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shadowsot

Indian Skeptic Charged with Blasphemy

17 posts in this topic

Sanal Edamaruku, an Indian skeptic, went to Mumbai and revealed that a "miraculous" weeping cross was really just a bit of statuary located near a leaky drain whose liquid reached it by way of capillary action. The local Catholic Church demanded that he retract his statements, and when he refused, they had him arrested for blasphemy.

Indian Skeptic Charged with Blasphemy

If you remember, this is the same fellow who goes around challenging the claims of various gurus and psychics. He challenged one who claimed he could strike him dead on national television and... obviously didn't.

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It's stupidity like this that continues to give Christianity a bad reputation. Many Christians give me the creeps when I see them standing in awe in front of some statue or object that they think is connecting them to God, when He specifically forbids such adoration of objects.

I had no idea that any Christian sect actually had laws against blasphemy.

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It's stupidity like this that continues to give Christianity a bad reputation. Many Christians give me the creeps when I see them standing in awe in front of some statue or object that they think is connecting them to God, when He specifically forbids such adoration of objects.

I had no idea that any Christian sect actually had laws against blasphemy.

It's Catholics here, there's no specific sect involved, India has laws concerning blasphemy, and the local Catholic organization filed charges with the police.

Luckily the US no longer enforces theirs.

For now, we'll see what happens with the theocrats.

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Poor guy hopefully he will be in front of a judge with half a brain.

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It's stupidity like this that continues to give Christianity a bad reputation. Many Christians give me the creeps when I see them standing in awe in front of some statue or object that they think is connecting them to God, when He specifically forbids such adoration of objects.

I had no idea that any Christian sect actually had laws against blasphemy.

The UK had, until 2008, an offence known as 'blasphemous libel', under which depictions of religious themes could be found illegal. One film, "Visions of Ecstasy" was banned in the UK until this year under this offence.

Virtually all religious denominations incorporate a concept of 'blasphemy' in their doctrine but, due to the secular nature of many societies, this doctrine is not 'law' outside the social pressure the Church can bring to bear on it's adherents.

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Yes,but if the miracle is proven to be easily explained,church loses all those donations.

Can't have that,now can we.

No one ever explained all those statues of Ganesh,drinking milk,world wide,that one day.

Hmmmmmmm.....

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Scientists examining the event ascribed it to capillary action, the day long event to it becoming essentially viral.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/science-behind-milk-drinking-gods/19175-11.html

http://www.randi.org/hotline/1995/0027.html

Personally, I'd just like to see these gods,if they exist, do something useful.

It was a lot of statues,in all parts of the world,who had been given the milk in the exact same way for years.

It was a wee bit too unusual for it to suddenly be capillary action,all over the world.

Just my 2 cents.

And how do you know they dont do useful things ?

People pray to them all the time.No way to know who has prayers answered.

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It was a lot of statues,in all parts of the world,who had been given the milk in the exact same way for years.

It was a wee bit too unusual for it to suddenly be capillary action,all over the world.

Right, sure, of course.

And how do you know they dont do useful things ?

People pray to them all the time.No way to know who has prayers answered.

Of course not, it's just that they tend to favor the ones that are already well off relatively instead of of those who aren't. The Santa Clause principle.

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Posted (edited)

This reminds me of the classic British sitcom - Only Fools and Horses

It goes a little like this....

Del boy ( Derek ) enters a church on a rainy day after his sons baptism .......He is talking to the vicar ..he then spots a statue of Our lady...It looks like she is crying...He see's the water tinker down her face and is shocked

Of course being Del Boy he see's a many making scheme here...(His catch phrase always being - This time next year, we'll be millionaires ) So he tells the vicar this is a miracle and the vicar should charge people money to come and see the weeping virgin statue.....Of course Del wants cut of the profits.... He claims the church could use the money for good things.........like the leaky roof being mended lol

The vicar agree's and people are flocking to see this weeping virgin statue of our lady ....... The press are up taking pictures

