There are often discussions on the issues of the diversity of culture, how we should all endeavour the respect the differences in culture; and that nobody really gets to judge the merits of the culture of another group.
Comedian Bill Maher often has a witty but brutal smack down of this kind of liberal pussyfooting. He often applies it to the repressive cultures in some Islamic countries, those who treat women and homos*xuals and apostates in an appalling manner; to wit- a culture of democratic governance that guarantees freedoms to the individual is not just different- it’s better.
I look at this case of young boys and other people going through self-flagellation to honour a guy who died centuries ago and I’m forced to say (although I think it all the time) that secularism and humanism are not just different from religion- they are better.
Religions generally do not force people to self-flaggelate, and even most Muslims would disagree that this ritual is a legitimate expression of the faith; but the principle remains the same. Believing things on insufficient evidence and placing mere mortals on supernatural pedestals can lead to instances like this; maybe burning some witches, or killing people for drawing some cartoons or writing some books– or even some Catholics who undergo crucifixion every year to honour the passing of Jesus.
I feel obliged to also point out that religions also seem to imbibe an inherent sadism that’s really very disturbing. Christianity has always revelled in the pain and torture allegedly inflicted on Jesus, whilst this disturbing ritual also displays that same fascination with glorifying needless pain.
Men and young boys of the Shia Muslim orientation have been photographed undergoing rituals to mourn the passing of Imam Hussein, grandson of the founder of Islam.
Those involved in the rituals whip themselves with sharp blades, with really young boys no more than ten years old pictured also taking part in this gory affair.
Mail Online reports…
Shi’ite Muslims all over the world have been beating themselves with sharp blades, covering their bodies in mud and lighting bonfires in the streets to mourn the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson today.
Photographs from Delhi, India, showed shockingly young boys lashing their own backs with small knives and chains.
Thousands of men performed the same brutal practice in Lebanon, Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan and Myanmar and even Athens, Greece.
Shi’ite devotees wiped the tears from their eyes as they listened to the accounts of Hussein’s death under the golden dome of Imam Hussein’s mausoleum in Karbala, Iraq.
Millions across the globe, from Lebanon to south-east Asia, hold processions in their home towns and take part in a variety of rituals.
Some beat their backs to a drumbeat using chains or blades, while others beat their heads with a sword until blood drenches their faces and white ‘mourning robes’.
The bloody rituals were part of the holy Day of Ashura, when Shi’ite Muslims remember the death of Imam Hussein at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD.
Karbala and other cities hosted reenactments of what Shi’ites refer to as Hussein’s martyrdom, complete with horseback warriors and the annual ‘mud rubbing’ ceremony took place in Khorramabad, southern Iran.
Hundreds of men and women jumped into vats of wet mud before standing by huge bonfires lit in the middle of the streets to dry it on their skin and clothes.”
There is only one thing that gets otherwise sane people to do insane things whilst feeling vindicated in their stance. Avijit Roy called it the ‘Virus of Faith’.
See the (disturbing) photos below…