February 24, 2010


Columnist Bob Ray Sanders is simultaneously a much loved, award winning writer for the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and a reviled pinko-socialist mouthpiece for the no-longer locally owned liberal rag. Take your pick.

Myself? I mostly like Bob Ray. He gets a bit out on the limb at times in his commentary on racial issues, but certainly he is no Al Sharpton. When Bob Ray goes down that tired, old trail... I turn the page and move on. On many other social issues, Bob Ray is a frequent home run hitter.

His piece this morning is titled, When religious zeal displaces the truth in history books, and the topic is one to which I pay rather close attention; Revisionist history, or the attempts of true believers to change the history and science books to suit a political or philosophical end. Unfortunately, the efforts to do just that come far too frequently and are frequently all too successful. The result is someone like Bob Ray illustrates in his column.

Bob Ray relates the details of his morning commute, including the spinning of the radio dial to find something of interest. The morning of which he writes, Bob Ray tuned to a popular right-wing call-in talk show, aired daily on Fort Worth’s legendary WBAP radio. The show host, Mark Davis, is a regional favorite and although I seldom agree with his too-far right views, I still tune in and listen from time to time.

I wasn’t listening the morning Bob Ray describes, but I wish I was. Davis, it seems, spoke regarding Buddhism, commenting that the Buddhist belief was older than Christianity.

One of Davis’ listeners apparently took exception, insisting Davis was wrong… that there was no religion older than Christianity. Davis apparently attempted to reason with the caller, explaining that Buddhism has roots predating the birth of Jesus by maybe 600 years. Nothing worked on the caller, who insisted that the God of creation was the Christian god, and that no religion predated creation.

Bob Ray makes it clear that he too is Christian, but then goes on to wonder from whence comes the disrespect of other people’s beliefs?

"I often wonder what makes religious people, especially Christians, so arrogant and, frankly, so bigoted.”

Yeah, I’ve wondered that too, Bob Ray. Christians, throughout history, have sought to steamroll anyone or any group whom they could not “save.” The result has been untold suffering, and even the retardation of medicine and science. For a religion that is supposed to be good and loving, they sure are capable of a bunch of evil and hatred.

"Besides, as I've said many times before, most of the world's great religions teach that you serve God by serving humanity. Certainly many of the principles of Buddhism -- seeking wisdom, respecting others and leading a moral life -- are found in many different faiths, whether that religion is based on a belief in a Godhead or not.”

Christianity teaches that too, Bob Ray, but for some reason Christians fail to practice it. Mohandas Gandhi, when asked about Christianity, famously stated, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Indeed Christianity seems to have a problem when it comes to reason and rationality, but Christianity is not alone in that respect. All religions seem to be based on a foundation of “we were the first… we are the chosen… we are the best… our god can beat up your god…”

This is evident even in the early teachings of the Native American tribal spiritual beliefs. The name by which every tribe called themselves translated to some version or another of “the people,” or “the humans.” All others are damned.

Bob Ray says it well:

“That's just the way it is with some folks: If you don't believe what I believe, Christian or not, hell is definitely reserved for you.”

Bob Ray’s opinion piece is on the mark in many ways, but even he misses what is arguably the real error in thought process seen in this discussion.
Buddhism is not a religion. The Buddha is respected as a great teacher, but is not a god. Buddhists do praise the man, but they do not pray to him. Buddhism, as a practice, is godless.

Not all Buddhists are atheists, but many are. There are Buddhists who believe in a god, and those beliefs may parallel the practice of Buddhism… compliment it, perhaps… but there are no Buddhist teachings incorporating a deity. Most Buddhists will tell you they simply don’t know if there is a god or not, but they do know there was a Buddha.

Buddhism has no place in an on-air debate about religions. Buddhists don't have a dog in that hunt. The reason it was mentioned, first by the host and then by the caller, is that modern Christians are taught that Buddhism is a pagan religious practice, and therefore is a thing to be rejected and reviled. Buddhists, like all pagans, are going to hell.

Revisionism at its finest.


Ambulance Driver said...

Goes deeper than that.

The Church of Christ teaches that if you're not a member of that particular denomination, you're going to hell - even other Christian denominations.

Loonies abound everywhere, and unfortunately religion gives many of them a framework for their warped belief systems.

Mule Breath said...

My Ex had a friend who was C of C. Her belief was not only anyone not of the sect, but anyone not attending services in her particular brick building was hell bound... even other C of C's.

Rogue Medic said...

When belief is in conflict with reality, belief wins. To mangle the quote from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. This is one of the reasons seem to have to put a link to the Wikipedia entry for cognitive dissonance.

PS I double dog dare your god to beat up my god. ;-)

word verification - lumpalog - Like you're the first to tell me that.

montag said...

If you look at every religion and culture's creation myth, you are looking at the creation of revisionism. All say in their own fashion, we are the best. All serve to blunt those who would ask, how did we get stuck in this shithole? If god must know what he is doing, you don't get to blame the chief.