Re: religious intolerance
- Dear Maxim: I think we ought to first be clear about what we mean
by 'religious intolerance' first.
My understanding is that underlying religious intolerance is the
attitude that one's own God is the 'true God' and everyone else's
Does this attitude inform any of the acts you describe?
If the Mormons you know are anything like the Mormons I know, then
the conversion of your friend, and the proselytization he
encountered is entirely a manifestation of this attitude: 'the
Christian God is the true God' and 'Jesus Christ is the true
Is this attitude present in the disputes of the Tibetan sects? If
so, how? This is the question I think you would have to answer.
However, given the absence of any assertion of who is, or whether
there is, 'a true God' in the Tibetan tradition, I would have to
hightly doubt it.
The idea that the political milieu in a society could affect its
traditions seems quite natural to me. I am not sure what that would
have to do with religious intolerance, though.
It should be noted that, if the Mormons are following a directive of
Joseph Smith by funding an ISKCON temple in Utah, they appear to
have taken their time to heed him: try several hundred years.
Although if some Mormon recognizes the 'universal religion' in Islam
or the HRHK movement in this country, it would not surprise me in
the least. Both these religions are quite clear about their own
I would certainly dispute that either the ISKCON temples or a mosque
are places of 'the heathen'.
--- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "maxim"
> Having spend several months in India now, one of my best friendsof
> my Tibetan lanuage class has become a Mormone. Mormones as weall
> know them are know for their proselytism. They send missionaries
> around to world to convert people. I have had many conversationswith
> my friend, who has also been on a mission to Poland, about theirright
> church and he told me that the Mormone church sponsored the
> building of a Hare Krshna temple in Utah and also a Mosk, because
> Joseph Smith, their founder said that every human being has the
> to choose their own religion. Ofcourse they consider themselvesas
> having the only truth, one of the faculties of religion, but Ihave never
> seen any sign of religious intolerance, espcially when youconsider
> they are building temples for other 'religions'.different Tibetan
> Having studied Tibetan buddhism in depth, I came across many
> historical facts of 'religious intolerance' inbetween the
> buddhist sects. Even these days there are two big conflicts goingon in
> Tibetan buddhism: the New Kadampa Tradition and a split in theLike for
> Kagyu sect. There has been some violence on a small scale, but
> looking at history there has been a lot of figting within Tibet.
> instance the Gelugpa sect (of the Dalai Lama) didn't recognize thesome
> highest teachings of the Nyingmapa , Dzogchen or Ati Yoga, as
> genuin buddhist. Nyingmapa's and Bonpos have been prosecuted.
> But it hasnt always been like that. There are other cases where
> practioners of one sect get interested in the teachings of theother one.
> Like the 5th Dalai Lama who was actually practicing more nyingmaRime
> than his own gelug tradition. Or think about the 19th century
> movement in Tibet who wanted to get rid of the sectarianthinking. The
> same with the present Dalai Lama, who even recognised the Bonposshow that
> as the 5th Tibetan school.
> But I have found some other interesting historical facts which
> politics were mixed up with religious decisions. Like forinstance in the
> 9th century there was this anti-buddhist king Langdharma (as he isanti-
> called by the Tibetan historians). It is said that this king was
> buddhist and pro-bonpo, but I found out that he was actually notmonasteries
> against buddhism but against the fact that the buddhist
> were getting a lot of money from the governement and he preferredto
> invest this money in building up his army. so the monasterieslost their
> income which meant a decline of institutionalised monasticbuddhism.
> But outside the monasteries the tantras, practiced by yogis andflourishing.
> yoginis who were not depended upon a state income, were
> So the king was not anti-buddhist but took a political decisionwhich
> influenced buddhism.if we
> So, now it is time for me to pose some questions. It seems that
> want to investigate religious intolerance, accoding to Balu'sdefinition
> of religion we cannot apply this to buddhism, since it is not areligion.
> But their is and has been intolerance which didn't have apolitical
> background. If this is the case than how would we define his kindof
> intolerance which doesn't have a political background. This seemsto
> be in contradiction with the fact that buddhist culture is notEI. I may be
> wrong since I am not so familiar with the Tibetan history, and Ihope I
> am. If I am wrong than one has to be albe to prove that all casesof
> violence in Tibet were inspired by political reasons and not byit.
> doctrinal buddhist reasons and that historions might have overseen
> Having started this writing with the mormone church I will alsoend with
> them. How come that they are funding the building of a mosk andShri
> Krshna temple? This seems again very contradictionary with theworship
> definition of religion. They are sponsoring building places of
> of the heathen.one
> Maybe someone can answer this. I will be in Tibet within about
> week so I won't have e-mail contact for at least one month.
> yours truly,
- Dear Maxim and Satya,
As Satya suggests in her post, we have to get some idea of what
makes certain forms of intolerance into religious intolerance in
order to answer Maxim's queries. But let us first have a look at the
confusion in Maxim's post to assess this problem of characterising
1. After reading "The Heathen ", people often enter a confusing
phase in their thinking. On the one hand, the arguments have
convinced them that something is very wrong with our current
understanding of religion and human cultures. They agree that all
theorizing on religion and all descriptions of non-western cultures
presuppose that religion is a cultural universal. They also agree
that the concept of religion is problematic: no one knows what makes
a social phenomenon into religion, but still everyone speaks about
religions, religious conflicts, religious intolerance, etc. as
though this is eminently clear.
On the other hand, however, the thinking of people who have
read "The Heathen " is still governed to some extent by the common
sense assumptions of the West. They themselves keep on talking about
religion in the classically confused manner.
Often, a tension arises between these two poles. People will talk
about the violence between Hindus and Muslims in terms of religious
strife. Or they discuss religious scepticism as though this is a
universally human attitude in which "rational minds become sceptical
towards irrational religion." Then, at some point, they remember
what they have learned from Balu's book. This tells them that the
Hindu traditions cannot be religion and therefore the violence in
India cannot be religious strife. Or that scepticism towards
religion is an attitude that became important in the Christian West
(because of Christian dogmatism) rather than a universal liberation
of the human mind.
In this confusing phase, the questioning of common sense assumptions
often takes an unfortunate form. People say things like "according
to Balu's definition of religion, Buddhism is not religion, and
therefore conflicts within Buddism cannot be expressions of
religious intolerance." Or "according to Balu's definition of
religion, Christianity is religion, and therefore Christian
intolerance is religious intolerance." These lines of thinking are
2. Why are they? We can turn back to Maxim's post to see the
problem. First, Maxim says that he "came across many historical
facts of `religious intolerance' in between the different Tibetan
Buddhist sects." In spite of the `' around religious intolerance,
this shows that he appears to know what makes conflict or tension
into religious intolerance. A bit further, he goes on to say that he
has "found some other interesting historical facts which show that
politics were mixed up with religious decisions." This statement
presupposes that we are able to distinguish politics from religion
and to see how political and religious decisions are mixed up.
This is western common sense at work. The current theorizing about
religion does neither allow us to say what makes a conflict into the
expression of religious intolerance, nor can it clarify what makes a
decision into a religious decision rather than a political one.
Still, Maxim's post presupposes clarity on these issues. The vague
concept of religion has us think that conflicts between Buddhist
groups must be religious intolerance, since they have something to
do with the "teachings" or the "gods" or the "worship" of these
groups. Political decisions are said to be mixed up with religion,
because these "teachings" or "gods" are invoked in decision-making.
However, as "The Heathen " shows, such assumptions merely shift
the problem of identifying the characteristic structure of religion.
Are the so-called "teachings" of the Tibetan Buddhists the same kind
of phenomenon as the doctrines of the various Christian
denominations? Are they both instances of religious belief? Are the
beings that inhabit the Tibetan stories "gods" similar to the God of
Christianity? These questions cannot be answered without a
hypothesis on the structure of religion, which is nowhere to be
found in the common sense accounts.
3. As he has read "The Heathen ", Maxim also knows this. Therefore,
he remarks that "if we want to investigate religious intolerance,
according to Balu's definition of religion we cannot apply this to
buddhism, since it is not a religion." Here, we bump into the second
pole of the tension.
Balu's hypothesis claims that religion is an explanatorily
intelligible account of the Cosmos and itself. As we have said many
times, this is not a definition. It is a hypothesis that theorizes
the structure which distinguishes religion from other social
phenomena. This hypothesis connects a series of concepts (God, the
will of God, the Cosmos, human beings, etc.) to each other to
describe the object of religion. This is very different from
defining the word "religion" stipulatively.
