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The Thugs of India

Article #284 • Written by Christopher S. Putnam

The goddess Kali
The goddess Kali

On a well-worn road through central India, Lieutenant Subhani of the Bengal Native Infantry and his three traveling companions were nearing the final leg of their journey. Ordinarily the Lieutenant would have only his pair of loyal orderlies to keep him company as he traveled, but today a third man walked alongside his horse—a stranger who had joined him only that morning.

The year was 1812, and the pleasant October weather made for an easy trek. Subhani knew these roads could be dangerous for travelers, especially at this time of year, but he was untroubled. Trained soldiers and well-armed, he and his men were an unlikely target for roving bandits. But a much greater threat loomed over them on that dusty road, closer at hand than the travelers could have possibly conceived.

Accounts of a secret cult of murderers roaming India go back at least as far as the 13th century, but to modern history their story usually begins with the entrance of the British Empire in the early 1800s. For some years, India’s British administrators had been hearing reports of large numbers of travelers disappearing on the country’s roads; but, while disturbing, such incidents were not entirely unusual for the time. It was not until the discovery of a series of eerily similar mass graves across India that the truth began to dawn. Each site was piled with the bodies of individuals ritually murdered and buried in the same meticulous fashion, leading to an inescapable conclusion: these killings were the work of a single, nation-spanning organization. It was known as Thuggee.

At its root, the word "Thuggee" means "deceivers," and this name hints at the methods employed by the cult. Bands of Thugs traveled across the country posing as pilgrims, merchants, soldiers, or even royalty, in groups numbering anywhere from a few men to several hundred. Offering protection or company, they would befriend fellow travelers and slowly build their confidence along the road. Often the impostors would journey for days and hundreds of miles with their intended victims, patiently waiting for an opportunity to strike. When the time was right, typically while their targets were encamped and at their most relaxed, a signal would be given—reportedly “Bring the tobacco”—and the Thugs would spring. Each member had a well-honed specialty; some distracted their quarry, some made noise or music to mask any cries, while others guarded the campsite from intruders and escapees. Thugs of the highest rank performed the actual killings. As a prohibition against shedding blood was at the core of Thuggee belief, the murders were performed in a bloodless fashion. The usual method was strangulation with a rumal, the yellow silk handkerchief each thug wore tied around his waist; but an occasional neck-breaking or poisoning helped to add some variety. It was a matter of honor for the Thugs to let no one escape alive once they had been selected for death.

Lieutenant Subhani and his orderlies had spent the previous night as guests at the home of Ishwardas Moti, a prestigious cotton merchant and local official. There he had been introduced to another of Moti’s guests, the man who was traveling with him now. Moklal was his name—a business associate of Moti’s, he was told, and one he had spoken of most highly.

“Narsinghpur!” Moti had exclaimed upon hearing the Lieutenant's destination, “What a fortunate coincidence! Moklal is traveling that way as well. Perhaps you could go with him for the extra protection?”

Subhani, though reluctant to take on a civilian traveling companion, did not wish to offend his host—and at any rate, Moklal seemed amiable enough. He agreed.

For the members of Thuggee, murder was both a way of life and a religious duty. They believed their killings were a means of worshiping the Hindu goddess Kali, who was honored at each stage of the murder by a vast and complex system of rituals and superstitions. Thugs were guided to their victims by omens observed in nature, and once the deed was done, the graves and bodies were prepared according to strict ceremonies. A sacrificial rite would be conducted after the burial involving the consecration of sugar and of the sacred pickax, the tool the brotherhood believed was given to them by Kali to dig the graves of their prey. Thugs were certainly not above robbing their victims, but traditionally a portion of the spoils would be set aside for the goddess.

Kali, despite her fearsome appearance, is not an evil deity. For more mainstream Hindus, she is a goddess of time and transformation who can impart understanding of life, death, and creation. To the members of the Thuggee cult, she was something else entirely. Their Kali craved human blood, and demanded endless sacrifice to satisfy her hunger. According to Thuggee legend, Kali once battled a terrible demon which roamed the land, devouring humans as fast as they were created. But every drop of the monster’s blood that touched the ground spawned a new demon, until the exhausted Kali finally created two human men, armed with rumals, and instructed them to strangle the demons. When their work was finished, Kali instructed them to keep the rumals in their family and use them to destroy every man not of their kindred. This was the tale told to Thuggee initiates.

All Thugs were male, and membership in the cult was hereditary apart from a few outsiders allowed to join voluntarily and some young boys captured in raids. Around their tenth birthday, the sons of Thugs would be invited to witness their first murder, but only from a distance. Gradually over the years they could strive to achieve the rank of bhuttote, or strangler. Thuggee membership was for life, all the way up to the elderly Thugs who still did what they could for the group as cooks or spies—yet the wives and daughters of these men might never know the truth about the male members of their family.

Their extreme secrecy combined with their mastery of murder made the Thugs the deadliest secret society in all of history. In the early 19th century they were credited with 40,000 deaths annually, stretching back as far as anyone cared to count. Some estimates put the overall death toll as high as 2,000,000, but with the cult potentially operating for more than 500 years before formal records were kept, the true number is impossible to determine.

Even as the evidence began to mount, most members of India's British-run government remained dismissive of claims that a secret cult of murderers was terrorizing the countryside. It would be the efforts of a single soldier that would eventually turn this apathy around.

After nearly a day's travel with his new companion, Lieutenant Subhani did not regret allowing Moklal to join him. The man was talkative and well-educated, and his conversation seemed to shorten the long journey considerably. As dusk approached, Moklal explained that his destination, a wayside grove where he planned to spend the night, was just ahead. “There I am meeting my friends. Please, stay with us tonight, and let me repay you the courtesy of escorting me today.” Subhani, tired from the day’s journey and already beginning to think of where he and his men might make camp, agreed.

A fire was burning by the time they reached the campsite, while around it an animated group of men were gathered. A flurry of introductions went around—many of these men were business associates of Moklal, it was learned, while others were family—and soon Subhani and his orderlies felt like part of the group, eating and laughing with the men.

William Henry Sleeman
William Henry Sleeman

Sir William Henry Sleeman was a sober, no-nonsense Bengal Army officer who from early on dedicated his career to the eradication of Thuggee. Faced with a wall of disbelief and indifference from his superiors, he transferred to the Civil Service where he could gain enough authority to wage his war personally. As a district magistrate by the 1820s, he gathered a force of Indian policemen under him and set to rooting out the cult with a variety of innovative policing methods. By examining common attack sites and listening for reports of suspicious figures, Sleeman and his men formulated predictions of where the next large attack was likely to occur. They would then turn the Thugs’ own methods against them—disguised as merchants, the officers would wait at the chosen site for a group of Thugs to approach, and ambush them. Information obtained from the prisoners was used to plan the next strike.

But Sleeman’s job would not be easy, as one of the Thuggee cult’s defining characteristics was its pervasiveness within Indian society. In an era where strict caste divisions dominated every aspect of life, Thuggee was unique for transcending all such social barriers. Anyone from a farmer to an aristocrat could be a Thug. Many were even Muslims who, in a truly inspiring feat of rationalization, managed to reconcile their practice of human sacrifice to a goddess with their religion’s strict ban on idolatry and murder. When members of the brotherhood were not terrorizing travelers, they lived as normal—often upstanding—citizens, with ordinary social lives and occupations. It was impossible to know who might be with the Thugs, even among one’s closest friends.

What was more bizarre, and endlessly frustrating for Sleeman, was the level of protection the Thugs seemed to enjoy within India. Though they clearly had the country living in fear, a strange ambivalence toward the cult existed. Local police and officials turned a blind eye to reports of Thug activities, while peasants would simply work around the bodies that occasionally appeared in their fields and wells. Landowners and Indian princes often explicitly shielded known Thugs, to the point that they would sometimes violently clash with British soldiers on the hunt.

The reasons for this strange reaction to the cult are varied and complex. In the case of the lower-ranked members of society, it most often may have simply been out of fear or superstition; it was believed by some that the goddess Kali would take revenge on those who interfered with her followers. The rich and powerful, for their part, may have had some vested interest in Thug activity: bribery, perhaps, or they may simply have been charmed by master con artists. Some poor villages accepted the murder and robbery of rich travelers as simply a way of bringing wealth into the region—for many, Thugging was apparently viewed as a regular tax-paying profession, as noble as any other. Whatever the cause, it meant that Sleeman’s men were more often than not met with silence as they probed residents for information.

But a few factors were in Sleeman's favor. First, the Thugs’ beliefs forbade them from killing certain groups, including women, fakirs, musicians, lepers—and Europeans. Thuggee was thus unable to retaliate against its English persecutors even when it had the opportunity. Second, once captured, most Thugs cooperated with authorities willingly—one might even say gleefully. Staunch fatalists, the imprisoned Thugs believed their situation was the result of their displeasing the goddess. They therefore showed little remorse in turning in their brothers, believing that anything that happened to them would be the will of Kali. Some suspect that Thuggee prisoners even deliberately accused innocent men; unable to strangle in person during their incarceration, sending men to the gallows was a convenient way of keeping up their obligation to Kali. As for those condemned to die, it is said that each went to his death with no trace of emotion, often requesting only that he be allowed to place the noose around his own neck.

With informants pouring in at an ever-increasing rate, Sleeman’s campaign against the Thugs gained ground beyond anyone’s expectations. Within a few years the cult was crippled, and by the end of the 19th century the British declared Thuggee extinct. Sleeman was hailed as a hero by most of India, and in many parts of the country he is still revered.

But there are those who have wondered if the British were too quick to congratulate themselves. It is difficult for some to imagine how a secret fraternity that had survived for centuries and engrained itself into every facet of Indian society could have been eliminated in so short a time. Certainly, the mass killings are a distant memory, and India no longer lives in fear of its shadow. But in some remote areas, rumors still linger about the yellow-sashed strangers who welcome travelers with open arms and a friendly smile.

It was dark when Subhani and his new friends had finished eating. For a time they sat in comfortable silence, with only an occasional quiet exchange passing between men seated across the fire next to one another. But no one had yet turned in for sleep.

Moklal turned from the fire to Subhani. “Perhaps a smoke before bed?” he offered. The Lieutenant nodded gratefully.

Moklal smiled, then looked up at someone apparently standing behind Subhani.

“Bring the tobacco.”

Article written by Christopher S. Putnam, published on 23 July 2007. Chris is a writer and bomb-disposal expert for the Damn Interesting A-Team. He posts from an undisclosed location in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Edited by Alan Bellows.

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131 Comments
Trykt
Posted 23 July 2007 at 12:35 pm

Wow, this is completely awesome and I have never heard of it before. Very well written, too. Damn Interesting indeed!


MonkeyBones
Posted 23 July 2007 at 12:37 pm

And Sleeman to reply: "Bring the beer".

Funny how some people use religion as a means to dismiss their behaviour. Some day we might even hear someone say: "I killed those people because voices told me to do so." *sigh*


dubyamd
Posted 23 July 2007 at 12:41 pm

Didn't Indiana Jones take care of these guys?


MonkeyBones
Posted 23 July 2007 at 12:55 pm

MonkeyBones
Posted 23 July 2007 at 12:57 pm

MonkeyBones said: "An image is worth a thousand words…


http://www.svf.uib.no/sfu/oestigaard/Bilder%20Gallery/Chinnamasta2.jpg"

I'm quoting myself indeed. These people are psycho. And nothing will change my mind. Not even the excuse of religion. Sickos.


Thag
Posted 23 July 2007 at 01:09 pm

Surgeon General was right! Smoking can be hazardous to your health.


dey.sandeep
Posted 23 July 2007 at 01:20 pm

The image comes from the tale of chinnamasta [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chhinnamasta] , Using the image here to signify the blood thirsty group is a wrong way to portray the goddess. I am not defending the thuggee cult, they were mass murderers and psychopaths. But chinnamasta was a goddess of courage and discernment , and she cut off her head to feed her two hungry associates. It was a self sacrifice from the goddess and not a psychopathic deed. Using religion to justify wrong deeds has been there everywhere , in every culture and in every country almost along the whole history of mankind.


tarteauxpommes
Posted 23 July 2007 at 01:21 pm

That's really really creepy. I'm going to have bad dreams now.


MonkeyBones
Posted 23 July 2007 at 01:30 pm

dey.sandeep said: "It was a self sacrifice from the goddess and not a psychopathic deed."

You are right dey.sandeep. At first I thought the image was barbaric, but I am in no position to judge other people's religions.
I myself believe in Jesus's sacrifice on the cross. Perhaps I was just not prepared to see something similar displayed so graphically with blood spurting all over the place, including into the mouth of our beloved bambi.


Radiatidon
Posted 23 July 2007 at 02:28 pm

” Moklal turned from the fire to Subhani. “Perhaps a smoke before bed?” he offered.”

And what would have happed if…

“The Lieutenant shook his head. “Please no, I am deathly allergic to any tobacco smoke. If you respect me as a guest you would honor my presence by not smoking.” Moklal paused, uncertain what to say. “Sooo, I guess that they should not bring the tobacco.” The dark figure behind the Lieutenant held his hands out, palms up. He looked confused.

“Uh, perhaps the Lieutenant would enjoy smelling the sweet aroma of the herb un-burnt?”

