not really. That's a super simplified description of how society works.

One person interviewed claimed that there was a law being violated here, meant to prevent religious symbolism being put into the battlefield. Another claimed no law was violated. I don't know what the law itself says, but if there is such a law, it precludes our pretending that it's just some private matter! There are really important distinctions to draw here: when certain Muslims try to stop cartoons of Mohammed from being printed, they are reaching into genuinely private matters (where the government also has no say). There is no special right, however, to put your own personal message on what you supply to the military.

poto wrote:The government purchased their equipment because it was the best, not because it had religious inscriptions that they didn't know about.

Didn't know about... until after they bought it.

One of the under-reported stories of the 1990s was the pentagon program of subsidizing mergers between their contractors. They buy huge amounts of stuff from companies that are close to being the only available source.

poto wrote:Many Muslims already see the US presence (or the very existence of the US) as a cause for jihad.

I don't think many Muslims see the existence of the U.S. as a cause for (forceful) jihad. This is one of those issues where I think it's worth trying to be accurate, even if there doesn't seem to be a big payoff for being accurate.

The Koran says not to initiate hostilities against a place that allows Muslims to worship in peace. I think that's the point of view of most Muslims. Even a lot of the most extreme of them try to rationalize their support for violence against Americans by claiming that we are being violent first. From what we know about bin Laden, it seems to be clear that what really got him upset was American troops on Saudi soil. I'm sure you can find some Muslims who think that violent jihad should continue until everyone has been forced to convert to Islam, or some such nonsense, but I think you'll find it more difficult than you think.

Ever since 9/11, the American political right has been saying over and over that this was the bombers' way of trying to destroy our values and way of life. I think their preference for such a simplified explanation has more to do with trying to make us feel good about "using all means" against terrorists than any desire to "open our eyes" or educate us. They want the hostility in us to be up and ready for easy access. This is exactly what we shouldn't be doing.

It might be worth remembering also that "jihad" does not always mean violence. It seems to be used in somewhat the same way as some people in the West use the word "crusade", and ironically with the same kind of misunderstanding by outsiders. The primary meaning is "struggle", and it can be a struggle of whatever kind.

poto wrote:Altering a naming convention will not do anything to change that. Really, short of removing ourselves from the planet or converting to Islam, it's not going to change the mindset of the extremists.

I don't consider it a good reason to do so, but I'm pretty sure that if we pulled out all our troops and stopped supporting Israel, it would change their outlook. To a lesser degree, though, the things that we've been doing have been very effective in helping them with their efforts to recruit disaffected Muslims.

We have a much better chance of influencing our own religious ideologues than theirs, however. These are people who get upset every time they're asked not to insert religious messages somewhere. We need to insist upon the distinction between one's own freedom to practice religion and being allowed to suffuse the military with it and so on. It's well worth the paltry sum of money that it'll take to sand some letters off some gun sights to reaffirm that point.

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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:45 pm

Well said, Fig Tree!
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby meindzai » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:05 pm

fig tree wrote: (If you had managed to carve "SN42.3" somewhere visible, they also might not have caught the reference, but they would have had somewhat more cause to be miffed, wouldn't they?)


[ponders whether I can start slipping those in to my call tickets at work...]

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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:14 pm

meindzai wrote:
fig tree wrote: (If you had managed to carve "SN42.3" somewhere visible, they also might not have caught the reference, but they would have had somewhat more cause to be miffed, wouldn't they?)


[ponders whether I can start slipping those in to my call tickets at work...]

-M


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That's all you need to do as a PR exercise!
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby poto » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:39 am

Ben wrote:Well said, Fig Tree!


16 minutes...

After Fig Tree made that post, I was wondering how long it would take before somebody posted a congrats.

fig tree wrote:It might be worth remembering also that "jihad" does not always mean violence. It seems to be used in somewhat the same way as some people in the West use the word "crusade", and ironically with the same kind of misunderstanding by outsiders. The primary meaning is "struggle", and it can be a struggle of whatever kind.


I was using the most common usage, Jihad of the Sword.

