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Is Religion Or Practising 2 (main) Religions A Curse Or A Blessing For Nigeria?

Nigeria is deeply divided when it comes to religion, both main religions preach peace and love, yet we are a nation where every religion wants to outdo or outsmart the other. We keep killing each other (religios riots). We have Imams and Pastors living off the largesse of their congregants (no beef, congregants are not complaining), while some members live in absolute penury. Homes and families are destroyed as a result of supposed revelations in houses of worship. We dislike and generalize based on someones religion. When politicians and other stewards are caught red handed, they quickly take solace in their religion/ God. You hear comments like "God will vindicate me"

What is it with religion or 2 religions, is it a blessing or a curse for Nigeria?  Would like your thoughts.

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Religion is among the factors that continue to divide the citizens of Nigeria, although not the only factor, it is an effective tool of oppression. However, in my examination of things in Nigeria, Religion is a curse for Nigeria and a huge source of pessimissm and complacency.

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Thanks folks, even with the diversions, i have thoroughly enjoyed your comments.

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The question I asked was;

All religious movements have a set of core tenets/doctrines/beliefs/precepts. What are the core atheist tenets/doctrines/beliefs/precepts? Having read some atheist philosophers as Nagel et al, can you show us how these philosophers defend these tenets and how these are instrumental in governing their lives?

And there is your response:

Besides saying that atheist lead their lives without regard to god(s), you did not say anything about core atheistic tenets/doctrines/beliefs/precepts. In your reading of the atheist writers, have you come across any who address core atheistic tenets/doctrines/beliefs/precepts? I would like to know who they are.

Do any of these authors discuss whether one should get married or not, whether one should be vegetarian or not, whether one should give to charity or not, whether one should support one political party as opposed to another, how one should spend one's leisure time, etc, etc. These are the sorts of things I expect to see addressed within tenets/doctrines/beliefs/precepts.

Like I said in the other thread, there are advocates of the naturalistic worldview who address such things.

I think you made another typo. But I acknowledge your mistake.

I think we are splitting hairs here. Whether it is the origin or the evolution, the point I am making is that at some point in the distant past, an explosive event happened, the evidence of which is still seen today. If you want to take issue, this is the point you should be dealing with.

Who are the well-accepted experts whose opinions you offered? I did not see that. I saw a post about the BB you made, but I would have liked to see their opnions presented independently by yourself.

I mentioned the following experts in this thread

1) George Smoot, Nobel Laureate on work for CMB,

2) Alan Guth, Originator of the inflationary theory

3) Michio Kaku

4) Neil deGrasse Tyson

5) Alexei Filippenko

6) Steven Weinburg

7) Victor Stenger

8.) Stephen Hawkins

9) Roger Penrose

10) Paul Davis

In fact, I have read books by George Smoot, Victor Stenger, Paul Davis and many others. I have got about 3 textbooks of cosmology sitting at by desk right now and many folders of lecture notes from the University of Manchester, Physics Department on this subject. I am pursuing a Diploma in Cosmology, with particular reference to CMB and BB at the University, but I have had to suspend my work this year because of childbirth in the family. So my interest in this runs deep.

Where did I assume you are ignorant of CMB? I was developing a line of argument, by stating facts and asking rhetorical questions. Does that mean I was assuming you to be ignorant of the facts. Take a look again. Does it say anywhere that you are ignorant?

My questions still remain:

How would you explain measure cosmic expansion rates and CMB?

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Who is the god(s) venerated by the Buddhists (at least, the traditional form)? Can you show me any reputed philosophers (or philosophies) of religions that classify buddhism as theistic?

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@pilgrim

No wahala, personally like I said earlier I think tribalism is culprit, pastor made another good point which is corruption, but these should be played out in the politics section hence my trying to be mute on the thread.

But to follow the poster's line of thought religion may have caused chaos in many parts of the world but I think it would be stretching the truth to add Nigeria, its not the cause per say but it does hinder the solutions.

