Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Brit Hume, Tiger Woods, Jesus and Buddha

If not for Tara, I may have totally missed the controversy swirling around Brit Hume's advice to Tiger Woods. Here it is:

What's controversial about what Brit Hume said to Tiger Woods?

It seems that Brit is genuinely concerned for Tiger, his life, his family, his future. According to Hume's understanding of Christianity and Buddhism, both provide a path to peace, but one offers atonement and redemption, the other something insufficient. It's obvious that Hume, who is a practicing Christian, considers his religion to be superior to Buddhism, thus his advice to Tiger. In his compassion towards Woods, Hume extends what he believes to be a better path to restoration of Woods soul, family, and future contribution not only to golf but humanity.

Apparently, though, there are lots of people who think that all religions are equal. Even very smart people believe this. But it is a naive position to hold. It denigrates all religions. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all insist that their way is the only way. They can't all be right. And thus Hinduism and Buddhism are not right, or any other religion. Is it possible for a Christian to love a Jew or a Muslim or a Buddhist, but still think that their religion is incorrect. Of course.

And of course there are people that mock Brit Hume, not because he advises Tiger Woods to seek restoration through Christ, but because Hume recommends religion as an option. Many secularists who are anti-religion (not all secularists are anti-religion, though they consider religion unnecessary) are either misconstruing Hume's attempt to help Woods, or just plain making fun of him.

Jon Stewart uses humor (which made me laugh) to mock Brit Hume and his suggestion.
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It's obvious that Stewart and friends do not allow for religions to be different - they must all be equal, despite what each religion actually asserts. Sorry Stewart - you are funny, and you make some valid points, but you miss the point.

Tom Shales (never heard of him) of the Washington Post (which I read once in awhile) lashed out cruelly at Hume. It seems that Shales disdains religion as a whole, and is appalled that a fellow journalist is reaching out with compassion through religion to a celebrity. Which reveals the shamefulness of Shales' perspective and his attitude (and understanding of religion).

Huffington Post and NPR provide a fairly neutral report of the situation. USA Today online trends towards disagreeing with what Hume did. They also provide links to reactions by Buddhists who are offended by what Hume suggested.

First Things, a Catholic site, gives a rundown of all sorts of reactions to Hume, and then gives an interesting response.

So what do you think is the issue here?

Are all religions equal, thus no proselytizing of any kind?

Should journalists stay completely neutral on religion - one of the most powerful forces in the world?

Should Christians refrain from using public forums to comment on other religions?

Is Brit Hume being misunderstood? Is Christianity misunderstood? Is Buddhism misunderstood? Is the role of religion in public misunderstood?

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