Today’s Tactical Pursuit of Religious Commonality
Part 1: Exclusionism, Pluralism, Inclusionism
by Debra Rae - July 20, 2011
It’s said that “if words are to enter men’s minds and bear fruit, they must be the right words shaped cunningly to pass men’s defenses and explode silently and effectually within their minds” (J. B. Phillips). While the fruit of fitly spoken words is sweet, opportunists also use cunningly devised terms to shroud their own provocative agendas that, in the end, bear rotten fruit.1
For instance, universally agreeable twenty-first century buzzwords as “transformation,” “transcendence,” and “collaboration” may appeal broadly, but their generic meanings obscure widespread grasp of how they’d look if acted out in real time.By definition, globalism is an interdependent, worldwide design with geopolitical, economic, and spiritual components.
For the transformative “Grand Design” of collaborative globalism to be realized, national sovereignty, free enterprise capitalism, and biblical fundamentalism must give way to bio-regional global governance, sustainability (wealth redistribution), and syncretism (doctrinal mix). Personal and/or group identities must defer to the Global Village in which populations are controlled and private ownership of property is curtailed. 2
Because religionists of all colors dominate the global population, and religious passion serves as a tremendous boost to (or threat against) democratic transnationalism, globalists work to build bridges of commonality between Eastern and Western belief systems. More often than not, in today’s emerging one-world paradigm, fundamental Western values bow to collectivist counterparts, many of which originate in the East. Purportedly for “the common good,” compliant world citizens submit to a new earth, pan-religious ethic, rather than to traditional mores.3
Tactical Pursuit of Commonality via Changeover, Commendation, Confusion
Religious commonality is accomplished by hawking politically correct diversity, popularly touted as “tolerance,” and by merging and thereby morphing traditional faith systems into oblivion. Among the world’s religionists are exclusivists, pluralists, and inclusionists.
Exclusivists adhere to one true and nonnegotiable path to salvation or liberation. Globalists finger fundamentalism as counterproductive to the burgeoning novus ordo seclorum (“new secular world order of the ages”) and instead favor doctrinal mix (syncretism) over dogma.Scripted “dialogue” encourages changeover to alternatives more amenable to the one-world plan.
Next, pluralists believe in many paths to salvation or liberation, none of which reigns supreme. If you follow Buddhist practices, for instance, you ostensibly get to Buddhist heaven; and if you follow Muslim practices, you get to Muslim paradise. For this reason, it’s assumed that I’m okay; you’re okay; and so is everyone else. Hence, there’s no need for conversion. Globalists promote and placate pluralists as especially useful; predictably, they commend pluralism for “tolerance” (more accurately, for malleability).
Finally, inclusionists believe in many paths to salvation or liberation; however, in the end, a seeker will naturally come to realize “the superior path.” Proponents recognize, identify with and, then, downplay religious differences by recasting them as similar or by trivializing them as superfluous “side issues.”4
The Chrislam Con
Viewed by many as its chief obstacle, well-established religious creed must be softened in order to realize the new, one-world order. With a mind to reset religious canon, globalists introduce confusion simply by merging disparate faith systems. This brand of inclusionism particularlyappeals to nominal Christians who are more committed to “tolerance” than they are to biblical truth. As was the case with Eve, the loaded question “Hath God said?” gives them pause. In the name of “diversity,” these swap out the proverbial waistband of sound doctrine with the loose elastic of comfy compromise.
Recently, the Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, Houston, joined Christian communities in Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit to encourage “ecumenical reconciliation” between Christianity and Islam. Theirs was a sort of worldview potpourri mixing together elements of Christianity with Islam. Predictably called Chrislam, this brand of inclusive ecumenicalism qualifies mutually inharmonious texts—ie., Bible and Qur’an—as divinely inspired.5
In turn, when common ground is reached between Islamists and Buddhists, the result is called Buddlam; similarly, syncretizing Islamic doctrine with Hindu beliefs produces what’s called Hindlam. All three dilute the essence of their respective belief systems.