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Well, when oyinbo man arrive, dem carry religion come, Africa get money, gold, strong and smart men and civilization,

Now dem carry us use build dem land, now na oyinbo land get Money, and civilization, smart people too, and Na Africa come get Religion now!! hmnn

P.s, does anyone know the name of the first Slave ship that left from the coast of Africa to America in 1555 is "JESUS von lubeck"

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And, oh. . Chrisbenogor, I owe you an apology on this:

. . . didn't mean it on you personally. It's just that people should by now grow up and refrain from this hypocrisy of often seeking to blame their unintellectual accidents on other people's worlviews. Cheers.

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I reckon to look at religion as the source of nigeria's problems is too superficial. The problem is a corruption that is intrinsic and endemic and will manifest regardless of religion, ideology, creed, doctrine, . . . whatever. Religious indoctrination is powerless to stop it. In fact religion and anything else it comes into contact with will just be transformed into a tool for it to continue it's activities.

I believe the problem is much deeper and it precedes the introduction of christianity into africa by the white man. We need to discuss why there is no architecture of note in Africa when there is architecture in every continent (apart from australia). Apart from Lalibela in Ethiopia where buildings were carved out of mountain there are no structures of note that our ancestors built. Why did we export so much of our labour, talent, and brains out of africa to a foreign land? Why is there a notable self loathing to be found in most african peoples? We need to start discussing and researching these issues.

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I am in total agreement with you sir. All those long long posts between pilgrim and huxley are really becoming tiresome. I reckon you two should exchange emails and continue your debates in private.

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Dear pilgrim,

Hypocrisy is not the point of this thread, it does not make the issues go away. Discussing atheists that have been irrational does not change the fact that the poster is asking how religious irrationalism has derailed this country or the world at large.

But when if the post is about comparing both of them then we can go ahead.

Where were we when it all started, I was sleeping then had to see me dentist:-) but we are here now and lets stop deflecting questions with the hypocrisy wild card it is putting a lid on us intellectually.

Cheers.

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Hi Chrisbenogor,

I think the hypocrisy goes both ways, and it's even more hypocritical for atheists to assume that it is only about religious irrationality that Nigeria's problems could be viewed. If one wants to talk about the topic of this thread and keep to it, where were you guys when it was being derailed by athiests?

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I think this should be settled once and for all.

We should stop dodging issues using the hypocrisy wild card. It derails issues, if the thread is about how atheism affects nigeria then fine but it is not. Religious irrationalism is what is being discussed here, and we need to address the issue at hand regardless of whether atheism is irrational too. That simple.

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@huxley,

I'm sorry, but there's no need for being over-reactive here. Your postulation for a "well-reasoned, philosophically assessed proposition(s)" simply shows you have no clue about the Communist manifesto. One may argue long and hard about this slake of ideas, but no matter how you slice it, it only comes back to you in a detrimental way to show precisely that the Communist factor cannot be ignored as far as that same ideology you project is concerned.

What you consider a "blow" against others is much more heavier against atheistic philosophies - and we have seen it demonstrated again and again in many quarters besides communism.

Lol, please refrain from being this humourous. Now you agree that atheism is the denial of the existence of God/gods, which is good to know; and for all that even that position to deny the supernatural is hardly rational - which I take from your admission that it is possible for the atheist to be irrational, no?

Besides, I wonder why you guys seem to be so inconsistent in your philosophical musings - if morality is an onomatophobia to the athiestic worldview, then for crying out loud why do you guys bother so much about this very issue? Since atheism says "nothing" about morals and ethics (I doubt it very much), then why has that been such a problem to the atheist himself? It tends to hypocrisy to keep harping at what one has no solution or say in, while trying to school others about how that very thing should be understood and done! If atheism says nothing about morals and ethics, it then becomes a laughable adventure for atheists themselves to even describe themselves as "Atheist Ethicist". I think we have gone past this idea of making bland statements to wave in people's faces as if people are ignorant of the facts on ground.

