What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
chownah
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by chownah » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:58 am

Goofaholix wrote:If you'd ever been to Thailand you'd know how little impact missionaries have had there, I think they consider Thailand a very difficult nut to crack.

If Thailand ever did become a majority Christian nation I think it would be a good thing, it would mean a reduction of animism and superstition, it would mean Buddhism in Thailand would have to reform itself and revive itself.
If Thailand turns into Swiss cheese, the holes will be filled with animism and superstition.
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clw_uk
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by clw_uk » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:59 am

SarathW wrote:Sorry I meant Christians. Please excuse me for my grammar. :)

Okie Doke :)
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dhammafriend
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by dhammafriend » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:49 am

Singapore’s population increased by 611k (24%) from 2.5 million in Year 2000 to 3.1 million in Year 2010. During this period, the number of people who identified themselves as Buddhist actually fell from 555 k to 442 k.
Apparently the numbers were off from the start. Many people in Singapore with practiced Doaism were identifying themselves as Buddhists in the census data.
Will need to check on line for the article I saw that in.

As for Evangelicals and the most powerful nation on Earth, well this article explains it all. I urge everyone to read it.
http://rt.com/op-edge/north-korea-usa-cia-639/

The narratives we hear in the West usually is that missionaries pitch up in a 'heathen' country and the locals are so impressed with this teaching that they immediately jump ship and become happy little christians. The article above gives us a more sobering view. Religion and humanitarian assistance is used as a tool by the West to assert ideological, economic, cultural control over other nations. Missionaries are often all to happy to destroy the entire cultural fabric of a nation (not just the local religions) with US assistance.

As for animism and superstition: (these terms are so loaded with monotheistic baggage its not even funny) I've asked this before, from a buddhist point of view, what else about 'animism' & 'superstition' is 'backward'? besides the fact that it obstructs samma ditthi.

What makes a belief animists? According to my understanding the Buddha there is no sliding scale of wrong view (attachment to god, gods, spirits)
its all gotta go.

I think the dismissal of Thais and their beliefs (however wrong they may be) have a lot to do with their ethnicity.i.e.
Brown people superstition = bad White people superstition = good

Dhammafriend
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Natthi me saranam annam buddho me saranam varam
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.
Etena saccavajjena vaddheyyam satthu-sasane
By the utterance of this truth, may I grow in the Master’s Way.

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appicchato
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by appicchato » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:41 pm

dhammafriend wrote:
...its all gotta go.
I think...
+1

chownah
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by chownah » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:10 pm

", what else about 'animism' & 'superstition' is 'backward'? besides the fact that it obstructs samma ditthi. "

I don't know if this should be considered backward or not so you be the judge: In Africa there is a superstition that deflowering a young virgin girl will cure you of HIV if you don't use a condom.

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dhammafriend
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by dhammafriend » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:34 pm

I don't know if this should be considered backward or not so you be the judge: In Africa there is a superstition that deflowering a young virgin girl will cure you of HIV if you don't use a condom.

chownah
So now we jump to Africa when I was asking about the Thai context? This is my caveat: I understand that certain beliefs can be actively harmful
(like female genital mutilation etc) What i am asking is why can't the Thais (or any Asian nationality for that matter) retain (within reason) their own world views without constantly being berated by calling it superstition?! If you read the suttas, then everyone back then was superstitious! They believed that spirits inhabited trees, mountains etc. Even Lord Buddha taught dhamma from that perspective. (He even debated Baka Brahma who resided in a tree! )

No, the agenda here is much more insidious I believe.

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Natthi me saranam annam buddho me saranam varam
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.
Etena saccavajjena vaddheyyam satthu-sasane
By the utterance of this truth, may I grow in the Master’s Way.

chownah
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by chownah » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:30 pm

dhammafriend wrote:
I don't know if this should be considered backward or not so you be the judge: In Africa there is a superstition that deflowering a young virgin girl will cure you of HIV if you don't use a condom.

chownah
So now we jump to Africa when I was asking about the Thai context? This is my caveat: I understand that certain beliefs can be actively harmful
(like female genital mutilation etc) What i am asking is why can't the Thais (or any Asian nationality for that matter) retain (within reason) their own world views without constantly being berated by calling it superstition?! If you read the suttas, then everyone back then was superstitious! They believed that spirits inhabited trees, mountains etc. Even Lord Buddha taught dhamma from that perspective. (He even debated Baka Brahma who resided in a tree! )

No, the agenda here is much more insidious I believe.

