Buddhists: the Latest Target of Islamic Rage

All you need to do to make a Muslim extremist want to kill you is not be a Muslim extremist. I read today about extremists in Thailand chopping off the heads and murdering Buddhists. Killing and chopping off heads of Hindus, animists & Christians is old news. Of course, Muslim extremists kill more Muslims than anybody else too. Killing is just what they do. These guys truly are the enemies of civilization.

What should be increasingly clear is that they are the enemy of Muslim Civilization more than any other. Any good Muslim should be embarrassed and appalled by the behavior of Al Qaida and Al Qaida wannabees, just as a Christian shutters at the memory of the Spanish inquisition. To the extent the extremist succeed, they will twist a great civilization into something grotesque and evil, like the inquisition did in the Catholic Church or the Nazis did in Germany. Surely anyone who condones that is himself complicit in a great crime against humanity and if we fail to recognize it, we are enablers. It is not a war of civilizations; it is war FOR civilization.

But appologists seek to divert the issue with reference to provocations of the past. The past was a violent time, when life was nasty, brutish and short for almost everybody. It is well that we no longer live there. Islam suffered from some atrocities and setbacks, but it certainly gave as good as it got. In any case, holding a grudge that goes back to 1492 or 1095 is just stupid. Where do you even start with somebody like that?

Returning to my original subject, does anybody know of any Buddhist jihad/crusade that could have provoked these particular miscreants? Maybe it is time we admit that they require no provokation. Some people are just bad. I suppose there may be an explanation, but none we can ever find.

Posted by Jack at December 29, 2006 11:50 AM
Comments
Comment #200753

Jack,
You need to provide some context hear. I believe you are referring to Tak Bai. A Muslim protest turned into a riot. 78 Muslims died when they were piled into Thai army trucks, where the Muslims were suffocated or crushed to death.

Context does not excuse it. Revenge is not justified. It is unclear to me whether the man beheaded was involved in the deaths of the protestors, and really, it does not matter. The point is, if this is the case you are referring to, the Muslim atrocity (atrocities?) did not occur in a vacuum, and were not without an easily understood motivation, no matter how evil or misguided that motivation might have been.

If you are referring to something else, you might want to link or quote the articles.

Posted by: phx8 at December 29, 2006 12:12 PM
Comment #200756

Phx8

I will let you find the link to the story of your choice. It is in my paper copies of the media. The insugents want to drive all non-Muslims away. They are using the language of Jihad, murdering Buddhist monks (among the least threatening people possible) and generally spreading religous biotry and hatred.

I do not care why they are doing it. What they are doing is wrong. I think good Muslims should be outraged that this is being done in the name of Islam, as a Christian should be outraged when someone murders children in the name of Jesus. We do not need to look for justifications to condemn this kind of behvior.

If I am fired from my job and then get drunk and drive my car into a group of school kids, I do not think anybody will accept my explanation that I was enraged by injustice.

Some people are just bad. These guys fall into that category.

Posted by: Jack at December 29, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #200757

There are those who call themselves Buddhists who in act and deed show no reverence for life or enlightenment. As phx8 said, the factual details and context are required before rational persons come to judgment as to cause, effect, and responsibility.

Extremists of all religions are dangerous to civilization. There is some merit to the argument that religions themselves are a threat to civilized rational behavior based on the enlightened self-interest golden rule, in their intrinsic capacity to attract extremists and the psychologically unbalanced to act in the name of the religion.

Buddhism is the least dangerous as its edicts and texts in no way ask, demand, or make mission to conversion of non-Buddhists, as the Christian and Islamic religions do. But even Buddhism has its extremists in history as evidenced by the Japanese in the 1600’s and the more recent burning of a Catholic church in Sri Lanka near Colombo by Buddhists angered by Christian conversions taking place there.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2006 12:28 PM
Comment #200759

Phx8

Sorry, I got “enraged” and didn’t thank you for trying to answer my question. I do not, however, think that an overreaction by the authorities counts as a crusade that allows you to kill and drive out people of a different religion.

Civilized people behave in civilizeed ways.

Posted by: Jack at December 29, 2006 12:29 PM
Comment #200766

I know that the Taliban destroyed 3000 year old statues of Buddha. It seems as though Islamic extremism requires a purging of all non-Islamic past. I am not a religous (church going) person, however I do see value in and have an appreciation for ancient religous articles.

My question is what is it that causes some to become so extreme? I honestly cannot fathom the disregard and disrespect for others. I tend to agree with the idea David put forth, that religions themselves are a threat to civilization.

Sitting here in my warm house in California, I think I will never be able to “understand” the extremist mindset.

I searched for Buddhist holy wars and was unable to find any account of such.