I'm sorry again, but please don't even try to wave this simplistic idea promoted by people like Michael Martin in our face. Buddhism is NOT atheism by any stretch; and if you want to take me up on that, I shall be too glad to help throw Martin's miscalculations about this to the bin once and for all. I'm not being crude, huxley. . . but I'm weary already of celebrated writers misleading the public - which was what Martin did; and yet I have looked in vain to see how many atheists have tried to correct Martin.

Okay, I'll grant that to you from the explanations you gave. True, I had not reasoned it the way you have just explained, and that was why I pushed for a clear statement to be made as not to confuse the reader of the paradigm. Good one.

I would very much have wanted to skip this point yet again, not because there are no answers, but rather because you keep ignoring the basic premise of keeping things in their propoer perspectives between theology and teleology. Please huxley, repeat after me: "they are not the same." That is the first lesson you would have to learn and not keep ignoring that issue to make a case for irrational thinking.

When you talk about "evidence", one has to ask what type of evidence you're looking for. If your claim to "evidence" is merely a matter of bending phenomena to naturalistic rationalism, I'm sorry to disappoint you - because even that worldview is inadequate to explain the super[/i]natural. There are just two ways round this:

(a) Ask the atheist what he believes but cannot "prove" - and I have given just one example of Richard Dawkins in another thread. The point here is to ask if Dawkins' inability to "prove" what he believes should let anyone take him seriously. Why is anyone not asking him to drop his "belief" in the face of his inability to "prove" it?

(b) Ask the skeptic to investigate orphic phenomena - and his immediate reaction is to denounce what he cannot deny as a "hoax". Yet, it is a sad event to observe that these same skeptics are no longer coughing out as loud when evidence for what they denounce are presented to them. I shall get back to this point.

The point here is that if you're asking me to provide "evidence" of a naturalistic kind for something that is supernaturally determined, don't you think you have it confused already? I know at this point, the usual tendency is to scuff at what is supernatural; but in due course, I shall present a few pointers to help your calm down in these matters.

The grounds for my believing in the creation narrative is not based on the BB theory, but rather on the fact that we find a reality with us today that sin and evil ([i]sometimes synonymous) are evident today in our experiences. How do you account for the reality of evil from the epistemologies you ahve been arguing, whether from the Big Bang theory or any other naturalistic theories?

The Virgin birth of Jesus Christ is not to be misconstrued for His "origin". Mary gave birth to the Humanity of Christ, not His Deity. . . and in His Deity, He preceded Mary.

I don't turn the tables round, but rather try to offer you a context for discussing these issues. Your problem has been to use atheistic arguments against theism, under the pretence of "science", as if theists do not engage in science or only atheists do science. Once you can learn to not confuse yourself between theology and teleology, things will be easier for you - nobody worships science or knowledge: and both atheists and theists are engaged in science. The problem with irrationalism is to pretend to this hubris of science against religion and make victims from unnecessary arguments.

Good question - have I ever taken that approach? Do evangelical Christians often take that approach? However, what often happens in this case is that when Christians are discussing on issues of their faith, the first reaction from most atheists is to seek to attack them. Even you have yourself said several times that you delight in attacking other people's worldview - what sense is in that? Isn't it strange indeed that it would have to be theist who calls your attention round that matter to show you that the first principle of reason is not to "attack" or disrespect ideas, but to learn and educate people both ways? I am not a Sikh or atheist, but my approach has never been to go out of my way to begin to attack their worldviews unnecessarily.

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If you are honest, why were you pretending the Big Bang theory as the best explanation of the ORIGIN of the Universe, whereas the theorists themselves have said that the BB has no evidence whatsoever for the ORIGIN of the Universe? What sort of entertainment about "TRUTH" are you proposing this evening, huxley?

