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Hall of Shame:

Many Faiths, One Truth

By TENZIN GYATSO, THE 14TH DALAI LAMA
Posted: May 25, 2010.

Print: The New York Times

WHEN I was a boy in Tibet, I felt that my own Buddhist religion must be the best — and that other faiths were somehow inferior. Now I see how naïve I was, and how dangerous the extremes of religious intolerance can be today.

Though intolerance may be as old as religion itself, we still see vigorous signs of its virulence. In Europe, there are intense debates about newcomers wearing veils or wanting to erect minarets and episodes of violence against Muslim immigrants. Radical atheists issue blanket condemnations of those who hold to religious beliefs. In the Middle East, the flames of war are fanned by hatred of those who adhere to a different faith.

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Comments (34)

1. matt hirsch

“radical atheists” issuing blanket condemnations?  where does he get that?  i can’t imagine he’s refering to you, hitchens, and dawkins wanting the pope arrested as a condemnation of catholics.  i’d like to know who exactly he’s refering to.

posted on May 25, 2010
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2. Francisco Boni Neto

Islam, a religion of shame and fear (Fear of God). Do you really think that Buddhism is not superior, more in tune with reality, than that religion?

posted on May 25, 2010
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No reasonable person can condemn another who holds a certain belief- more accurately perhaps, the belief itself deserves condemnation. This of course assumes that blame can accurately describe the interactions of actors in a situation.  (which seems unlikely.)

posted on May 25, 2010
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Yep - rave on your holy molyness.  Religions are compassionate and BP is a monument to alternative energies.

posted on May 25, 2010
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What an irresponsible and incipient article.  It is an insult to the millions of innocent people who have been victims of unjustified religious intolerance.  How can anybody claim that the future of religion is harmony and compassion when the very core beliefs are divine truths and intolerance of unbelievers.  How would any believers of opposing persuasions reconcile their differences when they all think they have the “actual truth”.  This is precisely the source of almost all conflicts throughout history, and for this author to make religion seem all flowers and kumbaya is a mockery of the reality we live in.  This type of moderate religiousness and “cherry picking” the good in dogma is what allows the fundamental extremism to plague us.  Besides, we have compassion and “goodness” without delusional fairy tales.

posted on May 25, 2010
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If one’s worldview is part of the problem, then it’s not respectful to expect anything coming close to a solution. If in the core there is no potential for mutual understanding then it doesn’t matter how the word game is being played. Funny how a person can focus on Jesus’s compassion while it’s ‘his’ (Jesus) ignorance that’s creating a situation that is taking away my own freedom and many other non-believing law-obiding citizens. Cause this is the state of the world today. The freedom/right of individuals to believe in God, collectively, is messing up the world to a point where I don’t want to put a child in it. So therefor it is taking away my freedom.

We have to let go of ideas like ‘compassion is equally important in….’ any religion because that isn’t just the case because we can find it written in the koran or bible. What’s written down isn’t even relevant. What’s relevant is the reality that it creates.

Bottom line. Don’t expect a religious person to constructively criticize another religion, cause in the process there will naturally always be an understanding or romanticizing of straight ignorance.

Therefor finding common ground among faiths is a direct waste of time cause of the reality that these same faiths create in the world today.

For the reality of mother earth there is absolutely no direct difference between a hate preaching imam and a misconstrued love preaching DL

posted on May 25, 2010
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Yeah,  religion and compassion “. .  a true Muslim *should* love and respect all of Allah’s creatures. ”  Homosexuals and women then?
The religious field is one of endlessly proliferating and conflicting nonsense. Great! lets enjoy this and play at being compassionate against others. The last time I listened to this man he was having a rant against masturbation -  I’ve not taken him seriously since.

posted on May 25, 2010
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I can’t stand the Dalai Lama. He’s a quack like all the rest. Buddhism is nonsense.

posted on May 25, 2010
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There’s a big difference between letting other people have their beliefs, and letting them act on them.

posted on May 25, 2010
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Simple-minded indeed.  This handful of one-on-one anecdotes is supposed to be compelling?

posted on May 25, 2010
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Another person who wishes everyone with different thoughts would stop expressing them. Use any words you want….. I have no belief in your imaginary friends, and will continue to announce it. You don’t have to like it, but I’m not going away, and I’m not going to be bullied into silence…. even in a nice, back-handed way…...lol.

posted on May 25, 2010
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The Dalai Lama seems to believe separate but equal is true for religion even if not for race. It reminds me of an op-ed in The Boston Globe a while back where Stephen Prothero argues that pretending all major religions are the same is “untrue, disrespectful, and dangerous.”

