Friday, January 15, 2010

“Drive a spike through my hand … I'm feelin' Christ-like today.”

There’s nothing like religion to convince people to do crazy things that no sane person on the planet would otherwise do.

Many early religions had human sacrifice. It was practiced in proto-Hebraic religions, and throughout the Middle and far East, and in Europe by the Druids. In the New World the Aztecs and Mayans perfected it making it a high production spectator sport all the way until the Conquistadors wiped them out in the 16th century.

The Egyptian pharaohs and nobles had people, volunteers even, buried alive in their tombs to serve them in the afterlife. Wives of dead Hindu Brahmans threw themselves on their husband’s funeral pyres to join them in the great beyond.

Some American Indian tribes did the “sun dance” which included having barbs pierced through the flesh on ones back and hoisted up on a scaffold. Some plains tribes also shot arrows into a selected virgin, wounding her repeatedly until mercifully putting one through her heart.

Today Muslims in western India throw babies off of buildings and catch them (usually) in open sheets. Somehow this is supposed to insure good health. In many Muslim countries they practice Ashura blood letting, where the child’s head is cut with a knife and blood allowed to drip down all over him soaking his clothes as he screams. Naturally, in neither case is the child consulted beforehand.

Of course the Jews are famous for circumcision of male children on the eighth day after birth. The good news is it’s done with a scalpel now, having done away with the earlier flint knife.

Christians have some lovely rituals. In the Philippines on Easter men drag a full size crucifix across cobblestones until bloodied; and/or they are “scourged,” given the old forty-lashes just like Jesus. Some even volunteer to have nails driven through their palms into a cross and are briefly hung out to dry.

In fact, Christians have a long history of “mortification of the flesh.” Wearing a hair shirt; self-flagellation with chains or leather thongs with metal on the end; walking on their knees; and the wearing of a cilice, a leather or chain band with spikes that cut into the thigh of the voluntary wearer (the albino monk in the DaVinci Code wore one).

In the ancient religions these blood lettings were intended to placate the gods, give victory in war, or bring fertility to the tribe’s crops and the people. They were ignorant of science and their beliefs, their lives, were entirely controlled by shaman and the ruling authority, who often were one in the same.

But modern day practice of this kind of abuse in order to ensure health; mark ones special relationship to a god; or put to death the desires of the flesh is simply barbaric, bordering on insane. For what purpose is this pain and agony inflicted or endured? To show some supernatural sky buddy how much they love him? To be at one with a mythical man-god who may or may not have ever existed and who certainly isn’t going to applaud them? To be seen as more devout and devoted to this magical being than their neighbor?

Whatever the reason, it isn’t driven by reasoning. It’s a product of a mind virus called religion that prompts people to behave like pain inflicting, blood loving cultists. Only the deluded could possibly justify it, much less endure it.

Of course, if crucifying Christian fundies like Pat Robertson and his ilk would bring world peace, end starvation, insure tolerance and equality for all, drop the price of oil and get the stock market back up over 14k points, I’d fully endorse them all doing it on a daily basis. Heck, I’d even lend them my nail gun.


Contents under pressue said...


It's rather disturbing to note that here in the Philippines, crucifixions are still being done by Christians in the province of Pampanga.

The practice is a yearly thing, and is being practiced by penitents as both a show of devotion, and as an offering to heal the sick within the family.

Some guys regularly go through with the process annually, and thankfully, nobody's died yet. Here is a video link, but I warn you - it's disturbing.

James said...

In the old testament, you can read about how god also approves of, no, commands the marrying your rapist so long as he pays 50 bucks to your dad. Not to mention, in his infinite wisdom he made a universe where the rules stated that he supposedly had to torture his own son to death. Nailing yourself to a tree to prove what a christian you are is just par for the course.

Anonymous said...

Thought this might be interesting in regards to the subject being discussed

Though this festival is done under a religious fervour and all peircings are done voluntarily, it still gives cause to think that this might be more due to ritualistic patterns than any actual purpose.


