February 09, 2013

If Heaven is Real ...

Then, perhaps the world is going to hell.


I wonder how all those authors who have written NYT bestsellers would be feeling ... Tom Friedman wrote The World is Flat which went to the top of the list.


I wonder if any of Richard Dawkins' books ever reached no. 1 or not. Same for Christopher Hitchens' books. And so many of the world's real talented, professional writers.


I could tell them: so you've written an NYT bestseller? Well, so what! No big deal! So has 11-year-old, Mr. Heaven-returned young man.


I would tell all those NASA astronauts: so what if you guys have got PhDs from CalTech and MIT and wherever! Can you write like an 11-year-old?


I find the gullibility of Americans to be really scary. Perhaps the Europeans are not so gullible.



The logical fallacies in the accounts of a 4-year-old kid are of course too many. But it's even more sobering if grown-ups take those claims seriously.


The idea of a heaven peopled with Jesus Christ and all of one's dead relatives is extraordinarily stupid.


And do the grown ups who believe in this non-sense wonder for a moment how to account for the different conceptions of heaven and after life in the other religions?


If one were to confront India's myriad godmen with these contradictions, they will merely smilingly come up with a predictably circular logic which is basically a non-answer.


I have heard for example one of India's favorite and hip godmen whose name starts with SS (Steam Ship) advising his followers that god is food and god is the pain which you get when you have too much food, god is the traffic cop and so on and so forth. Basically, complete gibberish which somehow clearly appeals to his followers.


This god phenomenon, this need for god is clearly dangerous. That's the bottom line.


Religion propels the literal followers of god to commit astonishing atrocities such as the WTC attacks. And these followers can be quite well educated too.


Religion can propel the other side too. Witness how George Bush claimed that god was on America's side in the various wars.


Let me share three anecdotes.
  1. The story of this kid who has seen god reminds me of something which happened perhaps some 20 years ago in backward Orissa. There, the big god is named Jagannath. And there's a big temple in Puri. So, there was this case of a little girl child who had apparently acquired miraculous powers to cure people suffering from incurable ailments by just touching them. So, the news of this miracle cure spread far and wide and people came to the kid in their thousands. Eventually, it turned out that the father of the girl had created this racket to make some money and eventually the miracle cures stopped perhaps with the arrest of the father.
  2. In my family, one woman (let's call her Meena) suffers from some back problems. And she worships one of India's numerous godmen. This particular godman has quite humbly named himself simply as God. That's what he is known as. That's his name. I do not know how having portraits of this charlatan and his wife can cure an ailment. But that's the way it is. And so, Meena worships this couple who are very much alive apparently and she has been cured ... at least, Meena thinks so.
  3. There's another woman in my family (her name can be Reena) who suffers from CML. She is getting cutting edge treatment in the form of imatinib thanks to some luck. But since she is dimly aware that the disease has something to do with bone marrow, she has been advised that she might be cured by eating goat's bone marrow. She of course is open to believing that. Although, she does not worship any of India's 'living gods' as far as I can tell. The worship of Hinduism's innumerable gods of course is an activity that women in India indulge in with delight and aplomb and vigor and creativity and abandon and more.

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