Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The "News Bizarre" section of today's Houston Chronicle carries the following story:
Buddhist monks, who are bound by faith to nonviolence, are grappling with how to rid a temple of a severe ant infestation without killing the insects.Well, faith may not be able to "move mountains", as some like to imagine, but behold its power to level the playing field between an intelligent being capable of space travel and a lowly social insect!
Stinging red ants have plagued the Hong Hock See Temple in northern Penang state for a year, causing one worshipper to be bitten so badly last month that he had to receive hospital treatment, said Elma Lin, a temple volunteer worker.
A temple disciple tried using a vacuum cleaner to gather up the ants before freeing them in a nearby forest, but the method failed to purge the insects, Lin said.
"We haven't found a solution so far," Lin said. "Nothing has worked."
The temple's chief monk, Boon Keng, was quoted by The Star newspaper as saying that the monks had to "respect other living things" in the temple.
"When an ant drops on you, you must not flick it away or blow on it," he told the newspaper. "If you do, it will bite to hold on. You just have to shake it off."
The newspaper published a photograph of Boon Keng standing beside a sign at the temple that read: "Beware poisonous ants. Do not sit under the tree."
The decades-old temple has more than 10 monks living there and hundreds of devotees, Lin said. [bold added]
How is this so? While no one would deny that these painful bites serve the purpose of helping the ants survive, many, even in this day and age, pretend that man can survive without recourse to his tool of survival, reason, through which he applies logic to data from the world around him. Faith, the claim to knowledge independent of evidence and superior to logic, is simply the rejection of reason.
To the extent that men rely on faith, they hinder their own lives. At least this time, the result was a merely a good laugh for everyone but the faithful!