JT


Posted by: JayTea at December 29, 2006 1:23 PM
Comment #200774

Jack:

I don’t know what happened in Thailand. But I agree with you “that they [extremist Muslims] are the enemy of Muslim Civilization more than any other.” Exactly.

Always, we must make a big distinction between the extremists, or terrorists, and all the other Muslims. We must become friends with mainstream Muslims and help them eradicate the extremists.

We, here, can start by not using the word “Muslim” together with “extremist.” “Terrorists,” without any modifier will do quite well.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at December 29, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #200778

Jack said: “Civilized people behave in civilizeed ways.”

You mean like invading other nations that didn’t attack yours and killing 65 thousand or so of their people because the leader won’t yield to your demands for making you feel secure in your fantasies of what might happen in the future.

Gotcha!

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 29, 2006 2:45 PM
Comment #200779

Religion is an invention of mankind and, as such, it is permeated with both the good and evil of mankind.

Creation says that all life was created in the image of the Creator. The god of the world’s
“holy books” was created in the image of man.

All the worlds’ major religious “holy books” are filled with the most heinous atrocities perpetrated in the name of the god they have created.

There is a universe of difference between being a spiritual person as opposed to a religious person.

The former respects life in all its many forms. The latter respects nothing beyond their own petty beliefs.

Posted by: ulysses at December 29, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #200782

Ulysses,
Perhaps Buddhism does not count as a major religion, and strictly speaking, there is no Buddhist “holy book.” However, the Tripitaka contains most Buddhist teachings and myths, and I am unaware of a single instance in which any atrocity is glorified. Ahimsa, which means non-violence, is a fundamental tenet of Buddhism, so a violent Buddhist would be kind of like a Christian who does not believe in Jesus. What would be the point? Naturally, there are good and bad people in any religion, but that is a matter of human nature; it is something to be overcome, not justified.

Posted by: phx8 at December 29, 2006 3:06 PM
Comment #200783

Jack
Thanks for the info. I was appalled by the Talbans destruction of the Buddhas. How very arrogant. Their treatment of women was equally as appalling. Hard to believe we trained and armed them in their war against Russia.Reagan called them “freedom fighters.”
Some of the history you refer to is more recent. Our record in the Mid-East is nothing to be proud of. We have and continue to support despots in exchange for the bidding of US oil concerns. You know this. Moving toward energy independace from the region would enable us to go forward with a forign policy that could well attract the support of moderate Muslums.

Posted by: BillS at December 29, 2006 3:12 PM
Comment #200787

Those without sin should cast the first stone.

Al Queda is a bunch of murderous thugs. That doesn’t excuse Bush for invading another country , using the excuse of 9/11, but really just to get oil.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 29, 2006 4:21 PM
Comment #200788

David

I assume you are talking about Iraq. That is a high casualty figure, and most of those would be killed by those same Islamic extremists I refer to in the earlier posting.

Paul

I wish we could find a better name, but these guys use the language of Islam and unfortunately they find some acceptance among segments of the Muslim population. I think it would be a good time to create a clear difference between Islam and terrorists. But we need Muslims to do that. I can say that I believe the Koran indicates the terrorist go straight to hell where they suffer the moment of their suicide for eternity, but who believes me?

BillS

Some of the Taliban were freedom fighters against the Soviets. They went bad later. You also cannot always choose your allies. We allied with Stalin against Hitler.

Our friend Ahmad Shah Mas’ud, the “Lion of Panjshir,” who was our ally against the Soviets and fought the Taliban. He was assassinated by Al Qaeda days before 9/11. The bad guys anticipated our response and wanted to get rid of our friends.

You do point out the reason not to trust Muslim extremist, BTW. We saved millions of Muslims in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia etc and what did we get for it? 9/11.

I agree with Paul that Muslim extremists are not true Muslims, but we have to get more Muslims to say that.

Posted by: Jack at December 29, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #200798

Jack, good post. Its encouraging to see the red column post on this subject without dragging Iraq and all muslims into the problem. I agree with your suggestion that this battle belongs to the moderate muslims worldwide to solve.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 29, 2006 6:48 PM
Comment #200809

“We, here, can start by not using the word “Muslim” together with “extremist.” “Terrorists,” without any modifier will do quite well.”

But all the terrorists are ARE Muslims. Why are you afraid to identify our enemy?

Posted by: traveller at December 29, 2006 7:59 PM
Comment #200815

Jack,

I agree with you. In fact, I kind of agreed with Bush’s term Islamofacism, because a lot of the Muslim scholars who originally argued for a shariah state compared themselves to and openly admired the Nazis. Even after the war. Islamist extremists are about as evil as people get (if you don’t do as I say, you die), and they are the worst to each other.

I say live and let live, but that stops when someone wants to kill me for not living like they want me to. People like that need to be removed, the same way we remove psychopaths to protect society.

