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The problem with peaceful co-existence

Re: "Islam, Buddhism, and the problem with 'dialogue'," Opinion, July 19

William Page made several nice points in his article, but some are misleading, like his insistence on scientific proof of God's existence. He should know that, in Hinduism, which he mentions often, the godhead is transcendental, meaning it is beyond sensory perception. If there were empirical proof of God's existence it would only prove that it's not God, thus making the entire quest meaningless. Also, 330 million gods is not as bad as it sounds.

Think of government officials and ministers - there are lots of them, all with their own powers, but there's also hierarchy. If Hindus disagree on who the real boss is, think of it as the government providing services to everyone regardless of who citizens prefer to be in office.

The idea that atheists and religionists should co-exist is a non-starter. People do not simply "exist" - they have aspirations and they want progress toward their goals. Atheists and religious people have vastly different goals and see each other as obstacles to that progress. We don't co-exist with obstacles - we try to avoid them, remove them, ignore them, anything else but co-exist.

Policymakers can try to manage the situation and can be very creative, like the current military initiative, but they won't be able to "solve" it. It's a fool's errand. This also holds true for Gothom Arya's proposal for bridging the political divide (Thais "need to learn to coexist with those who think differently", July 20).

Citing the US example in finding common ground should fall into "don't do that, it's not working" category. That country is polarised beyond repair and its superficial fixes only add false hope.

Stan G

Bangkok


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