Dhammafriend
Dharma friend,
You asked what is wrong with animism and superstition so I gave you an example to consider. Looks like you judge some superstitions to be backward but you seem reluctant to straight forwarded say that. Your insistence on setting some geographic boundary on the consideration of the backwardness of animism and superstition does not convince me of much.

As to Asian superstitions(to try to stay in compliance with your "any Asian nationality" restriction) I can point to the use of bear bile extracted in very inhumane ways from caged bears or any number of uses of endangered species parts none of which have been shown in any way to have any therapeutic value....rhino horn for male potency does not work while Viagra does (showing the difference between superstition and science I hope).

As to Asians being constantly berated over their world views; I don't see that happening much here in Thailand. I do think that given what most people think of as "superstition" by westerners and easterners alike it really is true that many especially uneducated people do believe in superstitions and act on them and many times it is to their detriment.

I think that a good case can be made that some peoples religious belief can be another persons superstition and so one should be careful and avoid clinging to views and to observe views with discernment.......but......I also think that to try to paint animism and superstition as benign in all their manifestations is deluded......way deluded.

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Sam Vara
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:57 am

pilgrim wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Would it matter all that much, even if it were likely? Things change. Europe used to be the epicentre for certain forms of Christianity which now flourish more in what were once European colonies. British Christianity now welcomes pastors and priests from Ghana and the Philippines, who proselytise to us home-grown white heathen. It might be comforting to know that there are populous nations like Thailand which are overwhelmingly Buddhist, but how much does this benefit my actual practice? If Thais were to decide that the strain of Buddhism which sustained their ancestors was no longer appropriate for them, then who am I to lament the fact?
It would matter a lot if one thinks there is a good chance that one would be reborn again. Just to take human birth is considered fortunate, then one hopes to encounter the Dhamma again.
Or it might matter not at all. One might, for example, hope for rebirth in (say) a nice Californian family of Caucasian ancestry who revere the Buddha's teachings, keep the precepts, and attend the monastery regularly. Who knows, if we are talking about counterfactuals, the majority of Californians might be like that when the time comes.

Presumably, if you believe in the non-randomness of rebirth then it is possible that one's Kamma might propel one towards an appropriate rebirth in any part of any universe. Or is there a supply-side problem?

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Sam Vara
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:05 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:
pilgrim wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Would it matter all that much, even if it were likely? Things change. Europe used to be the epicentre for certain forms of Christianity which now flourish more in what were once European colonies. British Christianity now welcomes pastors and priests from Ghana and the Philippines, who proselytise to us home-grown white heathen. It might be comforting to know that there are populous nations like Thailand which are overwhelmingly Buddhist, but how much does this benefit my actual practice? If Thais were to decide that the strain of Buddhism which sustained their ancestors was no longer appropriate for them, then who am I to lament the fact?
It would matter a lot if one thinks there is a good chance that one would be reborn again. Just to take human birth is considered fortunate, then one hopes to encounter the Dhamma again.

exactly my point, if you were reborn on earth and there was no more Dharma left...can you imagine how huge a setback would that be ? you may be locked for a few thousand lifetimes in the hellrealm because you harboured false views
Presumably, one's false views would not lead to rebirth in favourable circumstances anyway, so ruling Thailand (apparently a favoured destination for the discerning modern Buddhist) out of the question. Or maybe a lifetime of Christian benevolence might be what we deserve.

Who knows? It's all mere speculation, and I think we are better off wishing the Thais well, whether they are Buddhist, Christian, or Scientologists.

pulga
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by pulga » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:53 pm

With all the violence and intolerance Buddhists are displaying in places like Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Burma I get the impression that Buddhism is declining from within. Christians are crafty, but they mean well, and in a region fraught with religious conflict they have managed to stay above it all. Their wealth is part of their allure, but their example of tolerance and compassion plays a significant role in their influence.

