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My Take: Dalai Lama should condemn Tibetan self-immolations
Tibetans at a protest in Taipei in 2011 display portraits of people who killed themselves by self-immolation.
July 12th, 2012
09:28 AM ET

My Take: Dalai Lama should condemn Tibetan self-immolations

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

When the Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc immolated himself in Saigon in 1963 to protest the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government of Ngo Dinh Diem, the world took notice. Malcolm Browne’s photograph of the monk becoming a martyr won the Pulitzer Prize, and Diem's Roman Catholic regime fell before the year’s end.

Today, Tibet is witnessing an epidemic of self-immolations. In fact, since March 16, 2011, more than 40 Tibetans have followed Thich Quang Duc’s lead, setting themselves on fire to protest the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Westerners react with revulsion to sati, the Hindu practice of widow-burning outlawed by the British in 1829, and of course to Islamist suicide bombers. The New Atheists are right to protest all this killing in the name of God (or the Buddha) - the way believers both prompt violence and justify it in the name of some higher good.

So where are the protests against these Tibetan protesters?

When asked about the recent spate of self-immolations in Tibet, the Dalai Lama has offered the response of no response. In a July 9 interview, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people said he wanted “to remain neutral,” telling The Hindu:

This is a very, very delicate political issue. Now, the reality is that if I say something positive, then the Chinese immediately blame me. If I say something negative, then the family members of those people feel very sad. They sacrificed their own life. It is not easy. So I do not want to create some kind of impression that this is wrong. So the best thing is to remain neutral.

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I know it is impolitic to criticize the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is revered as a bodhisattva by many Buddhists.  But he deserves criticism in this case. Why not "create some kind of impression" that killing is wrong? Why not use his vast storehouse of moral and spiritual capital to denounce this ritual of human sacrifice?

If the Dalai Lama were to speak out unequivocally against these deaths, they would surely stop. So in a very real sense, their blood is on his hands. But the bad karma the Dalai Lama is accruing here extends far beyond Tibet and these particular protesters.

In an important article on suicide in the Boston Globe, Jennifer Michael Hecht has noted that suicides beget suicides. “One of the best predictors of suicide is knowing a suicide,” she writes. “That means that every suicide may be a delayed homicide.”

And so it goes with self-immolations. The suicide by fire of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi is widely seen as a key catalyst of the Tunisian revolution and the wider Arab Spring. Less well known is the fact that over a hundred Tunisians later set themselves on fire in copycat incidents.

I understand that there is a tradition of self-immolation in Buddhism dating back at least to the fourth century. But there is also a strong ethic of compassion. So where is the compassion here?

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The Dalai Lama isn’t just a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He is also a man of peace. It is time in this crisis that he started to act like one.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Asia • Buddhism • China • Dalai Lama • Death • Ethics • Opinion • Politics • Protest • Tibet • Tibet • Violence

soundoff (268 Responses)
  1. Jason T

    I would like to if the Tibetans who killed themselves this way are monks or ordinary Tibetans.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • BG

      I would like to if the Tibetans who killed themselves this way are monks or ordinary Tibetans.

      Why? What difference would it make? Is an act of protest any less significant because a monk did it, or any more significant because an 'ordinary' (read, atheist?) did it?

      July 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • owen

      TO BG:

      To those who died,it's no difference because life is the same.

      But because of their background, yes, it matters.

      Monks used to be the upper class under Dalai la ma rule. They are under the same roof with Da lai.

      They protest to maintain their interest. Ordinary people who used to suffer much,they are more comparatively content about their current life. That's the difference,

      July 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • BG

      @ owen

      "Monks used to be the upper class under Dalai la ma rule. They are under the same roof with Da lai."

      But who are they trying to impress? Not the Dalai Lama, but rather the international community, the vast majority of which has no idea as to the hierarchical relationships of this culture. What the international community recognizes is that Tibetans are self-immolating in protest. So, really, owen, your first statement is more accurate:

      " ... it's no difference because life is the same."

