The last post I wrote had to do with people making judgements on the spiritual path of others, and I compared it to a social trend I have noticed wherein people gravitate toward the crime and court reports in the newspaper. We find ways to pass judgment upon others, just as we find ways to put ourselves up on pedestals letting our egos run amok.
I recently became familiar with the Latin phrase “Reductio Ad Absurdum” which means, simply, to demonstrate that a statement is either true or false by exaggeratedly reducing its opposite to absurdity.
For example, one who wants to debunk the Bible may focus attention on the absurdity of the idea of a talking snake from the Old Testament. Someone who wants to defame Hinduism may focus on the idea that we “think God has the head of an elephant”, or that Krishna lifted a mountain, or the many seemingly other-worldly claims made by various swamis and yogis – all the while equating these items with Hinduism as a whole, as though Sanatana Dharma hinged solely on the item in question. They miss the deeper meaning. Myth of any kind leaves itself open to this type of criticism.
I have personally heard Islam “reduced” to “absurdity” by folks who are quick to judge, classify, and oversimplify world events that have more to do with politics and psychology than the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.
People all around the world do this when it comes to religion. Talk show host and comic Bill Maher is a prolific practitioner of reductio ad absurdum when it comes to the topic of religion, particularly regarding Christianity, but belief in God in general.
We separate ourselves by mockery, utilizing the most superficial aspects of our respective belief systems to do so. It is like when we were kids and the bully bullied by focusing on superficial characteristics of the victim. People of all faiths have the potential to become guilty of reductio ad absurdum. It is an ego-driven, fear-based tactic to lift oneself up, tear another down, and make oneself feel more confident about the path one is on. But the road to moksha is not akin to a roller derby. It is more like a game of leap-frog, where at one point or another one is assisted by another to move forward, and at others he assists.
Jai Harihara Aum.