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Letter from Sanal Edamaruka defence committee

Sanal Edamaruku, well known rationalist, under
threat of arrest for exposing the “miracle”

Dear friends,
On 10th March, Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Rationalist International, flew to Mumbai. The TV channel TV-9 had invited him to investigate a “miracle” that caused local excitement. He went with the TV team to Irla in Vile Parle to inspect the crucifix standing there in front of the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni. This crucifix had become the centre of attraction for an ever growing crowd of believers coming from far and wide. The news of the miracle spread like wild fire. For some days, there were little droplets of water trickling from Jesus’ feet. Hundreds of people came every day to pray and collect some of the “holy water” in bottles and vessels. Sanal Edamaruku identified the source of the water (a drainage near a washing room) and the mechanism how it reached Jesus feet (capillary action). The local church leaders, present during his investigation, appeared to be displeased. See the investigation in detail on YouTube.
Some hours later, in a live program on TV-9, Sanal explained his findings and accused the concerned Catholic Church officials of miracle mongering, as they were beating the big drum for the drippling Jesus statue with aggressive PR measures and by distributing photographs certifying the “miracle”. A heated debate began, in which the five church people, among them Fr. Augustine Palett, the priest of Our Lady of Velankanni church, and representatives of the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) demanded that Sanal apologize. But Sanal refused and argued against them. [The whole TV program is recorded. You can watch an abridged version of it on YouTube.]
When they saw Sanal refused to bow to their demands, they threatened to file a blasphemy case against him. And they did.
Yesterday (10th April,2012) Sanal received a phone call from a Police official of Juhu Police Station in Mumbai directing him to come to the said police station to face the charges and get arrested. He also said that FIRs have also been filed in Andheri and some other police stations u/s 295 of Indian Penal Code on the allegations of hurting the religious sentiments of a particular community. Mumbai police has announced that they were out to arrest him. It is apprehended that he can be arrested any moment.
The filing of FIRs by Mumbai police and threatening to arrest a well known rationalist who has been exposing miracles and superstitious beliefs for more than three decades is a serious attack on the freedom of expression. Clause (h) of Article 51-A of Constitution of India states that :
‘It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform.’
In exposing the said miracle, Sanal was performing his fundamental duty enshrined in our constitution.
It is distressing that the Mumbai police has chosen to harass and victimize him for doing his fundamental duty.
‘Sanal Edamaruku Defence Committee’ appeals to all progressive individuals and organizations to protest and oppose the reprehensible steps of the Maharashtra police in filing FIRs against Sanal and stand behind him in solidarity for the cause of scientific thinking and freedom of expression.
11 April, 2012 Convenor,
Sanal Edamaruku Defence Committee
PS. Please have a look at


Anonymous said…
Religion and the followers of faith use terror against their enemies. The Church is a terrorist organization.
Unknown said…
It is the duty of Indian Christians to expose these Church leaders.
theguide42 said…
I am a Christian.

I think it is good to determine when a supernatural occurrence is legitimate, and when it is not. In this case it was not (as far as I can tell).

Here is the problem with this situation, and especially this pathetic man Mr. Edamaruka. His approach to the situation was part of a life's work targeted at debunking the possibility of the supernatural by demonstrating specific instances of the so-called supernatural to be frauds.

Does anybody see the methodological fallacy here? Even if he were to discover 100 frauds a day, every day for the rest of his life, and make a similar self-promoting, "I am better than these naive believers" Youtube video for each and every one, he would still fail to bridge the gap caused by his part/whole fallacy. "I've discovered many things that are not X" is not the same as "I've proven that X does not exist."

As an Orthodox Christian who has seen a literal, super-natural miracle up close, I can see why church leaders are frustrated with his activities, though they ought to have themselves performed more rigorous tests on the miracle. Miracles, though, can never be witnessed through eyes of unbelief. Even if the heavens were to open and Christ himself were to descend, distributing Bibles and sacraments to all, those with eyes often do not see and those with ears do not hear.

Mr. Edamaruka, this self-proclaimed "rationalist," will one day have to face the stark reality of his own supernatural personhood and relationship with the God who made him. His so-called "reason" is likely to do him no good then.
Anonymous said…
@theguide42 Sorry but you are an absolute moron if you believe in miracles...

The church, temple or mosque or any damn organization is only out to take money from morons like yourself.

According to you it is not okay to express his right to free speech? then I will take away your right to religious freedom and convert you.

If you are an orthodox christian wtf are you doing on the internet?

You should not use protection, you should not use medicine but let me guess.