      Whether you're one of the dead, or a casual observer of the international news.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Dechen

      Jason T, they are Tibetans from all walks of life..young, old, monks and nuns of different ranks and status,lay man and women from all three major Tibetan provinces " Dho-toe, Dho-mae and 'u'-Tasang" and from exile as well.As of today total of close to fifty or so have self-immolated across Tibet and in exile; of which many have lost their lives.The blames of all these self-immolations lie fairly and squarely on the shoulders Beijing's failed policies and its keepers who much rather hang on to their repeated lies about Tibet being part of China rather than try to solve the existing problems. TIBET IS LITERALLY A PRISON WHERE ALMOST NO ONE GO IN OR COME OUT FREELY; SPECIALLY IF YOU ARE A TIBETAN. It won't be too wrong to say, the whole of Tibet is under some kind of house arrest in much meaner and crueler ways than you can imagine.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Kelsang

      From all walks of Life; monks, nuns, highschool teenage, mother of 4, dad, high lamas with clear messages: THEY CANNOT LIVE UNDER THIS SUFFOCATING AND TREACHEROUS SITUATION IN TIBET, and CALLING FOR FREEDOM OF TIBET AND RETURN OF DALAI LAMA.
      SOME OF THEM LEFT NOTES AND VIDEO MESSAGES AND WAS CLEAR: THEIR INTENTION WAS NOT FOR FAME BUT TO OFFER THEIR BODY AS LAMP SO TO DISPEL THE DARKNESS ENGULFED TIBET.

      IT IS HEART-WRENCHING FOR ALL TIBETANS AND OTHERS WITH SOUL. TO BLAME THE VICTIM MUST BE SOULLESS.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  2. Phil

    Prothero, go back to school. All your articles lack reality. I don't know what world you are living in.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • owen

      He lives in a world where is not bombarded negative news about China. He is not so brain-washed by your media on the issue.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  3. Richard

    Say this to the Chinese government not Dalai Lama...

    July 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  4. Sam

    Instead of asking what drove them to self immolate. Prothero asks, "So where are the protests against these Tibetan protesters?" Am I on Chinese government propaganda website or CNN?

    July 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  5. Rynomite

    mmmmmm. Roast Monk! Tasty!

    July 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • ME II

      lol... hey, that's horrible!

      July 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  6. James

    What on earth is this author talking about?

    He asks, "So where are the protests against these Tibetan protesters?". Is he serious? Foundation of his argument is completely wrong. Instead of saying, why are they protesting, he asks the complete opposite. If you need the answer to your flawed question, here you go; there is not only protest against the Tibetan protesters in Tibet but these protesters are beaten, shot to death, tortured to death, life imprisonment, etc. by the Chinese communist government.

    I am extremely said that CNN has this ignorant author as their "regular contributor". He needs to know more before writing a completely flawed article. This is as bad as CNN getting the Health Care Bill wrong.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • China News Service 中国新闻社

      The only difference is that we print his commentaries with the comic strips on Sundays, and CNN publishes him on weekdays.

      Please enjoy Mr. Prothero's work. We pay him pretty well.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  7. ME II

    @Stephen Prothero,
    The ethics of your argument seem questionable. While i can see a justification for the Dalai Lama being somewhat responsible for the immolations, but only in light of him being a de-facto leader of the Buddhist monks themselves, which I don't think you asserted, but not as the spiritual leader of the Tibetans.

    Just because his words might reduce the incidents of self-immolation does not make him responsible for the incidents that do occur. As.signing responsibility for someone else's actions to a person simply because they are spiritually respected seems weak at best.

    In addition, as.signing responsibility as an accomplice to secondary suicides is just ridiculous in my mind. Not only would that require him to be responsible for what is a personal choice of the first suicide but also the choice of the second suicide. By that logic, the responsibility via ramifications would never end. This seems to me to be equivalent to the vendettas of old; a never-ending chain of responsibility. Would he also be responsible for the broken leg of the bicyclist who wreaked because he was distracted by the flames burning the monk in question?

    In addition, comparing an action taken by a protesting individual to an action that directly harms others, e.g. homicide bombers, is just wrong, by the weak analogy fallacy.
    And sati was a cultural expectation upon the widows, as I understand it, not a personal decision and again not equivalent.

