Comments on “Death threats from offended Buddhists”



Kate Gowen's picture

Do you think it's possible that the last gasp for a systematic approach to atomized meaning could be a kind of fundamentalist scientism? Like the one we have now, reliant on "what every modern, intelligent person knows" and what the current pop-culture lab-coated authority intones?

The sort of thing I see all the time on the internet is more about sneering references to "morons" and adept use of memes and gifs, than of crude resort to death threats-- but seems to me to come from the same place of threatened self-certainty and confidence.

PS-- and more importantly

Kate Gowen's picture

I hope that the hiatus on this site is not a result of the attack of the fundamentalists. I have missed the romp, and the intelligence in the fun.

Fundamentalist scientism

Hi, Kate, nice to hear from you!

Yes, I do think dogmatic scientism is similar to fundamentalism. Both are forms of dualist eternalism, in the language of Meaningness.

I'm planning actually to write quite a lot about that, there. There's an introduction to the topic section, "Rationalist ideologies as eternalism," and it has one sub-page, "Perfection Salad." There will eventually be much more, if I live long enough.

The delays in writing this site have been due to lack of time, and prioritizing other writing projects over this one. I want to return to the novel sooner rather than later, but am not particularly hopeful at the moment.

Thanks for your enthusiasm!


Thank you very much, I'm glad you like it!

I guess I'm skeptical about the value of "traditional" publication for niche material like this. Based on the little I've read, it seems that free web distribution reaches many more readers than commercial publication (paper or even ebook). And the income from commercial publication would be negligible.

The traditional route is good for something that has mass appeal. I'd love to believe that about my writing... but it doesn't seem likely!

Death threats and harm

Jon's picture

I love your writing and ideas and presentation of themes on this site but aren't you being taken in by the illusion on this one? A death threat is just that, a threat, a very common internet idiom. It is easy, online, to make a threat of any kind without any intention or even ability to carry it out. Thinking from the viewpoint of someone who might make this threat, one might well see it as being for the greater good by preventing harm to the Dharma and disrespect to Buddha .
Don't get me wrong, I think they are deluded in so many ways and also Buddhism, especially in the West, seems to be suffering from zealots and rivalry but also with anger from those who approached it mentally or emotionally damaged and expected perfection and a shortcut to happiness. I've seen similar nastiness directed against various traditions or tradition leaders. Sigh.

Not taking it seriously

Hi Jon, yes, I think nearly all death threats on the internet are non-serious in the sense that the likelihood of their being carried out is extremely close to zero. I don't take these seriously as a meaningful risk to my life. I do think it's interesting that some supposed-Buddhists would think making death threats was a Buddhist thing to do.

Additional thoughts on fundamentalism

KD's picture

It seems to me the two paragraphs defining fundamentalism are a bit incomplete. In the core statement on the matter the text calls fundamentalism(s) "radical new movements that claim special insight that obsoletes the 'corrupt' institutional opinions." This seems right to me.

Islam began as just such a movement, with a view that the institutional opinions of the time, as expressed in Jewish and Christian scriptures and practice were corrupt and full of error, and has been beset in every century of its existence by movements that wished to get back to that original spirit. It also is characterized almost from the beginning by scriptural literalism, in which the Kuran is the direct word of God as quoted by the Prophet, and the Prophet is the last prophet, who cannot be superseded. The ideological roots of the current major avatar of what could be considered Islamic fundamentalism come from the Wahhabbi movement, which arose in central Arabia in the early 18th Century, and which of course is the guiding ideology of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, as well as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group. I don't think Salafi Muslims need to imitate any Christians to to come up with their notions.

And the first Christians to successfully overthrow tradition in favor of new special insight were the Protestant reformers in 16th Century Europe.

The point is, the impulses that lead to fundamentalism are far from new and to some degree are baked into the DNA of both Christianity and Islam. That dogmatic Hindus and 969 Buddhists among others might be imitating these worst features of the two great monotheistic faiths is sad indeed. Thanks for writing this.

Please do not criticize Buddhism or Lord Buddha

Praveen Silva 's picture

Please do not criticize Buddhism. You have the liberty of choosing weather to accept lord Buddha's teachings or not. You also have the right to share your opinions and your views with the public but you should not disrespect a religion or a religious leader. Lord Buddha has preached not to blindly accept anything told by anyone including him. “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense".You can agree or disagree but you should not disrespect. Dear David if you are a Buddhist as you claim you must know this. According to the Dhamma every Karma has a Vipaka you can't escape it just like a cart follows the bull which Is tied to it. So no one need to send any death threats or any other such things but you will face the vipaka for this in the due future. And at last for all this people who are interested in Buddhism do think less of this religion just because of people like this David but experience for yourself. I am a Sri Lankan who is proud of his religion. (And please forgive for any grammatical errors)

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