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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling

Actually, I wanted to kill two birds by one pebble.

On Sat, Jul 21, 2012 at 7:01 AM, subimal chakrabarty <> wrote:

Nietzsche was a notorious woman hater indeed. "Thou goest to woman? Do not forget thy whip."---He preaches. The health of this brilliant man was always so bad that he had to take early retirement at the age of 34. At the age of 44 he became insane and never recovered. "His opinion of women, like every man's, is an objectification of his own emotion towards them, which is obviously one of fear. 'Forget not the whip'--but nine women out of ten would get the whip away from him, and he knew it, so he kept away from women, and soothed his wounded vanity with unkind remarks."---explains Bertrand Russell. We all know how much sage Manu discriminated men against women. About "Manusanhita" Nietzsche says,"I know of no book in which so many delicate and kindly things are said of woman as in the Law book of Manu--- ."  

Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2012 8:15 PM

Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
Endless debate on religions by people who read little and write a lot is annoying to the extreme.  To analyze the genesis of God(s), one has to read the old Egyptian literature, find the connection between pentagram and the shapes of men and goats.  Comments by Ms. Majid remind me of the misogynist philosopher Nietzsche.  He wrote, "When a woman pretends to be a scholar, there is something wrong with her procreative organs.". "In the Qur'an Allah is always addressing human beings with practical, worldly advice: O you believing men and women ---- ".  Anybody who believes that his/her "holy book" has advice from Allah/God lacks analytical ability.   God the almighty was not a creator in any religion except those originating from Judaism.  God itself is a creation of the imaginative human mind.  The concept of God is thoroughly imperfect.


Sanskar is literally reform as Dr. Roy pointed out.  When a sanskar becomes old, it becomes custom or tradition.  Anything connected with seven, saptapadee, seven days in a week, or seven heavens is associated with seven planets in the geocentric universe.  These planets also represent archangels in Judeo-Christianity.  They were independent Gods in pantheism earlier.

On Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 8:27 AM, subimal chakrabarty <> wrote:
1. I think the word "custom" (as has been suggested by Farida Majid) is pretty close as the synonym of the word "sanskar". For example, in the context of religion, "saptapadee" (the bride and the groom together walk seven steps so that the actual conjugal life become long and happy)  as a religious ritual is a significant part of Hindu wedding. This custom or sanskar has no scientific basis but the purpose is goodness. One can cite hundreds of examples.  
2. "They ignore the fact that here I'm talking endlessly about 'people' -- human beings, communities and places/locations where people live and work. There can be NO religion -- no matter how powerful a God -- without people."----Farida Majid. This great but courageous utterance by Farida Majid ("Sabar uporey manush sotyo, tahar upore nai"---Chandidas) is prone to be treated as blasphemous by shallow believers. It has been said by our great poets like Rabindranath and Nazrul neither of whom was a nonbeliever. Nazrul's "audacious" call to Genghis, Mahmud, and Kalapahar to demolish the places of worship where man is ignored obviously angered the mullahs. Let me take a quote even from Jasimuddin's "Sojan badiyar ghat" in which an 80-year old religious Manir Munshi says: "ei masjid iter ganthuni, Allah hethay korey na baas, ihar mayay mathay koriya bohiya anibe sarbonash." He said this when a bloody clash between the Muslims and Hindus was imminent. I wrote an article (published in Ogrobeej thanks to Shoumyo Dasgupta) on "Sojan badiyar ghat". I interpreted Jasimuddin in the following way: Jasimuddin has emphasized that man is "way above the few brick pillars". Man is there, that is why there is God. Without man, the the place of worship is nothing but a meaningless structure.   

Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9:29 AM
Subject: RE: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
           All the discussion about religion by the so-called atheists (both deshi and bideshi) swirl around God, His existence and blind faith.  I really cannot be bothered to be so God-obssessed as the atheists are.  They ignore the fact that  here I'm talking endlessly about 'people' -- human beings, communities and places/locations where people live and work.  There can be NO religion -- no matter how powerful a God -- without people.  Buddhang sharanang gacchaami -- sanghang sharang gacchaami, etc. There must be a SANGHA. Call it a Umma, if you like. In the Qur'an Allah is always addressing human beings with practical, worldly advice: O you believing men and women ----        Subimal has used a nice quote and comments : "Dharma is a shuva sanskar". This "sanskar" (can we trnslate it into "superstition"? Probably not.) is the result of religious beliefs of thousands of years of our forefathers.             The word 'sanskar' is very interesting in this context.  It has many meanings. It means 'custom' in one sense, and that meaning does not have to be limited to 'religious beliefs' only. Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Bouddhas of Bengal share many customs that belong to the locale. We have to add a negative -- ku-sanskar -- in order to mean 'superstition'. Sanskar also means 'correction' or revision or edifying.  Thus we have a 2nd sangskaran of a published book.  So, to me, the word 'sanskar' connotes both customs or long tradition, and one that keeps changing as society changes.                        "Dharma is a shuva sanskar" is a very apt statement. It relies -- not on 'blind faith' ( I don't know what that oft repeated phrase means), but on society's faith on religions to mean good and give right guidance to mankind.  Religion-peddlers manage to exploit a handful of faithfuls within a particular faith, but worse, they exploit the whole society's faith on the goodness of religions.       On the word sanskar. again, the great grammarian Panini of Afghanistan in 500 BC organized and created a written language out of what he was hearing around him and the hymns that were being sung in rituals.  He called this bhasha Sanskrita or "that which has been edified'.                             Farida Majid
To: mukto-mona@yahoogroups.comFrom: subimal@yahoo.comDate: Tue, 17 Jul 2012 05:41:47 -0700Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling  
Yours may be one of some possible explanations. I still remember what Bani Basu, a novelist from West Bengal and wife of a Buddhist scholar, has written in the introduction of her "semi-historical" novel "Maitrya Jatak": "Dharma is a shuva sanskar". This "sanskar" (can we trnslate it into "superstition"? Probably not.) is the result of religious beliefs of thosands of years of our forefathers. To this has been added the strong religious environment the atheist is living in. It's foundation in our subconscious mind is so splod that even a "confirmed" atheist fails to escape it completely. And this manifests itself in an atheist's love for devotional or spiritual songs of  Rabindranath and others.  
From: Shah Deeldar <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2012 1:55 PM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
"Is it not fascinating that even the educated and culturally advanced atheists and skeptics love devotional songs written by our great lyricists? Why is it so? "

Very interesting observation!
Here is my two cents:
No matter how much we know about the nature and its laws, it will still be a mystery for us for many millions years to come. We will never be able to attain the absolute knowledge that we might need to predict a future incident like a plane crash in the sky or say, us facing certain deaths on certain dates. That insecurity might be a factor why we still do not mind to sing the hallelujah hymn to yield that undefined mysterious power to a greater power than ours own? 
"All great truths begin as blasphemies." GBS
From: subimal chakrabarty <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 10:46 AM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
1.Use of drug has been an integral part of the culture of many secretive and semi-secretive cults. The "sati" had sometimes to be drugged to persuade her to walk onto the burning pyre of her dead husband. I have seen smoking of "ganja" by people (male) of all ages during the religious event called "trinather mela". In urban religious practices of Hinduism, this (smoking ganja) has been greatly marginalized or probably has vanished. Many Hindu sadhus cannot do without it. Drug opens spiritual window for the truth seeker. In my young life I have seen disciples (fans) sitting around the master (male or female) to get engaged in profound spiritual talks while smoking ganja.  
2. There has always been uses of the religion by the exploiters as the opiate of the masses. But it has other uses too. Think about a typical Indian Hindu mother with little education and who was born 80 years ago. Religion has taught her to completely devote herself to the service of her husband. This is exploitative part. On the other hand religion gives her God or gods and goddesses to be worshiped for piety and spiritual and mystical experiences and pleasure as well. Also observance of religious rituals is a part of her daily routine. Obviously fear factor is a motive force behind her religious behavior. But what about the 100-year old educated and highly religious father who sees same one God in every god and goddess and who has no belief in hell or heaven or in piety? Yes, at the times of hardships and distress he prays and tears roll down his cheeks while he is praying. Here religion provides him with a drug free comfort. Here I see a great utility of religion in the personal life of a believer. When he is in total despair, he completely submits himself to God.   
3. There is hardly any one who chose his own religion. He already has it by default and it is now his duty to practice it believing that it is a great thing and he should be proud of it. While practicing it and knowing more and more about it questions may however arise in his inquiring mind. 
4. Being proud of one's own religion and considering the same as the best one is typical of the educated and socially and politically conscious class. Common toiling and economically struggling people do not have time to engage in such a luxury. Even he has hardly any time to observe all the recommended rituals. 
5. Is it not fascinating that even the educated and culturally advanced atheists and skeptics love devotional songs written by our great lyricists? Why is it so?                        