    I think the question / statement you want to be making is "Self-immolation is not an ethical method of protest." By virtue of the secondary suicides you mentioned this may be valid.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Dechen

      Beijing rules Tibet right now.Our political power lies in the hands of the Chinese government, our economy power is in their hands; the whole physical control over Tibetan people lies in the hands of China.People in Tibet are grieving against Chinese oppressive regime and its atrocities. How is the Dalai lama supposed to tell the Tibetans in Tibet not to do any thing? What alternate comfort can he offer to our brothers and sisters suffering under the direct heavy handedness of the communist regime where we can not even try to have a decent conversation through the various means of communication with people in Tibet.Whatever is happening in Tibet in terms of self-immolations could well be Beijing's set up against His Holiness the Dalai lama with Hu Jintao's hopes to tarnish His Holiness's reputation which only back fired them at best.
      Let us just suppose,His Holiness will agree to tell Tibetans in Tibet to stop all this. Will Beijing be willing to allow His Holiness to speak directly to our folks back home with world medias' presence ? Whatever is the world's dirty politics is all about, I don't know Stephen; but the truth is on our side and the money and lies are on China's side. That's our simple truth !!!

      July 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  8. Ngawang Yonten

    Wow, its really pity that someone can blindly write on such important and political subject like Tibetan Self Immolation like playing some sort of chess game.
    When Stephen blames Dalai Lama for not speaking against Self Immolation by which he can stop such Self immolation, blogger is only concern of aftermath of such tragic protest, where his critical thinking went wrong by not going into the roots of such Self immolation. To solve every problem, it is very important to find and make right of its root causes. In Tibetan self immolation cases, the root causes are the repressive policies adopted by the Chinese CCP in Tibet. Merely pumping multi-million dollar into Tibet will not win the hear and mind of Tibetans, they need to understand Tibetan way of life, culture and above all Buddhism and return of Dalai Lama.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • China News Service 中国新闻社

      Stephen Prothero is also a regular contributor to our publications, where we have found him to be a most useful idio – ... ah, most perceptive journalist. Stephen's next assignment will be to analyze the social and theological merits of our complete ownership of the entire South China Sea.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  9. george

    I am confused

    July 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • China News Service 中国新闻社

      Then Mr. Prothero is doing his job. Damn. Now we'll have to give him a raise.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  10. Shira

    I am baffled by the apparent equivalence drawn here (in the article and comments) between killing oneself to make a political point and killing others - widows or innocent bystanders - for religious or political reasons. Clearly, self-sacrifice can be effective, as the Vietnamese and Tunisian examples show. If an individual wishes to sacrifice him- or herself to make the world better, I think that is within his or her rights.

    I suggest that Prof. Prothero would like it if he didn't have to keep hearing about the suffering of the Tibetan people. In fact, the self-immolations do far more to keep the issue alive in the world media than do the words and life-example of His Holiness. Painful as the constant reminder is, it is not lacking in purpose. We should support the right of Tibetan people to choose how to live and whether and how to give their lives.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Point well taken!

      July 12, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  11. hoypoloy

    My take on Stephen Prothero is that he should mind his own business when it comes to other peoples religions.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Isn't that the purpose of religion?

      July 12, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • HeavenSent

      I believe if Prothero didn't write his column, you atheists wouldn't have 1/2 as much to complain about during your day. You'd complain that now you'd have to find something else to focus on for your complaints to be spewed. Just admit that you're all miserable and we'll call it a day (LOL).

      July 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • sam

      Holy crap, HS, that was a real zinger. There's just no rebuttal to such a witty statement.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I don't know about you sam, but, I laughed when I was writing that response.

      July 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  12. The events in the history only proved that...an atheist founded, emulated and inspired (Mao's) regime are needed to be wipe out upon the face of the earth than Christianiy (Catholic) and Islam (Arab Nations) and any other organization, group or government

    "When the Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc immolated himself in Saigon in 1963 to protest the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government of Ngo Dinh Diem, the world took notice. Malcolm Browne’s photograph of the monk becoming a martyr won the Pulitzer Prize, and Diem's Roman Catholic regime fell before the year’s end."