In 1996 a conference called Alternative Politics for Asia convened in Penang, Malaysia, in order to spark Buddhist-Muslim dialogue. By lassoing traditional “wisdom” and spiritual values of both world religions, and by merging them into a muddied mix of contradicting religious ideals, participants hoped, albeit unsuccessfully, to solve regional problems—namely, intergroup violence, armed conflicts, global warming, environmental degradation, and drug abuse.6
Thereafter, in June of 2006, the Dusit Declaration likewise fostered harmonious relations essentially by weakening Western free enterprise capitalism and muting biblical ethic that supports it—e.g., respect for rule of law, individual effort, and fair dealing.7 The Declaration concluded: “The hegemonic power of global capitalism is the new ‘religion’ which threatens to undermine the universal, spiritual and moral values and world views embodied in Buddhism, Islam and other religions.”
Adding: This is why “Buddhists, Muslims and others should forge a more profound unity and solidarity, which will be able to offer another vision of a just, compassionate and humane universal civilization [devoid of biblical ethic, of course]. It is with this mission in mind that we hereby announce the launch of a permanent Buddhist-Muslim Citizens Commission for Southeast Asia.”8
Dalai Lama, Leading the Pack
The key proponent for this trendy splurge of merge is His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama who contends that sustainable development (even survival) depends on nations, cultures, religions, and individuals sharing responsibility for solving universal problems (seductive, yes; transparent, no).9
Here’s the caveat: The Dalai Lama defends Islam, not by relaying its ostensibly admirable tenets, but rather by “reshaping people’s views of the religion.” Instead of characterizing Islam as purveyor of contact, conflict, conquest, and condescension, he simply ignores the Islamic Doctrine of Abrogation in an effort to “reshape” perception of Islam into a religion of peace and goodwill. To reject his religious renovation is to be “divisive.”10
To the one-world crowd, an ounce of divisiveness is worth a pound of rehab. For example, while on a lecture tour, Israeli journalist and Jewish theologian Avi Lipkin was sentenced in accordance with Swiss anti-racism law. Why? For concluding that “minarets are not church towers,” but they are “nails in the coffin of the West.” Rather than submit to re-education in some mosque (touted as “community service”), Avi instead preferred a jail sentence for his supposedly heinous crime of being politically incorrect.11
HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, on the Bandwagon
On 12 May 2010 the Dalai Lama joined a panel of select scholars who together launched the Common Ground Project. The project was planned over several years by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan who, along with the Dalai Lama, set out to nurture spiritual relationship between their respective faith traditions.
Never mind that core beliefs of Buddhism and Islam clash irreconcilably. For instance, Buddha never admitted to being “god,” nor do Buddhists recognize any god, period. In contrast, fundamental belief in Islam (shahada) recognizes no god but Allah, whose messenger is Muhammad and whose acceptance is mandatory, whether voluntarily or, if need be, by force.
Dhimma status, as relating to the Pact of Umar, purportedly protects Christians and Jews who live in covenant with their Muslim conquerors. For Islamists, the historical concept of “people of the Book” seems to have widened from monotheistic religions, as these, to include Buddhism. Three decades after the Prophet, Buddhists received dhimmi status.
For following ethical principles of higher authority, conquered Buddhists were allowed to follow their religion as long as laypeople among them joined Jews and Christians in submitting to burdensome restrictions and in paying poll taxes from which Islamists are exempt.
Far from fostering goodwill, Islamists vilify non-Muslims as hated dar-al-bughd. According to the Hadith, the Prophet characterized the majority of hell-fire’s dwellers as ungrateful women. Attitudes, as these, hardly lend themselves to conciliation.12
“Shipwrecked by the Laughter of the Gods”
Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama persists in stressing interfaith cooperation. After all, he reasons, everyone wishes to be happy and not to suffer; and the entire world is interdependent, is it not? While understandings, as these, ring true in a very general sense, they fail to flesh out the essence of core belief systems.
The Dalai Lama argues further that, if you truly believe your religion comes from God, you’re obliged to accept that He created others as well; but I disagree. As Albert Einstein once reasoned, “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”
Speaking of which, mythology teaches us well that “the gods” are loathe to yield their respective domains—e.g., for the kingship of the gods, Zeus challenged Cronus to war. Today’s pantheon of gods is no different. No amount of wishing, hoping, dreaming, and scheming will deter Allah’s followers from their headstrong bid for global dominance.
