And all she got was a bun.

Wow, more weird India news! Yay!.jpg

Allow me to preempt someone from asking why I chose to write this story. No, really, let’s get it out of the way, this nimisham:

• Did this really have to be blogged?

• Slow news day?

• Aren’t X,Y and Q more important?

• And furthermore, doesn’t your lack of blogging X,Y and Q indicate that you are a heartless bitch who doesn’t care about Pakistan/the Nuke Deal/the environment/immigration??

Yes,

maybe,

perhaps and

refer to my finger, for that last one. It’s an extra-challenging week at work, so I can’t write anything dazzling, not that the performances which I usually phone in are sublime. I don’t have much time, but when something’s on my mind, it’s easier (read: cathartic) to type, so a “Musings” post it shall be.

Unless you were the last person to be found during hide and seek yesterday, you have heard the cringe-inducing-on-so-many-levels news about an Indian man “marrying” a dog (thanks, Aggiebabe). It is somewhat like the whole “Aish weds trees…twice”-fiasco…except in TMBWITW’s case, she was doing it to compensate for her apparently unfortunate nakshatram and not because she had killed two trees.

An Indian man has “married” a female dog, hoping the move will help atone for stoning two other dogs to death.
P Selvakumar, 33, said he had been cursed since the killings, suffering paralysis and a loss of hearing.
The wedding took place at a Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu state. The “bride” wore an orange sari with a flower garland and was fed a bun to celebrate.
Superstitious people in rural India sometimes organise weddings to animals in the hope of warding off curses.[BBC]

Buried among the hundreds of jokes which punsters are giddily guffawing over (enjoy your free pass to bitch about how the bride is a bitch…but more on that later) is to me the most appalling aspect of this story; this man killed two innocent, defenseless creatures.

I didn’t know how he killed them until I settled in to my seat on the subway this morning and found out that he had stoned them. That detail bothered me so much, because my imagination doesn’t need any assistance in recreating actual events. Have you ever seen an animal cowering in front of a human? Yelping and whimpering out of fear and pain? It’s heartbreaking, but that’s what this so-called man saw, as he brutally stoned two dogs. I remember the way our late German Shepherds looked terrified and anxious, when they were merely being scolded…and that was after they had committed capital offenses, like uprooting our only curry leaf plant.These dogs must have been perplexed as to why they were being hunted down by this sadist. The whole crime makes that red, squishy thing in the middle of my chest ache a little bit. Achtung, it’s lame that I have to assert this, but I’m not some granola-lite, bleeding heart Aggie who puts the welfare of puppies over people—no, I’m someone who, like most of you, is well aware of the connection between perpetrating violence against animals and committing it on humans.

Many studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology during the last 25 years have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. The FBI has recognized the connection since the 1970s, when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals as children. Other research has shown consistent patterns of animal cruelty among perpetrators of more common forms of violence, including child abuse, spouse abuse, and elder abuse. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association considers animal cruelty one of the diagnostic criteria of conduct disorder. [woof]

Dogs and cats are simple, available targets, and practice makes perfect, if the definition of perfection involves torture and murder. What else has this person done? And to whom? And I recognize that I was born here, in the first world, that I am privileged because of that and thus view this news story through my very American eyes, but at least I’m aware of this heinous flaw o’ mine. At least I am ashamed that I have this privilege to be bothered by what some consider a triviality.

But he killed two dogs. That’s all my mind returns, when I pause between Outlook storms. Maybe I should add the Humane Society to my slowly-expanding list of Causes on Facebook, since I’m obsessed with this. And dogs in general (and this cat, but she’s the exception which proves the rule).

Back to our story- after slaying two canines, the groom lost his hearing and according to most stories I’ve read, became paralyzed. Obviously this is divine retribution for being such a flaming merde-bag, oui? Oui. How could one fix this? But of course! Have him marry a dog! Easy atonement, even as such atoning is gleefully retold the world over, ensuring that some desi kid at a less progressive, less diverse school– like the ones I went to– will be having a GREAT recess and lunch period.

