36 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Thanks, GrueBleen, if you are right about Tim I apologise to Tim unreservedly and go sit on the naughty chair. I read it as a homophobic slur. I’m really touchy about that as I have gay friends who I love to bits. As to reification, you are of course correct. Reification as I understand it is the problem of talking about a concept or category as if it were an actual person with motives etc. While reification is a problem, it can be difficult to briefly make a point (as is required in a blog comment) without invoking it. You may not that I used the word praxis and wrote “Buddist(s)” above because what really matters is the behaviour of individuals within religion “x”, not the text. To me, a religion is its praxis, not its texts, which in event tend to be incredibly messy.

    To definitively answer the question “are Buddhists more peaceful in aggregate” would require a definitive study with a complicated statistical analysis and a great application of time and resources. I’m just a humble blog commenter, so that ain’t gonna happen. Also not I don’t believe Buddhism is peaceful other than comparatively and I have given examples of it being the very opposite of peaceful, such as the current situation in Burma. But I do believe women are generally somewhat freer in Buddhist societies than in Abrahamic societies and that this is associated with less violence, probably including less domestic violence. To put it another way, I accept the feminist argument that patriarchy is a causal factor for violence.

  2. @HED PE
    That’s fine, no dramas. It’s easy to misread textual communication in that way. It certainly wasn’t intended as a homophobic slur. I have no idea of your or wirram’s gender – both your monikers are decidedly nondescript. Sorry it came across that way.

  3. On the Buddhism thing, I’m no expert but it doesn’t seem to me that that’s much evidence to suggest that Buddhists are more or less peaceful than anyone else. Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka are all majority Buddhist societies and they’ve seen their fair share of violence in recent years, including sectarian violence perpetrated by Buddhists against religious minorities. Also, as I understand it, when Buddhism became established as the predominant religion in Tibet, the Tibetan Buddhists engaged in at least one episode of persecuting the adherents of the rival Bon religion.

  4. @Tim Macknay
    Whew…treading lightly in the textual minefield…where the light-hearted quip can be miscontrued… or not. For a moment, I wondered if I had correctly read Tim’s response.
    The idea of a non-gendered moniker or a hint at homophobia didn’t occur to me.
    For the inconsequential record, I’m a long-time fan/lurker of Prof Q’s blog, including the comments section. I’m a mid-century Boomer straight male, living in a regional SE Qld. city.
    I appreciate HED’s and others thoughtful responses.
    Any organization that carries an article of this quality can’t be half bad:
    http://nichirenbuddhist.org/Science/SamHarris/Articles/KillingTheBuddha.html

  5. @HED PE
    I think you and I are pretty much of one mind re religion in general and Buddhism in particular. And ‘praxis’ is, I think, the correct terminolgy (sheesh, I haven’t used that word in 30 or more years … not since I tried to make sense of Aron Nimzowitsch’s ‘Chess Praxis’, anyhow – in fact so long ago that we used to spell his name Niemzovich then.).

  6. @Tim Macknay
    While thinking about Buddhists being ‘peaceful’ Tim, it behoves us to remember that the Tibetans had a large empire for many years – from the 7th to the 9th century – that extended quite a way into what is now modern China.

    Which is one of those things that some people learn too late: never invade China unless you can hold it forever.

  7. @Julie Thomas
    Hello again.

    And about Buddhism, we can’t ‘know’ anything according to Buddha.

    And not according to logic and epistemology, either. And especially not according to N. David Mermin who was so careful to distinguish between ‘explanations’ and ‘descriptions’.

    But you do have some interesting ancestors, don’t you. The most I could say about my father is that he was a fairly simple ‘freethinker’ or, as we would call him today, a ‘deist’. he still made me go to Sunday School and I even won some scripture prizes. So it goes.

    Seriously there are people who think that Christianity comes from Europe and Jesus was blonde and blue eyed.

    Yes, well to take up HED’s term, a great deal of Christian praxis did indeed originate in Europe. As to the (non-existent) JC, I’ve always had a major problem with how an avatar of God would appear. One may say that, since the Jews were “God’s chosen” he would look like a Jew. But then, he is God (Part 3) and can appear any way he chooses, even appearing differently to different people at the same time.

    But then, maybe he just couldn’t fake an epicanthic fold and the lack of gluteal sulcus so he didn’t ever appear in China. But because of the Mormons, we know he did appear in north America, though obviously he was completely invisible to the Amerinds (aka indigenes).

    But glad to see you are still proselytizing with grace and rigour.

  8. @Ikonoclast
    I entered a post a few minutes ago which got diverted into the “awaiting moderation” pool. However, if you should ever get to read either it or this post, you may be entertained by an article in Bloomberg. Just Google:

    Bloomberg “time to restart that old capitalism death watch”

    Enjoy !

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