Breaking: America Struggles to Contain its Violent Christian Extremists
(The point being, why is it that extremists in Buddhist countries are defined by their religion? For decades, “terrorist” for us meant the IRA, who were Catholics. But no-one said “Catholic extremists”. Nowadays, most extremist violence in the US is committed by angry white Christian men. But no-one thinks to call them “Christian”, even though their Christianity is central to their own sense of self-identity.
Labelling extremists as “Buddhists” is a tired relic of colonialist projection—“Ohh, ahh, look, those peaceful Buddhists, how could they!”
They’re extremists, who have a religion, and sometimes use their religion to buttress their arguments. So what? Buddhists are people—we’re all different, and many of us are not that great. Deal with it!)
This is quite sad. But I think it’s not too bad now as the violence in the parliament. Sinhala vs Sinhala.
This week in my introductory international politics course we discussed Samuel P. Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis. Huntington’s critics, and there are many, have condemned his theory for essentially being a self-fulfilling prophecy—if you tell people that conflict in the post-Cold War world has cultural origins (which for Huntington includes religion) they will come to believe it. Huntington died in 2008 and is no longer around to defend himself, but when he was alive his claim was basically that he was simply describing what he saw, not advocating for it. Nonetheless, there are plenty of people who maintain that Huntington was too quick to ascribe cultural motivations to what were otherwise political conflicts.
I’ve been wondering about this. My guess is that since Christianity and Islam are often blamed for extremism, some people—who likely have negative feelings toward all religiosity—are trying to paint Buddhism as yet another cause of extremism, which, conveniently, overlooks the vast majority of non-extremists.
I thought the motivation of the nationalist groups described in the story was explicitly sectarian. The violence committed by violent men in the US, acting alone, does not have a uniform sectarian character. Some have been partly religiously motivated, some have not.
Well, the country that gave birth to Buddha and his teachings do have many Buddhist lemons.
However, if the Sinhalese did not protect the Buddha Dhamma sometimes taking extreme defensive postures you wouldn’t be here learning Buddhism.
Its an imperfect way of safeguarding the Dhamma in an imperfect world.
Ok, so what you are saying is that the movement described in the article is definitely a Buddhist movement, and not just a nationalist movement that happens to be made up of Buddhists.
That’s interesting. I found an insightful review of Huntington’s thesis by Dr. Shahi. Maybe some will find it useful.
Well some sects of Islam, particularly the Sunni have a strong built-in proselyt (correct word?) element. They are always looking to spread their religion often with the help from other countries.
Spreading the religion by education is fine. Although they use unethical practises that are not very well liked by the locals. Its an ever present issue that never goes away.
Here, two parties clash. One is obviously a Buddhist. Although simple things like this brings issues with Islam unethical practises to the fore.
There is no organised movement that is attacking Moslems. There are strongly vocal Buddhist groups however.
I don’t think Christian identity plays as much a role in the domestic terrorists here in the US as opposed to the Buddhist identity playing its role amongst domestic terrorists in Sri Lanka. The more overarching role here is more a sense of alienation/isolation and hopelessness/despair, the reasons for which I’m not qualified to give a sufficient summary of but of which I know enough to say: it’s very complicated.
That’s all just my impression as a born and bred American
I’m not going to argue with you, but your own words have added credence to the framing in the article that Sujato was pushing back against.
There have been a number of different motivations for the most recent attacks, including antisemitism and white supremacism. Some of these people connect their violent acts with their Christian identity, and some do not.
I think your motive for this post was to “make the world a better place”. It a good motive to have. Although you fail to realise the problem that the Buddha trying to teach. The mundane world cannot ever be fixed. That is why he said Nibbana is the only bliss.
The Buddhists in Sri Lanka will look after the Dhamma what ever way is necessary for the Devas and Humans of this world to find their bliss. Be understanding and appreciative.
The dhamma is not a set of cultural institutions, but the spirit of absolute peace and renunciation. Every intentional killing clouds and defiles it. It will do just fine without the destruction, since hate is not conquered by hate. This is a law eternal.
I agree that antisemitism and white supremicism has been a motive in some of the most recent attacks. It is unfortunate that our current political climate has opened the floodgates for this kind of abhorrent behavior.
Regarding mass shootings in the US in general, AFAICT, any mentioned connection with Christian identity, if there is any mention at all, is secondary. OTOH, you have Buddhist monks in robes not-so-subtly encouraging retataliation and violence. You have Hindus in India killing people who they suspect have harmed cows. I’m not going to even mention Islamic jihadism…
My point is that religion plays a bigger role in other countries’ acts of violence compared to Christianity in the US. Again, I think it’s a sense of alienation/isolation and hopelessness/despair among young men in our country more than religion per se. I say this as a relatively young man
I had a look at your posting history. I could not find any posts to do with your country that spends 15% of the GDP on defence and mitiary overrun a country every 10 years or so.
So that kind of advise is all well and good its propotional. Otherwise it like kindergarden advise given from an ivory tower.
Lets keep a harmonious and compassionate attitude - and not become divisive and judgemental due to a thicket of views and opinions…