“No, it causes the mucus to flow down my throat, stealing the very breath from my lungs. I am so enjoying your company that to die right now would be a insult to Sheba.” The Lieutenant leaned back and let out a satisfied sigh. Noticing the dark figure standing over him, he exclaimed “Why, hello. Fantastic night is it not. Sheba must be smiling down upon us all.”

The man smiled as he enviously played with the yellow cloth in his hands. In a guttural voice he agreed. Then seemingly lost, he turned and wandered away, leaving the two men to themselves.

Moklal smiled nervously at the Lieutenant, seemingly lost for words.

“Uh, Moklal, there seems to be something wrong here.” Said the Lieutenant.

Moklal looked around, but noticed that none of his compatriots were anywhere close. He could feel beads of sweat forming on his forehead. One flowed down pass the corner of an eye, leaving a salty strip, dripping off his chin, splashing onto the back of one hand.

The Lieutenant arched one eyebrow. “Sir, for some reason I think you have misunderstood my intentions. Unlike a clock’s pendulum, I do not swing both ways. With that being said, I think that it would be wise if I take my leave of absence with you and your, um, group. Good night sir, and may Sheba watch over you.”


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 23 July 2007 at 02:46 pm

Bravo Christopher! Creepy and damn interesting indeed!

Is there not a god or saint to watch over travellers?


Cmonkee
Posted 23 July 2007 at 03:28 pm

dubyamd said: "Didn't Indiana Jones take care of these guys?"

Yup, the crocodiles got 'em good. But, "bloodless" killings with yellow scarves are a far cry from ripping out their victim's hearts (with their bare hands!) and lowering them into a volcano.

nicely written article, and damn interesting =)


Radiatidon
Posted 23 July 2007 at 04:16 pm

Nicki the Heinous said: "Bravo Christopher! Creepy and damn interesting indeed!


Is there not a god or saint to watch over travellers?"

Yes Nicki there is. The Elephant headed Ganesha is the Indian god of wisdom, and patron of travelers and merchants. He helps people to overcome obstacles. People will pray to Ganesha when they look to undertake any business or significant and risky event.


Silverhill
Posted 23 July 2007 at 04:17 pm

Nicki the Heinous said: "Is there not a god or saint to watch over travellers?"

Well, yes and no. St. Christopher is probably the most famous, but: "He was the patron saint of travelers. St. Christopher was removed from the list of Saints by the Vatican in 1969 due to lack of historical evidence that that saint existed and lived a life of holiness."

So now, perhaps, we should turn to St. Anthony of Padua, described as "the Catholic patron saint of lost items, the poor and travelers".


Paul_in_SF
Posted 23 July 2007 at 04:25 pm

I'm surprised that I never heard tell of this particular cult, though I'm no stranger to the word "thug". I guess I'd better brush up on my etymology! DI indeed...


supercalafragalistic
Posted 23 July 2007 at 05:45 pm

Women traveling alone were in less danger than the men. It seems to go against what you might at first think.


Rage Is The New Black
Posted 23 July 2007 at 06:33 pm

*sigh* The things people do for religion.


justjim1
Posted 23 July 2007 at 07:36 pm

And who among us is to say that this clut of the Thuggee is dead and no long exists? Now that in itself is something to give any traveler good reason to pause and reflect who their companions are...


Aero
Posted 23 July 2007 at 09:37 pm

justjim1 said: "And who among us is to say that this clut of the Thuggee is dead and no long exists? Now that in itself is something to give any traveler good reason to pause and reflect who their companions are…"

Well considering nowdays people drive cars, fly in airplanes, and stay in hotels. Well I'm pretty sure not too many people pick up random hitchikers in the middle of a highway. And also, people don't sit by the fire and ask “Perhaps a smoke before bed?” because not too many people sleep outside these days(I think they mostly sleep in hotels, motels, ect.), nor do many people smoke tobacco pipes anymore. I think they smoke cigarettes(Just an observation).


daffyduck
Posted 23 July 2007 at 10:04 pm

I'd received a book on Thuggee (Confessions of a Thuggee- a captured thuggee who in reality was a Muslim )from my departed grandfather, printed in 1912. It was about 5 years ago when I read this book that I first realized what the Indiana Jones movie was about.
The movie was truly gross & couldn't be further than the truth.
There are Kali-worshipping cults that still exist today, mainly in Northern India, but who travels on horseback & in bullock carts these days.


JeffAntonio
Posted 23 July 2007 at 10:05 pm

A very entertaining read. Poor lieutenant.


uthor
Posted 23 July 2007 at 10:28 pm

MonkeyBones says:

An image is worth a thousand words…

http://www.svf.uib.no/sfu/oestigaard/Bilder%20Gallery/Chinnamasta2.jpg

Except, you know, for the whole "bloodless killing" part.


tednugentkicksass
Posted 23 July 2007 at 11:30 pm

Radiatidon said: "Yes Nicki there is. The Elephant headed Ganesha is the Indian god of wisdom, and patron of travelers and merchants. He helps people to overcome obstacles. People will pray to Ganesha when they look to undertake any business or significant and risky event."

Didn't Ganesh kill his own father? My knowledge of the Hindu mythology is by no means complete, or even deep, but I thought Ganesha was beheaded by his father after birth, and consequently got the elephant's head and killed his pops. (Please correct my ignorance if I'm wrong)

On a more related thread of thought: why the hell have I never heard of this before? The thuggies have got to be the coolest/creepiest secret society ever! I've heard of the silken stranglings, but never an actual reference to this cult. DI, you've done it again.

daffyduck said: "There are Kali-worshipping cults that still exist today, mainly in Northern India, but who travels on horseback & in bullock carts these days."

My bullocks require their own cart. Sorry, I couldn't resist.


Plank
Posted 24 July 2007 at 12:36 am

Mr Christopher S. Putnam, you have become a valuable asset to this site.


Dr. Evil
Posted 24 July 2007 at 04:01 am

I have either read this before or am having deja vu...

very interesting article none the less


sean_ayers
Posted 24 July 2007 at 04:27 am

To tednugentkicksass:

Ganesha's mom Parvati created him out of sandalwood to serve as a guard while she was bathing. So technically he wasn't a "son". When Shiva (Parvati's husband) tried to enter his home ganesha stopped him. So in anger, Shiva cut his head. When Parvati told him he was his own son, Shiva in his grief set out to find the first animal he could find, and since that was an elephant, he cut its head, brought it back and brought his son back to life.

And as a tribute to his son, he proclaimed that every event or occasion should be preceded by a prayer to Lord Ganesha.


Richard
Posted 24 July 2007 at 05:00 am

Sorry, but a bit of filk has come to mind, and won't leave:

Let's sacrifice to Kali,
Down here in the Indus Valley.
Just thugee 'em in the alley,
It's good enough for me.
Gimme that ol' time religion.....


Dublin
Posted 24 July 2007 at 06:32 am

Whatever about Honour amongst thieves, there was certainly honour amongst these thugs!

Religion is only as good or bad as the people that interpret it for their own ends and means, it should never be an acceptable excuse to perpetrate wrongdoing under the guise of religious intent.


elkelk
Posted 24 July 2007 at 06:41 am

Didn't the movie "Young Sherlock Holmes" involve a similar secret cult?


Evil Twin
Posted 24 July 2007 at 07:37 am

elkelk said: "Didn't the movie "Young Sherlock Holmes" involve a similar secret cult?"

Yes, it did. Nice reference. Also it was the basis for the cult in the 2nd episode of Indiana Jones and I believe it was also referenced in an old episode of Johnny Quest. Oops, I just dated myself.

Anyway, just one more proof that tobacco can kill you. Damn interesting article, nice writing technique intertwining story with nonfiction.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 24 July 2007 at 08:11 am

I can see why the brotherhood of a cult could be appealing. Too bad that it's hatred and murder that unite some of these groups (ie. KKK)


habibcs
Posted 24 July 2007 at 09:14 am

Very nicely written article!
A+


J.K.
Posted 24 July 2007 at 10:07 am

Bloodless?! Mola Ram is most displeased.


Coherent
Posted 24 July 2007 at 10:49 am

Very well done, with lots of interesting information. I had heard of the Thuggee before (Who hasn't? Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), but I didn't know that Indian society tolerated and supported them, or that their cue to murder was often "bring the tobacco" or that there were certain people who they wouldn't kill.

I suppose the Indian rationale for supporting the cult was that their actions generally made it easier for surviving males to acquire mates. It's incredibly cold, but I can see that if there's a cult of people going around killing men, and you're a man who survives it, you can't help but think it's a stroke of luck that there's suddenly all these available women standing around crying.


daffyduck
Posted 24 July 2007 at 10:52 am

Moving a little more into etymology, here's how the word 'juggernaut' from the Hindi Jagannath came about
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juggernaut


tednugentkicksass
Posted 24 July 2007 at 11:47 am

sean_ayers, thanks for the info. I probably should have wikid it, but the width and depth of knowledge the readers of this site (to say nothing of the actual writers) provide is nothing less than amazing.


Dave Group
Posted 24 July 2007 at 12:00 pm

There was a Hammer film made about this cult around 1960 or so (I'm too lazy at the moment to look it up). A friend of mine said that, after this film was shown on TV where he was attending college, the cords for window blinds began to disappear, and any unsuspecting students walking in the halls would suddenly be ambushed with the cry of "Thuggee!!!" as a cord was wrapped around his neck. Ahhh, the good old days . . .


moonote
Posted 24 July 2007 at 12:16 pm

One small historical detail- Native Indians could not be officers in the Brittan’s Indian army at the time of the Thugge, so Lt. Subhani could not actually hold the rank of Lieutenant. He could have held the rank of Jemadar, which was analogous to the British rank of Lieutenant but he could only command native Indian troops; even with the rank of Jemadar rank he would still have had to follow the orders of the lowliest English Private. He could, also, not be referred to as “lieutenant”.


Christopher S. Putnam
Posted 24 July 2007 at 02:01 pm

moonote said: "One small historical detail- Native Indians could not be officers in the Brittan’s Indian army at the time of the Thugge, so Lt. Subhani could not actually hold the rank of Lieutenant. He could have held the rank of Jemadar, which was analogous to the British rank of Lieutenant but he could only command native Indian troops; even with the rank of Jemadar rank he would still have had to follow the orders of the lowliest English Private. He could, also, not be referred to as “lieutenant”."

Heh, I wondered if anyone would catch that. The original draft used the proper titles, but we decided they might cause too much confusion for our primarily Western audience. Thanks for pointing it out.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 24 July 2007 at 02:30 pm

Can't slip anything past the posters on this site. We're sharp as marbles!


jnfaia
Posted 24 July 2007 at 05:55 pm

Dear Christopher,

Very intriguing. Is the story part about Lieutenant Subhani your original work or is it an excerpt from a published book or film? I ask because I liked it and want to read the "rest of the story".
Please advise in any case - Thanks,
Jonathan
jfaia@comcast.net


Bewildered
Posted 24 July 2007 at 06:40 pm

Christopher S. Putnam said: "Heh, I wondered if anyone would catch that. The original draft used the proper titles, but we decided they might cause too much confusion for our primarily Western audience. Thanks for pointing it out."

DI article, pity you thought you had to dumb it down for us though, I personally would have researched the word 'Jemadar' if i didn't understand it and found the article even more DI!


Xiphos
Posted 24 July 2007 at 07:57 pm

Very sick . . . and strange.

People find reasons other than religion to kill. Millions are killed for millions of reasons. Even organized murders - French Revolution, one example . . .


Christopher S. Putnam
Posted 24 July 2007 at 08:24 pm

jnfaia said: "Dear Christopher,

Very intriguing. Is the story part about Lieutenant Subhani your original work or is it an excerpt from a published book or film? I ask because I liked it and want to read the "rest of the story".

Please advise in any case - Thanks,

Jonathan

jfaia@comcast.net"

The story is fiction and was written for this article, but it was inspired in part by the case of Lt. John Maunsell, the only European to be killed by Thuggee. He and a pair of sepoy orderlies disappeared on their way to Etawah in 1812. What happened in the time between his setting out from Agra and his failure to arrive in Etawah five days later is anyone's guess, but a few authors have tried to fill in the blanks. George Bruce's /The Stranglers/ (London, 1968) has one account, but I don't think it's very long or detailed.


daffyduck
Posted 24 July 2007 at 11:47 pm

I managed to find that book I was talking about. Here are a few excerpts . It's about the life of Amir Ali, who narrates his life-story after capture by the British:

"Above all, it is a day peculiarly sacred to Bhowanee or Kalee, our patroness & goddess. Still, being a Moosulman, I could not then see why such respect was paid to the festival of the Dusera, and I applied to my father for a solution of my doubts. He said
'Our belief in the Divine origin of our profession, is intimately connected with the faith of the Hindoos, and by whom we Moosulmans have been instructed in the art of Thuggee.

The Dusera festival is the only one observed and the reason of this is, that it is the fittest time of the year to commence our enterprises, and has been invariably kept secret by all Thugs. But I must tell you of the origin of Thuggee, that you may judge for yourself how ancient it is, and how well the instructions then given by Divine command have been followed up.

In the beginning of the world, there existed a creating & a destroying power, both emanations from the Supreme Being. These were at constant enmity with each other, which still continues. The creative power peopled the earth so fast, that the destroyer could not keep pace with him, nor was he allowed to do so; but was given permission to resort to every means he could devise to effect his objects.