Though trendy, today’s syncretism is not the stuff religious “harmony” and “solidarity” are made of;and truth is never subject to my belief or yours. It’s the very essence of God Himself. Neither time, nor cultures, nor preferences, nor ideologies, nor clever tactics can redefine or distil truth. It simply is.13
More to follow in Part 2.
2. Thomas Horn. “Globalism: Utopian Dream or Luciferic Nightmare?” Twenty Experts Advise You on How toOvercome the Most Frightening Issues You Will Face This Century. (Crane: Defender, a division of Anomalos Publishing House, 2009): 79-110.
3. Jesus warned that “if it were possible” the Master of Deception would deceive even the very elect of God(Matthew 24:24). For this reason, believers are warned to be watchful (2 Corinthians 10:12; 1 Peter 5:8).
6. Alexander Berzin. “Buddhist-Muslim Doctrinal Relations: Past, Present, and Future.” Originally published with
extensive footnotes in Buddhist Attitudes toward Other Religions, ed. Perry Schmidt-Leukel. (St. Ottilien: EOS Verlag, 2008): 212 – 236.
7. Hebrews 13:17; Proverbs 6:6; Micah 6:8; Jeremiah 22:13; 1 Timothy 5:18.
8. Berzin, Buddhist Attitudes, 79-110.
9. Tenzin Gyatso. “Many Faiths, One Truth.” (New York: New York Times, 24 May 2010): The Opinion Pages.
10. The Islamic Doctrine of Abrogation holds that a latter revelation from Allah nullifies any earlier revelation received. Accordingly, books of Moses (Tawrat), Psalms (Zabur), and the Gospels(Injil) are said to be divinely inspired; however, because they came earlier, these writings are inferior to the Qur’an. Furthermore, Qur’anic verses advocating violence against infidels (called the Medina Approach) nullify more moderate statements of an earlier revelation (called the Mecca Approach).
12. William Wagner. How Islam Plans to Change the World. (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2004): 281-283.
13. Reza Shah Kazemi. “Introduction.” Common Ground between Islam and Buddhism. (Louisville: Fons Vitae,2010): Introduction by H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad. See John 14:6 and compare John 8:24-28, 18:5-8 and Revelation 1:17-18 with Exodus 3:13-14 and Isaiah 43:10-11, 25.
—“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
See also Revolution: Part 1 ~ The Revolutionary Roots of the UN
NEWS: Revolution ~ Bloody Utopian Dreams
Home ~ Human Nature
Today’s Tactical Pursuit of Religious Commonality
Part 2: Baited byBuddlam
These days, while describing themselves as “spiritual,” increasing numbers of Westerners embrace “no religious affiliation.” Though creed, commandments, and ritual are falling by the wayside, the impulse to link with some“higher being”appears to be on the rise.
East is East, and West is East
To postmodernists, whatever brand of spirituality floats one boat is fine—just as long as the boat’s not rocked. In the West, religious inclusionism appeals especially to nominal Christians. For mainline church folkcommitted to the Doctrine of Tolerance, “Chrislam” fills the bill nicely. After all, “ecumenical reconciliation” beats the alternatives—i.e.,jihadand War on Terror.1
On the other hand, pursuers of religious commonality in the East favorwhat’s called “Buddlam,” doctrinal mix of Buddhism with Islam.2Syncretistic Buddlam poses no problem to Buddhists who historically endorse “many paths.” Nor even to Islamists who tactically embrace inclusionism all the while coddling their own desired end to the contrary.
For the sake of building upon “common ground”—this,in an effort to reconcile creeds that logically clash—willing inclusioniststake one for the team, as it were, by forfeiting (or feigning to forfeit) traditional core doctrines of their respective religions.
Syncretism on the Sly
Contrary to popular belief, not all orthodox Muslims are offensive activists who refuse to assimilate. Some are defensive pacifists for whomassimilation (or presence) serves an underlying objective to preservethe house of Islam (dar-al-Islam) and foster its growth.
