Why do some religions persist with pointless - and cruel - traditions?

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In the 21st Century, why do some religions persist with centuries old traditions which nowadays bear no relevance to reality? Senior correspondent Barry Everingham sticks his neck out.
The cruelty being meted out to helpless animals to satisfy the dietary needs of Muslims and Jews is out of hand.



I’m no religious historian, so correct me if I’m wrong.

The Halal and Kosher traditions came to light aeons ago when the sons and daughters of Abraham lived in searing hot climates and the “blooding” of animals in preparation for cooking and eating dictated the ritual killing — nothing to do with religion, more to do with hygiene.

Hence the “filth” of pigs — who in their right minds would prepare pork in desert climates?

Same goes for seafood.

Come on — let’s get real here.

And what’s “religion” doing demanding the cruel, prolonged and agonising death of helpless animals? What kind of minds allow animals to have their throats cut while they are still alive?

What’s wrong with electric stunning if we go on with this insensitive and cruel practice?

It can’t be religiously illegal for the simple reason that when it was decreed animals were to be tortured, electricity hadn’t been discovered.

The Sunday Age began a strong condemnation of ritual killings of animals with Linda McCartney’s famous quote:

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls the whole world would be vegetarian.”

Oh, and by the way, let me stick my neck out a bit further.

It seems to me there is a very thin line indeed separating the practises of Judaism and Islam.

Both bar women from taking part in religious ceremonies.

Orthodox female Jews need to cover their heads.

Both make male circumcision mandatory.

And then there’s the demeaning law that sexual intercourse can only take place at certain times of the month.

Surely today men and women have an unalienable right to make love whenever the mood strikes them and whatever part of the cycle the female might be in at the time.

God only knows what else is demanded but surely, for starters, that’s quite enough.

The Roman Catholics were set in a time warp regarding procreation — that law which was made by men who were supposedly celibate got tossed out and only the most orthodox of Catholic Christians would worry about it today.

Now – burqas.

What a joke they are.

In another life – while living in New York and representing the interests of some Middle East oil producers – I  regularly commuted between the countries of the Arabian Gulf to London and New York.

The first time I saw a few of the Gulf princesses covered from head to toe and settle down in their first class seats and buckle up, I thought: “wow, how uncomfortable for them”.


The moment the seat belt signs were turned off, they were off to the toilets and emerged in jeans, sandals and shirts.

No burqas.

I rest my case.  
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