Friday, November 11, 2005

A Few Resources

I haven't been blogging about the elections because it's bloody frustrating. The way I see it we get screwed either way. This is how I see it. It's really this f**king simple.

If Ranil's the new President he's going to liberalize his ass, screw the poor people and turn this into a police state like Singapore. If Mahinda's the one we vote in then the JVP and the JHU are going to be in power and we're going to return to war and become a Buddhist fundamentalist state.

Sad innit?

But there are a lot of resources available online. Much of them are quite partisan, but there are a few sources that have a genuine interest in trying to speak about democracy (or the lack thereof). Here are two of them:


slelections.info

Speaking of election related violence here's a good resource: slelections.info. It's being run by infoshare. The information seems to get updated daily. 321 incidents of election related violence by yesterday (9/11/2005). 146 incidents of violence allegedly perpetrated by the UPFA and 104 by the UNP.


Transparency International Sri Lanka

Another good site I found a few days ago (because of a certain report I was Googling for) was Transparency International Sri Lanka (www.tisrilanka.org). It has the report of the Programme for Protection of Public Resources (PPPR). A detailed and comprehensive look at how state resources have been misused during this campaign.

Did you know that the UNP has been using the Mathugama Crematorium for as their base of operations in the area? Did you know that Mahinda hasn't been paying a cent for the helicopter rides he's been taking around the country to appear at different meetings every day? Just a few of the rather intersting things i found in the PPPR reports :)

You can go to their site but I'll give you direct links too:

TISL Report 01 (03rd November 2005)

TISL Report 02 (10th November 2005)

That's all for now. When I find anything more I will post links here.

Comments:
 
The JHU would never have arisen if it wasn't for Christian fundamentalism which is currently rampant in Sri Lanka, India and other Asian countries. So blame the Christian fanatics before pointing fingers at others. People are sick and tired of the targetted campaign of conversion.


Towards Religious Harmony

By Harendra De Silva

Christian evangelists are on a roll in Sri Lanka. During the past few decades many reactionary Christian organisations originating in the west have swept into Sri Lanka with the single aim of converting all non-Christians to Christianity. Having arrived in a "third world" country, their reasoning is that all niceties and norms of decency can be dispensed with; evangelism is carried out through whatever means necessary without any thought for the consequence, even if this means creating a religious conflict. Sri Lanka must be on high guard if she is to preserve her religious harmony, for looking around the world it can be seen that religious conflict has not been far behind wherever Christian evangelists have set up shop.

http://www.geocities.com/focussrilanka/towards.htm
 
abans:

How does it go again.."people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"?

Buddhists would have nothing to fear today if they only kept their own house in order. Worshipping Kattaragama deviyo is hardly Buddhism is it? Now you're worried about what Christianity will do to Buddhism?!! My question is, what have you been doing about it all this time!!! Savism is a far more subversive influence on the "purity" of Sinhalese Buddhist life. It's so subversive in fact the Sinhalese have no idea that they're not even Buddhist! Worshipping trees, and doing baraya is not Buddhist.

This type of selective "concern" is unfair on the vast majority of Christian Sinhalese who have no inclination to "destroy Buddhism" as you put it. As a fellow Sinhalese abans I think your point of view is desperately out of kilter with ground realities. I urge you to do some independent investigation and not simply reiterate JHU propaganda. And while you're at it, go back to the basic teachings of Buddha. I'm sure there's no Kattaragama devioyo mentioned in there.
 
Neither Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims carry out targeted campaigns of conversion all around the world to "save" all the "unbelievers" - unlike the Christian fundamentalists. Look around Asia and you will see that Christian zealots are creating religious tension with their fanaticism.

Who cares if Buddhists in Sri Lanka worship God Kataragama, or the Bodhi Tree? This is the typical Christian fundamentalist mentality - everyone should worship only their god and no one else. It shouldn't matter if people worship stones, the sun, a tree or whatever else their beliefs should be respected.

Christian missionary activity and conversion, is not about freedom of religion. It is about the attempt of one religion to exterminate all others. Such an exclusive attitude cannot promote tolerance or understanding or resolve communal tensions.

I have no issue with Liberal/moderate Christianity, it's this fundamentalist strain that is hell bent on gaining converts through whatever means necessary that I have a problem with. They are an intolerant bunch of people.

Once again, the JHU would have been unthinkable a decade ago. It would never have arisen if people weren't pissed off about unethical, aggressive Christian proselytism that is active in Sri Lanka.

Although I didn't vote for them I am very glad they managed to bring the issue of Christian fundamentalism in Sri Lanka into the spotlight.
 
Security Forces Attack LTTE Cadre

Ilakkiyan of the political Wing of Amparai Sea Tiger unit was attacked by the Special Task Force (STF) soldiers Yesterday while he was carrying out his political work.

