Of course, another explanation for this blogpost is that I happen to be sitting at our desktop computer where so many of my old pictures are stored. Today my pictures are from Cambodia which I visited at Eastertime in 2011. I flew into Siem Reap from Bangkok in order to visit some of the truly awesome ruins that surround Angkor Wat - the very heart of the Khmer empire (802AD to 1431AD).
"O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams." - Hamlet Act II scene ii
3 April 2021
More looking back in today's blogpost. I guess that there has been a lot of looking back in the last twelve months. When normal life is put on hold and the future is uncertain, the past exerts a greater charm than usual.
One of the outlying temples at Angkor Wat
A few days later I travelled by bus down to Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital where I spent a couple more days before returning to Bangkok on a cheap Air Asia flight. In Phnom Penh I visited The Killing Fields on the outskirts of the city and Tuol Sleng - the torture school that starkly reflects the inhuman brutality of the Khmer Rouge regime during the nineteen seventies.
Legacy of The Khmer Rouge at The Killing Fields
Three Buddhist monks in Phnom Penh
One of the victims of The Khmer Rouge.
Picture of a picture taken at Tuol Sleng
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The atrocities of the Khmer Rouge were prominent news items as I was growing up and for that reason I was never tempted to visit Cambodia. That photo of the boy is so infinitely sad, you can almost see his fate in his eyes.ReplyDelete
I am gratified that you responded to the photo of the little boy as I did when I first saw it.Delete
That tree on the temple is an amazing specimen. Thanks for sharing YP.ReplyDelete
For a long time that temple was subsumed by jungle as memories of the Khmer empire faded away.Delete
I read The Killing Fields and later saw the movie. They killed off every educated person they could find. And now, I am watching my country deny science and learning, to twist the written word, to look at fellow human beings and see them as less than human, and to be willing to defend their right to be ignorant with weapons. It's hard not to worry about where we are headed.ReplyDelete
Where ever we are going Debby - I cannot believe that it has been predetermined by a loving god.Delete
It hasn't. We are determining our own fate. God has nothing to do with it.Delete
But didn't he make us?Delete
You are debating two different issues. Your second question has nothing to do with the first. Sticking with the first, I will tell you that each has a choice of what to put into this world. I am not perfect, but I really do try my best to be generous and kind, to be aware of need, to try to do something about it. Unfortunately there are those who choose power or greed over love of their fellow human beings. Their decisions do not change my responsibility. Where is God in this? I would like to think that He is in my heart and my mind. Where is He not? In the heart and minds of cruel people. It is really very simple.Delete
The second question has everything to do with the first. It is my firm belief that there is no "God" but I live a decent life in which goodness, charity and fairness are paramount. I need no "God" to metaphorically hold my hand. I never have and I never will Debby.Delete
And I respect that and feel no need to challenge it. So I guess the thing I don't understand is this: you feel that religion is a prop. I do not see it as such. But if you do believe it to honestly be a crutch, why do you feel the need to pick at it so? Would you snatch away Weaver's walker if you saw her out for exercise? Here is the thing, YP: we should all look at each other's with an unalienable right to live our lives in a way that makes sense to us. As long as a person is doing good in the world (or trying to), does the motivation really matter? Or can we simply acknowledge the good. On the flipside of it, if someone is putting negative into this world, the should be challenged, even if they are claiming to be God inspired. I would join you. In short, believe what you will, but look at your fellow human as a human. Do not feel as if you have to bring everyone around to your way of thinking. I have never felt the need to change you. You asked me a questionDelete
I answered it.
I certainly do not feel the need to "pick" at religion as my 3674 blogposts demonstrate Debby. In fact I hardly ever mention religion in this blog. Is it our "unalienable right" to live our lives as we wish? What about sadists, perverts, fascists and jihadis for example? The established church has through the centuries taken so much money and land from people as well as being the driving force behind so much war and killing. I do not feel as if I have to bring everyone around to my way of thinking as I am very aware that those who sign up for the God story are not that easily swayed.Delete
Humans are capable of the greatest cruelty and horror along with the most beautiful examples of love and sacrifice. Debby's comment rings true and so does your reply.ReplyDelete
When someone on Facebook yesterday posted about God being in control of everything I had to reply, "What an odd and cruel god." It is beyond me how people can visualize a loving god when such things happen in this world and they happen all the time.