In short, the destiny mission for all orthodox Islamists is complete world dominance. It’s believed that, in time,the community of non-Muslims(dar-al-kuffer) will comply, whether by conversion or coercion; andone calipharmed with shariawill rule over a global community of all those who affirm Islam(ummah).3
With a single eye forthis Islamic Grand Design, Muslim proponents of Buddlam target and, then, strategically downplay religious differences—this, in the bogus name of “religious harmony.” Islamists are okay with deception for self-interest.4
Put another way, Islamic precedence accepts that the end (ummah)justifies the means—e.g., identifying with other faiths, if only superficially, as a semblance of solidarity. Other tactics include recasting mismatched beliefs as “similar,” orsimply trivializing them as superfluous when, in fact, they are not.
Once Islam’s taproot is well established, the faithful are free to dropthe façade and, then,summons the conquered toheed the call of Allah to Islam (da’wah) whereupon shouts of Allahu akbar, meaning “Allah is Greater,” will silence the defunct, but currently useful“many-paths-to-God” mantra. 5
· First: Outward Identificationin a Show of Solidarity
Throughout the hajj, Muslim men are required to dress alike in order to represent equality of all Muslims, whether rich or poor. Regardless of one’s sect or country of origin, male pilgrims don sandals and drape themselves in two sheets of white cloth to remind them of simplicity, humility, and self-purification.
Not unlike Muslim Arabs whom the early 11thcentury Sanskrit Texts depict as “white-clad” invaders, Buddhists with shaved headsalso wear special robes. Buddlamists applaud this outward identification, if only by wardrobe, as apparent indication of solidarity, if not sameness.6
With this in mind, I recall a popular comedy routinefrom decades past in which the Smothers Brothers sang a memorable, tongue-in-cheek ditty. Lyrics expounded on wearing the collar, hat, raincoat, and shoes of a sailor (anthropologist, or refrigerator repairman—whatever) so thatsome day they’d be sailors, too—“the same as their old man.”
Though Buddhist, the Dalai Lama visits local mosques and dons Islamic garments—but for the sake of conciliation, not comic relief. Either way,conventional wisdom remains in tact:Superficial identification with a sailor, or a Muslim, doesn’t a sailor or Muslim make. Nor does it negate authentic characteristics of real sailors or Muslims. To presume otherwise is delusion, or perhaps even an act of deception.
· Next: Framing Mismatched Beliefs as “Similar”—e.g., Doctrines, Devotions and Practices
Once again, Islamic precedence accepts that the end (ummah) justifies the means—i.e., identifying with other faiths as a semblance of solidarity, if only superficially. Yet another tactic employed by religious syncretists is to recast mismatched doctrines, beliefs, and practices as being “similar” when, in fact, they are not.
For example, Buddlam tacticians fashion incompatible,core doctrines of Buddhism and Islam as if they were agreed upon Islamo-Buddhist “talking points.”
Re.: The Prophet/Maitreya
Some religionists associate the future Buddha Maitreya (the Loving- or Merciful- One) with the Prophet Muhammad (servant of the Merciful One), but presumed similitude doesn’t stop here. Qur’anic mention of the fig tree is thought by some to reference Buddha, who purportedly attained enlightenment at the foot of one.
More specifically, Buddha is “the one from Kifl” (the Prophet, characterized in the Qur’an as patient and good). However compelling these comparisons, Buddlamists err by pairing Buddha and Muhammad as principled “messengers” intent on achieving the same things; but the respective world religions birthed by them belie this fallacy.7
It’s noted that early 11thcentury Sanskrit Kalachakra Texts contain beliefsfundamental to Islam—e.g., texts apply a Persian wordused for white-clad Arab invaders whose destiny was to please the Compassionate One (Rahman). Some go so far as to identifyMuhammad as an avatar(incarnation) of Rahman whose triumphs affected a higher rebirth in paradise.Drawing from convolutednotions, as these, Buddlamists deviseand advance a fanciful pipe dream promising religious harmony, understanding, and peaceful cooperation.8
Re.: Greater Jihad/Triumphant Mind Battles
To Buddlamists,jihad (“proper effort”) resonates with the Triumphant One (Buddha) said to have won the mind battle over ignorance, greed, attachment, anger, and hatred. For both camps (Buddhism and Islam), no price is too dear. Today’s Islamic suicide bombers (more accurately, “homicide” bombers) bring to mind Zen monks who incinerated themselves during the Vietnam War. BecauseBuddhist teachings include something similar to a lesser jihad, and the greater jihad is the struggle against lust, it stands to reason thatBuddhists can and should dialogue doctrinally with Islamists.9
Beyond reconciling incompatible doctrines as if they really were reconcilable, Buddlam tacticians attribute fallacious similarities to devotional practices of two distinctly separate world religions.
