Monday, June 09, 2008

Why I am not religious*

: There is this girl I know.
: Yes?
: from TIS. (or she was at TIS, she quit before I did)
: She annoys the *hell* out of me!
: And that's a bad thing?
: Oh don't YOU start now!
: She's a Brahmakumari
: I notice your respectful capitalisation.
: Oh shut up!
: So why does she annoy you, this Brahmakumari (see? I'm playing along)?
: I don't know if it's annoyance, as much as disappointment.
: Explain.
: Well initially, I thought she was rather intelligent. As in, we'd had a couple of conversations and she seemed…well, I don't know, like a sane religious person!
: And you fell for that.
: But she DID sound sane! She actually said stuff like, "The reason most religions fail is because most of them insist on restricted brain-usage"
: Well, not exactly in those words, but that was the gist of it.
: And you fell for it.
: Would you stop saying that?
: My poor, gullible peanut, didn't you notice her clever use of the word 'most'?
: (which obviously implied all religions EXCEPTING her own?)
: No, I did NOT. And *must* you rub it in?
: Yes. (evil grin)
: Look, how many times do you have to have this conversation before you realise it's pointless? You're flogging a dead horse.
: :(
: And DON'T use that face with me.
: I can't help it, that's my default disappointed-in-people face.
: You mean your disappointed-in-RELIGIOUS-people face. People, in general, aren't too bad.
: There's room for improvement, but then, there always is.
: So what (specifically) did she do to annoy you?
: She said I was 'oversexed'.
: HAHAHAHAAAA!
: (glares)
: HAHAHAHHAHAAA!!
: Oh shut up!
: No, I'm sorry, this is hilarious!
: (muffled guffaws)
: Don't make me come over there. (rolls up sleeves)
: Okay wait. (puts on straight face)
: NOW tell me.
: So how did this girl arrive at this remarkably perspicacious conclusion?
: (You didn't get drunk and hit on her did you?!)
: I did NOT.
: I had a conversation with her wrt (a lot of) religions' warped attitude towards sex.
: Like bramhakumari-ism's. As in, they're anti sex.
: I'd asked her what they had against it and she gave me the crappiest reason I'd ever heard!
: And I've heard a LOT of those.
: Being of hyper-vaishnav stock. Yes, I know.
: Tsk! Not hyper-vaishnav stock. Vaishnavism happened to the family later. Just hyper-religious stock.
: (and vaishnavism isn’t really anti-sex. Mostly they just pretend it doesn’t exist.)
: (unless of course, it’s baby-making sex)
: (which is understandably legitimate)
: (the patter of little vaishnav feet and all)
: (which mean greater attendance at little vaishnav temples)
: (and more money in the BIG vaishnav temple-coffers)
: But yes, do you know what her reasoning was??
: Do tell.
: She said, and I quote "We are all the children of one cosmic soul. Which makes us all brothers and sisters, and you wouldn't have sex with your siblings, would you?"
: You're kidding me.
: Nope!
: And you managed to resist the urge to slap her silly?
: I did.
: Pity. You know, sometimes, you should just follow your instincts.
: Especially when faced with such high calibre idiots.
: I know. I'm regretting it now.
: But I also asked her, "So by that logic, your parents committed incest as well?"
: I am pleasantly surprised. YOU followed up a (potentially) confrontational line of questioning? Not bad at all.
: "And EVEN if they did, considering that you are a product of that incestuous coupling, is it necessarily bad?"
: Bravo!
: She was NOT pleased! :D
: I shouldn't think so. :D
: So what did she have to say to that?
: She gave me the standard religious-person's-cop-out speech.
: "You won't understand this now. Tum is raaste pe chalogi, to tumhe samajh mein aayega. Spritually, you're still a child. "
: Ah, THAT old chestnut.
: That only.
: So you're a sex-fiend because you asked her why her religion is anti-sex?
: Apparently.
: (although I also asked her what they had against eating meat)
: (but THAT, she chose to ignore! Hmmph!)
: Also, there was a copy of Summer of '42 on my desk.
: And the blurb said something about Hermie being, 'sixteen, confused and obsessed with sex'.
: And she picked it up, read the blurb and said, "arre! ye to bilkul tere jaisa hai!"
: Dumb bitch.
: Ooh! Invective! She really got to you, didn't she?
: But I can't get over the idea of YOU as a sex-fiend. HAHAHAHAHAAA!
: I know! It's the most idiotic thing ever!
: It's weird you know.
: I don't *want* to be an atheist fundamentalist.
: I don't *want* to think that all religious people are touched in the head.
: But every time I start giving them the benefit of doubt, thinking that maybe they're not all delusional, I meet another moron like this.
: So these people put you off religion.
: Yes.
: And essentially, stop you from becoming a moron.
: I don't like where you're going with this.
: (smug grin)
: You know I'm right.
: I know no such thing.

* And also, why I need friends who are less smug.

30 comments:

bollyviewer said...

HAHAHAHHAHAAA Indeed! Hope you have realised by now that God doesnt like sex! ;-)

Look at the bright side - you werent told that atheists were bad because religious people may try atheism but atheists never try to see if they have faith!!!!

tangled said...