Posted by: Max at December 29, 2006 8:26 PM
Comment #200817

What relativist, multi-cultural, honor all others and make no judgements nonsense. Consider the years since Jimmy Carter. Muslim credited terrorism from Buenos Aires to the Far East to Europe to the U.S. to the Middle East. Muslims killing all manner of people and especially their own. Multitudes in the streets, the madrassas and mosques shouting “Death to” whomever has angered them— and that list is endless.

I would think that that huge majority of peaceful, love-centered Muslims that is often ritually referred to lest we offend, has had enough time to police their own— if they truly so desired.

No, the beheaders and suicide belt crowd are not retired school teacher terrorists, nor are they Finnish terrorists or choir boy terrorists; they are a product of the distilled violence in a widely held religion which holds more than a minority of people in a barbaric, Dark Ages time lock. They hate us because they don’t belong in a modern, rational, and more compassionate world.

I wish I could recall the world-wide Muslim cry of revulsion after the (Death to 8 year olds!) Beslan school children massacre.

Posted by: David at December 29, 2006 8:37 PM
Comment #200824

traveller
All terrorist are not Muslum. Mc Viegh and Nichols, The IRA,assorted clinic bombers etc.

Posted by: BillS at December 29, 2006 10:55 PM
Comment #200825

Who’s the terrorist?

http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?pid=903

In the 10 years since the April 19, 1995, bombing in Oklahoma City, in fact, the radical right has produced some 60 terrorist plots. These have included plans to bomb or burn government buildings, banks, refineries, utilities, clinics, synagogues, mosques, memorials and bridges; to assassinate police officers, judges, politicians, civil rights figures and others; to rob banks, armored cars and other criminals; and to amass illegal machine guns, missiles, explosives, and biological and chemical weapons. What follows is a list of key right-wing plots of the last 10 years.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 29, 2006 10:56 PM
Comment #200826

muirgeo

I know you want to make Americans worse. It is a response I expected from some.

I think the difference is that all of us here will denounce these guys. That is probably why you can list so many plots and so few successful attacks.

No, sir, WE are better. Some values may be relative. We are relatively better, if you like.

You know that as well as I do. Don’t pretend you are afraid of American fascism.

Anyone who write here by definition is not afraid of American fascism.

Posted by: Jack at December 29, 2006 11:07 PM
Comment #200831

muirgeo,
Really! Yes, our right and left has their lunatic fringe. We don’t have massive organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, countless madrassas, etc. which are supported by national governments— all of which identify themselves and are often regarded by “the street” as spiritually ordained forces of God’s will.

The fall-back on “equivalence” isn’t reasonable here. Perhaps, at a lower level, one could successfully argue that shish-ka-bob is the equivalent of a hot dog.

Posted by: david at December 29, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #200834

Jack: “But apologists seek to divert the issue with reference to provocations of the past.”

Isn’t that statement a little overboard. I and others have referenced the Christian Crusades but not as a way to divert the issue or in any way justify the actions of radical Islamic terrorists. Anyone who studies history, knows that, as you pointed out, it was pretty much tit for tat between Christianity and Islam. I’m sure that the Islamic terrorists use the Crusades as well as American and British foriegn policy actions in the region after WWII as justification for their murderous acts. That doesn’t mean that we and others shouldn’t give them the enjoyment of their afterlife ASAP.

This is why Iraq is such a tragedy. If we had kept our focus on the terrorists, Madrid and London would probably not have happened and the Islamic terrorists could be well on their way to extinction by now.

“The past was a violent time, when life was nasty, brutish and short for almost everybody. It is well that we no longer live there.”

This almost sounds to me like something someone might have said in 1906, before the 20th century became the bloodiest and most brutish in human history. This century has gotten off to an even bloodier start than the 20th did and life is still nasty, brutish and short for many. I can imagine what someone will be saying about the 21st century in 2106. It is good that we don’t live in the past. It is sad that we haven’t learned much from it.

Here is the closest I could come to a Buddhist Jihad, however, I don’t think it provoked the incidents you are talking about. In Japan, ” During the period of ultranationalism ( c. 1930-1945 ), Buddhist thinkers called for uniting the East in one great “Buddhaland” under the tutelage of Japan.

Posted by: jlw at December 30, 2006 12:14 AM
Comment #200836

jlw

I think that each successive generation may say that the previous was nasty. My life is much better than my father’s. His was better than his father’s. I do not have personal experience with anything farther back, but I think that the periodic starvation and rape and/or beating by cossaks before then was probably even less fun than working in the junk yard (which was my grandpa’s work).

Anyway, past times sucked for most people. Until around 1950 most people lived in what we would consider abject poverty.

