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Grimm - thankyou for your detailed response.

It's great that you're able to do work for less privilleged folk in your area. I'm sorry that in trying to make a point I attacked you personally.

Here's a question for all - what does cause African children to starve? If it isn't your fault, is it anybodies?

No problem, Magicmiles - I need to learn to be a bit more rational when addressing this particular thought - it's a hotbutton for me, and you had no way of knowing.

Regardless - I'm going to say something most other folks here are going to grouse at me about:

It's everyone's fault.  Everybody's.  From the people who are victims to the ones doing the victimizing, to we, in first-world nations that, by our existence and the models of current commerce exploit others, and to those who just like shooting guns at people who scream and bleed.

Even with that, as a whole, the world right now, in the sorry state in which we see it, is still far better, far less violent, far closer to something akin to a sort of universal brotherhood and conscientiousness than it has been in any decade previous to this one.  (http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html - there are other sources, this one's just a good one).  We live in an age when, frankly, problems that we thought were absolutely insurmountable do have solutions, even in the face of greed and the insatiable appetite some have for power.

This largely coincides with two things:  access to information and the rise of common understanding.  In areas of the world where access to information is ready, easy, and unfettered, people tend to have more of a sort of 'social consciousness'; they start to see how they things they do affect the world around them, both for good and ill.  You can see it in the US in microcosm; in the rural, deep south, violence motivated by personal, religious, and racial motives far outstrips the more urban northeast and west, while the 'middle belt' of the US (Tennessee and west through the Plains), which is slowly modernizing in a different way seems to be finding a different path to those lower rates of violent crime.

The point, I suppose, is that as long as we all recognize that we can do something, whether that's locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally - and we do it, then this world will get steadily better.  Doing that has to come with the realization that 'fault' is pointless - everyone can do something, and if everyone did, well.  These problems wouldn't exist.

Simple, right?  Nobody gets any righteousness as long as someone's starving, someone doesn't have access to medicine, or someone is being trampled by a warlord somewhere. 

To a humanist, to most atheists, this is the only life anyone has.  There is no afterlife - seeing those starving kids drives home the point that their lives are precious for that simple fact.  If I can make it better - if I can make somebody else's better, and they can do that for someone else, or maybe that inspires someone else to do something good - maybe my little actions will pay it forward somehow, maybe it'll make a difference.

When Haiti's earthquakes happened, I sent blankets and donated to the Red Cross.  A local church sent electronic bibles.  Which one of us, do you think, did them more good?

Anyway, that's the end point.  We all have to do something, and 'enabling prayer' isn't doing anything at all.  And these guys can go on all day about history and fault, and they're even right - but that doesn't change anything going forward. 
Changed Change Reason Date
The Gawd +1 July 23, 2012, 09:19:59 PM
ParkingPlaces Time to pass out some Karma: Grimm first March 21, 2012, 09:36:29 PM
wright +1 for an eloquent summary of responsible humanism March 21, 2012, 09:04:42 PM