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Religious Craziness

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Buddha Reincarnation, Crying Statues and Limbo


By James Donahue

Dec. 4, 2005


The religious nuttiness is reaching new levels throughout the world this week. As fundamental Christians proclaim the “end of days” that new Roman Catholic Pope Benedict is questioning the existence of limbo, folks in Sacramento are seeing tears of blood streaming down an outdoor statue of the Virgin Mary, and thousands of devoted believers in Nepal are going into the jungle to witness a praying teenage boy they believe is the reincarnation of Buddha.


One news report said at least 100,000 people from Nepal and neighboring India have been making the trek on foot into a dense forest in southeastern Napal where Ram Bahadur Bamion, a 15-year-old boy, has been sitting in prayer under a tree, without taking either food or water for six months.


Peculiar similarities with the Buddha exist in this story. They boy’s mother is Maya Devi, the same as the name of the mother of the Buddha. The boy is sitting cross-legged beneath a papal tree, which is sacred to Hindus, with his eyes closed in meditation. He sits with a shawl across his chest in the same posture as Buddha is shown in pictures when he sat under a tree. The youth does not speak and no one allowed to get within 165 feet of him.


At night, the report said, the youth is hidden from public view behind a curtain.


In that curtain and the fact that the boy is being tended to, and the public is kept at a distance, lies the possibility of hoax. Local authorities say it would be nothing short of a miracle for a person to go for six months without consuming food and water and still remain alive. While hidden from public view during the night hours, no one knows what is going on behind the curtain.


One local journalist noted that just sitting motionless from dawn to dusk, while visitors are allowed to see him, demands a lot of personal control, which is enough to demand some degree of respect. Nepal authorities say they want to investigate this matter further to determine if they have a true miracle on their hands, or the boy is faking it.


Ah, but then there is the story of another of a long line of crying statues of the Virgin Mary, this time in Sacramento, California.


This particular statue stands in the front lawn of the Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church. For the past week the statue appears to be shedding tears of blood. The tears stream down her face and onto her robe. Members of the church said they thought it was a hoax at first and wiped the tears away. But when they reappeared each day, they started to believe. Now people are coming from miles around to witness what they think is some kind of miracle . . . a sign from God perhaps. A sign of what?


And Pope Benedict says he questions the existence of Limbo, a place invented by the Roman Catholic Church some years ago where unbaptized babies go when they die. We suppose it is a form of purgatory, which is the place where sinful Catholic adults end up when they die with unconfessed sin in their hearts.


Limbo and Purgatory are like way-stations for Catholics that aren’t exactly doomed to hell, but aren’t quite good enough to get through those pearly gates either. How they get out of that trap has never been explained to this writer.


Anyway, the existence of Limbo is now being questioned by the Pope. He declares that all babies simply go right into heaven when they die. Which makes more sense since babies are born innocent. Children get corrupted growing up in contemporary society.


The only thing tying all of this insanity together seems to be just that . . . insanity. It is angelic possession linked to the total craziness of religious belief systems. All of it was bunk from the beginning. Religions existed for a while as a rung in a spiritual ladder to help the human develop. But it has long outlived its time.


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