The vicar is still a bit uneasy about it all.... He wonders up to the bell tower of his church and notices the roof was leaking, strangely enough right above the weeping statue of our lady.........The vicar is outraged by this and takes his anger out on Del boy and tells him ENOUGH.. .NO MORE EXPOSING THIS SO CALLED MIRACLE !! The vicar then stops people from paying money to see the statue and he ends the whole scheme that Del had set up lol

The episode is one of the classics......I loved the look of the vicars face in confusion....Del in his ear saying LOOK ITS A MIRACLE, WE CAN DOUBLE OUR MONEY ON THIS EH VICAR? You can tell by loking at the vicar he is not sure if this is right...he has a feeling something is up....It is a priceless comedy moment tongue.gif

It goes to show you though.. these things have been faked............I guess I may as well raise my hands and say - Hey arrest me too, I am skepical of everything to do with a bible laugh.gif

I never knew anyone being a skeptic and coming out with other possible conclusions could be blasphemy..?

I doubt this man will be punished though.. It is too silly to do that... I mean the police phoning it in.. Like saying - Hey bud, come down to the station so we can uhhhhh ......arrest you !!! ........I think the police are just saying this to shut the Catholic church up lol laugh.gif

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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The UK had, until 2008, an offence known as 'blasphemous libel', under which depictions of religious themes could be found illegal. One film, "Visions of Ecstasy" was banned in the UK until this year under this offence.

Virtually all religious denominations incorporate a concept of 'blasphemy' in their doctrine but, due to the secular nature of many societies, this doctrine is not 'law' outside the social pressure the Church can bring to bear on it's adherents.

I'm aware of the offense within the faith and it is abhorrent to a believer but I had no idea that there were actual civil statutes regarding this behavior. If one is guilty of blasphemy in the church then they are called upon to repent. Failing that, they are no longer welcome in the congregation. I am not catholic and don't know how they handle such behavior.

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Posted (edited)

Stephen Law presents an informative letter from the newly-formed defense organization

http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2012/04/letter-from-sanal-edamaruka-defence.html

According to this, the defendant isn't charged with "blasphemy." The letter describes the offense as "hurting the religious sentiments of a particular community." The letter cites section 295 of Indian Penal Code, but presumably the writer means 295-A,

295A. Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

In other words, the defendant is charged with what other English-speaking countries call "hate speech," in this case, hatred based on religious affiliation. (In contrast, 295 concerns "Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons" with specified intent, that is, overt and physically destructive acts, not hurtful words).

I am no fan of criminalizing "hate speech," either, but if atheists told the truth about what the charges were, this would divide their support, because some of their supporters favor close regulation of hate speech, including criminalization. The letter also opens the door to the possibility that the actual basis of the charges is not the explanation of the water dripping, but some additional remarks the defendant made about the priests, their actions in this matter and their motives for doing so. I am not in favor criminalizing defamation, either, but there are loads of unresolved facts here.

Of course, it would be convenient anyway for Christian-bashers and Catholic-haters if the charges really were blasphemy. It sounds more religious that way. So, the charges are blasphemy on the usual-suspect atheist agit-prop cites. Facts be damned.

For example, what does Richard Dawkins say the charge is?

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/645578-update-sanal-edamaruku-under-attack-for-exposing-catholic-miracle

Let's see. Dawkins presents an email. In this email, the defendant says the charges are filed under section 295 (which isn't true). and he says the subject matter is blasphemy, which also is untrue. Then Dawkins' site solicits donations based on his faked report.

Which is as far as I go here, because the thought-police will bust me for my "bias against Dawkins." Guilty as charged, and proud of it.

Atheist activists talk a good game about their devotion to facts and truth, but... hey, this is already a good story, why not improve it some? And let's raise some money based on the new, improved version of the story. That's not fraud, is it?