The next step, then, is not to see whether we can "apply this
concept of religion" to Buddhism or Hinduism or whatever else.
Rather, we can test empirically whether these phenomena are
religion. To do so, we have to derive some of the empirical
consequences of our hypothesis of religion and see whether these
empirical consequences are the case in the Buddhist or Hindu
It is only after we have thus determined whether or not these
phenomena are explanatorily intelligible accounts that it makes
sense to say that they are not religion. As the impossibility
argument in Balu's book shows, these traditions simply cannot be
religion (see sections 10.2.1. and 10.2.2. of T.H. for the
metaphysical and the sociological impossibility of the existence of
a homegrown religion in India).
To see the difference between the two steps, we can turn to the
natural sciences. Imagine that a new planet is discovered and that
scientists want to find out whether gravity is also present there.
They will not take Newton's "definition of gravity" and see whether
this concept can also be applied to this new planet. Rather,
Newton's universal law of gravitation has a number of empirical
consequences, which can be tested with regard to the newly
(Obviously, the previous 3 points are not directed at Maxim alone.
Almost everyone who reads "The Heathen " goes through this phase of
confusion. The example of "religious scepticism" refers to my own
experience of going through this phase.)
4. Religious intolerance then. As Satya suggests, this will have to
do with the universal and unconditional truth claims any EIA makes.
However, the belief that one's own God is the true God and
the "gods" of other traditions are false is but one expression of
these truth claims.
As Balu shows in section 9.3.2. of "The Heathen ", intolerance is
related to the faith one has in a particular religion. An EIA
reveals God's purpose for humanity. Obviously, there can be but one
such purpose God has for us. The various doctrines of different EIAs
give a different content to God's purpose. When one has faith in
God, this means one accepts one of these EIAs as the true revelation
of His purpose. This implies one cannot accept other EIAs as
revelations. They must be false religions, as there can be only one
true and complete revelation of God's purpose for humankind.
As Satya says, one consequence is that human traditions that contain
other "gods" than the true God must be conceived of as false
religions. Their gods are false gods, i.e., minions of the devil.
But another consequence is that there can be deficient worship of
the true God. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all accept that each
of these three concerns the true God. But, they accuse each other of
corrupting His message of self-disclosure. The mutual accusations
claim that they have made corrupting human additions to God's
revelation of His purpose. The same goes for the different
denominations within Christianity and Islam, when they accuse each
other of being heresies. Surely these are also instances of
This post is becoming too long. I think Maxim's questions are of
great import: How are the conflicts within Tibetan Buddhism (or the
conflicts among various Hindu traditions, for that matter) different
from the religious intolerance that drives conflicts among different
EIAs? What makes intolerance into religious intolerance? How to make
sense of the Mormons' practice of building temples and mosques?
Perhaps these questions can be taken up by someone else. Let us try
and save our yahoo-group from a slow and unglorious death.
- "jakobderoover" <jakobderoover@y...> wrote:
> I think Maxim's questions are of great import:1. If the behavior of the people involved within such a conflict -
> How are the conflicts within Tibetan Buddhism (or the
> conflicts among various Hindu traditions, for that matter) different
> from the religious intolerance that drives conflicts among different
> EIAs? What makes intolerance into religious intolerance? How to make
> sense of the Mormons' practice of building temples and mosques?
> Perhaps these questions can be taken up by someone else. Let us try
> and save our yahoo-group from a slow and unglorious death.
disagreement over doctrine followed by ostracism or violence
is the same, then in one sense, it does not matter whether it is a
religious, political or other cause.
I guess I'm asking whether a history of the conflict can help us
resolve whether a conflict is a religious conflict or not. Or, what
kind of information must the history hold for us to be able to
make a determination?
2. Using common-sense language, a claim is sometimes made for
political purposes, e.g., Hindus do not exhibit intolerance, and this
is equated, again using common sense, that Hindus do not have conflicts
caused by differences in doctrine or tradition, which is a very different claim.
So I think we have to be careful here.
3. What exposure I have to Mormons makes the idea that they build
temples and mosques incredible. Clearly I have to learn more about this.
What to make of it? Could this be another version of Robert De Nobili's
tactics of conversion?