Crowds cheered the newly-weds at the end of the ceremony in Sivaganga district, about 50km (30 miles) east of the city of Madurai.
The “bride”, who is called Selvi, was led to the temple in Manamudurai wearing a sari before vows were exchanged in a traditional Hindu ceremony.
A relative of the groom who attended the wedding said he hoped Mr Selvakumar would now be cured.
“Fifteen years back Selvakumar was physically fit. But, once he attacked a pair of dogs and thereafter Kumar could not move his limbs freely,” the relative, Ramu, told the BBC.
“He tried every cure for his ailment but could not be rid of his disability.
“On the advice of an astrologer and others, he decided to marry a bitch to get cured. Then we arranged Selvakumar’s marriage with a bitch.” [BBC]

Who is going to look after that bitch and protect her from abuse–no, I don’t want to get in the possibilities– or is the prevailing assumption that he’s learned his lesson and now will behave? Speaking of “bitch”, that is the final snag on my mental stockings—the B word. Is “bitch” commonly-used in India? Does it have the same connotations? Yes, it’s an even more trivial triviality, atop that other triviality, i.e. my soft shpot for dogs.

This entire story leaves me feeling weird and I don’t feel like I have the “privilege” to explore one of the other aspects of it, which is bothering me- religion. I don’t know enough about Hinduism and though I eat like one, I’m certainly not Hindu. What does this story tell the world (or us, or martians, or…) about religion and what we are willing to tolerate within it?

Then again, maybe there’s some weird Christian tradition that makes even less sense to some girl in Madurai*, I don’t know. Maybe she’s not even thinking of such things. Maybe she’s already rolled her eyes, written this off as mega-superstitiousness which has nothing to do with her or the life she leads, and moved on. I wish I could shake this or make sense of the maelstrom this story evoked within, as easily.

*the closest city to where this happened, I think.

410 thoughts on “And all she got was a bun.

  1. 295 ” I’d say what most Hindu’s consider as their “teachings” is an amalgum of the Upanishads & the Bhagavad Gita (and in some cases, the Bramha sutras – these three make up what’s called “Prasthana Thraya”"

    sounds like the “”That’s the old testament, it doesn’t count” argument.

  2. 298 · HMF said: I identify as Hindu, I’ve not read the manusmrti once. 310 · HMF said: the religion is what texts define it Carry on…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manusmriti

    The text was never universally followed or acclaimed by the vast majority of Indians in their history; it came to the world’s attention through a late eighteenth-century translation by Sir William Jones, who mistakenly exaggerated both its antiquity and its importance. Today many of its ideas are popularised as the golden norm of classical Hindu law by Hindu universalists. They are, however, anathema to modern thinkers and particularly feminists.
  3. I’d say what most Hindu’s consider as their “teachings” is an amalgum of the Upanishads & the Bhagavad Gita (and in some cases, the Bramha sutras – these three make up what’s called “Prasthana Thraya”"

    Which scripture defines that this is the exact amalgam that alchemizes to Hinduism? Or was there interpretation involved in picking these scriptures as the ones to practice?

    I wouldn’t say those quoted scriptures are “opposite.” to the Deutoronomy and Mathew text (in particular proselytization)

    Sure. Allowing non-christians into heaven and not offending followers of other religions does not at all conflict with the idea that all non Catholic Christians are doomed to eternal damnation and must be saved.

  4. Pagla #358, the quoted text that you picked from Wikipedia is but one of a gamut of opinions about the importance of the Manusmriti to Hinduism. That said, the discussion we are having is about whether a purely scriptural reading of religion is appropriate. If so, Manusmriti is as fair a target for Hinduism, as Deuteronomy is for Christianity. That is the gist of my point.

  5. That said, the discussion we are having is about whether a purely scriptural reading of religion is appropriate. If so, Manusmriti is as fair a target for Hinduism, as Deuteronomy is for Christianity.

    Not really. Deuteronomy is in the Bible. There is a distinction between texts in the commenterial traditions. Manusmriti is a smriti. The higher texts are shruti, like the Upanishads. Smritis (and Manu himself says as much) can be overridden in a different age, or when context requires it. The current smriti in India is the Constitution.

  6. Manusmriti is a smriti. The higher texts are shruti, like the Upanishads.

    Sure, Smriti is lower in the hierarchy of observance to Shruti. Similar to the Old and New Testaments in Christianity.

    Smritis (and Manu himself says as much) can be overridden in a different age, or when context requires it. The current smriti in India is the Constitution.

    Which India? The current 1947 boundaries, or the ones in the time of Manu? If the former, we really shouldn’t think about overriding anybody with that much ability to see into the future. If the latter, which constitution should I follow? Pakistan’s? India’s? That’s entirely too much interpretation for my feeble mind :)

  7. the former, we really shouldn’t think about overriding anybody with that much ability to see into the future. If the latter, which constitution should I follow? Pakistan’s?

