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Indian Man Charged With Blasphemy For Exposing "Miracle" 796

Posted by samzenpus
from the smoke-and-mirrors dept.
bhagwad writes "When a statue in Mumbai began to miraculously drip tears, huge crowds began to gather, pray, and collect the water in vials. Sanal Edamaruku has exposed such bogus miracles before, and when he was called in, his investigations showed that it was nothing more than a nearby drainage. The entire investigation was caught on tape. The priests were outraged and demanded an apology. When he refused, a case of 'blasphemy' was registered at the police station and they now want to have him arrested." In related news, today Kuwait's parliament "passed amendments to the Gulf state's penal code stipulating the death penalty for those who curse God, Islam's Prophet Mohammed or his wives." However, they made no change to the penalty for playing a joke national anthem at a sporting event.
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Indian Man Charged With Blasphemy For Exposing "Miracle"

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  • by alphakappa (687189) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:44PM (#39669631) Homepage
    Anyone can register a case for pretty much anything in India. If the police actually arrested the guy, or if he was convicted of blasphemy, it would be worth talking about. Right now, it's just a bunch of nutcases filing a case, not the government. Let's not fall for hyperbole.
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:59PM (#39669723)

    I don't think reason is under attack by religion specifically. It just seems to be popular to be a moron these days. The number of well-established scientific theories you disagree with is a matter for competitive sport.

  • But... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bmo (77928) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:12AM (#39669809)

    The charge is entirely unconstitutional.

    It's written in the Indian Constitution that people not only have the right to pursue the sciences, but have a duty to do so for the whole of society, under Article 51 A.

    To wit: Article 51A(h) To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

    He's charged, but the charge won't stick even with a drunken lawyer.

    He is roaming around free, because the police and the judge know the charge is bogus and a waste of everyone's time, but to do nothing would cause riots among the derp-infested.

    --
    BMO

  • Hook on Opiates (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:16AM (#39670073) Journal

    If I remember correctly, someone once said that religion is the opiate of the masses

    I must clarify that I am not an atheist - I do believe that there is a ***Creator*** - I see the religions that are being practiced by the billions on this earth contribute nothing to human civilization

    Of course, those who believe will tell you that their religion is the "true one", that their version of "true religion" is "peaceful"

    Ultimately, religion is a sales / marketing campaign, on a global scale, and many millions depend on "GOD" for the bread that they bring home to feed their kids - that the better they sell "GOD" the more income they gonna get

    That is why I am not surprised at all at the anger of those Hindu priests --- Their anger is not towards that guy who expose the "miracle", but rather, they know full well that their income gonna drastically drop after the expose

  • Not really (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:21AM (#39670103) Journal

    It is a very old tactic by the religious establishment, don't question us and we won't question you. Basically, you are free from religious control, unless you question the religious control. You are a free person, unless you try to exercise your freedom.

    It has been the way to keep groups down for millenia, Jews are a famous example. Countries that claim to have been tolerant really just operated with "Don't be noticeable and we won't notice you to much".

    The Catholic church was fine with evolution, they didn't push for creationism UNTIL Catholics who had accepted evolution made more sense then genesis started to think "wait a minute, if genesis is a fairy tale, then why is any of the rest true and why then is it required for me to remain silent about this priest in my ass?". Creationism and the attack on science didn't start until the church started to loose power because of it. In the 70's, people were still balancing the two. Proof? Their were plenty of scandals back then but people kept quiet because while they accepted evolution, they still believed as well. Enough to not risk upsetting the church. That has changed and the church NEEDS power. Without control, they are nothing. After all, you can talk to god anywhere, why pay for churches and priests when god is everywhere or nowhere?

    The church isn't anti-evolution. It is anti-critical thinking. Critical thinkers wonder why the pope has a super luxerous seat on an airplane that could be carrying medicine. Just why gold is needed on a cross for a carpenter. And why people to poor to feed their kids should pay for it all. Can't have that.

