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Machines Like Us

Don’t cry for me, Jesus statue

Saturday, 14 April 2012
by Mano Singham

Sanal Edamaruku is the head of the Indian Rationalist Association and has a flair for the dramatic.

Long-time readers of this blog will recall the time I wrote about a Hindu ‘tantric guru’ (whatever the hell that is) who claimed that he could kill someone without touching him or her, just by performing rituals. Edmaruku challenged the guru to kill him on live TV and hilarity ensued as he laughed and taunted the guru as the latter desperately went through his entire repertoire of mumbo-jumbo to no avail. Now that is what I call must-see TV.

Edamaruku’s latest exploit is when he was invited by a TV station to investigate the miracle of a ‘weeping cross’ in front of Catholic church in which water dripped from the foot of the crucified Jesus. After examining it closely, he found a perfectly natural reason for the water’s appearance, involving capillary action from a nearby water source and he explained how it worked and accused the church of basically taking advantage of the gullibility of believers. The Catholic church has now had him charged with blasphemy and for “hurting the religious sentiments of a particular community." Oh, the poor sensitive babies.

We have to remember that it takes quite a bit of courage for Edamaruku to do what he does in India, a country that despite being a modern global economic power, still has many people who are religious fanatics who are quite willing to kill to show their devotion to god. Not unlike the US, actually.

What interests me is why those religious people who are impressed by these miracles don’t seem to question why they are so pointless. They don’t seem to ask themselves why god wastes his miraculous powers to slowly drip water from a statue when his efforts would not be better spent doing something really useful, like getting rid of cholera bacteria in the water in Haiti that is currently causing an epidemic of death and suffering?