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Religious takes on the global financial crisis
January 14, 2009 3:04 PM   Subscribe


 
Cute. What happened? Economic problems hurting their bottom line? More congregants actually expecting their religion to help them instead of tithing?
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:08 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


But what do the pastry chefs think?
posted by gurple at 3:09 PM on January 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


Can I recycle an old comment?

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis observed that the ancient Greeks, the Old Testament, and the Christian teachers of the Middle Ages all condemned usury. While admitting that he didn't know if their precepts could be applied to modern capitalism, he added, "I should not have been honest if I had not told you that three great civilisations had agreed (or so it seems at first sight) in condemning the very thing on which we have based our whole life."
posted by Joe Beese at 3:11 PM on January 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


I hope that Buddhists from Bhutan are represented, in order to continue to push for Gross National Happiness as a far better indicator than GDP.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:12 PM on January 14, 2009


Could someone tell us what the White Community thinks?
posted by odinsdream at 3:13 PM on January 14, 2009


It's times like these I wish we still had Richard Nixon around to show us the way out.
posted by billysumday at 3:15 PM on January 14, 2009


In God We Used To Trust
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:19 PM on January 14, 2009


Gah, typo in title.
posted by desjardins at 3:19 PM on January 14, 2009


or not. jeez, I need some sleep.
posted by desjardins at 3:20 PM on January 14, 2009


As a member of the Southern white community of Alabama, I blame the Azalea Trail Maids.

Oh wait, nevermind.

Seriously though, I thought that during hard times people were more likely to believe in a religion. I certainly don't see this hurting any churches bottom line.
posted by robtf3 at 3:21 PM on January 14, 2009


WHERE'S UR PROSPERITY GOSPEL NOW, JOLE OSTEEN
posted by billysumday at 3:23 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The pope is correct they should take the long view and feign concern for the destitute while fleecing them of all their remaining assets. Also mabye he could help the destitute out with some of that pope money instead of just hoping for the best while looking up at the sky.
posted by Sargas at 3:23 PM on January 14, 2009


I blame Keyser Söze Orman.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:23 PM on January 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Teh Mormons blame it on teh gayz.
posted by terranova at 3:24 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Religious groups using global trends as a marketing tool?

Now there's a complete surprise...
posted by Brockles at 3:24 PM on January 14, 2009


I blame Keyser Söze Orman.

That's just a spook story Greenspan tells his grandkids.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:26 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Church's or churches' or whatever...
posted by robtf3 at 3:26 PM on January 14, 2009


robtf3, belief don't pay the bills. While people might be more likely to state a belief in a religion during bad times, I'm doubting that they give as much money as they do during a period when they feel secure.
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:26 PM on January 14, 2009


Secular Humanists blame Bush.
posted by notyou at 3:28 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


And like that - *poof* - the money's gone!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:28 PM on January 14, 2009


Xenu.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:31 PM on January 14, 2009


Religious leaders just making shit up? I'm shocked.
posted by callmejay at 3:32 PM on January 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that mortgage-backed securities on subprime and adjustable rate mortgages should even exist.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:35 PM on January 14, 2009 [13 favorites]


Greed.

It was greed.

Well, greed and short-sighted thinking.

Er...make that human nature.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:37 PM on January 14, 2009


I thought it was David Bowie who should be blamed for the current financial crisis...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 3:39 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


posted by robtf3 at 12:21 AM on January 15:
Seriously though, I thought that during hard times people were more likely to believe in a religion. I certainly don't see this hurting any churches bottom line.
In Sweden it's quite common for churches to invest their money in capital markets, so the global crisis has dramatically affected their bottom line. It is estimated that year by 2011, membership fees - the Church's main source of income - for The Church of Sweden will have dropped by 12 million USD. Furthermore, the Church's portfolio has decreased in value by 83 million USD since the beginning of 2008. Some churches will have to reduce their opening hours, others might have to close down completely. Source [Swedish].
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:49 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, this is pretty opportunistic, huh?