You are correct that it does not always mean violence. However, the most common usage both in Islamic culture and the west is the violent one. In the Hadith collections, pretty much all references to Jihad are in regards to war.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby Reductor » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:50 am

poto wrote:
Ben wrote:Well said, Fig Tree!


16 minutes...

After Fig Tree made that post, I was wondering how long it would take before somebody posted a congrats.




Well, it was well written.

I have to wonder though. Is peace not worth what ever it costs to obtain it? Being a bunch of bleedin' heart Buddhist pacifists as we are, should we not see that small things have huge influences and whatever can be done to assure peace should be done. However small is may seem at the time.

The other thing about this story that surprised me was the reference to New Testaments that were printed in Iraqi and Afghan languages. Seems that these little gun scope codes might suggest a larger movement at work in the US military, the impact of which should not be so readily dismissed.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:00 am

Greetings Poto,

poto wrote:16 minutes...

After Fig Tree made that post, I was wondering how long it would take before somebody posted a congrats.


The significance being what exactly? :shrug:

Are people not allowed to express appreciation and gratitude for the well spoken words of others?

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby appicchato » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:09 am

poto wrote:I was using the most common usage, Jihad of the Sword.

You knew that poto...I didn't... :smile:
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:20 am

George W Bush is out of the office and can still amaze me!
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby poto » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:21 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Poto,

poto wrote:16 minutes...

After Fig Tree made that post, I was wondering how long it would take before somebody posted a congrats.


The significance being what exactly? :shrug:

Are people not allowed to express appreciation and gratitude for the well spoken words of others?

Metta,
Retro. :)


The significance is I knew it was coming. Not because it was well written, but because of the ideology it contained.

Denounce the American political right as evil (which they are), and people applaud. That's all fine and good, but why is it in response to comments I make? Do I come off as a right wing extremist or something?
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby Ben » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:37 am

Poto
Your comment came across as a personal attack on me and Fig Tree.
It was nothing but a cheap jibe.
I was not applauding Fig Tree denouncing anyone as evil. I congratulated Fig Tree because his post articulated the nuances of the issues at hand.
Play the ball, Poto, not the man.

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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby poto » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:06 am

Ben wrote:Poto
Your comment came across as a personal attack on me and Fig Tree.
It was nothing but a cheap jibe.
I was not applauding Fig Tree denouncing anyone as evil. I congratulated Fig Tree because his post articulated the nuances of the issues at hand.
Play the ball, Poto, not the man.

Ben


ok, well... since I can't seem to avoid making 'personal attacks' here, maybe it's time I go.

I wish you all well and may your practice be fruitful.

bye :)
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby AdvaitaJ » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:16 am

fig tree wrote:I don't consider it a good reason to do so, but I'm pretty sure that if we pulled out all our troops and stopped supporting Israel, it would change their outlook. To a lesser degree, though, the things that we've been doing have been very effective in helping them with their efforts to recruit disaffected Muslims.


Given the history of violence and invasion, I can't really bring myself to believe that any action we take short of conversion would pacify them. And, regarding the preceding sentence, I'll make the further statement that it could apply equally well to zealots of either Christianity or Islam.

Skimming through this thread, I haven't seen anywhere where anyone looked up the bible verses. What I heard on the news is that the verses refer to "being a light in the darkness" or something like that. The reason the company used those verses is because their products are night-sights -- specifically engineered to provide a lighted sighting system in darkness. I suppose if you're a good upstanding Christian night-sight designer in a Christian-dominated "in God We Trust" society, it probably seems a clever bit of marketing.

Harking back to my pre-Buddhist military days, I would have found the presence of bible verses on my weaponry insulting for their presumption and a definite detraction because a combat weapon is no place for anything not absolutely essential. Bad judgment on the company's part and even poorer marks for the vast military acquisition system for not catching it.

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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Re: Gun sights, Jesus and Islam

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:00 am

thereductor wrote:should we not see that small things have huge influences and whatever can be done to assure peace should be done. However small is may seem at the time.


I see your point :)
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