Knives bearing symbols, or as symbols, religious or otherwise

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David Mary

pass the mustard - after you cut it
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There was very interesting discussion of differing viewpoints on this that came up in GKD (regarding a khukuri). The thoughts I want to add to it reflect the way I look at it, and touch on religion, so I will do it here in my sub forum rather than in the general forums where anything religious is not well received.


the knife company, says it is a symbol some hindu diety
[...]
that why I want to go with a western version of a kukri

even if it WAS religious, why are you so against owning something from another country, another culture, another religion, that has markings on it to represent/celebrate/signify them? I'm pretty sure God will not strike you down for owning a tool from another country and a differing religion. :rolleyes:

If he's not comfortable with that, there's no reason for you to contemn him for it.

(quick note this was not a typo, but meant to be contemn, not condemn - similar but different!)

In this day and age, I just find it awfully narrow-minded that there is still intolerance of other religions and cultures.

Shane, I cannot speak for B Bare Knuckle Honky (what a username!) but let's say it were I who said I didn't want a symbol representing a religion on my blade. My reasoning would be because I only believe in one specific religion as true. And that religion teaches that other religions are actually bad for the soul, hence I would be going against my own beliefs by sporting a symbol from another religion.

By very nature, the khukuri IS from another country, culture and religion and has deep-rooted associations with all of them

This is very true.

well I respect your view point,
perhaps presupposing what God's view on something is
would be is a catagory mistake in philosophy though
many people would say then just dont own any kukri I respect that viewpoint as valid
but thats like saying if you dont like communism dont own an AK -47

That is exactly what I am saying.

The khukuri is NOT a western knife, nor will it ever be one - even if it says "Made in USA". It has no ties to western culture or religion at all.

Not "this".

Look at it this way - in another (far-reaching) analogy, let's say the OP wanted a Nazi Swastika or SS badge, but he wanted it "made in USA" because he doesn't like what the symbols stand for. Does that change the meaning of the symbol? No, the symbols still represent what they are.

A khukuri is associated with the Nepalese Ghurkas, and their culture and religion. Where the blade is made or what symbols are or aren't on it, does not change that. The khukuri still honors who and what it was created for - another culture, another religion.

Which is why I suggested he not own a khukuri at all if he is bothered by some aspect of that knife, and what and who it represents. The knife IS the symbol.

But a piece of steel is a piece of steel, and no religion or culture has an exclusive "copyright" on the shape, or grind, or material used in any given knife. So while the khukuri design has an origin, I would disagree that it, its variants and derivatives, are inherently and indistinguishable from the cultural identity that brought them forth. Technology and culture are two things that I believe evolve. Additionally, symbols are largely subjective. They are only symbols insofar as the evoke meaning to those perceiving them.

Could be a false idols thing.

I would compare it more like kosher or halal. Where you can eat foreign things but they have to be specific.

Here we go. Because I worked in a bottle shop once and had people ask this.

Kosher wine made in Australia.

So a basically non Jewish country. But there is some process there that makes it ok to drink.

This is how I would look at it. My religion teaches that I should not agree with something immoral or contrary to the faith. I would interpret owning and using a knife with a picture of a deity from what I believe to be a false religion as an act of disobedience and disrespect towards the God I do believe in.


I find it odd that religion is suddenly an aspect of owning a blade in this case. Anybody ever read any of his previous posts? Like advocating using a super soaker full of drain cleaner to spray into a crowd, or carrying rubber mallets and tennis rackets as improvised deadly weapons, etc. He posted a few days about owning a Cold Steel Royal kukri he wants to use in "hand to hand combat applications"......and he's getting antsy about something that may or may not be a religious symbol? What happened to "Thou shalt not kill"?
I'd think twice before offering any advice on this subject.....

Thou shalt not kill, contextually, at least in my religion, is thou shalt not murder, i.e. don't take innocent life. In my belief system, there is room for justifiable self defense, capital punishment for crimes serious enough, and just war against a hostile force. In each of these cases, the understanding is that the assailant, criminal, or invading force is (or was caught) actively threatening to take innocent life which it had no right to take, and hence, by way of equity/justice, forfeited its own right thereto.

Feel free to continue the discussion here. I know there will be differing viewpoints, so let's keep it matter of fact, considerate, and civil. Thank you, and Happy Easter.
 
I appreciate the time and thought you put into your post David.

Allow me to further explain or respectfully disagree with a couple points.

