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Buddhism in the News

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Brit Hume, Buddhism, Christianity and Tiger Woods.

James: Imagine if he was speaking about Christianity instead of Buddhism??? There would be marches in the streets and rallies denouncing Hume and FOX News for not firing him. I'm not saying that such angry demonstrations should take place by Buddhists in response to these ludicrous statements. Quite the contrary. I think the ironic and appropriate thing to do in response is to forgive yet educate him and America as to what Buddhism is about because it is clear that Brit Hume knew nothing of the religion he denounced. And my guess is that the majority of the audience of FOX News doesn't either.

That said, is it anyone's business but Tiger's wife as to whether he is forgiven or not? Just because Tiger was unable to stay faithful to his wife doesn't mean Buddhism is incapable of helping him deal with such suffering. Besides, Christians haven't exactly had the best track record in keeping celebrities and politicians on the "straight and narrow" path. Hume also made the insinuation that you can't make a recovery in life via Buddhism, which is patently absurd. Try telling that to all the recovering alcoholics and drug addicts who have found new life in Buddhism. Try telling that to those who were able to pick up the shards of a broken life via the Dharma. I feel less anger toward Hume than compassion for the suffering he must be under in feeling like he has to personally "save" and convert everyone to Christianity must be exhausting. For more detail on the "nuts and bolts" of forgiveness in Buddhism -- Click here.

As for redemption, as a Buddhist, I believe redemption is gained through your actions more than saying certain words to ask forgiveness from a deity. It is showing that you have changed by behaving in a different way. There is no magic formula or incantations that need to be said in Buddhism -- just behave differently!! Perhaps the reason why Buddhism can't fit neatly into the Christian paradigm for Brit is that it doesn't believe in "sin" to be forgiven or redeemed from. True, there are guidelines on what will cause you less suffering but there isn't anyone to answer to except ourselves as via karma. We are our own savior and judge. Depending on our karma, the next birth will be one that will give us chances to make up for the suffering we have caused and to build upon the good we have sown. Sounds redeeming to me. In Christianity, however, you only have one shot -- this life to "get it right." Perhaps Hume needs to examine his own religion first before condemning another.

In Buddhism there's no big showdown and no guilt sundae topped with another helping of guilt. In Buddhism, guilt is seen as counterproductive because if you've changed for the better then guilt isn't helping you but holding you back. Guilt is about feeling you're a bad person but Buddhism doesn't want you to feel you're a bad person. You might have made some bad decisions but you're not a bad person. Forgiveness also means forgiving yourself for being human. If you feel guilty even after being granted forgiveness by someone then you're only making your suffering worse -- not better. And you haven't fully forgiven yourself. If you're no longer the same person as in the past then what is there to feel guilty over?

~Peace to all beings (even Brit Hume)~

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13 comments:

Christine said...

This is sort of why I started to question Christianity. Not this exact video, of course, but because of Christians saying things like this. I'm still new to all things Buddhism, but I'm trying. I turned in this direction because I've become tired of feeling "forced".

And personally, Tiger Woods personal life is none of my business. :)

Lester Hunt said...

Now, now, let's not jump on FoxNews viewers. I am such a viewer myself, I was stunned by Hume's ignorant remark. I also think the other members of that panel looked embarrassed (though I admit that may be my imagination).

I was thinking of commenting on it on my blog, but you just said most of what I was going to say. Well, I guess it bears repeating.

André said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
André said...

As always, the ignorant is the one who barks the loudest. It's always puzzled me why people tend to do that. The only thing that comes out of it is that they look dumb. Why would anyone want to put him/herself in such a position?


@lester: "I also think the other members of that panel looked embarrassed "
I felt that the guy who talked after Brit was embarrassed and tried to move on with the discussions to avoid getting stuck.

Kyle said...

Well said James!

Matthew Putman said...

I am not religious in any way, but this incident just shows why a Buddhist view is a rational, flexible and compassionate philosophy in comparison to the judgments of Christianity. I commend you for tolerance, as it is clearly not something that the FOX news group is interested in.

turquoisemoon said...

A friend of mine used to say, "you never know how ignorant a person is until "they" open up their mouth and tell you." Good blog...

Kboy said...

His statements are as impermanent as he is.
No one will remember him but Lord Buddha and the Dharma will go on.
His Karma will take all of this into consideration as I think his intensions were to hurt Tiger and Buddhists alike.

Stephen said...

My first inclination is to try to defend Christianity, in which I believe, but incidents like this make it pretty darn difficult. I appreciate the balanced, straight-forward comaprisons of the two faiths in this post. I guess all I I can say is don't blame Jesus for Brit's, mine, or any other Christians' ignorance. Great post.

Jeremy said...

Well said!

They call him James Ure said...

Christine:

This kind of intolerance by many (not all) Christians was partly why I left Christianity as well. It wasn't the main reason, which was that the religion didn't make sense to me. As well as the rigidity that is often found within a lot of the churches.

That said, I don't want people to not be Christian if Christianity works for them. I just would hope that they would grant the same tolerance and understanding of Buddhism.

Glad to hear that you're interested in Buddhism. It has really helped me calm down, understand my place in the world and filled in the blanks that Christianity seemed ill-equipped to answer.

That's just my opinion of how I experienced Christianity. I know for others the opposite is true but for me I found my long, lost home in Buddhism.

Once I discovered it and studied it I realized that I had been a Buddhist unofficially for years!! It all fit-up well with how I had already viewed much of life up to that point.

And I agree about Tiger. If it wasn't for this Buddhist angle, I wouldn't have written about him.

Lester:

Yeah, I shouldn't imply that all FOX viewers would agree with Hume's statements. Sorry. :) Yeah the other members of the panel did seem somewhat embarrassed. The one guy had a slight grin on his face but it seemed to be one of astonishment. Like, "Wow, did he just say that?"

Andre:

You're completely right about the ignorant being so loud. I just hope someone educates him and that he can learn to accept that not everyone feels Christianity will help them as it helped him.

Matthew:

Thank-you for your kind words. For the most part, Buddhism is very tolerant of those who aren't religious. We are usually a "live and let live" kind of religion. Please know that you are always welcome here and so are you views.

Turquoise Moon:

I've heard that too and it's very applicable with Hume's statements.

Kboy:

Well said about impermanence. Life goes on and our practice continues. I hope Hume can learn how to be tolerant of other beliefs as he would like others to be of his own beliefs.

Stephen:

I wouldn't blame Jesus for Hume's and others' actions. I really like Jesus actually. He was quite the visionary and man of peace. How can someone not like that?

I don't believe he is divine but that doesn't mean I can't learn great spiritual lessons from him. I figure truth is truth regardless of, which religion it comes from.

teejack50 said...

Like it or not, budda, kennedy, lincoln, mking, and obama can only inspire and comfort the flesh. Jesus can comfort the flesh, repair life's and can save the soul(that energy once created, can't be destroyed) and that makes him GOD.

KrittMasta said...

Brit Hume just said to the world. I'm a Hater in the name of God. You go to Hell unless you join my mindless religion. That's all I hear.

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