Scary. Religious people scare me, too. Pious ones - not so much. On the contrary. :)

But surely this doesn't stop you from having your own relationship with your God?
God's such a comforting abstract to have around...

DewdropDream said...

Here's what happens when these religion fiends do try to 'modernise' religion: They learn to speak English.

No kidding! There's been much talk about the new religious head in my community because 'he can speak English and thus he can connect to the younger generation'. The fact that their principles haven't changed, or that they will never be able to fully explain all things that the younger generation questions being of very little importance here. Modern-shcmodern... hmpfh!

sougata said...

I did not know anything about Brahma Kumaris till I read your post. Now I do. It appears to be a typical guru-centered cult.

This particular racket... beg pardon, religion, was started by a certain Mr. Kripalani. Mr. K, who was a successful diamond trader and father of five, had a revelation at the age of sixty after some mushrooms... beg pardon, meditation, and was convinced that he had found the answer to the human condition. He therefore promptly re-christened himself Brahma Baba (because, well, you know, it sounds just so much way dorki... beg pardon, cooler, than Mr. Kripalani) and set out to preach his message to the world and collect some disciples... beg pardon, sheep.

I also found that Brahma Baba indeed frowned on sex. Very frowned. Having five kids can do that you, I suppose.

There are several things that I don't get about these gurus. Take this, for example: A central message of some of these gurus is the moderation--or even the complete removal--of desire.

I don't get it. What exactly is wrong with desire? It is completely normal to be rife with desire. In fact, desire makes the world go round. It makes the economy go, and by gum, even keeps the species existant. A generation of perfectly desire-less human beings would be just that; ONE generation. There would be no more. Anybody who preaches the removal of desire is severely confused. Perhaps even insane.

I am not even one hundred percent sure that moderation of desire is necessarily a good thing. Desire comes from dissatisfaction (If you were completely satisfied, why would you desire anything?), and dissatisfaction is the key to development. Dissatisfaction contributes far more to improving the human condition than being fat, dumb, and happy does. I am not convinced that removing our discontent will lead to a world that I would want to live in.

Another thing that I don't get about gurus. Most seem to have these completely normal lives till a ripe age, and then suddenly a sort of mid-life crisis hits them. Perhaps they feel the onset of irrelevance. Perhaps they feel that nobody is listening to them much any more. The kids are all grown up. The wife mostly leaves him to his devices. The employees are competent and seem to have figured out the operating procedures and keep things running smoothly. So these people have this brilliant idea of meditating for a bit and coming up with a warped message that is guaranteed to get the attention of even more insecure morons.

In other words, instead of having the common decency to retire and knock a few bocce balls together and generally shut the f*** up, these folks have these shroom-infested revelations and start lecturing the rest of us to, basically, not do the things that they've done!! Like some sort of a rehabilitated crackhead in a public service commerical. It's as if life were some kind of affliction, rather than a wonderful and interesting experience to revel in. What a deluded, negative and claustrophobic way of looking at things.

These self-styled gurus are, at best, pessimistic insecure patronizing fools. The only bigger fools are the sheeple who flock to them. A swift kick in the seat to suchkind (both guru and the fluck) would not be out of order.

Glossary:
Fluck = F***ing flock.

??! said...

you're baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!...again!

And wow, sougata got really riled up eh?

sougata said...

Guilty as charged.

** bows unsurely, and then skips happily away for some reason best known to himself **

Chronicus Skepticus said...

Bollyviewer:
No, no. On the contrary, I think he (for a given value of ‘he’) rather approves of it. Why else would it be built in?

I’m kinda scratching my head over the second part of your comment.

Tangled:
Scary? I’m not so sure about scary. They just make me wish that slapping people with a cold fish was socially acceptable behaviour.

And I think the fine line between religious and pious is one that is very frequently hopped over. Possibly because it’s such a fine line and, you know, hard to see and all.

It’s a comforting idea, yes, but I can’t help wondering how different it is from believing that I have my very own, personal, has-my-best-interests-at-heart fairy godmother. Or a billion dollars in the bank.

I’d *like* to believe, really I would. In fact I’m a bit of a wannabe believer, but so far no gods (or religions) have stepped up to the plate.

DewdropDream:
Brilliant. That’s all we need, one more language to spew incoherently in.

I think I should just start my own religion. In which those who do not use their heads shall lose them! Now I gotta think of a fun name for it.

Sougata:
Okay, I didn’t know *this* much about it.

>A generation of perfectly desire-less human beings would be just that; ONE generation. There would be no more.

So...maybe it’s not ALL bad. If they’re programmed to self-destruct, maybe we should just let them.

I think I’m on to something here.

??!:
Er...I think I am...maybe?

And yes, religion and Sougata have a...er, they go back a long way.

Read his blog.

DewdropDream said...

'If they’re programmed to self-destruct, maybe we should just let them.'