Reminds me of nothing so much as Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine. I don't like the book, actually, but the idea of ideologues sweeping down on crises, crowing, is obviously powerful.
posted by grobstein at 3:49 PM on January 14, 2009


Also mabye he could help the destitute out with some of that pope money

Catholic Charities or Catholic Relief Services. Amongst the largest charities on earth. And that doesn't even include the myriad charitable services and donations that local Catholic parishes provide around the globe.

Hate on the belief system all you want. But the idea that Catholics don't provide charity and services for the needy in their local communities, and throughout the world, is absurd.
posted by jsonic at 4:02 PM on January 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


I just thought it was a bad roll of a 20 sided die and a bastard DM.
posted by srboisvert at 4:05 PM on January 14, 2009


Blame Canada!
posted by jamstigator at 4:05 PM on January 14, 2009


"If triangles had a God, he would have 3 sides"
- Montesquieu
posted by gwint at 4:05 PM on January 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


As an atheist, I blame myself.
posted by slickvaguely at 4:07 PM on January 14, 2009


"If triangles had a God, he would have 3 sides"
- Montesquieu


If brokers had a god, he would be a bull.
posted by felix betachat at 4:14 PM on January 14, 2009


No, no, please stop thinking about the content of the message, you should be throwing out snarky one liners insulting the vast majority of people on earth.
posted by oddman at 4:25 PM on January 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why does the sad fact that billions of people are deluded change the vacuity of the pablum these relics sputter, oddman?
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:29 PM on January 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


"If triangles had a God, he would have 3 sides"

hmm... That gives me an idea...
posted by Joe Beese at 4:40 PM on January 14, 2009


Why does the sad fact that billions of people are deluded change the vacuity of the pablum these relics sputter, oddman?

That's the spirit!
posted by brennen at 4:42 PM on January 14, 2009


Anything more than a one-liner would take away from the time I spend sending my resume out in hopes of securing a job.

OK, I lied. It's easier to throw out sarcastic barbs because religion didn't save us. Or me. I gave away my wealth to become more pious and all I got were blisters. Or something.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:44 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, no, please stop thinking about the content of the message, you should be throwing out snarky one liners insulting the vast majority of people on earth.

It's hard to do that when thousands of people are obfuscating it with their own agenda, though.
posted by Brockles at 4:51 PM on January 14, 2009


surely the concept of the trinity would mean that the god of the triangles would be a nonagon.

either that, or perhaps a triangular pyramid.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:55 PM on January 14, 2009


robtf3, belief don't pay the bills. While people might be more likely to state a belief in a religion during bad times, I'm doubting that they give as much money as they do during a period when they feel secure.

Actually, the pledged income (meaning what people say they'll pay over the course of the following fiscal year) for my very poor little Episcopal parish rose this year. We have a new priest who is making it a priority for our congregation, though poor, to reach out to the even poorer. People are so happy to be doing something for people in need that they are giving more so more gets done.
posted by Biblio at 4:56 PM on January 14, 2009


Its name aside, The Hindu is a secular paper, according to an Indian friend of mine (Wikipedia lists it as "independent" and "politically left-leaning," and makes no mention of a religious slant)-- and the linked article from same is about an address given at a Christian school. Probably not representative of a Hindu perspective on the economic crisis.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:01 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm properly chastised. I'll accept the advice of the Pope about austerity.

The Church being such a moral authority and all.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:02 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, no, please stop thinking about the content of the message,

No problem - it's mostly fatuous pap. Link by link:

1) “People have become selfish and materialistic, which has led to the economic slowdown,” the 73-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Winner

...as opposed to the great depression, when people were godlike avatars of altruism

2) is actually only related to hinduism by virtue of being published in The Hindu, a national newspaper.

3) (it's the Usury, man!) is largely irrelevent if you don't happen to think God gives dictation, and totally unverifiable even if you do.

4)...because what we need is definitely more vague instructions that can be applied to almost anything, as interpreted by a bunch of old men millennia ago as applying to practically everything.

