The danger of intolerance

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The danger of intolerance

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:15 am

I'm shocked by some of the language I've seen Buddhists use on this board with regard to other religions.

In a different thread, I stated that "we need to have respect for opposing views," to which the response came, in part:
pink_trike wrote:Unless those views are irrational to the point of bordering on psychotic and dangerous to individual and societal health.

Who exactly is going to decide which religions are "dangerous to societal health"? The state? Voters? We've seen what happens in China when the state makes this type of decision.

Another person expressed the view that religion "needs to go." This rhetoric sounds to me a lot like the rhetoric of "the Jews must go" or "the infidels must go" or other such divisive language that has spawned so much violence in the past. I find it hard to believe that Buddhists here on this board are using this type of rhetoric.

pink-trike wrote:Religious people tend to feel threatened by something "out there" when their religious beliefs are put under the microscope or rejected as irrationality.
That is a stereotype. It is an irrational view.

In the last few days, I've noticed a disturbing willingness around here to ridicule other religions, and to find reasons why other religions should not be treated with respect.

Why?
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:20 am

A moderator's note: Please be considerate and temered in your exchanges here.
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: The danger of intolerance

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:26 am

Greetings Jechbi,

I agree.

Tolerance and Diversity, Bhikkhu Bodhi.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_24.html
To the extent that a religion proposes sound ethical principles and can promote to some degree the development of wholesome qualities such as love, generosity, detachment and compassion, it will merit in this respect the approbation of Buddhists. These principles advocated by outside religious systems will also conduce to rebirth in the realms of bliss — the heavens and the divine abodes. Buddhism by no means claims to have unique access to these realms, but holds that the paths that lead to them have been articulated, with varying degrees of clarity, in many of the great spiritual traditions of humanity. While the Buddhist will disagree with the belief structures of other religions to the extent that they deviate from the Buddha's Dhamma, he will respect them to the extent that they enjoin virtues and standards of conduct that promote spiritual development and the harmonious integration of human beings with each other and with the world.

Canki Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
... There are five ideas that ripen here and now in two ways. What five? Faith, preference, hearsay-learning, arguing upon evidence, and liking through pondering a view. Now something may have faith well placed in it and yet be hollow, empty, and false; and again something may have no faith placed in it and yet be factual, true, and no other than it seems; and so with preference and the rest. If a man has faith, then he guards truth when he says, "My faith is thus," but on that account draws no unreserved conclusion, "Only this is true, the other is wrong." In this way he guards the truth; but there is as yet no discovery of truth. And so with preference and the rest.


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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 07, 2009 3:56 am

Dear all

I apologise to those who have seen this repeated by me in several places.

12th Major Rock Edict

The Beloved of the Gods, the king Piyadassi, honours all sects and both ascetics and laymen, with gifts and various forms of recognition. But the Beloved of the Gods do not consider gifts or honour to be as important as the advancement of the essential doctrine of all sects. This progress of the essential doctrine takes many forms, but its basis is the control of one's speech, so as not to extoll one's own sect or disparage another's on unsuitable occasions, or at least to do so only mildly on certain occasions. On each occasion one should honour another man's sect, for by doing so one increases the influence of one's own sect and benefits that of the other man; whileby doing otherwise one diminishes the influence of one's own sect and harms the other man's. Again, whosoever honours his own sect or disparages that of another man, wholly out of devotion to his own, with a view to showing it in a favourable light, harms his own sect even more seriously. Therefore, concord is to be commanded, so that men may hear one anothers principles and obey them. This is the desire of the Beloved of the Gods, that all sects should be well-informed, and should teach that which is good, and that everywhere their adherents should be told, 'The Beloved of the Gods does not consider gifts or honour to be as important as the progress of the essential doctrine of all sects.' Many are concerned with this matter - the officers of Dhamma, the women's officers, the managers of the state farms, and other classes of officers. The result of this is the increased influence of one's own sect and glory to Dhamma.
-- http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/a ... #12th_Majo


Dear friends, please take the time to self-moderate. Before submitting a post or thread, consider how it advances Dhamma-discussion, how it will aid the development of knowledge. One of the more pernicious views is the conceit of believing oneself to be infallible or the holder of an unalloyed perspective of reality. The fact of the matter is, until we advance to become ariyan, our vision is distorted and our understanding polluted. We should always turn our attention towards the phenomenology of our own nama-rupa complex as the basis of proper enquiry. Whatever is going on outside, is nothing compared to the delusions within our own minds.
Metta

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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:17 am

Ashoka was so smart. :bow:

Too bad we don't have many leaders like him anymore.

