How do you determine if a religion is peaceable or not?  This is a difficult and very practical question.   With the exception of  the followers  of the ancient Viking gods, most religious adherents claim their faith is a peaceful one.  Yet many religions do seem to be involved in a lot of fighting.  Even Buddhists, whose adherents I thought would never think of hurting a fly are plotting mayhem; “On his 79th birthday in July, the Dalai Lama appealed to Buddhist extremist groups in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to stop instigating attacks against Muslim minorities that have killed scores. Instead, in an affront to Buddhism’s core message of compassion, leaders of those groups announced an alliance to make common cause against Muslims.” (New York Times)

What’s going on? Could religions be taken over  by a bunch of brand hijacking imposters that look like the real deal but act very differently?

In Ontario we used to have peaceable, gentle ladybugs that were just nice to look at.   Now  the bug has become aggressive and its bite comes as a nasty surprise.;  “. . . an Asian ladybug’s bite is usually a surprise for local residents who do not expect the insects to be aggressive.” (CBC News)Also, they stink; “This insect has popped up in Ontario before, though. In 2001, some vintage Ontario wines faced a plague of the insects, which led to the smell of Asian ladybugs polluting the wines — an aroma compared to “rancid peanut butter” (CBC News).

How do you tell ladybugs apart since they appear so similar?  Sarah Jones of the Canadian Wildlife Federation tells us to count the spots; “North America had has over 450 native species of ladybug, also known as lady birds or lady beetles. The number of spots on a ladybug’s back depends on the species, not the age of the insect. For instance, if you count 12 spots you are looking at a convergent ladybug, whereas if it  doesn’t have any spots it is a polished ladybug.”  How many spots do the Asian bugs have; “The beetles’ spots, which can vary in size and pattern, number from no spots to as many as nineteen; however, nineteen is the most common number.” While the nice Lady Bug variety has: “. . . 4-6 spots on their back and are a light – medium orange color. They are very passive and not aggressive by nature.” (PestSupply)

It’s probably not a good idea to approach a religious zealot bent on anarchy and mayhem to try to ‘count his spots’.  People look the same on the outside right up until they pull out their weapons and take a run at you or explode in a fireball.  There is one very good test to tell the real deal from the deadly imposter.  It’s found in a very old, yet  available book;  “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-18)

Some say ‘follow the money’ if you want to find out  what’s really going on but in this situation the blood trail is more telling.

What do you think?