Ilakiyan was traveling from Thirukovil towards Aruhamai at 10.00 am yesterday morning. STF soldiers standing in guard at their security post in the area stopped the LTTE cadre. Ilakiyan produced proof of his status as an LTTE cadre. The STF soldiers ignored this and severely attacked him.

A complaint about this attack has been lodged with the Amparai SLMM branch.

02 February 2005

http://www.ltteps.org/?view=607&folder=2 http://www.ltteps.org/?view=607&folder=2

--

Quote of the Day

"Rather than idleness of people, it is the activeness of people that turns the wheels of the struggle. "

- Velupilllai Pirabakaran, National Leader of Tamil Eelam

http://www.state-terrorism.net/memory/Feb/Feb01.htm http://www.state-terrorism.net/memory/Feb/Feb01.htm

Memory Calendar

http://www.state-terrorism.net/memory_calendar.htm http://www.state-terrorism.net/memory_calendar.htm

7 civilians shot dead by Brainless Sinhala Buddhist Chavunist Thugs

Seven civilians were shot dead by the Sri Lankan Police in Thampalakamam, in Trincomalee this morning around 6.00 a.m. in retaliation to an attack by the Liberation Tigers on some police force in the area last night. The incident occurred in a village near Thampalakamam called Pokkuruni. 7 Civilians were dragged to the police post and were shot dead there. One civilian escaped with injuries.

more >>

http://www.state-terrorism.net/memory/Feb/Feb01.htm

Of the 27 Tamils who were hacked to death in this premeditated murderous venture, twenty two were below the age of nineteen and they were in their early-teens when they were arrested in the streets of Colombo, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Vavuniya. It is no secret that almost all these children were taken into custody because they were poor and that they were Tamils. In my two recent visits to Sri Lanka, I was able to meet some of the parents who said that their children were arrested and kept incommunicado for over two years in spite of the vain efforts made by the International committee of the Red Cross to verify their whereabouts.

http://www.tamilcanadian.com/pageview.php?ID=2105&SID=257 http://www.tamilcanadian.com/pageview.php?ID=2105&SID=257

--

""""""""""""" - 'The Sinhala political organizations and their leadership, which are deeply buried in the mud of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism, will never be able to comprehend the political aspirations of the people of Tamil Eelam. None of the major Sinhala political parties are prepared to recognize the fundamentals underlying the Tamil national question. None of the Sinhala political organizations is prepared to accept the northeastern region as the historical homeland of the Tamil-speaking people, that the Tamils constitute themselves as a distinct nationality and that they are entitled to the right to self-determination, including the right to secede. - """"""""""""""""""""""""

more >>

http://www.state-terrorism.net/2004/11/27_Heros_Day_Speech_2004.htm

======================================================

Sri Lankan War Crime : http://www.State-Terrorism.net/Sri_Lankan-State-Terrorism.htm

Sinhala Terrorist War Crime: http://www.State-Terrorism.net/state_terrorism4.htm

Memory Calendar : http://www.state-terrorism.net/memory_calendar.htm

Earlier News Messages http://www.state-terrorism.net/2001/

Voice of Tamils: http://www.state-terrorism.net

================================================= LTTE is a politico- military organisation, which is fighting for the right of self-determination of the Tamil people =================================================
 
Abans wrote:

"Who cares if Buddhists in Sri Lanka worship God Kataragama, or the Bodhi Tree? This is the typical Christian fundamentalist mentality - everyone should worship only their god and no one else."

I would argue this is just the sort of 'relativistic' outlook that makes Buddhists easy targets for conversion. Ever noticed how the Muslims are deathly silent on the conversion topic? As traditional enemies of Christianity one would expect them to be the most ardent opposition to evangelical activity, yes? Might I suggest a reason: perhaps it's because their followers are more resistent to external "shocks". Monotheistic religions such as Christianity, Judeaism and Islam retain their orginal character because followers are much more dogmatic. On the other hand Sinhalese Buddhists are not, nor do they have any concept of evangelism (something they share with the Jews). But that's where the similarities end, because the Jews were displaced (for centuries in fact) all over Europe and Asia, but still retained their beliefs in the continuum. If that had been Sinhalese Buddhists we would have easily conformed and assimilated. Buddhism would have been abandoned altogether or metamorphed very quickly I would think. The only reason Buddhism survives even today is because it's a vehicle for the transmission of Sinhalese culture and history. But as a philosophical system, it's in a rather shambolic state of affairs.

