Author Topic: The Perils of Belief  (Read 234 times)

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Offline Graybeard

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The Perils of Belief
« on: January 06, 2014, 01:29:27 PM »
Only recently have governments protected indigenous tribespeople from the rapacious destruction of a way of life:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25561810

"Whatever happens they [tribespeople] are all doomed to disappear shortly from this earth."... this was the judgement of a fundamentalist Christian missionary with whom Lewis talked when he visited Vietnam in the 1950s. The missionary made the declaration with a shrug, but also with some satisfaction. He viewed the country's tribal peoples with distaste and even disgust. In their majestic, steeple-roofed long houses, they lived with their pigs, hens and dogs, taking little thought for the morrow. For them wealth was embodied in ancient gongs and jars, which they collected and treasured. Feasting and drinking their traditional rice wine as often as they could, they only worked for wages when compelled to do so.

Though they would later be persecuted and displaced from their homelands when a Communist government came to power, for the missionary the tribal peoples were no better than communist themselves. He welcomed the fact that they were forced to work in the French rubber plantations, often being beaten or tortured, since in these conditions there was no possibility of escape and a return to their wicked ways. Some of the French colonial civil servants, who along with the rubber companies ruled Vietnam at the time, took a more intelligent view. One of them, a doctor and anthropologist, considered the tribes to have one of the happiest and most attractive civilisations on the planet. ...

So when the missionary told Lewis that the tribes and their way of life were about to disappear from the earth, Lewis could not disagree: "I was sure he was right."

More at the link.


A sad story showing that absolute belief in anything is unlikely to benefit anyone. Evangelicals... why don't they observe and think?
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline EV

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Re: The Perils of Belief
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 04:15:07 PM »
I read this article yesterday morning and was appalled. I have always been sad that so many people's ways of life and own belief and language systems have been erased from the planet by the ruthless spreading and proselytising of Christian Missionary ideals.

The slaughters of the communist party were no better, I'd like to add. The destruction of the Church and forced Atheism by the Red Party were wrong, freedom of religion is (unfortunately!) a right I believe we all deserve. I'd never seek to actively convert or deconvert someone nowadays, as I believe it devalues their moral integrity. Informed debate is okay, as it allows two-way exchange of thought.

Going into a tribal territory and showing off advanced technology whilst proclaiming your God made you is a method that unfortunately usually wins. As the old quote goes: 'Suitably advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.'. Or in this case, indistinguishable from divine intervention.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: The Perils of Belief
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 05:12:24 PM »
A sad story showing that absolute belief in anything is unlikely to benefit anyone. Evangelicals... why don't they observe and think?
Because then they might realize that they weren't actually right.

Online xyzzy

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Re: The Perils of Belief
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2014, 09:09:51 PM »
Going into a tribal territory and showing off advanced technology whilst proclaiming your God made you is a method that unfortunately usually wins. As the old quote goes: 'Suitably advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.'. Or in this case, indistinguishable from divine intervention.

This, unfortunately, is an act that I find quite loathsome. I've mentioned this in an another thread, but I have friends who do go on various "mission" trips providing "humanitarian relief". I appreciate that much of their concern is genuine and well-meant.

However, what really makes me want to puke, is that they never explain that the technological interventions that they bring with them, work whether one believes in them or not. Instead, they "allow" uneducated and superstitious people to compare and contrast the efficacy of their beliefs and deities with that of the Christian faith.

In doing so, those on a so-called mission trip can claim that they did not go with the primary purpose of proselytizing. Invariably, though, they tell me that they are happy to "share" their faith and their beliefs with these other people and that it would be wrong not to explain what Christians believe if they are asked to do so. Bible reading and prayer sessions invariably follow. All, of course, in response to an educationally-disadvantaged individual's queries, possibly made out of respect or courtesy.

It's an powerful psychological technique for which these recipients of their aid are already cognitively primed to accept, and for which they likely have no defence. Hence, it's something that I find morally repugnant to the point of disgust.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool -- Richard Feynman
You are in a maze of twisty little religions, all alike -- xyzzy