Among others, his consort Devee, Bhowanee, or Kalee as she is known, constructed an image, into which she infused the breath of life. Then she assembled a number of her votaries, whom she named Thugs. She instructed them in the art of Thuggee; and to prove its efficacy , with her own hands destroyed before them the image she had made, in the manner which we now practise. She endowed the Thugs with superior intelligence & cunning, in order that they might decoy human beings to destruction, and sent them abroad into the world, giving them as the reward of their exertions, the plunder they might obtain from those they put to death; and bidding them be under no concern for the disposal of the bodies, as she would herself convey them from the earth.

Ages passed in this manner, and she protected her votaries from human laws; but corruptions crept in among them with the increased depravity of the world; and at last, a gang more bold and curious than the rest , after destroying a traveller determined , instead of following the old custom of leaving the body unnoticed, to watch and see how it was disposed of. They hid themselves and waited the arrival of the goddess. But what mortal can escape the eye of Divinity? She quickly espied them , and called them before her.

Terror-stricken by her splendid and terrific appearance, and in the utmost dread of her vengeance, they attempted to fly; but she arrested their steps and upbraided them for their want of faith.
"'You have seen me,' said she, 'and looked upon a power which no mortal has ever yet beheld without instant destruction; but this I spare you; henceforward, however, I shall no longer protect you as I have done. The bodies of those whom you destroy will no longer be removed by me, and you must take your own measures for concealment. It will not always be effectual, and will often lead to your detection by earthly powers, and in this will consist your punishment. Your intelligence and cunning still remain to you. I will in future assist you by omens for your guidance; but this my decree will be your curse to the latest period of the world.'


SashaCohen
Posted 25 July 2007 at 04:21 am

A lot of the history of the Thugs was fabricated by British Colonial officers. All the stuff of it being a cult of Kali has more to do with Sleeman's overheated imagination, than reality. It allowed him to find an excuse to build a police department which was necessary to the Colonial project of the Brits who needed territories and labor to exploit in order to fuel the industrial revolution. Its interesting that the narrative of the oppressors has survived to this day, I guess the Indiana Jone type exoticism is found preferential that sifting through the truth. I wouldn't trust the wikipedia entry overly, though well written it is very much from the point of view of the British, and the scholars who are sympathetic to that point of view. There are scholars who have done close readings of the documents relating to Thuggees, but the Wikipedia entry and books like Mike Dash's just dismisses those critiques without actually engaging with them. I guess people want to believe what they want to believe.


nona
Posted 25 July 2007 at 05:23 am

elkelk said: "Didn't the movie "Young Sherlock Holmes" involve a similar secret cult?"

They were also mentioned in a proper Sherlock Holmes story 'The Crooked Man' where they were blamed for torturing some poor bloke. (Which doesn't really seem to fit...) There's also mentions of cults that seem Thuggee-like but aren't actually named as Thuggee in the Sign Of Four (another Sherlock Holmes book) and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. It seems the Thuggees, being mysterious, foreign and deadly were favourite villans of the Victorians.


fvngvs
Posted 25 July 2007 at 05:48 am

Bravo Christopher S! First article? Encore!

I'd like to be on the road with Floj, though:

"Nice night Mr Fvngvs, would you like some pie before bed?"

@tednugentkicksass re: " the width and depth of knowledge the readers of this site (to say nothing of the actual writers) provide is nothing less than amazing."

Ah, it's nothing, mate. (blushes)


SparkyTWP
Posted 25 July 2007 at 08:21 am

Very cool article.

One thing that I don't understand (And maybe the author can explain):

It says that by their tradition, they were to kill every man who wasn't their kindred. That definition seems to include europeans, musicians, etc... (Except women). Is there a reason that they spared these people despite not being one of them?


ulyssys
Posted 25 July 2007 at 10:11 am

""Is there a reason that they spared these people despite not being one of them?"

Most of the Thug rituals were based on practical obsevations handed over by generations. For example they would ritually disembowel the victims and break their bones to fold them into smallest possible shape and then bury them and sprinkle sugar on the graves. This allowed the decomposition gases to escape easily and bury the victims in smaller graves without fear of attracting wild creatures who would dig and expose the corpses.

Wise thugs understood that if they leave the europeans alone they will not attract systematic reprisals, which could have been genesis of that rule.

justjim1 said: "And who among us is to say that this clut of the Thuggee is dead and no long exists? "

Thugee as a profession is very much alive in India even now-a-days, although not in the form it existed before. There are frequest reports of train travellers being deceived by fellow thug travellers who offer them food, often cookies (called biscuits in India) or poories (fried breads) laced with sleep inducing drugs (and in some cases fatal drugs) only to find their luggage or valuables missing when they (and if) they wake up.


Kao_Valin
Posted 25 July 2007 at 10:47 am

Maybe they werent interested in the females the Europeans, musicians, and lepars left behind heh. Doesnt India have a problem with the girl to guy ratio? I know there is one country that had passed legislation to help influence that ratio to be more balanced. Even went to the extent of paying for expensive pre-fertilization gender sorting if I remember correctly.


Rick
Posted 25 July 2007 at 02:29 pm

Does this have anything to do with this article? http://clipmarks.com/clipmark/C4A03681-A3E1-4F46-A5B9-007A7A6A9E42/


jnfaia
Posted 25 July 2007 at 05:20 pm

Thanks Christopher,

So, can we expect to read more of the story on this blog at some point or is the rest of the story left to our imaginations?
Jonathan


jrenom
Posted 25 July 2007 at 05:34 pm

Great Post!

Amazingly it is not the first time I heard of the Thuggee.

When I was a kid I got I large collection of Emilio Salgari's books (Author of Sandokan and The Black Corsair), a bunch of the books that where set in or around India, had the Thuggee as antagonists. Salgari used some artistic licence in his depiction, the yellow sashes became black silken cords weighted at one end (so they could be twirled overhead) if I recall correctly. I guess that made them more dramatic.

In any case, I read all the books by him I could find, including the 10 book long (I think) Sandokan series.


Spike
Posted 25 July 2007 at 07:31 pm

Really interesting article and writing style. I enjoyed the mix of fact with the story, great device. I found the way this secret cult was ingrained in every level of society very interesting. Just another odd bit of trivia to store in my brain.

I agree with Fvngvs, I think I would like to travel with Floj and his pie cult. Extra whipped cream for you, Mr. Putnam.


MarkF
Posted 26 July 2007 at 03:55 am

"Many were even Muslims who, in a truly inspiring feat of rationalization, managed to reconcile their practice of human sacrifice to a goddess with their religion’s strict ban on idolatry and murder. "

-from the article

The author betrays an ignorance of Islam that is, unfortunately, very widespread these days.
Perhaps Christopher S. Putnam should read K.S. Lal's "The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India", or Aristakes' "History", both available online if googled, to gain a better understanding of the nature of Islam and murder.


HarleyHetz
Posted 26 July 2007 at 05:12 am

MarkF said: ""Many were even Muslims who, in a truly inspiring feat of rationalization, managed to reconcile their practice of human sacrifice to a goddess with their religion’s strict ban on idolatry and murder. "


-from the article

The author betrays an ignorance of Islam that is, unfortunately, very widespread these days.
Perhaps Christopher S. Putnam should read K.S. Lal's "The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India", or Aristakes' "History", both available online if googled, to gain a better understanding of the nature of Islam and murder."

Typically on this site if you have information that others do not possess, you don't just come on and slam them and leave, you share the information. I would like to personally invite you to do just that.

As for the article, wonderful reading Christopher, I look forward to your next bit!!


Radiatidon
Posted 26 July 2007 at 06:10 am

MarkF said: "The author betrays an ignorance of Islam that is, unfortunately, very widespread these days.

Perhaps Christopher S. Putnam should read K.S. Lal's "The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India", or Aristakes' "History", both available online if googled, to gain a better understanding of the nature of Islam and murder."

If you do some research, you should find this piece that was a quote taken during that time period. It confirms what the author stated. The Muslim infiltration into India is also a bloody part of that countries history.

”Individual gangs could be diverse, with both Muslims and Hindus working together.25 A rationale for the seemingly incongruous association of Muslims with the Hindu goddess Kali can be found in this exchange between the British officer Captain William Sleeman and a convicted Muslim Thug:
“…we never murder unless the omens are favourable [sic]; we consider favourable [sic] omens as the mandates of the deity.”
“What deity?”
“Bhowanee (Kali).”
“But Bhowanee, you say, has no influence upon the welfare or otherwise of your soul hereafter?”
“None, we believe; but she influences our fates in this world and what she orders in this world, we believe that God will not punish in the next.”26
Apparently the Muslim Thugs believed that the worship of both the Hindu goddess and Allah was permissible, with Kali influencing the here and now and Allah, in control of the afterlife, permitting devotion to Kali while on earth. They either saw no conflict between their belief in Islam and following the rituals of Kali, or they were able to rationalize the killings (with resultant profits) for their own purposes.”

Bruce, The Stranglers, 55.
Harry Rosenberg, “Ameer Ali – Thug,” Road to Peace (2003), http://www.roadtopeace.org/terrorism/Terrorists/ameer_ali.html , accessed 14 May 2005; Parama Roy, Indian Traffic: Identities in Question in Colonial and Postcolonial India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 45; Tinckom-Fernandez SM9.
Bruce, The Stranglers, 168.
John A. Coloe Government Actions in the Demise of the Thugs [1829 – 1835]


Tink
Posted 26 July 2007 at 08:39 am

HarleyHetz said: "The author betrays an ignorance of Islam that is, unfortunately, very widespread these days.

Perhaps Christopher S. Putnam should read K.S. Lal's "The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India", or Aristakes' "History", both available online if googled, to gain a better understanding of the nature of Islam and murder."

Typically on this site if you have information that others do not possess, you don't just come on and slam them and leave, you share the information. I would like to personally invite you to do just that.

As for the article, wonderful reading Christopher, I look forward to your next bit!!"

Right on Harley! Seconded! Same to Christopher, glad to see ya back. :)


wh44
Posted 27 July 2007 at 01:50 am

To MarkF, HarleyHetz, Radiatidon and Tink:

If I read MarkF correctly, he claims, without direct substantiation, that the thugs were not Muslim. The original sources clearly indicate that some thugs not only presented themselves as Muslim, but thought of themselves as Muslim. I'm going to go out on a limb and support MarkF on this one - I don't think they were Muslim either.

This leaves us with a problem: where do you draw the line? The same applies to any religion: if you are going to reject as belonging to a religion someone who does not follow the laws, then almost no one belongs to any religion.

Examples:

For me, a prime negative example is the Westboro Baptist Church: they clearly consider themselves Christian, but they just as clearly do not follow the highest Christian law "Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself". Another would be "Muslim" suicide bombers who blow up innocent victims - very clearly against Muslim law.

A positive example, would be a Christian who is not celibate before marriage, but in their heart loves God and tries to be just and kind to everyone. Similarly for Muslim, someone who commits 'minor infractions' - failing to pray five times a day or, in a western land, occasionally having a beer, but tries to be a good person.

I'm not really clear on where to draw the line, but I think a lot has to do with intent and regard for the most basic tenets of the religion - e.g. I think even a murderer can be considered as belonging, as long as they understand that it is wrong and are repentant.

What do DIers think?


MarkF
Posted 27 July 2007 at 05:28 am

wh44, my point was simply that if one reads the texts I mentioned earlier, one can see that much of what we hear and read every day regarding Islam being a "religion of peace" is not based on historical fact.

It was estimated by K.S. Lal that approximately 80 million Hindus and Buddhists were slaughtered during the Muslim invasion of India.
If one studies the Qur'an, hadiths and sira of Islam, and studies the life and deeds of Mohammed and the history and timeline of much of the Middle East by Islam, then it becomes obvious that murder and Islam are, and always have been, inextricably linked.


HiEv
Posted 27 July 2007 at 05:49 am

Actually, I think what MarkF is really saying that Islam doesn't have a "strict ban on [...] murder" as asserted in the article. However, I do agree with HarleyHetz in that actual information to support the argument should have been provided instead of a "go Google it."

As for whether they were Muslims, I'd say yes. Of course it all depends on how you define "Muslim," but if they are for the most part "an adherent of Islam" then yes, they are by definition Muslims. One has to be careful to avoid the "No True Scotsman" fallacy in discussions like this, where some try to exclude any individuals they don't like because the individuals don't perfectly match some idealized version of the group.


HiEv
Posted 27 July 2007 at 05:51 am

Heh... I guess I should have refreshed the page before posting my comment. :-P


Spike
Posted 27 July 2007 at 08:16 am

wh44 said: "To MarkF, HarleyHetz, Radiatidon and Tink:

This leaves us with a problem: where do you draw the line? The same applies to any religion: if you are going to reject as belonging to a religion someone who does not follow the laws, then almost no one belongs to any religion.

Examples:

For me, a prime negative example is the Westboro Baptist Church: they clearly consider themselves Christian, but they just as clearly do not follow the highest Christian law "Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself". Another would be "Muslim" suicide bombers who blow up innocent victims - very clearly against Muslim law.

A positive example, would be a Christian who is not celibate before marriage, but in their heart loves God and tries to be just and kind to everyone. Similarly for Muslim, someone who commits 'minor infractions' - failing to pray five times a day or, in a western land, occasionally having a beer, but tries to be a good person.

I'm not really clear on where to draw the line, but I think a lot has to do with intent and regard for the most basic tenets of the religion - e.g. I think even a murderer can be considered as belonging, as long as they understand that it is wrong and are repentant.

What do DIers think?"

