Friday, September 19, 2008

Listen up, all ye faithful

This is being written primarily in response to a statement made by a former member of the Nazi youth, who goes around nowadays using an alias called Benedict XVI and a title called Pope. That's right, Sri Joseph Ratzinger aka The Pope, recently reiterated his stand on life, and emphasized the sanctity of life "from conceptualisation to its natural end" while speaking against abortion and euthanasia. The usual stuff against abortion and how we ought to respect life was present and the Pope then warned the faithful against legitimising euthanasia "by masking it with the veil of human compassion".

Right Papa Ratzi (or paparazzi), I catch your drift there, but I have trouble understanding one thing: if you're so interested in things reaching their 'natural end', would you be interested to know that there are millions of Christians (among millions of others of other faiths) who visit hospitals to get cured of various ailments and treated for various injuries? After all, using modern medicine to treat diseases and injuries too should constitute being 'unnatural', wouldn't it? I mean when's the last time you heard of or saw a wildebeest going to the hospital to treat a torn leg which was a result of a close encounter with a jaws of a crocodile? Now that certainly would have been unnatural, but humans going in to get treated for anything and everything is fine, ignoring the fact that hospitals are man made and hence not natural. Sorry pappy, haven't understood that one yet.

I'm sure when his predecessor Pope John Paul II was shot at by a young Palestinian, and doctors were operating on him, Ratzinger was cursing under his breath, hoping the Pope was left to reach his 'natural end' so he could then assume the title of Pope and get to wear the funny hats we see him in. What say pappy, did that bring in an extra few lines on your forehead, knowing that your shot at the top post in Christianity was scuttled because of some doctors doing something unnatural? Tch tch, that's too bad. What's more, the Pope has also given us his two cents on why certain food should be banned. I'm talking about the ban on foie gras, which came into effect in 2006 in Chicago because animal rights groups thought it was supposedly "cruel". Yes, I agree force feeding an animal is indeed cruel, but listen to what old Ratz had to say as to why it needs to be banned: "If it weren’t cruel or painful, you wouldn’t have so many countries that banned it". Jawohl, mein Fuhrer! Just in case your senility made you forget, we also have countries where women are stoned to death for not being virgins on their wedding nights, and others are stoned to death for adultery, children are beaten with paddles, all because it says so in the Old Testament and in the sharia of the koran, and yet we see no ban on this. And I'm not even counting the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's well known that in countries like Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, laws are framed in strict accordance to the sharia, and so, unless the Pope thinks that these punishments aren't cruel and brutal, I'd like him to comment on it when he can find the time in the midst of preaching that using condoms leads to AIDS! You didn't know that? The Vatican has for ages been against contraception because when Moses and Jesus and Mohammad lived, they didn't have any condoms, and back then if someone got a little frisky with a woman, voila! along came a baby. This probably explains the hatred Christians have towards Mary Magdalene.

Now, whatever I questioned above doesn't hold good only for Christians, but also for Muslims, Jews, and of late, even Hindus. Gone are the days when we could look at Hinduism as one of those cool, hip, and liberal philosophies, which didn't say a word against abortion or euthanasia or same sex marriages. Sadly, it too has been overrun by a bunch of zealots influenced by the kinds we are all too familiar with from the other monotheistic religions. How can the god these people pray to, be against giving a person a decent death? What sort of a god would it be that feels angered at the prospect of mortals giving their fellow mortals a decent end, one that even this great(?) god couldn't give? And doesn't it put an obligation on those worshipping such a god to question the motives of this so called divine and holy being?

Coming to another serious question, what gives only theologians the right to comment on life and how it ought to be lived and all the 'rules' of how to live? I don't remember there being a vote on this, so how it all come about? Did everyone else just accept it and move on? Although I'm not too keen on give this exclusive right to any one group, I think there ought to at least be a more diverse group involved in deciding what is the 'right' thing to do. We need to have those romantics of life, better known as philosophers, ans we most certainly need to have those well versed with the advances of modern science.

Why should there be a law against something based on the religious teachings of one (or a few) religion(s) that prohibits those of other religions from doing? Unlike murder, rape, or robbery, where the person getting affected is someone else, in case of euthanasia, it's only the person who wants to get eauthanised who gets affected directly. How about just having a rule that allows those who want to commit suicide (assisted or otherwise) can go ahead and do so, and those who don't want to, don't worry, there's no pressure on you. I don't know about you, but I think that sometimes, the simplest solution is the best solution. So whichever mullah or imam or priest or pandit or rabbi or granthi is out there, maybe, just maybe, you guys would want to have a rethink on this one.

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