June 19, 2007
June 21, 2007

June 20, 2007

THOSE MILITANT, UH, BUDDHISTS

You may be aware of the recent upsurge in violence in Sri Lanka, the island nation south of India that was known as Ceylon when I lived in India in the 1950s. It's a continuation of a struggle that is more than two decades old, but what is new -- and fascinating -- is the hardline role being played there by some Buddhist monks. This recent report from the Christian Science Monitor is a good summation, but you might want to be alert for daily developments in this sad but fast-changing story.

* * *

ISLAMOPHOBIA HAS ITS SUPPORTERS

In a recent column, I made the point that the enemy of America is not Islam. Rather, what we must defend against are the murderous fanatics who call themselves Islamists -- those who twist Islam to justify their desire to have their radical ideology govern the world.

Muslim_crescentI mentioned in that piece that I often get e-mail from people who denigrate Islam.

I recently came across a Web site that openly declares its hatred for all of Islam, one that says on this page that "We stand for Islam's demise as an enemy of America unabashedly." The group calls itself the Society of Americans for National Existence, or SANE.

The site is filled with fear-mongering to such an extent that it precludes rational discussion of legitimate criticism of Muslim leadership. The SANE voices seem so strident and irrational that I cannot imagine how one could talk with such people in a reasonable way. Yes, there are people who are willing to overlook the threat that the violent Islamists truly do pose. But the SANE approach simply cuts off sanity.

I suppose one could deconstruct that "Islam's demise" sentence to penetrate its lack of clarity. Does "unabashedly" modify "stand"? Does SANE oppose Islam only when it's "an enemy of America"? (As if the whole of a multifacted worldwide religion could be an enemy of America, which includes millions of Muslims.) Or does it want Islam destroyed no matter what? The sentence leaves open many interpretations.

So today look around the SANE site and see if you can count the various classical approaches to propaganda found there.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

Comments

Joe Barone

It's not just Islamists we have to fear. It's Christianists too. Any religion can be bent into phobia, and I suspect that for a minority, most are.

Dolores Lear

All religion-ists began after the Fall, of the High Tech Pure-bred Human Crew like Adam and Eve, to Body Birth Inbred/Mis-bred Humans like Cain and Abel.
Ever since, the Human Crew on Spaceship Earth, were all born by Mis-bred Body Birth, and all the divisions, diseases, greed, and death began as the Lifestyle of the Crew.

Now we again, have the High Tech Knowledge of Colonization and High Tech Pure-bred Birth, but instead of using the Earth's Resources for Life and the Higher Nature of Reproduction, Fallen Humans are using Earth's Resources for nuclear weapons and Death.
Why are the Resources used for Death instead of for the the Life of the Eco System, for the Life of the Crew, and all Life on Earth?

We need a High Tech Translation of the scriptures of religions and myths that resulted.
This is where the Truth of Life can be found with a High Tech Science translation of our High Tech Ancestors that Colonized Earth, Reproduced Pure-bred Humans, the Fall, and all the History after that.

High Tech Science and Religion are both about Invisible and Visible Life on our Earth Home, in Spaceships, and in the Universes.

Dolores Lear

K.C. Star, 6/20/07. "Faith & Beliefs" "Do Not Open Mouth And Insert Foot" By Vern Barnet.
(Two older Christian men were discussing beliefs with two darker-skinned, high school-aged males, Muslims.)
"At the point I stepped in, one of the men was insiting that the Bible has always been the same. I asked, how could that be. There is no original text extant. The sacred writings have been gathered over millennia. For the first four centuries of the Christian era, which texts were inspired were in dispute, and as late as the Council of Trent (1545-1563), decisions about what should be included in the cannon were being made. I was more sympathetic to the other Christian's approach. - Sharing one's faith can be a beautiful thing. But isn't it wiser to know something about the faith of the persons with whom one is speaking? Before heaping condenmation on others or assuming one's faith is superior to another's, have those being condemned been allowed to share their journeys? What about trying to fully understand the conditions that make another person's faith precious to him or her? Recognizing where one was born, when in history, who one's parents were, the experiences one has, the friends, might lead to a modesty about claiming one way must be the way for all others."
(Vern does interfaith work in Kansas City)

We need to remember this, with all the different faiths in the USA.

Rich B

I see that the SANE site has a clear bias that it does not try to hide, I don't find it too different from other editorializing. While I only read a couple of articles quickly, it seems like on the level of Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh (not to the level of Ann Coulter, though!).