Dromedary Hump said...

I had forgotton you are in the Philippines. Yes, that video says it all. Thanks

indeed, eternal torture, death, resurrection, dead rising...Christianity is rooted in blood and horror.

Right, thanks.. I'd forgotten about the Hindu rites of Thaipusam.
as for "purpose," i don't believe any self infliction of pain has purpose, unless it is to glorify oneself.

I guess one has to ask what kind of horrific God or gods would be happy, or want to see people suffer pain and/or emulate the way they are alleged to have died?

DM said...

Add some comment moderation to your BLASPHEMY BLOG





DM said...

btw we are going to CRUCIFY you...

Angel said...

Awww... DM is so full of Christ-like love today..Can't you FEEL IT, Hump?? Doesn't it just make you all warm and fuzzy inside?!!

DM, you really need to take your head out of your ass and grow up. If the world lived by your kind of Christian virtues we'd all be even more enslaved than we are. Thankfully there are people who are willing to fight for their right to freely think. I'm one of them. *shakes DM's hand* Nice to meet you, Brainless.

Hey, Hump. I've got two cats who are in desperate need of your post-Rapture assistance. Do you give discounts for multiple pets? If I'm killed by some lame assed Nazi Christians then I want to know that my two fur-balls are being loved and well cared for.

Beyond Belief said...

DM, nice contribution. Your threat speaks volumes about your intelligence.

Hump, great post. I think you hit the nail on the head (pun intended) when you wrote that a believer may do this, “To be seen as more devout and devoted to this magical being than their neighbor.” Those people most severely impaired by religion feel the need to outdo one another. They are attempting to show other members of the flock just how close to God they are. Their neighbor may go to church every Sunday, but they are willing to receive lashes and have a nails driven through their hands. Doesn’t make much sense to those immune to the mind virus . . . but hey, to each their own!

zarton said...

Typical DM Comment, I understand that those who can not think for themselves often get jealous of those who can. It is your anger that truly shows the kind of mental midget that you are. Please find a blog with concepts you can understand and comment there. We will all be better off for it.

Dromedary Hump said...

Consider your cats covered ;)


I usually delete DM's spams (he does it to all atheist blogs) but I'll let it stand here as evidence of the mind disease that is belief and "Christian Love."

Anonymous said...

I just finished your book and enjoyed it from cover to cover.
I do find it fascinating that your wife is a practicing Christian.How do you reconcile your ideological differences? I hope you're working on book two! I've recommended it to my atheist friends.Keep up the good work .

Dromedary Hump said...

Hi Anon (wish I knew your name),

Thanks for your very kind words. I'm targeting 2011 for the sequel...God willing ;)

My wife is Episcopal, but I wouldn't call her a "practicing Christian." She hasn't attended a church service since we were married. She's what I call "Christian Lite". Fact is while she identifiwes with her childhood Episcopal upbringing (indoctrination), she's closer to being agnostic than anything else.

So our views have never been a factor in our marriage, and our sons were free to believe or not. They chose not.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Just thinking about loud: We people do strange disturbing things. I often wonder about "rights of passage" that some cultures still celebrate. Boy becomes man by setting off into the desert or forest alone, kills his first animal in a hunt, or he receives his first tribal tattoo, lip disc, nose bone etc... This desire for a right of passage was perhaps part of the churches confirmation and communion rituals. "You can't receive the Host until you are confirmed and become like one of us". Resistance is futile.

As society modernized, perhaps an old desire for a right of passage is no longer being fed (for better or worse I know not) and doing really sick self flagellation exercises makes people feel that they don't just belong, but are now even more special because of what they were willing to endure. They feel christ like.