    Another reason to hate Pervez Musharraf — by transgressing the 1973 Constitution, he is offending a sacred text of Hindus everywhere.

  8. Anyways, I’ve said my piece.

    My basic point is that an unvarnished scriptural reading to prove a point that a religion is intolerant is as ridiculous as those who brandish scripture to claim that evolution is heretical, or the earth was created 6000 years ago, or that women should be stoned for pre/extra-marital sex. Heck, it is not even clear what an unvarnished scriptural reading means given our inability to come up with completely uncontroversial and universally agreed literal translations of books and papers scribbled many centuries ago in archaic languages.

  9. Sure, Smriti is lower in the hierarchy of observance to Shruti. Similar to the Old and New Testaments in Christianity.

    Not at all similar. The old testament is immutable! I dare you to try to edit it.

    Which India? The current 1947 boundaries, or the ones in the time of Manu?

    95% of Hindus live under the Constitution of India. Actually, I don’t think there was a single kingdom in ancient India that actually used Manu as it’s smriti. The Vijyayanagar empire used the Yajnavalkya smriti and the Prasara smriti.

    That’s entirely too much interpretation for my feeble mind :)

    heh

  10. Though Manu is big in the early Hindu expansions, eg its part of the Balinese package of predominantly Shaiva Siddhanta Hindu texts; there is a statue of Manu outside the Phillipines Supreme Court; and Nepal may have been partially organized around Manu. Nietzche loved that shit. He used it as a stick to beat Christianity with.

  11. In South Asia, there are two official schools of Anglo-Hindu law, the Dayabaga school and Mitakshara school. The first governs Bengal and Bangladesh. The second covers Hindus in the rest of India and Pakistan. Both are, I think, based on the Yajnavalkya-smrti, but I could be wrong)

    (Obviously the Indian reforms from the 1950s affect only Indian Hindus — “pure” anglo-Hindu laws survives only in the two Muslim majority countries, while “pure” Anglo-Muhammadan law survives only in India!)

  12. My basic point is that an unvarnished scriptural reading to prove a point that a religion is intolerant is as ridiculous as those who brandish scripture to claim that evolution is heretical, or the earth was created 6000 years ago, or that women should be stoned for pre/extra-marital sex.

    Then why have scriptures at all? Why refer to them at all? It’s not unvarnished reading, or insensible to say, “hey look it says to stone non-believers!” and make the observations I made in @295, and suggest a correlation. As for your links showing Christianities acceptance or tolerance, I actually didnt know they exist, and they did surprise me. However, the very link you provide states:

    “An overall theme of the Bible is religious exclusivity and intolerance.” and There are very few Biblical passages that promote tolerance, in comparison with its many instances of religious intolerance.

    So, the “tolerance verses” might read as a minority report at best, as for your “all are accepted into heaven” retort: that’s not directly stated in scripture, rather an extrapolation from the author:

    “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law” – it’s saying when they essentially do what we put forth anyway. A stretch to say “tolerance” however, I concede, a lot more than what I expected.

    Secondly comparisons to Hinduism don’t make sense, as different sampradayas follow different scriptures, but all get lumped into the colonial term “Hinduism”

  13. Then why have scriptures at all? Why refer to them at all?

    As a source for interpretation.

    So, the “tolerance verses” might read as a minority report at best

    That is irrelevant. If you are going to insist on reading scripture without interpretation, all that is needed is a single contradiction for this entire method of reasoning to fall in a pile. And, I am sure a cursory Google search will demonstrate legions of inconsistent statements in the Bible, Koran et. al. A majority vote sounds suspiciously like a human interpretative rule to me. Let me posit another interpretative rule – pick one statement over the other.

    Secondly comparisons to Hinduism don’t make sense, as different sampradayas follow different scriptures, but all get lumped into the colonial term “Hinduism”

    And different sects of Christianity emphasize different parts of the Bible, as do different Christians even in the same sect.

  14. “that is true to some extent of all religions.”

    True, but other religions usually have core doctrines. For example, even though Catholicism and the Protestantism are basically different religions(disregarding the variety within both sects and speaking generally), they still display a commitment to beliefs such as monotheism and Jesus as savior. In contrast, “Hinduism” seems like a theological cesspool where imcompatible religious ideas are somehow combined. My point is that “”rational Hindus” can’t clean up the religion because it is too amorphous and incoherent to begin with. By the way, I should mention that I’m an atheist so noone thinks that I’m a stealth Christian missionary.

  15. sounds like the “”That’s the old testament, it doesn’t count” argument.