The get out clause folk tend to use is - Oh, we are only human and it not our place to judge the ways of The Lord.Delete
I love that picture of the monks! Beautiful!ReplyDelete
Thanks Steve. Kind of you to say so.Delete
I was just reading up about Pol Pot. I always wonder what makes people do such unspeakable things, to have so many people killed. I want to understand why, the same as Hitler, why? Maybe there are no answers. I think about a world in which Ghandi and Hitler both lived at the same time, two sides of the human coin.ReplyDelete
Apparently Pol Pot died in his sleep, a far to peaceful death for a man who ochestrated such atrocities on his countrymen.
Is history made by individuals or are those individuals merely the inevitable products of the times they inhabited?Delete
Why do people do unspeakable things?
A brilliant Jew of the first century put forward a radical theory.
*There is no fear God before their eyes.*
Saloth Sar (Pol Pot was an obscure alias of which he had many) is a casebook example of depravity on a massive scale.
Yet none of the comments asked what went into the making of Saloth Sar.
No one mentioned that Sar studied at the Sorbonne or that he was influenced by Rousseau as much as Lenin and Stalin.
Instead we have atheists seething with hatred for a creed they neither believe in nor have taken time to properly understand.
Even in a godless universe you are still left with the mystery of iniquity.
The quotation from Paul's Letter to the Romans should read:Delete
*There is no fear OF God before their eyes.*
As a lifelong atheist myself, I do not seethe with hatred for Christianity which I understand well enough having for example been a choirboy, having visited hundreds of churches and having taken subsidiary courses in Religious Studies while at university. I feel it is all a cruel charade.Delete
Calling it *a cruel charade* demonstrates a lack of engagement with the canonical texts that comes close to contempt, Neil.Delete
Atheists of depth like Bertrand Russell and Wittgenstein never spoke of faith as a charade. They knew that the author of the Letter to the Romans was not playing party games. Paul debated with the finest philosophers of his day in Athens as Russell knew full well. Paul struggled with evil and suffering.
Agnostics of depth like Tolstoy, Kierkegaard, Simone Weil and Albert Camus would have roasted you for using a term like charade, because these people wrestled painfully with ultimate meaning.
The New Testament is full of crushing sorrow and engages with the biggest questions which I recognised in my long years as an atheist. But then I knew myself as a sinner, a term which contemporary culture refuses to recognise.
The comments here are shallow, self-regarding and smug.
I guess that I must be a shallow atheist then. I have felt no need whatsoever to sieve my atheism through the mesh left behind my long dead men. I knew absolutely that there could be no "God" at the age of ten. If you think that that is smug then I humbly suggest that that has more to do with you than it has to do with me.Delete
Lots of interesting things to see but the inhumanity to man hangs over everything else.ReplyDelete
As Lily said above... "unspeakable things" and it is happening in Burma (Myanmar) right now.Delete
Surprisingly no alcohol was involved when a Cambodian born friend and I planned to set up an electric tram service from Phnom Pen to Siam Reap. I've not been to Angkor Wat but gosh, I have seen a lot of photos.ReplyDelete
It's a good long distance from Siem Reap to Phnomh Penh and in the wet season your tram might have become a boat.Delete
Two beautiful photographs and two tragic ones - what a complete contrast the last four show YP. Man's inhumanity to man - will it never end?ReplyDelete
No. I do not think it ever will. All we can do is live good lives and pressure for change when we have the energy and the inclination.Delete
I have seen that photo of the tree subsuming the temple at Angkor Wat, and marvelled at the fact that nature always puts paid to our grandiose ideas. Mankind invented God and religion, a sort of ego to be able to achieve. Those terrible 'killing fields' has been echoed through history, an aspect of humanity, cruelty and stupidity.ReplyDelete
I saw several temples that had those trees enveloping the masonry. A lot of the archaeology was long hidden by jungle. The history of the Khmer Empire remains intriguing and in parts mysterious.Delete