5) The pope says that this sucks and let's not do it again - gotta admit, the man's a thinker, when he's not busy getting it wrong and worsening people's lives by endlessy upholding his sick dogmas about gays, condoms, and guilt.

6) I think it is appropriate to pray for the economy...unless, of course, you feel like having an effect.

7) In his opening address, Reverend Herman Shastri, secretary general of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, said poverty is as old as religion.

Hmmmmm...

So, yeah, oddman, with rubbish of this caliber I think derision is entirely called for.
posted by Sparx at 5:04 PM on January 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


you should be throwing out snarky one liners insulting the vast majority of people on earth

The vast majority of people on earth have favorite bands that suck.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:16 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Dalai Lama blames the financial crisis on a decline in spirituality.

Well shit, when all you have is a hammer, it turns out that the world is just full of nails. And if it turns out that what you're hitting isn't a nail, but stupid, gross self-promotion, that's fine too.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:21 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seems to me a whole lot of the crisis is the fault of faith. Faith that there could be no end to the make money fast schemes in which various corporations were involved. Faith that being trillions in debt to other nations is indefiniately viable. Faith that paying CEOs billions of dollars will ensure that a company has the best leadership. Faith that when push comes to shove, the govenrment will bail out big business.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:02 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Interesting that the greatest civilizations endorsed slavery and abject oppression of women while I was able to pay my own way through college and grad school with student loans.
posted by device55 at 6:04 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ummm, that wasn't the perspective of a religious Hindu leader, it was a secular perspective of an ex-Governor, reported by The Hindu, which in itself is considered to be left-leaning, liberal and wholly secular (although not atheist; like other English newspapers in India, it runs a daily religious column).

I don't know if there's any Hindu take on the financial crisis as yet, although a lot of religious leaders would, obviously, would like to voice an opinion when more shit hits the ceiling.
posted by the cydonian at 6:43 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Forgot to mention that a further irony is that the ex-Governor's speech was given in a church-run college.
posted by the cydonian at 6:48 PM on January 14, 2009


Thank "God" you all listened to Richard Dawkins' advice to be skeptical of the market and mounted a concerted campaign of protest and snark, right? Right? Just point me to that advice and the movement he spawned against market ideology-backed injustices, and I'll be *right there with you.*
posted by mobunited at 6:56 PM on January 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Pope Benedict XVI, reflecting on the crashing stock markets and financial turmoil, said in October that money “is nothing” and the only solid reality is the word of God.

“He who builds only visible and tangible things like success, career and money, builds the house of his life on sand,” the 81-year-old pontiff told bishops at an assembly in the Vatican.
I can see why MetaFilter atheists might not be too fond of this reminder, especially if their house of sand has recently crumbled.
posted by shii at 7:05 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


shii, I never had a house of sand. I'm poor as dirt.

I think the only solid reality is solid reality. Solid reality includes these guys (and the "word of god") being scammers (and a scam).
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:16 PM on January 14, 2009


A lot of 101 but does a pretty decent job of explaining how the different financial institutions as a category and the different markets integrate here.

Full disclosure: You can't have my money.
posted by vapidave at 7:43 PM on January 14, 2009


I think five fresh fish has it right. People had faith that markets would go higher, so they borrowed lots of money and invested it. Then they used those gains as collateral to borrow even more money to invest, and so on. This current financial crisis was caused by the same thing that caused The Great Depression: too much leverage. Sure, leverage compounds gains but leverage also compounds losses, which leads to more losses, which leads to all kinds of folks, faithful or not, getting crushed under the weight of a giant financial snowball careening downhill.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:59 PM on January 14, 2009


“He who builds only visible and tangible things like success, career and money, builds the house of his life on sand,” the 81-year-old pontiff man in a jewel-studded dress told bishops at an assembly in the Vatican his palace.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 7:59 PM on January 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Solid as the word of the (catholic) God, eh?

This would be the God that solidly says "on earth, peace, good will toward men" followed by "think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

Or where in Matthew, Jesus first says that those who calls others fools are in danger of hellfire, then a few chapters later ... why, yes, he calls people blind fools.

