Guidelines on how religious books should be handled once they are worn out vary by religion and sect
A perfect Quran should not be destroyed. Jews may bury Torah scrolls in graves or a special storage room. Roman Catholics can bury Bibles while Evangelical Protestants do not have specific guidelines.
The three major Abrahamic faiths have different rules for when and how their religious texts can be discarded. Here are some of the traditions:
Islam: A Quran may be discarded if there is an error in the text or if the volume is worn out. In that case, religious scholars say there are two preferred ways of doing it – wrapping it in cloth and burying it, or washing away the text with water.
Roman Catholicism: Catholics can bury a Bible when it needs to be disposed of, though there have been instances in the Middle Ages of incineration done in the form of a burnt offering.
Protestantism: Protestants do not have special prescriptions about disposing of religious texts, since they view the inspired message and not the physical text as divine.
Judaism: In Judaism, any text that contains God’s name should be buried when it is no longer usable, or placed in a dedicated room known as a “Geniza“. Jewish cemeteries often have special graves for sacred texts. Some American rabbis recently ruled that recycling is also appropriate.
Scriptural religions, based on texts are believed to be the word of God – have different rules for when and how those texts can be discarded. But what they have in common is a reverence shown for such texts, with practices such as kissing it or never placing another book on top of it.
In Afghanistan, a deadly violence broke out after U.S. military servicemen disposed off several copies of the Quran by burning them.
Sarah Thomson, spokeswoman for the Islamic Society of North America , says the proper way of responding to the desecration of Qurans is by donating new ones or teaching how to respect the religious text.
The only reason a Quran may be destroyed is if there are errors like misspellings, missing pages or inaccurate translations in a language other than Arabic, she says.
“You wouldn’t destroy them because they are old,” she says.
In those cases, Thomson says the consensus amongMuslim religious scholars is that the proper methods for disposal are wrapping it in clean cloth and burying it, or immersion in water.
However, some scholars say if those methods are not possible, a Quran may be burned if done in a respectful way, preferably at a mosque.
Many Jewish cemeteries have special graves for Torah scrolls and other documents as anything that contains God’s name should be buried when it is no longer usable. It can also be placed in a dedicated room known as a geniza. In 1896, a geniza was found in Cairo, Egypt, with hundreds of thousands of Jewish texts dating back to before the ninth century including marriage contracts and legal and financial documents.
Rabbi Paul Drazen of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism says that several years ago the movement’s rabbis ruled that recycling is also an appropriate means of disposal.
Drazen says the burning of Torahs has an emotional component in Judaism. “Throughout generations Jewish texts were burned as part of the torture of individuals and it also preceded the Holocaust,” he says.
Muslims and Jews have ways of showing respect for holy texts. Muslims will wash themselves before reading from a Quran, while Jews read with a silver pointer so as not to touch the parchment of a Torah scroll.
Hindu texts can be disposed off in water- by burning them or by burial. However, Arumuga Swami, managing editor of Hinduism Today says, often “the issue doesn’t come up” because a whole category of Hindu scriptures, the Vedas is memorized.
Christian guidelines vary according to denomination. For Roman Catholics, “the bottom line is that Bibles should be buried out of reverence for the sacred text,” says Monsignor Kevin Irwin, who teaches liturgical studies at the Catholic University of America.
On the other hand, Evangelical Protestants don’t have specific guidelines. This is largely because it is the inspired message rather than the physical artifact that is considered divine, according to Greg Wills of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Paper and ink is perishable but the word of God lives forever,” says Wills. (VOA News)
A few weeks back, somehow I stumbled upon a show, on History channel, called Ancient Aliens.
After watching a couple of episodes, I think the show is trying to convey the following points:
1. Ancient civilizations were not able to do anything and they had no scientific knowledge, they were not able to build megalithic structures. Extraterrestrials came to earth and gave them the knowledge and also built things for them. They taught them science, mathematics, technology etc.
2. They even give the impression that all over the world, the government and high profile people are still in contact with extraterrestrials but all of them are trying to hide it from the public for some unknown reason and they all are able to keep it to themselves.
3. Gods may be extraterrestrial beings. They are very advanced scientifically and have very high tech spaceships and weapons. These beings came many times and at many places on earth. They interacted with different cultures. They want to control humans.
4. ET’s are continuously keeping an eye on humans.
5. They are guiding us on a specific path.
6. They keep coming and going back from this planet Earth. Initially, they came to mine Gold as their own planet was getting depleted of Gold.
7. They have lived with us and maybe living with us now. They also mate with humans. Very brilliant children on earth are the result of mating between aliens and humans.