From: Kamal Das <>
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2012 8:21 PM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
"it is a mere drug free comfort for our mind!"  In reality, the psychedelic drugs had a great role in the development and propagation of religions.
On Sat, Jul 14, 2012 at 7:49 PM, Shah Deeldar <> wrote:
"Religion is one such belief also. But, it brings some sort of pride in people."
I call it the last resort to belong to a huge cult. I would rather look at it from a Freudian angle. It is far easier to become a religious man than a true knowledge gatherer. It brings pride to people who have nothing else to proud of! Why would a criminal be interested in converting to born again in something after five consecutive murders? What would be a better choice for him/her? Learning more about how celestial objects are faithfully orbiting around other stars and planets? Or, take a new religious attire and demand respect from others? No doubt, the later sounds far easier! Look, my words are harsh but that is what I feel about religions. If anybody thinks that the God being on their side, I say, keep dreaming on brothers and sisters. To me, it is a mere drug free comfort for our mind! No more and no less! -SD  

"All great truths begin as blasphemies." GBS
Sent: Friday, July 13, 2012 8:15 PM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
People believe in many things; not all those beliefs are revealed to others. We all have our own prejudices/superstitions. Exposing one's prejudices is like exposing one's 'stupidities.' As a result, people rarely talk about them. How do you express that you believe in something that does not exist? Is it a sign of smartness or what?
Religion is one such belief also. But, it brings some sort of pride in people. So  they feel the need to show their religiosity to others in their religious attires and/or appearances to stir up otherwise nonexistent resentment and hatred. There is no end in sight to end these types of cultural disturbance in our societies.
Jiten Roy --- On Fri, 7/13/12, Shah Deeldar <> wrote:

From: Shah Deeldar <>
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
To: "" <>
Date: Friday, July 13, 2012, 9:53 AM

How you feel about your own faith and belief is not anybody's concern unless you impose your values and standard on others. To me, it is more important to see whether a belief takes people to the dark ages or enlightenment of a verifiable truth. I can tolerate your belief but may not respect your belief. If you are a free thinker, that should be totally OK with you as I would follow the same rule.
"All great truths begin as blasphemies." GBS
From: qar <>
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 9:18 AM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
If religious people can keep their religion private and stop boasting about their religion being the best, there would not any problem.
>>>>>>>> I agree. Actually arrogance is bad for all people. It eats up best qualities from our personalities. However, if you ask me about my faith and how I feel about it, you should be able to tolerate my "Opinion" on MY faith matters. I have seen people have some preconceived notions about religious people and often go with it. Having tolerance and rejecting/reducing arrogance are "Best practices" for any peaceful communities. No matter if you want to view it from religious point of view or secular point of view. Shalom!
-----Original Message----- From: Shah Deeldar <> To: mukto-mona <> Sent: Tue, Jul 10, 2012 6:47 am Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
Only thing I can add here is that the people, who are truly spiritual and never stop asking questions about our origin and our relation to the universe should not have any problem with little critic.  If religious people can keep their religion private and stop boasting about their religion being the best, there would not any problem. But. that is not happening in practice and hence, they do deserve critic now and then. Any belief should be challenged now and then before it gets transformed as an universal truth. The next thing you will find that people will be demanding the religiously adjusted science in the public schools. Who would want that? How would reach to the next frontier with such compromised science?
"All great truths begin as blasphemies." GBS
From: Jiten Roy <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 9:32 PM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
I have thought about the question also - as to why people get offended by the criticism of their religions; why can't they leave it to God.  This is what I found.
People are interested in religion not only for the eternal rewards, but - also they are also interested in the brand name of the clan. Religion is no different from other commercial commodity. It needs to be sold for continued expansion, and criticism is not good for the business, and also for the reputation of the clan.  As a result, people cannot wait for God's punishment.
Now, the tolerance level of criticism varies from followers to followers. Some followers may care more about eternal rewards than expansionism. They will have more tolerance to criticism. Some followers could be totally indifferent of criticism. It's a matter of priority.
Having said that, I have to recognize that, while protecting the brand name is discouraged in some religions, it is mandatory in others. 
Jiten Roy --- On Tue, 7/3/12, Sukhamaya Bain <> wrote:

From: Sukhamaya Bain <>
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
To: "" <>
Date: Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 4:36 PM

