Another religion of peace

Yes, we decry the way Communist China (at least I’m not saying “Red China,” tODD) is oppressing the Tibetans, as well as Christians and just about everybody else. But that does not excuse the Tibetan Buddhists who murdered at least 19 innocent people just because they were Chinese. From Eyewitnesses Recount Terrifying Day in Tibet – washingtonpost.com:

It was a heady feeling, being part of a howling pack that had forced police to turn tail and run, some dropping their shields as they fled a barrage of rocks. Then the Tibetans in the crowd slowed and began turning back, grinning and patting one another on the back.

The ebullient mood did not last long. The pack broke into smaller groups, gathering rocks and pulling out knives, looking for the next target.

“There was no more crowd to be part of. It looked like they were turning on everybody,” said Kenwood, 19, describing the scene to reporters last week when he arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, after 10 days in the Tibetan capital. “It wasn’t about Tibet freedom anymore.”

What he witnessed next was a violent rampage unlike any in decades in Lhasa, a city where Tibetan Buddhism’s most revered temples sit among office buildings and concrete markets built by Chinese bent on developing the remote Himalayan region. Hundreds of mostly young Tibetans broke up into roaming gangs and attacked Chinese passersby and vandalized shops, killing 19 people and injuring more than 600 over two days.

During the riots, looters set fire to a clothing store, burning to death five young employees who were huddled on the second floor. Most police officers kept their distance while the center of Lhasa descended into chaos.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Of course no one is excused. But I don’t see why you’re blaming Buddhism for this. The article states that “several witness accounts suggest that what began as a small protest by Buddhist monks … turned quickly into ethnically charged rioting.” There is nothing in the article that suggests Buddhism was a motive for the attacks. Is there any reason to believe it’s not about ethnic and political conflict between the Tibetans and Chinese?

    Do the civil rights riots of the 60s similarly give lie to the idea that Southern Baptism is a “religion of peace”? Or was it about something other than that religion?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Of course no one is excused. But I don’t see why you’re blaming Buddhism for this. The article states that “several witness accounts suggest that what began as a small protest by Buddhist monks … turned quickly into ethnically charged rioting.” There is nothing in the article that suggests Buddhism was a motive for the attacks. Is there any reason to believe it’s not about ethnic and political conflict between the Tibetans and Chinese?

    Do the civil rights riots of the 60s similarly give lie to the idea that Southern Baptism is a “religion of peace”? Or was it about something other than that religion?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Todd, religion and state were tightly bound together in Tibet until the Chinese moved in. So to suggest that Tibetan nationalists are not acting from Tibetan Buddhism is to simply deny the nature of Tibetan Buddhism.

    In fact, the early National Geographic articles about the region note that uninvited foreigners were liable to summary execution upon being found there. This kind of thing is by no means new–I’m referring to articles from the 1920s and 1930s (that I’ve read).

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Todd, religion and state were tightly bound together in Tibet until the Chinese moved in. So to suggest that Tibetan nationalists are not acting from Tibetan Buddhism is to simply deny the nature of Tibetan Buddhism.

    In fact, the early National Geographic articles about the region note that uninvited foreigners were liable to summary execution upon being found there. This kind of thing is by no means new–I’m referring to articles from the 1920s and 1930s (that I’ve read).

  • allen

    For whatever it’s worth, Tibet has been part of China since before the US was a country.

  • allen

    For whatever it’s worth, Tibet has been part of China since before the US was a country.

  • Anon

    Christianity had spread as far as Japan and Burma in the first millennium, A. D., until the Confuscians and Buddhists wiped out the Christians in China and parts east, and then the Muslims reduced them to Dhimmitude in central Asia.

    Buddhism is the religion of detachment from the suffering of others, and love towards others, not a religion of pax, let alone shalom.

  • Anon

    Christianity had spread as far as Japan and Burma in the first millennium, A. D., until the Confuscians and Buddhists wiped out the Christians in China and parts east, and then the Muslims reduced them to Dhimmitude in central Asia.

    Buddhism is the religion of detachment from the suffering of others, and love towards others, not a religion of pax, let alone shalom.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Bike Bubba (@2), you claimed that “to suggest that Tibetan nationalists are not acting from Tibetan Buddhism is to simply deny the nature of Tibetan Buddhism.” You’re overlooking the obvious here. Tibetan people were attacking Chinese people. What about that has to do with Buddhism?

    To follow your argument, every conflict that ever took place in a European nation with a Christian state church would necessarily reflect “the nature of Christianity”, an argument I find facile as well as repugnant.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Bike Bubba (@2), you claimed that “to suggest that Tibetan nationalists are not acting from Tibetan Buddhism is to simply deny the nature of Tibetan Buddhism.” You’re overlooking the obvious here. Tibetan people were attacking Chinese people. What about that has to do with Buddhism?

    To follow your argument, every conflict that ever took place in a European nation with a Christian state church would necessarily reflect “the nature of Christianity”, an argument I find facile as well as repugnant.

  • Joe

    tODD – I think you make a bit of a mis-comparison. Bike stated that you are denying the nature of – not pan-Buddhism – but of Tibetan Buddhism, which was a system where the state and religion where one and the same. Thus, the act of one European country with a state-church does not rightly reflect the nature of pan-Christianity but depending upon the level of intertwining between the state and the Church it could easily reflect the nature of one brand of Christianity.

    For example, the King/Queen is the head of the Anglican Church (ceremonial today, but very real in the past) if the Crown declares that war against another country is sanctioned by God and the Church then that war reflects the nature of Anglican Christianity at that time.

  • Joe

    tODD – I think you make a bit of a mis-comparison. Bike stated that you are denying the nature of – not pan-Buddhism – but of Tibetan Buddhism, which was a system where the state and religion where one and the same. Thus, the act of one European country with a state-church does not rightly reflect the nature of pan-Christianity but depending upon the level of intertwining between the state and the Church it could easily reflect the nature of one brand of Christianity.

    For example, the King/Queen is the head of the Anglican Church (ceremonial today, but very real in the past) if the Crown declares that war against another country is sanctioned by God and the Church then that war reflects the nature of Anglican Christianity at that time.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Joe (@6), I think I see what you’re saying now. I was misreading how the word “Tibetan” was modifying things. I understand now that the phrase “Tibetan Buddhism” is intended to be a fixed concept, not merely an adjective modifying a broader concept. If that makes sense. Sorry.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Joe (@6), I think I see what you’re saying now. I was misreading how the word “Tibetan” was modifying things. I understand now that the phrase “Tibetan Buddhism” is intended to be a fixed concept, not merely an adjective modifying a broader concept. If that makes sense. Sorry.


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