Deconstructing Fundamentalism

A MATH PROBLEM:
There was an old man named Abel living near the Red River in an old house. As he grew older he found it more and more difficult to move about, so his grandson, Alf, came to live with him. After cleaning the old house they were both hot and tired. The grandfather offered to pay for the treats if the grandson would just walk to Henderson Highway to get them. The grandson readily agreed and set out on his walk.

Abel loved root beer and pretzels so ordered two root beers and a bag of pretzels. Alf was a health food devotee and bought milk and two apples for himself.

The question is: How many items did Alf buy in all?
The answer to the problem is not as simple as it seems.

Most people would conclude that 2 (root beers) + 1 (bag of pretzels) and 1(milk)+2(apples)=6 items.

1. Abel is obviously a Biblical reference and mixing of religion and math is sloppy thinking, an invalid overlap of categories of truth. Therefore we cannot truly insist that 3+3=6 on the basis of this story.

2. There are several Red Rivers in North America and the indefinite geographic fix invalidates the problem itself. Therefore whether 3+3=6 is unanswerable in the context of this invalid environment.

3. There is no archeological evidence that the old house ever existed. Digs have turned up on foundations and no skeletal remains. The absence of this scientific evidence cast serious doubt on the outcome of the 3+3 issue.

4. No where in the Bible does it explicitly say that 3+3=6. The problem shows serious theological underpinning. It is our obligation to cast doubt on the solution to the 3+3=6 issue.

5. The story is obviously a socialistic plot to make us feel sorry for those who have not take advantage of the great entrepreneurial opportunities in our society. If they had been better workers had had planned their financial futures with more intelligence, their valet could have brought them as much as they wanted. The issue of 3+3=6 is therefore politically incorrect.

6. The idea that there is a universally valid paradigm underlying the flow of the story is absurd. No thing is true separate from the social, historical, archeological or cultural contexts. You simply cannot derive universals from fictional contexts. The issue of 3+3=6 can not be decided by this story since any answer must take the context of the answering process into consideration which means we have to step out of the story to find the answer to the question, but then there would be no question. Thus any answer is inadequate.

7. The story is literally true. It really happened and the people really existed, or else the WHOLE thing, including 3+3=6, is a falsehood.

8. Only the math is true, the rest is unnecessary fiction. Such thought problems are misleading and should be stricken form math problems.

9. The math alone represents eternally valid underlying paradigms to our reality. They alone are finally real. The story is fiction and belongs to the world of finite existence which not in the valid sense of the unchanging eternal realties of math formulae.

10. Both the story and the math belong to the world of delusion.

A RELIGIOUS PROBLEM
A. When the thought of reciting the Koran emerges from deep within, having entrusted ourselves to Allah’s inconceivable power, in that moment we are grasped never to be abandoned, thus receiving the ultimate benefit. Allah’s will does not discriminate between the young and the old, between the good and the bad; selfless faith alone is essential. The reason is that Allah’s will is directed to the beings burdened with evil and burning with the flames of blind passions. Thus in entrusting to this will other forms of good become unnecessary, because there is no good that surpasses Allah’s Holy Name. And evil also need not be feared, for there is no evil that can obstruct Allah’s Holy Name.

B. When the thought of reciting Jesus’ Name emerges from deep within, having entrusted ourselves to God’s inconceivable power, in that moment we are grasped never to be abandoned, thus receiving the ultimate benefit. God’s will does not discriminate between the young and the old, between the good and the bad; selfless faith alone is essential. The reason is that God’s will in Jesus is directed to the beings burdened with evil and burning with the flames of blind passions. Thus in entrusting to this will other forms of good become unnecessary, because there is no good that surpasses Allah’s Holy Name. And evil also need not be feared, for there is no evil that can obstruct Allah’s Holy Name.

C. When the thought of reciting Krishna’s Name emerges from deep within, having entrusted ourselves to His inconceivable power, in that moment we are grasped never to be abandoned, thus receiving the ultimate benefit. Krishna’s will does not discriminate between the young and the old, between the good and the bad; selfless faith alone is essential. The reason is that God’s will in Krishna’s Name is directed to the beings burdened with evil and burning with the flames of blind passions. Thus in entrusting to this will other forms of good become unnecessary, because there is no good that surpasses Krishna’s Holy Name. And evil also need not be feared, for there is no evil that can obstruct God Holy Name.

D. When the thought of reciting the Life Fore’s Name emerges from deep within, having entrusted ourselves to its inconceivable power, in that moment we are grasped never to be abandoned, thus receiving the ultimate benefit. The Life force does not discriminate between the young and the old, between the good and the bad; selfless faith alone is essential. The reason is that its will is directed to the beings burdened with evil and burning with the flames of blind passions. Thus in entrusting to this will other forms of good become unnecessary, because there is no good that surpasses the Life Force. And evil also need not be feared, for there is no evil that can obstruct the Force’s Holy Will.

E. When the thought of reciting the Holy Name emerges from deep within, having entrusted ourselves to the inconceivable power of the Infinite Buddha’s Compassion, in that moment we are grasped never to be abandoned, thus receiving the ultimate benefit. The Infinite Buddha’s Compassion does not discriminate between the young and the old, between the good and the bad; selfless faith alone is essential. The reason is that this compassion is directed to the beings burdened with evil and burning with the flames of blind passions. Thus in entrusting ourselves to this compassion other forms of good become unnecessary, because there is no good that surpasses the Sacred name of the Infinite. And evil also need not be feared, for there is no evil that can obstruct the working of Amida’s Compassion.

F. When the thought of reciting Yahweh’s Holy Name emerges from deep within, having entrusted ourselves to the Covenant, in that moment we are grasped never to be abandoned, thus receiving the ultimate benefit. The Covenant does not discriminate between the young and the old, between the good and the bad; selfless faith alone is essential. The reason is that this Covenant is directed to the beings burdened with evil and burning with the flames of blind passions. Thus in entrusting ourselves to this Covenant other forms of good become unnecessary, because there is no good that surpasses the Yaweh’s Sacred Name. And evil also need not be feared, for there is no evil that can obstruct the working of the Holy Covenant.

1. Which form of the scripture is the valid one?
2. Can religious tradition finally be reduced to nouns? Is this a form of noun addiction?
3. If we allow for God/Gott/Dieu/Deus/Theos, why not nouns from other faith traditions?
4. Is the word God God?
5. Does the Ultimate Absolute have a Mother Tongue?
6. Is there a universally valid paradigm underlying these scriptures comparable to 3+3=6 in Abel’s story?
7. How do the ten objections to Abel’s story apply to the various versions of our scripture?

Sensei Ulrich

September 14, 2000

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