You see, I have said several times that we should not make ourselves the victims of needless arguments. If you wanted to talk about the origin of the Universe and proposed the Big Bang theory, that would be simply laughable - because we know where to go for info for the BB. From all accounts, honest thinkers will tell you that the BB does not give evidence for the Origin of the Universe.

Shalom.

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This is quite a bizarre comment. Can you show me where I have shown callous disregard for the truth?

Au contrai - I have asked many times about what you guys consider as TRUTH and how to get at the TRUTH. I have posted many threads on the subject, which you guys have unsurprisingly avoided or given shortshrift.

I asked questions like:

1) What is the truth about human origins

2) What is the truth about the origins of the universe

3) What is the most reliable epistemic methology for getting at the truths of reality?

etc,

etc,

If you guys are more concerned about the truth, can you tell me your best epistemic approach at arriving at such truths and can you show how it has reliable served humankind?

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I shall preface this post again by asking you for what you believe. Much as I think I know, having been a Christian myself and lived amongst Christian, read their literature, I think I have a fairly good idea of what it is about. But supposing I am wrong, I am happy to be corrected.

What is it that critics of Christianity are unjustifiably critiquing the religion for?

Are there any core Christian doctrine with which you disagree and on what grounds do you disagree?

Where have or did you try to reason with me on the above? I don't recall us discussing about theology and teleology, but I would like to be corrected. Generally, my guiding principle is that any discussion devoid of evidence will sooner become uninteresting to me.

On the question of the Origin of the Universe, if my recollection serves me correctly, you failed to make any more posts after I pointed out, with the write-ups from Stephen Hawkins, Victor Stenger and Nairaland's own KAG, that the Big Bang theory does not address the question of the origin of matter, which was your bugbear. The origin of matter is address by baryogenesis while Big Bang address the question of cosmic expansion. You abandoned the thread and took flight without so much as acknowledge these contributions. Flight from reason, I call that, errrrhm.

About your thread Our Orphic world. Granted, there are many things we don't yet know and understand about our world. But that is no reason to ascribed them to "supernatural". Mind you, it was not long ago that thunder and lightening were thought to have "supernatural" origins. Do you think they have supernatural origins? Do you think rainbows have supernatural origins? In fact, the thread was so full of such inanities, I felt I'd better leave the for the moon-watchers.

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It's very unfair to assume that. Christians are humans with feelings too, you know.

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But surely, this is what religious orthodoxy demands and Christianity as we have it today has been funnelled through orthodoxy.

I think that with this you've just described Huxley in a nutshell. He will not follow through with a line of reasoning or a discussion that he feels is not heading in the direction that he wants it to go.

Obviously he is not a man who is Concerned with Truth as he may Find It., but rather is agenda driven.

In fact this observation can be applied to a lot of other atheists who start snarling and foaming at the mouth when they are following an argument where they think they have the upper hand but then they run a million miles howling with their tails between their legs when presented with facts that will not support their agendas. Sorry, did I say howling, more like whimpering under their breaths.

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@huxley,

I think you're making a typical mistake that I often read from rationalistic skeptics. In Christianity, people are not asked to believe something because they don't have a choice but to just believe in them. While this is the typical "strawman" strategy that atheists do not like others to use against them, I see the same thing happening here and rather use the term fausse braie ('wrong pitch'). What is happening is that while as an atheist you would not like people to make suppositions about you before you define it for yourself, you seem to be happy to define other people's worldviews for them before even seeking to understand their raison d'etre!

I believe in the tenets of my Christian faith, not because I have no choice than to believe in them. But to assume that I should then be examined by a rationalistic worldvew that has consistently failed to examine its own ideas, is to play the same fausse braie sentimentality that you guys have often decried. If you think it is okay to bend Christianity by the prism of humanistic rationalism, would you be happy also to allow others to bend your own worldviews by the prism of their tenets? If not, does it not suggest the hubris I have often highlighted all along?

I have never shied away from rational dialogue - the reason why you may not have been receiving answers may be due to your prerogative to be determined to be irrational in your outlook and I can point just a few examples of some (who are not even Christians) having pointed this out to you personally.

