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Links 1 through 10 of 48 by Just Mohit tagged religion

As the world grows more open, religions have turned more dogmatic and stringent. Instead of letting them evolve and adapt with modern life, the human race has turned religion into something complex and grotesque. These days religion is less about finding the meaning of life and more about competing with each other...
Also, pretending to defend god is also pure human hubris. What the self-appointed defenders of faith are essentially saying is that not only is their god the most omnipotent, the most powerful, the king of every other god, but this very same powerful entity needs them, the average Joe – the guy who gets confined to the bed for five days because he was dumb enough to leave home without an umbrella even though it was drizzling outside-to defend them. Talk about your delusions of grandeur.

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the word of god grows best in fields watered by the state's pelf, and ploughed by the state's swords.
Salman Rushdie's censoring-out from the ongoing literary festival in Jaipur will be remembered as a milestone that marked the slow motion disintegration of India's secular state...
Few Indians understand the extent to which the state underwrites the practice of their faith. The case of the Maha Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years at Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nashik, is a case in point...
Last year, the Uttar Pradesh police sought a staggering Rs.2.66 billion to pay for the swathe of electronic technologies, helicopters and 30,000 personnel which will be needed to guard the next Mela in 2013. There are no publicly available figures on precisely how much the government will spend on other infrastructure — but it is instructive to note that an encephalitis epidemic that has claimed over 500 children's lives this winter drew a Central aid of just Rs.0.28 billion.
The State's subsidies to the Kumbh Mela, sadly, aren't an exception. Muslims wishing to make the Haj pilgrimage receive state support

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This backdrop explains the fear over the government’s attempts to censor various new mediums like social networking sites. These mediums pose new challenges for the ethics of expression. Many states are trying to use these mediums as tools of discipline rather than platforms of expression. But remove the fig leaf of technicalities. Holding them pre-emptively responsible for offensive speech is like requiring a profit-making road operator liable for every crime committed on the road because they did not pre-screen every car and driver and let potential murderers drive. But the issue is not technology. Given the Indian state’s record, it is but natural that any whiff of regulatory control is seen as threatening. A measure of this is the fact that a platitude like “no freedom is absolute” sounds more like a threat when the state utters it...
Enlightenment was not spread only by sober, non-offensive philosophers. It was created by the most scurrilous lampooning of religious authority, often debasing it. A liberal democratic society can allow us to do that peacefully. But what creates conflict is not offensive speech

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With politicians offering questionable placebos which have expired use-by dates, and clerics misdiagnosing the disease, is it any wonder that the patient’s condition remains grave?
In Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Iff tells Haroun how certain things are P2C2E, (process-too-complicated-to-explain). But this process is simple: politicians and clerics gain by keeping the population uninformed. They fight chimeric battles and offer illusory benefits to Muslims, who want education and jobs. Instead they get quotas, and not skills, with the added bonus: to protest Rushdie.

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the question Rushdie asked many years ago, when he wrote Satanic Verses.
Question: What is the opposite of faith?
Not disbelief. Too final, certain, closed. Itself a kind of belief.
Doubt.
This brief meditation lies at the heart of the controversy over the Satanic Verses, which has extended into the present and ridiculous debate over whether Rushdie should be “allowed” to attend Jaipur. The real question is why the Deobandis, who rarely come to literary festivals, should want to stop others from listening to Rushdie’s views.
In the two decades since the Satanic Verses were banned, it has become increasingly hard to discuss the idea Rushdie puts forward in his work, which is the idea that doubt is necessary and valuable. But in that time, India has also moved closer to accepting, blindly and without much fuss, a worryingly widespread belief. This is the belief that at worst, questioning any faith or religion is in itself a kind of blasphemy—and at best, it’s an esoteric activity that the majority can safely ignore.

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(An interview with the MOST FAMOUS innkeeper in history! NOT TO BE taken seriously!!)
Joe comes in and asks for a room, and I tell him we’re all out of rooms and have been for months. Foot races. Theater groupies. And such. And he says, come on, please. I’ve got a pregnant lady with me. And I say, you hear that down the hall? I’m full up with pregnant ladies. And he says, this baby is important. And I say, hey, buddy, I don’t care if he’s the Son of God, I don’t have any rooms.
So there’s some irony there.
I guess so. And then he says, look, we’ll take anything. And so I say, as a joke, all right, you can go and sleep with animals if you like. And he says fine and slaps some money on the counter.

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What does a comedian really know about God anyway?
Since there is nothing to know about god, a comedian knows as much about god as any one else...An agnostic would say that since you can neither prove the existence nor the non-existence of God then the only answer to the question “Is there a God?” is “I don’t know.” Basically they are saying just because you haven’t found something yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Well firstly we have to know what definition of God we are asking about. Many can be dismissed as logical impossibilities...Let’s just say there is a definition of a God that is possible. Does he exist? “I don’t know” in this case is indeed the correct answer...Is there an elephant up your a—? Even if you’ve looked you can’t say “no.” It could be that you just haven’t found it yet. Please look again and this time really believe there is an elephant up there because however mad it sounds no one can prove that you don’t have a lovely big African elephant up your a—.

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I see nothing “wrong” in believing in a god. I don’t think there is a god, but belief in him does no harm. If it helps you in any way, then that’s fine with me. It’s when belief starts infringing on other people’s rights when it worries me...It’s strange that anyone who believes that an all-powerful all-knowing, omniscient power responsible for everything that happens, would also want to judge and punish people for what they are...
“Do unto others…” is a good rule of thumb. I live by that. Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. But that’s exactly what it is -­‐ a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I’m good. I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.”
You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.

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In the end, science is no more compatible with religion than with other superstitions, such as leprechauns. Yet we don't talk about reconciling science with leprechauns. We worry about religion simply because it's the most venerable superstition — and the most politically and financially powerful.
...pretending that faith and science are equally valid ways of finding truth not only weakens our concept of truth, it also gives religion an undeserved authority that does the world no good...
And any progress — not just scientific progress — is easier when we're not yoked to religious dogma. Of course, using reason and evidence won't magically make us all agree, but how much clearer our spectacles would be without the fog of superstition!

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There's altogether too much harping on respect and banning these days. If you can't respect something, you should ban it. If it's not banned, you should respect it. Bullshit. There is a huge gulf of toleration between respect and banning. In a free society, people should be allowed to do what they want wherever possible. The loss of liberty incurred by any alternative principle is too high a price to pay to stop people making dicks of themselves. But, if people are using their freedoms to make dicks of themselves, other people should be able to say so...
We can tolerate but criticise it and, as long as we're not being abusive, take the piss...
It bears restating that it's not bigoted to disagree vociferously with people's choices, as long as you're even more vociferous in defending their right to make them. So if, because of peer pressure, a section of our community is altering its appearance in a way that I think looks awful or silly, I'm allowed to say so.

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