The Ill Effects of Superstitious Nonsense December 16, 2007

The Ill Effects of Superstitious Nonsense

A misguided man in India thought his leg brought him magical powers:

The 80-year-old holy man, Yanadi Kondaiah, claimed to have healing powers in the leg.

Local people believed they could be healed of spiritual and physical problems if they touched his leg.

They also believed in Mr Kondaiah’s predictions of the future.

Looks like his superstitious beliefs have come back to haunt him…

Police say that the self-styled ‘Godman’ – who lives in a village near the city of Tirupati – was approached a few days ago by two strangers who came to seek his advice over a medical problem.

They say that the pair returned to the old man on Tuesday ostensibly to thank him for his help.

“As the old man had the weakness of drinking, he accepted their invitation to have drinks with them,” said local police Sub-Inspector Pendakanti Dastgiri.

“They took him to a deserted spot in the outskirts of the village.

This doesn’t sound good…

“After the old man had passed out under the influence of liquor, they cut off his right leg from the knee,” he said.

Mr Dastgiri said that the amputation was carried out in a very “brutal manner” and that police are still looking for the leg and the men who so cruelly took it.

He said that the assailants used a sharp hunting knife, and left the old man alone and bleeding slowly to death.

The leg thieves as well as the leg itself have not yet been found.

Assuming belief in the magical leg was the sole reason this attack occurred (as opposed to revenge), it’s horrible and disturbing as hell. I don’t know whether the assailants know this leg has no magical powers and just want to use it to con others out of money, or whether they themselves believe in the “miracle leg.”

Even though Kondaiah was almost certainly wrong in his assessment of his powers, he seemed like a decent guy who “wanted to use his powers for good”:

“I have always been good to others and helped who ever came to me. Then why has this been done to me?” he asked amid his tears.

As Voltaire said, “As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.”

(Thanks to Bjorn for the link!)

[tags]atheist, atheism, superstition, skeptic[/tags]

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • i cant tell if they stole the leg because they thought they could wield its healing powers, or if they were outraged at the fact that the “godman” was a charlatan.

  • Sorry, I’m gonna hijack this story…. have you ever thought about having a forum where open minded Christians and Atheists could ask each other questions?

    For a Christian I’ve had an interesting weekend, on Saturday I watched Richard Dawkins DVD The Root of Evil (recently released in NZ) and on Sunday I went to a media screening of The Golden Compass (opens in NZ on 26th December).

    I’ll probably write something about Dawkins on my blog later this week, but in regards to TGC, I have a question…..

    Do Atheists believe we all have a soul?

  • Cool idea. The forums are here and here. Please pose your questions there!

  • Yeah, I saw this article a while back – an old man’s magical leg gets stolen. There’s a Monty Python joke in here somewhere.

  • It’s a good thing the old man didn’t claim his penis had magical powers!

  • I am reminded of the story of the golden goose, only here, the golden eggs are fakes.

  • Cade

    Maybe God will heal this amputee…

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