Here's an quote that shows their bias with ad hominem attacks. "Since the adherents of the Pacifism School have only a tenuous relationship with reality, pacifism as dogma remains an anathema to the majority of rational Americans. In today’s world, the pacifists are so obsessed with a fanatical, irrational, and perverse “righteousness”, they fail to grasp that pacifism survives only when the pacifist lives in a nation that is peculiarly not pacifist and is therefore prepared to use the violence of war to fend off its (and the pacifist’s) enemies." In the previous paragraphs the author discussed the pre-Constantinian Christians who were by-and-large pacifists, but didn't enumerate their case.

To be honest, I have some problems when I read the Quran vs the Bible. The Quran spends a lot of time condemning those who were not on Muhammed's side. It assumes that those who are on Muhammed's side are safe from judgment, de facto. Paul is constantly criticizing his own people, and Jesus, while he criticizes the Pharisees plenty, also warns his own people about falling away.

I can see how someone can understand from the Quran that Islam wants everyone to become Muslim. When I listen to Bush, though, I can see how non-Americans hear that he wants everyone to become American.

I know that I am oversimplifying the NT/Quran dichotomy. I have only read the Quran a little, so I am far from an expert.

Ron

Why wouldn't the adherents of Islam want everyone to become Muslim? If they believe their religion is true and others are false, it's only natural that they would want everyone to become Muslim.

Christians certainly would like for everyone to become a Christian, a follower of Jesus, the Christ. Jesus Himself asked his disciples to take the Christian gospel to the entire world, teaching and baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The difference is Christianity is spread by the Holy Spirit. Islam asks its followers to convert non-believers or kill them.

It's a pretty significant difference.

Dolores Lear

Jesus' Gospel (Good News) was different from the Christian Gospel.
Jesus lived an taught Equality and 'Turn the other cheek', in a commune setting.
Christians are usually against anything to do with Communism.

I call this 'Commonism'.
It is the same Equal Sharing Lifestyle Lived in spaceships, and should be the Lifestyle on Earths also, for High Tech Humans, as we are relearning to be, and as the Adam and Eve Colony were in the beginning.

Ron

Jesus was not a "Commonist." He didn't have a place to lay his head, but he had nothing against those who did.

Mary Behr

"Sharing one's faith can be a beautiful thing. But isn't it wiser to know something about the faith of the persons with whom one is speaking? Before heaping condenmation on others or assuming one's faith is superior to another's, have those being condemned been allowed to share their journeys?"

A good plea, Dolores. I concur with that whole posting.

A sad article on the Buddhist thing in Shri Lanka. Is that any different than the Muslims and Kurds under Sadaam? Or the Irish question? Or or or. Fear and hatred is endemic in the human race. Along with compassion and love. Religion has a bad name in some circles--understandably and it is often twisted for other agendas. And even among sincere religionists--things get muddled, especially where economics is concerned. That's reality. The end does not justify the means. Sigh. We keep having to learn that over and over.

I'm off to see the Wizard--uh, the surgeon for cataract surgery next week. May not get back to this blog for awhile. I'll miss you guys. Keep your spirits up.

Keith

Ron writes, "The difference is Christianity is spread by the Holy Spirit. Islam asks its followers to convert non-believers or kill them."

Of course, that's only THIS year...maybe. Genocides and inquisitions no longer count, as they're not a part of Ron's memory or history. I'm sure the rose-colored glasses help, too.

corbin

When was there ever genocide perpetrated by Christians in the name of Christ?

Justin

To Corbin:

The Spanish inquisition, the crusades, Slavery, European Colonialism and Westward Expansion via manifest destiny were all justified under Christianity.

Ironically enough, in Islamic empires, there was no mandate to kill or convert Jews or Christians...it was much easier just to tax them.

Ron

"Recognizing where one was born, when in history, who one's parents were, the experiences one has, the friends, might lead to a modesty about claiming one way must be the way for all others."
(Vern does interfaith work in Kansas City)

Vern can make this statement because he believes the Bible is in error when it quotes Jesus and others as saying He is the narrow gate; He is the only way people can be saved.

Vern would like for all Christians to denounce the Bible and come around to his politically-correct way of thinking that there are other paths to salvation, and Christianity is just one of many paths. To believe this is to deny the Christian faith.

Dolores Lear

Ron.
Many people were killed by Christians also. We have killed Christians in the past history of the USA, Christian against Christian, during the Revolutionary War, Mesican War, Civil War, WW 1 and 2. Now we are taking on a different religion to kill people.
We are still doing it in Iraq, or is this just USA citizens, not Christians.