My relatives who did not have the good sense to leave Poland when my granfather did suffered horrendously in the 20th century from both nazis and communists, but if you read the history carefully, the depredations of these horrible guys was pretty much par for the course and unremarkable behavior for the 13th century (when the Tartar passed through) or even the 17th century (Swedes on one side, Turks on the other). Life sucked.

Anyway, you are getting me off on one of my tangents.

Re terrorists, I do not think we could have ended terrorism had we not invaded Iraq. We are actually doing a fairly good job of getting controlling the bad guys. None have managed an attack on the U.S. and lots are dead.

Unfortunatly, terror is like piracy. You can control it, but never eliminate it.

Posted by: Jack at December 30, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #200839


muirgeo: While I don’t consider myself a Christian, I can say with confidence that the overwhelming majority of Christians would not associate with those groups nor condone their actions.

Posted by: jlw at December 30, 2006 1:17 AM
Comment #200840


Jack: I agree that if we compare Stalin and Hitler with a 13th century despot, they would be run of the mill. The difference is that between them, they probably killed nearly as many people as existed in the 13th century.

Looking at our own lives, most of us would agree that we are better off than preceding generations. However, there are many more people in the World and many more living in poverty today than ever. Our way of life has played a part in that.

Iraq has been a major setback for us and our struggle against the terrorists and most of us recognize that.

Posted by: jlw at December 30, 2006 1:45 AM
Comment #200841

Jack,

I believe there are some people who find great power in teaching and promoting hatred. This is not limited to hatred on a religious basis.
You are correct in calling these groups Islamic terrorists because those are the principles under which they carry out their terror. You are also correct that this is a war for civilization.

The only way to defeat these organizations is to take away their resources. The only way to do this is to find their suppliers and eliminate them. This means regime change in all states that harbor and equip terrorists. This also means the elimination of those who promote terror in their individual mosques. However, the latter has to happen, in my opinion amongst the peace loving Muslims that do not wish for their mosques to be temples of hate.

It is also crucial that we eliminate any possibility of terrorists gaining access to resources such as oil, illegal drugs, nuclear power and weapons, etc. which they will use to fund and enhance their organizations.

This is a huge endeavor. These terrorists are not just agents of Islam. They are also agents of particular, primarily Islamic, countries who support them. It is amazing that people across the globe do not see this threat and come down on these countries like a ton of bricks. It is uncanny that we have to beg for sanctions against them. Though the terrorists and their sympathizers want to deflect our anti-terror message with anti-Islam messages, our goal is clear. We must wipe out terrorists and those that harbor and support them wherever they may be. This will take a lot of time, and a lot of money. It is unfortunate that some feel it is not worth the effort.

Though there are many types of terrorists, after 9/11, surely all must agree that the Islamic terrorist, those pursuing ties with Islamic terrorists, or those countries capable of funding these terrorists and showing radical hatred against the U.S. now are at the top of the list as those whom we must focus on most aggressively. We can not afford to be complacent anymore. The FBI does not start with number ten on the most wanted list and work its way up in the pursuit of criminals. It would have been equally silly for the U.S. to start with a country like the Phillipines and work up to Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Nobody can argue that Afghanistan and Iraq were not number one and number two on the list of anti-U.S. and terrorist supporting nations when we went to war five years ago.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 30, 2006 1:47 AM
Comment #200845

The murder rates are up across America. Over 50% in the L.A. area thanks to no homeland security and open borders allowing gangs of thieves and drug dealers and flesh traders to swell their numbers.

Ahh.. but this is good for business and these folks take jobs Americans don’t want. But, consider the terror of the victims and their families across America - recipients of policies which permit murders, and gangs to grow in our midst.

Terror comes in many forms and the experience of being terrorized cares not for nationality, geography, nor rationalizations and justifications which permitted the terror to take place. If one wants to save the world, one must save oneself, first. If America wants to end terrorism in the world, she must first learn how to end terrorism in her own homeland. Otherwise, America will be viewed as she is today by hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world, as just another sponsor of terror in her own right as in Iraq.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 30, 2006 3:30 AM
Comment #200857

muirgeo,
Really! Yes, our right and left has their lunatic fringe. We don’t have massive organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, countless madrassas, etc. which are supported by national governments— all of which identify themselves and are often regarded by “the street” as spiritually ordained forces of God’s will.


Posted by: david


The only difference is we have a lot of secularist keeping our religious fanatics in line.

Absolutely no doubt left uncheck our religious extremist would go the way of the Taliban. Or if our society was taken over and colonized and occupied and suppressed for hundreds of years by Muslims we’d form our own Hamas and Hezzbolla.

Likewise if you were switched at birth into a Hamas family you’d likely be one of them.