4. Is the Roman persecution of Christians a case of intolerance of religion,
(rather than religious intolerance?) Since our understanding of religion
begins with the Christian-Roman example, can we analyze this interaction
in more detail than is in The Heathen..., to get a start on what makes
intolerance into religious intolerance?
- A couple of posts from sulekha board, by balu, appeared on civic
tolerance and religious tolerance are appended. Probably, these may
help us clarify some confusion.
In the last few mails, several issues have been raised. Let me take up
the issue of tolerance in this post.
1. Today, in countries like England, Belgium, Germany, Italy and the
United States, many religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and many
brands of some of these religions (Catholicism, Protestantism of
various shades, Orthodox Churches, etc) coexist. In Belgium or Italy,
for instance, the Catholic Christians do not impose their faiths on
those who are not Catholics, i.e., they do not go around
"proselytizing" the non-Catholics in their countries; in The
Netherlands and Germany, for instance, the Catholics and the
Protestants do not go around assaulting each other the way they did
during the period of Reformation. Even the Jehovah's Witnesses do not
impose their faith, when they canvass the "Good Word" from door to
door. The Muslims in Britain, for instance, do not go around
converting all non-Muslims either. Questions: Does that mean that
Catholic Christianity in Belgium and Italy (for instance) has become
more tolerant than it was couple of centuries ago? Does it mean that
Protestantism has become more tolerant than it was some three
centuries or so ago? Does it mean that Islam in Britain (or in the
United States) is more tolerant than Islam, say, in Africa?
Or does it mean that these countries have become more tolerant of the
existence of several religions and religious denominations in the
interstices of their society than they were a few centuries ago?
That these questions can be raised intelligibly and that they can be
answered through historical research show that the word 'tolerance'
might mean different things depending on the context in which it is
raised. Tolerance of the existence of different religions within one
society is a civic virtue that all citizens within that society
accept. (This is the case with the Catholics in Belgium and Italy;
Protestants in Holland and Germany; Muslims in the United States, etc.)
2. Does the foregoing indicate that Catholic Christianity (and its
believers), Protestant Christianity (and its believers), Islam (and
its believers) have become more tolerant of each other and of other
religions? That is to say, does Islam, today, think that Christianity
is as true as it itself is; does Catholic Christianity think that the
Protestants' claims are as true as their own? Does Judaism believe
that their belief that the Messiah had not come is as true as the
claim that he has? And so on.
Their respective beliefs were one of the reasons for the religious
struggles of yesteryears. Consequently, if these religions have become
more tolerant of each other, then it is because either (a) their
beliefs have changed; or (b) the believers interpret these beliefs
differently, or (c) both.
Further, if this situation has come about because of the civic virtue
I spoke of earlier, then one could indeed claim that these religions
have become more tolerant than they were before. Is this the situation?
Again, these questions can be raised intelligibly. One can also give
different kinds of answers. Some of the answers in this context might
even have to appeal to answers provided in §1. From all of these
considerations, it follows that the notion of tolerance used here has
a different extension than the notion of tolerance as a civic virtue.
Let us call this "religious tolerance" to distinguish it from "civic
3. Tolerance as a civic virtue revolves around building a society free
of religious strife. That is, it answers the question, 'how can
different religious communities coexist in one and the same society?'
Religious tolerance, on the other hand, revolves around the question
of truth. That is, it is an answer to the question, 'which religion is
This is an additional reason to distinguish between these two.
4. Notice that one could cultivate the civic virtue of tolerance
without, in the least, being required to be religiously tolerant as
well. One cannot be religiously tolerant without, at the same time,
having the civic virtue of tolerance as well. (This is a further
indication that these notions have different extensions.)
At first sight, then, it looks as though religious tolerance implies
civic tolerance. However, that is not quite the case: one could be
religiously tolerant, i.e., accept that all religions are either
equally true (or equally false, as the case may be), and yet be
intolerant, say, of fascists. This shows that the implication between
religious and civic tolerance holds only in the context of discussion
This is a further indication that there is a substantive difference
between civic tolerance and religious tolerance.
5. Even though more nuances can be added and more reasons adduced to
distinguish between civic and religious tolerance, I hope this is
enough to provide a prima facie plausibility to my suggestion that,
for the sake of clarity, we would do better to distinguish the two
from each other.