Just as earlier Buddhists on the island incorporated Savite elements into their worship (due to South Indian invasion etc.), lets just accept change as a "positive thing" (you yourself have no issue with the heterodox nature of "Sinhalese Buddhism") and get on with life. By all means continue your struggle, but it's a wasted exercise in my opinion.

To avoid any misunderstanding let me reiterate, this is not coming out of any spite I hold for Sinhalese Buddhists. But from a purely academic stance, I can say without reservation it's easier to "topple" Buddhists than any other religious group in Sri Lanka. Try to come to terms with that before accusing the Christian sects. Personally I think this is because the vast majority of people who call themselves Buddhists have little understanding of what Buddhism is really about. By allowing, in fact encouraging, various nefarious activities contrary to Buddhas teaching, the monks have removed all moral and ideological restraints on the population. In this vacuum of a central dogma it becomes tempting to experiment with other deviyos (even the Christian one perhaps). In the rural villages the concensus appears to be: if the Christian deviyo/pastor is more rewarding for me and my family then by jove I'll convert! But fundamentally this type of conversion is shallow and one would expect that in time the convert would continue to practice in the dark arts and all the various other things Sri Lankan Buddhists practice.

So take heart, it wont necessarily mean an end to 'Buddhism', but only Buddhismm as we know it. But you clearly don't have any issue with that now do you?
 
You got that right, I have no issue with Buddhists worshipping God Kataragama or incorporating Hindu beliefs because that has always been the case in Sri Lanka and is a testiment to religious harmony and acceptance of the Buddhists living in the island. I find it hilarious how Christians are worried about what Buddhists worship and accept in their religious fold. Why should it bother Christians if Buddhists/Hindus and even Muslims worship different gods and different things? Why all this hateful angst and anger and deep-seated desire to convert all these people and supposedly bring them all to the "true God"? And people call this the age of enlightenment! These Bible thumpers running about Sri Lanka are stuck in the stone age and have no respect for diversity let alone other religious beliefs. To them, only their creed is right and everything else is false and condemnable. Your writings are proof of the pudding.

Muslims are not deathly silent on conversion, if you look at Iraq there was a huge controversy about fundamentalist Christians running over to that country under the cover of the invasion to convert all the people ans several American pastors were murdered, and evangelists abducted. Take the earthquake in Pakistan itself, the government put a ban on adoptions as the Christian fundamentalists started their conversion tactics over there. A Chrsitian pastor was bashed and chased away by Muslims in Pottuvil when he tried to take advantage of the destruction and destitution brought about by the tsunami to gain converts to Christ. You point fingers at Buddhists for supposedly "not practicing their religion properly" - but are these Christian evangelists practicing theirs? I wonder whether this God they worship accepts the practice of buying souls?

More than anything it is Christian fundamentalism that is creating religious tension in Sri Lanka. The JHU is nothing but a backlash against Christian fundmentalism. The various churches had decades to address the concerns of Buddhists and go about their proselytism in sensitive ways but they did not do that. Instead they went about their activities in a high handed manner. They are still engaged in unethical, aggressive proselytism which is destroying religious harmony in Sri Lanka. They have absolutely no concept of live and let live and are hell-bent on trying to convert all and sundry to Christianity. It wasn't much different under the colonials. You can't really blame people for being sick to their back teeth at this grotesque activity being displayed by the Christian fundamentalists can you?

The symbiosis of Buddhism and Hinduism in Sri Lanka is not "nefarious" my friend. This is your Christian fundamentalist side speaking. I think it is a beautiful thing. Pretty soon you'll be ranting about horoscopes and idol worship and blah blah blah. We've heard it all before; Christian fundamentalists think all these people will burn in hell for eternity because they are somehow evil for practicing these things. I guess the 700 million or so Hindus in India will be filling up this "hell" once they die eh? Not to mention all the Buddhists as well.

And "dark arts"? LMAO! Let me guess, you're a Christian fundamentalist aren't you? Only they use terms like that to condemn other religions.

You accept that the type of conversion you mentioned is shallow. So then you will have to accept that what these Christian evangelists are doing is shallow as well. Why don't Christians practice their religion properly instead of preaching to others like you do?

How do you deal with attitudes like this:

Fundamentalism seeks to destroy competing beliefs. Fundamentalist Christians believe that all other religions of the world are attempts by Satan at deceiving humanity. This belief is pervasive and resistant to logic or reason; all attempts at reconceiliation have met with failure. A Fundamentalist Christian believes his or her overriding purpose in life is to "save souls," and that all other goals in life are trivial by comparison.

