This is a guest post from Andy The Atheist aka Virtual Athiest. Be sure to check out his blog here: Virtual Atheist. You can also follow him on Twitter here: @Atheist_Andy. If you want to become a guest blogger on Godlessmom.com, please click here.
We as atheists are often informed by some of the demographic of the gullible that our religious position makes no sense, and that the evidence for whatever supernatural deity they happen to believe in is the only rational explanation for our existence.
Well, quite apart from the 100% lack of credible evidence, I’m not certain I could take any God Botherer seriously… Not now that I have discovered quite a number of strange, weird and in some cases fucking scary rituals and practices.
Really, I mean it. I know of no atheist, regardless of their intellectual capability who would put any credence in any of these religious shenanigans. And I know of quite a few really thick atheists.
Trust me on this.
Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to some really whacky things that religion has caused people to take part in.
1. Sati – Going back to about 400 CE and as recently as 2008, Indian widows would celebrate their husband’s funeral by throwing themselves onto the burning pyre. Well I say throwing themselves, there are quite a few recorded cases were the grieving widow wasn’t given the option of deciding for herself and instead was thrown into the flames by her loving family.
Kind of puts complaining about having to provide a vegetarian option at hubby’s wake into perspective, eh ladies?
Throwin’ babies for Allah!
2. Go to a Muslim shrine in the Maharashtra state of India, and you too can provide your newborn children the protection of Allah (Fuck Allah!) by the most expedient and loving means, simply hurl the fruit of your loins from the roof of the 15 metre tall temple. I kid you not! This apparently will grant your delightful offspring good luck, courage and intelligence. This practice has been going on for over five hundred years, but I personally doubt its effectiveness, especially in terms of intelligence. Lets be honest, if a person has been blessed (ha!) with intelligence would they not use their mighty intellectual powers to weigh up the pros and cons and then NOT throw their fucking children off the roof!
It’s worth mentioning that followers are standing by with a large sheet to catch them, that and praying there’s no side winds…. But still. Come on!
Mmmmm… leftovers up my butt crack…
3. When you have leftovers, what do you do? Freeze them for another day perhaps, or make a tasty and nutritious soup. Well, go to some of the temples in Karnataka, South West India on a festival day and you too can take a nice bath in your uneaten comestibles instead.
Take part in the Made Made Snana ( literally “taking a bath by rolling over leftovers”), well I say your leftovers, actually, they’re somebody else’s leftovers.
What happens is, the Brahmins (upper caste citizens) eat meals on plantain leaves, after which the leaves, along with the leftovers, are spread on the floor or street outside a temple. People from the lower strata of society then roll over the leaves and leftovers and proceed to wash their bodies in the Kumaradhara River in the belief that the ritual will cure skin diseases.
What a ridiculous way to get out of doing the washing up. Come on you Brahmins, if you are the social elite, surely you can afford a dishwasher!
4. Sokushinbutsu – This is a corker. Self punishment is a running theme with many religions around the world, but it must be said that the number one spot must go without a shadow of a doubt to some Japanese Shingon Buddhist monks who turned themselves into mummies. I wouldn’t mind, but they weren’t even cool mummies with super powers and magic and shit like Arnold Vosloo or Jet Li.
Nope! They just decided to kill themselves and be mummified in order to reach enlightenment through suffering.
Allow me to explain how they did it:
Step One: Spend 1,000 days taking part in a rigorous regime of exercise, but eat only nuts and seeds in order to strip themselves of as much body fat as they could.
Step Two: Spend another 1,000 days eating only bark and roots, but also drink a lovely concoction called Urushi Tea… Or poison as you or I might call it. This was done to induce vomiting and enhance the weight loss but also to make their flash unappetising for maggots. You don’t want those pesky fuckers eating your flesh after you’ve made an effort.
Step Three: Brick yourself up in the walls with just enough room to sit in the lotus position and have nothing but a bell and an air tube. Every day, ring the bell so that all your mates know you are both still alive and still an appalling sinner. When the bell stops ringing, your ‘friends’ wait yet another 1,000 days, then break you out to see if you’re all enlightened and stuff. Most of the time though, they just found a rotting corpse.
This is hardcore stuff is it not? Makes the catholics and their cilices look like a bunch of pussies!
5. Speaking of catholics… Check out El Colacho in Castrillo de Murcia in Spain, or to give it it’s full title, El Salto Del Colacho (The Devil’s Jump). This is where, in order to protect their babies from evil spirits, illness and original sin, the little darlings are laid on mattresses in the main square and then… And then…
Fully grown men dressed as the devil take turns to jump over them.
Yep! You heard me. They use babies instead of sand for the long jump in Spain! This is even after Pope Benedict XVI told them to pack it in.
So theists, tell me again how religion makes you reasonable and well balanced people.