posted on May 25, 2010
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I’m shocked by the comments, and also that this article would be in the “Hall of Shame.”  These comments are as typical as those of a religious zealot responding to an atheist article.  Of course the article is “simple-minded”, and if you think otherwise then I advise you to find out more about His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, for he is a simple man.  Do you guys honestly not think that we stereotypical atheists issue “blanket condemnation” on religious individuals?  Maybe I need to reword that: he is claiming that we as atheists automatically label religious folks as incompetent, ignorant and intolerant, which in a large sense, we do.

posted on May 25, 2010
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If the Dalai Lama believes that all religions are equally good, then he is implicitly endorsing the claim that if all religious people on earth were to convert to, say, Jainism then the world would be no better a place, and that if everyone on earth were to convert to, say, Islam, then the world would be no worse a place. This claim seems utterly implausible.

posted on May 25, 2010
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I dont think that Dalai Lama is saying that all religions are equally good. He only seems to be implying that we should have an open mind and be tolerant of other faiths and beliefs. ANd not be blinded by the arrogance of thinking that your faith is the only good one.

posted on May 25, 2010
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16. Anders Emil

People are intolerant, jealous, violent, sexually harassing and unfair. Which religion you subscribe to doesn’t matter; any religion will do as an excuse for being an idiot.
It’s only when we use our rational human gift and fight the emotional animal in us all that we shall truly thrive and religion shall perish.

posted on May 26, 2010
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17. Jacques De Villiers

Treating others with respect and compassion is a human value I feel should be universal, irrespective of your ‘“faith’. We cannot expect reason to triumph in all people in all circumstances, or even to know what is the most reasonable, or true opinion. We are imperfect, we make mistakes. One of them would be to be self righteous when open debate is all that can be reasonably demanded. We are entitled to condemn the irrational, but should be supportive of what is rational in other systems of belief. Only by establishing a common platform (i.e. the desire for a just world) can we begin to realize it. I think tolerance can lead reason to victory and aggression to its defeat.

posted on May 26, 2010
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“Radical atheists issue blanket condemnations of those who hold to religious beliefs. In the Middle East, the flames of war are fanned by hatred of those who adhere to a different faith. ”

Of course, mass slaughter in the name of religious dogmas is bad. But for Tenzin Gyatso it seems that the criticism of religious dogmas is equally bad, since he lumps both of them together. Does he also think that the criticism of astrology, intelligent design or fairies is equally bad, or should just certain mainstream monotheisms be immune to criticism?

posted on May 26, 2010
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@J Kapp
I agreed w the “simple-minded” assesment because of the poor rhetoric employed in the article.  You can’t trot out a few personal anecdotes and expect anyone to give you much credence.  Even religious trial lawyers would agree that this type of “evidence” doesn’t count.

posted on May 26, 2010
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Sorry for leaving two comments in a row, but I need to add that there is another sense in which this is a simple-minded essay.  Regardless of the simple manner in which the man lives, his take on how religions exist in, and interact w, the world at large IS simple-minded; that is, not very astute or connected w reality.  In my estimation, the only alternative to this assesment would be the other one already offered: disingenuous.  Perhaps he’s mostly trying to fool himself - that doesn’t make it any less a lie.

posted on May 26, 2010
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@JS1685
The religious violence you speak of are things which have been part of the Dalai Lama’s reality.  Not only has he been a primary target of such atrocities himself, but he has traveled across the globe and has been a personal witness to the arrogance, bloodshed and intolerance of religious mindsets; places where I doubt you have ever set foot in.  So, the Dalai Lama is in fact in touch with reality, and it’s ignorant to say otherwise.  Perhaps if you knew anything about Buddhism, your comments would not be so assertive and uninformed as they are.  This man is simply connecting common themes of religions and trying to bind them into one, while urging religious individuals to realize this.  This particular method is much more effective than the repeated bombardment and attack we often employ on religious people.  For the Dalai Lama, we are an unintended audience, because his main purpose was to address and connect to religious people, which is a majority of the US.  Are you seriously going to criticize and insult a man who encourages peace just because you see he’s religious?  He is telling people, religious people in particular, to embrace unity and compassion and respect.  Yet, you still have the nerve to label him as if an incompetent fool.  I find that despicable.