Your pope was a member of Hitler youth..he tells the world that condoms causes aids and tells people in africa (where millions are dying) not to use it coz it is against your religion...

now you know why we are so agitated by these morons ... sorry you morons..
Anonymous said…
I think both sides are missing the point. Some will be convinced by Sanal's conclusions and others will not. However, the church should be ashamed of itself for calling for his arrest on charges of blasphemy. Every Indian is entitled to his or her opinion and to draw their own conclusions.
Anonymous said…
"Anonnimous", I think orthodox christian is not what you think it is, christianity denomination in Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania etc. is called "Orthodox Christianity". It's not as in "orthodox jews". Otherwise I agree with other part of your comment :)
Anonymous said…
I am catholic.

From a catholic point of view, any supposed "miracle" must be investigated to see if this is really miracle or not.

But as this is not a point of the catholic faith, even if church leaders recognise an event to be a miracle, nobody has to believe it is. For instance, you can be a good catholic and don't believe in the Marian apparitions in Lourdes, even if millions of people go there every years.

A good way to test the supposed miracle would have been to move the crucifix to another place and wait for the supposed miracle to happen again. Or to pour some blue color on the ground and wait for it to drop from the crucifix.

Unfortunately the first documentary proves nothing but simply exposes Mr Edamaruku's theory. Yes, the theory is not proved right or wrong...

But this is definitely not blasphemy (unless the guy said something I didn't understand). Anyway, blasphemy laws sucks.
John said…
theguide42: You claim he's guilty of a "methodological fallacy" here, and then you go and say miracles can never be seen through the eyes of unbelief.

I don't think he's committing any fallacies at all, in fact. People blindly believe in the sort of nonsense that he debunks, and he at least demonstrates that it can be faked, or can have natural, mundane explanations. This shows people that they should use a bit of brainpower, and not just take the Church's word for things.

And, so far, 0 miracles have been demonstrated. In the history of the world, in fact, every answer to every question we have ever found has turned out to be NOT MAGIC.

You say you've witnessed a miracle. You haven't witnessed one that has been demonstrated by any reliable means to be a miracle, because that has never, ever happened.

Your empty threats of hellfire at the end do you little credit, as well. I know you don't mention hell specifically, but that's what you were getting at.

This man is facing arrest for showing reality as it is, and you're blaming him for causing trouble by showing what is real. That viewpoint, that reinforcement of dogmatic ignorance, is supremely disturbing to me. You, sir, are a part of the problem.
Anonymous said…
John: Mr Edamaruka didn't show the reality because he never tested his theory. This is not reason but belief.

Anonymous April 13, 2012 7:47 AM:
the Pope came from an antinazi family but was later forced into the Hitler youth. But from your comment I can see this and other things are way too complicated for you to understand...
Tāṇḍava said…
Since India doesn't have a blasphemy law there must be some error. Are they trying to bring hate-speech charges perhaps?
Anonymous said…
Many church leaders in India have systematically engaged in forging evidence (see for eg. Ch. 8 of "Breaking India" by Malhotra/Neelakandan) and hushing up cases of rape/paedophilia indulged by some of the clergy (eg. p. 374 op cit.). This book is a must read if you want to know how the Church operates in India.

Due to the "minority" religion aspect, the Church in India is essentially off the hook...
astaines said…
In brief there are two sides here. No part of (roman) catholic teaching requires belief in any miracles at all. Fro any proposed miracle there is a strict church process which looks for fraud, errors, misunderstanding, natural causes and so on. This can take a while. After this, the local church may say that a reported miracle is 'worthy of credence'. Whether any individual catholic chooses to believe or not, is entirely up to them. Lourdes is a good example, there are a small number of cures at Lourdes for which no natural explanation can be found. This may reflect a miracle, or just our relative ignorance of what nature can do.
The local church in this case seems to have acted very badly.
Buck Bengoshi said…
There are no "two sides" here! There is simply the falsehood being presented by religious leaders who would lose a source of revenue by having the "weeping jesus" exposed. There's no "miracle" because the "supernatural event" can be shown to have occurred WITHOUT any "divine intervention" - ie, THE SIMPLEST EXPLANATION IS THE CORRECT ONE.

If one puts a candle on a window sill and it gets blown out, it wasn't a ghost, it wasn't Jesus, it wasn't an alien, it wasn't Bigfoot - it was the wind, duh.

Christians: Hey, you know what? God told me to tell you all to STOP ACTING LIKE FIVE YEAR-0LD CHILDREN. Do you believe that?
Anonymous said…
theguide42 said... "I think it is good to determine when a supernatural occurrence is legitimate"

Yeah, you let us know if that ever happens. It's been 2000 years and not one "miracle" has ever been shown to be real.

