Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cows and The Big Bang Theory


Jewish date:  25 Tishri 5770 (Parashath Bere’shith).

Today’s holiday:  Tuesday of the Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time (Roman Catholicism).

Worthy cause of the day:  “Protect Ocean Life Through a Comprehensive National Policy!” and “Act Now for Trade Justice!

Today’s topic:  Last night a religious fallacy showed up on The Big Bang Theory, of all places.  The fallacy showed up in an argument between two characters, Sheldon and Raj.  Sheldon insisted that Hindus consider cows like gods, while Raj, a born Hindu, insists that Hindus consider cows to be gods.  Raj, of course is offended and does not accept Sheldon’s claim.  This is an illustration of the folly of insisting to someone what he/she believes; naturally Raj knows better what he believes than Sheldon.  Furthermore, Raj, being a born Hindu, by default is probably more knowledgeable about Hinduism than Sheldon.  Now, considering that Sheldon is a genius (like many of the characters on the show), he probably has the capability of learning a lot about Hinduism.  If he learns enough, he could conceivably even draw upon enough relevant source material (the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, the Laws of Manu, etc.) to demonstrate that Raj is incorrect.  However, simply insisting without solid references or at least some reasoning is unconvincing.

Also:  I am not clear on whether Raj or Sheldon is right.  See the Wikipedia article “Cattle in religion” for more information, including references.  The article gives the impression that at least some Hindus believe that cows are inhabited by goddesses.  Perhaps a knowledgeable Hindu will be kind enough to enlighten us.