Then there's the whole "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty" bit, when it says right there in Genesis that there are multiple Gods ("man has become one of us").

And of course Christ encouraged his followers to follow the rules of man ("render unto Caesar") while Acts tells us to obey God, not man.

God is omnipotent throughout the bible, except for one passage in Judges, where he utterly fails to defeat the Canaanites because they have iron chariots. Because iron is, like, God's kryptonite.

Yah, that's a rock solid bit of bible you got there, your Popeness.

I'll repeat myself again: faith is fine and dandy. It's religion that fucks things up.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:09 PM on January 14, 2009


mobunited,

Religion wins if Richard Dawkins didn't predict the financial crisis? Really?

Why don't you explain why you think any fact about Dawkins should make me adjust my probability that there's an omnipotent, bearded sadist up in the sky?
posted by grobstein at 8:26 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pray for the economy? That's so abstract - you need to be more specific.
posted by datacenter refugee at 8:28 PM on January 14, 2009


it's true - you can't snark both god and mammon
posted by pyramid termite at 8:45 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was in Chile about 10 years ago in the extreme desert country of Atacama desert and was hanging around the town of Calama one Sunday. What the townspeople of Calama did on that particular Sunday was go around and see these children's choirs that gathered in front of various buildings and sang religious tunes. "Sang" and "tune" are relative terms, actually I have heard blackboard fingernails that sounded better than that singing. After the singing there was a preacher who got up and harangued the crowd about how the economic slump that Chile was experiencing at the time was all due to people not being pious and religious enough for God's taste. So God was making the economy bad because of all the sin and turning away from God.

It was one HELL of a relief to get out of that town.
posted by telstar at 8:52 PM on January 14, 2009


Thank "God" you all listened to Richard Dawkins' advice to be skeptical of the market and mounted a concerted campaign of protest and snark, right? Right?

For sure, but it doesn't seem to have worked very well.

Could it be that Wall St types don't actually read Adbusters, after all?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:52 PM on January 14, 2009


So it isn't the inherent unsustainability of capitalism? Anyone fancy swapping a complete set of back issues of Rebel Worker for some rosary beads?
posted by Abiezer at 9:19 PM on January 14, 2009


Cute. What happened? Economic problems hurting their bottom line? More congregants actually expecting their religion to help them instead of tithing?

You may have this backwards...

As economic woes increase, so does giving.

"It surprised me. Our people are realizing the need is greater, and they're becoming more generous.."

According to one study by an assistant professor of economics at Texas State University, during each recession cycle between 1968 and 2004, the growth rate in evangelical churches leaped by 50 percent. The numbers varied by religion.
posted by dawson at 9:33 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Abiezer: "So it isn't the inherent unsustainability of capitalism? Anyone fancy swapping a complete set of back issues of Rebel Worker for some rosary beads?"

While the form of capitalism currently in vogue — growth-based and -premised capitalism — is certainly unsustainable, I'm not sure it's a good idea to try and pin the current issues on it.

In all likelihood, the world economy will rebound from the current recession in a few years, and continue on its merry (but, in the long run, doomed) way: burning through nonrenewable resources, poisoning the environment, making more people dependent on ever-longer and more fragile supply chains, etc. Business as usual, in other words.

And when this happens, people will look back on the 'capitalism has failed' claims made during the recession, and take the rebound as proof that the system works and that the claims were meritless, when in fact they were merely premature.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:06 PM on January 14, 2009


during each recession cycle between 1968 and 2004, the growth rate in evangelical churches leaped by 50 percent

The USA is, then, doomed. The evangel churches tend to be very anti-intellectual. Without a manufacturing base and without an intellectual base, wtf is the USA supposed to offer the world? Casinos?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:18 PM on January 14, 2009


they were merely premature
Without constructing too much of an edifice on my crappy joke, I suspect that's more to do with differing conceptions of what success and failure mean; likewise the structural underpinnings of the current crisis. I'm one of those people who thinks it was failing even in the boom years.
posted by Abiezer at 10:18 PM on January 14, 2009


someone on the colbert report the other day was saying that when financial wealth goes away, religion comes to the fore.
posted by delmoi at 10:48 PM on January 14, 2009