Edited by eight bits

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Posted (edited)

Stephen Law presents an informative letter from the newly-formed defense organization

http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2012/04/letter-from-sanal-edamaruka-defence.html

According to this, the defendant isn't charged with "blasphemy." The letter describes the offense as "hurting the religious sentiments of a particular community." The letter cites section 295 of Indian Penal Code, but presumably the writer means 295-A,

In other words, the defendant is charged with what other English-speaking countries call "hate speech," in this case, hatred based on religious affiliation. (In contrast, 295 concerns "Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons" with specified intent, that is, overt and physically destructive acts, not hurthful words).

It seems the definition of "hate speech" used in this legislation is extremely friendly towards religion. In the UK, "hate speech" must not only be shown to be injurious, but also untrue. For example, the sweeping generalisation that "Muslims are terrorists" would be considered hate speech, as it is obviously untrue and also injurious to the reputation of the vast majority of Muslims.

But there is no requirement of truth in the Indian legislation. Very disappointing.

Edited by Leonardo

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Posted (edited)

But there is no requirement of truth in the Indian legislation. Very disappointing.

I am not in favor of "hate speech" criminalization, nor do I favor the criminalization of what may be the actual problem here, personal defamation.

Whether criminal or civil, I favor that both truth and also inherent opinion character be absolute defenses. (That is, if I call you a rotten bounder, then it suffices for acquital that that is an expression of my opinion, and could not be mistaken for anything else. I needn't prove that facts led me to that conclusion.)

My principal objection in this case, however, is not to the laws of India. I disapprove, but I accept that I do not have a vote. I know, I'll show them, I'll go live somewhere else. My objection is to raising money to defend someone on charges of blasphemy, when the charges are otherwise. As I noted in my post, some of the people who might receive the solicitation may favor hate speech statutes. They deserve to be told the truth about where their money is going.

Money aside, it makes a better headline to say that an Indian skeptic is charged with blasphemy than to tell the truth. Isn't there a saying about how spreading BS isn't a victimless crime?

Edited by eight bits

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I am not in favor of "hate speech" criminalization, nor do I favor the criminalization of what may be the actual problem here, personal defamation.

Whether criminal or civil, I favor that both truth and also inherent opinion character be absolute defenses. (That is, if I call you a rotten bounder, then it suffices for acquital that that is an expression of my opinion, and could not be mistaken for anything else. I needn't prove that facts led me to that conclusion.)

My principal objection in this case, however, is not to the laws of India. I disapprove, but I accept that I do not have a vote. I know, I'll show them, I'll go live somewhere else. My objection is to raising money to defend someone on charges of blasphemy, when the charges are otherwise. As I noted in my post, some of the people who might receive the solicitation may favor hate speech statutes. They deserve to be told the truth about where their money is going.

Money aside, it makes a better headline to say that an Indian skeptic is charged with blasphemy than to tell the truth. Isn't there a saying about how spreading BS isn't a victimless crime?

Not one that is in popular use I believe, eb, but I have heard of such a saying. ;)

I agree that 'blasphemy' and 'hate speech' are very different concepts. One implies the profaning of something sacred while the other is more general defamation.

Referring to the article in question (in the OP), I find this snippet...

When they saw Sanal refused to bow to their demands, they threatened to file a blasphemy case against him. And they did.

Without any other source*, it seems the Church officials did accuse the reporter of blasphemy, and made the threat of filing a charge against him to this regard. The law they were able to charge him with, however, does not explicitly refer to blasphemy but, as you pointed out, charges him with "hate speech".

Legally, he is facing a charge of hate speech, but publically the Church officials appear to have fixed the charge of 'blasphemy' as his crime in the public's consciousness. Which charge is 'true'?

Both, it would seem.

* No other source that is legible to me, at least. There is a video on Youtube of the program in which the church officials charge him, but it is not in English.

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Thing is, saying "capillary action" is the first thing the priests employed by the Catholic Church to (dis)prove such miracles say. Are they guilty of blasphemy? Of course not, it's not blasphemy to doubt a false miracle, in fact it's blasphemy to believe a false miracle!

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