As someone else here said, "you are an absolute moron if you believe in miracles".

I could not agree more.
Anonymous said…
If your miracle is real, please pass go and collect $1 million from James Randi. If you can't prove the miracle, keep it to yourself.
Anonymous said…
Well, the black hole information paradox does sound like a miracle.
See .

And how about wormhole theories? Matter and energy passing from one universe to another.

However all evidence so far points out that its takes very high energy density of the order of Planck energy density to rip a hole in space-time fabric. So its unlikely that Jesus was able to rip the space-time fabric and poured water through it at room temperature. Though of course, Mumbai does suffer very high temperature in summer, haw haw.
Anonymous said…
Hm the captcha test on this page is asking me to prove that I am not a robot. All my brain circuits are now occupied..
Anonymous said…
I think it is rather amusing that Mr. Edamaruku would invoke the name of Giordano Bruno to defend his argument for materialistic, scientific reductionism as Bruno was a practitioner of ceremonial magic and astrology.

I also find amusing, that to an atheist, the fact that such an event occurred in the vicinity of a statue of Iesous is irrelevant and due entirely to chance and we ought not ascribe any deeper philosophical meaning or significance to the event. In my humble opinion, if a natural event, howsoever it may occur, is perceived by the faithful, to be the work of the divine, then it may justly be called, by the faithful, a "miracle"; though no supernatural event had been its direct cause.

Perhaps atheism is no different than any other fundamentalist religious belief, except that its foundation rests upon the principles of mechanistic logic and reason. In the future, Mr. Sanal Edamaruku might consider adhering more strictly to his religious beliefs through unbiased observation, analysis and reporting as opposed to engaging in political warfare against the faithful.

Anonymous said…
Adam posts:

"I think it is rather amusing that Mr. Edamaruku would invoke the name of Giordano Bruno to defend his argument for materialistic, scientific reductionism as Bruno was a practitioner of ceremonial magic and astrology."

I find it hilarious that you would attack Edamaruku by invoking Giordano Bruno in this way. Whether Bruno was a scientists or an astrologer, the Catholic Church execution of him is inexcusable. Are you really trying to defend church sponsored with hunts?
Anonymous said…
@the guide42:
Don't worry, I BELIEVE you. Miracles can never be witnessed through the eyes of disbelief. Only you see them because you believe in them. Just like, only I see the world as yellow when I am wearing yellow-tinted sunglasses on. Therefore, the world is yellow! DON'T ARGUE WITH ME I'M RIGHT! THE WORLD IS YELLOW! YOU SHOULD BE ARRESTED FOR BLASPHEMY FOR NOT AGREEING WITH ME!

Does anyone else ever have this funny experience where they wake up in the middle of the night and see a sweater hanging off a chair or in the closet and you have a jolt because you think its actually a person in your room. Somehow you managed to figure out that it wasn't actually a person. Seems like the same rules should apply to miracles.

Me? I'll gladly walk around with my yellow sunglasses instead of judging hypocritical Christian fundamentalist glasses on.
BenYachov said…
Here is the other side of the story.

The "miracle" is likely a fraud but that doesn't mean this Sanai guy is completely on the up and up.
Anonymous said…
God (with his face in his palm): "I just wanted them to notice the freaking leak!"
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said: "Whether Bruno was a scientists or an astrologer, the Catholic Church execution of him is inexcusable."

No I am not defending the Roman Catholic Church's inquisition by my mention of Giordano Bruno's spiritual activities. Rather, that in light of the vitriolic tendencies of the atheist lobby, I find it appalling that an atheist would leverage the name of Giordano Bruno as a wedge against the Catholic Church, when such atheists would have burned him alive themselves for preaching so-called "superstitious beliefs", had they been the dominate power.

I neither defend the religious clerics for their "blasphemy" suit, but am not surprised of this outcome given the religious zealotry common to the region.

That said, I am vehemently opposed to the use of political warfare by any religious movement; including the religious movement of the atheistic, scientific materialists.

Anonymous said…
BenYachov said...
"The "miracle" is likely a fraud but that doesn't mean this Sanai guy is completely on the up and up."

If such is the case, the priests ought to be defrocked by the Church, excommunicated, and punished to the extent that civil law allows. - Adam
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said: "As someone else here said, you are an absolute moron if you believe in miracles. I could not agree more."

How sad, that you cannot appreciate, in wonder and amazement, the works of the universe that cannot be explained through human logic and reason. Try as we may, there will always be areas of knowledge that shall remain elusive to the inquiring mind. Such is the nature of human existence - to constantly strive for that unattainable measure of perfection and to appreciate the wisdom that we gain along the way.