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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby pink_trike » Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:26 am

Jechbi wrote:I'm shocked by some of the language I've seen Buddhists use on this board with regard to other religions.


Hi Jechbi,

Jechbi wrote:In a different thread, I stated that "we need to have respect for opposing views," to which the response came, in part:
pink_trike wrote:Unless those views are irrational to the point of bordering on psychotic and dangerous to individual and societal health.

Who exactly is going to decide which religions are "dangerous to societal health"? The state? Voters? We've seen what happens in China when the state makes this type of decision.


Individuals who are awakening from the spell of religion are going to decide for themselves.

I want to point out to you that my comments weren't about any particular religion, they were specifically about religion and religiosity - I'm more interested in the fetishization of certain areas of human inquiry as "religion" and in the causes of and effects of the psychological mind-state of religiosity on individuals and society. I find it interesting that so many religious people and religious institutions would like to discourage any critical examination of the concept and effect of "religion" and the effects of the experience of religiosity. But I find it even more surprising that people who are self-acknowledged religionists have no interest in looking directly at the concept of "religion" or looking directly at the experience of religiosity - looking at both with a dispassionate distancing. It's like saying "I'm a democrat" while having no understanding what "politics" are. It appears that Religion itself is a religion and therefore demands respect and no questions.

pink-trike wrote:Religious people tend to feel threatened by something "out there" when their religious beliefs are put under the microscope or rejected as irrationality.


That is a stereotype. It is an irrational view.


And yet the media is full of religious leaders and spokespersons who talk endlessly and even aggressively about how religion is "under attack" and about how religious people are being "persecuted". And it seems that it's the rare religious person who has or is willing to look critically at and thoroughly unpack the concept of "religion" itself or the mind-state of religiosity - or to question why certain realms of human inquiry are put in the "religion" box with the expectation that everyone will respect any beliefs put there, and that everyone will refrain from questioning the beliefs because they've been labeled "religious". Not all mind-states or beliefs (even those that enjoy protected status as "religion) are benign, and all are subject to critical analysis (this is quite consistent with the Dharma - though many Buddhist religionists would likely feel compelled to disagree).

If a particular set of beliefs can only have meaning within a closed logic system under the protective rubric of "religion"...and if the _concept of religion_ and the _mind-state of religiosity_ can't be questioned and demand respect simply because they are "religion" and therefore must be respected...and if there can be no critical examination of beliefs that are put in the "religious" box, and no critical examination of what causes people to fall into mind-states of religiosity - then it's understandable why a growing number of people are increasingly not interested in religion. Religion partitions itself off from critical analysis and then feels attacked when people ignore the partition and look at religion and the mind-state of religiosity nakedly.

In the last few days, I've noticed a disturbing willingness around here to ridicule other religions, and to find reasons why other religions should not be treated with respect.


To clarify, I'm not ridiculing any religion - a critical examination of the concept of "religion" and a careful examination of the mind-state of religiosity isn't ridicule. And I'm not just referring to "other" religions...I'm referring to all religions, including Buddhism (which is a thing quite different from the Dharma).
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Union is Great Bliss

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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:56 am

Hi Pink,

I agree with many of your comments in this post. A few quibbles:
pink_trike wrote:... people who are self-acknowledged religionists have no interest in looking directly at the concept of "religion" or looking directly at the experience of religiosity - looking at both with a dispassionate distancing.
I feel this statement would be more accurate if you would add the the word "some" to it, as in "some people who are self-acknowledged religionists" etc. Otherwise I believe you are overgeneralizing. As a matter of fact, some self-acknowledged religionists have a great deal of interest in looking directly at the concept of "religion" and so forth.

pink_trike wrote:And yet the media is full of religious leaders and spokespersons who talk endlessly and even aggressively about how religion is "under attack" and about how religious people are being "persecuted". And it seems that it's the rare religious person who has or is willing to look critically at and thoroughly unpack the concept of "religion" itself or the mind-state of religiosity - or to question why certain realms of human inquiry are put in the "religion" box with the expectation that everyone will respect any beliefs put there, and that everyone will refrain from questioning the beliefs because they've been labeled "religious".
Besides the religious leaders and spokespersons of which the media is full, there are additional religious persons who get less attention yet may better reflect the broad range of relative open-mindedness you'd expect to find within any social set. If you're basing your views of "self-acknowledged religionists" on what you see on TV, that's an insufficient sample.

