Childhood's End

Aug 6, 04:44 by IROSF
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Aug 6, 18:58 by Gregory Benford
Good essay. Lewis never learned much from Clarke, but Clarke understood the power of Lewis's intuitions, and used them.

Gregory Benford
Aug 6, 23:38 by Matthew Rees
Heh. Lewis and Clarke.
Aug 17, 00:14 by Michael Andre-Driussi
Near the end of Clarke's novel The Songs of Distant Earth, the visiting starship in the year A.D. 3829 gives a gift to the colonists, a small golden casket from a religious structure back on Earth. The giver is careful to say that he did not share the faith of those who gifted the casket to him. The structure is described in some detail, and it seems to be a Buddhist one.

The receiver say, "But you haven't told me what's inside this seventh casket."

"It's all that's left of one of the greatest men who ever lived; he founded the only faith that never became stained with blood. I'm sure he would have been most amused to know that, forty centuries after his death, one of his teeth would be carried to the stars" (paperback, 285).

This surprised me, and continues to surprise me. What are we to make of it? Mildly proselytizing, or dangerously naive about non-Western faiths and history?
Aug 18, 14:06 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
Given Clarke's awesome command of just about every topic you'd care to name, I find it difficult to believe he had no knowledge of the (relatively unknown) violent history of Buddhism. He did live in Sri Lanka for several decades and must have had some exposure (more than most westerners) to Buddhism and with a mind like his . . . In any case, it is a very interesting point you bring up Michael. Personally, at first glance, I would say it was neither naivete of Buddhism, nor proselytizing but rather a comment on the western Abrahamic religions (the Big Three if you will).

There is a lot of ignorance of the history of Buddhism in the west; for instance, ask anyone what the traditional role of the Dali Lamas was and chances are you won't hear "religious legitimization and support of a violent, repressive feudal regime".
Aug 19, 14:58 by Michael Andre-Driussi
errant371 wrote
Personally, at first glance, I would say it was neither naivete of Buddhism, nor proselytizing but rather a comment on the western Abrahamic religions (the Big Three if you will).

I can see that interpretation. Yet this exception for Buddhism would seem to poke a hole in the claim that Clarke had a long standing opposition to organized religion, unless "organized religion" here is just a vague diplomatic euphemism for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As you imply.

On the other hand, looking more closely at Clarke's writing and the Big Three, I have doubts. Even though I haven't read every Clarke work, I doubt he criticized Judaism. While he might have been critical of Islam, I doubt he committed this to paper himself so directly. So instead of the Big Three, I see his opposition as being towards two, or possibly just one.
Aug 19, 15:42 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
I too cannot remember any explicit critique of Judaism or its offshoots by Clarke. It was always a rail against "organized religion" and even then, much of it was implied rather than obvious. This, of course, makes his Buddism comment all the more puzzling. Why should Buddhism get a pass when it is both organized and violent? Perhaps Clarke was more unfamiliar with the religion in his early career, or perhaps he was playing to a common western stereotype that Buddhists are pacifists.

Interesting discovery. I will bet there is a good essay in that.
Oct 6, 11:48 by
Thanks a lot for that

click on the source

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