Idle Worship


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15 Responses to Idle Worship

  1. To date, your cartoons have been thought provoking and funny, this one is thought provoking, but not so funny, I find, as Christians don’t promote idle hands or thoughts (the idle mind is the devil’s workshop)and some forms of Christianity worship forms of the Deity, such as in the Catholic Church.
    Oh well, you can’t hit every ball out of the park every time!

    with respects to your service, Bhaktavasya dasi

    • Dandavats Bhaktavasya,

      and thank you for the feedback. Actually this comic was not meant to be a generalization of Christians as a whole, I only meant to poke at the kind of tele-evangelist fire-and-brimstone type fanatics.

      With the”idleness” I was referring to worship of God with the view to fulfill material desires, not so much the idleness of action and thought.

      But it’s a sign of a partial failure on my part that I have to explain my comics so much, they should speak for themselves! 🙂

    • Idle here could refer to the criticism of Sunday religionists, whose religion is only one aspect of their weekly schedule.

  2. I thought it was very clever. But then again, I am prone toward more serious material than I am to funny material…..

    What I understood was this: We are accused of idol worship for the seva to the deity, but anyone who has done seva to the deity knows that it is a great way to take oneself out of the center since it requires one to rearrange constantly for god’s need. In fact, so much so that it becomes a problem for someone as selfish as myself. Again, in fact, I found this out as I neglect the need of the deity over my own. The cleverness of the comic, in my opinion, is that the idol worshiper knows what it is like to not be idle and he owes it to the idol. I wonder sometimes if the non-idolater understands what it is like to wake, feed, and sacrifice for god, rather than merely pay lip service to service.

  3. Okay, I can see now, after reading the comments, that worship that is ritualistic, done with material motivation, as the right wing Evangelicals are prone to do (in Canada there is not a strong Christian evangelical movement)can be seen as ‘idle worship’, not really actively serving the Deity. ha ha

  4. There is something very good in this cartoon and it is that both sides are equally pictured in their anger towards each other blaming each other in idol worshiping. I’ve heard a devotee blaming this cartoon to be “sectarian” but I defended it by pointing out that the author pictured both sides equally so it’s a critic to both parties and thus the cartoon cannot be named “partial” and “sectarian”. Party mentality is a whip for every religion and to recognize it’s existence in ours as well is a brave sincerity which is the first step to curing.
    Thank you Gurunistha prabhu!

    Christians base their blames in idolatry towards vaishnavas (and not only) on this verse from the Old Testament, which is one of the 10 commandments of God (Deuteronomy chapter verses 8, 9):
    “Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
    Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God”

    But Christians (orthodox and catholic, except protestants) also worship the cross, icons, statues, angels etc. which are as well images. Thus they break the law which they claim to follow and then furiously blame others for doing what they also do. This is breaking the first law of ethics, having non-equal vision and judgment. One of the main points of Jesus Christ’s teachings was not to throw stones to others for something that you also do.

    In Latin America I’ve seen a very nice Catholic procession which was carrying on a chariot the statue of a Christian saint on a walk through the center of the town and people were singing and throwing flowers. It was a happy celebration just like a Ratha Yatra, same idea, to give pleasure to God by a “walk” and share his pleasure.
    It was so nice.

    • Dear Yamuna,
      I hate to disappoint you but the intention of this comic was not to criticize the fanaticism of the portrayed devotee. I don’t think it’s fanatical to answer to the good old idol worship- accusation with pointing out the shallowness of the finger pointer’s own conviction.

      As I said in an earlier comment, this comic is not meant to be a generalization of all Christians but a certain fundamentalist group within them.

  5. Actually your comic pokes fun at sectarianism. Both of the people in the cartoon are doing the same thing – criticising the other, even using the same words.

    Criticism of “Christianity” or “Christians” is sectarian – at best an over-generalization (ativyapti), at worst ignorant “racism”.

    Discussion of specific points, devoid of sectarian labels is beneficial in rising beyond the neophyte platform. Creating and reinforcing factional identities, whether “Christian” or “devotee”, is not.

    • gaurasundara dasa

      I also saw this comic as equating the two characters and poking fun at their sectarianism. They both have have the same hand gesture, the same text bubble and the same background.

  6. I also saw it this way, as equally critical to both sides since they are equally depicted, same anger, fist and words. And actually I liked it as a kind of equal vision and unbiased eye. But the author corrected me that “the intention of this comic was not to criticize the fanaticism of the portrayed devotee”.