    It is, in a way. But Hinduism doesn’t have a “Bible”, where as Christianity does, and I have no problem with The Old Testament not counting, then this has to be thrown out the window:

    “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

    “2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. “

  16. That is irrelevant. If you are going to insist on reading scripture without interpretation,

    I never discounted interpretation, only that the verses I quoted

    Deuteronomy 13:2-5 (http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/004848.html#comment176680) Matthew 28:18-20 (http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/004848.html#comment177072)

    leave little room for it, where as the one’s you quoted do allow for it a bit more.

    And different sects of Christianity emphasize different parts of the Bible, as do different Christians even in the same sect.

    But as I understand it, those emphases are minor, that for the most part various sects of Christianity take the entire Bible as their text and interpret it differntly. The variablity between Christian sects is miniscule compared to the variation between Sanatana Dharma sampradayas (say Advaita vs Dvaitin vs Visistadvaita, etc..)

  17. “”Hinduism” seems like a theological cesspool where imcompatible religious ideas are somehow combined.”

    since when is diversity a “cesspool”? and why is it necessarily a bad thing for “incompatible” ideas to be combined, even it does lead to problems at times? and who is to decide what is “rational” and what isn’t? and who exactly are going to be “cleaned-up”? sounds a bit totalitarian.

  18. You’ve been doing so well thus far, why quit now ?

    Ah, HMF, some know to quit when they’re winning.

  19. “By the way, I should mention that I’m an atheist so noone thinks that I’m a stealth Christian missionary.” Does saying “I am a vegetarian”, “I follow hindu-lite customs”, “I have hindu friends” count as being stealthy Christian missionary? Why are some people stealthy?, are they timid?, are they weak?, do they have doubts about what they sell as truth?

  20. “…and who is to decide what is “rational” and what isn’t? and who exactly are going to be “cleaned-up”? sounds a bit totalitarian.”

    I was responding to a post from someone who was suggesting that superstitious elements need to be purged from Hinduism.

  21. Does saying “I am a vegetarian”, “I follow hindu-lite customs”, “I have hindu friends” count as being stealthy Christian missionary? Why are some people stealthy?, are they timid?, are they weak?, do they have doubts about what they sell as truth?

    Just to clarify– is this about me? I need to know whether to take umbrage, thanks. I’m standing (well, sitting really) by…

  22. I don’t get what this whole marrying a dog thing has to do with Hinduism. It’s a very Indian response, I think, to this man’s problem, not specifically a Hindu one (and not religiously a Hindu one). It’s not like marrying an animal is actually a provision under the Hindu Marriage Act. Personally, I think it’s not such a bad way to atone for his previous sin of killing two dogs–he is now required to take care of this one. Not unlike Gandhi’s suggestion to Om Puri’s character towards the end of the movie, to adopt a Muslim child and raise it as his own, but as a Muslim, to atone for killing a Muslim child.

    Anyone else noticed that Indian-Americans also tend not to own pets?

    Is that really true? I know many who do. Also, I know lots of Indians who are just as insane about their pets as any American. In my extended family a pet is equal to a human being, in status and in the amount of energy put into its care. I didn’t think there was anything particularly American about that.

  23. Also, ANNA, I should clarify that my comment isn’t a response to the question you posed in your post as much as it’s a response to the responses, i.e., I think all the people who felt the need to jump to the defense of Hinduism could have said, it’s not really a Hindu custom, and left it at that.

  24. “I was responding to a post from someone who was suggesting that superstitious elements need to be purged from Hinduism.”

    aah. but one man’s “superstition” is another man’s “religion”. and there’s no central authority to make it stick for all hindus. some see entire other “religions” as “superstition”. and i assume as an atheist you see all “religions” as superstition/mumbo-jumbo and don’t really make any distinctions between “rational” mumbo-jumbo and “irrational” mumbu-jumbo. but there are harmful “superstitions” and there are less harmful ones in all “religions”/cultures.

  25. Maybe this is why people (myself included) were confused:

    The “bride”, who is called Selvi, was led to the temple in Manamudurai wearing a sari before vows were exchanged in a traditional Hindu ceremony.

    …which is not to say that I have told the non-desi people who have asked me about it that the story has anything to do with Hinduism. Despite what some assume or what I conveyed poorly via my post, I didn’t think, “Yay! Time to insult Hinduism!”

    When my coworkers asked, I explained it in terms of justice, that it was a teaching moment more than something religious.

