One year ago, on Sept. 3rd, 2020, Atheist Republic's founder Armin Navabi tweeted the statement, "Okay, I'm in love with Hinduism. I never knew you had sexy goddesses like these. Why would anyone pick any other religion?" along with a pin-up style illustration of the Hindu Goddess Kali. What was intended as a ploy to shake off the right-wing Hindu nationalist Armin had inadvertently attracted for his #DesecrateTheQuran campaign quickly escalated into the largest, most depraved and vitriolic backlash that many activists had seen in their entire careers. Despite the harassment, abuse, hacking attempts, legal complaints, and social media blocking orders, there was a silver lining to the "Sexy Kali Affair"; Atheist Republic's community and audience reached new heights, and the boost in financial support allowed us to bring back programming that had previously been affected by the pandemic. So let's celebrate the goddess who made much of what we do today possible!
No matter what we were taught from an early age, the truth is that hatred is often borne out of made-up differences between groups. Behind all the symbols and beneath the traditional and conservative clothing, no excuse should prevent us from embracing each other.
In Hinduism, “Holy Basil” is venerated for its antimicrobial properties and is believed to be an earthly manifestation of the Goddess Tulsi, an avatar of the goddess Lakshmi, and therefore a consort of the god Vishnu. Meanwhile, Sita is the wife of Lord Rama, who himself is an avatar of Vishnu. Over time, Tulsi and Sita realized that they were both romantically involved with different manifestations of the same heavenly personality. Both tired of playing second fiddle to all the different women in their male lover’s life, Tulsi and Sita found comfort in each other’s embrace instead!
The Japanese Shinto goddess of dawn, Ame-no-Uzume, became the inventor of dance and comedy after she put on a performance to tempt the goddess of the rising sun, Amaterasu Ōmikami, out of her self-imposed seclusion in a cave that plunged the world into total darkness. While in public she gets joy out of bringing comedic entertainment to others, in private she enjoys the comforting restriction experienced while wrapped in shibari, or Japanese rope bondage.
When Sister Benedetta made the serious decision to wed herself to Christ and spend the rest of her life as a nun, she believed that her vow of chastity was a small price to pay for the chance of deepening her relationship with God. She spent days and nights in devoted prayer, appealing to the Lord for a glimpse of his glory in the form of a vision sent to her. Then one night, she awoke with a shock and felt a premise in her bed. She looked up to find one of God’s messengers pressed closely against her, and the heavenly herald delivered a message of love to Sister Benedetta that she certainly wasn’t expecting.
According to Islamic scripture, the Prophet Muhammad forbade his followers from using stringed instruments, comparing it to unlawful sex. He was firm in his belief that such music could cause hypocrisy and unfaithfulness in the hearts of his believers. That was until one day Muhammad heard the sound of Hindu goddess Saraswati playing her enchanting instrument, the veena. The song that she evoked on her veena captured his mind and seduced him entirely. Here you can see Saraswati, with her veena strung across her back, after she charmed Muhammad with her song.