Category Archives: Hindus behaving badly

New Hindu nationalism erodes science in India

When I was lecturing in India a bit more than a year ago, I heard repeated complaints from scientists (in five cities) about how the Modi government and its Hindu-centric BJP Party was destroying Indian science. As was reported by the BBC in January (and in the article below from Science), some Indian scientists are […]

Two cases of blasphemy: Muslim boy cuts off own hand after a mistake, Indian comedian arrested for mocking guru

1. From the Express Tribune and International New York Times.  This story, from Pakistan is unbelievable: A 15-year-old boy cut off his own hand believing he had committed blasphemy, only to be celebrated by his parents and neighbours for the act, police told AFP on Friday. Local police chief Nausher Ahmed described how an imam told […]

Hindu blasphemy: cricketer M. S. Dhoni in trouble for posing as Vishnu

We usually think of “blasphemy” as a crime committed against Islam, but it’s also a crime to mock religion in many places. Those include India, where people have been prosecuted for “insulting” Catholicism and Hinduism. And remember the three people jailed in Myanmar for advertising an event at a bar with a poster of Buddha wearing headphones? That violated that […]

PuffHo touts syncretism: a particularly loopy form of accommodationism

I mention syncretism in Faith versus Fact as one of the many varieties of accommodationism, but don’t devote much space to it because it’s loopy. What I mean by “syncretism” is the argument that there can be no disparity between religious and scientific “truth” (a conviction of some Christian fundamentalists, who see the “truth” of evolution as […]

Hindu monks ask to be relieved of the burden of communicating with (or sitting next to) women on planes

Here’s a letter that came into my hands; it is given out to airlines when these Hindu monks check in for their flights, and requests special treatment on the grounds of their faith. That treatment involves not sitting next to women (or girls, I suppose), and not speaking to them directly. Nor are the monks to […]

Finally, a reason to have “belief in belief”

This is the best reason I’ve seen yet for promoting religion even if you don’t accept it yourself. It stops people pissing on the walls! Or so say Ranjani Iyer Mohanty in a piece in the The Atlantic, “Only God can stop public urination.” If you’ve been to India, and I have (many times), you can’t […]

Daily superstition: Indian woman marries a d*g

From the Torygraph’s “Pictures of the Day” section, via reader Roo: An 18-year-old Indian girl has married a stray dog as a part of a tribal ritual designed to ward off an evil spell. Village elders hastily organised the wedding between Mangli Munda and the canine as the teenager is believed to be bringing bad luck to […]

The incompatibility of religion and cricket

Reader Tom called my attention to a report in the sports section of the Sydney Morning Herald, which combines our current interest in sports with our constant interest in religion and its malfeasance. According to the report, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, captain of the Indian national cricket team, has been issued an arrest warrant for “hurting the […]

Orthodox Church patriarch blesses a t.v. studio with a paint roller

This is funny, but also, I think, a good sign. According to the BBC, Patriarch Daniel of Romania’s Orthodox church has used a paint roller dipped in holy oil to bless a new broadcasting studio. The church, however, calls the roller a “sanctification rod”: The ceremony did not go unnoticed by Romania’s press and internet […]

No free speech in India

India is one of my favorite countries in the world: it’s filled with friendly and ambitious people (whose poverty often stifles their aspirations), it’s beautiful, diverse, and, of course, the food is wonderful.  I’ve been there half a dozen times, and will return this next winter. India is also is supposed to be the world’s […]