Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Burma 'orders Christians to be wiped out'

The secular left is frequently accused, often correctly, of giving Buddhism a pass when it comes to criticizing religion. (It's also accused, usually incorrectly, of giving Islam a pass.)

Although I find some Westernized Buddhist philosophy interesting, I have not made that mistake about Buddhism. I previously criticized the Dalai Lama for being a homophobic theocrat-in-exile, for example.

Burma is a Buddhist nation behaving badly:

The military regime in Burma is intent on wiping out Christianity in the country, according to claims in a secret document believed to have been leaked from a government ministry. Entitled "Programme to destroy the Christian religion in Burma", the incendiary memo contains point by point instructions on how to drive Christians out of the state.

The text, which opens with the line "There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised", calls for anyone caught evangelising to be imprisoned. It advises: "The Christian religion is very gentle – identify and utilise its weakness."

Its discovery follows widespread reports of religious persecution, with churches burnt to the ground, Christians forced to convert to the state religion, Buddhism, and their children barred from school.

Human rights groups claim that the treatment meted out to Christians, who make up six per cent of the population, is part of a wider campaign by the regime, also targeted at ethnic minority tribes, to create a uniform society in which the race and language is Burmese and the only accepted religion is Buddhism.

In the past year, an estimated 27,000 members of the predominantly Christian Karen tribe were driven from their homes in eastern Burma.

Just as True Islam is a religion of peace, True Christianity had nothing to do with the Crusades, and Torah-True Jews would never beat a woman for refusing to sit in the back of the bus (really), I'm sure what the Burmese government is doing is not in accordance with True Buddhism.

Oh, and Christians? What Burma's doing to Christians is persecution. Being forbidden from erecting huge monuments to your religion on public grounds is not.


Anonymous said...

It's important to realize that to most Americans, Buddhism is one big amorphous blob. In reality American Buddhism is the one they're thinking of when they think of "Buddhism." The Buddhisms in Asia are quite different from the Westernized (read: Enlightened) Buddhism they know.

Foilwoman said...

Yeah, religions brings out the best in people. And the misogyny . . . Miriam Shear has my admiration and respect. I had no idea that women were being moved to the back of the bus in that way.

No, TrueBuddhism, TrueChristianity, TrueJudaism, and TrueIslam don't harm and oppress and are religions of peace, yadda, yadda, yadda. It's just your zealot of a neighbor who will beat you or threaten you for not accepting his or her version of the truth.

Laura said...

If you want a sobering look at Buddhism in Asia, pick up a book titled Thai Women in Buddhism. Most Americans really do think of Buddhism (or any Eastern religion - Hinduism, Islam, Taoism, ect) as a monolithic system. In reality these religions are as diverse as Christianity and Judaism in the various ways they are practiced.

I don't care who you are or where you live, no one should be denied their rights because of their religious beliefs.

beepbeepitsme said...

They are never "true believers" if they may do something which can discredit the religion to which they claim allegiance.

These are the rules:

They are "true believers" when they do something which is good public relations for the religion.

They are NOT "true believers" if they get caught with their penis in the choirboy.

The no true scotsman fallacy is alive and well.

Anonymous said...

As far as body count goes, probably no one compares to the number of religious people killed by atheists in Communist countries. But maybe those weren't true atheists...

Jewish Atheist said...


Yeah, someone had to say it.

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I have seen you critisize a religion othe than Judaism or Christianity. Islam has been giving you a lot of material lately, what with the Shiites and Sunnis bombing each other in Iraq, Hmas and Fatah going at it in Gaza, Darfur, Somalia ect. Yet you seem reserve your animosity for Jews and Christians. I wonder why. Could it be that you have an ax to grind, or an agenda? Just wondering.

Jewish Atheist said...

Obviously, Muslims have been doing terrible things. Westerners already know this. Going on about that would be no more useful than condemning every murder that happens in the inner city. It goes without saying. And unlike a lot of right-wing nuts, I don't feel the need to prove my patriotism by taking brave (*sarcasm*) stances against Islamic terrorism.

I talk about Judaism and Christianity both because many people are blind to their faults and because they are so influential in my country.

Stephen said...

Jesus didn't kill people. He spoke out against oppressive authorities and helped the poor. I can't exactly claim him as a true Christian, because he was a good Jew to his dying day.

But true Christians do exist (Mother Teresa comes to mind), and true believers of other faiths, too.

In fact, I think most people's faith is innocuous, if not actively benevolent. I know you are confronted by a lot of mouth-breathing fanatics in the USA. But don't tar us all with that brush. (Not meaning you, JA, but some of the above comments.)

Anonymous said...

I thought the purpose of your Blog is to show how bad religion is. The current behavior of the jihadists is a perfect example. Every intelligent adult is aware of the problems with Judaism and Christianity, the practitioners of these Religions most of all. Every intelligent adult who has a high school diploma knows about the scientific approach to truth. I'm sorry but your answer doesn't quite ring true.

Jewish Atheist said...

I thought the purpose of your Blog is to show how bad religion is.

I'm not sure my blog has a single purpose. I use it to argue about the factual question of whether God exists, the issues people face when leaving a religious upbringing, to point out interesting articles, to argue a socially-liberal point of view, and yes, to show that religion can be and often is a dangerous thing. I've also written several posts on positive aspects of religion, like community, emphasis on charity, the culture of learning, etc.

The truth is, people don't always realize how harmful Christianity and Judaism can be. They naturally shield themselves from the bad stuff because they have such positive associations with them from their own experiences. Someone who has never questioned the religion they were raised in, for example, may not realize how difficult it can be to realize you no longer believe in your parents' religion.

There are plenty of blogs out there which point out every bad thing about Islam. I don't feel like I really need to add much to that conversation.

For the record, I believe that Islam is probably the most dangerous mainstream religion out there today. But everybody (who isn't Muslim) already knows that. Does that help?

Laura said...

I would agree with that JA with one caveat. Radical Islam are more dangerous than other religious radicals at this particular time. There are a great many moderate/liberal/secular Muslims out there - but many of them are afraid to speak out against the extremists.

Anonymous said...

While you are at it, maybe it owuld be a good idea to warn people about the dangers of Darwinism as well. After all, Nazism is Darwinism in its purest form. We know where what that lead to.