Saturday, August 13, 2011



I revere Mahatma Gandhi.  What he did for India was extraordinary.  In his case (or India’s case?), non-violence worked.  It set an example for all the world!

There have been other non-violent protests that also have been successful.  Martin Luther King, Jr. comes to mind, among others.

I admire the faith of Buddhism and its law to do no harm to any sentient being.

As I recall, Jesus said nothing about the righteousness of harming another human being.  (I think  it was the later, so-called Christians, who instituted “dying for Christ.” -- Paulian Christianity (!) that the Crusaders and other political warmongers relied on.)

All these major world beliefs appeal to me strongly.  The idealism and the fact that it has saved many lives for great causes in history gives me a wonderful feeling.  I don't have the answers, but it seems to me that basic moralities of these belief systems are good.  Why then, I ask myself, do religions cause our major conflicts and the slaughter of millions?

Everything and nothing is simple.


Looking at nonviolence logically, brings me to the following crucial conclusions:

(1)  It rules out self-defense to the point of having to kill for protection.  (Could you reasonably let your family, your loved ones, die in order to avoid killing?)

(2)  It makes it much easier for one group of people (violent) ("evil?") to destroy another group ("the good?").  "Like lambs to the slaughter."

If the ultimate in righteousness is self-sacrifice (as in Christianity and Buddhism), then those who hold these religious beliefs and strive for a higher morality are making themselves vulnerable to "evil", shortening their experience on earth to self-actualize their beliefs—to extinction.  They may pray to their "higher powers" to protect them, but what if they don't?  History demonstrated that in many, many cases, God did not protect them!

If the “best” of the world, those whose courage overcomes their "nature" and gives them the willingness and courage to die for higher principles, eventually, who will be left?  Consider the "evil" left to those who survive to deal with, when the “good” die.  Who will teach them high moral values?  Who will protect them, to pass on these righteous values to their children, and so on?

The principle of non-violence promises reward in the afterlife.  (I believe few are those who would be nonviolent without that “carrot.”) (...the Foibles of Faith...)  Therefore, those who believe in non-violence believe they are living in this world to prove their worthiness in life after death.

Perhaps I do not have much trust in the goodness of humankind, knowing what I do about history.  (I was born shortly after WWII and it feels quite real to me.)  However, it leads me to believe that “evil” could conquer “good” on the earth, if all the “good” are willing to be extinguished by “evil ones” instead of acting on their natural survival instincts (God-given?) to protect themselves.

Where do we draw the line in being idealistic?  If all good people are nonviolent and the “evil” in the world seeks to destroy the “good” (as most faiths teach), then  are they not in danger of being wiped off the face of the earth?  Who then will teach the children to be “good?”  Try to imagine the crime, the "evil" in that situation!

The world, therefore, becomes a real danger to becoming wholly “evil”, through adhering to the laws of many religions.

However, these teachings are contradictory to the teaching of most faiths that assert that we are here on this earth to learn "good" from "evil" and to do good works.

Ultimately, if no one fights “evil” to the point of extinction (death), there will be no "good" people left to help the newcomers to this earth to learn "good" values so they can have their chance at proving to God and themselves their worthiness for a high place (like Heaven) after death.

This construct of beliefs is illogical.  It is circular reasoning.  Yet—

If the “good” engage in “evil” acts to protect themselves and their loved ones (like murder, slaughter, maiming, imprisoning, torturing, etc.), are they not playing dangerously with “evil?”  Are they not trying to use "evil" for "good?"  If their acts are “evil”, do they not eventually become “evil?”  Or, in other words (spoken by a friend of mine), by acting this way, they become "the Devil's cabana boy."  The Christians espouse, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”  Paradoxical.

It seems to me that to be wholly righteous and moral makes one very vulnerable to destruction.  However, to defend one’s self and loved ones from “evil” unto death lessens the morality of the “good people”, according to many religions.  In addition, their reward in the afterlife may not be the ultimate experience they hope for.  (I'm not sure; do the Muslims have any issue with these questions?  As I understand it, according to the Koran, they are commanded to kill all infidels and receive their reward of 7 virgins, etc.  But I may be mistaken.)

One principle I take issue with in Christianity is the principle Paul taught:  That "the natural man is an enemy to God."  If God created us, why would he create such an "imperfect" being?  Why would he instill in his creation instincts for survival, only to teach them later to ignore them and sacrifice themselves?  That sounds like a set-up!  (Did we really agree to this "plan?")  Why would God teach his “children” to live for another world and be willing to sacrifice their lives, thereby possibly leaving their children behind who could profit from his "high" morality, into the hands of "evil?"

Something just doesn't make sense to me about this reasoning.  Yet, according to Christianity, Buddhism, and any other religion espousing non-violence (Jainism, for example, who do not even kill insects--now there is a life lesson in patience!), by being faithful, and following the rules, we are setting up our descendants to fail their “moral” test in life!  What a conundrum!

Chew on that—I am…


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