  26. ANNA, probably what happens is that people assume that you know more about Hinduism than you actually do and therefore think you are somehow mocking it rather than asking a genuine question. Not that I’m saying you don’t know anything about Hinduism. I’m sure you know a lot more than the average American, but probably less than the average Christian in India, but also probably a lot less than people assume given your general familiarity with Indian culture. People sometimes assume I know about Judaism, being married to one, and again, while I probably know more than the average American I probably know a lot less than even I realize, because I think I’ve misinformed people on several occasions. So maybe they assume you knew it wasn’t a Hindu custom but were making it out to be one in order to further some weird agenda…bizarre, I know, but it sort of explains why people felt they needed to defend Hinduism. It probably goes back to what you were saying about people assuming you’re Hindu. Even people who know you are not assume you know all about it.

  27. And I’m not defending them, but it suddenly made sense to me because I realized I assume that all people of Indian descent know about Hinduism but that’s a silly thing to assume, especially if they did not grow up in India.

  28. desishiksa, you are too kind for giving all these trolls the benefit of the doubt. I think it’s more a case of “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” They are clearly grasping at straws for anything to be pissed about. Anyway, shabbat shalom.

  29. Harbeer, I guess you are right. But it’s sad if you have to read a relatively inoffensive blog to find something to be outraged about.

    I am interested in this idea that it’s “western” to love animals. I don’t buy it. ANNA, it doesn’t sound like your family was very weternized but it sounds like that’s where you learned to love dogs. How do you account for that? I think it’s something you learn from your family, and the world is divided into people who either think pets=humans or who don’t. And some of the latter even have pets, they just love them less overwhelmingly than the others.

  30. That Indians don’t like dogs isn’t quite the truth. I know in Goodness Gracious Me this is a source of much humor given the contrast with the dog/cat loving English. The actuality is that Indians from a traditional, rural background are not OK with the idea of them as indoor pets but do relate to them fondly as guard dogs, working animals. I doubt that human/canine relations were much different in Europe pre-Industrial Revolution

  31. Desishiksa, I think that it comes back to the cleanliness thing; to my parents, wearing shoes inside the house or having pets inside was messy and undesirable. My mom was VERY anti-pet, which is why I grew up without them, but my father was more ambivalent. His family always had mastiffs and german shepherds in Kerala, but he pointed out that the houses there are totally different, too. My mom’s family did not have dogs.

    I don’t know what compelled him to buy me a puppy when I was in college, but one day he came back with something shivering in the back of the Silverado and that was that. My mother was furious and my sister and I were shocked. It was so…American. ;) I thought “pets = western” mostly because both of my “adopted” grandmothers (who were white) were dog lovers and they were the only exposure I had to pets; one had a Husky the other had a mutt. None of our Indian, Pakistani or Sri Lankan family friends had dogs or cats when we were young.

    My mom still doesn’t like pets. She’s glad to not have any. My sister doesn’t like them either, but she, like my mother is severely allergic (she’d break out in hives if one of the dogs even licked her, which resulted in these really pathetic tableaus where my sister was on one side of the patio door looking out at us cavorting and having a blast). My Dad spent time with them, but wasn’t really affectionate with them. I was the only one who carried them around, let them attack me or jump on me or otherwise adored them fiercely. I loved my dogs like they were siblings and my birthdays have not been the same since my third and last shepherd died on January 3, the day before my birth date.

  32. ANNA, interesting, so it’s not something you learned from your parents…sounds like you were the only dog-lover in your family. I assumed you had grown up with dogs. I feel like I know so many desis, both here and in India who have animals that are like family members. But maybe they are the exception. It would be an interesting sociological study. I think even with the animal lovers, though, the cleanliness thing plays into it, because my mom grew up with dogs but they were never allowed in the house, and she was appalled initially when she found out my dog sleeps in the bed with me (although she has since allowed the same dog to sleep with her so she got over it pretty quickly). Our cats were allowed to sleep in the beds though; I guess they are not generally considered dirty. I do think of things like putting outfits on your dog or buying them gourmet food as American since I never saw any of those things growing up.

  33. I do think of things like putting outfits on your dog or buying them gourmet food as American since I never saw any of those things growing up.

    You could find them in upper middle class in India too, especially with military brats, in cantonments.

    As I said earlier in my comment upthread, love for pets (or animals) is universal – nothing American or Indian about it. Walk into any shanty town in India, little children are playing in mud pools, and you will see few dogs, and puppies around mingling with them. These are essentially stray or semi-indoor dogs with no vaccinations at all. Muslim neighborhoods have cats all over.