Along with making a little correction in my post below, let me put forth my thoughts on one of the terms that I have used.
Abusing Religion:
From time to time, many religious people accuse non-religious people and people of other religions of abusing their religion. Example: if someone were to open up the Bible and criticize something in it, he/she would be accused by some Christians of abusing their religion. I said "some" (as opposed to "many") for Christians, because I believe this group has progressed significantly for a lot of them to ignore such criticisms.
However, let us try some logic. What can be more abuse for God (Allah, Bhagaban, whatever else in other lanugages) than the so-called believers to think that He is not almighty, and that He needs help from them? What can be more doubting of God's power than thinking that He needs humans to fight for Him (or for His religion) in this world?
The way I see it, if someone actually insulted God or His messenger, a true believer could feel pity for the insulter. Because, according to the belief, the insult was against the most powerful, and the insulter might have invited big trouble for himself/herself in the form of punishment from God. If God knew best, the believer would have no business prescribing a punishment for the insulter. The most civilized and caring action for the believer would be to pray to God to change the insulter's mind, the power of which God certainly has according to his/her true belief.
The bottom line is, if religion was really for believing in the almighty God (Allah, Bhagaban, whatever else in other lanugages), as opposed to forming/maintaining/expanding a clan, there should be no reason for humans to fight, or to hate, for maintaining or promoting it.
Sukhamaya Bain
From: Sukhamaya Bain <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Sunday, July 1, 2012 9:32 AM
Subject: [mukto-mona] Let us not criticize religions, criticize religion-peddling
Indeed, I believe most of us in this forum are opposed to religion-peddling, as Ms. Majid wrote. As I wrote before, there is no point in opening up religious books for criticism, even when that might look scholarly.
I am opposed to the use, misuse and abuse of religions, all of which have caused a lot of division, hatred and injustice in the world. While I do not follow any religion, I am not unwilling to do something just because if was found in a religious book. In other words, I am perfectly OK to implement in my life anything that is good in the Koran, for example.
To me, all religious books are part of my history. None of them are "my religion" or "someone else's religion." I am open to follow anything good in any book. I have no animosity toward any religion. For me, no religion needs to have cadres of defenders.
However, I am certainly for discarding anything bad in any book. And I am unwilling to dig for contexts by which a seemingly bad teaching can be interpreted to be OK or good. Nor do I have time for overly-brainwashed 'scholars', who try to sustain and promote nonsense in what they think is 'their religion'.
The bottom line is, we should fight division, hatred and injustice that are promoted via use, misuse and abuse or religions.
Sukhamaya Bain
From: subimal chakrabarty <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 7:35 PM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] Voice of the People
There is a gray area between religion itself and the way it is used by vested interest groups. In a God fearing society it is unproductive and sometimes catastrophic to bluntly criticize a religion. It antagonizes common people and the reactionary forces get an excuse to pull them on their own side. But can a society really progress without pointing out the weaknesses in a religion? Obviously, No. But if we do so, religious feelings of the believers cannot but be hurt. It is a dilemma indeed. When Dipa Mehta shows in her film "Water" the quote from Gandhi and Manusanhita side by side, the Hindutvabadis do not like it. But we come to know that Gandhi did not endorse all of sage Manu's sacred pronouncements.
From: Farida Majid <>
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 8:55 AM
Subject: RE: [mukto-mona] Voice of the People
                  Do we all agree, on this one point, that we are all opposed to religion-peddling? I fervently hope that the answer is: YES.                 If so, then it is our solemn duty to understand the matter of 'religion-peddling'.                          In this business of religion -peddling it is the 'peddling' part that should command our attention.  And that requires certain in-depth and close attention to politics. Religion is a very powerful cultural artifice, and since both politics and religion deal with a community of people, there has been a mix of the two from time immemorial.  But we are constantly talking about religion-related  social symptoms, and mis-diagnosing them as 'religion'.  Why? There are several reasons.  One, mental laziness.  It takes a lot more patience and astute observation to do a political analysis. It needs historical information.              Throughout the 16th century in Europe , for instance, the Catholic Church was fighting an intense political battle with the breaking up of the Church.  The execution of the Nolan Magus and poet, Giordano Bruno, who was not a scientist or mathematician like Nicholas Copernicus, and the persecution of astronomer Galileo, a couple of decades later are indicative of the Church's political authority under severe pressure.  It is silly to cite this as the paradigmatic 'science v. religion' struggle.  It is a singular historical event within the context of Europe .               Both Dawkins and Hitchens are being totally dishonest in their discussions against religion. Dawkins is addressing the Creationists exclusively, and Hitchens's arguments apply to the Jehadists only.  Neither has the courage and intelligence of Karen Armstrong who discards the construction of the binary opposition of 'science v. religion' and refuses any hierarchical positioning of the two branches of knowledge.               Two, critiquing religion is a mask for communalism.  More on that later.                               Farida Majid


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"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
               -Beatrice Hall [pseudonym: S.G. Tallentyre], 190

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