Oh, Brother …

This has to rate up there with one of the biggest displays of ignorance by a pundit/journalist I’ve read in some time. Of course, it happened on Faux News, and of course, its bias shows their bias in general. It’s a biggie from Brent Hume about Tiger Woods’ serial infidelity. I guess if Hume was a Republican office holder he might have a special insider view on serial infidelity, but instead he said something that is so laughable that I have to wonder if he’s every really looked at any other religions.

I grabbed this off of “the raw story” which oddly just listed a bunch of celebrity Buddhists as some kind of justification for Tiger’s Buddhism.

Buddhism is inferior to Christianity when it comes to forgiveness of sins, according to Fox News pundit Brit Hume. Tiger Woods should turn his back on Buddhism and become a Christian to be forgiven for cheating on his wife, Hume told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday.

“The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith,” said Hume. “He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of redemption and forgiveness offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger is, ‘Tiger turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

Okay, so now you can watch it yourself.

I want to talk to you about the complete strangeness of this response in terms of what Buddhists believe. I’ve been a Buddhist for some time . I’m a vajrayana buddhist from a Sherpa Nyingma Lineage. That’s the oldest of the Tibetan/Himalyan sects. It’s not the one the Dali Lama leads. His sect is Gelupka. I actually share lineages with Steven Seagal through his guru Dilgo Khyence Rinpoche but that’s another story.

So here’s exactly how wrong it is in Buddhist terms, let alone ‘political correctness’ or polite society terms. First, there is no creator God in Buddhism so there is nothing to sin against. Sin isn’t really a relevant concept in Buddhism. If you commit a negative action you don’t insult any invisible being, you create karma which comes back at you like a tsunami. Karma is the result of the effect you caused by the action.

You can of course see that Karma is already hitting Tiger squarely in the billfold and just about every place else, including the break up of his marriage and family. Adultery in Buddhism is considered sexual misconduct and comes under the idea that you’re undertaking a harmful behavior. It creates bad karma for you and it hurts others. Hurting any sentient being is considered the number one bad action of any Buddhist. There are, of course, levels of bad actions, and, of course levels, it follows from that differing levels of karma created by those actions. Karma (again, it’s simply a word the means the effects from your actions, thoughts or speech) can be good, bad, or neutral as a result of an action, thought, or spoken word that is either good, bad or neutral.

In Buddhism, you basically reap what you sow. As a matter of fact that saying and all the other Jesus parables were taught by one Buddha–the one you known as Gautama–who was born in Nepal about 2500 years ago. His teachings were written down in the Sutras shortly after his death by his students and are considered to have made it to Rome when Constantine ordered the locked up local priesthoods to come up with one religion that would be known as the Roman religion. They obviously lifted a lot from Buddhism as well as the other prevailing beliefs at the time.

Forgiveness of sins, to a Buddhist, is basically considered absurd on many levels. First off, you’re asking for something from something external which is dualistic thinking which is considered the root of all ignorance and suffering. So merely by begging for something from something outside of you creates more suffering.  Also, you’re asking for something from something that doesn’t exist.

Your actions were against yourself and the folks around broke vows and promises that you have made and created really really bad karma. As part of the karmic chain, the only folks involved are the folks involved; not some imaginary being in an imaginary plane of existence. It’s like saying I dropped a glass and spilled something so I’ll just go ask the Queen of England for a pardon. What’s the Queen got to do with my mistake? She’s a party to nothing. That’s even given the Queen exists and a Buddhist doesn’t believe “God” exists.

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about is the fact that Brett Hume can’t even seem to grok how absurd the statement is because he’s so swimming in the concepts of sin and the need for forgiveness that he can’t imagine what it means to some one who believes that neither exists. He can’t see outside of his own paradigm. (Gosh, I hate that stupid word, but it works here.) He’s thinks that’s important for Tiger because it’s important to Brett.

This is the problem with most folks and with religious discussions. My favorite one is that you’ll go to hell if you don’t believe (fill in the blank). Well, believe me, that threat may sound horrible to some one who seriously believes all that, but to some one who doesn’t it’s like saying Santa isn’t going to bring you presents under your tree. I think frequently when an atheist is accused of being smug, it’s because generally you’re so shocked that folks think actually believe a threat like that would even register on anything but your funny bone scale. Again, if I believe it’s not relevant and it’s imaginary, I’m going to look at you like you’ve lost it completely because you can’t seriously have listened to anything I’ve ever said. But again, it’s because, if you do believe that, it’s a really scary threat for you. What if some one said pissing off Vulcan will mean you’re going to get struck by lightening? What if some one told YOU that with a straight face?

So, Brett, there’s no sins to forgive in Buddhism so how can something that teaches something is irrelevant and doesn’t exist be inferior? You’re telling Tiger everything will be okay on Christmas morning as long as he leaves his cookies and milk out for Santa.

What does it mean to be  plain ignorant in front of that many people, let alone rude and socially unacceptable?  I don’t think Brett Hume’s mother raised him to be that rude, but I may be wrong. I’m sure Tiger’s recovery process will not depend on Brett Hume’s theology, even though the arrogant Hume seems to think so.