    The renaissance was another age the church lost a lot of power in because people started thinking. The post-war new age thinking (In Holland, ont-zuiling, the end of the columns of power, where your faith defined who you where and you trusted your boss, doctor and politicians without question) cripped the church even more, now they are determined not to become totally irrelevant. Because the most dangerous idea a church faces is a religious person who realizes that Jezus never founded a church. You can believe without ever going into a church or being buggered by a priest. That is scary as hell to the establishment, those kind of people might even believe you can love your country and STILL question it! It is no accident the religious zealots and the right wingers go hand in hand. Romney and co want you to believe, so you won't think and question. Not just god and the church but the free market, the wars, wallstreet bailouts. Breed, have lots of kids who can't afford to be picky about jobs so Ann Romney can afford a domestic while she bitches about her struggle as a super rich stay at home mom.

    Or do you think the right like people having less children who can afford higher education and grow up to be thinking, questioning citizens? Things were so much better when people had a dozen kids who could be send of into domestic service for whatever usage the rich saw fit. And if a girl then inevitably got pregnant by a rich landlord after rape, well, that just ensured the supply of cheap labor would continue.

    A fool thinks that those who desire power desire slaves. Far better is a serve, a man who thinks he is free but forges his own chains. Religion and the American dream forges the best chains.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fluffeh (1273756) on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:27AM (#39670131)

    Our local Member of Parliament was actually present during this (he is quite Christian and was helping out with the collections etc).

    The point that I was making (and hope that he listened to) was that we cannot impose our values on others if we expect them to respect ours. The "man and woman" thing is based in Christianity and Islam, but if we expect minorities to respect our mainstream views, how can we not also respect theirs (even if they conflict with our own) and allow them to practise them as they please? Of course there are boundries, ones that directly harm others or teach/incite hate, so no, if one group believes in murder, we shouldn't put that into law saying it is okay, but who are is anyone to say who can and cannot get married based on the mainstream beliefs?

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Barsteward (969998) on Friday April 13, 2012 @02:26AM (#39670391)
    You're probably part the sensible section of christians. But when you get the rabid fanatics that are putting the clock back with all their horrible laws against women in the bible belt and you don't say anything about it, then you become part of the problem of misogyny etc put forward as laws. The moderate middle ground christians should push back against the fundementalists in the same way moderate islamists need to push back against the fundies in their religion.

    But then again, if you are not a fundie you are not following your religion to the letter and you are cherry picking out the bad bits which makes you half ways to dropping this irrational belief in a man-made god.
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FrootLoops (1817694) on Friday April 13, 2012 @03:02AM (#39670567)

    You've made me curious. How is someone supposed to tell when you're being sarcastic, considering how many silly statements get made on the internet? Many people use smilies, italics, excessive punctuation, sarcasm tags, etc., but you use none of the above.

    In my own case, I originally thought you were serious, but you had more karma than I would expect of a troll, so I glanced through a few of your recent posts for more information. The picture I got was of a thick-skinned but paradoxically insecure, acerbic person who states strong, controversial opinions half-seriously and who sometimes overstates their points as sarcasm. Of course, this analysis is all preliminary and would need a fair amount more evidence to confirm or deny, but it was enough for me to write "(The GP may not have been serious, but assume for now that it was.)".

  • Re:Not really (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JAlexoi (1085785) on Friday April 13, 2012 @04:27AM (#39670893) Homepage

    Because the most dangerous idea a church faces is a religious person who realizes that Jezus never founded a church.

    That and only that is what the Catholic church is willing to fight. Everything else you attribute to Catholic church is the extremism of American protestants.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) on Friday April 13, 2012 @04:41AM (#39670963)
    I still think it's basic genetics. I can't even conceive the idea to put belief (let alone faith) in something that's unprovable. Sure, I can suspend disbelief during a movie and all, but my whole life? Unfathomable.
    It would actually be kind of ironic if evolution was the cause for the existence of religion I guess.