People our people…..badness is more a result of the conditions you’re born into and through who’s eyes you’re being judged by.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 30, 2006 8:59 AM
Comment #200859

muirgeo: While I don’t consider myself a Christian, I can say with confidence that the overwhelming majority of Christians would not associate with those groups nor condone their actions.

Posted by: jlw

I agree!
And I can say with confidence that most Muslims do not support terrorism but I think I can also say with confidence our current and past actions in the Middle East have increased the number who do support terrorism.

Peace takes courage!

Posted by: muirgeo at December 30, 2006 9:06 AM
Comment #200860

BillS,

That’s in the past. At present the ONLY people who ARE terrorists ARE Muslims.
Except for the IRA the ones you mentioned were isolated kooks and the IRA has renounced terrorism.
Islamic terrorism is a cultural phenomenon encouraged in mosgues, madrassas and the Koran. It is state-sponsored and a threat to the survival of western civilization. It is a tool being used to wage war against us whose goal is the destruction of our way of life and our subjugation under sharia.
This war is being waged by Muslims against not only the US but against anyone who is not Muslim.
They cannot be reasoned with, they cannot be bargained with and they will not stop until we are dead.
Unless we identify our enemy we cannot win.

Posted by: traveller at December 30, 2006 9:43 AM
Comment #200869

Jlw

I really do not understand the statement that our way of life has contributed to more people living in poverty.

More people are living in poverty today because there are more people. The percentage is much less. In 1750, almost everybody lived in poverty, in fact few Americans would accept the level of physical comfort enjoyed by the kings of France or England in those days.

The level of wealth available to ordinary people is many times that of those days. The question is, why? If you went back to visit a peasant in Roman Gaul in the year 100 and compared it to the same place in France in 1600, you would not immediately notice an improvement in living standards. Yet each century after that, in fact soon each decade, you would notice improvements. Our modern western civilization, of which the U.S. is a big contributor, is largely responsible for bringing the world out of the abysmal poverty and oppression it suffered from the Paleolithic times until about 300 years ago.

Posted by: Jack at December 30, 2006 11:21 AM
Comment #200903

David

It’s good to see you coming arount to the correct way of thinking. I agree with you that gang terrorism is a major problem in our cities. I’m sure you would agree then that the only way deal with them is to cut them out. How would you do this? Talk to them try to understand why they act the way they do or attack them in a military style strike?

With groups like the ACLU, MALDEF, LULAC and the democratic party, I don’t see the situation changing anytime soon.

Posted by: Keith at December 30, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #200941
None have managed an attack on the U.S. and lots are dead.

Jack,

That is great, as long as we keep them busy.

Unfortunatly, terror is like piracy. You can control it, but never eliminate it.

At some point we will leave. Only at that point will we be able to measure whether we controlled it or made it worse. Hate only begets hate, but love conquers all. Unfortunately, hate is easy; love takes work. The world is in the state it is today because it’s people are too lazy to love.

When we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan did we reach out to our brothers and sisters in humanity, or did we beget hate with hate? Someone should end this cycle of hate. If we are the friends of civilization, then shouldn’t it be us?

Posted by: JayJay at December 31, 2006 1:01 AM
Comment #200943
I think good Muslims should be outraged that this is being done in the name of Islam, as a Christian should be outraged when someone murders children in the name of Jesus.

Jack,

Good point. The only problem is that Muslims do not live under the same conditions as most modern day Christians. Christians should thank their lucky stars that they live in a country that not only allows freedom of religion, but also freedom of speech. Without that, they would have far less opportunity to protest against the state sponsored religion, or how the state interpreted that religion.

As you pointed out, Christians have not always been outraged at such bad behavior. Jehovah, the Christian god, himself commanded the killing of innocent children. Not only did his followers not protest, they made it part of their holy scripture. If someone today were to kill a child and proclaim that Jehovah commanded him to do it, he would be locked up in a prison for the criminally insane. Apparently, somewhere along the line we learned that what was acceptable in the past is an abomination today, even when commanded by Jehovah himself. That is the reason that I bring up references to provocations of the past. Not to divert the issue, but because only when we can identify our own shortcomings of the past, can we identify them in others today and try to fix them for the future. It also allows us to look at the conditions that allowed us to overcome our shortcomings and perhaps apply them to the present situation. If we have learned a life lesson should we not pass that lesson onto others who have not yet learned it?

Christianity does not have an innocent past and Christians should not reject that past, no matter how difficult it is to accept. Many Christians today will proclaim that those who were involved in past atrocities were not actually Christians at all, but they were Christians in name only. I have no doubt that some day Muslims will say the exact same thing about these terrorists of today. Muslims in name only.

Posted by: JayJay at December 31, 2006 1:52 AM
Comment #200963

JayJay

Christians have always wrestled with the differences between the old and the New Testament. You mentioned gnosticism, which was a radical attempt to explain the differences, but it is not the only one.