posted on May 26, 2010
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@J Kapp
You seem to read quite a bit of contempt into the comments I’ve left.  Let me assure you none was intended, either toward you or toward Mr. Gyatso.  You’re right, I’m not particularly well-informed about the personal life of Mr. Gyatso, so I apologize for not being clear that I wasn’t criticizing him, personally (I wouldn’t presume - and I’m sure he’s a wonderful man), but specifically this article: the argument put forward, and the manner of supporting that argument.  I’m a call-it-as-I-see-it kind of guy (see comment 19), and I see no reason to treat Mr. Gyatso’s apologetics any differently than those of anyone else.  Apologetics are an ultimately ineffective band-aid - they seek to ameliorate the symptoms, but the cause (religion) still needs to be done away with.  Rebuttal is welcome, but this will likely be it for me on this thread.

posted on May 26, 2010
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MANY FAITHS NO TRUTH

posted on May 26, 2010
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The intolerance he’s talking about is CAUSED BY religious dogma. It is in their DOGMA to BE Intolerant! And THAT is what us “radical” atheists issue “blanket” condemnations about.

posted on May 27, 2010
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When will religious apologists stop using the tired old argument that since all religions contain a few nuggets of truth or wisdom (among the piles of falsehoods and horrors) we should somehow tolerate, respect, or endorse religion?

Analogy: lots of foods contain protein, which our bodies need, but these foods are not all equally good and some are not even worthy of being consumed. A triple whopper is full of protein but it is also a ticket to a heart attack, while a lean fillet of salmon is not only rich in protein but is an excellent, healthy meal.

posted on May 27, 2010
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26. MeMe Roth

met the Dalai Lama a few years ago… like the pope, Oprah, or Dr. Oz… or any of today’s pop oracles, it’s not him so much—it’s his audience. I was going to, with all due reference, introduce myself. then I watched one respected world business exec after another submit themselves to him—and have their nose tweaked. seriously, the DL knuckle-pinches the noses of his followers like a toddler’s. I stepped back to a safe nose distance and just said a smiling “hi.”

I grew up methodist and knew since confirmation class that the whole deal was super-creepy. “just look at those people in church doing all that responsive reading… are they even listening to what they’re saying, Mom?” “and there’s no way Mary was a virgin… how’d she have a baby??” “having only half his DNA would have made Jesus pretty retarded…”

“Shhhh, don’t say that in front of your brothers..!”

oh, I went ahead and confirmed and all. what, with Hal, the associate minister, being so handsome and my not wanting to re-take confirmation class the next year…

Oh what a relief relief relief reading “End of Faith” was when it came out. Thank you, Sam Harris, for all you do and continue to do.

posted on May 27, 2010
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atheism is a system of beliefs that has become a relgion to many of its followers.

it is based on beliefs of materialism and has become a religion of scientism.

buddhism like all religions has become just another religion unable to change when new knowledge comes to us from experience and science.

but it has its strengths in the study of consciousness which the atheists still call the hard problem.

atheists if you think consciousness is the hard problem spend some time on awareness.

one must stand between atheism and religion to even begin to see the ignorance in both. ok the unawareness in both.

posted on May 29, 2010
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While it is true that we worship creators of different names, we must not forget that they are just all the same. As argued by icgmd in his book, “people must remember that God exists in different names”.

posted on May 30, 2010
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Interesting essay in which the DL reveals himself to be a human being who suffers from the traits of rationalization and wishful thinking.  Unfortunately, he ignores the real world wide evidence of the inevitably toxic effects of theistic religions while touting their theoretical basis in compassion.

Odd too, that as the leader of the worlds largest non-theistic (and not coincidentally, pacifistic) religion he does not point out the need to give up ideas of deity to truly achieve enlightenment.

posted on May 30, 2010
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Liza There is only one God above it all. smile

posted on June 6, 2010
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‘here is only one God above it all’

Or maybe two, but definitely no more than three. Or four. Or infinity. Argh. Where did my point go.

Can’t we all just agree that the words all really mean the same thing and that deep down everyone is really just thinking the same as me about it?!

posted on June 14, 2010
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Anyone who demands evidence for truth claims condemns the superstitious for their complete lack of evidence. To pretend otherwise is to be condescending and disingenuous, not unlike religious people pretending that the “core virtues” of harmony and love are all they really care about. The Lama cares about his dogma, and he only pretends to tolerate others’ dogma because he needs donations from wishy washy new agers in the developed world.

posted on June 15, 2010
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So, the Dalai Lama sees no difference in his own religion and that of those who carried out the torture of the Inquisition, genocide of the Waldenses and Cathars, burning of heretics, Crusades, jihad, horrific slaughter of millions of innocent animals, and a host of crimes against humanity?  Not so wise after all!

posted on June 15, 2010
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