Fundamentalism spreads itself through emotional appeals and unscrupulous tactics rather than by reason, and targets primarily the young and uneducated, as they have the lowest resistance to conversion efforts. In fact, Fundamentalist Chrsitian teachings follow the same principles as brainwashing. Brainwashing is a domination technique employed by less scrupulous governments and individuals to gain control over people, by eroding away at the ego and destroying free will, replacing it with a belief structure that renders one succeptable to commands. The ego is first destroyed by repeatedly and forcefully informing the subject of one's guilt for some exaggerated or imaginary crime, and of one's overall inferiority. Fundamentalist Christians routinely teach this lesson to new converts through the doctrine of Original Sin, holding the person responsible for the mythical crimes that took place in the Garden of Eden, and repeatedly reiterating to the person how he or she is reprehensible and imperfect in the eyes of God, and worthy only of damnation. Brainwashing techniques require offering the person at the point of a broken will a single exit--one must identify with a heroic lead figure who will deliver that person back to grace. In the case of Fundamentalism, that heroic figure is Jesus Christ. The actual history of Jesus and whatever sort of lessons or intent he had in mind are essentially irrelevant to Fundamentalism today. They have created an image of Christ that is immutable and irrefutable, even by rational biblical scholars willing to question Fundamentalist dogma. It is this imaginary Christ, not the actual historical person, who is put forward as one's "salvation" from an otherwise infinitely horrific damnation. The images of Hell are particularly frightening to young children, who have little experience and skill with skepticism or logic, who will most readily convert through these brainwashing techniques. What is most reprehensible about the Fundamentalists within Christianity is that they are well aware of this fact, and that they choose to act on it with full intention even though they themselves are likely motivated by their own indoctrination. They feel it is better to rob people of free will than to allow them to choose to go to Hell.

http://www.geocities.com/jonlrabbit/rants/01fund.html
 
Sorry I just have to say another "LOL" at your comments about the "dark arts" because your stance is becoming all the more clearer.

Let me guess, you hate all the Harry Potter books because they promote the "dark arts," am I right?

Don't worry a heck of lot of the Bible thumpers think likewise and have banned their children from reading them.
 
Abans wrote:"Why should it bother Christians if Buddhists/Hindus and even Muslims worship different gods and different things? Why all this hateful angst and anger and deep-seated desire to convert all these people and supposedly bring them all to the true God?"

No hateful angst, on the contrary, I'm suggesting a way to prevent more Buddhists from becoming converts to these 'foreign influences'. If you actually read my post I make it very clear that what Sri Lankan Buddhism needs now is re-education about what Lord Buddha taught. Instead of crapping on about other religions you should begin with a hard look at the shambolic state of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

You also say:"Brainwashing is a domination technique employed by less scrupulous governments and individuals to gain control over people, by eroding away at the ego and destroying free will, replacing it with a belief structure that renders one succeptable to commands. The ego is first destroyed by repeatedly and forcefully informing the subject of one's guilt for some exaggerated or imaginary crime, and of one's overall inferiority."

Perhaps this would work if rural Buddhists were coerced into concentration camps like the Hitler Youth Brigade in Nazi Germany, but to my knowledge the final option to come to church is wholly voluntary. There is no evidence to show otherwise, despite all the commotion by JHU and its supporters. In fact Buddhists who argue along these lines are really making a mockery of themselves by admitting they are weak minded individuals with no compunction and no volition of their own. I suggest you take a hard look at what you are implictly implying about your own people!

Abans wrote:"Muslims are not deathly silent on conversion, if you look at Iraq there was a huge controversy about fundamentalist Christians running over to that country under the cover of the invasion to convert all the people ans several American pastors were murdered, and evangelists abducted."

I was referring to Sri Lanka.

Abans wrote:"More than anything it is Christian fundamentalism that is creating religious tension in Sri Lanka. The JHU is nothing but a backlash against Christian fundmentalism."

It's a backlash alright, but a backlash by the corrupt Buddhist clergy hell bent on maintaining its iron grip over the political landscape. The JHU's objectives are secular and economic in nature. The people who stand to lose most from this are Buddhists themselves. I refer you to a poignant article written by one of the contributors here.

http://nittewa.blogspot.com/2005/09/question-of-faith.html

Abans wrote:"The symbiosis of Buddhism and Hinduism in Sri Lanka is not "nefarious" my friend. This is your Christian fundamentalist side speaking. I think it is a beautiful thing."

A symbiosis of Buddhism/anything appears to be the usual hallmarks of a Sri Lankan Buddhist. I have also met Buddhists who go to Church to seek help from the Christian God. If it works for them, who am I to say otherwise! But I take partiality to your claim that only Christianity is subversive while all other religions are "ok". Are you only for Buddhists going to Kattaragama? I fear consistency is lacking in your argument here.

You also wrote:" Instead they went about their activities in a high handed manner. They are still engaged in unethical, aggressive proselytism.."

Examples please.

