Only human sacrifice could pacify it

Imagine you’re a father to a wonderful son. You’ve raised this son for 18 years. One day around his 18th birthday, your child succumbs to a mysterious illness. Your family is poor and you cannot afford proper medical care. As your son’s sickness worsens, he tells you that his sickness can be cured, but there’s a catch: the cure is human flesh. You refuse to entertain the thought as it sickens you, but as your son’s health continues to deteriorate, you decide there is no other option. Thus, you turn to a local shaman who advises you that the only way you can save your son is with a human sacrifice. With desperation setting in, you and several relatives lure a 10-year-old child with the promise of food and money. Once in your grasp, you kill the child. Sounds like the plot of a horror movie, no? Unfortunately this story of modern human sacrifice is all too real.

10-year-old Jeevan’s body was found in the outskirts of a small town in southwestern Nepal 3 days after he went missing.

In a bizarre incident, it has been revealed that a 10-year-old child was mercilessly hacked to death as human sacrifice to cure an 18-year-old boy, who suffered from health problems, in a village in Nawalparasi district recently.

Police arrested five persons, including a shaman, for their alleged involvement in the murder of the child.

Jeevan Kohar from Kudiya-4 of the district was missing since last Tuesday. It came to light on Saturday morning that the child was killed on the same day when police arrested five neighbours on charge of his murder.

Kodai Harijan (35), Ganga Harijan (40), Rudal Harijan (50), Surya Bhan Harijan and Bijay Harijan (18) were arrested on charge of the murder. The suspects confessed the crime, at a press conference today.

One of the suspects, Kodai, reportedly told police that his son Bijay suffered some health problem on Tuesday and demanded that he had to be “pacified with human flesh.”

The teen Bijay had said so under the “spell of a ghost that was driving him then,” Kodai claimed. (source)

I’m sympathetic to Kodai. He’s a father worried about his sick child. But my sympathy ends there. He killed another human being and I do not care what justification he offers. That’s abominable. Worse, there was no way in hell killing Jeevan would save Kodai’s son. I know it’s the skeptic in me, and these people probably have little experience with skepticism, but I look at this and wonder what the hell they were thinking. Even were I to believe in ghosts, what possible use can a ghost have for a dead 10-year-old? As a companion? Is the spirit world that desolate and lonely? Does the ghost need an afterlife drinking buddy? Or is the ghost a sociopath that can no longer act upon the human world and takes its joy by watching people murder a child? Of course if it were true that a ghost couldn’t affect the human world, then how could it cause anyone to become sick? If the health of Kodai’s son did not improve, would he have killed more kids? When would he have stopped?I’m not going any further down this rabbit hole of nonsense, bc it is nonsense. There is no reason to believe in ghosts or the supernatural.  Unfortunately many people still believe in supernatural entities. They think that invisible beings exist that somehow interact with our world, but do not leave any measurable trace of their existence, at least not from means of scientific detection. How convenient. This belief in supernatural forces is innocent enough when it comes to believing in guardian angels who look down upon us or believing that a penny or rabbit’s foot can bring good luck, but when its taken to extremes like this? All too often human beings suffer and die. This is one of the reasons why people need to be persuaded out of their beliefs in unseen forces, invisible entities, and untraceable energies.

Unfortunately, a larger problem looms in Nepal; one that is more important than convincing people of the nonexistence of supernatural forces. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. It ranks 157th out of 187 countries listed in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2013. Of Nepal’s citizenry, more than 30% live on less than US $14 per person, per month. Poverty contributes to many of Nepal’s problems, including improper sanitation, poor healthcare and nutrition, and lack of access to educational opportunities:

Infant mortality is much higher for girls than boys, and illiteracy is far more prevalent among women than men. Many rural women live in extreme poverty, without any means of improving conditions for themselves and their families.

Within households, women often have less to eat than men, and mothers’ insufficient calorie intake has led to chronic malnutrition among their infants. At the same time, more women are heading households and taking on the burden of sustaining the rural economy. Women constitute more than 60 per cent of the agricultural labour force but have little access to land, production technology and training.

Lack of economic opportunity and conflict have prompted many of the most productive members of rural households to migrate from Nepal in recent years. In fact, Nepal is one of the world’s highest recipients of remittances, which totalled some US$5.1 billion from Nepalese living abroad in 2012. Yet almost 80 per cent of remittance income is used for daily consumption, and 7 per cent is used for loan repayment. Less than 3 per cent of all remittances are used for capital formation.

Poor families are often obliged to send their children to work rather than to school, perpetuating the cycle of poverty. About one quarter of children in Nepal are engaged in some kind of family or wage labour.

Studies have found a correlation between the level of religiosity in a country and its performance on various sociological measures of well-being. Those studies have found that the higher the religiosity in a given country, the lower said country tends to perform in almost all metrics of human well being (and the reverse is true). So it stands to reason that if the quality of life of the Nepalese people were to improve, they might well become less religious (though it is important to note that correlation does not equal causation). Which would be a good thing, bc maybe it would prevent children like Jeevan from having their lives cut short as a result of credulous people believing in superstitious nonsense..

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Only human sacrifice could pacify it
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