The khukuri IS a symbol. Yes, it is just a knife without copyright, but it is a unique design by a specific culture and religion and has a deep-rooted attachment to that culture and religion. It is not pagan or anti-Christian to own that knife - unless of course, you intend to idolize or worship it. Simple ownership or usage of this tool hardly seems sacrilegious. Do you honestly believe that if this already religious and cultural knife had a religious symbol on it, it would make it somehow worse for a Christian to own? The knife itself without symbols already represents a culture and religion (Nepalese Gurkha Hinduism). It is a centuries-old design used in countless (non-Christian) religious ceremonies over the centuries in the Southern Asia.

As I said in the other thread, there is NOTHING western or Christian about a Khukuri. It was invented in Asia and used in battle and ceremonies (again, many religious in nature) for the last 1300 years before western civilization capitalized on its design. And most authentic Asian khukuris being made today are still blessed by a Hindi holy man, to protect its owner and bring good luck in battle.

So with that being said, are you saying no Christian should own a khukuri? Or it's OK to own a Cold Steel one because it is only a reproduction of the true cultural/(non-Christian) religious tool, (and most likely not blessed by a Hindi holy man :p).

With respect, and Happy Easter wishes!
 
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So with that being said, are you saying no Christian should own a khukuri?

There is a history to the design, certainly. And some individual khukuris would be, as you said, explicitly ritualized, but some not. So my answer is no, because as I said, I disagree that a khukuri is inherently a religious symbol. In fact even with symbols there are degrees. I think most will agree the cross represents Christianity. Most will probably also agree that the six pointed start represents modern-day Judaism. But ultimately they are just shapes that for their own reasons have come to be associated with a certain meaning. I propose the same is true of the khukuri, except on a much more subjective level. If most people's minds immediately go to "He's a Christian" because he's sporting a cross, then I would acknowledge a higher degree of inherence to the symbol. But I don't think most people's minds to go to "he's a Hindu" because he's wearing a khukuri.

These (a pic from before the were fully finished) were made by a westerner and a Christian. I would not have made them if I believed they were inherently a symbol of a non-Christian religion. I don't believe any knife design is inherently such a symbol.

IMG_5708.JPG
 
Interesting, if not somewhat open to interpretation.

I on the other hand, I do associate the khukuri as a Nepalese Hindi tool, regardless of who makes it, where it is made, where it is shipped to, or who owns it.

This is one of the few knives that I believe is instantly recognizable for what it is, and what it represents (again, Nepalese Gurkha Hinduism). But I am still certain God does not frown upon me for owning one, no more than He may for owing a Benchmade or Spyderco.

I guess this comes down to the individual's interpretation of what this knife represents, and to some degree - the interpretation of God's word regarding owning such a symbolic tool.

P.S. Great looking khuks!
 
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1) That bare knuckles won't last. He lacks what SD folks term "Situational Awareness".

A) Having met a few Ghurkas at Commonwealth training base I can be sure that their Khukris are treated as a working tools. They are respected because of what they're used for. Any Westerner who wanted to carry and use one as it was intended would not offend.
 
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The Sgian-dubh while not religious in itself is a pretty ceremonial piece. If someone made one with a NACAR logo on it they're probably out of their lane.

The Kirpan is a religous symbol and I would suggest at no time anyone make one unless it was for a person of the Sikh faith.
 
I can respect not wanting religious symbols on my tools/toys, especially if that symbol didn't align with my personal beliefs. I know David's beliefs and respect that he puts his principles in everything he makes, but I would be hesitant to collect his wonderful blades if they had a great big crucifix engraved on them.

As for knucklehead, looking at his posts I think he sounds more like those folks who desperately wants to feel what its like to hurt/kill someone in the name of protecting property. I'm not sure that guy should be repping any peaceful faith.
 
I have a hard time recognizing the kukri as any form of religious article. It is just a tool. A knife that evolved from the falcata and kopis. So why a Hindi, and not ancient Egyptian or even Christian? Also, shouldn’t we be able to appreciate the cultural or historical relationship without being imbued with associated values?

There is also an element of hypocrisy here; no one is suggesting that only certain beliefs should be allowed to drink water or wine?

N2s
 
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I guess this comes down to the individual's interpretation of what this knife represents, and to some degree - the interpretation of God's word regarding owning such a symbolic tool.

I believe we are in agreement on this aspect of the question then.
 
D Danke42 please modify your first line in post #5 to be in line with the spirit of this discussion and sub forum:

I know there will be differing viewpoints, so let's keep it matter of fact, considerate, and civil.

