The news item is just one of many reports of a far off land that holds some meaning for me.
A fellow Vietnam veteran never quite left Vietnam behind. It’s been years now but I would see him regularly over time at flea markets and antique shows with his primitive artifacts mainly from Myanmar mixed in with the usual commercial trash – er, merchandise from exotic far off lands in Asia.
Sonny gathered his artifacts primarily from the rebel-held areas of Myanmar. I used to josh Sonny saying I expected some day to see his shrunken head on a stick at some flea market. Some of those artifacts were were family heirlooms pressed into Sonny’s hands by desperate people expecting themselves and their entire families to be killed by the government. Their idea was that the family would continue to live symbolically in those pitiful remnants sold in flea markets in America.
Militant Buddhists killing peaceful Muslims?
Isn’t that turning things upside down?
Some Buddhists are even atheists. I have no idea how that can be but I scoff at those proclaiming themselves atheists and then claiming they have no religion. What do they think atheism is then? Do they not know the greatest mass murderers of all time proclaimed themselves atheists, specifically Stalin and Mao Tse Tung killed non-believers just as ruthlessly as any other religious leaders?
My daughter’s wedding to a professed pagan – Wiccan – was presided over by a non-denominational preacher, whatever that is supposed to be.
I liked the preacher, Joker, very much BTW but he was no Unitarian by a long shot. He really seemed to believe the Christian mythology – er, Christian truths.
In a discussion without the slightest sign of rancor, Joker said to me, “You must be an agnostic.”
Heavens no, I told him, I have no religion. Agnostics insist they don’t know and neither do you.
Agnostics can be every bit as frightening as the Gnostic Christian heretics of the first centuries who carried Christianity to its ultimate extreme. Saving the spiritual souls from the corrupt bodies could be accomplished by such measures as poisoning the town water well.
Joker told me that there were militant and non-militant aganostics, “hard” and “soft” agnostics in his words. Seemed the soft variety didn’t care whether you believed or not.
I told Joker I must be a third kind – don’t know and don’t care.
Religion can be a lot of fun. I loved the Cao Dai temple in Vietnam with its open lattice work and decorative serpents crawling through some of the open spaces. In the entry way the three great prophets of the religion are pictured above an open doorway: Jesus Christ, Buddha and Victor Hugo. The Pope and his 7 women cardinals would proclaim their religion completely pacifist while reviewing a military parade of a fierce fighting force that had proven itself more than capable of keeping the peace no matter how many they had to kill.
On leaving we were asked for a donation to the missions.
I asked where these missions might be.
When Los Angeles was named, I quickly made my last donation to any religion over half a century ago.
Los Angeles may be the only place on earth that could use some religion.