I often hear the excuse that beliefs don’t matter and have no impact on a persons behavior. This reason is usually given in defense of religion, even after religion was specifically mentioned as a reason or motive for unsavory behavior.
So let’s move away from the religions most represented here in North America and concentrate on the Hindu religion.
According to Wiki:
To the Hindu, the cow represents all other creatures. Hindus believe that all living creatures are sacred—mammals, fishes, birds. The cow is more, a symbol of the Earth. It always gives and feeds, representing life and the support of life. Honoring the cow inspires in people the virtues of gentleness and connects them with nature.
What could possibly go wrong? Why would you try to rob people of the fuzzy feelings they experience when considering the great cow? What could be the harm?
Turns out that the harm can be considerable. For example, they could make you eat cow dung for transporting cow meat in India. Afterward, you might get arrested as well.
New Delhi, June 28: Gau Rakshak Dal, a self-proclaimed cow protection group in Haryana, beaten two Muslim men who were allegedly transporting beef and forced them to eat cow dung. The incident came to light when the video of the incident surfaced on social media. Dharmendra Yadav, president of the Gurgaon Gau Rakshak Dal, admitted that activist of his group caught two Muslim men on June 10 and forced them to eat “panchgavya” (cow dung concoction).
In the news article, you’ll also notice that the two men were severely beaten.
The two men were then arrested and the police mysteriously couldn’t find the video of the incident. It later surfaced on social media.
You might be thinking that’s horrible, but those two got off relatively lightly. You can get beaten by a mob for over a half an hour:
Two Muslim women were beaten up over allegations of beef possession by a crowd lead by cow vigilantes at Mandsaur railway station in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, reported CNN-News18.
Surprising to no one, the police just stood by and basically watched:
But even after they were arrested, the women were thrashed by the mob for nearly half an hour before police finally took them away. Deccan Chronicle reported that many other spectators stood silently, but nobody came to the women’s aid.
Like the two men forced to eat cow dung, these women were arrested and further punished, while the police and mob were let off free as birds.
Now, this might be considered the worst of the worst, but it can get even nastier.
Last month, a 50-year-old man in northern Uttar Pradesh was killed in a mob lynching over rumours that his family had been storing and consuming beef at home. Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence over the killingnearly two weeks later, members of his party thrashed an independent lawmaker in Kashmir for hosting a beef party.
Earlier this month, Hindus and Muslims clashed over rumours, again, of cow slaughter in Uttar Pradesh. A row over banning beef is threatening to stoke religious tensions in restive Kashmir.
So you can be lynched for consuming beef or even just storing it (allegedly).
Beliefs can (and often do) translate into unreasonable behavior. Whether that means burning people at the stake, gutting them for witchcraft, lynching people for eating cow meat or blowing people up because they think it secures themselves a place in heaven, it all falls under the heading of superstition and unreasonable belief.
And of course, you can make the same arguments for Hinduism as you can for, say, Christianity. Of course not all Hindu’s are beating women up for allegedly transporting beef. Many Hindu’s would be upset by such behavior etc.
Hell, you could even make the case that what these people did is directly opposed to Hinduism, because they aren’t revering life by killing, maiming and beating, and that’s what the cow supposedly represents – all life.
But that doesn’t mean the Hindu belief structure (and/or the traditional cultural belief) had nothing to do with these incidences or that these types of erroneous, archaic beliefs played no role in what happened in these news stories.
Isn’t it time we start basing beliefs on evidence, rather than superstition and ‘tradition’?