As far as I know, theologians have never resolved this. Most modern American Christians emphasize the New Testament.

The Bible contains many logical contradictions. If you are a secular humanist, you can say that they are examples of error. If you are religious, you can say that it just that man cannot understand the purposes of God.

Personally, I am a pragmatist. That means that I judge by sensible results rather than what people say they are or do. Modern American Christianity has been a very benign religion. It has created some bad results, but done a lot more good. It seems to help the believers. Those who regularly go to church have lower incidence of unhealthy behavior. It is good for society. Those who regularly go to church are much more generous to others, even in respect to things like giving blood. So as a pragmatist, I am very happy that Christianity has remained a strong force in the U.S.

You have to judge an ideology not by its goals, but rather by its real world results. Christianity in the U.S. is a good thing in general. It does not produce significant numbers of terrorists or criminals. Non-religious America is responsible for much more of that, and Islam is currently the most fertile ground for terrorism. I do not know if this is BECAUSE of or in SPITE of the religion, but I can say that something has gone wrong.

Posted by: Jack at December 31, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #201046

Jack,

Gnosticism pre-dates Christianity, tracing their birth to the day in Eden when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the Tree of Gnosis (knowledge). Jesus was considered a Gnostic Master Teacher, which is why they became Christianized. Gnostics believed that Jehovah was the demiurge prior to Jesus, as evidenced in writings that pre-date the NT. Gnosticism is not exclusive to Christianity, but is found in all major world religions. Therefore, you are wrong in saying that Gnosticism was an attempt to explain the differences between old and new testaments.

Gnosticism was an attempt to explain why evil exists in the world, and is no more radical than any other religious explaination. In fact I think it makes more sense.

The Gnostics were way ahead of their time. They were known for their peaceful ways, their belief in the unity of all mankind, and their unwavering tolerance of others. All of this made them an easy target of the mainline Church, which very nearly resulted in their extinction.

As far as I know, theologians have never resolved this. Most modern American Christians emphasize the New Testament.

Thealogians will never resolve the question, theology is a fancy word for opinion. You are right, thank God, most modern Christians do emphasize the NT.

The Bible contains many logical contradictions. If you are a secular humanist, you can say that they are examples of error. If you are religious, you can say that it just that man cannot understand the purposes of God. blockquote>

Or if you are a Gnostic you can offer an explaination.

You have to judge an ideology not by its goals, but rather by its real world results.


Oh, then why do you judge Gnosticism as radical? What negative real world result has occured because of Gnosticism? As I mentioned earlier, Gnostics were known as a very peaceful and tolerant people. Even those who wrote against the Gnostics in antiquity, wrote of their tolerance and equal treatment between the sexes.

They rejected evil wherever they found it (which is why they rejected Jehovah), and embraced the idea that we are all one, the individual does not exist. To harm another is to harm yourself and God.

None of their scriptures call for the conversion of others, or advocate violence. How many times have you heard of someone killing in the name of their religion? How many times have you heard of a Gnostic killing, well, anyone? Past or present? These were people who would rather die for their religion than kill for it. As I stated, this almost resulted in the extinction of their existance. Fortunatly, God presereved it in the Egyptian sands.

BTW, do you think it is any coincidence that the three factions warring in the Middle East, (Christian nations, Muslim Nations, and Israeli Jews) are all the offspring of Jehovah, a man of war? (Exodus 15.3)

Posted by: JayJay at December 31, 2006 10:17 PM
Comment #201059

Jayjay

I said gnosticism was a radical explanation. I was merely using the word as an adjective as in radical departure.

Gnostics can trace their birth to Adam and Eve if they wish. I no more believe them than I believe a snake literally tempted Eve.

The great thing for gnostics is that they can always point to lack of evidence as evidence. It is the ultimate conspiracy theory.

In antiquity, gnostics were not known much at all. I do not suppose most people even noticed they were around, if they even were. I do not think there are any confirmed gnostic texts until about AD 200.

The cool thing about gnosticism to the modern reader is its blankness. You can write in whatever you want, because there is nothing much there. This protean option is unavailable to those with a clear written history and tradition.

Posted by: Jack at January 1, 2007 12:23 AM
Comment #201086
Gnostics can trace their birth to Adam and Eve if they wish. I no more believe them than I believe a snake literally tempted Eve.

Jack,

That is fine. I am not trying to convince you to believe anything, you can believe anything or nothing if you want. I am simply answering your charges made against Gnosticism in your Comment #200963.

In antiquity, gnostics were not known much at all. I do not suppose most people even noticed they were around, if they even were.