Let's not let a re-examination of priorities get in the way of a good ol' fashioned ragged mule parade of tired quips.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:10 AM on January 15, 2009


If religions dictated economic policy we'd still be nothing more than an agrarian civilization that got conquered by the first culture to develop athiesm.
posted by Pseudology at 1:30 AM on January 15, 2009


"Religions" eh? That's a mighty broad brush. So is "atheist culture" for that matter. The Khmer Rouge sought an agrarian utopia, after all. Just sayin'.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:07 AM on January 15, 2009


Wait, let me clarify before someone gets bent out of shape and thinks I'm saying atheism = mass murder.

All I mean is, slopping around the broad brush over "religions" is kind of silly, in much the same way that believing an "atheist culture" would by default be superior to cultures with religions. That's all. I don't think either are by default wonderful or abhorrent.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:36 AM on January 15, 2009


I'd agree MStPT except that I have no time for priestcraft and any hint of locating the blame for economic woes in the supposed moral failings of the poor (even those of the rich, for all but some very abstract analyses). Diversionary at best, carrying water at worst.
posted by Abiezer at 2:50 AM on January 15, 2009


I'd agree MStPT except that I have no time for priestcraft and any hint of locating the blame for economic woes in the supposed moral failings of the poor (even those of the rich, for all but some very abstract analyses). Diversionary at best, carrying water at worst.

I agree wholeheartedly. For much the same reason it's in poor taste at best to travel to third world countries and stress abstinence, while opposing birth control or abortion.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:56 AM on January 15, 2009


Gnostics report economic downturn the work of the DEMIURGE.
posted by smackwich at 6:32 AM on January 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Actually, the pledged income (meaning what people say they'll pay over the course of the following fiscal year)

Be sure to check back with us in December.
posted by odinsdream at 7:01 AM on January 15, 2009


you'd think people with a supposedly superior view of things would have more intelligent things to say than what's been said in this thread so far

no wonder people turn to religion in hard times; they certainly won't be turning to you and your kneejerk snarkisms
posted by pyramid termite at 7:12 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry about the fuck-up on the Hindu thing.
posted by desjardins at 7:18 AM on January 15, 2009


Religions are inevitably bad. I do not believe you could find a single religion that has not committed horrific acts of violence and abuse in its name.

We need more personal faith and much, much less religion. Faith is what has individuals go out and perform great works of charity. Religion is what has gangs of faithful go out and perform crusades and jihads.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:20 AM on January 15, 2009


Don't agree fff - there's forms of religious organisation that don't necessarily imply that (thinking about the history of various of the Chinese sects) and without the organisation certain doctrinal and teaching etc. continuities would not have been possible. Good luck to people of who find they need that. I've certainly benefited enormously in my own life from the fruits of past religious organisation, although I remain atheist. What power relationships are entailed in the wider social context is what matters.
posted by Abiezer at 7:53 AM on January 15, 2009


Religions are inevitably bad. I do not believe you could find a single religion that has not committed horrific acts of violence and abuse in its name.

Yeah I think you're saying 'religions' when you mean 'societies'.
posted by dawson at 7:56 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, look -- I too rolled my eyes at the notion of a "decline in spirituality" or "not following the Talmud" being cited as causing the financial crisis.

But look at how the link above phrased it --

"Pope Benedict sees the global financial system as "self-centred, short-sighted and lacking in concern for the destitute." "

...Now, show of hands -- is there anyone who would disagree that some of the mis-steps of the financial advisors who brought is here could be described as "short-sighted"? or that there were participants in the crisis who weren't "self-centered"?