The Arabic word sharia (meaning “the grand boulevard” or “the street”) encompasses ritual worship, transactions and contracts, morals and manners, beliefs, and punishments. In short, it represents law that people must obey for metaphorical traffic to move easily in the world.
Though Buddha did not teach a legal code,Muhammad did. A Muslim under shariamay not convert to Christianity, steal, or commit adulteryunder threat of punishment, be it flogging, stoning, amputation, or execution. Legally, he may redeem holy ground, assist jihadists,fake peace, and endorse female genital mutilation and/or polygamy.
In contrast, Buddhist ethical teachings are derived from Kalachakra Tantra, not sharia; and Buddha’s foundational belief was restraint from ten especially destructive actions—including physical acts of killing, stealing, and inappropriate sexual behavior; verbal ones of lying, speaking divisively, using harsh and cruel language, speaking idle words; and mental ones of covetous thinking, thinking with malice and distorted, antagonistic thinking with which one denies the value of anything positive.
By intentionally mischaracterizing sharia as “methodoloy to attain truth,” Buddlam pairs it with Buddhist meditation, but wrongly so. While sharia is clearly a set of “do’s” and “don’t’s,”Buddhist meditation is not. Rather, it involves a variety of techniques to develop mindfulness, concentration, tranquility, and insight.10
Islamists and Buddhists employ divergent, but seemingly similar methods to overcome pitfalls and obstacles. For example, repeated recitation of Buddha’s names and sacred syllables (mantras) counted on rosary beads purportedly parallels recitation of dhikrs in Islam. Just as Sufis recite the names of God, Buddhists praise the names of Manjushri.11
Simply put, syncretism is doctrinal mix as evidenced in the growing popularity of Buddlam, doctrinal mix of Buddhism with Islam. While pursuers of religious commonality in the West favor Chrislam, those in the East favor Buddlam.
Postmodernists accept most any brand of spirituality that isn’t unduly divisive. For the sake of building upon “common ground”—this, in an effort to reconcile creeds that logically clash—compliant religionists from Buddhism and Islam both forfeit (or feign to forfeit) traditional core doctrines of their respective religions.
Accordingly, Islamist pacifists tactically embrace Buddhism with no mind to yieldingtheir Grand Design for Islamic dominance. When it serves their own purpose, making friends with their nemesis is fine. So is recasting infidels’ beliefs as somehow “similar.” These understand that, once Islam’s taproot is well established, the faithful may drop the façade of conciliation and, in turn, summons the conquered to heed the call of Allah to Islam.
More to come in Part 3.
2. Alexander Berzin. “Buddhist-Muslim Doctrinal Relations: Past, Present, and Future.” Originally published withextensive footnotes in Buddhist Attitudes toward Other Religions, ed. Perry Schmidt-Leukel. (St. Ottilien: EOS Verlag, 2008): 212 – 236.
3. Debra Rae. “Islamic Fundamentalism.” ABCs of Globalism: A Vigilant Christian’s Glossary. (Lafayette: Huntington House Publishers, 1999):160.
4. Muhammad bin Maslama once admitted, “Messenger, we shall have to tell lies.” To that, the Prophet replied, “Say what you like; you are absolved, free to say whatever you must” (Ishaq: 365; Tabari VII: 94). See also: http://prophetofdoom.net/Islamic_Quotes.Islam.
5. William Wagner. “The Quiet Revolution.” How Islam Plans to Change the World. (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2004): 39-42.
6. Reza Shah Kazemi. “Introduction.” Common Ground between Islam and Buddhism. (Louisville: Fons Vitae,2010): Introduction by H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad.
7. Tenzin Gyatso. “Many Faiths, One Truth.” (New York: New York Times, 24 May 2010): The Opinion Pages.
9. Berzin, Buddhist Attitudes, 79-110.
10. Berzin, Buddhist Attitudes, 79-110.
11. Berzin, Buddhist Attitudes, 79-110.