About 17 Years ago I had a chance to walk across a 12' bed of searing hot coals (from cherry wood) which I successfully accomplished. Yes, I'm sure there is a scientific explanation but that's not my point here. My point is after performing this act, the RUSH and mental high lasts for days and perhaps weeks. There is even a dangerous sense of invulnerability or superiority that one feels.
Xtream sports junkies do some crazy shit! The amazing Travis Pastrana comes to mind. Here he jumps from a plane with NO parachute

No doubt we do sick things in the name of religion as well as to fit in and belong or stand out.
What makes the religious aspect worse is that there is a false belief attached to the insane act that this deed somehow pleases their God/gods, and makes them feel closer to their imaginary friend. It's not just about the adrenaline rush, its psychotic and in many cases deadly to others.

Henry S

Dromedary Hump said...

I think your analysis vis-a-vis a connectrion to lost rites of passage may have some validity,
albeit, you'd think the practices described would be more wide spread among the genreal theist population.

In Europe where hair shirt wearing, self flagellation, and the wearing of the cilia where born, such behavior is now ostensibly unheard of.

It seems to me the more primitive the culture the more likely that these pain rituals will be practiced. The more industrialized and educated, the less likely such practices would survive...even among the most devout. This is simply my observation; I have no objective data.

In the US the religious practices can still be fucking stupid(i.e. handling venomous snakes; babbling in tongues; dancing around erratically and pretending to pass out on the floor ala pentacostals et al.) but nothing approaching self crucifixtion.

I think the desire for a closeness to their imaginary God, the need to emulate/share in his mythical pain, and thus elevate the penetant's holiness and likelihood of being saved is the primary objective and cause.

I can't conceive of any secular practice that is remotely comparable to this kind of bizarre behavior.

Kdubsmom said...

Even though circumcision is done with a scalpel now, the baby boy still didn't have a choice.
Just saying.

longhorn believer said...

You may remember I was raised pentecostal. So I am very familiar with the bizarre behavior of speaking in tongues, being "slain in the spirit", running the aisles in church etc (fortunately I never had to experience snake handling). I haven't attended church (except for funerals which some times turn into church service in a pentecostal setting) in 25 years, but many of my relatives still do. I think for many of them, the emotional gymnastics they put themselves through is a form of therapy. Some of them are very unhappy, confused people. Going to church and crying and carrying on is a form of release. The problem is they are not self aware. They don't understand how this emotional catharsis can make them feel better and still having nothing to do with god. They have been taught to view the world and their own emotional life in such an irrational way that they will never understand that something else is going on. They go to church. They cry and pray. They feel a little better for a little while. The whole experience reinforces their delusional belief system. It must be god that makes me feel better! So they never learn that they are not dealing with the source of their emotional pain, or that a rational approach to grief and loss would serve them better. I think the other bizarre rituals you describe can probably be explained the same way, or at least some of them can. It is very sad and very disturbing for anyone who views it rationally.

Dromedary Hump said...


Having come from the inside, I think you have a better understanding, more rational and on target explanation than anyone could.

Thanks for it.

longhorn believer said...

Ha! You make it sound like I escaped from a concentration camp! LOL To be honest, it feels that way some times - like I escaped a concentration camp for the mind. Anyway, glad I can contribute

Anonymous said...

Coming from a slightly similar background, I think you are right on target. The good news is that you can beat the snot out of a punching bag, go for a run, laugh with friends, ride a roller coaster etc... and get the same relief. Perhaps its time to start the Un-Holy Roller Coaster Congregational Church of the Cleansing Craniums!?! Or not.

Henry S

longhorn believer said...

@Henry- you have made my day! LMAO! Where can I send my tithe offering to the Un-Holy Roller Coaster Congregational Church of the Cleansing Craniums? The other thing you can do to process emotions is participate in this blog!

The serpent was right said...

