I know this Brit Hume thing is getting beat to death. The man made comments about religion because he wanted a chance to proselytize on air…fine. Whatever. Comments have also sprouted up from the Buddhist camp concerning misconceptions made clear by Hume’s poorly informed comments. Ethan Nichtern did a fantastic job on CNN covering these. It was a joy to watch. The fact that Ethan simply refused to subjectively judge another faith was simply beautiful. Stuck to the facts and didn’t extrapolate. This interview could have gone in a different direction if Ethan went down that path but he didn’t…
As well as a few surprising ones from Don Imus (the last man I expected to do some research on Buddhism since he did such a great job identifying with African American women). But he actually went in, somewhat irreverently, and discussed Buddhist thought.
While I think most Buddhist, after the initial knee-jerk “I’m-so-pissed-off” reaction, took this as an opportunity to explain our beliefs (or lack of them) to the popular media, I am not surprised that the media twisted it into a “Buddhism vs. Christianity” thing. Something to sensationalize and cause dispute.
It isn’t a battle over souls. It isn’t us versus them. It is a process. This process sometimes spans across several belief patterns and religions but it takes us to the same place ~ introspection, realization of true-self and a more productive and happy life. If you need to place a Buddhist, Atheist or Christian label to it then fine….
…but don’t pretend that most of us are in the least concerned about converts or conversion. The best thing, from my point of view, that a spiritual practitioner can do is respect and treat with compassion another’s belief or non-belief.