8. They can wipe us out with weapons or diseases e.g. plagues.
9. Whole earth may be a scientific lab.
10. Aliens are doing some genetic experiment on us. All species of humans were created as an experiment and when the experiment did not go in the right direction, whole species e.g. Neanderthals, hominids etc were wiped out.
11. Time cycle on earth keeps repeating itself. Similar to a clock.
12. Our planet is a hologram. There is knowledge everywhere in the atmosphere. We just need to know how to get it. In very deep meditation probably we can get this knowledge which is in a code form. Many discoveries and inventions were by people who got this knowledge suddenly e.g. Nikola Tesla, Baba Vanga, Ramanujan etc.
13. Different religions/ cultures/civilizations have many common events e.g. great flood, the appearance of God or his messenger, working towards making Gods or ET’s happy, concept of nine gods or counsel of nine, demigods, and primordial sea etc.
14. Many temples all over the earth still have some secret areas, wealth etc. which are not open to the public. Some of these are guarded by military and are considered very dangerous to go even nearby. Some people who tried to go in these areas fell very sick and died or never came back.
15. UFO is a real phenomenon. Many countries have secret labs where they are studying crashed UFO’s and captured aliens.
16. ET’s have bases on many of the planets including ours. They are present on Earth’s poles and other places on earth as well as inside earth. There are many layers inside the earth where vast cities of aliens exist.
17. There are living beings/life in space and on other planets. Some living beings live in extremes of temperatures or extremes of other conditions. There are beings who die if exposed to oxygen, some die in water, some die without water. There are living organisms on meteors, asteroids etc.
18. Shivling’s central pillar like part represents an energy storage equipment or atomic area. Surrounding part of the pillar is for waste materials to come out. Water is offered at the top of the pillar, like in nuclear reactors, to cool it down.
19. Kailash temple in Ajanta and Allora caves was built by ET’s using very high tech equipment which was capable of evaporating all ruble.
20. Underneath an Indian temple is an extensive tunnel system going to an underground structure where some beings sit on levitating thorns. Indian Government does not allow anyone to go near it.
21. Below another Indian temple, there is a door made of iron which has no locks. It is closed by mantras and no one dares to open it.
22. They say the US has a military base on the moon and that the moon is artificial and aliens have hollowed it out and have a city inside it.
23. There is a galactic war also.
24. Aliens abduct humans and do experiments on them. There are incidences where they took away the fetus from mother’s womb. Abductees describe these aliens as grey people and they feel paralyzed but are conscious during abduction period. Some abductees come back and some do not. There are instances where the whole village or group of people vanished from the earth.
25. There are giants, like Big Foot, living in woods. They smell like Sulphur, make loud sounds and elope very fast. They are doing some secret work for ET’s or are left here, on planet earth, for wrong or criminal activity on other planets.
Some points, which I don’t understand by watching Ancient Aliens, are…
1. First of all, if the aliens helped us building these mega structures like Machu Pichuu or the temple of Baalbek, then why did they take away the knowledge from us and why are they not helping us or building their own structures presently?
2. If they were so high tech, what happened to all of their creations? Why is everything in ruins now? Why we have to dig to find those structures now?
3. If they are living on other planets, what was the need to come to Earth and build things, is this not extra labor for them. And if they like Earth so much that they help us build things, then why don’t they live here?
4. They say that sometimes aliens give us knowledge and help us build thing but other times they say that aliens want to control us, destroy us and spread diseases like plagues. Is this not contradictory?
5. The makers of the show have themselves not seen any extraterrestrials, so their theories are based purely on imagination and have no scientific proof behind them.
6. They never bring mainstream scientist and archeologist on the show and interview them or ask their opinions, thus making people believe only their own opinion.
7. They keep repeating the same phrases and believe that by saying it repeatedly it will come true.
8. In one of the episodes, they say that deep inside a big structure and that it was very dark and there was no way to use lamps as there was not enough oxygen inside. Another said that he went there and tried to light his lighter but because of very low oxygen levels lighter was not lighting up. He forgot that he was breathing okay in that area of very low oxygen and came back alive with no consequences of low oxygen levels.
Sometimes it looks like their show is phony and fake. Many times it seems that they take a very small point and turn it into a mammoth thing and assume that extraterrestrials were behind that. Maybe they are fabricating some points.
Just to mention that many of Ancient Aliens Theorists do not have a degree in archaeology, history, religion, ancient language etc.
At some other times, it seems that their theory makes sense. As there are no explanations till now of many historical events, structures, knowledge etc., this theory at least tries to give some sense to these. These people are just postulating theories. They are not claiming that their theory is 100% true. If you believe that they are spreading lies then why no one ever sued them and History Channel.
Overall the show is very entertaining, educative, and addictive.