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Coronavirus meets religion #4

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

[ by Charles Cameron — this one’s fine, with popes, patriarchs, confessions, hindutva and all — but i’ll have something special for you in #5 ]
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I just ran across an Italian site, DIRESOM, that monitors matters of the virus, religion and law, and am going to drop in some of the more potent notices here.

Hindutva:

Around mid-February 2020, Chakrapani Maharaj, who is the President of the Indian fundamentalist party “All India Hindu Mahasabha”, asserted that “corona is not a virus, but an angry avatar [divine embodiment] who came into the world to punish those who eat meat and to protect poor people”

The thuing is, religion allied to nationalism all too easily turns into bigotry, persecution, torture, massacres, whatever..

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Orthodoxy:

ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH ANNOUNCES HALT OF ALL ORTHODOX CHURCH SERVICES GLOBALLY DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
18 MARCH 2020

Brother Hierarchs and beloved children in the Lord,

From the Phanar, from the heart of the Queen of Cities, from the City of the Great Church and of Haghia Sophia, we are communicating with each and every one of you – women, men, and children – because of the unprecedented conditions and tribulation that we are facing as a human race as a result of the global threat posed by the pandemic of the new coronavirus, called Covid-19.

The voice of the Church, of the Mother Church, cannot be silent in such times. Our words, then, take the form we have learned through the ages: through the liturgy and through instruction, with encouragement and consolation.

Church of England:

Same thing in the UK..

As the challenge of the coronavirus grips the world, and as the Government asks every individual and every organisation to rethink its life, we are now asking the Church of England in all its parishes, chaplaincies and ministries to serve all people in a new way. Public worship will have to stop for a season. Our usual pattern of Sunday services and other mid-week gatherings must be put on hold. But this does not mean that the Church of England has shut up shop

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Catholicism:

The issue of the sacrament of confession — traditionally a face-to-face practice (albeit often conducted through a grille or veil) — may, a Vatican authority on canon law argues, legitimately be conducted via telephone, in sufficiently urgent, exigent circumstances.

  • Note on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the current pandemic situation, by the Vatican’s Grand Penitentiary, Cardinal Piacenza [Italian]
  • .

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    Pope Francis, pray for us

    Coronavirus meets religion #3

    Thursday, March 19th, 2020

    [ by Charles Cameron — third in a series — mostly about locusts ]
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    Eye-grabbing but not helpful:

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    The image comes from Prophecy News Watch, where it heads up today’s article, Is Coronavirus Connected To Bible Prophecy?. The answer:

    I believe what we are witnessing with COVID-19 is part of the birth pains Jesus talked about in the Olivet Discourse. In fact, I think it is a major birth pain; as is the locust plague that is ravaging Africa and the Mideast; as is the large number of social uprisings in countries around he world; as is the increase in earthquake activity; as were the record-breaking Australian wild fires; as is…you get the picture. Birth pains increase in frequency and intensity, and they only increase until the moment of delivery

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    Plague of locusts? From the Times of Israel, courtesy Richard Landes:

    Notice the subtitle: the locusts will ” skip Holy Land”. In the story of the Biblical plagues, the locusts were the eighth out of ten plagues of increasing severity meted out by the Lord against Pharaoh and his Egypt. There was worse to come, but the locust plague itself would be worse than any other locus plague before or since. As Moses prophesies to Pharaoh:

    Exodus 10. 3:Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.

    4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:

    5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field:

    6 And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day.

    It was the tenth and worst plague– the death of the firstborn — that afflicted the Egyptians and which “passed over” the Israelites — compare the eerie echo here of the plage that will “skip Holy Land”.

    Coronavirus meets religion #2

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

    [ by Charles Cameron — setting the records straight ]
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    That DoubleQuote (above) neatly illustrates the twin poles of this post.

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    I believe it was news of the Japanese sect [or new religious movement] known as Shincheonji being responsible for South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak that first prompted me to make post # 1 in this series — Coronavirus meets religion #1 — but somehow, although I remembered to post about the Pope on video, and the Kaaba empty of pilgtims, and even Lord Shiva’s statue in Banares wearing a surgical mask — I quite forgot to feature Shincheonji!

    Let’s set that straight.