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clw_uk
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by clw_uk » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:05 pm

Presumably, one's false views would not lead to rebirth in favourable circumstances anyway,
That depends

I cant see how a Christian who takes the sermon on the mount as his core guide could lead himself to hellish states

After all the Buddha said that other teachers also teach aspects of Dhamma and are establised in virtue, they just dont teach all of it (usually they get stuck on "Self" etc)




Who knows? It's all mere speculation, and I think we are better off wishing the Thais well, whether they are Buddhist, Christian, or Scientologists
.

Agreed

All we can do is promote critical thinking

Those that will recognise Dhamma will recognise it, those who dont wont and we can only hope that those who dont adopt a wholesome view point and not an unwholesome one

The view is only as important as the actions it leads to
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Sam Vara
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:10 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Presumably, one's false views would not lead to rebirth in favourable circumstances anyway,
That depends

I cant see how a Christian who takes the sermon on the mount as his core guide could lead himself to hellish states

After all the Buddha said that other teachers also teach aspects of Dhamma and are establised in virtue, they just dont teach all of it (usually they get stuck on "Self" etc)




Who knows? It's all mere speculation, and I think we are better off wishing the Thais well, whether they are Buddhist, Christian, or Scientologists
.

Agreed

All we can do is promote critical thinking

Those that will recognise Dhamma will recognise it, those who dont wont and we can only hope that those who dont adopt a wholesome view point and not an unwholesome one

The view is only as important as the actions it leads to
Yes, I didn't mean that a person practicing Christian religion had false views - far from it. I agree with you entirely about the sermon on the mount.

My point was in response to Shaswata_Panja's comment:
if you were reborn on earth and there was no more Dharma left...can you imagine how huge a setback would that be ? you may be locked for a few thousand lifetimes in the hellrealm because you harboured false views
If one has false views, and they are taken to be important in deciding rebirth, then the possible Christianising of Thailand would be a non-issue anyway...

culaavuso
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by culaavuso » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:23 pm

Shaswata_Panja wrote:if you were reborn on earth and there was no more Dharma left...can you imagine how huge a setback would that be ?
AN6.20
AN6.20: Maranassati Sutta wrote: Further, there is the case where a monk, as night departs and day returns, reflects: 'Many are the [possible] causes of my death. A snake might bite me, a scorpion might sting me, a centipede might bite me. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me. Stumbling, I might fall; my food, digested, might trouble me; my bile might be provoked, my phlegm... piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me.' Then the monk should investigate: 'Are there any evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by me that would be an obstruction for me were I to die during the day?' If, on reflecting, he realizes that there are evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die during the day, then he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. Just as when a person whose turban or head was on fire would put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness to put out the fire on his turban or head, in the same way the monk should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities.
SN56.48
SN56.48: Chiggala Sutta wrote: "It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, arises in the world. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"

visitin
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by visitin » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:52 am

Shaswata_Panja wrote:Christians can in a very sophisticated manner breakdown the psychological defence of a nation by infiltrating in all aspects of a culture
What you're calling the "psychological defence" of a nation, is actually the "resistance offered by the priests" of a nation towards any proselytizer who might lure the laity into supporting his cause, leaving the priests unemployed.

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Sovietnik
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Re: What if Thailand turns into a Christian majority nation?

Post by Sovietnik » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:11 pm

Christianity is simpler to follow than Buddhism and it's also backed by so called soft power. Christian countries are the most developed region in the world, we have highly developed economies, culture etc. People have always been fascinated by higher cultures. All ancient barbarians wanted to dress and live like the Romans. Nowdays it's the same - pure cultural power - young people dress in clothing made by American companies, listen to American bands, watch Hollywood movies. How many people watch Thai or Sri Lankan movies? Few if any.

Some young people in India already grow up speaking only English and have no or only very basic knowledge of their native languages (I actually wish I was a native English speaker instead of a Slav) .

This shows the power of economy - economy gives ideologies power. The spread of Christianity is simply non coercive cultural imperialism.

Anyway, I think that if Buddhist countries became Christian, we could simply merge the two ideologies - in roughly the same manner as stoicism and Aristotle's philosophy were incorporated into the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. But maybe fundies are less likely to accept this.

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