And:"You accept that the type of conversion you mentioned is shallow. So then you will have to accept that what these Christian evangelists are doing is shallow as well. Why don't Christians practice their religion properly instead of preaching to others like you do?"

Yes, they can be shallow if the motivation of the "pseudo-convert" is shallow. Also, I personally don't have the ball sack fortitude to go into villages to spread the Gospel. But if I did I would do it in a way which I felt would attract more genuine parties, not simple opportunists. Yes, on that much we can wholly agree.

Also:"They feel it is better to rob people of free will than to allow them to choose to go to Hell."

I suspect like the Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka, there is an abundance of profiteers in the Christian sects also. But the vast majority genuinely believe they need to save the "heathen". Now you may have your own opinion about the ethics (or non-ethics) of evangelism, but it would be wrong to accuse them of being hypocrites.

Finally:"The images of Hell are particularly frightening to young children, who have little experience and skill with skepticism or logic, who will most readily convert through these brainwashing techniques."

All the more reason for Buddhists to stand together and rediscover the authentic philosophies of Buddha. The people put in charge of that project are currently too busy playing politics. Unfortunately this is a common Sinhalese trait (for lack of a better word, laziness). Rather than educating people and possibly dispensing with more aid to rural people (heaven forbid!) the populist option is to externalise and jettison all the blame to the "Christian fundamentalists".

And on a penultimate note:"Let me guess, you hate all the Harry Potter books because they promote the "dark arts," am I right?"

No, I'm not even a Christian. I'm a Christianarchist, but that's another story. By "dark arts" I was simply mimicking colonial attitudes to sorcery and magic.

All I urge you to do is just think for yourself (for a moment) without jumping on the JHU bandwagon. This option is a lot easier because it is a form of intellectual escapism, but whether this is 'right' is another matter. I would say it is better to be "uncomfortable with the truth" than be a "happy moron".
 
as i have already commented somewhere in this blog, conversion is a private matter between the converter and the converted. as long as no one is coerced it is nobody else's business least of all government's
 
morquendi
he's going to liberalize his ass, screw the poor people
i hope you are not implying that liberalizing means 'screwing' the poor ppl?
any way please explain why liberalizing is bad, with a few examples' if you will.
 
“No hateful angst, on the contrary, I'm suggesting a way to prevent more Buddhists from becoming converts to these 'foreign influences'. If you actually read my post I make it very clear that what Sri Lankan Buddhism needs now is re-education about what Lord Buddha taught. Instead of crapping on about other religions you should begin with a hard look at the shambolic state of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.”

I really don’t think Sri Lankan Buddhism needs any re-education from Christian fanatics like you. That’s just lame. Instead of screaming at Buddhists and other non-Christians, you should have a look at how Christian zealots are creating religious tension in the country by trying to being all the non-Christians to the “true God” (whatever that means!). I’m always amazed at the arrogance of Christian evangelists, and you are no exception. Christian evangelists think everyone should listen to them, and that only they are right and everybody else is wrong. Note the similarity to you?

”Perhaps this would work if rural Buddhists were coerced into concentration camps like the Hitler Youth Brigade in Nazi Germany, but to my knowledge the final option to come to church is wholly voluntary. There is no evidence to show otherwise, despite all the commotion by JHU and its supporters. In fact Buddhists who argue along these lines are really making a mockery of themselves by admitting they are weak minded individuals with no compunction and no volition of their own. I suggest you take a hard look at what you are implictly implying about your own people!”

Coming to church? LOL. What do you call Christian zealots going into completely Buddhist and Hindu villages, planting a church in the middle and then abusing the poverty and destitution of the people in order to convert them? Do you find this behaviour ethical at all? I don’t. But all those “Soldiers of Christ” have no problem with buying souls for their god, but then again, they don’t have a clue about ethics or respecting diversity. It is not about weak minded individuals, anyone can be brainwashed and that is what the Christian fundamentalists are doing – brainwashing people into following their fanatical creed.


”It's a backlash alright, but a backlash by the corrupt Buddhist clergy hell bent on maintaining its iron grip over the political landscape. The JHU's objectives are secular and economic in nature. The people who stand to lose most from this are Buddhists themselves. I refer you to a poignant article written by one of the contributors here.”

It’s not a backlash by the Buddhist clergy. It’s the people who voted the party into power. People are sick and tired of the fanatical drive of Christian fundamentalists in Sri Lanka. Christian fanatics have no one else to blame for with regards to attacks on their “churches,” they are entirely self-inflicted and not unique to Sri Lanka. I am very thankful for the JHU for bringing the issue of Christian fundamentalism into the limelight. At least now, people are giving it a thought and the Christian fundamentalists themselves are running scared. They have no one else to blame but themselves for the JHU and the anti-conversion bills. Perhaps they should rethink their activities? If they can’t do that they should be prepared to face the consequences.