    As for Raj Kapoor movies, I was referring to Jagte Raho, and Awaara (both are timeless classics of Indian cinema) where he (Raj Kapoor) forms a bond with a stray dog.

    Now, Tiger always sleeps on my father’s pillow as a fierce guard for my mother, when he is out of town, otherwise on their feet.

  34. Is that really true? I know many who do. Also, I know lots of Indians who are just as insane about their pets as any American. In my extended family a pet is equal to a human being, in status and in the amount of energy put into its care. I didn’t think there was anything particularly American about that. I am interested in this idea that it’s “western” to love animals. I don’t buy it. ANNA, it doesn’t sound like your family was very weternized but it sounds like that’s where you learned to love dogs. How do you account for that? I think it’s something you learn from your family, and the world is divided into people who either think pets=humans or who don’t. And some of the latter even have pets, they just love them less overwhelmingly than the others.

    Perhaps it is a geographic difference? I grew up in a more urban area, where it’s less likely for people to own pets (unless they can afford dog-walkers). So I would say that class has a lot to do with keeping animals as pets (though poor people can be charitable toward animals as well, as was noted upthread. But they probably can’t afford to actually care for a dog like it’s a human in the long-term). The aforementioned uncle was rich. I think it’s a difference between first world (economically secure, can afford such luxuries) and third world (not economically secure, working my behind off, why would I want the added responsibility of a dog?) thinking in terms of class mentality that many Indian immigrants carry over that makes them less likely to keep pets even once they’re settled in the U.S. Humans of all backgrounds obviously feel some sort of innate affinity toward animals (hence, dogs being man’s best friend), but I think being able to keep one as a pet and treat it as if it were a human is one of the ultimate luxuries.

  35. And different sects of Christianity emphasize different parts of the Bible, as do different Christians even in the same sect.

    Ok, so show me which Christian sect rejects the Christian God as the only True God, and rejects Jesus as a personal savior. The claim being made here is not for interpretation of some minor points in Christianity. There is a very specific claim being made here:- That Christianity is intolerant of other beliefs because it holds it’s god as the only way to salvation. If you disagree with that claim, back it up with data.

    And UU doesn’t count. A minority of UUs describe themselves as Christian.

  36. Pagla,

    Let’s let this religious debate end, please. People are talking past each other and it’s way off-topic at this point. I don’t think it achieves anything to go over the “Christians-are-intolerant-the-proof’s-in-the-bible”, “no, what about manu”-volley, anymore. It’s futile and not productive. You’ll get the last word on this.

    Folks, back on topic, please. Dogs. That’s the topic.

  37. “and i assume as an atheist you see all “religions” as superstition/mumbo-jumbo and don’t really make any distinctions between “rational” mumbo-jumbo and “irrational” mumbu-jumbo.”

    Actually, I have a lot of respect for early Buddhism, Patanjali, and the original Samkhya. I don’t care much for the Bhakti theistic nonsense that you find in something like the Bhagavad Gita.

  38. It’s kind of hard to avoid when you grow up with it all around you.

    sure. so easy to be objective & get a full rounded picture of a phenomenon with your specific perspective. i added very little to my understanding of christianity by reading the bible itself, commentary of some of the church fathers, contemporary theology & exegesis as well as survey data across various denominations in terms of what they believe today. also, the fair amount of books on cognitive science of religion which attempt to tease apart psychological & sociological parameters, as well as a good dollop of church history, didn’t add anything to the conceptions i formed living in among bible-thumpers who wondered why i worshiped idols and cows. you know, kind of like how americans don’t really need to do anything besides taking full measure of their experience with hare krishna’s and perusing their literature to understand hinduism.

  39. you know, kind of like how americans don’t really need to do anything besides taking full measure of their experience with hare krishna’s and perusing their literature to understand hinduism

    Is this an exercise in DL style exag? I dunno, you’re fairly new to that game, so I wasn’t sure. Anyhow, if you’re contention is that our knowledge of Christianity and Christian traditions is not wider than whitefolk knowledge of Hinduism, by the mere fact we exist in their majority society then I’m not exactly sure what you’re on.

    Also, I’ve mentioned numerous times, ISKCON is quite possibly the most “Christian-like” subset of Hinduism, but again, like I said, there’s always a group of people who will return to the scripture and use that as basis for what they see as deviations & misrepresentations, which explains the existence of the IRM (Iskcon Revival movement) (http://www.iskconirm.com/)