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Buddhism in the News


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Brit Hume Doesn't Think He Denigrated Buddhism.

James: So Brit claims he didn't denigrate Buddhism in his original comment when he said that the Buddhist faith doesn't offer forgiveness or redemption. He has basically cast Buddhism as a cold, unforgiving religion that offers no hope for all of us imperfect beings. I try not to attach too much to my Buddhist beliefs but that was indeed an uneducated comment at best and at worst down right bigotry. You and Bill then claim that you weren't proselytizing but you were attempting to influence Woods to turn to Christianity -- That is proselytizing. Christians can proselytize all they want but for a high-profile journalist to do it on national t.v. is rather unseemly. In addition, to dismiss half a billion Buddhists at the same time wasn't exactly, "Christ-like" which isn't a very good way to convince Buddhists to convert to Christianity.

Brit then uses the classic fall-back defense of many Christians, which is playing the martyrs role after he received a lot of negative feedback from viewers. He does this by claiming that the critical comments were attacks on his Christian faith!! So, he denigrates Buddhism and when he takes heat for those comments he turns it around and tries playing the victim!! Classic. He says that we're all just concerned because he dared mention Christianity. Oh how arrogant!! We had an explosive reaction because you dismissed our belief system, which happens to be one of the great religions of the world!! Isn't doesn't have anything to do with attacking Christianity itself!! At least not from me and other Buddhists I know.

And this title, "believer" that some Christians call themselves seems rather pompous because anyone who believes in a religion is a believer. They seem to use it to purposefully divide themselves from others. And it's often said with an undertone of superiority. It just doesn't seem like something that Jesus would say -- and I was a Christian for 22 years!! Even then I didn't like the label, "believer."

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turquoisemoon said...

First of all, this and similar situations are part of the reasons I left the Christian faith. Second...this and similar situations are the reason I'm leaving Fox!

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

EDIT: Part of me wants to explain why I left the totality of the "christian brand" of religion. Part of me wants to explain how Eastern Philosophies such as Buddhism, helped me to understand myself better, and FORGIVE MYSELF and saved my life. I remember where i was, and how Buddhism and the like helped my life..and part of me really wants to help people by protecting the name of Buddhism. I am no representative per se, but I understand we(buddhists) all want to protect public opinion of Buddhism(and educate others) ....because of how it has helped us. We know it can help others understand & heal themselves from the past & find peace of mind. It is a challenge to find the words & articulate what Buddhism is and isn't when it is under that people don't discount "tools" that might help them. Take care all

Mushinronsha said...

I think the real difference between Christian (or any theistic religion) and Buddhist belief is summed up nicely in this quote from Voltaire:
"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

Buddhists are free to doubt, even encouraged to doubt the teachings of Buddha until tested for themselves.
For Christianity however, doubt is seen as somewhat sinful.
This is indeed unfortunate as it remains the case that certainty does not involve a lot of wisdom, and can have some embarrassing results, i.e:
"To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin."
— Cardinal Robert Bellarmine
Trial of Galileo, 1615
Got that rather wrong, didn't he?

André said...

Brit screwed up, and we have all the reasons to tell him how wrong he was. It is however, as we sometimes must remind ourselves, equally important to not hate and go around angry. Please remember loving-kindness and compassion and don't let the anger cloud your judgement.
It is very important to show that despite what he said, we're ready to forgive him.

Moses said...

Why is this even an issue? Chances as that the people who regularly watch Fox News were not really on the fence regarding their choice of religious tradition in the first place.

Secondly, does Buddhism offer forgiveness or redemption in the same way that Christianity does? I think that the honest, though incomplete, answer would have to be no. But we all know that this is merely a doctrinal difference, in that the goal of Buddhism is not forgiveness or redemption, but awakening. I'm glad that some people for have a sense of that from their engagement with the tradition, but that is not the purpose of it.

Thirdly, it is obvious that hume was only expressing his uneducated opinion, which is not entirely wise when apparently representing an entire network. As far as he knows, Christianity is "better" than Buddhism, most likely because of how he was raised.

It isn't an issue of slandering Buddhism, it is just the age-old and tired "my religion is the best" position, which people in every tradition do, and such an attitude seems to be supported by some "Buddhist" reactions to this event.

So, I'd say yeah, he didn't denigrate it, he just made apparent how little he knows of it. And either way, it is irrelevant to Buddhists. Let the media sensationalize it by themselves.

I agree with Andre, except I don't think what Hume said was even offensive.

Buddhist Journalist said...

Brit Hume denigrated Brit Hume.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Does buddhism offer forgiveness or redemption? I guess I really don't know the answer to that question now that I'm faced with it.

He said, "I don't think that the Buddhist faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that the Christian faith does..."

Was that cold or factual? I don't know much about it. I know just a tiny bit about awakening.