Abans wrote:"The symbiosis of Buddhism and Hinduism in Sri Lanka is not "nefarious" my friend. This is your Christian fundamentalist side speaking. I think it is a beautiful thing."

”A symbiosis of Buddhism/anything appears to be the usual hallmarks of a Sri Lankan Buddhist. I have also met Buddhists who go to Church to seek help from the Christian God. If it works for them, who am I to say otherwise! But I take partiality to your claim that only Christianity is subversive while all other religions are "ok". Are you only for Buddhists going to Kattaragama? I fear consistency is lacking in your argument here.”

Buddhism practiced in Sri Lanka has co-opted the Hindu pantheon. It has not done so with Jesus Christ nor the Christian god. Thus it ain’t a part of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Sorry to burst your bubble! Kataragama has long been a site of importance to Buddhists and God Kataragama is considered to be a Buddhist god. Christianity – the evangelist variety – is certainly subversive. It has given nothing to the country but religious tension driven by a fanatical ideology to convert all the non-Christians into the Christian faith. Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims don’t go around trying to convert all and sundry to their faith unlike the Christian fundamentalists in Sri Lanka.


”Examples please.”

Try some BUDDHIST villages in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.


”Yes, they can be shallow if the motivation of the "pseudo-convert" is shallow. Also, I personally don't have the ball sack fortitude to go into villages to spread the Gospel. But if I did I would do it in a way which I felt would attract more genuine parties, not simple opportunists. Yes, on that much we can wholly agree.”

Good. So get your Christian evangelist friends to cease with their SHALLOW activities and do something for religious harmony in Sri Lanka.

”I suspect like the Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka, there is an abundance of profiteers in the Christian sects also. But the vast majority genuinely believe they need to save the "heathen". Now you may have your own opinion about the ethics (or non-ethics) of evangelism, but it would be wrong to accuse them of being hypocrites.”

They are hypocrites.

”All the more reason for Buddhists to stand together and rediscover the authentic philosophies of Buddha. The people put in charge of that project are currently too busy playing politics. Unfortunately this is a common Sinhalese trait (for lack of a better word, laziness). Rather than educating people and possibly dispensing with more aid to rural people (heaven forbid!) the populist option is to externalise and jettison all the blame to the "Christian fundamentalists".”

Funny how you seem to think that you know what “authentic Buddhism” is. Gee, more of Christians telling other people how to practice their religion when they themselves abuse and caricature their own religion by buying souls for their god through their evangelism. The ROOT CAUSE of the religious tension in Sri Lanka is nothing but Christian evangelism. It is not unique to Sri Lanka either. Look around Asia. Christian fanatics create religious trouble wherever they go. Instead of blaming other people for being “intolerant” Christian fundamentalists need to re-evaluate their activities.


”No, I'm not even a Christian. I'm a Christianarchist, but that's another story. By "dark arts" I was simply mimicking colonial attitudes to sorcery and magic.”

You’re not even Christian, please, don’t make me laugh.

”All I urge you to do is just think for yourself (for a moment) without jumping on the JHU bandwagon. This option is a lot easier because it is a form of intellectual escapism, but whether this is 'right' is another matter. I would say it is better to be "uncomfortable with the truth" than be a "happy moron".”

If I want to jump on the JHU bandwagon I surely will. Like many other Sri Lankans I am sick of Christian fundamentalism and the fanatical drive to convert all the non-Christians to this extremist brand of Christianity. I have no issue with liberal/moderate Christianity. The foreign evangelists need to be kicked out of Sri Lanka and the native ones need to be educated about common decency.
 
The Next Tsunami Coming to Sri

Lanka is a Religious One

By Christian Eckert

http://www.geocities.com/focussrilanka/tsunami.htm
 
Abans,

I appeal to you as a fellow Sinhalese.

As much as you suppose it's people like me who pose a 'problem' to the rural Sinhalese Buddhist, I want nothing less than wanting rural people to stand on their own two feet, to fight christian rhetoric with reason (rather than burning down churches) and to eject these various opportunistic parties from their villages asap. But at the outset we need to begin by asking "why are they converting". My opinion is that it is because they have nothing left to lose. As a Buddhist you have to wonder how that got to be that way. I suggested the reason for this 'might' be that people are not well versed in what Buddhism teaches and therefore find themselves being exploited and abused by the clergy. These are your real culprits. If people have lost their conviction in Buddhism it is because of the activties owing to these parasites. So my suggestion is do something about this before blaming the "fundamentallists".

