Mirror of Zen Blog

A True and Clear Depiction of My Actual Lived Experience of the Fact That We Are STILL Dealing With an Unending Torrent of Tragedies, Insane Political Policies Detrimental to Human Flourishing and the Life of the Very Ecosystem Itself, and So Many Needless Sufferings Flowing from Peoples’ Beliefs in the Myths of Religions, in 2021.


And this is coming from someone who has an advanced degree in comparative religions from a not-too-shabby school of theology, and who sits on the board of a major interreligious dialogue group sponsored by the Catholic Church, and refers to the teachings of Jesus so often in his public talks that my students have jokingly threatened to turn it into a drinking game (“Every time Sunim quotes something about Jesus, everyone has to drink a double-shot.” This is true!).

“Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God.”


독일 불이선원은 지원했다. 모두가 돠줍시다.

Two Korean boys in America, robbed of a hard-working, self-sacrificing single mother by a pathological Iron Age worldview’s rotten poison-fruit. I have spent the day encouraging everyone around me and on social media to send what we can to the Go Fund Me link here. And it would be good if we don’t stop loving these boys (and others) when the news fades. I wrote as much to them in a note on the Go Fund Me page.


I have encouraged people I have spoken with today to have at least some compassion for the killer, hopelessly brainwashed his entire life by family and community into believing these absolutely useless Iron Age theologies. The lives of so many people are now trashed utterly by these devout believers’ communal ignorance and blind faith — one of those lives trashed is the killer’s own. Clearly a deeply sensitive soul, he will rot away in some rank cell somewhere, for the remainder of his natural life. And he will never, ever taste again “pizza, guns, drums, music, family, or God.”

But these two Park boys have lost far, far, far more. Your heart breaks so badly for them. Nothing compares even remotely to their indescribable loss.

The last words on this whole tragedy come from Randy, the older son: “My question to the family [of the killer] is, what did y’all teach him?” he added. “Did you turn him in because you’re scared that you’ll be affiliated with him? You just gonna scapegoat your son out? And they just get away scot free? Like, no, you guys definitely taught him some shit. Take some fucking responsibility.”

“What did y’all teach him?” he asked the parents of the killer.

In the mirror of this event, I feel so much the compelling truths of Sam Harris’s clear insights into the illusion of free will: This killer, stoked on the soul-destroying teachings fed to him by his pastor-father, his evangelical community, a web of social relations thick with the in-group/out-group battle lines of small-town life in the Bible Belt South, this killer-kid had no alternative to the twisted mentality jammed into his consciousnessness since birth, and undergirding nearly every interaction he had. This killer didn’t stand a chance in that intellectual swamp:

Long had been an active member of his Southern Baptist congregation, attending church most Sundays together with his father, as well as services during the week, and also went on mission trips.[20] Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said Long did not have any prior interactions with law enforcement.[21]

It was all about sex, sex, and more and more sexual repression and judgement:

Long spent time in a rehab center for sex addicts in 2020 and claimed to be “tortured” by his addiction to sex as he was “deeply religious”, according to his halfway houseroommate.[19][22] His roommate said he engaged in sexual acts by going to massage parlors even while at the facility.[22] According to police, his parents recently kicked him out of their house due to his sex addiction, including watching Internet pornography several hours each day, and in an emotional state afterwards

Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Atlanta_spa_shootings

Yet when his church community finally released a statement, a few hours ago, it is again filled with repression and condemnation of this boy alone — zero responsibility for those who download such defective software into his brain:

He alone is responsible for his evil actions and desires. The women that he solicited for sexual acts are not responsible for his perverse sexual desires nor do they bear any blame in these murders. These actions are the result of a sinful heart and depraved mind for which Aaron is completely responsible.

In accordance with the biblical pattern and our church bylaws, we have started the process of church discipline to remove him from membership since we can no longer affirm that he is truly a regenerate believer in Jesus Christ.

And now, a reading from the Book of the Prophet Obama: 

“It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” (2008)

The deeper problem here – – and elsewhere throughout American social and political life – – is the rotten “purity culture“ of American Protestantism, especially evangelical movements. “

The German Way of Getting Things Done

This has definitely been my experience, getting things done in this beautiful, always-stimulating country.

Despite its stiffness and over-structeredness, it is still a fantastic place to live and work in, hands down. I feel blessed beyond measure every single day that I can live here and practice here and teach here.

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