Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Asoka's Dilemma: Religion and Violence (audio)

Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly; Mitch Jeserich, Karen Armstrong, Eileen Elfendairy (KPFA, KPFK, Letters & Politics, 11-12-14, 10:00 am);

From the renowned and best-selling author of A History of God comes a sweeping exploration of religion and the history of human violence. She speaks with Pacifica Free Speech Radio about her newest book, Fields of Blood, which she had originally intended to title Ashoka's Dilemma after the great Buddhist emperor Asoka Maurya in Central Asia and India. When he converted to peace, he was forced to face a troubling dilemma: Could his empire survive without a military and the threat of state violence? And without an empire, would not smaller tyrants use force and military violence to fill the power vacuum he as emperor had renounced?
The Bible: A Biography (Books That Changed the World)For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in America. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11perception that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness -- something harmful for society. But how accurate is this view?
With deep learning and sympathetic understanding, former British Catholic nun Karen Armstrong -- who went from conservative and close minded to progressive and mystical -- sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking readers on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times (in Sumer) to the present.
Jerusalem: One City, Three FaithsWhile many historians have looked at violence in connection with particular Abrahamic religious manifestations (Israeli oppression of Palestinians, jihad in Islam, or Christianity’s violent Crusades), Armstrong looks at each faith -- not only Christianity and Islam, but also Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, and the very violent root religion Judaism -- in its totality over time.
A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and IslamAs she describes, each arose in an agrarian society with plenty powerful landowners brutalizing peasants while also warring among themselves over land, at that time the only real source of wealth.
In this world, religion was not the discrete and personal matter it would become for us but rather something that permeated all aspects of society. And so it was that agrarian aggression, and the warrior ethos it begot, became bound up with observances of the sacred.

Muhammad: A Prophet for Our TimeIn each tradition, however, a counterbalance to the warrior code also developed. Around sages, prophets, and mystics there grew up communities protesting the injustice and bloodshed endemic to agrarian society, the violence to which religion had become heir.
And so by the time the great confessional faiths came of age, all understood themselves as ultimately devoted to peace, equality, and reconciliation, whatever the acts of violence perpetrated in their name.
The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious TraditionsIndustrialization and modernity have ushered in an epoch of spectacular and unexampled violence, although, as Armstrong explains, relatively little of it can be ascribed directly to religion.
Nevertheless, she shows us how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence -- and what hope there might be for peace among believers of different creeds in our time.

Buddha (Penguin Lives Biographies)At a moment of rising geopolitical chaos, the imperative of mutual understanding between nations and faith communities has never been more urgent. And the dangers of action based on misunderstanding have never been greater.
Informed by Armstrong’s sweeping erudition and personal commitment to the promotion of compassion, Fields of Blood makes vividly clear that religion is not the problem. More
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"Yankee, go home!" Turkey says no to U.S. imperialism
Associated Press and Snejana Farberov for MailOnline, Nov. 12, 2014
Under attack: Three unarmed US Navy sailors were attacked by a group of anti-American protesters in Istanbul Wednesday 
U.S. sailors were harassed by a disgruntled mob of Turkish nationalists who pelted them with rocks and put white bags on their heads in Istanbul, telling the militant U.S. imperialists to go back to their own country.
  • More than a dozen nationalists threw red paint and rocks at three sailors from the USS Ross, called them killers, and mockingly put sacks on their heads.
  • Incident took place in Eminonu section of Istanbul Wednesday [11-12-14].
  • USS Ross was docked on an inlet of the Bosphorus Strait in the Black Sea.
  • The sailors ran like cowards fleeing on foot and being chased.
  • US Navy and Embassy in Ankara condemn the attack.
Youth Association of Turkey (TGB) members shouted at the American servicemen, calling them killers and said they should get out of Turkey
Quit it, guys! Cut it out. Stop it. Don't!
An enraged mob of anti-American protesters shouting "Yankee, go home!" and "Damn America" were caught on video rough housing three unarmed US Navy sailors Wednesday in Istanbul.
The tense confrontation took place near where the sailors' warship, the USS Ross, was docked on an inlet of the Bosphorus Strait in the Black Sea.

At one point, the verbal abuse turned physicalA dozen or more members of the nationalist group Youth Association of Turkey (TGB) hurled insults at the American servicemen, calling them killers and saying they should get out of Turkey.

Protest: Youth Association of Turkey (TGB) members shouted at the American militants, calling them killers, and said they should get out of Turkey. At one point, the verbal abuse turned physical with some mild shoving around. More + VIDEO

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