You say:"It has given nothing to the country but religious tension driven by a fanatical ideology to convert all the non-Christians into the Christian faith. Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims don’t go around trying to convert all and sundry to their faith unlike the Christian fundamentalists in Sri Lanka."

I agree with part of what you say here. Christians certainly know the art of "mass media insemination" (metaphorically speaking of course), but overall the effect has been very postive for all concerned. Consider for a moment the life of a Buddhist peasant in ancient Kandyan society. Viharagam tenents were quite literally ruled by the sangha (they were a feudal overclass). Tenents were coerced into providing labor and ground rent for these substantially wealthy landlords. With the advent of British rule all these forms of servitude were removed and the influence of the Sangha declined (much to the dismay of the latter). Due to historical circumstance (fate, no less) the western world had by that time abandoned these feudal innovations (which also existed in medieval times between the catholic church and peasant) and entered the industrial era. Therefore western Christianity was four to five centuries ahead of Sri Lankan Buddhism at advent of British occupation. Much of our current "laymans morality" was transplanted externally through Christian ideas or for lack of a better word a "Christian ethos". And it is this "ethos" that is responsible for what we now call the Westminister system of government. While being a secular forms of government its origins were certainly not. The model of "good society" imbued in Westminister developed exclusively from a reading of the early Christian church (as contained in the New Testament). Unbenowst you, a great many of these latter day 'moral amendments' are in force in contemporary "buddhist ethics" (these ideas have over the last five centuries been appropriated by the Buddhist Sangha, inadvertently in most cases). Laws to avert underage sex, monogamy, anti-abortion/infanticide, women's rights, equality before the law, are all post-enlightenment ideas (or the protestant revival in the sixteen hundreds).

So the "buddhist way of life" already bears the hallmarks of Christian co-adoption (regardless of your ignorance).

Also you add:"Coming to church? LOL. What do you call Christian zealots going into completely Buddhist and Hindu villages, planting a church in the middle and then abusing the poverty and destitution of the people in order to convert them? Do you find this behaviour ethical at all? I don’t. But all those “Soldiers of Christ” have no problem with buying souls for their god, but then again, they don’t have a clue about ethics or respecting diversity."

I can identify a couple of very common Buddhist euphemisms in there. Equating poverty with conversion (for instance) as much as it appears to make perfect sense, needs to be more critically assessed. If I paid you for turning up to church, or offered a free meal, this does not make me unethical (in fact in common parlence that would make me a 'nice guy'). This is the equivalent of a homeless bum walking into a Christian shelter for the poor. Quintessentially, the option to come or stay at home is up to the individual concerned. Moreover, simply coming along cant change ones opinions (that is, if they are adamant to hold onto them in the first place). As for children, why can't the local monastery invest in a similar "christian-type" program for young people? No, heaven forbid, that would actually require the clergy to behave like clergy rather than born to rule aristocrats! It would also entail setting aside a subtantial amount of "other people's money" into the propagation of Buddhism (as opposed to buying a few more idols for the image room, or extending temple property).

Also you say:"It’s not a backlash by the Buddhist clergy. It’s the people who voted the party into power. People are sick and tired of the fanatical drive of Christian fundamentalists in Sri Lanka. Christian fanatics have no one else to blame for with regards to attacks on their “churches,” they are entirely self-inflicted and not unique to Sri Lanka."

JHU abuses the ignorance of Buddhists like yourself to elicit a "patriotic response" to "counteract" so called "enemies of the Sinhalese people". I would argue JHU finances would be better spent on re-educating Buddhists about what Buddha taught rather than siphoning them into private bank accounts. Also, I think you will find the finaciers and backers of the JHU are mainly Sinhalese bourgeoise. But its public image as a "blue collar" party still holds. Ultimately the longevity of the party will depend on how successfully they can recruit and hold "heartland voters" (the Sinhalese rural areas). As of yet, this does not appear to have happened, hence the perilous state of JHU and its need to drum up populist issues such as conceding too much to terrorists, christians etc. Comrade, it's all money, don't be a sucker. Buddha would be turning in his grave.

Finally:"If I want to jump on the JHU bandwagon I surely will. Like many other Sri Lankans I am sick of Christian fundamentalism and the fanatical drive to convert all the non-Christians to this extremist brand of Christianity. I have no issue with liberal/moderate Christianity. The foreign evangelists need to be kicked out of Sri Lanka and the native ones need to be educated about common decency."

While I agree with you on the imperative to combat evangelical Christianity, the method you advocate here is very immature. One cannot simply "kick out" all foreign evangelists. I suggest we both cool down for a moment and approach the problem in a more realistic way. I personally would be very interested to know what 'constructive' ideas you have about counteracting the AOGs. While you appear to regard me as the 'enemy' as a fellow Sinhalese I can empathise with some of your concerns and resentment. But we can't simply let our feelings dominate our thought processes. That's how pogroms start.
 
