The Church and its irRationalist Ways
On 11th of April, charges under Section 295 A, Indian Penal Code, have been filed against Sanal Edamaruku in at least three Mumbai police stations: in Juhu, in MIDC and in Andheri. He has not got any papers that he can file a reply to, but an inspector keeps calling him and asking him to come and be arrested (yeah, right).
To those who don’t know what I’m talking about Sanal exposed “miracle” water dripping from a Christ statue in Irla to be drain water being drawn by capillary action. Solid science. Unfortunately, Gods and logic don’t mix, as Sanal is finding out the hard way. The Church threatened to tangle him in court cases on National TV [yeah, read that post, it is entertaining] and horrifyingly, have proceeded to do exactly that. Read more about this nonsense here.
In other words, a blasphemy law is going to be used to harass the debunking of a falsely claimed miracle. Our court system being what it is, it is also a weapon of attack. When you file multiple cases in Mumbai on someone staying in Delhi, the next few years of his life are fucked in travel and expenses – regardless of what the court finally decides. Which is something the corrupt know well, and it is an established way of silencing people.
What is happening here is no protection of a God from blasphemy, but a deliberate targeting of a person for exposing fraud. The priests were so brazen as to threaten him on air and then proceed to do exactly that. Make no mistake, there is a profit in miracles. Firstly, there is the immediate profit from increased worshippers and thus donations. Then, there is the long term elevation of the church in terms of reputation. There is also the need for miracles for manufacturing saints. All in all, miracles are a precious commodity to a church, and Sanal broke the jackpot. And then of course, there is the ego. Humility is to preach, arrogance and injustice to practice. Normal religious leader thinking.
If it truly had anything at all to do with worship or loving or respecting God, I imagine the priests wouldn’t want the idol sucking drain water or the followers collecting and drinking it or sprinkling it in their homes. In theory, they would be glad that such a blasphemy was prevented from going further through the actions of Sanal.
Now let us get this straight. The church has an official process for recognizing miracles, which also includes challenging them, as far as I know. So what Sanal did, doesn’t even break any church norm as such. On the contrary, the Church has a formal process for recognizing miracles, which doesn’t particularly seem to have been followed. Or perhaps they are recognized post facto, once all the water is gone and no tests can be possible [or allowed]. Not brushed up on the church stuff for a while.
Also notice how the TV channel didn’t get cases filed against it. It was the channel who got Sanal there to debunk the miracle, no? But then, a corporation would probably suck a church dry and earn TRPs while doing it.
In any case, what is happening with Sanal is wrong. Chances are very high that the court will eventually yawn and ask everyone to go home. Not much hope that they would fine a place of worship for being stupid, because that is fairly normal. Worst case scenario, the court will stick to our National stupidity campaign and let even this bizarrely ridiculous charge result in him being punished for 3 years or so.
The point is that the best case scenario is already a punishment. A misuse of the legal system to attack someone, in fact. And there is no way for Sanal to stop this.
However, I think we should give a shot at pressuring the church to get off his back. Questioning the church, bad publicity, educated, progressive Christians influencing their churches to openly refuse to back this bizarre campaign, people going and praying a special Sanal prayer [below], sending postcards with the prayer on it to the Church, whatever works. We shouldn’t drop this catch, because there are plenty of crazies in our country, and we need cons like fake miracles exposed if we are ever to exist superstitions.
Here is the prayer I suggest. Feel free to improvise:
Dear Lord, grant me the desire to seek knowledge and the courage to be honest. In particular, let me understand capillary action in detail so that I may never let your statue soak in drain water. Amen.