This dovetails rather nicely with Omar’s last comment about “Perplexing Pakistan”. This was done for the Foreign and Commonwealth office after our last series attracted some 20,000 views (BritPak are desperate for a new narrative). At any rate I only came to know about it (promotion on this was supposed to wait until the Fall’s email blast but since its out may as well do so now) when the British High Commission in Pakistan was promoting it with the tagline I used in my short clip:
As per the comment below there is a perception by many that monotheistic and non-monotheistic religions are fundamentally different. This is not a totally unfounded position, there are broad familial differences. But, the reality is that the the differences are not nearly as great as people may think. One can see this evident in the fact that Chinese and Japanese routinely confused Christianity with Pure Land Buddhism, while Vasco da Gama paid homage to Hindu Brahmins when first encountering them, assuming them to Christian clerics.
But each in its own turn. Let’s tackle one item. It is clear that monotheism overturns old customs and traditions. How about the dharmic religions? The same can be said for them. We have a great deal of documentation of the conflict which Buddhism caused in early China and Japan, so I can point you to something concrete for further investigation, Bulssi Japbyeon:
The Bulssi Japbyeon (roughly translated as ‘Buddha’s Nonsense’) is a late 14th century Korean Neo-Confucian polemical critique of Buddhism by Jeong Dojeon. In this work he carried out his most comprehensive refutation of Buddhism, singling out Buddhist doctrines and practices for detailed criticism.
Jeong stated that this book was written with the objective of refuting Buddhism once and for all “lest it destroy morality and eventually humanity itself.” The charges leveled against Buddhism in the Bulssi japbyeon constitute a full inventory of the various arguments made by Confucians and Neo-Confucians from the time of the introduction of Buddhism into East Asia during the 2nd century CE. These arguments are arranged in eighteen sections, each of which criticises a particular aspect of Buddhist doctrine or practice.
The Confucian critique of Buddhism is an old one. In the Chinese context Buddhism introduced radical ideas, which destabilized society. Buddhists encouraged individuals to leave their families, and become celibates in monasteries. Buddhism also introduced very alien metaphysics, such as the concept of reincarnation, which was at variance with indigenous beliefs. In fact, Buddhism arguably introduced metaphysics in a philosophical rich manner to the Chinese! On an institutional level Buddhism popularized the idea of organized religion, which was imitated by religious Daoists. Customs such as vegetarianism were also introduced by Buddhists.
This cultural intrusion was the reason that the 9th century saw massive religious conflict in China. In particular, the Chinese state stripped away Buddhism of its independent temporal power, and defrocked hundreds of thousands of religious. After this period Buddhism was no longer an aggressive and assertive institution within Chinese society, but a secondary cult which was patronized by the Confucian rulers, only moderately above the station of rural superstition. The contemporary modus vivendi of Buddhism in China, seamlessly interleaved with other religious customs and folkways, is in part a function of the fact that as a vital and vigorous force the religion was crushed nearly 1,000 years ago. Many Chinese are Buddhist, but to be Chinese is not to be Buddhist (in contrast, to be Thai is close to being Buddhist, and to be Spanish is close to being Catholic).
I’ve noticed a few comments in Omar’s memorial thread about the “Sikh community”. It demonstrates just how far desis need to develop their mindset.
Just because the Sikh community may have done or may have done that; it doesn’t detract from the fact that innocent worshippers were shot in cold blood. There’s been so little coverage of this shooting (all I know the shooter was ex-Army) the least we could do as desis is at least present some sort of united front.
While the Chinese are forging ahead and earning the envy of the West (shifting from Russia to China); desis and Muzzers are just floundering about. We do so because we are so opinionated (which is a good thing) but we allow our opinion to get in the way of both facts and progress.
This is a great paper on the history, origin and relations of the Pakistan Shi’ite community (I don’t know if the killing of Shi’ite doctors has abated but in the late 90′s it reached almost epidemic proportions).
Razib has reposted a long & important post on the Historical Dynamics & contingent conditions of religion. I have excerpted the India section and its “resistance to Islamisation” after the jump. Continue reading
No comments necessary:
Will comment after reading it (which may be on the weekend since I am about 15 days behind schedule at work). But looks interesting at first glance.
Btw, Shia dudes, you need to work on your Muslimness in Pakistan. Only 53% of the country is sure that you are Muslim. Remember what happened to the other community that provided leaders for the Pakistan movement? (hint: Sir Zafrullah, boundary commission rep, Foreign minister, viceroy’s agent in the British plot to create Pakistan). Jinnahbhoy’s legacy could be at risk.
“Overall, Muslims in South Asia most consistently agree that Shias share their religion. At least three-quarters express this view in Afghanistan (84%) and Bangladesh (77%), while about half (53%) agree in Pakistan.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard; “I plead the Fifth” but it’s worth considering the 2nd Amendment:
Of course in light of the Colorado and the Wisconsin shootings this may or may not need to be rethought but then again Switzerland has an armed militia and such shootings are rare if not non-existent. Anyway the point of this post wasn’t to discuss the 2nd Amendment but rather to contrast it to another 2nd Amendment in a far-away land:
A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of The Prophethood of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the last of the Prophets or claims to be a Prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad (Peace be upon him), or recognizes such a claimant as a Prophet or religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or law.
Nul points for guessing which one is a free & flourishing culture and which one is a fast-sinking dhow?
As an aside: Ahmadis lose hope this Ramadan
It seems that Serena Williams has been getting some flak (the video has now topped a million views) for “besmirching Wimbledon” with the Crip Walk.
Another Fox Sports reporter, Jason Whitlock, downplayed the so-called controversy, saying: “What Serena did was akin to cracking a tasteless, X-rated joke inside a church… Serena deserved to be called out. What she did was immature and classless. She made a mistake, something we all do.”
Read more at ONTD: http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/70960194.html#ixzz22x4zOU27 Continue reading
In a small follow up to Zach’s post on honor-killing. Let’s reiterate something: individuals are responsible for horrendous crimes, and their acts of horror reflect their own choices. But choices don’t occur in a vacuum. Most people are conformist, and deeply reliant upon social networks, and the succor which that provides. Therefore, it is not surprising that Muslim men (and to a lesser extent women), to give one example, go through a “liberal” phase, before reasserting “traditional” values. Why? Because not reaffirming a commitment to those values entails an alienation from family, kith, and kin.
This alienation is not distressing for many people. For example, if my relatives are discomfited by my life choices because of their barbaric superstitions, I don’t hesitate to tell them to fuck off. So it has been, and so it will be. But most people are not willing, or capable, of being so aggressive about asserting their individuality. Social norms matter. If we are truly horrified by acts of barbarism which are commonplace in Muslim communities in the West, then we need to address the root cause. Culture. Legal sanction won’t change the underlying dynamic.