Brit Hume did say one thing, that the name Christ triggers an explosive reaction.

What made you leave the "Christian" faith after 22 years?

I know why I left years ago. I know now more than I did then about where I was when I left, and who I was following and listening to.

I don't know much. I guess I'm trying to understand better....

Thanks for posting this, it helped me to see a bit more...

docsage said...

I guess I'm not really shocked that neither of these men feel that Mr. Hume "denigrated" Buddhism in his comments. If I were to paraphrase a portion of his original comments, it would be "Buddhism isn't good enough as a religion for you, Tiger. You really need to be a Christian like the rest of us."

To state that someone needs to change religions in order to achieve forgiveness and redemption is absolute, unvarnished proselytizing. Maybe they need to change the network's name to "Christian News Network"?

Brenton said...

"A good situation is a bad situation and a bad situation is a good situation." -Zen Master Seung Sahn

I think we should thank Brit Hume for getting the media talking about Buddhism. In this case, a bad situation has turned into a good situation. Today on NPR they talked about Buddhism.

They call him James Ure said...


Yeah, similar situations are partly why I left Christianity too. Not the main reason but none-the-less apart of it.


Yeah, there seems to be a fine line between pushing Buddhism outwardly and defending it.


I too like that doubt is tolerated if not encouraged. It gives people credit for being able to discern their own beliefs. I think it also gives Buddhism much credibility that it is open to investigation. Hume wasn't doubting Buddhism via his own investigations. He was flat out dissing the entire religion.


I'm more than willing to forgive him and I don't hate him. Rather I have compassion for him because it must be stressful thinking you have to convert everyone to your way of living.


Buddhism may not offer forgiveness and redemption the exact same way that Christianity does. However, it does indeed have its own version of those two principles.

Yes, awakening is the goal but it's redemption is gained along the way. We redeem ourselves from the old way of living that was causing us so much suffering. As well as suffering that we put others through.

You can't awaken without at the very least forgiving yourself for the past mistakes you've made. And realizing that you're no longer that person.

He may indeed think Christianity is superior to Buddhism from how he was raised. However, he still needs to be more sensitive of other peoples' beliefs. One of the reasons there is a lot of anger toward Christianity today is because of people like him dismissing other peoples' entire belief systems.

I don't think Buddhism is better than Christianity. It all depends on what you think you need. I personally don't like how some Christians act and I find parts of Christianity to be down right puzzling but I don't believe it is inferior. It just doesn't work for me.

Buddhist Journalist:

Well put and a different angle to the story that I hadn't thought of.


It was a process of slowly leaving until one day I couldn't stay without feeling like I was living a lie. It's a loooong story but I'd be happy to tell it to you if you'd like to email me at:

I'm glad that you found something helpful in this post. None of us know a lot so don't worry!! Even the Dalai Lama said he's just a "simple monk." :)


I would agree with your paraphrase of what was said. Some people just really fear what they don't understand. And when people fear something they feel that they have to lash out at it.


Yep, exactly. He's just bringing more attention to Buddhism. Glad to hear NPR is talking about our religion. It's good to educate people. Ironically he's doing the opposite with his comments than hurt Buddhism. It has absolutely backfired and I hope he learns from this. Either way, I don't hate me.

seanrobsville said...

This silly squabble between Christianity and Buddhism is, in the long term, completely irrelevant. Ultimately Islam will dominate.

Ian said...

Please, fellow Buddhists. Do not harbour any hatred or contempt towards him, else we aren't true Buddhists! Let us hope that he'll awaken and leave this sea of suffering. And hopefully we meet him on the other shore.

djbarney said...

I am a Christian but of the Gnostic variety. I cross over into Taoism and Buddhism as well. There are so many different types and strains of all Religions I don't know how we can generalise about "us vs them". Who is "us" ? Plus Christianity has had and still has it elements controlled by Politics, for example the repressive Church in Ireland clamping down on sexuality. I don't know of any specific examples but there must be some in Buddhism. I don't mean this as a denigration in any way, just that we are all on the path and that there is no perfect religion.

Brendan said...

It would be really good if Christians and all theists could cognize that they may still meet there enemies after they die.

未觉。有情 said...

Hi i just came across to this blog when i found out that Albert Einstein did really mention about buddhism from other website. I myself is a buddhist and am a chinese from Malaysia ( Next to Singapore) Well, just feel amazed that western country has such understanding basis on buddhism. Even myself has a lot more to learn from buddha, his knowledge and wisdom is too abroad to catch up. I can hardly find a dilemma in what he said, and still so useful towards science exploration and human ourselves even in nowadays.
In fact, buddhism and more practicals ways to offer forgiveness then outsiders could imagine. As everything alike, you have to learn and experience by your own self in order to realise it.

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