It is so refreshing to read this debate. For once we are not plagued by the likes of a debased moron like dextr who basically visits this site to revile homosexuals & tamils.

I too am against any form of fundamentalist conversion - it should not be allowed. However, we must respect the right of people to make their own choices in life.

We have had this discussion before, the quest for spirituality is not the quest to belong to a group that offers security in one form or another. We go to bed every night with food in our bellies - not everyone does this. Until you have experienced this yourself, you have no right to judge what some people choose to do for the sake of thier children when they live in abject poverty.

We all need to keep our own houses in order. In the name of religon it is despicable and shameful the crimes that have been committed against humanity.
 
j5 nice comments.
as ashanthi says we had this before in her blog and in here too.

public image as a "blue collar" party still holds- i suppose you meant 'white color'?
 
ooops 'white collar'
 
Whoa there j5, lets delve into some ethics here shall we.

If I paid you for turning up to church, or offered a free meal, this does not make me unethical (in fact in common parlence that would make me a 'nice guy')

That depends on the intention. If the intention is purely charity then you would be a nice guy. On the other hand if the intention is to entice the poor into converting (i.e. the acts of charity is part of the conversion strategy) then it's clearly not ethical behaviour. Charity for charity's sake.

Don't have time to read the rest of the thread but I like some of the quicksteps you've taken around the enlightenment there :-0
 
sittingnut,

I was attempting to get across the idea that while the JHU directly (or publicly) appeals to rural and working class voters, it is heavily financed by right wing and conservative elements. This is a very dangerous contradiction, and the Sinhalese working class needs to ask some tough questions about JHU's "class politics". Currently JHU spends so much of its time drumming up anti-Christian/LTTE rhetoric that its economic agenda is cleverly left ambiguous. But given the support it receives from various Sinhalese businessmen and disenfranchised white collar voters, I am quite cynical about its claims to be a "peoples party".

That was the gist of what I was trying to say.
 
ivap,

To begin with, thank you for clearing this issue up (I failed to address my position with any clarity before). If we applied the neo-classical axiom of "homo economicus" to charitable acts, then even if we concede that self interest is speculative (some of the time), there is still a considerable probability that this sort of ‘covert transaction’ occurs far more than we are aware of. So my first point (then) is that unfair trade is a fact of life. There is very little we can do about it. I suggest it is best if we approached the issue in terms of social education rather than reaching for regulation (which is the easiest or myopic path to take).

Secondly, whether the intention is purely altruistic, or discreetly self-maximising, the charity receiver has some level of compromising to do by taking the gift/bribe. If the receiver has ‘normal’ cognitive capacities (i.e. sane) then it happens regardless of the intention of the giver. This compromise may be instinctive or unthinking, and it’s possible the receiver has no idea what they’re compromising by accepting the gift. To use a popular quote, "there's no such thing as a free lunch". So when I argue about individual prerogative in accepting gifts, that decision is a highly subjective one, because different people have varying levels of sensitivity to the invisible price of charity. Of course, to make this perfectly clear, the gift giver may or may not want this, but most human beings feel obliged by accepting free goods (if only in their own conscience). If someone is uncomfortable with taking free goods, they will be paying more by accepting it. Someone else may not have that same aversion (so they may not think much of compromising themselves by taking goods). Some individuals may even adjust their behaviour to befriend the giving party under false pretences. When I look at what is currently happening in Sri Lanka’s rural areas I see a variety of these psychological processes at work, but it is not always clear which is which.

I’m usually no fan of ‘liberalism’ (which I naturally attach to that other 'ism', 'individualism'), but I believe there is enough grounds for justifying the continuation of unrestrained Christian evangelism in Sri Lanka. The reason I argue this is because there is no way of telling which type of behaviour is which, and we as external observers shouldn’t try to read too much from analysing receiver’s outward behaviour. As we pointed out, this is not a reliable way of understanding the motivations of givers (i.e. receivers may be acting this way out of their own volition, regardless of the genuine intentions of givers).

Having said that, some evangelists may indeed be involved in ‘covert transactions’ (I’m not saying they’re not). But what we need to realise is that one type does not exist exclusively of the other. On the contrary it is VERY difficult to know for sure. Therefore it would be dangerous to legislate on this issue without any certainty.

Finally to add my two cents on the topic (if I haven't already), contrary to Abans, I believe there is no endemic problem of missionary exploitation in rural villages. The real issue here is the paranoia and childish insecurity of bihkkus, who having already lost considerable clout in the village, resent losing even more to these Christian upstarts.
 
Ok j5 I now understand your reasoning eventhough I don't fully agree with all of it .
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?