November 11, 2010

My God Is Better Than Your God

Three boys were talking together about what their father's did for a living.

Boy 1 began by saying that his Dad wrote a few words on a piece of paper, sent them away and received £20 for them and they called it a poem.

Boy 2, not to be outdone said that his Dad wrote a few pages of words, sent them away and received £100 and they called it a story.

Boy 3 was full of himself and said that his Dad wrote a couple of sides of words, read them out on Sunday morning, called it a sermon and it took 6 people to go round and collect all the money.

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"My dad is better than your dad" is an old favorite in male ego trips among kids. I guess it can be translated into "my genes are better than yours, so I can, and will, control you". Sort of. Most of us grow out of it. We learn to live and let live, conceding, "I'm okay, you are okay". Some refuse to grow up, though, and persist with slightly more sophisticated male ego trips such as "I've had more girls than you have", "I have killed more villains in Mortal Kombat than you have", and so on.

Religions are not much different from imbecile men. My god is more powerful and nobler than yours, my messiah is the only true messiah and yours is a fake, my book is holier than yours, etc. After years of flexible place and hours of work in this country, I could tell that the mid-morning knock on my door was from the well-dressed baloney delivery couple, without moving an inch from my seat in front of the computer. Fortunately, most religions are no longer so barbaric as to insist on guillotining or incarcerating for life, the hapless men and women who dare to challenge their gods. The days of Joan of Arc and Galileo Galilei are centuries past.

One religion, it seems, is unwilling to budge from its infantile beliefs and laws. After a spat about water drawn from a well by an "unclean" Christian woman, Asia Bibi, and the ensuing argument about "My god is better than yours", her Muslim neighbors decided to leave the matter in the hands of the law — Islamic law:

A Pakistani court has sentenced to death a Christian mother of five for blasphemy, the first such conviction of a woman and sparking protests from rights groups Thursday...

Asia's case dates back to June 2009 when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. But a group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim, she should not touch the water bowl.

A few days later the women went to a local cleric and alleged that Asia made made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed. The cleric went to local police, who opened an investigation.

She was arrested in Ittanwalai village and prosecuted under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries the death penalty.

Ahem... If terrorism were the result of a misunderstanding by a few extremists from "al Qaeda and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion — certainly not a great, world religion like Islam", what do we call a court ordered execution of a woman for claiming that "her prophet was better than their prophet"?

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