I feel sorrow for those who fervently believe that science alone, may yet provide the key to human fulfillment.

- Adam
BenYachov said…
>If such is the case, the priests ought to be defrocked by the Church, excommunicated, and punished to the extent that civil law allows. - Adam

It's happened before. OTOH India is a weird place. A few years back a bunch of militant Hindus got in a bugaboo because John Paul II said Christ was the only way to salvation.

They actually demanded he say there where many ways to God.

India it's a country where I could be arrested for converting a Hindu to Christianity.

Explain that to me & stop putting all the onus on the Pope jerkoff!
BenYachov said…
From the article I cited.

QUOTE"In a statement, the Auxiliary Bishop of Mumbai said: "The Church is always cautious in attributing supernatural causes to out of the ordinary phenomena. Whenever possible, it always tries to find 'scientific' explanations for similar events. It does not pay great attention to things like this, although it accepts the possibility that God can intervene in human life in 'extraordinary' ways: what we call 'miracles'. "

Responding point by point to Sanal Edamaruku's allegations, Msgr. Agnelo Gracias states: "The Church does not advocate the worship of images we honour them. We respect and honour the Scriptures of any religion not because the books are in themselves divine, but because they have a special significance for the adherents of that religion. We honour a cross because it is for use as a reminder of the love of Jesus who died for us. The Irla crucifix does not belong to the Church, and it was a Hindu woman, not a Catholic, to notice the drops of water. " Finally, he adds, "the pope has nothing against science. There are eminent Catholic scientists and Catholic scientific institutions, like the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. I believe that the interlocutor has made these and other unwarranted statements out of ignorance."END QUOTE

My question, is this jerkoff being harassed for exposing a phony miracle or for calling the Pope "anti-Science" (which BTW is inflammatory slander)?

So which is it?
Anonymous said…
"BenYachov said...Explain that to me & stop putting all the onus on the Pope jerkoff!"

I wholeheartedly agree -- religious zealotry comes in many colors and flavors.

I would also have you know that I was terribly offended by your public "jerkoff" comment; what I may do in private is of no concern to you, nor the Church! ;-)))

- Adam W.
BenYachov said…
Time for me to play the smug American card.

People in glass countries should not throw stones.
there are approximately 7 billion
gods on this earth.
we are the ones who can change everything.
we are the ones with moral choices.
when one of us dies or suffers
there is then pain and sadness
in our internal universe.
upon every death, one entire universe version dies.
the church is mainly a rallying
point, often to redress injustice.
thus it is often found where strife exists but is not the real cause of it.
TeluguMuchatlu said…
This is quite common in India that such miracles happen and especially during festival season's , this keeps up the devotees spirits high..
"Religion and the followers of faith use terror against their enemies. The Church is a terrorist organization."

That's a pretty big call, and an irrational one.
Bill P. Godfrey said…
Never mind, maybe the church will apologise in a few hundred years.
Jagan said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jagan said…
Quote: BenYachov said...
It's happened before. OTOH India is a weird place. A few years back a bunch of militant Hindus got in a bugaboo because John Paul II said Christ was the only way to salvation.

They actually demanded he say there where many ways to God.

India it's a country where I could be arrested for converting a Hindu to Christianity.
/ end quote
Your acute lack of understanding and comprehension is very evident from what you have written. Ignoramus. Stawmen, all of them.

In India, your Christian church has been pumping billions to try to convert people by offering material benefit. There have been Deals and deals - Convert a whole family, get twice the conversion gift, kind of bargains. Healthcare, employment and education were all offered as allures for converstion.
Thats prohibited in some states. That alone is prohibited. Freedom of religion including propagation is protected by our Constitution. You simply can't understand stuff like this, don't you. Somebody told you they got arrested for conversion and you automatically think India to be a 'weird' place?

And as far 'militant hindus', well there are none. Thats another fine strawman there Mr. BenYahov.

And yea, your pope can't waltz in as a head of a state and start giving out sermons while on 'political' tour. He did not come to India as a private man, he came as head of Vatican.

Its not indefensible that some demanded that the pope should restrain from keep saying all other religions and adherents can go fark themselves and claim Catholicism to be the only way while on that tour. He can do that inside his chapel in rome. not in India as a visiting politician.
SANKU said…
I dont know how many people would have got infected & diseased by drinking 'holy" drainage water ! no amount of faith can protect from serious infections
Anonymous said…
Well, when the reason is known, then probably you have to accept the fact as it is.....Miracles do happen, but anything that happens cannot be advertised as Miracle....Just since it is christianity, this hue and cry, if it is Hinduism, then even christians will laugh and say Only Jesus is true to people, and even if Jesus appear before them, they will say, OH Jesus, we will give you food, clothing, shelter, money, all you have to do is, evangelize and convert yourself to christianity........JESUS WILL FAINT!!!!!!
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Here is another miracle. Tied goes in, Tide goes out. You can't explain that!