6. In my book, and throughout the posts, I have been insisting that
Christianity is an intolerant religion because it is a religion in the
first place. In my book I have shown why this is the case. I have
argued there, as I mentioned in one of my posts, that faith and
intolerance are two faces of the same coin, i.e., one is intolerant
precisely because one believes.
To put it in terms of the distinction I have introduced: Jews,
Christians and Muslims (of today) might or might not have learnt the
civic virtue of tolerance; but as Jews, Christians, and Muslims they
are religiously intolerant. That is, they cannot accept that each of
them is as true as the other.
7. Not only that. While each of the above three religions (and their
believers) think that the other is deficient in their worship of God,
all of them believe that our traditions are false religions. The
latter are that because they worship the false gods. In other words,
there is a difference even with respect to their religious
intolerance: regarding each other, the above three religions think
that the other is deficient in worshipping God; regarding us, all
three believe that we worship false gods.
8. Let me actualise the points that Jakob, Willem, Tom, Sarah and I
are making in terms of the distinction I have just introduced and
establish the difference between our position, and that of Alex, Maria
and some others.
(a) Alex is claiming that the Orthodox Christians have learnt civic
tolerance in India, and that they are different in this regard from
the Catholics and Protestants in India. That is, he says, the Orthodox
Churches in India do not proselytize the way other Christians do.
About the empirical issue: I have not done any study myself to find
out whether or not the Indian Orthodox Churches proselytize or not; or
do so as aggressively as the Catholics or the Protestants. I am not
(b) He further feels, (I think), that ordinances against
proselytization is necessary because we need to inculcate the virtue
of civic tolerance among proselytizers in India.
I disagree about the need for legislation to curb conversion for
several reasons, some of which are connected to the next issue.
(c) He claims that the Orthodox Churches, because they represent
'Eastern Christianity', are tolerant. One could interpret his claims
in a charitable way and assume that he is saying the following:
somehow, 'Eastern Christianity' is more prone to being more tolerant
in civic life than 'Western Christianity'. I disagree with this claim
on historical grounds. The history of 'Eastern Christianity' is every
bit as violent as the history of the 'Western Christianity'. [For
those who know German, I would suggest the following work of Karlheinz
Deschner. He has so far written 6 volumes of the history of
Christianity, called, Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums. The title
translates as "The Criminal History of Christianities" and the first
six volumes are about 'Eastern Christianity'.]
(d) We can also assume that because Alex speaks of the difference
between 'Eastern' and 'Western' brands of Christianities, he is making
the claim that the 'Eastern' Christianity is religiously tolerant,
whereas the 'Western' brand is not. I contest this claim too, and my
posts so far are centred on this issue.
9. The point that Jakob has been raising since the beginning of the
discussion can be put in these terms: the nature of the Indian culture
is such that it has the power to impact on Islam and Christianity in
India to make them religiously tolerant. And that such an impacting
occurs in our culture when the Indian traditions themselves are
vibrant. When this vibrancy goes away, or becomes muted, one begins to
raise the issue of inculcating civic tolerance through legislations to
curb proselytization. If true, these are immensely interesting claims.
They have little to do with Indian Christians wearing mangala sutra or
bindis, or even whether they accept prasadams in temples. Rather, they
have to do with whether or not our culture can tame the aggressive
truth claims of these three religions. All our posts have been
oriented towards this issue.
Hopefully, this post has brought some clarity regarding our posts.
Assuming that the distinction I proposed in my #311 between civic
tolerance and religious tolerance is acceptable, let us proceed
further to analyse the notion of civic tolerance more closely. (I am
simply assuming that it is desirable and that, from now on, we are
talking about religious matters.)
1. It is (logically) possible that there could be religious
intolerance and yet the believers in such religions could have the
virtue of civic tolerance. That is to say, even (a) if there is
religious intolerance, believers in some religion or another could
have a society where there is civic tolerance. As suggested earlier,
(b) religious tolerance implies the presence of civic tolerance.
2. What do the above two statements suggest? That there could be a
possible world (or a possible society) where both are true as a matter
of empirical fact. Let us further assume that western democracies are
examples of such a society.
3. We can now rewrite this as follows. Under certain circumstances,
the existence of civic tolerance is indifferent to whether there is
religious tolerance or religious intolerance. What are these
4. Let us accept the story about Europe at face value. There is a
neutral umpire with respect to religious maters (namely the state)
that enforces civic tolerance. When does such a state come into being?
