It’s bad enough when religion makes people abuse others, but when it makes them abuse themselves, it’s unforgivable. In Punjab, India, 15-year old Mohammad Anwar mistakenly raised his hand after he misheard a statement by an imam at the village mosque. Convinced that he had committed blasphemy, instead of just acknowledging his mistake and asking forgiveness, Mohammad did what any good Muslim would do.
He went home and chopped off his own hand. He then put the severed limb on a plate and presented it to the imam to the cheering of the crowd. Because that’s what normal people do. Oh wait…
But it isn’t bad enough that this kid mutilated himself for his beliefs, it’s that his entire village celebrated it. It’s that his parents proclaimed how proud they were of their son’s “sacrifice”. It’s that the imam proclaimed it an act of bravery and faith. No, it’s stupid. It’s horrible. It’s a condemnation of the utter stupidity, not only of Islam, but of all fanatical faith. If you’re going to be chopping parts off of your body because you think you’ve offended an invisible man in the sky, you have some serious, serious problems. Any religion that celebrates such things is reprehensible.
I guess we can’t be surprised though, when your beliefs are based on irrational magical thinking, your actions are going to follow suit. It’s why we see so many of these stories showing up on Horror Show Sunday, people are stupid, act on pure emotion, follow the dominant cultural delusion, think that they will be rewarded for their stupidity in the afterlife, think that this life doesn’t matter at all, and act on that religious stupidity to their own detriment and often to the detriment of those around them. This is just one more example of the harm that religion causes. Unfortunately, there will be many, many, many more examples to come.