I think the key to what you are saying really falls more under the thought that in a perfect world, people would consistently choose "good" over "evil". That being said, there are many examples where concepts of good have been taken to extreme and then, become something that is not good. You mention the Christian concept of "Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as you love yourself". In that particular passage, a person is asking what is the most important commandment to follow if they want eternal life, the response is that if you are following the big 10 (of which most religions in the world have a form of) then you must love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as you love yourself. In my mind, that is asking us to consider the consequences of all our actions to those around us and temper our actions with love and kindness. Clearly, murder then, is not an act of love or kindness.

As far as your comment on murderers belonging and being repentant, the key to repentance is to the concept of "go and sin no more". One cannot truly be sorry for something if they continue to commit the offense over and over again. Maybe I am naive but I think a truly "good" person has a horror of cruelty and injustice to others. As far as minor things as you mentioned in you "positive examples", no one is perfect and even Jesus and his apostles broke a few rules which got them in trouble with the powers that be of the time. (and we all know how that turned out)


Spike
Posted 27 July 2007 at 08:20 am

To everyone on DI, the above comments are my own beliefs and not something I would try to impose on others, except maybe my own children. It is my responsibility to raise my children to be good people, a duty I take seriously, so I guess they have to listen to me. That being said, I apologize if I have caused offense, and now I guess I will go have another cup of coffee and maybe a nice slice of humble pie with whipped cream.


Radiatidon
Posted 27 July 2007 at 08:50 am

MarkF said: "If one studies the Qur'an, hadiths and sira of Islam, and studies the life and deeds of Mohammed and the history and timeline of much of the Middle East by Islam, then it becomes obvious that murder and Islam are, and always have been, inextricably linked."

Aaaa yes, once again the misinterpretation of what was written vs. what was meant. This shows that MarkF was not saying that these Thuggs could not have been devout Islam’s, but that the author assumed that Islam’s have a pretense against taking another’s life.

Actually both are correct in their statements. Now notice how various other posters on this forum misinterpreted MarkF’s first statement about the article. Which by the way, as HarleyHetz and HiEv have pointed out, would have made better sense if links had been provided.

This very fact shows that it does not matter what is written, but how those who read it, understand it.

The same could be said about religious writings.

For instance


... مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا ...

... Whomever slays a soul, unless it be for murder or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew entire mankind; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept entire mankind alive; ... (Qu’ran 5:32)

Basically this relates that regardless of who or what the individual believes in, it is against Islam to kill them unless they themselves committed murder or some other devious deed.

The most favored quote attributed to Islam that we constantly hear is that ”non-believers should always be slaughtered.”

If one were to study the Qu’ran, as many do the Christian Bible in all its different pretexts, one will find many different and usually confused passages. For instance the word infidels (which by the way is a Christian term not an Islamic one and is not used in the Qu’ran), it could be expressed as a synonym for the Islamic word Kaafir. A Kaafir is someone who is still defiant about God and his true believers even when a messenger of God walks the earth, a messenger, who has demonstrated without a doubt that he/she is most assuredly sent by God. Not by voice alone, but by actions and miracles that none other can claim or repeat.

The Qu’ran actually has a word for those of the Christian and Jewish beliefs. They are referred to as "Ahl al-Kitab," and are respected as ones of a different faith. The Qu’ran does not require their demise, but quite the opposite. A Jihad, or religious war is only when Islam is directly attacked or endangered by others.

Thus many of the Islam religious leaders claim that an Infidel (which is anyone who does not practice your religion) is the same as a Kaafir. Which has fueled a misdirected war through the ages against those that believe differently, a shameful fallacy of many religious and non-religious groups.

Okay, I sort-a wandered off track here. I don’t wish to fire a religious debate here, quite the opposite. What I am trying to say is that to understand without prejudice, one needs to study first, and then make assessments about another’s belief system and lifestyle. Otherwise we are no better than those who take life indiscriminately.


MarkF
Posted 27 July 2007 at 07:48 pm

Radiatidon,

Ok, you want the links:

Aristakes' "History",
http://rbedrosian.com/a2.htm

K.S. Lal's "The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India",
http://www.voiceofdharma.com/books/tlmr/

You have quoted the Qur'an,
"… Whomever slays a soul, unless it be for murder or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew entire mankind; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept entire mankind alive; … (Qu’ran 5:32)"

What might Muslims understand "mischief in the land" to mean?
According to Sharia law, Islam must dominate and not be dominated.
From my reading of Islamic scholars, "mischief in the land" can be interpreted as any action hindering the spread of Islam or Islam's dominance, as this is viewed as persecution of Islam.

'Persecution is worse than slaughter"- or "persecution is worse than killing"
(Qur'an; 2:217) goes hand in hand with "fight them until persecution is no more, and all religion is for Allah. (2:193).

Anyway, this is getting way off topic.

I just wanted to say: don't believe everything you hear about the "religion of peace" and study some history to get a better understanding of Islam, preferable from a politically incorrect or at least neutral source.
Winston Churchill, John Wesley, Hilaire Belloc, William Eaton(US Consul to Tunis), Vernon Richards, Andre Servier, Theodore Roosevelt, to name a few of our better informed ancestors, all had a very different understanding of Islam than what we are being spoon-fed today.
To Montesquieu in 1748, Islam’s ‘destructive spirit’ spoke ‘only by the sword’; to Schopenhauer in 1819, the Koran was a ‘wretched book’ in which he had ‘not been able to discover one single idea of value’; to De Tocqueville in 1843, Islam was ‘deadly’, ‘to be feared’ and a ‘form of decadence’".

And finally :

"In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, [.....] Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared indistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST.- TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE.... Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant ... While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men."

John Quincy Adams
Sixth President of The United States of America
1830


Emmy
Posted 27 July 2007 at 11:13 pm

Great ending.


sublimenal13
Posted 28 July 2007 at 08:42 am

WOW. They put street gangs to shame. (Not that street gangs should get any more violent)


Hayley
Posted 28 July 2007 at 08:16 pm

Hmm...the underlying italics story...was that true? A bit of fabrication made up about one man who died? Obviously, he probably didn't last so long after the end there, so I'm guessing it was artistic license? Just curious, since it was detailed enough to make me wonder if anyone told that story later on.


gopalan.evr
Posted 29 July 2007 at 10:38 am

a very good article. sleeman's memoirs are available here: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/15483. quite interesting to read, with many unbelievable true incidents, some funny, some weird. to the best of my knowledge, no incidents of thuggee has been reported for the last hundred years and more. there was an attempt to revive it in punjab in 1850's, but it was suppressed by sleeman's nephew (or some other relative). however, the other evil the british struggled to eradicate, the suttee, or sati, is still occasionally reported, the last (in)famous case being that of one Roop Kanwar in Rajasthan in 1987.


Meathammer
Posted 29 July 2007 at 09:01 pm

"Kali! Kali Mah! Kali Mah, shu-te-dai!"

As always, great job! Do the thuggee have their own MySpace page?

By the way, if you've gotten this far without reading comment #10 by Radiatidon, scroll back up and read it. Well done, Rad.


dennis
Posted 30 July 2007 at 08:47 am

How does such a strange and evil religion get started?......Who first thought of it?

A fallen angel (demon, or satan) revealed it to someone (or a group of people).

The same is true for Mormon. A fallen angel (demon, Moroni by name) dictated the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith. Smith said that an angel revealed the religion to him, but Smith didn't know that it was a demon, masquerading a good angel (of God).

How did the caste system start in India? A demon, masquerading as a Hindu deity, revealed it to people.
The Hindu deities, all 330 million of them, are demons, masquerading as gods.

How did the Sufi religion start? Demons revealed it to people, and provided the super-natural power.
Whirling Dirvishes are one branch of the Sufi religion. How do the Whirling Dirvishes twirl on the dance-floor for hours, without getting drunk-headed and falling down? It's super-natural, by satanic power. The demons provide miracle power for the feat. The Dirvish goes into a Trance.

The Bible is True.
How did the early Christians perform astounding miracles, divine healings, speaking in tongues, etc? By God's super-natural power.

Why doesn't God perform blatant miracles today? He wants us to love righteousness (not because we saw a miracle, but) because we love righteousness and love.
He is TESTING our faith and love.


tednugentkicksass
Posted 30 July 2007 at 01:57 pm

dennis said: "How does such a strange and evil religion get started?……Who first thought of it?


A fallen angel (demon, or satan) revealed it to someone (or a group of people).

The same is true for Mormon. A fallen angel (demon, Moroni by name) dictated the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith. Smith said that an angel revealed the religion to him, but Smith didn't know that it was a demon, masquerading a good angel (of God)......"

Jesus Christ was a demon. You can't prove he wasn't, so he must have been. Satan's done a pretty good job of pulling the wool over your eyes, hasn't he?

dennis said: "How did the early Christians perform astounding miracles, divine healings, speaking in tongues, etc? By God's super-natural power."

They didn't.

dennis said: "Why doesn't God perform blatant miracles today? He wants us to love righteousness (not because we saw a miracle, but) because we love righteousness and love.
He is TESTING our faith and love."

And, finally, God doesn't exist.... at least not in the tangible manner you've been brainwashed into believing. So let's just let this religious crap go. Nobody cares about anybody's beliefs but their own.


Meathammer
Posted 30 July 2007 at 04:35 pm

dennis said: "Why doesn't God perform blatant miracles today? He wants us to love righteousness (not because we saw a miracle, but) because we love righteousness and love.

He is TESTING our faith and love."

So.......your contention is that GOD is screwing with our heads? Hmmm....

Why have most of the recent posts been sinking deeper and deeper into this religious quagmire? It seems lately that some people, who seem very convinced of their own arbitrary opinions (I'm talking about religion), have been filling the posts here with their own thoeries and versions of "God". That, my pious friends, is not Damn Interesting. It's Damn Annoying.

FAITH DOES NOT EQUAL FACT. Read that again. Now, one more time. Just because you think something MIGHT be true, does not make it so. Just because, in the wee hours of the night, you strain and squint and furrow your brow and then BELIEVE you talk to God, does not mean you do.....at all. Not that I'm saying that you don't. You might, for all I know. However, when it comes to facts, the word might should never come into play. Simply because you belong to a group that requires you to bore people to death about your own personal take on "The Big Picture", does not mean I or anyone else should have to read it on this website.

Look, I hate to come down on religion like this, but why can't you people just shut up? Nobody cares. If we (and by we I mean those of us who don't go to church) wanted to hear that kind of archaic and tired rhetoric, we'd be the pews every Sunday, wouldn't we? You want converts? You want people to believe in what you believe? First, you have to be people with personalities. One-Demensional people are never interesting. If the only thing you ever have to say is a Bible verse, then go jump off a bridge. Nobody cares. Then, you have to be fantastic, amazing people. The kind of people other people want to be like. Then, and only then, can you talk about how great your personal set of beliefs are and how they made you into the amazing, fantastic person you are today. Then, and only then, should you EVER say the word "God" or "Jesus".......and if your religion has not turned you into this kind of person, well, cut and run. You're wasting your time otherwise.

dennis said: "The Bible is True."

Ummm....well, the Bible exists, yes. (get ready for some Bill Hicks rip offs) If the Bible is so true, I have a question. It's a one word question. Dinosaurs?

Faith does not equal fact, ever. Was Jesus the son of God? The Bible certainly says so. Outside of the Bible, well....The fact is that Jesus was a bastard and his mother was raped by the Holy Spirit. Now that, according to the Bible, is an absolute fact. Perhaps not the most flattering take on the savior of the christian faith, but a fact none the less.

It's so childish to try to pass your opinions off as facts. It's like playing the card game "I win". No matter what cards you hold in your hand, you win and everybody else loses. I read these posts by these religious people and I imagine a child with both hands over their ears, eyes closed and shouting gibberish at the top of their lungs.

Religious people: shut up. Just shut up. Nobody cares what you believe.

One last fact: Religion has been the main cause of war throughout history. Think about how stupid that is. People killing people over their opinions. I wonder how much better we'd be without religion...

P.S. dennis, I'm sorry to be coming down on you like this but, man, you pissed me off with that last post.


wh44
Posted 31 July 2007 at 06:53 am

Despite being a "religious person", I find myself much more in agreement with tednugentkicksass and Meathammer than with Dennis.

Going off on a wild tangent about how other religions are from the devil *may* increase your standing in your own religious community (it would not in mine), but it thoroughly alienates everybody else and shows a remarkable lack of understanding or even desire to understand. The point of this web-site is learning about and understanding (Damn) Interesting things. Saying "it's from the devil" does not further that understanding.

MarkF said "Ok, you want the links:". No, I think they wanted, and I know I want, the relevant arguments *here*. If necessary, summarize them. Your links are to entire books, which most people do not have the time nor the desire to read.

I am not myself Muslim, but for the most part I find Islam no better or worse than Christianity: both have their good people who try to understand and make the world a better place, and their fundamentalists with blinders on who would kill to defend their particular understanding. Considering that there are 1.4 billion Muslims, damning Islam and Muslims without trying to understand them is plain stupid. If you wish to get a deep understanding of current Islam, I highly recommend "No god but God" by Reza Aslan.

Oh, and once more for the record: most Christians do believe in evolution and do not take the Bible literally on this point. If the science clearly shows something to be true, religion cannot make it otherwise.


dennis
Posted 31 July 2007 at 08:04 am

The 3 great proofs that the Bible is True:
1. Fulfilled Prophecy (predictions of the future which , later came true).
The Bible is about 25 % prophecy.
No other religion (or person) attempts to predict the future, the way the Bible does.