pink_trike wrote:Not all mind-states or beliefs (even those that enjoy protected status as "religion) are benign, and all are subject to critical analysis (this is quite consistent with the Dharma - though many Buddhist religionists would likely feel compelled to disagree).
There's a difference between critical analysis and wholesale dismissal. The former is consistent with Buddhadhamma; the latter is not, in my opinion.

pink_trike wrote:If a particular set of beliefs can only have meaning within a closed logic system under the protective rubric of "religion"...and if the _concept of religion_ and the _mind-state of religiosity_ can't be questioned and demand respect simply because they are "religion" and therefore must be respected...and if there can be no critical examination of beliefs that are put in the "religious" box, and no critical examination of what causes people to fall into mind-states of religiosity
... that's a lot of ifs ...
pink_trike wrote: - then it's understandable why a growing number of people are increasingly not interested in religion.
especially if those people only choose to look at those elements of religion that are objectionable and disregard other elements.
pink_trike wrote:Religion partitions itself off from critical analysis and then feels attacked when people ignore the partition and look at religion and the mind-state of religiosity nakedly.
No it doesn't. At least not necessarily. Sounds like you're overgeneralizing again.

pink_trike wrote:... a careful examination of the mind-state of religiosity isn't ridicule.
To me it seems like a carefree examination rather than a careful one, to put a charitable spin on it.

Metta
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby pink_trike » Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:30 am

Jechbi wrote:Hi Pink,
pink_trike wrote:... a careful examination of the mind-state of religiosity isn't ridicule.
To me it seems like a carefree examination rather than a careful one, to put a charitable spin on it.

I'm sensing some tension there so let me briefly explain my interest/responses re: the concept/phenomenon of religion and the mind-state of religiosity. I'm not religious and have never experienced the mind-state of religiosity. I'm a long-time conservative practitioner of Buddhist mind-training. Not all Buddhists are religious - there are more non-religious Buddhist practitioners in the West than many here might realize. A non-religious Buddhist practitioner is going to have non-religious views and a different view of religion itself than religionists do. It shouldn't be assumed that everyone who posts here shares a religious interpretation of Buddhism or that everyone here sees value in framing mind-training practices and the pursuit of clarity as "religious".

I'm third generation religion-free w/ non-religious parents, grandparents, and great grand parents. Religion never came up. I barely knew that religion existed as a young adult. Yet, I've had to deal with religion all my adult life as a gay man. Religion and religious people have been trying to legislate my life for my whole life. Religious people have reserved a place for me in some imagined hell, based on one of their religious beliefs. Religious people prevented me from marrying the person I loved, and prevents me from marrying anyone I may love in the foreseeable future. Religious people actively advocate violence against me and all gay people. Religious people have done their very best to paint gay people as evil and degenerate, as pariah. Religious people have spent many hundreds of millions of dollars over decades to organize political campaigns designed to legally codify a second class citizenship for all gay people, including me...to make it legal to fire people based on their affectional/sexual orientation, to make it illegal to even exist as gay people - that is their ultimate goal.

I only point this out because imo it's understandable that being at the receiving end of this unrequested attention from religious people and institutions that I'd begin to examine what "religion" itself is, and what the mind-state of religiosity is. Viewed from the outside, both the concept of religion and the experience of religiosity (in all religions, even the milder, more self-reflective ones) appear very odd to put it mildly - particularly when viewed in light of the enormous amount of effort and funding that goes into trying to erase me and all other gay people - Religion has made this one of the longest, most costly political campaigns in history - all because of an irrational religious belief shared by most religions.

Never mind the gay part - substitute that with any group of people...it's reasonable to me that if large, diverse groups of religious people and their institutions can do this to a benign group of people fully in the name of religion and with serious levels of religious funding - then there is rational cause for everyone (including religious people) to critically examine religion and religiosity very carefully because clearly there is something in religion that enables and excuses irrational behavior and beliefs. Some of us suspect that what excuses irrational behavior and beliefs is that religion is ir-rational, which gives permission at below conscious levels to be irrational about anything. Religion trains people to be irrational, and irrational beliefs and behavior arise. That shouldn't be surprising and should be of concern to all thinking people, and especially to Buddhists. Visualize Buddhism without the religion and the recurring mind-state of religiosity and what do you get? The Dharma.
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:27 am

So we have a thread about Christianity, things turn ugly, the thread is closed. A new thread is then started to continue the same discussion in broader terms, things turn ugly, the thread is closed. So, here another thread is started to continue the same discussion in even broader terms.

My prediction: things will turn ugly and the thread will be closed.

