Feasibility of Religious Cohabitation in Sri Lanka.
Posted on May 28th, 2017

R Chandrasoma

Issues relating to the desirability of things must not be confused with those concerned with their feasibility.  In the democratic pursuit of the ideal states of human well-being much is longed for but little attained. The Latin tag ‘Facile dictu, difficle factu’ is a pithy statement of this sad fact. The popular consensus that all religions place love and understanding at the very core of their belief-system is difficult to reconcile with the indisputable facts of inter-faith dissonance – more often than not violent. If love and compassion are at the heart of religion, whence the violence and strife of the kind historically attested when the great religions of mankind share territory and competitively advertise their religious wares? It would be naïve to believe that such violence is wholly attributable to a weakening of true religiosity on the part of the adherents of the diverse parties forced into cohabitation.  There are features of a structural kind built into organized belief-systems that militate against the placid acceptance of non-faith actors – ‘disbelievers’ or ‘heretics’. The unpleasant truth is that the more monolithic a religion becomes, the greater the intolerance of dissent. Thus, the naïve belief that religions in general act as social healers is a myth – their very cohesiveness depends on exclusion of non-conformists (sinners) and the rejection of the right to believe in a ‘godless’ world.(Secularism). It can be argued that Buddhism is uniquely tolerant in this regard – but the historic problem for Buddhism is that of survival when the competition does not care a fig for such tolerance and co-existence. The rapid retreat of Buddhism in East Asia is a lamentable truth and is wholly explained by that meekness of spirit of historical Buddhism when survival – not metaphysics – is the burning issue.

In the light of these remarks, is it not wishful thinking to suppose that ‘all religions are ‘ fountains  of goodwill and graciousness’ and must be recognized and supported by the State.? The New Constitution – currently being drafted – is said to incorporate this ideal of radical eucumenism  (or religious pluralism)– that all religions are great and good and their coexistence leads to Spiritual Richness. This foolish belief of well-placed philosophical innocents can – if given political expression – lead to a steady withering of the native faith and its historic predominance lost to a coalition of ‘desert faiths’ – the Semitic Monotheisms that now rule most parts of the world. The Anti-Buddhist forces that  are currently having a ‘field day’ under the aegis of the ‘Yahapalanaya Administration’ see a wonderful opportunity to weaken our historic connection with Buddhism through a constitutional change that envisages the co-equality of all religions. Since Christianity and Islam now dominate the world – an indisputable truth – Buddhism in an enfeebled Sri Lanka may not survive long.

One Response to “Feasibility of Religious Cohabitation in Sri Lanka.”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    YAMAPALANAYA is not alone. They may commit this by COMMISSION but the next govt. will commit the SAME OFFENCE by OMISSION (to change it back).

    This happened with 13 amendment.

    ONLY solution is a MILITARY-SANGHA takeover.

    Once SL becomes a ACHCHAARU secular state it is TOO LATE. SL is FLOODED with kallathoni from Endia, Maldives, Malaysia, Pakistan, Netherlands and England because it is a Buddhist state that guarantees EQUAL rights to all. The moment it becomes SECULAR, minorities LOSE their rights.

    Take a look at SECULAR Endia, Syria, etc.

    So minorities must PROTECT SL as a BUDDHIST country!!

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