2. The Great love described in the Bible.
Jesus said "Sell all that you have and give the money to the poor",......... and many other expressions of God's tremendous, perfect, un-selfish love.

3. The changed lives of the believers.
If you believe the Bible, it will change your life.


tednugentkicksass
Posted 31 July 2007 at 03:41 pm

dennis said: "The 3 great proofs that the Bible is True:

1. Fulfilled Prophecy (predictions of the future which , later came true).
The Bible is about 25 % prophecy.
No other religion (or person) attempts to predict the future, the way the Bible does.

2. The Great love described in the Bible.
Jesus said "Sell all that you have and give the money to the poor",……… and many other expressions of God's tremendous, perfect, un-selfish love.

3. The changed lives of the believers.
If you believe the Bible, it will change your life."

I think you may be having some fun at our expense here, so this is the last I'll say on the matter.

1. Many people and religions have predicted the future, with varying success. It's impossible to say exactly what any particular prediction is supposed to mean, or when. Vagueries are a great boon to people pretending to be prophets. Nostradamus is a case in point.
Perhaps the most accurate predictions have come from the Mayans. No guess work involved. They accurately predicted all sorts of astronomical happenings.

2. Many religions put great emphasis on loving your neighbor. Many non-religious people do likewise. Also, it should be noted that many parts of the Old Testiment show God's ultimate selfishness-- he gets very angry, killing and such when things don't go his way.

3. Crack can change your life too.


Meathammer
Posted 31 July 2007 at 05:42 pm

dennis said: "The 3 great proofs that the Bible is True:..."

Yes, the Bible TRUELY does exist.

Brian: You are all individuals!

What do you mean true? True as in....what? What exactly is true about it? Yes, there are some accurate historical accounts writen in the bible. Archeoligists have uncovered structures and locations that are (more-or-less) as biblical documents describe them. That part of the Bible is accurate because it can be verified. That is not to say that something has to be proven to be a fact (gravity, for example, has existed since the begining of time), but the truth of these sections of the Bible can be proven....therefore making them fact. However, as The Invisible Pink Unicorn, Pastafarianism and other parody religions clearly illustrate, faith is what you make of it. These deities may seem silly to you, but they are no more proveable (or disprovable) than the God, YHWY or Allah. Hows that for being "True".

Crowd: YES, YES, WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS!

As I said in the previous post, this is not a crack on religion. This is not an attack on people that belong to an -ism. This really isn't even an attack on dennis. This is an attack on the closed-mindedness that produces the kind of ridiculous statements that dennis has said. Those of you who associate yourself with a religion, keep on keeping on. If you are seeking something that you think a religion can answer, my heart goes out to you and I hope you find what you are looking for. But whats right for one is almost never right for everyone else, ESPECIALLY religion.

Brian: You are all different!

I wasn't able to find any of your books on Google or Amazon.com, but from your discription, they smack of propaganda. If my contention was that your beliefs are all garbage (which it certainly isn't), you can't refer me to a book written by a preist or other religious offical. If Hitler had stood trial for war crimes, I'm sure that the procecuters would consider putting jews on the stand, as opposed to only calling on Hitlers buddys. A harsh metaphor, but an appropriate one.

Crowd: YES, WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT!

Look man, believe what you want, but call it what it is: a belief, an opinion. Just because you believe in something and I don't, doesn't make your beliefs any less valid. It simply means that I was endowded by my creator with certain inaliable rights such as free will, a thought process and the ability to make up my own mind. I have chosen to believe what I want, just as you have. Stop trying to pass your opinions off as facts and I'll stop pointing out how incredible wrong you are. Deal?

Lone Voice: I'm not.

Person next to him: SHH!

I await any actual facts you may have on this matter.


MarkF
Posted 01 August 2007 at 12:29 am

wh44 says,

If you are not interested in reading the texts I cited, then I cannot force you and you will remain ignorant of much violent Islamic history.

Robert Spencer looks at "No god but God" by Reza Aslan, whose shallow and distorted depiction of Islamic teachings are discussed here:

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/005416.php


wh44
Posted 01 August 2007 at 02:02 am

MarkF said: "If you are not interested in reading the texts I cited, then I cannot force you and you will remain ignorant of much violent Islamic history."

I may or may not read those texts - that is beside the point! This is a forum, and expecting everyone to go and read an entire book to understand your response to someone else's short post is just not going to happen. If you want to argue a point here, argue it *here*.

MarkF said: "Robert Spencer looks at "No god but God" by Reza Aslan, whose shallow and distorted depiction of Islamic teachings are discussed here:

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/005416.php"

Note: I was not requesting that anyone read the book to understand my response: I made my responses *here*. It was only suggested reading on my part.

I followed the link and I must say, it was a shallow and distorted response: among other things, it tries to pick apart that Islam is pluralist by noting religiously sanctioned restrictions on dhimmi (Christians and Jews) in Egypt. Egypt is not the entire world of Islam, and even within Egypt there are many dissenting opinions. Islam is incredibly diverse (which you can read in the book-quote at the link!), and judging all of Islam on one community is akin to judging all of Christianity on one denomination.

Attacking all of Islam is also counter-productive: it strengthens the Islamic fundamentalists and weakens the position of the moderates, and points us in the direction of an (un)holy war.

The real irony: if you look at the position of the Christian fundamentalists and the Islamic fundamentalists, they both use the same basic arguments: God is on our side, everything will be good once we win, so lets hate the other side and destroy them.

The key word here is "hate". Christ never promoted hate. Do you?


MarkF
Posted 01 August 2007 at 02:13 am

wh44,

Never mind. Happy days.
As they say, "ignorance is bliss".


dennis
Posted 01 August 2007 at 04:32 am

Comment # 82 said:

"The real irony: if you look at the position of the Christian fundamentalists and the Islamic fundamentalists, they both use the same basic arguments: God is on our side, everything will be good once we win, so lets hate the other side and destroy them."

(Real) Christians never advocate that we should hate anyone.
The Bible tells us to , "Love the sinner, and hate the sin".

Fundamentalist Christians are Christians who believe the "fundamentals" (basic teachings ) of the Bible.
So, Fundamentalists are no worse than the Bible. And the Bible is True and Loving.

Jesus loves with Intense love. And , He requires that all people love as He loves,........with Intense Love.


wh44
Posted 01 August 2007 at 04:37 am

MarkF said: "wh44,

Never mind. Happy days.

As they say, "ignorance is bliss"."

Are you trying to be a troll? That has all the intellectual content of "neener, neener!".

1) I've proven myself willing to look into things and present arguments here. You have not responded to contrary arguments or said "go read these books". Who is being ignorant?

2) You are the one who is trying to make the argument, yet you want me (and all the other readers) to do all the work, reading and distilling the few arguments from those books that are relevant to this discussion. I object.

3) I may yet read either or both books, "The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India" looks interesting, but it will take me time - I am only a moderate to slow reader and I have much else to do. By the time I am finished, this discussion will be long over.


wh44
Posted 01 August 2007 at 06:40 am

dennis said: "(Real) Christians never advocate that we should hate anyone.

The Bible tells us to , "Love the sinner, and hate the sin".

Fundamentalist Christians are Christians who believe the "fundamentals" (basic teachings ) of the Bible."

Thank you. I agree, I was wrong.

I should have said "reactionary" or "radical" Christians - which, unfortunately, the phrase "fundamentalist" has come to mean in common usage. The same applies to Muslims.

Don't you think condemning the Prophet Mohammed as a demon, as you have done, might not be construed as hateful? How would you feel if someone condemned Jesus as a demon? (Which, by the way, Muslims in general would never do).


dennis
Posted 01 August 2007 at 07:16 am

Answer to wh44:
Thanks.
I never said that Mohammed was a demon.
Mohammed said that an angel from God (Allah) revealed the Koran religion to him. If Christianity and the Bible is True (it is), then,.........obviously the Koran is wrong.
The Bible and the Koran contradict each other.

imo, Mohammed thought that the angel was a real angel, but, Mohammed didn't think it thru carefully. Why would a loving God order people to terrorize and murder others, to promote Love? Is this the way to keep a clean conscience before God? Obviously, Mohammed violated his conscience, but,.......he was infatuated with power, fortune, prestige, and other fleshly pursuits.
Mohammed was a murderer (among other things). He robbed caravans. He forced Islam upon people by sword.

That angel was obviously a fallen angel (a demon, or satan).

God (Jesus) allows men and demons to lie to us, .........God is TESTING us to see if we will Love Him and His Love. (And believe His original revelations,......(the Old testament and the New testament).

The New testament completely fulfilled the Old testament prophecies.
Some of the Old testament prophecies, such as the Second Coming of Christ and the Kingdom beyond, have not yet been fulfilled (that's in our future).


wh44
Posted 01 August 2007 at 07:47 am

MarkF: Wow. Fascinating.

I was under the impression you were denigrating Islam in favor of Christianity. In fact, in both books you cite, Christianity comes away about as badly as Islam.

In Aristakes "History", the link you provide is to the second chapter of the book, where lord Petros, a Christian, orders the slaughter of men, women and children in Armenia. I am acquainted with the brutal history of Armenia, but I haven't yet read anything quite so eloquent on it.

In "The Legacy of Muslim Rule", K. S. Lal draws parallels between feudalism in Christian Europe and Islamic India. In both cases, religion was abused to justify oppression.

I'm not through with either. Heck, I've barely started, but I intend to continue.

So: you were trying to make the point that thuggee is not contrary to Islam, because the Islamic rulers (mughals, etc.) were brutal - slaughtering opponents and subjects without mercy when it fit their ends?

I would respond that, yes, thuggee ideology was consonant with some Islamic rulers of the time (as was pointed out in the article too), but that those rulers were abusing religion and deliberately misinterpreting religious law or ignoring it to further their own ends - as was also the case with Christianity in Europe.

Couldn't you have come out and said that at the beginning? Am I missing some other point you were trying to make?


wh44
Posted 01 August 2007 at 08:34 am

dennis said: "Answer to wh44:

Thanks.

I never said that Mohammed was a demon.

Sorry, got that wrong too. Still, Muslims would be (are) very offended by the accusation that the angel that spoke to Mohammed was a demon.

Mohammed said that an angel from God (Allah) revealed the Koran religion to him. If Christianity and the Bible is True (it is), then,………obviously the Koran is wrong.

The Bible and the Koran contradict each other.

Since Muslims believe Jesus was also a Messenger of God, they believe that the two are (mostly) compatible. I have heard some Muslims propound the theory that the Bible has been replaced, or badly translated.

From my own reading, I find little more contradiction between the Koran and the Bible than I find between the Bible and itself. Most of the contradiction I find is in the interpretation, as opposed to the actual text.

imo, Mohammed thought that the angel was a real angel, but, Mohammed didn't think it thru carefully. Why would a loving God order people to terrorize and murder others, to promote Love? Is this the way to keep a clean conscience before God? Obviously, Mohammed violated his conscience, but,…….he was infatuated with power, fortune, prestige, and other fleshly pursuits.

Mohammed was a murderer (among other things). He robbed caravans. He forced Islam upon people by sword.

I think Muslims would disagree with your interpretation of the personal history of Mohammed. That some followers of Islam did these things, I would not contradict - but then some followers of Christ also, unfortunately, did these things (see, e.g., the history of the Crusades).

The New testament completely fulfilled the Old testament prophecies.

That is a matter of some debate. A lot of the old prophecies are quite vague. One not so vague prophecy is that the Christ would "rule with an iron rod", which, I would submit, did not come to pass with Jesus. This is one of the major stumbling blocks for Jews accepting Jesus.

Some of the Old testament prophecies, such as the Second Coming of Christ and the Kingdom beyond, have not yet been fulfilled (that's in our future)."

I am of the opinion that the Second Coming of Christ is long past (a bit over 100 years), though the Kingdom is still in process. I hope that does not preclude us having civil debate about interesting topics. :-)


dennis
Posted 01 August 2007 at 12:11 pm

The Koran says that Jesus didn't die on the Cross, God never had a Son, Jesus is not the Savior of the world (He's only a prophet), .................many contradictions.

There are no contradictions in the Bible itself.

The followers of Christ never murder,............if a Christian murders, he automatically lost his Christian-hood (salvation) when he decided to murder.
Christians follow Christ. By definition.
So, the murdering Crusaders were not Christians. They might have been (fake) Christians.

Christ will rule with an iron rod AFTER the Second Coming. Which is in our future.
Today, we have a SPIRITUAL Kingdom,.........Christ lives (and reigns) in our hearts,.........and we serve Christ voluntarily. We are allowed to reject Christ in this Age of Grace. But, if we die without Christ, God will Judge (punish) us for rejecting His Love.
Christ loves a CHEERFUL giver,.........if Christ forced us to love Him, that's a contradiction,.........no-one can be FORCED to love (that's not real love).

2000 years ago, many Jews rejected Christ because He was humble, loving, meek, gentle,forgiving, helpful, etc,.........and many of the Jews were wanting a STRONGMAN, a PHYSICAL savior, who would PHYSICALLY save them from Rome's tyranny.