Here, the stories about the western culture are of no use. Why? These
stories tell us that (a) generations of religious strife results in
the creations of such a state (because people get tired of religious
strife) and/or (b) European psychology became 'enlightened'. (a) is
empirically false: Lebanon, Palestine, Ireland, etc. are examples that
show us that generations of religious strife drives violence deeper
into the body of society instead of generating some kind of
'tiredness'. (b) is also false: Ireland tells us that much.
5. Consequently, a neutral state might be a necessary condition but it
is not sufficient. What more is required? It appears that this umpire
must be seen to be neutral by the participants. If it is not seen as
neutral, then this state cannot enforce civic tolerance. In the case
of Ireland and Lebanon, believers do not see the state as a neutral
entity (with respect to religious matters) and, consequently, there is
continuous religious strife. (To put it in the language familiar to
us, a secular state cannot enforce civic tolerance in a society if the
participants do not perceive the state as a neutral entity with
respect to religious matters.)
6. What is required for the state to be seen as a neutral entity with
respect to religious matters? Let us look again at the western
history. (i) The state must not take any position regarding the truth
or falsity of the religions. That is to say, the state does not say
(a) religion is the revelation of God; (b) religion is not the
revelation of God. (It does the same with respect to different
denominations.) That is to say, the state must remain agnostic with
respect to God and His revelation. (ii) It is not enough that state is
agnostic but it must be seen to be agnostic as well. What does that
mean? The participants must recognise agnosticism as a possibility
they can countenance in their strife. That means, for both believers
and atheists, agnosticism must appear as a reasonable option within
their discourse. That is, in more general terms, agnosticism is a
choice both within a theistic discourse and an atheistic discourse
and, as such, is a part of such discourses. And, as such, is not an
independent third choice that is above and beyond theism and atheism.
7. Let me introduce my research at this stage. I claim that atheism is
secularised theism. If that is the case, agnosticism is a part of both
theism and its secularised version (namely, atheism). Better put:
agnosticism is one of the mechanisms in secularising theism itself.
(AG, does this answer the question you raise in your #315?) And, in so
far as the state is an agnostic entity, it suggests that the 'neutral'
state that the western democracies speak of is one of the mechanisms
in the secularisation of Christianity itself. That is, it spreads
dechristianized Christianity. Hence, it is acceptable both to the
Christians and to the disguised Christians.
Christianity, as we know empirically, comes in different brands.
Consequently, the 'neutral' state in western democracies not only
spreads a dechristianized Christianity but also a particular brand of
dechristianized Christianity. And this brand must be acceptable to all
the citizens in that society.
8. This hypothesis, I think, is also sufficient to account for the
failure for "western secularism" to take hold (a) in the Middle East,
(b) in India, (c) in Ireland. This has nothing to do with the
psychology of peoples in these cultures or the 'genius' of the Western
people but do with what the so-called 'neutral' state is all about.
The state cannot spread any brand of dechristianized Christianity in
cultures that are not Christian; in Ireland, the strife is precisely
about which brand of dechristainized Christianity the state ought to
9. This is not the only reason why this hypothesis is worthy of
further investigation. It also explains the perceptions of (some)
people as well. In India, the "secular state" that Nehru dreamt of is
not only seen not being neutral but also as something 'alien' to the
Indian traditions. If the 'secular' state spreads some brand of
dechristianized Christianity, then it is obvious that it will be seen
as something 'alien' to the Indian traditions. Further, where a
majority of people are not Christians (but, say, Muslims or Jews)
then, it is also obvious that they will be against any brand of
dechristianized Christianity. This might tell us a bit more both about
the state of Israel and the fact that Muslims seem to reject the
necessity of a "secular state".
10. There is also another intriguing issue that this hypothesis can
shed some light on. Despite claiming to be a 'neutral' state, the
Indian state interferes in the Indian traditions. Of course, this is a
British legacy. But is there also a logic to it? I do think so, and I
think this hypothesis can also shed light on that issue. But that is
for another post because this post has become very dense already.
One final request though. I am putting across a hypothesis that
appeals to but one thread. There could also be other threads (say,
social, political, economic) that could be adduced to explain what I
have tried to explain. Please do not sidetrack the discussion by
pointing out that 'other' explanations are also possible. Let this be
your point if and only if these other explanations necessarily exclude
the thread I have used.
