Loved the "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition" article.
It's time the "sane" peoples of this world, or what remains of them, unite in a grass roots movement to put the "godly gangs" in their place. We need to establish an ever growing voice of the people that says; "we will no longer tolerate this incessant murder in the name of god". Let the Buddhist have their Buddha, the Muslims have their Ala, Christians their Jesus, the Catholics their Mary, the Jews their Jehovah, as long as they harm "NO ONE". The mentally aberated, religious militants will destroy all humanity unless this mental cancer can be eradicated.
I just read Spiders' Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition in the Globe and Mail. I'd love some of my American Buddies to read the damn thing. Will it be posted on his web site ( oh please!!, oh please!!).
Where the hell have I been? I've just been introduced to him!! and we've both been here for years!!??
spider - should this get to you
a friend in canada sent me your 'praise the lord and pass the ammo' column, paying me the immense compliment of saying it sounded like my writing. if you ever have the time and inclination, i have a website, the pires zone, at skettel.com, though it hasn't been updated for ages, since my version of ted, alfonso, has been having a rough time personally for a while.
anyway, if you have the time and curiosity, check it out.
i'd love to hear from you
i'm at email@example.com
take care now
I've just finished reading the essay "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition." I'm appalled and disgusted to see that Spider Robinson, whose writing I've enjoyed and respected, has descended to outright prejudice. He assumes that everyone who considers themselves a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim also supports murdering members of the other religions. That's nonsense. He claims he "gets along with religious people" but cites only one example, his Buddhist wife. When was the last time he even listened to a devout peace-loving Jew, Muslim or Christian without letting his own blatant prejudice get in the way? And what alternative does he offer, other than passing judgment on society and cutting himself off from it until such time as we all somehow become telepathic? Many of us are living in society, trying to find ways to make peace-- and doing so through our deep religious beliefs.
I read with interest your article in yesterday's Globe on religion and violence. I agree that a lot of terrible things have been done in the name of God or religion.There can be no excuse for such things as persecution, tolerating pedophilia or fighting over a piece of turf.
At the same time, I trust you'll agree that religions have done many commendable things. The founding of hospitals, schools and universities has benefitted our society, and many charitable works go on quietly from day to day sponsored or financed by religious organizations.
I am not sure I understand what you mean in the third paragraph from the end about it being wrong to 'argue' theology with your neighbour. We argue or debate politics and many other controversial subjects; why not religion? Surely, the key in all discussion or debate is civility. We need to need to respect the views of others even when we don't agree with them. It is possible to talk about these matters in a restrained, polite way. I as a Christian certainly hope I will be allowed to explain and even argue my point of view. I also pray I will be able to do so graciously.
Had a look at your rant on religions. "Praise the lord and pass the ammunition". It has occurred to me that one of the outcomes of WWII, due at least partially to the principled determination of Roosevelt, was the concept of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
However much these are honored more in the breach than the observance, the principle is vitally important. Here in the-thin-strip-to-the-north-thats-not-American-yet, we finally cut the apron strings and got a Canadian statement of universal rights in 1982, and a Supreme Court to keep interpretation out of the irresponsible hands of (sort of) elected politicians. (As an aside, the antagonism of the right wing running dogs (National Post et al) towards these rights and the Court's defense/interpretation of them seems to come from the fact that they interfere with the God-given right of the rich;- to screw the rest of us any way they can.)
I was very glad to see sexual orientation included in the list, but still consider this list to be partial.
I am an advocate of the protection of children and a recognition of their inalienable rights. One right that seems to be missing in the list, is FREEDOM FROM INDOCTRINATION.
We have collectively travelled some distance away from the noxious assumption that women and children are property of the elder males in the family. Still this concept of children as property, to be done with ("disciplined" i.e coercion by physical violence, and "religious upbringing" i.e. relentless brainwashing with the worst ....well you covered this already) as parents wish.
---An aside or two
I was so pleased to hear "Your children are not your children" by Sweet Honey and the Rock, back when I was growing up with the three children I had the honor to father.
On the highway the slogan appears "Children are precious, use child seatbelts and restraints properly". I appreciate the intent, but "precious" as in valuable possession rankles. Also the slogan I have seen on posters encouraging proper funding of the education system, "our children, our future". No no no. Try "children, the future" ...
Anyway, shouldn't we all have the chance to develop a moral sense, to explore the universe, to grow up socially etc without being grossly and pesistently indoctrinated with one particular brand of ....?
How long did it take you to get over the special flavors of guilt and self hate the resonate in Catholicism?
Ooops, have to pretend to work now,
Dear Spider Robinson
Your writing has given me much pleasure over the years since I found your first book, and I have made a point of reading every book or article that I found that had your name on it. And, I must say, I have enjoyed them all, for clarity of thought and expression, and breadth of imagination.
The cause of this e-mail is your article in the Globe and Mail last Monday, May 6 - "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition." You hit it right on. You said what I have often tried to say, but much more clearly and forcefully. Thank you very much for finding all the right words for my thoughts.
I shall continue to watch for your writings, large and small, in confident expectation of renewed pleasure.
As usual after reading one of your columns, I punch the air quasi-triumphally and bemuse onlooking colleagues by shouting TANSTAFL! (Only ever found one who had the secret decoder ring.)
But, one detail troubled me in your paen of praise for Buddhism....is its relatively benign history due to its relative absence of overt moral stances? Even so, in some parts of the world it has become politically mobilized to destructive ends, as in Sri Lanka. You chose to highlight the Viet Nam example, from the Diem era. Perhaps it's a case of 'burning the other cheek'?
Sorry 'bout that one, but I recall you are an inveterate punster.
Dear Mr. Robinson:
I agree with your editorial published in the Globe and Mail on Monday. Every conception of God I've ever heard of is either inconsistent with observed reality, or implies a being not worthy of worship.
However, I think you're a little off base with your characterization of Buddhism as peaceful and non-aggressive.
Case in point: Aum Shinrikyo (Aum Supreme Truth) is a cult that was active in Japan, Russia and Australia from the late '80s to March 1995, when members released sarin nerve gas into the Tokyo subway system during morning rush hour. This killed a dozen people and hospitalized hundreds.
Aum preached a heady mixture of Buddhism, Hinduism, apocalyptic Christianity, New Age mysticism and pseudoscience, backed up with drugs, brainwashing and murder. The cult's guru claimed the world was coming to an end (the date kept getting earlier) and that he and his followers were the world's only hope for salvation. A key part of Aum's doctrine was the Buddhist concept of poa, meaning you could commit murder and spiritually improve both yourself and your victim.
Poa and other aspects of Buddhism was also part of Japan's state and military ideology in the '30s and '40s.
All this means is that people have been brutalized and killed in the Buddha's name too.
Dead on right. I agree one hundred percent. Organized religion is the most dangerous thing on the planet with all it's Caeser's and Napoleans. As bad as politics where greed and power rule.. The Vatican alone with all it's wealth could probably feed all of Africa. I say go straight to the higher power (creator) and avoid the middle man, because their motivation is money and power.