Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
Meanwhile, in insanity news elsewhere in the world . . .
One of the more common complaints I see here and at some of the atheist-inclined sites I read is that those of us in the West only complain about the absurd religious antics of the various and sundry Christian cultists. Well, yeah, that's because the dominant religious tradition in the West is some version of Christianity. But that doesn't mean that I don't find other religious practices equally absurd.
And in that spirit, let's take a quick look at three recent manifestations around the world. In comments, feel free to add others.
First, this gem from South America:
EL ALTO, Bolivia (Reuters) - Muttering incantations at a witches' market above La Paz, Faustino Tinta sets fire to a dried llama fetus and wax trinkets, an offering his client hopes will help Bolivian President Evo Morales survive a recall vote.
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"Evo is going to have the support of more people. He is going to win the referendum," said soothsayer Maria Samo, tossing coca leaves onto a crucifix placed on a piece of woven material in her own stall nearby.
"But his enemies will try to make trouble. There, look: that is his luck," added Samo, pointing to two stray leaves, their dark green upper side facing upwards. She has told fortunes for 25 years and followed in her grandmother's footsteps.
The dark side of the leaves denotes luck while the silvery underside is cause for worry, she said.
Yeah, I'd be really worried with a bad omen like that.
OK, moving on to India, you probably heard about the tragic death of some 150 people attending a Hindu festival last weekend, when rumors of a landslide panicked some of the thousands attending and caused a stampede. This seems to happen fairly regularly:
Temple stampedes are common during religious festivals in India, whose population of 1.1 billion people is about 80 per cent Hindu. Six people died in July at a popular Hindu festival attended by about a million people in the town of Puri in the eastern state of Orissa. In March, nine people died at a religious gathering in central India when a railing broke at the temple, triggering a stampede among 100,000 devotees.
In 2005 about 265 pilgrims were killed in a stampede near a temple in the western state of Maharashtra.
Man, you'd think with all the different deities encompassed by Hinduism, one of them could be bothered to stop adherents from getting stomped to death at religious festivals. But hey, what do I know?
Lastly, let's not neglect that bugaboo of Christian nutters: radical Islam. Specifically, the charming tradition (straight out of the Bible!) of stoning people to death. The latest news from Iran:
A judiciary spokesman said four people sentenced to die by stoning had had their sentences commuted and that all other cases had been put under review.
Lawyers and human rights campaigners have said at least eight women and a man are awaiting the punishment.
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The country's penal code stipulates that before carrying out the punishment, men should be buried up to their waists and women up to their chests. The stones used must be large enough to cause the condemned pain, but not sufficient to kill immediately.
Uh-oh, sounds like they're trying to become civilized in how they kill people. Chistians here better start looking for a new way to express their fatwa envy.
Well, there ya go. Got some others you'd like to share? We don't want Christians to feel like we're picking on just them.