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Defamation of Religion - Dhamma Wheel

Defamation of Religion

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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clw_uk
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Defamation of Religion

Postby clw_uk » Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:59 pm

Does anyone have any thoughts on the UN "Defamation of Religion" resolution thats being debated?


http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/media/d ... alert/683/


Myself I think its a bad idea. Not being able to criticize an ideology never leads to anywhere good
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:34 pm

I think that that is an unacceptable atack to freedom of speech. And it can allow for religious fanatism to grow.

The bible promotes killing gays and stoning the sons who don't obey to their parents and are very stuborn. The koran allows husbands beating their wifes and the killing of the enemies of Islam. These things must be allowed to say.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

notself
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby notself » Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:56 pm

With many of the Tea Party saying that there is no Constitutional separation of church and state, we will soon have religious anti-defamation laws in the USA. Atheists will be further harassed and freedom of speech will be further curtailed. Avowed atheist are not eligible to hold public office in some States and things are going to get much worse. Yes, I am a political pessimist.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:31 pm

He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:04 pm

I cannot stand intolerance :rules:

Buddhists shouldn't be worried about such laws. They should not defame other religions anyway. Neither approving, nor disapproving, one should just teach Dhamma.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Kim OHara
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:44 am


Hoo
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Hoo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:14 am

Well said, Kim.

I actually had a death-threat intimidation laid on me some years ago by one of the very fundamentalist types, in a state where attempted and successful abortion doctor asassination attempts took place. FBI got the ring of religious stateside supporters who helped the assassin escape and were supporting him in Europe. Interpol caught the perpetrator in Europe. Some time later another hate group engaged in a road show of demonstrations and parades in the area - they were best known in earlier times for hangings, burnings, and warning select groups to leave or be killed.

With respect to Bhikkhu Pesala, I agree that we should not defame others, of any persuasion, but speaking the truth of a threat that may affect others is a duty, IMHO. I cannot teach Dhamma, having no authority or sufficient knowledge. But I chose the lay life decades before I came to Buddhism so I have earlier vows to honor. Others depend on my vows to them.

IMHO, the Buddhist layperson does pay attention to laws and events that impact others. To do otherwise, to pay no attention, is to be unaware if my family, children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors, world, etc., become exposed to a high risk environment. IMHO, that makes me a contributor to whatever violence befalls them. I am also a contributor to whatever violence befalls others when I do nothing to prevent it or to safeguard others. So these days, I vote for those who practice peace, I practice peace myself, but I remain aware of those who do not intend peace for others.

OK, off the soapbox :)

Hoo

notself
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby notself » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:22 am

Last edited by notself on Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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retrofuturist
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:24 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

alan
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby alan » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:00 am

Toleration is a wonderful idea, until it is applied to things that should not be tolerated.

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Dan74
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Dan74 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:11 am

_/|\_

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:57 am



(useful site to add to your bookmarks).
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

Paññāsikhara
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:18 am

To me there often seems to be some kind of internal contradiction in some of these situations.
On one hand, some religious teachings encourage forms of violence towards certain members of society, including censorship of them, and even hatred.
On the other hand, the modern human rights notion tries to safeguard freedom of religion.
But this freedom of religion includes religious ideas that themselves do not support freedom of religion, sexuality, etc. for others.
By upholding these religions, one effectively upholds these forms of institutionalized (even sanctified) intolerance.
By by pointing this out, one is accused of not promoting freedom of religion.

It is for this reason that for a long time, although I feel the basic notion of human rights is very good, I often really cannot understand the basic ideas on which it is based. And nobody has yet provided me with a convincing argument about these "rights" actually are / what the idea means. (Please don't take this last point in the naive sense.) It always seems to come down to - who has power.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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Dan74
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Dan74 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:44 am

I don't think anyone would seriously legislate against pointing out "issues" with certain religious doctrines.

But perhaps it is good to keep in mind that most religions are a hodge-podge of often contradictory teachings some of which are emphasized and some de-emphasized. So finding a line in some holy scripture that appears to endorse violence is not "proof" that that religion endorses violence. These things are often quoted out of the historical context in which they arose and this is quite unfair, IMO.

On the other hand if one is so inclined one can still point such passages and doctrines out and criticise. This would not be forbidden under the Hate Laws in Australia, I believe.

I recall on Master Sheng-Yen's visit here, we were shown a short clip of this address to the UN (while the organizers were getting themselves organized) where he called for religious leaders to emphasize teachings that promoted harmony and tolerance. I think every religion has those and this is a very sensible thing to do which many are already doing around the world.

So for an outsider to criticise a religion (like Hitchens in another thread) is a slippery slope and rarely constructive. best to positively affirm the values we see as important and let religions that struggle with them, deal with these in their own way.

Of course when a conflict of values arises (lie the burka debate, female circumcision, rights of women, homosexuality, etc) this needs a open debate that should involve hearing each side out carefully and humbly rather than talking down to an "inferior" culture like is often the case. This is not constructive, IMO, and just leads to further division.
_/|\_

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Laurens
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Laurens » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:56 am

Blasphemy laws are a restriction upon free speech and expression. Freedom of speech does, of course come with a cost--idiots who say hurtful things, however we are free to rebut their statements through exercise of the very same freedom. Laws against defamation of religion, are a last resort of a weak cause. Legitimate criticisms of the three main monotheistic religions have reached such a point where they are decidedly difficult to refute, it's a last ditch attempt to silence opponents--which is something that the church has always done through various means. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of free society, no laws should be made that infringe upon it. Especially not when the very same freedom allows religious groups to openly express homophobia and bigotry.

I strongly feel that when religion learns respect it will earn respect, until then it will have to deal with criticism.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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Dan74
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Dan74 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:25 am

This sounds like a strawman to me, Laurens. Where is a law that curbs "criticism of a religion"?

I know of laws that curb speech inciting violence or hatred.
_/|\_

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Kim OHara
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:26 am


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Laurens
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Laurens » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:57 am

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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Dan74
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Dan74 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:08 pm

Last edited by Dan74 on Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_

Hoo
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Postby Hoo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:01 pm

Thank you for the story site, Bikkhu. The point of this discussion, as I understand it, is defamation of religion. But I think it, once again, illustrates the differences between what is taught by monks to monks and the different world that the lay person deals with. There are countries and religious settings where just that comment is enough to get me jailed. I would have questioned the authority of the clerics and the truth of the dogma. It depends, as said in an above post, on the power that's involved.

How shall I care for my family if I am jailed and interrogated for a couple of years? My wife is unable to work and would be branded as the family of a heretic, as would my adult children. Their jobs might become at risk as well. Grandchildren would be shunned by their peers at the strict warning of other parents - no association with the wrong-doers.

Can anyone point reliably to a century in which it didn't happen somewhere?

I vote for those who practice peace. I practice peace. I do not practice peace to the point that it endangers others.

Hoo


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