Checkmate God Lovers!
No modern democracy should be arresting anyone for questioning the occurrence of miracles, even if in doing so people are offended, deeply offended.

Free speech will usually result in hurt feelings. This is what is tolerated by societies properly described as "civilized".

It should be noted that so-called miracles are usually events that are reported to happen anecdotally, rarely. Anecdotally, late stage metastatic cancers will spontaneously disappear or defy expected survival times.

This is what acccounts for the non-zero mortality rates for such cancers out to various survival times. Presumably, someone survives these devastating conditions, rarely.

On the other hand, NOBODY spontaneously regenerates limbs after bilateral above the knee amputations. NOBODY! And nobody claims such miraculous occurrences.

This is because such occurrences are simply impossible! Not the subject matter of speculation of miracles.

The purveyor of miraclses always is selling an event that could happen unmiraculously.
Correction: I meant "non-100% mortality rate".
Mens Suits said…
Very interesting posts and comments. I learned a lot. Thanks for sharing.
In the Conclusion section of the article occurs the following qutoes of historians regarding reliable evidence:

Bauckham immediately concludes that the:

Gospels understood as testimony are the entirely appropriate means of access to the historical reality of Jesus.

... Leslie Milton also stresses the presumptive right of testimony to be trusted. About the early Gospel sources, he says:

If an item occurs in any one of these early sources, it has a presumptive right to be considered as probably historical in essence; if it occurs in two…that right is greatly strengthened, since it means it is supported by two early and independent witnesses. If it is supported by three, then its attestation is extremely strong.

Leaving P2 aside, are not these premises in need of support? Are they not simply begging the question as to what evidence is reliable for supporting the occurrence of even mundane facts?

The New Testament is one alleged account, not multiple accounts. It is not a compilation of independent eye witness testimony of mundane events in an otherwise unmiraculous life.

Furthermore, the purpose of the New Testament is to establish a new religion. This end did not require the existence of any known person to be the perpetrator and benefactor of miracles. All that would be needed would be the ability to convince converts that someone fit the bill.

My assumption is that the New Testament and its account of events occurred essentially ex nihilo.
That the promotor of a new religion could do this could probably be demonstrated today.
Anonymous said…
@April13-525AM Anon

Atheists and followers of their faith use terror against individuals who fail to "think correctly." Hundreds of millions of people killed by atheist regimes over the last century for failing to "get with the program."
Jon said…
He should ask them to prove, scientifically AND publicly, beyond all reasonable doubt, that God actually exists.
Anonymous said…
Blind Faith is a harbinger of idiocy and precursor of mind control!
Read the Newspapers!
Christian Organizations hire PEDOPHILES who have been RAPING innocent children for many years!
Islamic Organizations kill innocent women, and force innocent children to kill themselves while in the act of killing other people!
These are Felonious Criminal Acts!
But, these acts are a small part of the disastrous effects these Criminal Organizations have on
Humanity from their brainwashing and the corruption of children's minds that occurs from the forceful indoctrination of innocent children and fools!
Anonymous said…
Oh People, religious ignorant people. Internet will be the down fall of the religion in 50 years max, thanks Science.
Then you few fairy tales believers remaining will hide yourself for the shame until you'll open (or close forever) your eyes on the argument.

Let the old believers of this generation die, new younger as almost all atheists or "non- believers".

The only 3°th world countries underdeveloped will remain the muslims one, until the next religious war, or untile they kill each other in the name of allah, mohammed or who they believe to be the prophet, angel, safer, or whathever old ancient belief they have.

The human being is the most stupid animal on this earth with the best potential.

Until now welcome to Medieval Age 2.0! Oh and do not forget to pray for your safe, or you'll go to hell dancing with the Goat demon! ahahahahahah
Anonymous said…
They did the same thing 2000 years ago, and continued to do this. For them its a business and as long as people believe in God and fear him the business continues. They will fight with all nails and teeth when someone disrupts their business. Poor men couldnt ever find out the difference between business and religion.

Sanal is beoming famous now and is gaining supporters. Good for him
Unknown said…
Well before believe in something we should have to judge,. Safety and security starts from ourselves .
Defence Market Report
GoSchools said…
This is quite common that such miracles happen and especially during festival season's , this keeps up the devotees spirits high..
Tricks9 said…
Sometimes there should lot more scrutiny to happen before believing anything!

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