Let's not forget the Chritian habit of mental self-myarterdom.
I was recently on an atheist board, an was informed by a christian poster that the poor Christians in this country are being persecuted for their beliefs!! That's right, the poor majority can't get a break! This poster seems to think that his constitutional rights are being violated because he can't force my kids to pray in school, or learn about the creation myth in science class, and he can't post his ten commandments on the courthouse wall.. Oh the torture of it!!! When I pointed out that no other religions may do those things, he said that it wasn't the same because the majority of folks in this country are Christian. What????That is what I call "fundie logic".

Shaw Kenawe said...

I routinely get commenters to my blog telling me that their religious rights are being taken away. When I ask them to please identify those rights and then to back up their complaints with evidence, I get *crickets.*

I point out to them that we are DRENCHED in religiosity. DRENCHED. I subscribe to only the basic cable here in Boston, and one of those "basic" stations is "Catholic TV." Why? Why no basic movie channel? However, I do get to watch Father Hypocrite pray the rosary anytime I wish.

"In God We Trust" is on all our money. In the small town where I lived on Cape Cod--year round population, 8,000--there were a dozen churches--one of which had prime waterfront property--tax free. When I travel about the country, in every state I drive through, I can tune into several Christian stations on the radio, no matter where I am. When I visit my friends' homes, I see what seem to be countless cable stations with evangelical ministries in English and Spanish.

No one is prevented from worshipping as she choses. One can pray all day to oneself in school, on the street, in the car, on the bus, train, plane and donkey cart. No one is prevented from saying "I believe in Jesus Christ as my personal savior."

The US Congress opens each session with some representative of some religion giving her blessing. Tradionally [it's not required by the Constitution], the US presidents end the taking of their oath of office by saying "So help me God."

Witnesses at trials are asked to swear on the Bible to tell the truth, the whole truth, so help them...[not required by the Constitution, either].

That's what I can think of off the top of my head. I'm leaving much more out.

I have no sympathy for those who say their religious freedom are being taken away.

Simply put, they're crazy.

Dromedary Hump said...

Serpent, Shaw...

What these christian martyers are reacting to is the fact that atheists are no longer willing to sit silently as their religion is forced down our throats, into our schools, and onto property that tax payers support.

They see the Supreme court upholding of the Separation of church and state, the rulings against religious displays on gov't property, legalization of abortion and gay marriage, and the clamping down on proselytizing in the armed services , etc., etc. as a diminishment of a "Christian Nation." Never mind that this was never established as a Christian Nation, except in their under educated minds.

To these infected hosts of the religious virus this represents a threat. Of course they are right. Their religiously inspired political positions, their anti-science mentality, their religious control of peoples genitals is slipping away. It's a new reality that they won't accept quietly.

To which I say:
"Tough shit! Welcome to the 21st century!""

Compassionate Heathen said...

One other reason to keep in mind...extreme pain can sometimes make you feel really high because of all the chemical response your body has to trauma. Some of the willing participants in these rituals may be getting off on this chemical trauma reaction...I'd imagine if they are also a spiritualist, there may be some psychological amplification of this chemical response.

Dromedary Hump said...

That makes perfect sense.
They say there is a fine line between exquisit pain and exquisit pleasure.

hscalfo said...

Marriage for example?

I suppose much of ties into the high received from such activities stated earlier in the thread. Extreme sports, base jumping, walking on hot coals etc... They can be euphoric and with the proper safety precautions (engineering, design etc...), much more enjoyable than self mutilation.

Finally; I think the shaman who enjoys the euphoric rush from a hallucinogenic rather than from spikes through his body, has a much better marketing plan. If you know of a shaman like this, please forward me his contact info so I may perform research in the name of science.

Henry S

Dromedary Hump said...

hscalfo said: "... please forward me his contact info so I may perform research in the name of science."

Heheheh. And vice versa, please.

Dromedary Hump said...

Well, there's a coincidence! This crazy old fool was into self flagellation.

News story today:

"Pope John Paul II whipped himself with a belt, even on vacation, and slept on the floor as acts of penitence and to bring him closer to Christian perfection, according to a new book by the Polish prelate spearheading his sainthood case."

whole story -->