[Buddha-l] Return of blasphemy?
vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 4 01:01:49 MDT 2011
Nice to see you posting here again. Unfortunately associating Tariq Ramadan
with "tolerance" is perverse (I'm with Curt on this one). He smooth-talks
when doing his Islamic apologetics, and is anything but tolerant when
talking about Israel (and a variety of other topics). One doesn't have to be
a neocon to see that, although anyone who seems willing to point out that
the emperor has no clothes in public quickly gets accused of being in that
camp. Since many on the left share his prejudices, they see his intolerance
as an asset rather than a problem.
As for the conference proposals, "denigration" is not a useful criterion.
Large chunks of the New Testament, not to mention everything since the early
patristic period who have to be excised (or exorcised) for what it says
about Jews; ditto the Quran (Jews and Christians and esp. infidels); the
Hebrew Scriptures for what they say Moabites, Canaanites, etc.; a lot of
Indian religious literature -- Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Carvaka, etc. -- which
turned criticism of other traditions into various esteemed literary genres;
same for Confucian, Shinto, and Religious Daoist literature. In other words,
with few exceptions, if any, this is what religions themselves do, and have
A slightly more useful criterion might be "defamation," which tends to be
defined as: "the offense of writing or saying something bad about someone
that is not true and makes people have a bad opinion of them," the crucial
point being "that is not true." One would still have to allow leeway for
humor, parody, satire, etc. And deciding what is and isn't
"true" has its challenges. But by this criterion Tariq Ramadan would be
found guilty. By this criterion, Mahayana Buddhists would not only have to
stop denigrating and defaming "Hinayana," Buddhists and scholars would have
to stop calling Asanga, Vasubandhu, Dignaga, Sthiramati, Dharmapala, and
Xuanzang "idealists," anti-Madhyamakans would have to stop calling them
"nihilists" (nastika), and so on.
Which criticism is "fair" (and we should be even more afraid of a culture
that does not tolerate criticism)? Maybe in the post-modern world, we all
need to become duplicitous denigrators like Ramadan, finding a way to
maintain a veneer of "tolerance" as we promote our lies.
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