What does it mean to be a Christian? Turn the other cheek like Jesus taught? Share Equally like Jesus taught?

Should we put our actions where our mouth is?

Rich B

I try to base my view of Islam on my reading of the Quran and living with Muslims. I've seen a lot of good and a lot of bad, and try to balance them fairly. In the end, I'm not sure how much good it does to compare two religious systems in the abstract. I have found it more helpful to compare on a case-by-case basis.

I think to compare two religions one has to be careful not to compare the best of one with the worst of others--apples to apples, and oranges to oranges. Christian on Christian violence occurred in WWII. Muslim on Muslim violence occurred during the Iran-Iraq war, or Arabs vs Kurds in Iraq.

The Gospel ought to be spread by the Holy Spirit, but often is not. Islam has been spread by the sword, but also by authentic conviction, e.g., in modern Britain.

Personally, I know some Muslims that I would trust much more than some Christians I know. I wouldn't necessarily chalk it up to their religion, though.

In my opinion, I think that Christianity and Judaism do a better job of self-criticism in the Bible than Islam does in the Quran. The former deals more with assuring the community remains pure, while the latter is more concerned more with the one outside the community, the "kaafir."

I do not know the Hadith at all, however. How does it deal with purity/faithfulness within the community?

Rich B

Regarding the SANE site, I noticed that a lot of the arguments are based on the author's personal experience with Muslims. It doesn't involve well-known Muslim writings, official statements, or opinion polls--anything that a reader can check. You have to take his word that his experience is representative. Maybe he's right, but I'll never know for sure.

Is this propaganda? Since it is using emotion rather than facts--or at least objective facts--to pursuade, it should be considered propaganda.

Ron

"Christian on Christian violence occurred in WWII."

Really? I thought it was the USA/England/Russian soldiers killing German/Japanese/Italian soldiers.

Ron

There is nothing in the Bible that requires Christians to fight and kill non-Christians. There is no concept of "jihad." There is no concept of 70 virgins awaiting in heaven for Christians who kill "infidels."

Rich B

Ron,

"Jihad" is an interesting concept, and it does exist, in a way, in Christianity. Are you familiar with the "greater" and "lesser" jihad? A Christian interpretation of jihad would more like the greater jihad.

BTW searching for "seventy" and "virgins" in the Quran, I didn't find what you are saying about virgins in heaven. What are you citing?

Rich B

"The Guardian" has a good analysis of the "promise" of the 70/72 virgins. Perhaps it's just misunderstood Syriac! http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,2763,631357,00.html

Ron

No, I've never heard of Christian jihad, either greater or lesser. Of course, I'm a Lutheran, so that may explain it. Who knows what mainline churches and fundamentalist churches teach these days? Perhpas greater jihad is a deal dreamed up by the Jesus Seminar folks or Tim LaHay.

Ron

Rich B, Muhammad had a bunch of wives and concubines, and some were just young children, so it doesn't surprise me that sex is a heavenly reward in paradise for Muslims.

As you probably know, Jesus taught human sexual relations are not a part of heaven and the afterlife for Christians. The joys of heaven far exceed all earthly pleasures.

scorpio

jews, christians and muslims need to take a deep breath and try to find some common ground before they get together and blow the world to pieces. they're about THIS CLOSE to fomenting perpetual world war. when you consider that mankind (homo sapiens sapiens) has been a CONSCIOUS INTERESTING BEING for only about the last 3500 years, and that only intermittently, that man is only about 150,000 years old, and that mathematical geneticists think there may have been as few as 2000 of us -- with NONE, ZERO calling themselves Jews, Christians or Muslim -- just 70,000 years ago, then it's time to recognize our commonality and shared humanity. because at the rate we're going, there probably isnt much time left to bicker.

Dolores Lear

As I said earlier. There were Christians on both sides in the revolutionary War between England and the USA. In the Civil War between Christian in the North and South. And we still do not have Equality and Democracy for All.
Why go into a country with a different religion and try to teach them about Equality and Democracy, or does Equality and Democracy mean Haves and Havenots, like all the world has, no matter what the Government is called?

Dolores Lear

WW 1 and 2 also belongs in the Wars between Christians in Europe and the USA, except for Japan, which Christian USA nuked.

I think it is unfair to Jesus, to call the USA a Christian Country. It is nothing like Jesus taught.

Gentle Ben

And then when you get done with the other web site, start on The Star and see which one is more filled with propaganda.

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