YOu most certainly are onto something there :D

I have an idea... since half these things are scams in any way, why not pay them back with their own penny?? Arrange an elaborate exercise wherein some archaeologist is going to 'find' long buried texts that provide the basis to a new religion which promotes exactly what we free-thinking individuals would like to be the basis for a religion... and it shall be on a roll from there!!! hehe

P.S: I just might've found the name you're looking for. Google gave me word verification as 'vxysuman'... it sounds so pristine and utterly complex and meaningful, it could be any language you want it to be... mohahaha!!!

sougata said...

>> So...maybe it’s not ALL bad. If they’re programmed to self-destruct, maybe we should just let them.


Ah, but no so fast, CS. The Big Bubba is more clever than you and I. See how he sneaks in the trapdoor clause about the little Vaishnav feet. No, he made sure that his coterie of brainwashed bots will just be human enough to eventually produce more bots who will also be just human enough. A good racketeer always ensures perpetuity.

It's a cash-flow thing. And if one puts on his tinfoil hat just so, one would instinctively see that.

But dang all that CS. What I really want to know is this. Was she goodlooking? This Brahma Kumari friend, I mean. Because then I might want to introduce her to my, uh... religion. If you know what I mean.

Ok, ok, ok, that was tasteless. But I just couldn't resist. So solly. See, I think I've been channeling someone lately. I think it's a long dead Boston tyke. You know... the kind that grabs its crotch at passers-by and yells, "'ey baby, I got yer religion right here." I need an exorcism. Or something. Because I am not really writing these things. The power of tyke is compelling me to.

DewdropDream said...

@Sougata: Do you have a blog? May I read it??

IdeaSmith said...

TAG!!!

Sougata said...

@dewdropdream:

Yes, you may certainly read my blog. It's public. You don't need anyone's permission to read it :-)

DewdropDream said...

@ Sougata: It wasn't permission I was after... it was a link!!! :D Thank you :D

sougata said...

Understood :-)

The Gypsy said...

i'm very religious.. sex is a religion!!! :)

Amey said...

So these people put you off religion.
: Yes.
: And essentially, stop you from becoming a moron.


Would have liked to read next few lines on this line ;)

iz said...

What an infuriating twat!

Straight Curves said...

pray, (ha!)*which* weekenmd are you waiting for?! >:P

Advait said...

Religion is not the problem ... at least not with mean (Hah!) ... what i mean is that we receive religion wrapped in dogma, silly rituals and obscure crypts ... when you simplify it ... like the brhama devi just did in your post ... what you get is just the covers of an interesting book ... pages all gone missing ... oversimplification of concepts ... and oh ... the couterpoint of brahma devi ... is as confused and pretentious ... religion may not be as pointless, only if we are willing to look further than rituals, fears, and dietry preferences ....

sougata said...

The counterpoint to a Brahma Kumari, for starters, would be someone who regards sex as a completely normal, wonderful, and joyous experience. Often done for the heck of it. Like enjoying a good dinner by looking beyond its nourishment value. Or enjoying a good read of fiction without worrying about its truth content.

If this counterpoint represents confusion and pretense to you, may I suggest getting out more? If the planets line up, the confusion might just disappear; and as a bonus, instead of the sort of shite I usually spew, we might actually get something interesting to read on the immediate blogosphere.

Oh and also, paragraphs are your friends. Use them.

sougata said...

That comment above addressed to advait. So please to mentally add an "@advait" at the beginning (or whatever the bleedin' convention is).

rider of rohan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rider of rohan said...

I, being politically correct as always, think that these bramhakumharis, radhaswamis...scientologists, should be left to their own devices, apart from poking fun at them at some random blog, once in a while. I have a few relatives who became bramhakumaris after 10 yrs and 2 kids into their marriage. If they are not having sex, abstaining from onions and garlic, then I don't give a rat's ass about it! My parents are a lil too pious while i am an atheist! and we are both okay with it!

Everybody is wired differently, and I'm ok with everybody not thinking like me on issues of personal belief.

nikhil said...

Eeeks, sister ;)

Balajee said...

Loved this wonderful piece of writing..

DewdropDream said...

Ther's an award waiting for you to pick it up. Over at mine. Fanks!

ray said...

Hi ,

I was reading ur blog posts and found some of them to be very good.. u write well.. Why don't you popularize it more.. ur posts on ur blog ‘Chronicus Skepticus’ took my particular attention as some of them are interesting topics of mine too;

BTW I help out some ex-IIMA guys who with another batch mate run www.rambhai.com where you can post links to your most loved blog-posts. Rambhai was the chaiwala at IIMA and it is a site where users can themselves share links to blog posts etc and other can find and vote on them. The best make it to the homepage!

This way you can reach out to rambhai readers some of whom could become your ardent fans.. who knows.. :)

Cheers,

??! said...

Come back, come back, wherever you are.

Anonymous said...

Boring. Zzzzzz.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by Brahma-kumari? What kind of bigot are you? I am no fan of organised notions of religion myself but that's no reason to stereotype all Vishnu worshippers.

And I am still reeling from the 'Brahma-kumari' bit. The sound of that is giving me this nails-on-blackboard effect. Phonetically, it makes me want to vomit, and it looks awful on paper too. You are right, you must write ghastly poetry.