    Dr Massimo Introvigne of CESNUR is the primary author for the white paper on Shincheonji. In 32 pages, it debunks the rumors — initially widespread, and hate-driven — that linked the new religious movement with the spread of the virus, and illuminates the ways in which scapegoating can lead of witch-hunts against minority religious groups who are taking converts away from larger, more established groups with potentially tragic consequences — scapegoats are sacrificed or expelled into the desert to fend for themselves, witches are burnt at the stake, eh?

    The very day I began this post, news arrived of preacher Kenneth Copeland and his bovel theory connecting coronavirus to, let’s be honest, Democrats.

    Fortunately, we have Dr Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention, a man who has proven himself speaking truth to power, and huis column today, The Prosperity Gospel in a Time of Plague, offers this warning shot across the bows of those who “preach”solutions to the coronavirus for financial gain at the expense of naive audiences — whose health may also suffer:

    As the entire world faces a public health and economic challenge the likes of which none of us has ever seen, we can, sadly, see the hucksters and grifters of the “prosperity gospel” movement, and their enablers, taking every opportunity, once again, to destroy lives and enrich themselves. This ought to matter to every disciple of Jesus Christ, with urgency like never before.

    Read Dr Moore on the so-called Silver Solution and its claim to cure coronaviruses, as pushed on the Jim Bakker show, and more..

    Finally, today the Washington Post chimed in with a post titled This is not the end of the world, according to Christians who study the end of the world. That’s a relief! In more detail:

    It sure might feel apocalyptic. But not if you ask Christian writers and pastors who have spent years focusing their message on the Book of Revelation — the New Testament’s final book. It lays out a lurid, poetic vision of the End Times, in which many evangelical leaders interpret it to mean that Jesus will return to Earth, believers will be raptured to heaven and those left behind will suffer seven dreadful years of calamities. Most of these Revelation-focused prophesiers don’t see coronavirus as heralding the Second Coming and the end of life on Earth as we know it.

    I’ll keep you informed!

    One or other, both or neither?

    Friday, January 31st, 2020

    [ by Charles Cameron — Modi or Trump, special or chosen? — with thanks to The Emissary on BrownPundits — and closing in on the shining suchness of the Tathagata ]
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    Modi of India, Trump of USA?

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    Trump of USA proclaims himself the Chosen One, while Modi of India’s supporters claim Modi is the Special One.

    Who knew?

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    Sources:

  • The Emissary, The Special One
  • Giphy, I am the Chosen One
  • **

    Buddhist logic from the beginning differs from its Aristotelian cousin, featuring the chatushkoti or tetralemma:

    India in the fifth century BCE, the age of the historical Buddha, and a rather peculiar principle of reasoning appears to be in general use. This principle is called the catuskoti, meaning ‘four corners’. It insists that there are four possibilities regarding any statement: it might be true (and true only), false (and false only), both true and false, or neither true nor false.

    Hence my title, One or other, both or neither?

    Oh ah:

    speaking of the Buddha, Nagarjuna states that the Buddha’s teaching is “emptiness is suchness, not suchness, both suchness and not suchness, and neither suchness nor not suchness.”

    Furthermore:

    The suchness of the Tathagata is the suchness of all phenomena.

    Rumor therefore has it that there’s a fifth possibility, a refuge from all dualities: the shining suchness of the Tathagata.

    **

    No, really — please comment!

    Secular and Saecula

    Sunday, December 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — avoiding a tough piece of necessary writing by dealing with something simpler that conveniently fell into my hand ]
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    Why do I bother?

    Well, you know Nassim Nicholas Taleb, he gave us the concept of black swans, very bright guy because he questions, questions, and the answers he gets from reality don’t always match with the expectations routinely offered in answer to the same questions.

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    Well, Taleb‘s tweet cropped up in my feed within about a minute of Greg McMurry quoting the Oratorian priest Fr David Abernathy‘s tweeting a quotation from St Charbel, which seemed to convey a very similar notion, only expressed in terms of spiritual rather than secular ratios between loss and gain:

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    I bother because seeing parallelisms and oppositions and taking note of them is one of the prime “moves” in creativity, and I want to be as primed to recognize such parallelisms, particularly when they cross disciplinary boundaries, as readily as possible.

    Bonus point because both St Charbel and Nassim Nicholas Taleb are of Lebanese origin.


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