A second thing is that you often fail to reason along with people, no matter how many times they have shared the same insight with you. An example in this case is when I remember highlighting the difference between THEOLOGY and TELEOLOGY - you keep making the same mistake of ignoring that pointer and then raise issues that when further scrutinized, you would simply have to come back and admit that you were hastily driving wrong assumptions. An example was the discourse on "Origin of the Universe", whereas the grounds for your arguements do not present ny evidence for the "origin" of the Universe.

I'm not here to beg that any "attacks" be forestalled - because the hypocrisy in that statement has been proven so many times. I was one of those who started asking you whether the aim of reason was to "attack" ideas: and even when you acquiesced that it should not be the case, have you stopped or relented in "attacking" others? It is not my worry that atheistic mindsets would always want to "attack" - and that is what stands as testimony that the very idea that atheists are 'rational' people is far from reality. We can dialogue without pretending this hubris; but if that is not sufficient and I make reference to atheistic fundamentalism, you guys protest against such mention. If you're going to reason out issues intelligently, let us know: if otherwise, nothing changes from this habit of holding out something you cannot receive when served at you.

I have my thoughts about Jinns - and I saw the thread you raised for that purpose. But huxley, you're coming a tad too late to asking me this question, because I already have said that I won't discuss anything that has to do with Islam. My discussions are not springboards for Islamic theological debates.

However, what about angels - since Christianity has something to say about the subject? Yes, I believe in angels, but not because I have no choice other than to believe in it. Do I believe in the existence of demons? I do as well, though I'm not affected by them in anyway - that does not mean I haven't seen what they can do to people. It is because the skeptical idea that we should only believe what we can see and account for in a naturalistic sense, that was why I started out the experiement with a thread on "Our Orphic world". It was not my aim to embarass anybody - but the point was to show that there are things happeing in our world which are "supernatural", because they cannot be measured or quantified in naturalistic terms. And for people to keep harping that these things are not "real" and rather "hoaxes" is to pretend the same hubris that has not served the atheistically driven mind of extremum.

It would have been interesting to see how people who are too bent with this extreme positions react to some of those phenomena mentioned earlier - eg., the crop circles, the UFOs, etc. There are more - and mention of these is not that I'm ducking the question of jinn and angels. Rather, I'm indicating to you that your tools of enquiry are too weak to account for supernatural and paranormal phenomena. A second thing to note is that atheism is not science - and to pretend as if it is only atheists who engage in science is to make the same extreme assertion that has not served your cause any better.

Cheers.

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Time was when it was dangerous to declare oneself as a dissident from the secular Rightwing American capitalist doctrine. To even express interest in an alternative ideology, to so much as attend a meeting with communists, was enough to start an inquisition, a witch hunt, A McCarthy style persecution of heretics throughout the land. These evils acts were carried out for doctrinal grounds by the secular authorities. Here are a few cogent examples:

Elmer Bernstein, composer and conductor[48]

Charlie Chaplin, actor[48]

Aaron Copland, composer[48]

Bartley Crum, attorney[49]

Jules Dassin, director[48]

W.E.B. DuBois, civil rights activist and author[50]

Howard Fast, author[51]

Lee Grant, actress[48]

Dashiell Hammett, author[48]

Lillian Hellman, playwright[48]

John Hubley, animator[48]

Langston Hughes, author[52]

Sam Jaffe, actor[48]

Gypsy Rose Lee, actress[53]

Philip Loeb, actor[54]

Joseph Losey, director[48]

Burgess Meredith, actor[53]

Arthur Miller, playwright and essayist[53]

Zero Mostel, actor[48]

Clifford Odets, author[48]

J. Robert Oppenheimer, physicist, "father of the atomic bomb"[55]

Linus Pauling, chemist, winner of two Nobel prizes[56]

Paul Robeson, actor, athlete, singer, author, political and civil rights activist[57]

Edward G. Robinson, actor[53]

Waldo Salt, author[48]

Pete Seeger, folk singer[52]

Artie Shaw, jazz musician[52]

Howard Da Silva, actor[48]

Paul Sweezy, economist and founder-editor of Monthly Review[58]

Tsien Hsue-shen, physicist[59]

Orson Welles, actor, author and director[53]

[edit]Critical reactions

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That doesn't help your suggestion that "the leaders can do a lot more to help the masses than God" - the same leaders you disdain is are the same you're applauding to do a lot more than God.

