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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hume Ran Over the Buddha in the Road

Ironically, all true Buddhists not only forgive Brit Hume for his offensive comments, i doubt any were even offended.

Speaking of Buddha, this is a picture taken by Meredith at a flea market with a plastic camera. She entered several pictures into a photo show and had one selected! Sadly, not this one though:


  1. Cool picture. I like the lens flare.

    Why might Buddhists be offended? How was the comment offensive?

    Gaddy's first objection to Hume's comment is ignorant. News analysis and commentary is about persuasion. An analyst assumes and promotes his ideals simply by giving his opinion.

    Gaddy's second objection to Hume's comment is a straw man. By interpreting the comment in the most superficial way possible, it is easy to raise an objection.

  2. It's always offensive to say that your religion is superior (or has superior characteristics) to that of another religion. And yes, i said always. Whether someone is actually offended depends on the person and/or the tenets of the faith being offended.

    As offenses go, it's always somehow more offensive to offend without knowledge of what you are talking about. It would be one kind of offense to simply state superiority. It's another to state so in full ignorance. In this case, Hume neither understands the point of Christian forgiveness (as was made evident in the article) nor of forgiveness as compassion being a core tenet of the Buddhist tradition.

    Gaddy's first objection is not ignorant but it is opinion. That is, his objection is his opinion. I think quite a lot of people argue (as you did) that news analysts not only provide context but do so with at least some bias (i would measure bias going from David Brooks to Glen Beck to give the full spectrum).

    His second objection is not a straw man (unless Brit Hume is made of straw). Hume implied Woods would get more out of Christianity as it pertains to asking for forgiveness. One context (i suppose what you are referring to as the superficial) is that Woods would literally get a better deal with God. The other context i took from his comments was that the public would better receive Woods if he was asking for forgiveness and was a Christian rather than a Buddhist. The first context was addressed by Gaddy (rather well i would say). The second would not be the domain of a Baptist Pastor (which Gaddy is). For that context, we would need a social critic.

    Wearing that hat, i would say that Hume's comment then becomes ethnocentric and borderline Xenophobic. Buddhist is exotic, 'un-american', not true or real in some way. Hume seems to think that the rest of the country thinks of Buddhists in the same way he does.

    Adam is right, Mike is wrong

  3. While it is arbitrary to claim that one religion is superior to another, Hume makes no such claim. Also, Hume does not explain the point of Christian forgiveness so, it is speculative to assert that he doesn't understand it.

    Forgiveness is not a core tenet of Buddhism and compassion does imply forgiveness. A Buddhist may believe forgiveness is virtuous through his interpretation of its tenets. However, Buddhism is not defined by the capacity to forgive.

    In the first objection, Gaddy doesn't understand that news commentary and analysis is a form of evangelism. He is ignorant of this. Ironically, by stating the two should not be mixed he is "relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs." He uses the Washington Post as his own platform for evangelism.

    Given the myriad of interpretations of his second objection, maybe you are right; it may not be a straw man. It is however, too vague to decipher.

    You may find that when you take off your ethnocentrism, xenophobia hat, Gaddy's argument is politically correct pedestrianism.

  4. Ah, but stating superior characteristics (vis a vie forgiveness) is stating superiority.

    He explained his point of conversion to Christianity in terms of forgiveness and that is how i have addressed the topic. Based on what he said, he doesn't seem to understand it (as i pointed out).

    This whole forgiveness discussion gets really muddy when we start comparing religions. On the one hand, Christianity has forgiveness from man and from God. Buddhism has no God so what we are talking about devolves into a different discussions. In my comments, i refer to forgiveness from man and therefore forgiveness (or more aptly the ability of others to forgive someone who has wronged them) is an act of compassion and therefore a core tenet of Buddhism.

    His first objection i find interesting but ultimately without much substance.

    I have already mentally edited your comments to say that I am right and accept your apology.

    I think we should have a discussion (maybe a future blog post) about politically correctness. Here is my opinion. Politically correctness is only bad if it hides some piece of truth. Saying something that seems touchy feely is fine by me if at the end of the day, we really know what the truth is. Once we start to muddy our understanding of a topic and it becomes an incomprehensible mess, than i am against that kind of politically correctness. Otherwise, i'm fine with it.

    Example: Happy Holidays. This is a favorite of a lot of people lately. I am fine with it because it does not hide any piece of truth. It simply allows for the possibility that there are people who may celebrate something i do not (or may not celebrate anything at all). Nothing about the phrase at all impacts Christmas or anything else. This point was driven home to me once when i said 'Have a Merry Christmas' to someone who responded, 'Well, I am Jewish'. I would not have been out anything if i had stated 'Have a Happy Holiday' nor would any underlying truth have been altered.

    Saying 'Everyone is the same' is an example of the bad kind of politically correctness. Everyone is NOT the same and stating so is not consistent with reality.

    I fear that people who are against all politically correctness (the Merry Christmaser's of the world) have a twinge of ethnocentrism/xenophobia in that they want to live in a world where there neighbor thinks and feels the same way they do. This thinking is inconsistent with reality therefore we must agree that it must be abandoned.

  5. Hume does not claim forgiveness is a superior characteristic. However, I would agree that the comment is extremely Christian-centric.

    Compassion is, "a deep awareness of and sympathy for another's suffering" (cf google: "define:compassion"). Forgiveness begins by understanding why someone is asking to be forgiven. This understanding is compassion. The act of absolving, or actually forgiving a person, goes beyond. So I would agree that compassion is essential for forgiveness, I don't think the reverse holds.

    I agree, a discussion about political correctness might be a good topic. Politically correctness tries to be inclusive by trivializing all cultures equally. And, it tends to cause the same problems it is intended to solve.

    I don't think that being against all political correctness implies some degree of ethnocentricity or xenophobia... Maybe that would be a good point to defend.


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