    My opinion is that fanaticism is fanaticism no matter who performs it. Maybe it sounds uncomfortable to some devotees to dare to “criticize a devotee” (since this might be vaishnava aparad, offence), but if we dare to criticize believers from other religions should we be partial and not criticize devotees if they perform same mistakes and level of fanaticism as those who we dare to criticize? Gita preaches unbiased vision and so does the first law of ethics. I think that before reaching the highest ideal of divine partiality to God and his devotees, we should learn the art of having equal vision. It seems to me that these are consecutive steps towards spiritual purification – first obtaining equal vision and then divine partiality.

  7. It’s nice that people will have their own interpretations, I have no problems with that. I’m only irked when people tell me conclusively what my comics are supposed to be about, what’s appropriate etc.

    To say that “fanaticism is fanaticism” is in my book such a sweeping over-generalization that it doesn’t mean much at all. For example, many people would think devotees are totally fanatical about their vegetarianism. “Why can’t you even taste it?” So is fanatical meat-eating and fanatical vegetarianism on the same level? The term has to be defined better if we want to have any kind of meaningful discussion.

    Sitapati and Yamuna, do you really think that to accuse someone of worshiping the Deity forms or to accuse someone of being greedy in the name of religion should be considered equally bad because judging others is inherently fanatical?
    That doesn’t make sense to me.

    Sitapati, you say that it’s automatically sectarian to critique Christianity. Why is that so? We can only look at our own tradition critically and that’s as far as we are allowed to go?

  8. The persons in the comic are not specific individuals, but rather archetypes. The guy on the left represents Christianity. He is a collection of symbols that identify Christianity. The guy on the left is a collection of symbols that identify a modern western Gaudiya Vaisnava.

    In the comic each is criticising the other.

    They are not criticising an individual, but rather criticising the group that the archetype represents.

    So what we (I) see here is a criticism leveled at a group of people who identify with a particular collection of symbols and doctrines.

    Identifying with a collection of symbols and doctrines is sectarian.

    Identifying a group of people on the basis of symbols and doctrines is also sectarian.

    sectarian:
    Of, relating to, or characteristic of a sect.
    adhering to a particular sect, faction, or doctrine

    The way those guys are dressed is sectarian. They identify their adherence to a particular sect or doctrine through their clothing and hairstyles.

    There is nothing “automatic” about it. If it fits the dictionary definition of a word, then that word describes it.

    Please note that I did not say that it is “automatically sectarian to critique Christianity”.

    Christianity , or any other organised religious group, is a sect. Anything related to the group that distinguishes it from another group is part of that sectarian identity. Treating the group as a homogenous whole is part of creating and reinforcing sectarian identity. Groups create their own sectarian identity by demanding and enforcing obedience to the group’s symbols and beliefs. Outsiders reinforce the sectarian identity by accepting the external boundary of the sect, and treating everything inside that boundary as a homogenous unit.

    So it’s not automatic as much as it is axiomatic. Criticising Christianity (or any other sectarian group) is *by definition* sectarian.

  9. Oh, the definition of sectarian is not complete without the definition of sect, on which it relies:

    sect: 1. A group of people forming a distinct unit within a larger group by virtue of certain refinements or distinctions of belief or practice.
    2. A religious body, especially one that has separated from a larger denomination.
    3. A faction united by common interests or beliefs.

  10. Gurunistha prabhu, to answer your question to me if I really think that to accuse someone of worshiping the Deity forms or to accuse someone of being greedy in the name of religion should be considered equally bad because judging others is inherently fanatical:

    1. I never said that to criticize (or accuse) somebody is inherently fanatical. It is not.
    2. Your question is not relevant to the situation because in it both sides are accusing each other for different things (idle worshiping and greed) while in your cartoon they are accusing each other in the very same thing in the very same manner.
    3. Sorry I misunderstood your intention in this cartoon that by picturing the two personalities in the same way accusing each other in the same “misdoing” you were actually criticizing only the Christian but in no way the devotee. There is no clue for me in the picture to guess this.
    4. If I would guess this I would disagree finding it unjust and biased.

    May I also ask you a question: Do you really think that Christians are idol worshipers? Because if you are not criticizing the devotee it means you agree with his accusation.

  11. Gurunistha you crack me up man I love your sense of humor..

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