    And...

    "And so it goes with self-immolations. The suicide by fire of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi is widely seen as a key catalyst of the Tunisian revolution and the wider Arab Spring. Less well known is the fact that over a hundred Tunisians later set themselves on fire in copycat incidents."

    Both of them worked.

    Meanwhile...

    "Today, Tibet is witnessing an epidemic of self-immolations. In fact, since March 16, 2011, more than 40 Tibetans have followed Thich Quang Duc’s lead, setting themselves on fire to protest the Chinese occupation" of Tibet.

    Obviously, they didn't work.

    I would highly recommend that immolating China would be a better option. And if..US, UN, NATO and their superpowers allies in the world join forces for this common goal, it could be done in justa blink of an eye.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Huebert

      So your answer is to massacre over 1.5 billion civilians. How christian of you.

      July 12, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Answer

      These type of people want to encourage violence onto others. Religious idiots are nothing but cowards who can fling bs. If they want a fight – I know the world will eliminate them in no time flat.

      July 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • china's primitive obsession of creating a dragon empire is making them a huge threat for world's peace

      "So your answer is to massacre over 1.5 billion civilians. How christian of you."

      Yes huebert, before china makes it double.

      July 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Response

      @Answer

      Violence? Who massacred the Tibetan monks? And do you have any idea how China bullied the smaller and weaker neighbors buy hauling minerals and other wealth of the sea from disputed islands, ludicrously claiming them as one their own when those islands are more or less thousand nautical miles from their boarders?

      July 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Huebert

      @long named a.sshat

      You are a terrible human being. Your thought went straight to massacre all of China. You never thought of economic sanctions, a propaganda campaign, regime change, or even a conventional war. You just went kill everyone in China. I really hope you don't vote.

      July 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • china is too influencial and powerful for that

      No Huebert, those will not work anymore on china. Sadly, there'll be no better option.

      July 13, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  13. George

    The author is obviously talking from the narrow context of the self-immolations without considering what is leading to such acts. It is not the Dalai Lama who can stop the self immolation, it is the Chinese communist government who can stop the self immolation and responsible for it. I consider this is a political act, it is "Give me the liberty or give me the death" battle cry of the the Tibetan people. Besides the Dalai Lama is already retired from politics. The author has a ulterior motive for this writing, and unfortunately very naive on the issue, that he is addressing.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • George

      Is that so hard for Dalai Lama to say, no kill yourself Tibetan?

      July 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  14. Tenzin

    With no doubt Author tried to pacifies the plight of Tibetan struggle against opressive china yet he underestimated the courage and tolerance Tibetans have shown in the past 60 years of chinese rule....he might not have intended to blame HH the Dalai lama for this outrage but he must speak without prejudice, it is the Dalai lama who kept Tibetans non violent, ...the dalai lama whom tibetans consider supreme leader has every time ancourage Tibetans to love Chinese even they don't ....he preaches peace and compassion..he also has moral responsiblity of being the Dalai lama to speak on behalf of his people. stopping self immolation is not a long term solution for Tibet's problem, political solution has to be realised unless it is determined extremism may engulf Tibet but not at the cost buddhist values. Author seems to have spoken what CPC China always wanted to say Dalai lama is behind self immolations !!! well let independent UN interlocutors examine the reasons.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  15. Why not imolate China one at a time instead?

    "When the Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc immolated himself in Saigon in 1963 to protest the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government of Ngo Dinh Diem, the world took notice. Malcolm Browne’s photograph of the monk becoming a martyr won the Pulitzer Prize, and Diem's Roman Catholic regime fell before the year’s end."

    And...

    "And so it goes with self-immolations. The suicide by fire of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi is widely seen as a key catalyst of the Tunisian revolution and the wider Arab Spring. Less well known is the fact that over a hundred Tunisians later set themselves on fire in copycat incidents."

    Both worked.

    Meanwhile...

    "Today, Tibet is witnessing an epidemic of self-immolations. In fact, since March 16, 2011, more than 40 Tibetans have followed Thich Quang Duc’s lead, setting themselves on fire to protest the Chinese occupation" of Tibet.

    Obviously, it didn't work.