Or is it third time lucky here? I doubt it. Over the last week I've seen Tibetan-Buddhism bashing, Christian bashing and religion bashing. Given that the discussions always seem to be circular I don't think we're actually doing any good with these.

So, in the spirit of my recent decision to stop causing trouble [to entertain myself], I've decided to stop posting in Dhammawheel for one week. Hopefully in a weeks time this general aversive attitude I'm seeing will have ran its course and be exhasted.

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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby pink_trike » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:40 am

Mawkish1983 wrote:Over the last week I've seen Tibetan-Buddhism bashing, Christian bashing and religion bashing.

Examination isn't "bashing".
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:44 am

pink_trike wrote:
Mawkish1983 wrote:Over the last week I've seen Tibetan-Buddhism bashing, Christian bashing and religion bashing.

Examination isn't "bashing".


Not all of it has been examination, but - to make a general statement - let us keep this focused and not make it personal.
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: The danger of intolerance

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:52 am

Another person expressed the view that religion "needs to go." This rhetoric sounds to me a lot like the rhetoric of "the Jews must go" or "the infidels must go" or other such divisive language that has spawned so much violence in the past. I find it hard to believe that Buddhists here on this board are using this type of rhetoric.



This is a bit silly. The jews must go or the indfidels must go are aimed at people and hatred of them. Religion must go is aimed at the ideology and institution. There is a complete difference which you cant seem to see. You cant seem to distinquish doctrine from person. No doubt when discussing the ancient greek religion you see it as illogical myth, does that mean you then hate all the ancient greeks? :shrug:


Pink - they were specifically about religion and religiosity


The same as mine


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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:54 am

Keep it civil.
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: The danger of intolerance

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:56 am

tiltbillings wrote:Keep it civil.



Im not meaning to hurt anyone, i just dont like the idea that i must be a racist intolerant biggot if i examine and see the draw backs of religion which is what seems is being said. As pink said earlier, examination isnt bashing, criticism isnt bashing, asking questions isnt bashing

The thread i started was about religion itself, not jews or xtians or muslims but religion

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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:10 am

No one is calling you a racist, intolerant bigot.

, examination isnt bashing, criticism isnt bashing, asking questions isnt bashing


Actually, if unskillfully done, yes, each one of those things can be bashing.

The jews must go or the indfidels must go are aimed at people and hatred of them. Religion must go is aimed at the ideology and institution. There is a complete difference which you cant seem to see.


It seems the problem with not seeing is moving in your direction here. Religion is what people mainfest. Religion is not above criticism, but criticism needs to be done with a bit of sensitivity and insight and with appreciation for shades of gray.
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: The danger of intolerance

Postby pink_trike » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:15 am

tiltbillings wrote:Keep it civil.

Civil is good.

I'd also suggest that people who are religious not take a critical analysis of religion and religiosity personally - it's not about "you", and it's not "bashing" and it isn't "ridicule". It's simply more valuable discussion, as long as no one feels the need to defend something.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:26 am

Hey tilt


No one is calling you a racist, intolerant bigot.



Jechbi wrote "Another person expressed the view that religion "needs to go." This rhetoric sounds to me a lot like the rhetoric of "the Jews must go" or "the infidels must go" or other such divisive language that has spawned so much violence in the past"

this reads to me as saying that if i say religion must go i must want the jews to go or the xtians to go or the muslims to go and so must harbour somekind of racist or biggoted attitude towards people when in fact i say religion must go, not people

I know this want jechbi's intention (or i think it wasnt) to label me as racist or biggot etc but i feel it was strongly implied

Now then my opinion based on my observations of religion is that it would be better for mankind if it went, thats my opinion. Perhaps people disagree which is fine. Lets have a discussion about why you think its good and should stay (which was the intent of the other thread). Its not about attacking people or hating things but a serious discussion about religion and is it of any benefit or not

Metta
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:38 am

It cuts both ways.
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: The danger of intolerance

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:40 am

Also, keep in mind that the point of this thread is the question of tolerance and intolerance towards religion, not the critique of religion.
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: The danger of intolerance

Postby pink_trike » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:48 am

I've seen Tibetan-Buddhism bashing


Seems that thread disappeared. I'm curious why...it must have gotten pretty rowdy in there to warrant disappearing the entire thread rather than just closing it or moderating out whatever was deemed inappropriate. Maybe there was something that couldn't be edited out without looking odd? Down the memory hole. Lemme check the color of this site to see if it's grey, because it's feeling at the moment like I ended up at the wrong site. :smile:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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