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Have you ever heard of religious rituals that can be controversial by today’s standards? We are far beyond the years when religion and prophets were not questioned, no matter difficult of a pill to swallow some of their actions may seem. In this article I want to present some acts justified by religion that otherwise would not be accepted in society.
- Female Genital Mutilation – The practice uses razors, scissors or knives to cut on a infant female vagina to create a seal that narrows the vagina. Urine and menstrual blood are still able to pass through, but the girl’s legs are tied together for four weeks while the tissue heals.
- Annual Morning Rite– If you were to hit the head of a young boy and spill his blood into the street you might get arrested,unless you’re celebrating Ashura bloodletting ceremony. The ritual is supposed to mark the death of the prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam at the 7th century battle of Kerbala. Sh’ia Muslims believe this ritual absolves their sins. A common saying states, “a single tear shed for Husayn washes away a hundred sins.
- Putting out the Elder Eskimos to die in the Ice– So just by the title you can see where this is going. It seems that when an Eskimo comes of a certain age that they are taken out to sea on an iceberg to either freeze of starve to death. The ritual is supposed to be the honorable way to go instead of being a burden on the family. Eskimos believe the afterlife awaits beyond this world so it is more a transcendence than a banishment.
- Cannibalism– The Aghoris of northern India, which is a small sect of Hinduism still believes the consumption of human carcases brings immortality and supernatural powers. They drink from human skulls and believe that this brings spiritual and physical benefits such as the prevention of aging.
- Eating the dead’s ashes– The Yanomamo believe a large portion of their community are killed and consumed by demons sent by shaman. To counteract this, the bodies are quickly burned and the bones are pulverized and put into gourds to be consumed in a plaintain soup one year later.The ritual is supposed help of the dead to find their way into paradise.
- Pulling a tooth – In Australia an adult male would put fur string into his mouth to absorb the blood and also prevents the tooth from being swallowed. Taking a sharp end of a spear and presses it against the man’s tooth. It is then struck by a stone to strike loose the tooth.
- Animal Massacre – In Hinduism there is a ritual killing called the “Bali Sacrifice,” which includes strangulation and then striking a wooden spile into the heart. Priests see the animals, making noise as a bad omen. This ritual is used to honor a Hindu God a sacrifice the evil spirits.
- A sub-incision into the Urethra – A slit is cut through the ventral area of the penis. Then going into the urethra from its orifice to a position about an inch along the shaft of the penis. Bit by bit the penile urethra is turned into the open channel.
- Collars of Metal – The ideal of an elongated neck is more of sign of beauty by long brass wound spirals. The length of the coil is gradually increased to as much as twenty turns. The weight of the coils creates enough pressure to deform the shoulder blades and gives the impression of a longer neck.
- Metzitzah b’peh – In the Orthodox Jewish community a ritual is practiced where the mohel or practitioner places their mouth on the penis and sucks the blood to “cleanse” the wound. This has raised health concerns due to the cases of herpes infections associated with it. The practice itself is over 5,000 years old and practiced by all Jewish denominations.
- Christmas – This holiday you wouldn’t think is surrounded in controversy, but the ideas and concepts such as caroling, christmas tree, mistletoe,holly wreaths and yule logs all have origins pre-dating Christians. Check out a holiday called Saturnalia and the winter solstice to truly understand.
- Easter – The holiday time surrounding Easter has roots in the spring Equinox. Eggs, rabbits, hares are symbols of fertility used in the Pagan religion. The story of resurrection also have ties back to gods and goddesses such as Inanna, Ishtar, Horus and Mithras.
Religious practices has at times created controversy. It doesn’t take away from the gratification that a believer receives.