Secondly, your reposte here does not help your submission that "the masses would somwhow relinquish their belief in God", just because of corrupt politicians. You're mixing the two. Why is it that just because some people are atheists, they just can't see things for what they are and must every single time seek to blame all of their misgivings on theism? Is that how rational people who are "rationalists" can think? Just an observation, though.

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Whoever feels arrested for expressing their thoughts should answer that question.

What have your atheistic leaders done to their masses without the help of God?

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Religion is a curse in Nigeria or shall i say Africa because the masses would rather put their faith and trust in God to solve their problems rather than look to their leaders because according to them God is more superior than their leaders, but in the real world that we live in the leaders can do a lot more to help the masses than God if the masses would somwhow relinquish their belief in God and hold their leaders to accountability

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I hear, at least no one would arrest you for your own opinions. Cheers.

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Nigeria is dying because of religion peroid!

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@mazaje,

It helps to read issues instead of your pretexts. The matter here was not that he (huxley) was asking me to "prove" the existence of those phenomena. I pointed out that it helps to be rational when people discuss, rather than start out slurring other people's worldviews and then expect that they would give answers to your queries - that is the point here, and anyone can see it. Is it too much to ask you guys to be sensible when you try to discuss issues with others?

I'm not given to these drivels, mazaje, I've said so on many occasions. If you want us to go back yet again and show up statistics of the impact of atheistic savages, please let me know. Playing around these hubris is not passing you off as intelligent.

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You just cant have it both ways, you believe in angels, demons, satan etc but when asked to prove their existence you digress and start talking about something else. . . . tell me or show me and example of how angels/demons have impacted the world in which we live in with evidence. . . . left for religion alone people would have been living like savages. . . rational thinking and reasoning is what makes the world a better place not angels, god, demons,jinns and Allah. . . . . . . . .

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Okay, I hear you. Yes, you're right that as a Christian, I believe that there are witches, demons, the devil, angels, etc. But it is wrong and quite unhealthy to assume my position for me before you try to understand where I stand. In just the same way as it would be wrong for me to assume your position in atheism even before you have defined it for yourself, regardless of the fact that there are so many definitions of atheism given by atheists themselves.

One such wrong assumption to make is that, even though I'm a Christian who believes that such phenomena exist, I'm not driven to endanger anyone's life on that basis. Do I believe in the Bible? yes, I do - and my discussions on the forum should clarify that position so well to a casual observer. However, even as a Christian, I do not have the authority to define the way the Bible should be interpreted for ALL Christians, just as you huxley do not have the rationale or moral position to define what atheism should be for every single atheist.

I think that quite a number of people have observed this attitude in many users, and they have called our attention to it. However, the question still remains: what do we gain personally if the main feature of our interractions is to misrepresent and ridicule other people's worldviews even before we understand their raison d'etre? I believe that people can share and dialogue without pushing themselves every single time to just use every opportunity to be extreme.

Regards.

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Basically, you belong to the house of people who claims such things as witches, devil, angle, jinns, satan, exists. And according to your bible, once one is identifiied as a witch, their life would be in danger.

The rationalist position is that such things don't exist and even if one were to claim that they were one, they would simply be sinister braggards.

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If you want interpretations, I could offer one, even if you would reject it. How does that have a bearing on an appeal for your to be rational towards others? Even common sense does not keep driving this hubris we often see from those who assume so much about "rationality" and yet fail to exhibit some.

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Tell me how you would interpret the following:

Exodus 22:18 : "THOU SHALT NOT SUFFER A WITCH TO LIVE."

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Dear huxley,

That is hardly a rational attitude to reasoning - for we may as well ask you pointedly: what have been the fruit of atheistic irrationalism epitomised by all the hubris and extremum we have seen lately?

Reason does not start out slurring other worldviews before even you enter into a discussion. What is the difference between your prejudice and a religious person's biases? I think these matters are more and more being noticed even among those who are not theistically inclined. Just a note of observation, though.

Cheers.

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Very good post and I would like to add the following;

Of all the myriads of problems that assail humankind, some of the most intractable have been to do with human irrational actions and behaviour.  By irrational, I mean actions or behaviour that deliberately or unwittingly contravene the norms of logic and reason.  Reason demands that we subject all our main beliefs and precepts to the most painstaking scrutiny in the light of our most reliable epistemic methodology. Scientific rationalism has been the most reliable source of development in human history, bar none other.  It has given us knowledge of DNA, TV, chemotherapy, immunisations, x-rays, pennicillin, satellite, computers, etc. In fact, the fruits of scientific rationalism are legion.  What are the fruits of superstitious irrationalism epitomised by all religions?

Obviously, in every culture, there are aspects of belief that are relatively neutral in terms of how they affect our lives. Likewise, there are also aspects of cultural life that determine largely our response to everyday travails and challenges. In bygone days, religions was inseparable from culture, politics and everyday living. However, in most societies today, religion has separated out and found a niche of its own.

It is in this niche that it has had the opportunity to inflict the most egregious harm to society, in modern times. Nigerian and most Africans are a highly superstitious people.  People for whom scientific rationalism is but a vague and distance thing.  They routinely use the fruits of scientific rationalism, but have not imbibed its tenets.  I have encountered many Africans who describe TV, microwaves appliances, MNR, x-ray as that "white-witch" in the sense that these are products of European witchcraft (not witch in the metaphoric sense).  These people equate the ability of a marabou  and a radiologist on a bar with their ability to "see" inside a human body.  Is it no surprise that these witches are still thriving and persecuted in most of Africa.

Africa is in a bad state, truly.  Simply learning to read and write and professional training (which is what you get in most universities nowadays)  has clearly not help us much. It  has produces a class of functionally literate people, who have gone straight to join the workforce (for those lucky ones), but who are lacking in the skills of well-rounded, curious and enlightened individuals with a desire to investigate and contribute to the core of human knowledge. (Think for a minutes - of all the science, technologies, philosophies books produced in a year- how many are produced by Africans).

With the widespread adoption of Abrahamic religions in africa and the spread of evangelical christianity Africa is facing a terrible damage to its nascent intellectual fibre.  These religions are the last bastions of irrationalism and deliberately promote irrationality with their overt oppositions to such developments as stem-cell therapy, use of condoms, teaching of pseudo-science, etc. Further, within the house of religion, rarely are the household held to the demands of rationalism. No wonder, all the crooks in society take shelter in the churches and religious communities.  Until we get away from this state of affairs, we will be held back in our darkness for the foreseeable future. With the exception of America, almost all societies that have relegated religion into the dustbin of history have been liberated from its deadly stranglehold, thus allowing a flourishing of the human spirit.

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Personally I think tribalism is the biggest culprit

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Nigeria has been divided long before religion.

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Nigeria is dying because of religion, anything that man needs to do must be done by man himself. . . . religion has divided nigerian beyond what the ordinary eyes can see. . . . Religion serves all the greedy and coruppt politicians well because that is what stops the poor people from killing them. . . . .

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Religion is not your problem, as there are many factors for division in any nation on earth. Yes, indeed people can be deeply divided over religious issues; but if there were no religion in Nigeria, would the division melt away into perfect unity? True?