Jesus offered the Jews a SPIRITUAL SALVATION,.......salvation from our SINS,........and many Jews rejected that kind of Love, Wisdom, Righteousness.
They were fleshly, earthly minded.
Christ was Spiritual, Heavenly minded.
But, a Few Jews did accept Jesus as the Christ.


wh44
Posted 01 August 2007 at 02:31 pm

dennis: I don't think this is the forum to debate the question about the correct beliefs for a Christian. If you have an alternative, more or less neutral forum, I'll be happy to meet you there. :-)


Meathammer
Posted 01 August 2007 at 03:44 pm

dennis said: "...IF Christianity and the Bible is True...IMO, Mohammed thought..."

Thank you. Welcome to the discussion.


MarkF
Posted 02 August 2007 at 01:56 am

wh44,

If the day ever comes, God forbid, that a global caliphate is imposed and sharia law rules our lives, dennis will have an advantage over you.
On that day, dennis, as a Christian, will have three choices: conversion to Islam, enslavement or death.
Unfortunately, you as a Godless atheist, as opposed to a Christian or Jew, will only be offered two: conversion to Islam or death.
See how much better it is to be a Christian or Jew under sharia law :)


wh44
Posted 02 August 2007 at 04:20 am

MarkF said: "If ... sharia law rules ... dennis, as a Christian, will have three choices: conversion to Islam, enslavement or death.

Being a "dhimmi" is no picnic, but it is not enslavement. Enslavement implies working for another master, and that is not the case for dhimmi.

Unfortunately, you as a Godless atheist, as opposed to a Christian or Jew, will only be offered two: conversion to Islam or death.

See how much better it is to be a Christian or Jew under sharia law :)"

I am most decidedly not atheist. I am well aware of how bad things can be: look up the religious persecution of Baha'is in Iran - it is well documented.

Should I turn away from that which I believe to be true, because it may cause me pain or even death?


MarkF
Posted 02 August 2007 at 05:28 am

wh44 ,

The Baha'i Faith teaches the divine origin of Islam. It affirms that the Holy Qur'an is God's revelation, and that Muhammad (PBUH) is God's Servant and Messenger and the Seal of the Prophets.
So, one can understand your rejection of anything that might cast a negative light on Islam.
It was not my intent to get into a religious debate.
I just wanted to let people know that Islam has a very violent past, one that is not discussed by our media or academia.
One only has to look at a map and outline the current extent of Islam to see the extent of that violence(with the exception of Indonesia).
Whereas the Crusades were a belated military response to three centuries of Muslim aggression against Christian lands and peoples, and by comparison in scope of geography affected and violence, they in no way compare to the prior violence of Islam.

What happened to all the Jewish and Christian settlements in the Arabian peninsula?
What happened to all the Buddhist and Hindu temples throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan?
What happened to the Persian Zoroastrians?
What happened to the numerous Christian and Jewish settlements throughout northern Africa and Turkey?
What happened to the Egyptian Christian Copts?

"Ever since the religion of Islam appeared in the world, the espousers of it...have been as wolves and tigers to all other nations, rending and tearing all that fell into their merciless paws, and grinding them with their iron teeth; that numberless cities are raised from the foundation, and only their name remaining; that many countries, which were once as the garden of God, are now a desolate wilderness; and that so many once numerous and powerful nations are vanished from the earth! Such was, and is at this day, the rage, the fury, the revenge, of these destroyers of human kind".

- John Wesley (1703-91)

The ideology of Islam has always been less a religion than a vehicle for Arab imperialism; and this continues today with the Saudis funding madrassas and mosques worldwide.
Your Persian ancestors were brutally subjugated and yet here you are, heatedly defending the ideology that enslaved them.


wh44
Posted 02 August 2007 at 06:52 am

Alan,

Would it be possible to set up some sort of forums, so that people could discuss other subjects? We seem to get off on tangents a lot, and I don't think it is always appreciated.

MarkF,

I am not of Persian extraction, or at least not recent - I did not mean to imply I was. I do have friends who have lost loved ones to the persecution in Iran, which makes me acutely aware of the implications of Islamic rule.

Your argument against Islam is primarily based on how it has been abused for brutal imperialism and personal gain.

Christianity has also been abused for brutal imperialism (see colonialism) and personal gain. Do you renounce Christianity because of that?

No. Because the truth is still the truth, no matter that others may have twisted it for their own ends.


dennis
Posted 02 August 2007 at 08:16 am

In the Hadith (official, orthodox quotes from Mohammed himself), Mohammed said:

(my paraphrase, i'm speaking from memory) "the Last Day (the resurrection of the Righteous) cannot happen until all Jews are killed." Allah commanded the Moslems to kill all Jews (Jews are pigs). Christians are monkeys.

My point is: Islam is a murderous religion.

Anti-Semitism (hatred of the Jews) has been an (almost) world-wide, phenomenon, since the Jewish nation was born, almost 4000 years ago. Why?
Why do we hate the Jews so much?
Anti-Semitism is always in the news. But, no-one ever gives the REASON why we hate the Jews.

Except Dave Hunt, he gave the reason. Thank God for Dave.
http://www.thebereancall.org

Dave said: Born-again-Christians are influenced by the Holy Spirit of God to love God, Christians, Jews, Bible, Church, Pastor, Deacon, Sunday school teacher, etc
and
non-Christians (who are not in-dwelt by the Spirit of God) are influenced and controled by satan, to hate God, Bible, Church, Jews, Scripture, Christians, etc

Why does satan hate the Jews? The Jews brought into the world: the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Messiah, the Christian Church, the Salvation of the world (Jesus was/is a Jew), etc
and
the nation Israel has a prophecied, specific part to play in the End-Times (the Tribulation), and if satan could annihilate the Jewish nation, the scripture would be BROKEN! and God would be found a LIAR! His Scripture would NOT BE FULFILLED! (which we know is impossible).
God Himself, in the Bible, said: The Scripture cannot be broken.
Yet, satan is trying to do the impossible.

Hitler, Pharoah, Haman, Stalin, the RCC, the Moslems, and many others have persecuted, oppressed, and even tried to annihilate the Jewish nation.
But, God has protected them from complete annihilation.


wh44
Posted 02 August 2007 at 04:08 pm

dennis,

In the Hadith (official, orthodox quotes from Mohammed himself), Mohammed said (my paraphrase, i'm speaking from memory) ... My point is: Islam is a murderous religion.

I believe this is the Hadith you are referring to:

"The last hour won't come before the Muslims would fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them so Jews would hide behind rocks and trees. Then the rocks and tree would call: oh Muslim, oh servant of God! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."

I will not contradict that this is a hateful and dangerous Hadith. I find it extremely unfortunate that such a hateful Hadith is still being promulgated. However, how "official" it is, is a different matter.

This looks to me to contradict the Koran itself - how could one expect believers to treat Jews with respect, as is clearly stated in the Koran, after such a statement?

A large and growing number of Muslims do not accept Hadith (oral traditions), since they are of human origin, not directly the words of the Prophet as the Koran is. Baha'is do not even accept Hadith about Baha'u'llah, much less Hadith about Mohammed - Baha'u'llah Himself forbade it. Even among the majority of Muslims who accept Hadith, not all Hadith are equal: some are better substantiated than others.

non-Christians (who are not in-dwelt by the Spirit of God) are influenced and controled by satan, to hate God, Bible, Church, Jews, Scripture, Christians, etc

I have friends and acquaintances from many backgrounds, and have found good and loving people and people full of hate in all religions (or religion substitutes), including Jews, Christians, Muslim, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Baha'is, atheists and agnostics. You need to drop the prejudices and accept that the world is not black and white. For me, it all comes down to following that greatest commandment "Love God and love thy neighbor" - even if the agnostics and atheists aren't so sure about God's existence. ;-)


Q
Posted 04 August 2007 at 10:56 am

I kept waiting for the Beatles to show up, but nothing...

HELP!


Zaphod2016
Posted 04 August 2007 at 05:02 pm

Wonderful article, however, this argument about religion does nothing for me.

I do not begrudge anyone their faith, nor attempt to qualify or disqualify anyone's faith based on evidence (an inherent contradiction). However, a literal interpretation of any religion is simply asinine. How did Brachiosaurs fit on the ark? Where did Mohammed get a winged horse? Why is there no historical record of Jews in Egypt? I could go on and on and on.

It is 100% true that, historically speaking, the Moselms have been a violent and aggressive people. But compared to the Holy Roman Empire, these people are total amateurs.

In reality, all religious people "cherry pick" from their preferred book of faith. A classic example in Christianity is using the book of Leviticus to attack homosexuality, while ignoring the following passage which suggests that working on the Sabbath is a crime worthy of the death penalty.

And don't get me started on the book of Genesis. Were Adam and Eve created at the same time, or was Eve created from Adam's rib? Which is it? And why are BOTH versions of this SAME story in the King James Bible?

I would like to think that someday we, as a universal society, can move beyond the archaic absolutism of religious dogma. However, I doubt we will. Ironically, I can best explain this as a function of evolution- the same engine denied by fundamentals yet accepted by the current pope. Check the birthrates for yourselves- the freethinkers are an endangered species, self-selected for extinction. Truly, the meek shall inherit this Earth. The Earth has been befouled beyond repair anyway- you folks can have it! All I ask is that you keep away from my land until you are prepared for rational argument.

Believe whatever you wish, but don't attempt to convince me that the Bible is some grand testament to mankind's promise and morality. Having read it myself I can tell you with absolute certainty that the Bible is anything but ethical, and those stuck defending it do so based on habit and conditioning, not objective, rational thinking.

Case in point: why was an article about Hindus and Moselms hijacked with a discussion regarding the alleged superiority of Christianity? I'll tell you why: Pride. Coincidentally, one of the seven deadly sins.

You know- if you people actually READ the book you claim as holy, you'd be a lot more bearable to the agnostics like me.

End rant. Thanks again for a lovely read.


gopalan.evr
Posted 05 August 2007 at 01:11 am

dennis said: "How did the caste system start in India? A demon, masquerading as a Hindu deity, revealed it to people.

The Hindu deities, all 330 million of them, are demons, masquerading as gods.
"

i am a non-practising hindu, and i protest this statement. you may worship whosoever or whatsoever you like, but you have no business to call as "demons" what others worship. incidentally, who created these demons, and let them loose on an unsuspecting mankind? the "one" "supreme" god? and if god sees it fit to create and let loose these demons, then the puny man has no business criticizing these demons.

and a fine forum is being ruined, by the way.


ehman
Posted 05 August 2007 at 10:24 am

"dennis said: "How did the caste system start in India? A demon, masquerading as a Hindu deity, revealed it to people."

According to Hindu scriptures, the Hindu scripture describing caste rules was written by a guy named Manu not a god.

I should point out that Manu only presented a formal social code about the rules of war, caste, marriage, and other issues facing hindus at the time. Hindu society was divided in castes long before Manu came along, in reality caste was like an overgrown version of trade unions that restricted entry into a particular profession (eg. preists, grocers, doctors, toilet cleaners etc) rather than the idealised version presented in the manusmriti.

The more prestigious the profession, the more prestigious the union members became, and its members became obsessed with keeping it an exclusive club. Eventually each union got its own idiosyncratic practices and customs.

At this point this unions became more like races in America rather than trade unions. This phase lasted for about 300 years. Eventually the Muslims and British came along, Hindus borrowed from Abrahamic sensibilities, reformed the religion and the caste system was outlawed.

However the decedents of the doctors, preists, and merchants are still more successful on average than the decedents of the toilet cleaners and laborers, and this inequality remains a great source of instability in the country. India has tried to rectify this inequality with the world's most extensive system of affirmative action, with limited success.

----------------------------

Also as far as Kali is concerned, keep in mind that it is only one of the six schools of orthodox Hinduism and and there also many heterodox schools (including Buddhism, Jainism etc).

They all have very different practices and intensely disliked each other until very recently. Then around 400 years ago Hinduism was reformed by practitioners borrowing from Judeo-Christian influences using relativistic logic (similar to present day post-modernism) .

Many differences still persist, for example strict Vaishnavs are vegans who don't do drugs, Shavites consume marijuana religiously, and Kali worshipers sacrifice animals to appeas the goddess.

The hetrodox schools are even more varied, example neo-Carvaka are extreme pleasure seeking atheist materialists. Modern day Jains are the least violent religious sect on the planet. The Aghoris ritually eat dead people.


Meathammer
Posted 05 August 2007 at 08:20 pm

@ dennis

I see what you're doing here. I know it all too well. You see, there are only a few reasons one would continue to keep posting along these lines. Usually, on this site, there are many highly intelligent people discussing varying topics in order to prove their point, theorem, or whatever else. Most times, it boils down to who has done more research, who has more facts or who's the smartest. But you don't seem to ever state any facts and there seems to be no research done on your part whatsoever. Why would someone keep posting on this site and never actually say anything? Why would someone continue to repeat themselves over and over (and over) again? What you're doing, your underlying motives....well, they're far more devious than anything I have seen on this site so far.

You see, I grew up in the church. Every Sunday and Wednesday you could find me there, studying and discussing the Bible with my fellow Christians. Both of my parents were Sunday School teachers and my father knows more about the Bible than most theologians I've seen. I recognize your type and I know exactly what you're doing. Shame on you.

What dennis is doing here is known as "Witnessing". This is a method of converting non-believers by talking about the Bible, talking about your beliefs and showing people what it means to be a Christian. In the minds of most Christians (like dennis), the non-believer, upon hearing the "Good News", would drop to their knees and accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. This, however, never works like that. Actually, it worked once with me when I was a church goer, but the man was homeless and begging for money. I, being 17 at the time, of course gave him some money in exchange for listening to my spiel about God and Jesus and all that. He probably used the $20 I gave him to buy booze or whatever else he had a fix for. This is the prey of these spiritual predators. These...Soul Merchants as I call them.

