The Running of the Hajj
Let's say my friend decided to wear a white two-piece robe, then declared out loud that he was in the service of some invisible being, then spent a whole day standing and talking to that same invisible person. He then gathered 49 stones (not 48, unless thou then continue to 49; not 50...51 is right out) and carried them with him. He threw seven of the stones at white pillars and, later that day, bought a goat, giving its meat to poor folks. Then he took off his white robe and shaved his head. Seven more stones at each of the three pillars (they represent the Devil, don'tcha know) and then off to walk around a black rock in the desert seven times, talking to the invisible person the whole time. Finally, he ran (walked briskly, actually) between two hillocks seven times.
Never mind that all this weird shit makes no sense whatsoever to a rational person, once again while nearly 2.5 million people performed this retardness, another 345 people were killed in a stampede trying to get to the "Devil Pillars". Nearly 80 Hajj pilgrims were killed just days ago in the collapse of a hostel near Mecca. So, altogether over 430 people are dead because of religion. I hope that goat tastes really really good.
And it's not like this is the first year the Hajj has experienced deaths. In 1990, a stampede crushed to death 1426 people and there were stampede deaths in 1994, 1998, 2001, and 2004. You'd think someone would have caught on and, I don't know, increased the space or initiated some friggin' crowd control. If you have to believe in nonsensical bullshit, at least be safe about it.
It kills me that supposedly no violent or sexual acts are to take place during Hajj rituals. This is probably like summer camp for Muslims. I'm sure there's some nookie going on - a bunch of shaven-headed men and scantily clad women (ok, they're wearing one-piece white robes...that's scant clothing for a Muslim woman) all together in the desert being "one with Allah" and stuff. There's probably no "wet robe contests", but I'm sure something's going on. Oh, and I'd consider a stampede where thousands of people crush to death hundreds of others so they can throw fucking rocks at a stone pillar that's supposed to be the damn Devil, a violent act. Isn't there a punishment for breaking the Hajj "no violence" rule? How about chilling the hell out with the suicide bombing for a hundred years or so?
How many times do I have to say that religion is dangerous and has to go away?