Index

Welcome

About Us

Contact Us

Submissions

The 21st Century

Hacktreks Travel

Hacktreks 2

First Chapters
Reviews
Dreamscapes
Lifestyles 1
Lifestyles 2
 
 









The International Writers Magazine:
THE THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS OF A BUDDHIST AMONG BAPTISTS
Reverend Father Antonio Hernández, O.M.D., A.B.F.
Founder of the Independent Order of American Buddhist Fathers
suriak@yahoo.com


A HERETIC EXPLAINS WHY WE NEED UNITY

As a Buddhist monk, a Zen priest for nearly 12 years, I have been privileged to study and fraternize with all peoples. As a former member of a Catholic religious order, I have delved into the deepest Christian apologia of the Roman Church, and I still enjoy studying other beliefs.

As a descendant of Sephardic Jews, I enjoyed the great blessing of converting and spending a year as a practicing Jew. Though I left the synagogue, I am still very close to the Jewish community here. I'm very proud of this. It solidifies what I saw in my numerous travels: how accepting people can be.


With the silly debate over Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" (it's just a movie!), it has become even more clear that spiritual divisions between peoples can still become pretty horrific. Here at Hackwriters, I have written several articles about Buddhist teachings, Christian scare tactics, anti-Semitism, and many other related topics. The hate mail I get has been thankfully small in quantity... but very 'loud in volume'.

We are an interesting people. We revile those whose views are basically the same as ours. We hated the Manichaeans for their "good-and-evil" doctrine, yet we divide ourselves against ourselves with "my-kind-of-monotheism vs. everyone else" fights. At the end of the day, there is no difference. Personally, I've never seen anything more "pagan" than monotheist practices.

What would constitute a heretic in such a world? A "heretic" is a "gnostic": someone holding differing views, that is all. It's a kind of difference that enriches everyone. No two people see their faith with the same eyes. People accuse others of heresy, and the others, with everyone preaching love, call them heretics right back. Soon, fighting ensues.

The spiritual starvation we suffer here in the West is due to this kind of immaturity; we do not have the maturity that achieves peace. We don't want to grow up, or be at peace. No deity, no man-god, no savior, no messiah can give us what we don't want.

The so-called heretics of ancient times were guilty only of wanting to share in a common fellowship with everyone, to try to combine religions where feasible, and to challenge those who claimed to have THE one-and-only answer. Most pagans wanted to be left alone, but the heretic goal was truth, unity and peace. Not monopoly, not xenophobia.

Christian heretics reminded the Church of its origins; Jewish heresies reminded Jews that they were outdated; other heresies were just plain irritating truths. Can't have any of that, now can we? When one studies history in earnest, one sees that "heretic" means "enemy". A religious "enemy" is an oxymoron, according to most religious doctrines. The churches don't like being reminded of that, either. In reality, "heretic" usually meant someone who could expose the truth.

There is a surprise in store for people who take time to study. All the religions of today are heresies of older religions. Not one is innocent of heresy. Judaism was a heresy of the Babylonian pantheon, nothing more than a Zoroastrian take-off; Christianity was a boatload of Jewish heresies; Buddhism is a Hindu heresy and Islam is a sort of double heresy, offending both Jewish and Christian doctrines. Christianity itself today is merely the single Jewish heresy that "won the race". How did all these heresies get so pushy?

Well, Buddhist though I am, I guess I am a heretic. I do not believe that a 1st century rabbi named Jesus is God or the "son of God", any more than anyone else is. So I am allegedly condemned to hell. Because I love knowledge and fellowship with everyone, I am considered a gnostic. Since I am descended from Jews but didn't really receive instruction, I'm called a "traitor to my own people". Because of my Buddhism and open mind, I'm called a heretic. Since I don't cotton to everything Buddhism teaches, I'm considered a religious hypocrite. Catholics, struggling to be politically correct, annoyingly call me a "lost sheep". Notice that all the name-calling amounts to accusing me of "heresy".

Two years ago July, I wrote an article here at "Hackwriters" about the Pledge of Allegiance (www.hackwriters.com/Godandstate.htm). I wrote that the words "under God" make the Pledge a prayer, since it is recited aloud_ it is clearly illegal. Tough to argue that away, but I am called many unpleasant, heretic-type names because of those views. And I'm not the only one. (How can being a good American make anyone a "heretic", and just how does that apply in the first place?)

Anyway, I'm proud to have so many names, given me by such eminent people!
Perhaps someday we will find a way to decrease our stupidity, at least for a day. Until then, I'm afraid I shall remain a heretic Jewish-Buddhist-gnostic-nearly-atheist, who will not go away or be silent. But, as I always say to everyone, I AM YOUR BROTHER. That's what matters most to me.
What does YOUR religion teach you about your brother?
© Rev Antonio Hernandez April 2004

Buy his book on Tourettes and Autism now

Home

© Hackwriters 2000-2004 all rights reserved