If those are all direct quotes, then -- look, think what you like about the rest of Pope Benedict's policies, but in this regard at least, he's right on the money.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:11 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Buddhists (Tibetan ones like the Dalai Lama, anyhow; I don't know enough to speak about Zen, Chan, and Theravedan Buddhists) believe something along the lines of this: everything, from macro- to micro- scale, including human relations and social interaction, is interconnected by an insanely intricate system of cause and effect. (You can call that karma if you like.) So if you have rampant greed and corruption in one segment of society, it's really not a big surprise when the badness, rather than being compartmentalized somehow, instead naturally spreads via the connections between all phenomena, and things of course get fucked up more generally.

Stated like that, it seems to me like a truism rather than outrageous proselytizing.
posted by aught at 8:13 AM on January 15, 2009


Even atheists generally believe that everything is interconnected by an "intricate system of cause and effect" -- that's what physics is.
posted by grobstein at 8:54 AM on January 15, 2009


Even atheists generally believe that everything is interconnected by an "intricate system of cause and effect" -- that's what physics is.

Right. Belief is the wrong word as pertains to Buddhism. It's an observation.

I don't know enough to speak about Zen [...] Buddhists

Karma is explained the same way. See Dependent Origination.
posted by desjardins at 9:24 AM on January 15, 2009


I think triangles would believe in an n-sided God, with his prophet or whatever having 3 sides. Sounds reasonable to me.
posted by naju at 9:24 AM on January 15, 2009


Buddhists are atheists.
posted by desjardins at 9:27 AM on January 15, 2009


Buddhism is atheistic, but many Buddhists are not.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:34 AM on January 15, 2009


Needs more cowbell prosperity gospel.
posted by Xoebe at 9:49 AM on January 15, 2009


grobstein: that's what physics is

Yes, I intended to imply that in the way I phrased my comment, though it's when you get to the implications of what happens when material minds conceptualize (and act upon those conceptualizations) that physics gives way to the metaphysical and ethical.

desjardins: Buddhists are atheists.

Well, it's not quite as simple as that, alas, which has been troubling to my own personal experience studying Tibetan Buddhism (because I personally have never been interested in Gods or gods, just the core premises of Buddhism and insights gained through meditation).

When Buddhism is adopted by a culture, the tendency seems to be for people to keep a lot of the deistic trappings they had before Buddhism -- the example with Tibetan Buddhism is how much of the Bön religion, and Hindu cosmology and deity pantheon, permeates the otherwise individual-centric practice.

The working distinction Tibetan teachers I have encountered have made is that Tibetan Buddhism doesn't believe in a Creator, but has a lot of "gods," who are powerful sentient beings with various supernatural powers -- but who are themselves still un-enlightened and trapped within samsara and the controlling influence of karma, like humans and animals.

In the U.S., meanwhile, I get the sense a lot of relatively new Buddhists are very much influenced by "Judeo-Christianity Lite" no matter how much they study Buddhism, and possibly also keep some New Agey assemblage of spiritualities which don't have anything per se to do with Buddhist meditation or philosophy, but also don't actively conflict either.
posted by aught at 11:29 AM on January 15, 2009


Tibetan Buddhism is kind of a different animal than Zen. I can't speak authoritatively on either, but I know a hell of a lot more about Zen. I'll defer to your expertise.
posted by desjardins at 12:35 PM on January 15, 2009


I'm pretty sure I meant religions, not societies. I am not saying that all horrific acts are caused by religious organizations. I am saying that all large/successful religious organizations have committed horrific acts. Problem, as I see it, is that religions tend to see everyone who isn't of that religion to be a threat to the religion. And people being people, killing is often the solution.

If you wish to call the RCC & etcetera "societies" instead of "religions" or "religious organizations" or whatever, then sure, let's go with that.

Point is that people of individual faith are seldom as dangerous as many people of codified, sanctified, organized faith.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:45 PM on January 15, 2009


If you wish to call the RCC & etcetera "societies" instead of "religions" or "religious organizations" or whatever, then sure, let's go with that.

fff: If Kurt Vonnegut were still alive and a member of MF, he might chime in here to say that your religion / society distinction might work better if you thought of groups as karasses or granfaloons.
posted by aught at 5:27 AM on January 16, 2009


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