Friday, May 28, 2010

Is Tibetan Buddhism Nonsense?

Well of course it is. Duh! But I don't often pick on the Dalai Lama. Why?

P-Zed just posted about the Dalai Lama's column in the NYT, and yes, his bald eminence does get a bit of a free pass from the Western press. This doesn't bother me that much, at least not at this point in history. Why? Priorities. Let's imagine two hypothetical countries, A and B. A is a medieval theocracy with an exile government. A's government is in exile because it was taken over by B, which is the most populous country on the planet and has nuclear weapons, not to mention heavy censorship, a large population of political prisoners, and no free elections. (Let's hypothetically call country B "China".) See where I'm going with this? Once the Dalai Lama has ICBMs and is holding the largest share of my country's foreign debt, then I'll worry as much about his ridiculous arguments from authority instead of the Chinese Communist Party's. Though the CCP is officially atheist - and an officially atheist government is just as a creepy to me as an officially Christian or Muslim one - they're quite happy to combine church and state when it suits them: "China has left little doubt that it intends to be deeply involved in the Dalai Lama's succession, ridiculing his scenarios and insisting that religious law requires the reincarnation be born in a Tibetan area under Chinese control."

This can provide the foundation for your stock answer to the silly question theists often ask, "If you're atheist, then why don't you move to North Korea/China/etc.?" Because arguments from authority that demand political power, of any category (whether they have supernatural elements or not) are intolerable, that's why.

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