“In her book, Predators, Pedophiles, Rapists, and other Sex Offenders, clinical psychologist Anna Salter
outlines the results of numerous studies that clearly demonstrate the
prevalence of this offense and the dangers of those who offend. Here are
just a couple she mentions:
Abel Harlow Child Molestation Prevention Study: This study found that pedophilia molesters average 12 child victims and
71 acts of molestation. An earlier study by Dr. Abel found that out of
561 sexual offenders there were over 291,000 incidents totaling over
195,000 total victims. These are enough victims to fill 2 ½ Superdomes!
This same study found that only 3% of these sexual offenders have a
chance of getting caught.
Russell Study: This study revealed that up to 38% of women were molested before turning
18 years old. This same study found that up to 16% of boys are molested
before they turn 18 years old. Dr. Russell also discovered that only 5%
of child sexual abuse had been reported to law enforcement.
In her book, Dr. Salter revealed that her own interviews of sexual
offenders found them admitting to having perpetrated between 10 and 1250
victims. She also writes that every offender she interviewed had been
previously reported by children, and the reports were ignored.
It is critical to note that this abuse is no less prevalent within
the faith community. In fact, there are studies that demonstrate that
the faith community is even more vulnerable to abuse than secular
environments. The Abel and Harlow study revealed that 93% of
sex offenders describe themselves as “religious” and that
this category of offender may be the most dangerous.
Other studies have
found that sexual abusers within faith communities have more victims and
This disturbing truth is perhaps best illustrated by
the words of a convicted child molester who told Dr. Salter, “I considered church people easy to fool…they have a trust
that comes from being Christians. They tend to be better folks all
around and seem to want to believe in the good that exists in people.““ https://religionnews.com/2014/01/09/startling-statistics/
“…the story of child sexual abuse in churches is a story of shocking moral
failure. Story after story has appeared in the media in Australia in
recent years of terrible sexual exploitation of children – and if that
were not bad enough, the cover-up of those crimes by superiors in the
Church who, for whatever reason, chose not to involve the police or to
act protectively towards children. These are not just Australian
stories. In the Catholic Church at least, these patterns have been
replicated in many countries across the western world
“The scale and nature of abuse uncovered in Catholic institutions is
staggering. Between 1980 and 2015, 4,444 people reported allegations of
child sexual abuse to Catholic authorities. There were 1,880 Catholic
leaders subject to allegations of abuse in over 1,000 separate
institutions. In total, 7% of Catholic priests in Australia between 1950
and 2010 were accused of child sexual abuse. In a reversal of the
gendered pattern of abuse in the general population, 78% of Catholic
abuse claimants were male; 22% were female…” http://theconversation.com/royal-commission-recommends-sweeping-reforms-for-catholic-church-to-end-child-abuse-89141
“…religious abuse refers to psychological manipulation
and harm inflicted on a person by using the teachings of their
religion. This is perpetrated by members of the same or similar faith,
and includes the use of a position of authority within the religion.
It is most often directed at children and emotionally vulnerable
adults, and motivations behind such abuse vary, but can be either
well-intentioned or malicious. Even well-intentioned religious abuse can have long-term psychological consequences, such as the victim developing phobias or long-term depression.
They may have a sense of shame that persists even after they leave the
religion. A person can also be manipulated into avoiding a beneficial
action (such as a medical treatment) or to engage in a harmful behavior.
Physical abuse in a religious context often takes the form of beatings,
illegal confinement, neglect, near drowning or even murder in the belief
that the child is possessed by evil spirits, practicing sorcery or witchcraft, or has committed some kind of sin that warrants punishment…”
“This Study brings to the attention of the highest level of the United Nations the horrific scale of all forms of violence suffered by girls and boys at the hands of adults throughout the world. The Study process and outcome are also an affirmation of the involvement and capacity of children.
Children’s hopes and expectations demand that States act now with real urgency to fulfill their obligations to children as rights-holders. Not only Governments, but individual adults throughout the world must accept, finally, the core message of the Study: that no violence against girls and boys is justifiable, and that all violence against them is preventable. All violence against children is a violation of their equal human right to respect for their human dignity and physical integrity…”
Consider the findings of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment)…http://www.netgrace.org/
The Buddha’s last words were to be a lamp unto yourself, seeking no external refuge. How do we square this with the Nembutsu, since Namu-Amida-Butsu means “I take refuge in Amida Buddha”?
The name Amida means “boundless light.” Amida, rather than an external refuge, is the boundless light of our own Buddha-nature. In reciting the Nembutsu, we awaken to the True Self, the lamp within.
Rather than a literal flesh and blood man who attained Buddhahood ten kalpas ago, billions of Buddha-lands to the west, Amida is Dharma-body itself, the Buddha-nature in all things and beings.
Amida Buddha is not a theistic god. In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, and bowing to his statue on the altar, we seek to realize Amida as our true Buddha-self:
So the question becomes, “what does the statue of Buddha represent?” Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, so, by definition, idolatry can’t be an issue here.
In Zen, we usually say that we are bowing to our own Buddha Nature, that higher aspect of ourselves which we have in common with all other beings.
When we bow, we are reminding ourselves of our inborn enlightenment, which our greed, hate, and delusion keep us from realizing, and making a renewed commitment to become what we truly are.
Amida Buddha is a mirror into our own Buddha-nature: