28 November 2014

Visions of the spiritual world (2)

Remember the mass human sacrifices of the Aztec religion?  Fervent believers slaughtered great numbers of people (mostly prisoners of war or victims given as tribute by subject peoples of the Aztec Empire), sometimes tens of thousands at a time, in bloody temple rituals to propitiate the Aztec gods who, they believed, would otherwise allow the mechanism of the cosmos to cease running.  That ghastly faith and its practices vanished centuries ago, thank goodness, but an almost equally horrific tradition of mass blood sacrifice continues on the other side of the world -- even if the victims are not human.

Every five years millions of Hindus gather at the temple of Gadhimai, a Hindu "goddess of power", at Bariyarpur, Nepal.  Many come from nearby India.  The occasion is a mass sacrifice of animals to the goddess, an action which the faithful believe will entice her to give them luck, health, and prosperity.  The scale of the slaughter is staggering -- in 2009, the last time the festival was held, these believers killed between 300,000 and 500,000 animals, mostly by clumsy beheading.  Not for food, not in self-defense, but purely to win the blessings of a fatuous entity with no existence outside their own deranged delusions.

Here's a video by blogger Lady Freethinker (who posts more on the Gadhimai festival here), which will show you exactly what this looks like.  Be warned -- beheadings are shown graphically.



The 2014 festival begins today.  I was not able to locate the petition mentioned at the end, but here is another, and there's also a campaign aimed at the Nepali embassy in the US.

This yet again illustrates, of course, the inability of the religious mind to test beliefs against empirical evidence.  If Hindus believe these mass slaughters bring health and prosperity, a glance at India and Nepal strongly suggests that it isn't working.

Earlier posts of mine on Hinduism are here, here, and here.

5 Comments:

Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

"...the inability of the religious mind to test beliefs against empirical evidence. If Hindus believe these mass slaughters bring health and prosperity, a glance at India and Nepal strongly suggests that it isn't working."

Nor does the adoration of the "Prince of Peace" bring peace -- ever. But that doesn't stop those who believe in it from pretending it does.

The God delusion is a grand delusion that mankind doesn't seem to be able to overcome.

28 November, 2014 07:08  
Anonymous Bacopa said...

The killing in our slaughterhouses is only somewhat more humane. And these animals likely lived lives more free and pleasurable than our factory farmed animals.


I really should go full vegan. I have cut out dairy and eggs, and all meat at home except my SIL's stepfather's grass-fed beef. I can quit that, but seafood! How can I give up bright pink shrimp from the Galveston Bay piers? And the squid, the oysters. I grew up on the bay and it's hard to quit that.

28 November, 2014 16:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shaw: We will overcome it in time. Compare the situation in the West now with 500 years ago. Progress is being made.

Bacopa: No evil has ever been eliminated by pointing to some other evil and saying it was worse or almost as bad. And these people don't even have the feeble excuse of thinking they need these animals as food.

You should read up on the amount of pollutants absorbed by animal life in the oceans. That led me to stop eating anything from the sea long before I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons.

28 November, 2014 17:12  
Anonymous Lady Freethinker said...

Thanks for posting about this! Despite the mind-boggling amount of bloodshed at Gadhimai, you just don't hear much about it – or anything at all, if you rely on mainstream media.

And good point about the obvious ineffectiveness of the kill. These worshippers sure aren't seeing the fruits of the sacrifice in terms of luck or prosperity!!

30 November, 2014 10:53  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Lady F: And thanks for bringing it to my attention. Until I read your post I had never heard of this.

Atrocities against animals, and other barbarities, do seem to get curiously little attention in our media and blogs when they happen in Third World countries. It's almost as if people thought it was politically incorrect to mention such things.

30 November, 2014 10:57  

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