Sri Lanka faces a Buddhist extremist group called Bodu Bala Sena, meaning "Buddhist Power Force."
BBS, led by Buddhist monks, preach xenophobia and violence against the Tamil and Muslim minorities.
Myanmar encounters a Buddhist militant called the "969 Movement".
In India, Hinduism has violent, ultra-nationalist groups named "Hindutva" preaching hate against minorities.
Hindutva groups, the all-male Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, RSS, promotes "historical revisionism and religious pseudoscience about the antiquity and truth of Hinduism."
Thus, the name, "Saffron Fascism".
"If you strip out the cultural idiosyncrasies, what’s evident is how much all these groups resemble the American Christian right and each other. They all preach the superiority of their own faith and ethnicity, a pseudohistorical narrative of a glorious past which lets them claim credit for everything good in the world, and suspicion and prejudice against whatever minority is locally noticeable, painting them as untrustworthy outsiders. These atavistic, prejudiced impulses seem to be something common to humanity, whichever culture you happen to live in – but by allowing people to claim divine authority for their bigotry, religion deserves its share of the blame for making the problem worse."
Thank you Joan. So often we encounter Americans who espouse a combination of new age platitudes and, what they imagine to be, Buddhist teachings. They point out to us the peaceful nature of eastern religions in contrast to Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Christians also praise the followers of the gentle Jesus compared to those of the warlike Mohamed. The Koran tells Muslims that Islam is the religion of peace. While Jews, having been perennial victims themselves, insist that the devastation of Palestinian civilian targets is merely self defense.
In fact, leaders seeking more riches, power, land, and hegemony have used each religion to mobilize adherents to kill their neighbors and minorities within their borders throughout history. While individually, citizens may have no animosity to their neighbors. Individually we see no advantage in risking our lives to fight. The natural preference for harmony and peaceful coexistence usually prevails. Therefore, to persuade their followers to take up arms, national leaders, tribal warlords, and religious potentates, use religion to fan the flames of hatred.
"Those idolaters have insulted your God!
They violate our Holy teachings!
They have said that the Mother of the Prophet wears combat boots!
You are hereby relieved of all normal constraints of civilized, moral behavior
because God is on our side!"
And so, the pogrom, the crusade, or the ethnic cleansing begins.
Read When God Was a Woman to see what kind of "victims" the early Israelites really were. Especially the Levite tribe of Aaron and Moses (IF those individuals really existed.) There was NO mass "exodus" from Egypt, they just took their armies into Canaan/Palestine, massacred the people who were living there, including pregnant women, ....see Hosea 13:16....raped virgin girls, and took over.
Why didn't any of those "Hindu soldiers" go after the abominable Agnes Bojaxhiu and her useless nuns? They would have done the whole world a favor.
I suspect the reason they didn't go after the person Hitchen's referred to as the "Albanian Dwarf" was that she brought in tourist money to Calcutta and helped hide (never alleviate) some of the worst visual examples of their poverty - helpless people dying on the street.
It would seem as though, when Hitchens said that religion poisons everything, he needn't have limited himself to the Abrahamic faiths ... not that I suspect he would have!
I totally disagreed with Hitchens on the Iraq invasion, but I miss his trenchant wit enormously! We still need him....AND Robert Ingersoll for a little classier attitude.
Thanks, Joan. Dogby is right about Western perception of Buddhism. But that is the special perniciousness of religion: it can preach peace but slaughter unbelievers. So, two questions for believers -- challenges, really:
(1) If your religion is so strong, certainly it can withstand the presence, doubts, and even ridicule of unbelievers, If you are moved to violence by cartoons or other imagined insults, your faith is weak indeed.
and more important...
(2) If your God/Buddha is so strong, why does he need people to do his work for him? If the Charlie Hebdo building had been taken out by a surgical lightning strike or meteorite...well, that would have been impressive. Why can't these all-powerful deities defend themselves?