I remember a parable in the Bible that used the scattering of seeds as a metaphor for witnessing. It goes on to discribe the seeds landing on fertile ground and some seeds landing in rocky crags. This forum, for dennis, is the rocky crag. I also remember reading something about "not storing up treasures on Earth, but storing treasures in Heaven." This is exactly what dennis is doing, my friends. He is diversifying his spiritual bonds. He's trying to play the Holy stock market, waiting for his wind fall. His hope, apparently, is that some weak-willed soul will read his posts and be so moved by his "profession of faith", that they will seek out their nearest place of worship and conform to someone else's version of reality. He is trying to score points for the afterlife and nothing else.

I can see dennis now, in his Bible study group talking about all the "Godless atheists" (as MarkF put it) and heathens on this website and how all who oppose his ideals think he's an idiot. I can see the group members patting him on the back and telling him what a good job he's doing. I can see the proud glow and sense of self-importance the groups encouragements have imbued him with. I can even see him secretly thinking how he's just a little bit better than those around him and how he's got more of Christ in his big toe than they have in their entire bodies. However, after all the congratulations and accolades from your peers, you're still just as selfish and self-serving as us "non-Christians (who are not in-dwelt by the Spirit of God) (who) are influenced and controlled by Satan." Probably more so.

You are despicable. You should be ashamed. Peddle your wares elsewhere Soul Merchant. It is people like you that drove me away from the church in the first place. Your pretensioness and piety is self-defeating. If going to Heaven means spending eternity with you and your ilk, I sure as HELL don't want to go. They've got better music down there anyway.


tednugentkicksass
Posted 05 August 2007 at 10:32 pm

Meathammer, I agree completely with everything you've written here. However, the best way to deal with irrational personalities is to ignore them. Don't speak to them, don't listen to them, and above all, don't respond to them. Eventually they get the point and stay away.

gopalan.evr said: "and a fine forum is being ruined, by the way."

agreed.


Kao_Valin
Posted 09 August 2007 at 02:02 pm

Agreed, religion always ruins things :)


kuranes
Posted 10 August 2007 at 01:11 pm

Kao_Valin said: "Agreed, religion always ruins things :)"

I would say it's people who ruin religion.


Meathammer
Posted 10 August 2007 at 05:47 pm

.: WARNING! Long Rant Incoming! :.

kuranes said: "I would say it's people who ruin religion."

Kudos on spotting the difference between a religion and a religious person. I know it seems like an obvious statement, but when most people say they can't stand -anity or an -ism, they actually mean the follower of a said -ism or -anity. Actually, the Christian faith is an excellent way to live your life (I know this, see comment #102): be nice to people, don't be quick to judge, pray for your enemies...who could argue with that? However, it's those who claim to be Christians that seem to ruin the appearance of the Christianity for the non-believer. A Christian rock band called Audio Adrenaline had the following intro to one of their songs: "The leading cause of Atheism in America today is Christians." I don't know about the validity of that statement, but I'd believe it.

But, I'm forced to wonder if Christians can be blamed. Well, I mean, sure they CAN, but it's almost like they are setting themselves up for failure. The word "Christian" literally means "Little Christ". In other words, to be a Christian, a true Christian, would mean being exactly like Jesus. If you believe in that kind of thing, Jesus being the Son of God and all that, you realize how incredibly unattainable that is. You are insuring failure no matter how hard you try. Hypocrisy is inevitable.

However, despite this unattainable spiritual goal, the problem with most Christians (that is, the problem most people perceive in Christians) is their lack of subjectivity. As I have said before, Faith does not equal Fact. Christians seem to look at all other religions down their noses, dismissing them as pagan fantasies. The followers of such a pagan religion must lack some kind of inteligence, some kind of basic sense of the difference between right and wrong. "We must "Educate" them." Christians forget the fact that Christianity has its roots in traveling nomads, who would just as soon worship a Fly god than their "True" God (Judaism). In it's beginnings, Christianity was effectively a cult with it's followers having secret meetings and sending coded messages to eachother. Funny how we as humans justify a belief and condemn another, as we over look these fundamental elements in our own beliefs and how similar they are to the beliefs we are putting down.

In the Bible it says, "Hate the sin, not the sinner". Well, I say hate the hypocritical Christian, not Christianity. Not all of them of course, there are some good ones out there, I've met them. But as far as the folks that have posted above; the ones who offer no facts, the ones who drone on and on about how "true" their beliefs are, the ones who force their tired techniques and catch phrases like so many product slogans; they are slime, and they are ruining their own religion.

.: This rant has now been concluded :.


wh44
Posted 11 August 2007 at 01:31 pm

Meathammer said: ".: WARNING! Long Rant Incoming! :.

...

.: This rant has now been concluded :."

Thank you! :-) A very lucid and enjoyable rant.


onbelay1
Posted 12 August 2007 at 03:13 pm

Well done article, and DI too. What's even more DI is the forum. I been reading it from the beginning and as intriguing as all debates were, they have all gradually came down to religion and who can outsmart the other with their religious (or non- religious) talks. To my opinion, religion is one's own alone. What you choose to believe or not believe should be no one's damn business and it definitely should not be enforced on others or others upon you or you end up making the same damn mistake people in history made.

Now concerning the article (which I think this forum is originally about), I found it interesting that the Thuggee believed that killing were means of worshiping the Kali.

According to the article: "Kali, despite her fearsome appearance, is not an evil deity. For more mainstream Hindus, she is a goddess of time and transformation who can impart understanding of life, death, and creation. To the members of the Thuggee cult, she was something else entirely. Their Kali craved human blood, and demanded endless sacrifice to satisfy her hunger. According to Thuggee legend, Kali once battled a terrible demon which roamed the land, devouring humans as fast as they were created. But every drop of the monster’s blood that touched the ground spawned a new demon, until the exhausted Kali finally created two human men, armed with rumals, and instructed them to strangle the demons. When their work was finished, Kali instructed them to keep the rumals in their family and use them to destroy every man not of their kindred. This was the tale told to Thuggee initiates."

This begs the question, how did the Thuggee get their version of the tale? The Hindu goddess Kali is most inaccurately portrayed in history than any other Hindu Gods and Goddess. For example in the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are references that Kali was goddess of death, sexuality and violence.Yet those iconographies contradict with other referecence that she was goddess of death, but it was the death of ego that she brought upon. She is said to have motherly love and much compassion for Her children because she librated them from their self-centered ways of thinking by killing ego. She does not associate in human killings and does not "crave human blood" like the Thuggee claim and base their criminal activities with.

MonkeyBones said: Funny how some people use religion as a means to dismiss their behaviour.

I agree and I think that perhaps when the Thuggee first started murdering their own countrymen, it had nothing to do with religion, but rather deliberate cold blood murder.

kuranes said: "I would say it's people who ruin religion."

Again I agree. I have come up with my own conclusion of how perhaps the Thuggee cult started. Say that this group of people (maybe they are family or just close friends) hated another group that wasn't of their close relation and decided to execute them. Or maybe it started with two men who hated each other. As we have seen in history, hate is a more than enough motive for killing people (KKK, the Holocaust, Genocides, etc). Then this execution is rationalized as a religious quest by fabricating the story of Kali and her thirst for human blood. So then more and more murders happen and the community doesn't go against it because it was willed by a higher power. Soon these murders form their own cult and again there is no one to go against them. They chose to remain secret to avoid confrontations. As time went by, they became expert assassins and enjoyed the man hunt and thrill of killing. And the idea that killing was their duty to their goddess was drilled into their brain as the cult passed the tradition to their children and grandchilden. That was my educated (and uneducated) guess of how the Thuggee began.

It is sad to think that people believe and manipulate others into thinking religion can excuse their atrocious behaviors. What's even sadder is that this happens all the time and still does. The Thuggee were just one example.


Blaatann
Posted 13 August 2007 at 03:38 am

Okay, this debate made me want to register, just to mention one thing. The key idea here is that Islam is not as peaceful at its core as people might think. Well, be that as it may, but I don't know how much history you know MarkF, but neither is christianity. For instance, my country was christened, in large part, by the sword:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianization_of_Scandinavia#Christianization_of_Norway

In the immortal words of pope Urban II: Deus vult..


HiEv
Posted 27 August 2007 at 03:11 pm

wh44 said:"Christ never promoted hate."

Just for reference, Jesus said this:
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10:34-37) For more see: Biblical selections: Jesus on violence

Most major religions preach both love and hate, but most people only recall the hate part of their own religion when it's to their benefit.

dennis said:"(Real) Christians never advocate that we should hate anyone."

Well, I guess that Jesus wasn't a real Christian then, was he? (Nice, "no true Scotsman" fallacy, BTW.)

dennis said:"Why would a loving God order people to terrorize and murder others, to promote Love?"

Good question. Read your Old Testament and explain why your God did just that many times. For example, Numbers 31:1-18, where God has the Israelites commit genocide against the Midianites, who are completely slaughtered with the exception of virgin girls, which the warriors keep for themselves. (Admittedly I don't actually see an attempt to promote love anywhere in that section.) Or Jeremiah 48, which is all about God requiring the genocide of the Moabites and the destruction of their land, even cursing Israelites who don't take part, saying, "A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed!" (Jeremiah 48:10) Why would a loving god command this, indeed?

Again, the point is, in most major religions you can find excuses to hate and kill, and this includes the Islamic, Christian, Jewish, and Hindu faiths. Fortunately, most people can figure out what is or is not ethical most of the time, in spite of what their particular religious texts may claim. It makes one wonder why some think we need these texts for morals at all.


Kao_Valin
Posted 27 August 2007 at 06:01 pm

HiEv said: It makes one wonder why some think we need these texts for morals at all."

We need these texts to teach us that morals are flexable :)


dennis
Posted 28 August 2007 at 05:46 am

many times, in both OT and NT, the Bible tells us, that:

God punished, rebuked, killed evil people.

God killed many Egyptians, during the Moses/Exodus episode.............the Egyptians were very evil.

God commanded Israel to destroy every person in 7 Caananite nations, during the Conquest of the Promised Land.................those Caananites were very evil..........they passed their children THROUGH THE FIRE (offered as sacrifices to Molech).

God sent all Israelites into Exile into Babylon, because, at that time, Israel was very evil.
After Israel spent 70 years in exile in Babylon, they returned to the Promised Land, and THEY NEVER WORSHIPPED IDOLS AGAIN.---------they had learned their lesson.

God killed Annanias and Saphira------they lied to the HOLY SPIRIT.

God killed Jezebel and her followers for teaching false religions in the early Christian Church.

God loves Love and Righteousness.
God condemns non-love and wickedness.
He is eager to forgive, and slow to anger.
Think of all the times that we deserved punishment, and God didn't strike us.--------He is hoping that we will repent from our sins and un-belief.

In a similar principle, you correct (and sometimes punish) your own children when they are evil.

so, what is the problem?..............there is no problem with the Bible.
The Bible is Loving, Righteous and True.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 28 August 2007 at 10:44 am

No faith is entirely right or entirely wrong. People will always believe what they need to.


HiEv
Posted 30 August 2007 at 01:46 pm

dennis said: "many times, in both OT and NT, the Bible tells us, that:"

The Bible is just a book of stories written by men. Some of it is true, a lot of it is not. Just because the Bible says something happened, doesn't mean it really happened. If the Bible says insects have four legs, that doesn't mean that insects really only have four legs (see Leviticus 11:20, where it talks about "flying insects that walk on all fours".)

For example, outside of the Bible there is zero evidence that "God killed many Egyptians, during the Moses/Exodus episode………….the Egyptians were very evil" (as you put it.) No record of plagues and no record of an exodus of supposedly over a million men, women, and children plus livestock and supplies exists other than the Bible, which is an odd and rather tremendous omission for the Egyptians, who were notorious record keepers. There is also no pharaoh and exodus period that completely fits the timeline given in the Bible and what we know of history. And there is no archaeological evidence of a million people living in the desert for a couple of decades. No firepits, no pottery, no graveyards, no trash pits. And need I mention that over a million people would have been a majority of the population of Egypt at the time? The number is simply ridiculous Since there is no objective evidence for such an event there is much debate about when it could have occurred, but without evidence it's all merely speculation. Simply put, all of the evidence suggests that the Biblical story of the Exodus bears little resemblance to what actually happened. (for more see here)

If you want to believe that stuff though, that's your choice, I don't have a problem with that. However, you have to understand that most people who don't already believe it's true, won't believe it's true simply because you insist that it is. It would be as if we referred to the stories of the Greek gods as though they were true to prove to you that they were true and powerful gods. Those kinds of claims rather unconvincing to anyone who isn't already a believer. In other words, your conclusion is based on various claims, and those claims are founded on the assumption that your conclusion is true, which is circular logic.

So, please stop witnessing at us, this is not the proper forum for it and you aren't going to change anyone's mind arguing like that anyways.


CanInternet
Posted 08 September 2007 at 04:41 am

Now I´ll wait for an article about the Hashashin.
;)


sid
Posted 11 September 2007 at 01:19 pm

Interesting piece, but I'm shocked nobody has mentioned (or, apparently, seen) the movie Gunga Din.