- Arun said quite rightly that *in one sense* it does not matter what
the cause of conflict is. If we are seeking to eliminate any and all
instances of conflict in human society, then it does not matter
whether the source of conflict is religious intolerance or something
But if our primary goal is to make sense of conflict when it does
occur in society - Tibetan or Western - then, it is very important
to distinguish whether said conflict arises from religious
intolerance or some other source. It seems to me that, from the very
practical standpoint of how to find solutions to such conflicts, it
would be important to be able to understand them fully and properly.
If we can validate Balu's theory as expressed in the Heathen, it
might help us arrive at practical solutions to real world
conflicts. For instance, the ongoing Israeli-Arab conflict in the
Middle East could be seen to be based on religious intolerance.
While reading the Heathen, it occured to me that the idea of the
secular/Christian (keeping in mind that the Heathen shows us these
are two sides of the same coin) West mediating a settlement to this
conflict does not seem sensible. After all, one could not expect the
mediator to be free himself of religious intolerance. It may make
far more sense to get someone who has no religious stake in this
conflict (maybe the Dalai Lama?) to mediate a dispute. At least,
that would be where reading the Heathen might lead us.
But as Jakob pointed out, we cannot determine what religious
intolerance is without having a theory of religion. If we accept the
hypothesis in the Heathen as one worthy of consideration, then we
have a lot to learn (and, indeed, unlearn) about Indian or Tibetan
traditions. We have all that work to do before we can understand or
characterize conflicts in India or Tibet. It won't do to
characterize the conflicts we encounter in these cultures before we
understand what these cultures are really all about.
I did a brief search on yahoo about the HRHK temple in Utah. It
seems a lot of Mormons were equally surprised by their church's
funding of a HRHK temple. In fact, many left the Mormon church in
disgust. It's interesting that in some of the news articles where a
Mormon church member defends the funding by pointing out that the
HRHKs have some of the same 'values' as the Mormons - no drinking,
no premarital sex, etcetera, etcetera. The church member suggests it
is difficult to recruit young people to their church with those
kinds of rules, so they look positively at the HRHK's spreading
those kinds of 'values'.
In marketing they talk about 'loss leaders'. You sell a product at a
loss in order to increase sales of another product in your brand.
The funding of the HRHK smells more like a marketing ploy (if I may
use the term in the mold of RM) than like any startling instance
of "religious tolerance", don't you think? This would also explain
why the Mormons decided to take this direction after 200 years of
straightforward religious intolerance?
--- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "macgupta123"
> "jakobderoover" <jakobderoover@y...> wrote:different
> > I think Maxim's questions are of great import:
> > How are the conflicts within Tibetan Buddhism (or the
> > conflicts among various Hindu traditions, for that matter)
> > from the religious intolerance that drives conflicts amongdifferent
> > EIAs? What makes intolerance into religious intolerance? How tomake
> > sense of the Mormons' practice of building temples and mosques?try
> > Perhaps these questions can be taken up by someone else. Let us
> > and save our yahoo-group from a slow and unglorious death.is a
> 1. If the behavior of the people involved within such a conflict -
> disagreement over doctrine followed by ostracism or violence
> is the same, then in one sense, it does not matter whether it
> religious, political or other cause.us
> I guess I'm asking whether a history of the conflict can help
> resolve whether a conflict is a religious conflict or not.Or, what
> kind of information must the history hold for us to be able toand this
> make a determination?
> 2. Using common-sense language, a claim is sometimes made for
> political purposes, e.g., Hindus do not exhibit intolerance,
> is equated, again using common sense, that Hindus do not haveconflicts
> caused by differences in doctrine or tradition, which is avery different claim.
> So I think we have to be careful here.about this.
> 3. What exposure I have to Mormons makes the idea that they build
> temples and mosques incredible. Clearly I have to learn more
> What to make of it? Could this be another version of RobertDe Nobili's
> tactics of conversion?religion,
> 4. Is the Roman persecution of Christians a case of intolerance of
> (rather than religious intolerance?) Since our understandingof religion
> begins with the Christian-Roman example, can we analyze thisinteraction
> in more detail than is in The Heathen..., to get a start onwhat makes
> intolerance into religious intolerance?