Friday, January 17, 2014

Religion or no Religion?

I was a little startled to read bout a group of marauding Buddhists...

"More than a dozen people may have been killed after a Buddhist group rampaged through a town in an isolated corner of Myanmar, hacking Muslim women and children with knives, a rights group reported Friday." 

I was reminded of the old argument against religion that wars are fought over religion and it causes so much grief. I probably ascribed to that naive and narrow minded conclusion at one point in my self education but now I see it as exactly the opposite: Religion had little to do with this and similar events. In fact, it's the absence of religion that led to this event. This is what happens when people are atheists but wear the clothes of a religious person. This is atheism at work, not religion. Myanmar is primarily "Muslim" but in this one small area the majority of "Buddhists" have congregated and they decided to try to violently evict the small minority of Muslims. Calling these people Buddhists is like calling me a Justin Bieber fan (Be-lieber) because I listen to the radio...and the radio also plays songs by Justin Bieber? I don't have an opinion of Justin Bieber. I know he exists and records music but I have pre-sorted his music to the skip section of my brain based on my strong suspicion that he has nothing to tell me that I'll be interested in. Although I can't forget the summer and fall of 2012 when I was forced to listen to this annoying song about 1000 times during my 5 hour commute to and from oil tank batterys.
I guess getting paid $37/hr to listen to crap dance music is the American Dream.

Christopher Hitchens made a career from misinterpreting religion and then debating priests. It must've been nice to grow up an affluent westerner who never got his hands dirty and then to cast judgement on the battle to survive for the other 99% of humanity, who occasionally need faith in something ethereal to support them...and to do all of this from the comfortable seat of flabby punditry. I wonder how many atheists are Guatemalan coffee pickers, sweating all day on a hill for $1 so Starbucks can package their latest sugar and caffeine cocktail for the cool hipsters coding HTML e-commerce sites all day long in San Mateo. It really must be awesome to have that kind of spare time that you can fly around and pick your nose in haughty arrogance and fling it at the sun-baked believers. His arguments were about as flimsy as the latest Malcolm Gladwell theory (in fact only a Christian minister would look dumb debating him) but they gave all the atheists a warm feeling to know they shared the same delusions as a depressed British drunk and it gave the devout a warm feeling to know they were going to heaven and Hitchens was going to hell.

I've been playing from my hymnal lately because the music is about at my level of ability on the piano and the melodies are soothing, they bring me peace in a troubled time. We're adrift in the universe on the brink of extinction and the presence of religion is a relief from the maw of oblivion. So tell me how religion caused men in Myanmar to hack women to death, show me the teachings of Allah and Buddha that led to such an outburst. Or is it the hijacking of religion for secular ends that is to blame, like aviation can not be to blame for planes being flown into buildings on purpose, or how football can not be to blame for football coaches molesting players. The news reports a religious labels religions mainly because journalists make their living off low-lying fruit and their audience is dumb hairless apes who scratch their ass while watching football...but is this the root cause or merely the jerseys the opponents were wearing, the mascara of deluded beasts? Wasn't it the absence of devotion, the absence of religious fervor, the denial of Allah's and Buddha's words, that drove the men to abandon their practice and take up knives? Religious crusades are packaged like frosted flakes so people will approve of them, but it amounts to a religious vacuum, not a wellspring. Hitchens was a skeptic and so am I; I'm skeptical when someone writes about Buddhists wielding knives. I once went to a Buddhist church in Mountain View, California and the focus was on tea and soybean curd and candles. Like Malcolm X said, "You can put a shoe in an oven but that doesn't make it a biscuit."
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.