Ronald
Posted 11 June 2008 at 08:25 pm

David have you ever actually read the bible? I mean read it and not had it read to you. How can you say there are no contradictions? Are you aware that Genesis gives to different creation stories. They cannot both be correct so in the very first book of the bible you have a contradiction.


elphaba
Posted 04 January 2009 at 03:58 pm

crap, why haven't I seen this one before? fascinating and terrifying.


Vrolock
Posted 29 January 2009 at 10:54 pm

How come I never get to learn about this awesome stuff?????
I hate the US history curriculum in middle school


braver13
Posted 15 April 2009 at 12:00 pm

this would make an awesome movie


HolyGhostGoesToHollywood
Posted 28 April 2009 at 03:29 am

OK. What would damn interesting is if someone made a sculpture of the Holy Ghost blessing Christians. How can they worship a Holy Ghost and so pollyannishly judge others, eh?

As for the article on thugs...what really IS damn interesting is just what British were doing in my country! They came as merchants of "East India Company' and started to steal from all over India. Now that's a thug (pirates, they came on ships, after all). Soon, Bengal, the most green and prosperous region of my country suffered the biggest famine on earth - exposing the hungry greedy Charles Dickens Britta's greed and evil. Today India is poor and Britain is rich. And they look better in pictures as well. The only consolation is that Muslims, whom you support as Pakistan, are going to bite your balls off. They are real 'THUGS" and they are with you! God IS great.


mkeawsh
Posted 25 June 2012 at 10:54 am

William Henry Sleeman is a relative


mon1
Posted 17 November 2012 at 10:07 am

Blaatann said
"Okay, this debate made me want to register, just to mention one thing. The key idea here is that Islam is not as peaceful at its core as people might think. Well, be that as it may, but I don’t know how much history you know MarkF, but neither is christianity. For instance, my country was christened, in large part, by the sword:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianization_of_Scandinavia#Christianization_of_Norway"

I am not a European .This guy is also affected by the disease of stupid liberalism which destroys Europe today. Can this guy say which is a better society - Islamized Saudi/Iran or Christianized Scandinavia/Europe. Whether he agrees or not most people from all over the world including Muslim countries will say. Scandinavia/Europe is far better. Proof ? Simple - look at the immigration. No one immigrates from Europe to Saudi (unless he is a lunatic) or even try for it. But on the other hand one can see hundreds of thousands of immigrants to the West every year and even more dream about it.

Again,Islam spread throughout the world by sword.Those faithful Muslims who considered Quran as the word of allah carried out Muhammad's instructions faithfully and subjugated infidels

But on the other hand no body can quote a single verse or example by Jesus to conquer a society and if any Pope has done it it is his fault - fault of violating Jesus' command to love the neighbor as one's self. and His preaching that His kingdom is not of this world.

In short Muslims atrocities are inspired by Quran while Christians' atrocities are in violation of the Biblical commands of Jesus.


mon1
Posted 17 November 2012 at 10:46 am

Zaphod2016 said:
"Case in point: why was an article about Hindus and Moselms hijacked with a discussion regarding the alleged superiority of Christianity? I’ll tell you why: Pride. Coincidentally, one of the seven deadly sins"

Obviously this guy is also infected with stupid liberalism which will push him towards enjoying self inflicted pain of self criticism - all in the name of rational thinking - but without verifying even the obvious facts,
I am from India.
Indian society practiced Sati. If a man dies his wife should commit suicide by jumping onto the fire of his husband's cremation. The Christian missionaries worked against and abolished this inhuman Hindu religious practice with the help of British authorities.
Child marriage - they stopped this practice
Lower cast people were not allowed traditional education - they(missionaries and the British authorities) abolished this practice;they built schools and colleges for modern education
Medical care - they introduced modern medicine and provided medical care for all.
The list is endless.....now another practice of thugee! .

Why couldn't Hindus and Muslims eradicate these inhuman practices? Why couldn't they see this as evil?

To argue, mean people like this guy will bring in millennia old stories of Roman empire! As he cannot see anything wrong Jesus asked his followers to do. If he can't find any fault in the New Testament he will find fault with the Roman emperor who did everything in violation of the Biblical commands and still he claims he is a rational animal!.

This guy having enjoyed all he could resulted from the goodness of a culture shaped mainly by Christianity thinks he can be rational only by criticizing Christianity for the sake of criticism..He can't see how all these goodness originated and can't see that only in Christian socities these goodness exists (while evil exist everywhere)
And finds himself enjoy the self inflicted pain of self criticism. It's a desease.


mon1
Posted 17 November 2012 at 10:55 am

No sane person would claim Islam or Hinduism contributed positively to the building of the modern world especially the West (but out of desperation and poverty mentality many would like to claim a share of the greatness with silly arguments, I know).
But being a person living in India and as a person lived in many parts of the world I can say with absolute proof that India and almost all non Western countries have benefited from Christianity which shaped the West.


mkeawsh
Posted 04 February 2013 at 12:25 pm

My husband is a Sleeman and related to Sir Henry.


Shikha GUpta
Posted 25 March 2014 at 03:27 am

Nooo - Ganesha's father is Shiva - one of the holy trinity and one who is above the cycle of life and birth. Yes, Shive did behead Ganesh by mistake (not immediately after birth though) and then replaced the head with that of an elephant.

tednugentkicksass said: "Radiatidon said: "Yes Nicki there is. The Elephant headed Ganesha is the Indian god of wisdom, and patron of travelers and merchants. He helps people to overcome obstacles. People will pray to Ganesha when they look to undertake any business or significant and risky event."

Didn't Ganesh kill his own father? My knowledge of the Hindu mythology is by no means complete, or even deep, but I thought Ganesha was beheaded by his father after birth, and consequently got the elephant's head and killed his pops. (Please correct my ignorance if I'm wrong)
On a more related thread of thought: why the hell have I never heard of this before? The thuggies have got to be the coolest/creepiest secret society ever! I've heard of the silken stranglings, but never an actual reference to this cult. DI, you've done it again.
daffyduck said: "There are Kali-worshipping cults that still exist today, mainly in Northern India, but who travels on horseback & in bullock carts these days."
My bullocks require their own cart. Sorry, I couldn't resist."


braintumor
Posted 27 March 2014 at 07:41 pm

I suppose the Indian rationale for supporting the cult was that their actions generally made it easier for surviving males to acquire mates. It's incredibly cold, but I can see that if there's a cult of people going around killing men, and you're a man who survives it, you can't help but think it's a stroke of luck that there's suddenly all these available women standing around crying."

Actually, in ancient India, widows were considered bad luck and were not allowed to remarry. They were either forced to join the husband in his cremation (Sati pratha, was eliminated by Ram Mohan Roy) or had to live in isolation from society with other widows in some holy city. (Watch "Water" by Deepa Mehta). In short, women in India don't become available when their partner dies, even today, in less advanced areas.

Which is very sad actually.


Minele Sonu
Posted 06 April 2014 at 01:27 pm

THE CANOVA MEDALLION

The Canova Medallion is a large coin (not a pendant) that was utilized by the notorious Indian thug Behram to commit murder by strangulation between 1820 and 1840. In 1840, Behram was arrested and tried in a small courthouse in Jabalpur by the English Magistrate Col. Henry Sleeman. In 1920, some 80 years after his execution, a story about the notorious thug was published in a newspaper called Taj, an Urdu daily published from Jabalpur, whose editor at that time was a young man named Abul Ala Maududi. An artist’s impression (sketch) of the Canova medallion appeared in the newspaper with the caption in Urdu- “A coin seized from thug Behram, as drawn by a writer of the Kutcheri”. In the absence of photography in those days (1830s), the writer or artist at the Kutcheri (court) had faithfully sketched and recorded the item in fine detail, with the likeness of the great Italian artist Antonio Canova on one side and an image of his famous “Three Graces” on the other. There was no mention as to how Behram came in possession of such a medallion. But it was also reported to weigh 90 grams and had a diameter of about 2.3 inches. It was part of the items sized from Behram and was an important exhibit during his trial, its sinister purpose having been corroborated by his fellow thugs who were captured by Sleeman. Behram kept the medallion sewn in his silken cummerbund which he would skilfully use to throw around a victim’s neck. The weight of the metal together with his practiced dexterity made sure that the medallion landed on the victim’s adam’s apple enabling Behram to perform a quick and effective strangulation.
A few months after the publication of the article by the Taj, the young Abul Ala Maududi was visited by a family who claimed to be descendents of the late Thug. They explained that they were residents of Nizamabad (a town in the Nizam’s territories or present day Andhra Pradesh) and had travelled to Jabalpur to sell various personal effects of the late Behram if Abul Ala Maududi were to find buyers for them. What the other items were is not known but Maududi, a staunch Muslim, did not want to have anything to do with the infamous medallion. It remained with the thug’s family till recent times before it was acquired by a numismatist from Bangalore for his private collection.
A piece of interesting history passed down by the descendants of thug Behram is however noteworthy. The story goes that Behram was a Persian by descent claiming lineage to some worthy soldier of the invading Nadir Shah’s army who had settled in the north Indian kingdom of Awadh. Behram was married and even as he was incarcerated at Jabalpur the British had managed to arrest and bring to Jabalpur the eldest son of the thug, a teenager named Ali all the way from Awadh. This was intended to put pressure on Behram to reveal the location of all the booty he had collected over the years. On seeing his son also becoming an innocent scapegoat in the hands of the English officials of the East India company, Behram decided to turn Approver in the hope that both of them would receive better treatment in the hands of the law. His ploy worked to the extent that the innocent Ali could not be ill-treated by the officials any longer. And Behram admitted to involvement in 931 killings.
As the Magistrate would not allow free movement to Behram, Ali was required to take instructions from Behram and lead the English officials to the various ravines, woods and sites where the hoards of booty was buried. On a couple of occassions the treasures buried by Behram were traced. The story goes that these seizures never arrived at Jabalpur as evidence or court exhibits. They were pocketed by the East India Company officials. Following Behram’s execution in 1840, Ali continued to be in a state of detention as the Company officials were certain the notorious thug may have revealed to his son the location of more booty. Ali was taken to Vellore cantonment and in an act of dubious kindness allowed to run an Indigo factory in the sepoy lines. For some years he was constantly harangued by East India Company officials to reveal the location of Behram’s treasures. But in spite of the abnormal presence of an Indigo factory run by a civilian Muslim in the midst of a British cantonment, the factory was never removed or relocated. Even if a new Company official unfamiliar with Ali’s history tried to do so, instructions in writing would immediately arrive from the influential and greedy coterie of bounty hunting officials of the East India Company justifying the continuance of the Indigo factory in their cantonment. There was no way that they were setting Ali free until he revealed all that he knew. In fact one such document (Correspondence from the Quarter Master General’s office regarding the Indigo Factory in the Sepoy Lines at Vellore) somehow came into Ali’s possession and remains in existence even today along with the infamous Canova medallion. At some point in time, Ali is believed to have escaped from the Vellore cantonment to the Nizam’s kingdom of Hyderabad and later reunited with his mother at Awadh in north India. Conditions being unsafe at Awadh he brought his mother as well as the rest of Behram’s family members to Nizamabad in Hyderabad state where their descendants live incognito up to today.


Benoni
Posted 01 January 2015 at 04:31 pm

Radiatidon said: "” Moklal turned from the fire to Subhani. “Perhaps a smoke before bed?” he offered.”

And what would have happed if…
“The Lieutenant shook his head. “Please no, I am deathly allergic to any tobacco smoke. If you respect me as a guest you would honor my presence by not smoking.” Moklal paused, uncertain what to say. “Sooo, I guess that they should not bring the tobacco.” The dark figure behind the Lieutenant held his hands out, palms up. He looked confused.
“Uh, perhaps the Lieutenant would enjoy smelling the sweet aroma of the herb un-burnt?”
“No, it causes the mucus to flow down my throat, stealing the very breath from my lungs. I am so enjoying your company that to die right now would be a insult to Sheba.” The Lieutenant leaned back and let out a satisfied sigh. Noticing the dark figure standing over him, he exclaimed “Why, hello. Fantastic night is it not. Sheba must be smiling down upon us all.”
The man smiled as he enviously played with the yellow cloth in his hands. In a guttural voice he agreed. Then seemingly lost, he turned and wandered away, leaving the two men to themselves.
Moklal smiled nervously at the Lieutenant, seemingly lost for words.
“Uh, Moklal, there seems to be something wrong here.” Said the Lieutenant.
Moklal looked around, but noticed that none of his compatriots were anywhere close. He could feel beads of sweat forming on his forehead. One flowed down pass the corner of an eye, leaving a salty strip, dripping off his chin, splashing onto the back of one hand.
The Lieutenant arched one eyebrow. “Sir, for some reason I think you have misunderstood my intentions. Unlike a clock’s pendulum, I do not swing both ways. With that being said, I think that it would be wise if I take my leave of absence with you and your, um, group. Good night sir, and may Sheba watch over you.”"


Colin Davis
Posted 21 February 2015 at 08:18 am

This is very similar in theory, to a tactic used by the Portuguese, before that tried to invade India at the start of the 16th century. Albuquerque, a Portuguese church minister, was commissioned to obtain information from leading persons in India, to enable the Portuguese to establish commercial routes and relationships. Albuquerque, always dressed poor, but his never told anyone his mission or his plan. Eventually he let slip and the Indians rose up against the Portuguese.


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