Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Godly E-mails

Among the many e-mail forwards one gets, there are many celebrating the greatness of god. I treat them as propaganda material. Atheists of all hues and intensities are often asked, "why don't you keep your ideas to yourself? Why do you impose your ideas on others?" But the question does not seem to apply to the mails referred above. No, I am not cribbing. I am amused and am stating a fact.

One such questioner asked the question of Richard Dawkins about his book "The God Delusion" after having bought the book and read it!

My reaction to such mails varies from quick read > delete to pointing out a fallacy in it, as gently as I can to an angry cutting retort.

The last mail I got was actually a good joke. It ran something like this. An atheist is walking in the woods and enjoying the beauty of nature. A bear attacks him and he tries to run but falls. As he is about to be bitten by the bear, he exclaims "Oh my god!". Time stands still and god appears and challenges him. "When you are in deep danger you want to cry for my help having denied my existence all the while?"

The atheist thinks a while and asks god to make the bear a Christian. Hey presto, the bear christian.

The bear starts, "Bless this food which I am about to partake..."

Now, that is very unfair of god, don't you think? He would have really known what the atheist meant. God let a christian become a man eater? Did he do that to teach a lesson to an atheist and was sure that other christians would not be watching?

This is why Richard Dawkins says, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

In this case, I replied to the mail, pointing out that someone calls him "a capriciously malevolent bully” for exactly these kinds of actions.

Now, people who know what religion I was born into may still think that I am targetting another religion. So, let me cushion that with another anecdote.

A friend of my father was invited to a "satyanaaraayana pUje". The myth around this pUje is that you do not even need an invitation to attend. If you come to know that the pUje is happening someplace you must attend. Otherwise the particular god would be angry and do unspeakable things. A part of the rituals is the telling of stories about this god who punished those who were not true to him or broke promises made to him.

When invited, the man said, "I do not want to attend the pUje and listen to the stories about that cruel, vindictive god. I will attend the lunch that follows, though, since I have no quarrels with that!" and did exactly that.

This man, to the best of my knowledge, cannot be classified an atheist. If he believes in any god at all, he expects him to be above such petty vindictiveness and cruelty. If god be like the local loan shark who wreaks havoc with a borrower that does not return a loan, why have gods at all?

1 comment:

  1. LOL. I liked the after-pUje feast idea! Well, such people may be classified as 'agnostics'? Who do not have the proof of the existence of god (well... nobody has that, but people believe in superpowers), yet believe there is no god.

    And yes, I wonder why we need a vindictive avatar of god to punish anyone. We could do that, if need be, anyway! :P