I’m not sure who or what George Neumayr is more enraged at in today’s commentary: Buddhism, Vatican II, or Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis.
After the murder of 13 people, Mr. Neumayr has dedicated his time to targeting the “half-baked religion” of Buddhism, of which Alexis was an alleged member.
Neumayr argues that because Buddhist meditators don’t have a theistic system, they must be moral relativists, explaining its appeal to the dead murderer. Neumayr uses the reflections of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to prove this defect.
But Buddha never claimed to be “the Truth, the Way, and the Life” as Christ does; rather, he seeks only to be a way. As a meditative chant recites, “the finger that points to the moon is not the moon.” Thus, how can anybody blame the fingers for the blindness of eyes to the moon?
Second, if Buddhism has no definite God, does this mean it accepts and promotes violence? The religion is actually based on the “Four Truths,” which fundamentally reject materialism. These Truths are the following: that suffering exists, that we know the causes of such suffering, that desire and ignorance are the bases of suffering, and that we can end suffering by following a certain way of life. This path must include certain virtuous aspects, such as right action and right livelihood.
Whether the system of Buddhism is actually violent is in dispute. Self-immolation may be sinful as it is suicide, but it does not equate to Alexis’s mass shooting. After all, Christians throughout history have prayed at the foot of a torture device, and have even willingly submitted themselves to martyrdom, which in itself is a form of self-destruction. It depends on the cause, of course, but burning oneself does not logically correspond to shooting 13 people.
Interestingly, Neumayr neglects the concept of “karma.” If one does good acts, happiness will follow him, and vice versa for evil actions. I’d be surprised to hear from any Buddhist that Alexis will receive good karma in his next life.
Granted, Buddhism can easily lead to atheism, but it certainly doesn’t have to. It can also result in the witnessing of St. Augustine’s God, whose heart couldn’t rest until it rested with Him. Catholics can certainly convert Buddhists with reason and the beauty of their Church. Mr. Neumayr does the exact opposite by denying the legitimacy of their very existence.
As a Catholic, I agree that Buddhism is hardly sufficient as a holistic worldview. However, I do not deny the ability of Buddhists to discover God and His son through their meditations. While Neumayr may think this laughable, conversion comes first through joy and beauty, not through spite.
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