Pics like the one in this post usually upset people. Considering how inherently violent Christianity is, I can totally see Jesus of Nazareth punching and biting. (Not really – I’m quite aware that, biblically speaking, he was very much the opposite kind of individual. It’s just his followers that are historically and consistently violent.) And Hindus are REAL protective about depictions of their devas being inappropriate – I have zero doubt in the world that there are Hindus who would be (are?) appalled to see the ONE form of God that all Hindus worship to be engaged in hand-to-hand(-to-hand-to-hand) combat like this. If we can’t hardly stomach seeing him on a pair of socks then this is surely upsetting. But what really should be focused on in this image is the first / top portion of it as it relates to the bottom. The bottom part, by itself, is pointless.
The first part is itself two-part. In one portion you have a juvenile praying before a cross – a young Christian person hoping Jesus will favor her more than he will favor her fellow students and grant her the blessing of winning the competition. In the second portion, you find another juvenile but who is praying before a picture of the Hindu god Ganesha and undoubtedly for the same purpose.
What’s ridiculous here is that neither apparently realizes the ego and selfishness inherent to their prayer. In these instances, and in waaaaaay too many others when humans employ prayer, there’s seems to be either total ignorance of or a will to ignore the fact that for me to win you must lose. That’s part of why earlier in this post I pointed out that the humans in the first part of this picture are juvenile. It’s natural enough, I suppose, to pray for the things you want. But it’s absolutely childish to pray in this way. All linguistic specifics aside, these prayers are almost literally a request for god to shit on someone else in order to give you preferential treatment. I think almost everyone has prayed in this manner at least once. It’s a really human thing to do. But that doesn’t make it less immature or selfish.
And it’s even a violent thing to do in most cases. Sure winning a school competition seems nonviolent. But again, your prayer to win the competition necessitates that the Lord of the cosmos squashes your opponent (within that context) in order to answer your request. And what about war? Who doesn’t want their loved ones to return home from war service? Everyone wants that, of course. But in war, usually, one side has to lose in the worst of ways for the other not to. (Yeah, I know it isn’t quite that cut and dry, but work with me here.) And so, given this oversimplified scenario, if I have a brother at war (and I’ve had two in service) and I pray that he returns safe, in a very round about way I’m praying that others die instead of him.
“Well now, Joshua” you say, “those people aren’t wanting bad things to happen to others. They’re just asking for the Lord’s help…” I’m telling you this is “Potato, potahto.” You can argue this but in most cases what I’m saying is technically correct. And what’s almost worse – or at least adds insult to injury – is that most of us are so self-centered and buried in this layer of ego that we refuse to see that praying for your son to win at war is equivalent to praying someone else’s son dies instead. We simply can’t believe it. How could praying for my son to return safely from war be offensive when the intention behind it is good? I’ll remind you that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
P.S. All of this is not far removed from the ridiculousness of people who think they’re purer for avoiding hamburgers and hot dogs because those beings aren’t killed for the dinner plate – never mind those that die for the farming and production of produce used in salads. Be careful with your intentions, sure. But be conscious of them, too.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti