14.9.10

Holy Smoke

We need to get out of these fixed role-playing that religion is pushing people into. Even as opposition, symbolism is beginning to sound rather lame and ridiculous.

Alex Stewart belongs to some atheist group – which is a bit amusing, because then you are huddling into some faith-type system – and decided to respond to the Terry Jones threat by tearing pages of the Bible and the Quran and smoked them. YouTube took the 12-minute clip off, which again does not make much sense. If people have the time and inclination to watch an Australian lawyer take off pages from some holy books and light up, then they need to get their heads examined.

This is not even exhibitionism. It isn’t a joke, either. How funny can something like this be? He would have made some point had he chosen specific pages, read out from them, and shown them to be hollow/unpalatable/contradictory/backward or whatever it is that made him light up.

And what is this about rolling a joint and saying “Holy” after inhaling from a page of the Bible? Oh, he is feeling great while he is on a high. If I were a die-hard believer, then I’d take it as a huge compliment. This man gets his jollies from what he is dismissing. He is in fact confirming the idea of holiness. Just in case he is ignorant about matters of religion, then in almost all faiths worship has been described as a spiritual high. You are supposed to feel disoriented and lose yourself into a Being outside you. It could be smoke. It could be a smokescreen.

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As if this was not enough, now people have to be protected while worshipping.

The Gaud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Mandal has taken a Rs 49.5-crore insurance policy from New India Insurance Company for their Ganpathy celebrations. Earlier they would insure only the elephant god for the 61 kgs of gold and 350 kgs of silver they embellished the deity with. That was to safeguard the wealth. This time it is people.

“We wanted to ensure that our devotees, staffers and volunteers can pray and work in a secured ambience. Henceforth, we will continue with the policies every year.”

I find it strange that devotees who worship with blind faith would want to get such protection. What does belief mean then? The insurance covers food poisoning from eating prasad and injuries or death during stampedes. Makes one wonder about the nature of such piety. We have had stampedes at various pilgrim sites of all faiths and people get killed or kill.

Does no one want to question the god they believe in?


End note:

14 people get killed in Kashmir due to firing by security forces, reportedly because they were protesting against the burning of the Quran; a policeman also lost his life. Will this alter the manner in which the spate of protests has taken place?

This has given an opportunity to the government and other groups to brand this into an Islamic war. What accounts for the killings that took place earlier?

I don’t see why they had to protest at all about the Quran burning. It will only take away from their other grievances.

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