Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Less people, less noise: Religion inspired Peace!

Numbers 31:17-18 (King James Version)

17. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

18. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.


  1. Ketan

    How did you get that? Extremely funny read. And yes, the best way to ensure peace. To promote peace, let us buy more Swords, Daggers, Bombs and DVDs of Sunny Deol and Vijay movies.


  2. Saimukundhan,

    From your usage of "Extremely funny read", I am not sure if you realize, the one quoted in the post is an actual verse from the actual Holy Bible. I got the link from one of the comments on a blog I follow.

    And no, we don't need DVDs of Sunny Deol or Vijay! Some eloquent religious peace-mongering should largely be sufficient! ;)


  3. Ketan,

    Actually I thought it was not from the Bible. I didn't quite realize it could be from the Bible.

    Can't exactly say Cheers

  4. Saimukundhan,

    Your response is understandable. A few years back, I too would have found it difficult to believe that such verses could belong to highly revered religious scriptures. But, now I know better how to see things.

    Take care.

  5. Ketan, apart from the obvious hillarity of the post, I found it a tad bit disturbing. Holy scriptures giving out advice about mass killings and genocide??? :O At a time when muslim leaders are advocating that there's nothing mentioned in the Kuran that inspires people to kill and spread terror, this Bible verse seems like a dictact for the same! And here I was thinking Christanity is the most peace loving religion of all :D

    Thanks for the illuminating post.

  6. Well, just because its a passage from a religious scripture, its not necessarily a religious preaching. I clicked around a bit in the site your link lead to.

    '17' and '18' are not absolute 'religious directives' to people as such. They are just sentences of a war story. A little more context can be seen here:

    Religion or no religion, its a pretty straightforward war strategy. Enemy men are the fighters. Kill em! No point taking any of their lovers as captives either, cos they would have their old loyalties, and even if they may pretend to comply and become a part of new kingdom, may betray any time. A male child, even if may be having only weak old loyalties (though that (weak) is doubtful), but if any of them linger, those may manifest into a greater threat when the child grows to be a grown up strong and fight-worthy man. (Hindi film hero style) A female child, even if having same degree of old loyalties as the male child, may be perceived as a lesser future threat, and maybe depending upon the social conditions of the age, easily commandable and moldable. And may be considered as a useful 'war loot' that can be useful in 'many ways'.

    In fact the cold and calculating strategy goes even further. In '19', General Moses asks them to take a medical precaution of 'quarantining under observation'. If a person has killed, or been captured, obviously some degree of gore was involved, which could cause any kind of direct or secondary infection through the wound. So such potentially infected people are not allowed to join camp for 7 days. Those who turn sick, would probably not be in a position to get back to camp then. Only those healthy will return. (It does not say if the sick returning will be accepted. I guess those kinds of exile orders are conveyed only when at last necessary I guess...Zor ka jhatka...dheere se lagey!)

    So what is simply a passing war instruction and strategy in a 'holy book' or fact-fiction-history book, that you have presented as a religious preaching. Consider that in context of the fact that you consider yourself an atheist rationalist...
    You are knowingly presenting the lines out of context as an absolute religious preaching when its not. This is strategy similar to means of a dangerous religious preacher, though the ends you and him are aiming for will be totally different
    The place where you noticed this first also presented it in such a way, out of context. Then considering how even you fell for it, just think how the less rational beings would easily fall for it and start believing that it is his religion that openly preaches to kill everybody except females he can himself have a chance with!

  7. @ smitzy:

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Well, that's the whole point! If you would read Stupidosaur's comment below, you'll realize there is nothing "Holy" about holy scriptures.

    Many people consider scriptures to be directives on how to lead one's life - "way of life".

    Irrespective of what some of the Muslim, or for that matter any of the Abrahmanic religions' (Christianity and Judaism) leaders are proclaiming, these religions have always been laced with political ambitions. For instance, do read Encyclopaedia Britannica's article on Prophet Mohammed.

    Religions had also pervaded into the matters of daily life - ethics, morality, law and justice.

    So, the basic point is religions had always been more of instruments to "herd" people to wage wars for their rulers' entertainment. They had been manipulative, so as to best suit the interests of clever (religious leaders) and powerful (aristocracy) people.

    So, the quoted verses are part of a wider scheme that had nothing "holy" about it, but largely directives from and ambitiously expansivist ruler.

    If you come back to read this comment, kindly also read my response to Stupidosaur.


  8. @ Stupidosaur:

    I entirely understand your contention, and in your observation itself lies the purpose behind posts such as these.

    You could make these impassioned observations, simply because you did not hold the said scriptures in high reverence, which is typical of so many theists.

    My problem is not so much with the involvement of God in the entire thing religious, but with the immutability in ideas that people assign when they are sourced in religious scriptures. This is another of those frievances with the human tendency that you will find in The Fountainhead (not that I was unaware of the phenomenon), i.e., so much reverence for the things of yore that they are always taken as standards and as templates to define "greatness" in the contemporary World. Reverence for scriptures is just a part of the same mentality. Somehow, generations together have been brought up with this idea that to think of the self as "good" or "better" than people of the past (or for that matter anyone else, except for if one is talking of a huge community, like, religion or a nation) is a bad thing, and that it reeks of arrogance!

    When people realize that some things written in scriptures are no longer relevant, I expect them to respect the scriptures less, and also to try to understand that for large part religions have nothing to do with God at all! For instance, in the contemporary World, it is not that the quoted war strategy, but WAR itself, which is irrelevant! I know people will take a lot of time to realize this, but in the past, wars were somewhat necessary for basic survival (fertility of farm lands was very low; also, many farmers were also nomadic shepherds, who would require annex new lands for their own survival) as well as for luxury (since there were no machines, even to be properly ventilated one required "fan shakers" - the kind they showed in Ramayana and Mahabharata, who would either be paid servants or SLAVES, which all would require one to wage war). So, basically the olden days were all about physical might. But nowadays, with some sensibility, further scientific advancement, and most important, population control, wars would become totally irrelevant for human happiness (or maybe, they already have become irrelevant).

    I want people to realize that what all has been thought to be under the purview of religion, actually fallus unders multiple specialties, like morality, ethics, philosophy, aesthetics, sciece, law, judiciary, history, etc.

    What is ironic about the quoted verses is that they seem to have nothing to do with the God! And that's the whole point of this post.

    I would like you to read my response above to smitzy. Also, you might like reading my response to Rohith here (click) to where I have written what I feel about "phal ki apeksha mat karo; keval apna karm karte jaao" - a purportedly religious maxim, but according to me, a highly misguiding and manipulative way of "herding" the common people.

    So basically, I hardly consider so much of extra baggage that comes with religious things as religious! ;)

    Thanks and take care.

  9. Oh Stupidosaur, by the way, I had just thrown a cursory glance at your above link, but before commenting, but now that I actually tried going through it, it is sounding all the more ridiculous and funny, except for that the "LORD" sounds so angry in each of his ORDERS :D and possibly the fact that all that was real :( and is revered as the "IMMUTABLE" word of the LORD. :O


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