Thank you.
 
I would be hesitant to collect his wonderful blades if they had a great big crucifix engraved on them.

A knife, as a tool that gets used, abused, and gets dirty doesn't feel like the appropriate medium for religious symbols to me either.

The Kirpan is a religous symbol and I would suggest at no time anyone make one unless it was for a person of the Sikh faith.

Well, okay I agree with this, too. Except that my understanding is a Kirpan has specific symbols and ornamentation on it to distinguish it as what it is, in addition to the shape. Otherwise it is just a really curvy Persian, n'est ce pas?
 
As for knucklehead, looking at his posts I think he sounds more like those folks who desperately wants to feel what its like to hurt/kill someone in the name of protecting property.

I have not read the posts in question, but we have seen this kind of thing a few times around here. So without reference to anyone's stance in particular, I will say that while I believe it is naturally lawful to use force to protect self and property (though different jurisdictions have their own minutiae on the question), one should not relish the thought of having to do so, and should even hope to be able to do it to the minimum effective degree if it ever became necessary.
 
I have a hard time recognizing the kukri as any form of religious article. It is just a tool. A knife that evolved from the falcata and kopis. So why a Hindi, and not ancient Egyptian or even Christian? Also, shouldn’t we be able to appreciate the cultural or historical relationship without being imbued with associated values?

I agree with this, given that the tool is not explicitly decked out as religiously ceremonial.

There is also an element of hypocrisy here; no one is suggesting that only certain beliefs should be allowed to drink water or wine?

Care to elaborate? I'm not sure I have seen anyone make a comment that would imply this analogy.
 
D Danke42 please modify your first line in post #5 to be in line with the spirit of this discussion and sub forum:



Thank you.
Sure his temp ban is probably just about expire anyway.

After this significant weekend I am going to expand on my take of this too.

No knife unless it's specifically meant for a religions use or ceremony should bear religious symbols. If you' selling knives and branding them with symbols like that you would be going against the intent of any religion I can recall. None of them are some sort of multi level marketing scheme where the chosen/believers/members can profit from the brand. That's the first point.

The second point is that too many charlatans are already occupying this space and your chance of being catalog as the same is real. The first example would the current holder of the hot seat Jake Hoback; he wrapped himself in a flag and armored himself with the bible but then he was found out to be very much less than honest in is business. Then the second object lesson would be Bullpin who uses a Crusader as his avatar but is more than willing to go back on his world for the princely sum of twenty five dollars; with today's exchange that's not even one piece of silver.

So while you don't strike me as either of those people I still strongly feel that keeping your personal faith separate from commerce is the best practice.
 
So while you don't strike me as either of those people I still strongly feel that keeping your personal faith separate from commerce is the best practice.

I won't know for sure what type of person I really am until I stand before Him and He lays me bare.

I remember reading about the Hoback situation. I don't know Bullpin. I don't consider disclosure of my personal beliefs as a means of marketing. If anything, I probably have fewer customers than I could as a result. But I disclose it because it is important to me as an individual, and I was that long before I was ever a knife maker.
 
I won't know for sure what type of person I really am until I stand before Him and He lays me bare.

I remember reading about the Hoback situation. I don't know Bullpin. I don't consider disclosure of my personal beliefs as a means of marketing. If anything, I probably have fewer customers than I could as a result. But I disclose it because it is important to me as an individual, and I was that long before I was ever a knife maker.
Well there's a big difference in being honest about who you are vs. using aspects of your personality or beliefs as a sales tool.

Someone who sells themselves as perfectionist who only makes clinically perfect knives but isn't will be found out quickly. Someone who uses faith as a sales feature when they're faithless will likely be caught too but not till they've had a long run. And the prior example only damages their own reputation the second example does damage to themselves and to the faith they pretended to hold. Same goes for the makers who talk up a Special Forces or military experience when they really have none.
 
I'm not at all concerned about Khukri being seen as religious symbols.

As I said in that thread, I did alter a reverse swastika on one, just to avoid any confusion or miss interpretation when using or carying, or displaying or posting pics...etc...
 
May I add a penny's worth to this?
(It's probably not worth a full two cents....)
My God is a kind and forgiving God: who stretches his arms out around all who accept him.
He exists everywhere and is all things to ALL people.
It doesn't what He is called: as long as you believe.

And I like the looks of the knives: regardless of where they come from!
 
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