Not when you are hunted to the brink of extinction. Texts that were considered favorable to Gnostics were destroyed, burned. That is why the Nag Hammadi Library texts were buried outside a Monastery in Egypt. Some texts that were written against the Gnostics by early church fathers survived and those are the texts of antiquity that I am referring to. Gnosticism was widespread as evidenced by the many different sects. People knew they were around, which is why they were considered such a threat to the Church. One sect, the Mandaeans of Southern Iraq and Southern Iran survive to today, and remained virtually untouched by the outside world.

The cool thing about gnosticism to the modern reader is its blankness. You can write in whatever you want, because there is nothing much there. This protean option is unavailable to those with a clear written history and tradition.

You obviously do not have any understanding of Gnosticism or the Gnostic scriptures at all. While the history of the Gnostics was destroyed and is mostly known to us by way of those who wrote against them, their traditions can be found in the many surviving texts. The Nag Hammadi Library and the separate discovery of the Pistis Sophia have a very clearly defined belief system and worldview. If you see the Gnostic texts as blankness then that is simply how you see them, I cannot and will not change that. When I read these texts I see them as rich in tradition and inspiration with the right amount of blank canvas to be filled in by God. Besides, isn’t that what religion/ spirituality should be all about, inspiration?

This protean option is unavailable to those with a clear written history and tradition.

Oh, now that we are talking about Gnostics, history suddenly becomes all important. The last time I brought up Christian history you told me that I had a hatred of Christians, and that modern day Christians were not like that. So why are you so eager to use history or lack thereof against the Gnostics? Are you letting your hatred of Gnostics cloud your judgment?

Posted by: JayJay at January 1, 2007 1:19 PM
Comment #201094

JayJay

Re history - you have to have a history to study. History is based on written documents confimed by physical evidence.

There just is not much gnostic history to study. There are inuendos and false trails. If you let God fill in the blanks, you have to assume revelation. YOu are right. I cannot share your personal revelation.

Just because you can find criticism of something does not mean it there is really much to it. Think of writing a history of gay America based on the anti-gay writings. Or how about the history of the Jews via the Nazis. You would have thought Jews controlled everything.

You have a perfect system of history - for you. You can fill in the blanks to your liking. Gnosticism from the time of Adam? The lack of historical sources makes no difference if you can fill in the empty spaces.

You can believe in whatever you think gnosticism is. It is a very personal faith. When you look in the mirror, you will see God and you will probably think he is a just diety.

Posted by: Jack at January 1, 2007 1:54 PM
Comment #201134

Jack

Did you say the same about Christians during the Troubles in Northern Ireland? Or are you just a little bit cock-eyed vis a vis your own culture?

Posted by: mental wimp at January 1, 2007 9:21 PM
Comment #201136
There just is not much gnostic history to study.

Maybe that is not such a bad thing. Most religions have one foot in the past, which is dead; and the other foot in the future, which is a dream. Gnosticism is a religion of the present. Only in the present will you find truth and reality. Why look for God in the pages of a 2000 year old book? Why look for God somewhere that has not happened yet? God is here and now. Let the dead bury the dead. (Matt. 8:22)

You have a perfect system of history - for you. You can fill in the blanks to your liking.

If you are true Gnostic, the blanks are filled in by God.

Gnosticism from the time of Adam? The lack of historical sources makes no difference if you can fill in the empty spaces.

You are led by the ego. For you nothing exists outside the ego. I cannot change that for you.

You can believe in whatever you think gnosticism is. It is a very personal faith.

Gnosticism is not about what you think Gnosticism is. Gnosticism is what it is, or I AM THAT I AM. Gnosticism is a very personal faith on only one level, but pervades everything at another.

When you look in the mirror, you will see God and you will probably think he is a just diety.

Only if the reflection you see is of an individual. What you talk about is the ego, Gnostics reject the ego. God is within everyone, therefore God is a reflection of ALL. What you do unto others, you do unto God.

Posted by: JayJay at January 1, 2007 10:09 PM
Comment #201173

Re: Gnosticism and pre-Socratic thought.

“Reality itself is a thinking thing, and the object of its own thinking.” - Parmenides

Posted by: Mental Wimp at January 2, 2007 12:56 PM
Comment #201202

Mental & JayJay

We can find lots of things before Socrates. I also liked Heraclitus. But we can not find much to really dig into.

JayJay

You have moved from history to faith. I cannot argue with about that with you. Just as if someone tells me Jesus is Lord. It is a matter of faith immune to logic or evidence.

I can stipulate that you believe it if you say it is so. But we cannot talk about history w/o reference to historical sources. In this case we find that the garment is more holes than fabric. You and I can both fill in what we think should be there w/o any rational way to decide which is more valid.

So fall back again on faith. I can only judge what I can see. I respect your religous faith, by do not mistake that with history.