Think again: Nigerians are a wonderful group of people - and I'm proud to identify myself as a Nigerian anywhere and anyday. However, our division are not perculiar to us, because there are other groups of people who are divided among themselves as well without religion playing a major factor. With the Nigerian case, we observe indeed that political divisions have led to the same problems we are experiencing. Ethnic divisions as well are still very much with us today - we may all go about with cordial acknowledgements of one another; but in national issues, would the Igbos, Yorubas and Hausas walk away from a round-table discussion all smiling and shaking hands?

No, it's not my aim here to remind us of our painful divisions - but just a few pointers to note that religion, my dear, is not the presage of the state of affairs in your observation.

Cheers.

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Good point indeed. What was the central theme between the religious persecutions and the political persecutions? Was any of them based on well-reasoned, philosophically assessed propositions?

The problems the world faces is irrationalism. IRRATIONALISM is humans biggest threat. Irrationalism exists in many forms: religious, secular and political.

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This is an extraordinary admission.   We know as a Christian, you have no choice but to believe in these "creatures".  Many Christian foundational doctrines are based on the  existence of such beings.  Unless you are one of the very liberal Christians (essentially cultural Christians), you have to believe in these beings.

We have asked repeatedly for the evidence at the heart of belief in the existence of such beings and repeatedly you are unable or unwilling to profer such evidence.  You have ample space NOW  to show us and the world evidence for their existence.  If such evidence stands to to scrutiny, you will be vindicated and all attacks on your beliefs will be forestalled.

By the way,  as a former muslim,  what do you think of JINNS?

Time was when it would have been dangerous to declare oneself as a dissident from the Abrahamic god and his doctrine. Think of the Inquisition, witchhunts, the persecution of heretics in most of Europe and Asia from the middle of the fourth century right up until the 18th century.  These evils acts were carried out for doctrinal grounds by the clerical authorities.  The burning of Servetus, Bruno, etc are just a few cogent examples.

Admittedly, such savage behaviour of  the religiosos are mostly a thing of the past. But their subtle hands still pervades in many areas of civil life - from their opposition to use of condoms, stem-cell research, etc.  In fact, there is hardly any major medical innovation that was not opposed by the church.  They started by opposing the use of aneathesia in surgical operations on the grounds that it was god's plans for humans to experience pain.  They opposed organ transplant, they opposed blood transfusions, they opposed artificial insemination, etc, etc.  When are they gonna learn that the vast majority of these fruits of scientific rationalism will eventually see the light of day as a result of genuine public demands?

Since the subject of this post was about the effects of religious irrationalism in Nigeria (Africa at large), it is worth noting that they are hundreds of people dying today in Nigeria (and Africa ) daily as a direct result of their adherence to this barbaric belief system.  From the persecution and killing of "witches", the failure to use birth control and condoms amid the ravaging impact of AIDS, the complacency it induces to those requiring medical attention, its indirect effects on bad governance, etc.  

In fact, only last month in England, a Roman Catholic school was said to be opposing the vaccination of its female students againts the cervical cancer virus.  It said such medical interventions would NOT be carried out on its premises. Can anything be more calculated to inflict harm and send out negative messages than this?  Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

It may seem like I am putting the blame for all the problems of humanity on religion.  The answer is YES and NO.

YES -  in the sense that as the most pervasive form of human irrationalism, it offers shelter to almost all other forms of irrationalism.  For instance, can a Christian accuse a Muslim for having irrational beliefs?   What do Christians make of the Muslim concept of the JINN?   Can they do this sort of analysis without having fingers pointing back at them?

When the common man/woman beings to think critically and challenge received beliefs along rational line, he/she will have developed the skill to fashion his life and governments in a way that meets the challenges of life.

No - in the sense that, striped of all its dogmatic and belligerent nature some religious institutions have worked for the benefit of humankind. But one has to question the reason behind this work. Is it because they hope to be rewarded in the afterlife, or is it because they truly care about the earthly plight of humankind?

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