    The best quote I ever heard was this one:
    Stephen F. Roberts: "...I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
  • by jmcvetta (153563) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:23AM (#39671117)

    Don't let the bigmedia fool you - crazy religious nuts are only a small (but extremely vocal) minority, even in "conservative" parts of America. Even most churchgoing folks are nice, sane, civilized people who's faith is much closer to comfortable hypocrisy than fundamentalism.

  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aceticon (140883) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:01AM (#39671323)

    Actually the recent push for creationism seems to have come almost entirelly from born-again type sects mostly in the US and some developing countries with mainly christian populations.

    As far as I'm aware there is no push for creationism in Europe, not from Catholics, Protestants or Orthodox Christians. Some imported Christian sects (the kind that do public rituals of faith healing and banishing of bad spirits) do preach creationism, but those are a tiny minority, concentrated on the uneducated and downtrodden).

    In that sense, especially in Western Europe, education has created a generation (actually, two generations by now) of critical thinkers, where even those who do have religious beliefs are not prone to blindly believe what the men of the cloth tell them.

    My impression in Europe of crossing paths with people that are believers is that Religion has become far more a personal thing, a belief born from the inside rather than a set of ritualised social events.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aceticon (140883) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:11AM (#39671391)

    That makes sense, after all Atheism is being against religion while Agnosticism is having no religion.

    Being activelly against an entire social movement does require a certain level of tunnel vision to paint all individuals in that group as sharing a set of bad personal characteristics which really are only shown by a subset of loud individuals in that group.

    Frankly attacking a whole group for the actions of a minority of individuals is counter-productive. The silent majority is often disgusted by the actions of those self-proclaimed representantives of the group and would rather distance themselves from them.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kaitiff (167826) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:12AM (#39671397) Homepage

    Actually, I agree with his statement to a degree. Recently I had a Jehova's Witness bang on my door trying to peddle her wares. When I politely told her that I was Atheist she took that statement w/out a beat and immediately came out with a pamphlet SPECIFICALLY for self-professed atheists. She also had an entire set of pre-arranged arguments regarding atheism and morality. I was a bit taken aback. I think that the religions of the world are taking notice to their shrinking congregations and are going on the attack to stem the loss of money in their coffers. Even 30 or 40 years ago, although you wouldn't immediately be stoned for professing your lack of religion 'we' were most definitely a backwater. Now Reasoning people are far more numerous and far more vocal about their views. 30 years ago I could NOT have told my parents I was atheist; now we have rather heated discussions on the topic, when we aren't smart enough to avoid the subject. :)

  • by M. Baranczak (726671) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:17AM (#39671437)

    And the silly season just keeps getting longer and longer. How about this: Obama's been president for 3 years now, so we've had plenty of time to judge his job performance. His challengers have been campaigning for almost as long, and they've had plenty of opportunity to explain what they'd do differently. If you haven't decided yet, you never will. Just hold the damn election next week and get it over with.

  • by happy_place (632005) on Friday April 13, 2012 @08:48AM (#39672643) Homepage
    I'm mormon, and my wife's not barefoot nor pregnant. It's interesting how desperate the lies get when there's political interest at stake. You almost sound religious.
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scamper_22 (1073470) on Friday April 13, 2012 @09:30AM (#39673177)

    Perhaps.

    I'm Muslim so I have a bit of a different perspective. I've actually seen parts of my family and community go 'backwards'.

    In my parents generation, almost no one wore the niqaab. Today, it starts to be common place. Not the majority, but enough. And its not the case of the parents forcing it on them, but their own choice... often defying their parents.

    In some areas, the fundamentalists are winning. Very few Muslims will outwardly proclaim their atheism as the cultural consequences are often too great. They will face huge problems with their friends and family and community.

    Most, like me, simply choose to be non-practicing.

    So while athiesm or religious moderation might be there for christianity. It's not the case for Islam... which just happens to have a whack load of people.

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