    The events in the history only proved that...an atheist founded, emulated and inspired (Mao's) regime are needed to be wipe out upon the face of the earth than Christianiy (Catholic) and Islam (Arab Nations) and any other organization, group or government.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • The Knight of God

      Lol an atheist state? Soviet Russia tried that... look at how that turned out... no thanks

      July 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • ME II

      @The Knight of God,
      Soviet Russia was a Communist state.

      July 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  16. Philip Rodgers

    Stephen, I hope this gibberish gets you the required number of emotional responses you are looking for to justify your existence on CNN.

    July 12, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  17. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Here's the thing that most people dont know about the Lama's. It is part of a caste system very similar to India and they were the land holders. They dont care about the people, they only want to be put back into power and get their palaces back.

    July 12, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  18. Huebert

    "If the Dalai Lama were to speak out unequivocally against these deaths, they would surely stop. So in a very real sense, their blood is on his hands."

    I disagree with the conclusion. The Dalai Lama is not ordering or even asking anyone to self-immolate. He can't be held responsible for the free choice of these monks.

    July 12, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      100% correct!

      July 12, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  19. Voice of Reason

    A person has a right to their own life. If they want to kill themselves, so what? Is it so wrong? Think about it and don't bring a god or religion into the scenario as you will just confuse the issue. I am not going to compare the "right to die" issue here in the USA to those suicides BUT I know if I was faced with an imminent terminal medical condition I would surely opt to be put down.

    July 12, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • HeavenSent

      So what you are saying Voice, without use of your bodily functions, you mind is just a waste.

      July 12, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @HeavenSent

      Show me where I posted anything about bodily functions and the mind please? You just created that in your silly little head.

      July 12, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Whine of Treason

      @Voice...

      HWEEEHHHHH! Are you sure?

      I see you vow in prayer to be healed, comes that day. And that is SURE!

      July 12, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Whine of Treason

      Do yourself a favor and learn how to write and communicate.

      July 12, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Whine of Treason

      And try to use that thing inside your cranium. It's ozzing but OBVIOULY, not working.

      July 12, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Whine
      What the hell is OZZING?
      is that when you go up the rails on the cray train?

      July 12, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Whine of Treason

      With an *S, OBVIOUSLY. Lol!

      July 12, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Voice, cough Tommie Tom ... part of your last post was as follows "BUT I know if I was faced with an imminent terminal medical condition I would surely opt to be put down."

      Don't concern yourself with my mind. Concern yourself with erasing 90% of the baloney that is clouding your gray matter.

      July 12, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • FYI, u'reN'T invited

      @who invited me

      Kindly listen to Voice of Reason's suggestion in his/her/it's first response to Whine of Treason. It might do you well, GL!

      July 12, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @HeavenSent

      Once again you prove yourself to be the floundering idiot that you are. Your original post implied that I said something about bodily functions and the mind and I asked you to point out where I posted that. You didn't because I didn't say anything of the sort. To tell you the truth I think you're already brain dead.

      July 12, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Whine of Treason
      "And try to use that thing inside your cranium. It's ozzing but OBVIOULY, not working."

      Thank you for proving my observation! MORON!

      July 12, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Voice, come out of the closet Tommie. If you have a terminal illness, it's obvious that your body will most likely fail. You want to jump ship and commit suicide before that happens. What I said is ... we are not only our bodies. I used the word mind, which is the Christian word for soul. We are souls housed in human form. Our bodies are our temples. We are not our bodies, it's only the apparatus we used to experience life on earth. Our souls (in your case, mind) is what we are all about. Meaning, we still function even when the body fails. There is more to our learning before we take our last breath and return to the Lord. I stated this on the other article we discussed this issue. Obviously, you never went back to read what I wrote. Or, as usual, don't care because it's opposite of your thoughts ... Thank you God.

      July 12, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ah, so now you've added Voice of Reason to the list of monikers I use. What a dunderhead! I just came on this thread because I saw your name in the queue and had to see what new idiocy you had posted.

      July 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @HeavenSent

      Look, keep your god and religion out of the scenario. You can't or you won't.