Posted by: Jack at January 2, 2007 5:07 PM
Comment #201211

Jack

I was not citing Parmenides to be argumentative, only to show that the central tenet that Jay-Jay gave was recognized by a pre-Socratic philosopher: viz, that we are part of reality, and thus, as such, reality is capable of considering itself. I was struck how Gnostics cast this indisputable philosophical statement into a religious framework (as do many other religions, including Buddhism).

I find the quote comforting, because it does illustrate how we are all of a piece in at least that objective sense and when we greet each other it is essentially the universe saying hi to itself.

Posted by: mental wimp at January 2, 2007 6:38 PM
Comment #201228

Mental

I also was not trying to give you a hard time. I am not saying that Jay’s faith is wrong, only that it is faith based and not historical.

You know that if you go back and look at any record with the end in mind you can easily find evidence to support it.

Let me first say that I am not using this comparision as an attack, but rather as an example of misintrpretation of history. I was interested in Nazi history and archeology. They employed some really smart guys to study the past in order to justify the present. They had no trouble proving their Aryan theory of progress. Almost every piece of evidence they used was “true” but they were fit into the framework in order to prove the conclusion rather than using evidence to come to conclusions.

It is always a problem even for disinterested rational people when they come to conclusions too quickly. When you already have a faith in something, it is easy to convince yourself that the evidence shows it.

In the case of gnosticism, there just is not enough evidence to come to any conclusions. We can infer, that it was NOT a very important thread because there is so little of it in the evidence. Of course, if you want to believe that this evidence was destroyed or just lost, nobody can refute it with certainty. You cannot prove the negative.

I am sure you are familiar with the “black swan” problem. But it is true that it may not be certain, but that is the way to bet.

Re the faith that makes you comfortable, let me share something. I am not saying this is “true”, but I feel it.

My father died some years back and I was sad for about it. After a while, I had a very interesting dream where I felt that he was there. And not only him. EVERYBODY was there, living, dead and yet unborn. I cannot explain the feeling, but even after the passage of almost ten years I still remember the profound sense of peace and contentment.

The funny thing is that my father had told me a similar story after my mother died. As I said, I do not know if this is true. My rational side tells me it is just my imagination, maybe just based on my father’s story. My emotional side hopes it is true.

Posted by: Jack at January 2, 2007 10:40 PM
Comment #201240

Jack,

I am not really sure what your point is about faith/ history in religion. History does not always tell the truth. I agree, the Gnostic religion itself, has a broken history at best. Gnosticism on the other hand shows up throughout history. It is in the philosophical writings of Plato and Philo. The one thing that connects all major world religions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam is gnosticism. The canonical New Testament is peppered with gnostic themes, although most fundies will deny it. For example, an idea that is central to Gnosticism is that God can be found within ourselves. Jesus even confirms this in the canonical NT:

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. ~Luke 17:20-21

What has history done for Christianity? It has allowed the Church to create a thing called blind faith, which has led to rigid doctrines and dogmas, at the exclusion of others. Has history proved Pauline Christianity any more valid than Gnostic Christianity, or has it simply excluded it?

Posted by: JayJay at January 3, 2007 12:41 AM
Comment #201242

Jack,

BTW, go with your emotional side. What’s the harm? You may learn something about yourself.

Posted by: JayJay at January 3, 2007 12:44 AM
Comment #201303

JayJay

I think we might be talking about different things. I am not rejecting or affirming gnosticism. I am simply saying that you cannot reject or affirm through a historical record because of lack of evidence.

The lack of a specific history allows individuals to fill in the blanks and then change their minds. It will always be a better story than something with a history from their point of view. It is a story that can adapt to current circumstances.

That is why oral history is so attractive and innacurate at the same time.

Posted by: Jack at January 3, 2007 1:34 PM
Comment #202246

Yoo hoo. Just for the record, when Buddhists start slaughtering people, they stop being Buddhists, ipso facto.

Posted by: Buddhist Jihad at January 9, 2007 10:53 PM
Comment #202287

Ulysses writes: “There is a universe of difference between being a spiritual person as opposed to a religious person. The former respects life in all its many forms. The latter respects nothing beyond their own petty beliefs.”

This is a great point that expresses a major fallacy many religious people have about nonreligious people. The myth is that morality can only be taught through religion, that if you are nonreligious you cannot possibly be moral. The question is: are the Judeo, Christian and Muslim Gods moral themselves? Just because “God” is all-powerful and begins with a capital “G”, does this automatically make Him moral? Of course, not. Indeed, it tends to make Him immoral, as His alleged previous actions abundantly show.

Judeo-Christian-Muslim “morality” (I can’t speak for other religions)is generally biased in favor of one religion and against the other religions. If a person adheres to another religion, it is justified to do anything to that person. This is not true morality in any objective sense.

Posted by: Tom at January 10, 2007 6:51 AM
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