      You keep referring to the body, can we include the brain within that statement? If so, what if I have terminal brain cancer? You believe we are souls housed in human form. Guess what? There is no proof of such a thing. "We are not our bodies"? Really? "It's only our souls (another thing you cannot prove) is what we are all about", I disagree.
      "Meaning, we still function even when the body fails. There is more to our learning before we take our last breath and return to the Lord."
      So, if I'm brain dead and kept on life support I should be kept alive or allowed to die with dignity?

      You need to really get a hold of yourself and come to reality my friend. You are so completely out of line it's deplorable. You have no proof of anything you state and you're philosophy is so counter productive to our species that you should consider sacrificing yourself for the love of your god.

      July 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Voice, first. I will discuss Jesus Christ and use His terminology any time I want. Too bad if you don't like it. As for our souls. Again, too bad you don't admit that is what we are. As for being brain dead, you have no evidence, scientifically or other, that the person isn't conscience and knows everything happening around them, but, is prevented to express anything to anyone. Oh, because the machine records no brain function. Therefore, ship this one off .... next.

      The folks that pulled the plug on Terri Shaivo and the court that allowed the plug to be pulled have blood on their hands. What else is new?

      July 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Answer

      HeavenSent = whack job.

      July 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @HeavenSent

      I don't know what your family status is but for argument's sake let's assume you are a married male and your wife is brain dead and on life support, if you were to pull the plug her body would give out and die. How long would you allow this to go on?

      July 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • This is only a test

      HeavenSent sure collapses into trolling quickly these day.

      July 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Voice, my spouse died of ALS. My mother died of lung cancer and my father died of heart disease. I've been with family and friends that have died from a variety of illnesses and not one wanted to be terminated before they died naturally from whatever they were battling. It's obvious that I've live and experienced more life than you. You sound like you're still in the beginning stages of life and don't have a lot of life experiences behind your belt. If you're older than I assume. I can only shake my head over how spiritually dead you truly are.

      July 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @HeavenSent

      Start shaking your head because I'm nearly 75 and experience can only be determined by what you have learned from the experience. In that sense I am head and shoulders above you.
      Still, once again, you don't answer a question directly. I asked you about being brain dead and on life support. How long would you allow the person to be on life support if there was no turning back?

      July 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • sam

      This thread has 1000% more crazy than I expected. And that's saying a lot.

      July 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Whine of Treason

      @Voice

      Good o know that a quark-sized brain like you have is capable of interpreting what is being observed.

      July 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Voice of Reason, just because someone is technically never going to turn back, doesn't mean they aren't experiencing what it is that goes on while in that state. Who is anyone to deny the journey they are experiencing in their current state. We don't know what is going on or what they are experiencing. There was a doctor a few years ago that wrote about her experience of having a stroke, went into a comma, of course couldn't communicate in any way with others.

      July 12, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Whine of Treason
      "Good o know that a quark-sized brain like you have is capable of interpreting what is being observed."

      GOOD O KNOW? I love it! You keep poking that same little stick in your eye, moron!

      July 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @HeavenSent

      I read the book you are talking about, it's called "My Stroke of Insight". You still didn't answer my question about being brain dead and on life support. How long would you allow a loved one to remain on life support?

      July 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Whine of Treason

      @Voice

      You've been doing pretty well making fun of your stupidity on this thread. And it seems that you're enjoying it. Have fun, dude!

      July 13, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Voice, I would allow anyone, not only my loved ones, all the time they need to be on life support. It is up to them when they take their last breath, not anyone else. A conservative that pulls the plug on the loved one, is doing so because of ill advice and/or because the patient has become a liability to them. Take your choice. It's murder..

      July 15, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  20. hate on hater

    Take note Islam. This is real martyrdom. Killing innocents in the name of religion via suicide bombers is the ultimate in cowardice. At least the Buddhist are not blowing themselves up.

    July 12, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      I agree.

      July 12, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Steve

      not too mention........how many north americans would be willing to die for a cause that they believe in. Willing to kill for, no prob. But willing to die for....not a one. The only thing Western civilization is willing to die for is Money, power, oil, and a guest apperance on American Idol.

      July 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.