No, Atheists, Religions Are Not Equal

first_imgReligions do not always act as forces for good, but some are clearly evil.If you thought witchcraft went out with the Middle Ages, look at this headline on “Bringing the shocking issue of witchcraft under the UN spotlight.”Witchcraft-related beliefs and practices have resulted in serious violations of human rights including beatings, banishment, cutting of body parts, and amputation of limbs, torture and murder.There are thousands of cases of people accused of witchcraft each year globally, often with fatal consequences, and others are mutilated and killed for witchcraft-related rituals.Atheists sometimes treat “religion” as some catch-all category where “people of faith” are equally misguided, stupid, or harmful. But even the most egregious cases of Judeo-Christian atrocities don’t sink to the level of “trade in albino body parts” resulting from torture and killing of albino humans as conferring magical powers. And Christians (in name only) who have done evil don’t follow the teachings of Jesus, who called for loving one’s neighbor to the point of enduring evil rather than retaliating. Followers of witchcraft, though, are doing exactly what their religion commands them to do.Now a team, led by Lancaster University, have enabled the shocking issue, which includes ritual killings, to come under the microscope for the first time at international level.A UN Witchcraft and Human Rights Expert Workshop will take place at UN headquarters in Geneva on September 21 and 22 with a multi-agency approach.EugenicsWhy aren’t certain atheistic or Darwinistic behaviors treated like religions? Consider the case of Eugenics. This was a veritable “religion” to its adherents before the Nazis turned it into a dirty word. Ricki Lewis examines the dark side of Eugenics for a PLoS Blog entry. And she draws a clear connection to evolutionism:Whenever I work on a new edition of my human genetics textbook and reach the section on eugenics, at the end of an evolution chapter, I’m relieved that it’s history. But this summer, as I wrapped up the 12th edition, the eugenics coverage took on a frightening new reality.Today’s resurging white nationalism/supremacy echoes the century-old idea that a self-appointed group that perceives itself as superior can “improve” a human population through selective breeding or actions taken against individuals judged to be inferior. Theodore Lothrop Stoddard, identified in Wikipedia as an historian but also a eugenicist and Klansman, laid out his ideas in the 1920 book “The Threat Against White World Supremacy: The Rising Tide of Color.”Unlike some in the mainstream media, who try to link white supremacy to conservatives or Christians, Lewis rightly shows it to rise out of evolutionism. In her brief history of eugenics, though, she fails to mention that its founder was a nephew of Charles Darwin:Sir Francis Galton coined the term “eugenics,” meaning “good in birth,” in 1883, defining it as “the science of improvement of the human race germplasm through better breeding.” In 1930, Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher, another pale Brit, embellished Galton’s ideas by suggesting that governments reward high-income families when they have children, to encourage the passing on of the prized germplasm.By failing to establish the Darwin connection, and by ignoring the worst atrocities of eugenics, Ricki Lewis’s treatment of the subject is weak. To get the whole ugly history of eugenics, see Jerry Bergman’s books How Darwinism Corrodes Morality and The Darwin Effect, and John West’s book, Darwin Day in America. We must not let Darwinists forget their dirty hands in the eugenics movement. If the likes of Richard Dawkins want to impugn the God of the Bible, let them examine the horrific effects of their idol, Charlie Darwin. Misguided Christians have done evil things, but usually because they were not students of the Scriptures. This is true of medieval Catholicism that actually discouraged study of the Bible, and had become so political and corrupt, even insiders knew it needed a Reformation. The body count from atheist regimes, though, stands mountains over that from religious “holy wars.” We’re talking hundreds of millions of casualties from communism and Nazism in the 20th century alone! Jerry Bergman documents unbelievable atrocities committed by regimes that swallowed Darwin’s lies about superior races and survival of the fittest. What about eastern religions? Buddhism advocates separation from passion, leading to apathy about those who suffer; it has also made the Buddha into an idol. Hinduism and other polytheistic religions encourage self-torture (lancing one’s tongue, spearing one’s flesh and carrying weights on the spears) and irrational, unhealthy behaviors like bathing in the filthy Ganges. It led to suttee and the caste system. Muslims engage in slavery, abuse women, and use the sword to force conversion. Islam is not so much a religion as a political and legal regime following (again) the teachings of one man, a torturer, murderer, conqueror and child abuser. Confucianism is not really a religion, but a set of teachings by one man who didn’t know everything and didn’t try to understand the natural world.Christians have brought help to the suffering, and sought to end the evil practices of other religions. Protestant churches were the first responders to the hurricanes in Texas and Florida. Christian missionaries and charities, like Samaritan’s Purse, send food to Haiti and the Sudan. Christians also take great interest in seeking to understand the workings of God’s creation—a passion that led to modern science (see our series on the world’s greatest creation scientists). Finally, Jews and Christians have preached against the evils of false religions for thousands of years. The contrast between God and the idols of the Canaanites is stark. Idol worshipers burned their children in the fire to their gods, and engaged in sexual orgies as “worship”. The Bible consistently condemned such evils in the strongest terms. Remember that Jesus provided a way to distinguish true from false religion: “You will know them by their fruits.” Only Christianity could draw the contrast that James makes in his letter:Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18)Atheists must not be allowed to lump the good and the evil under one label, “religion.” For one thing, atheism is a religion if religion is defined as a worldview that seeks to understand the Big Questions of Life (where did we come from; what is the meaning or purpose of life; what is good, true and beautiful). Darwinism certainly qualifies as a religion with that definition. For another thing, lumping supposed “people of faith” together overlooks differences which are much, much greater than the similarities. Finally, let’s dispense with the meaningless phrase, “people of faith.” Everybody is a person of faith. Substitute our phrase for those with simplistic, unexamined beliefs: people of fluff. We have an additional term for angry Darwinists: people of froth. (Visited 539 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

New homes for Soweto residents

first_imgLufhereng is the biggest housing project in Gauteng. Itumeleng Malebo is already settled in Lufhereng. Minister of Human Settlement Tokyo Sexwale has vowed to root out corruption in social housing. The new township is home to these youngsters. (Images: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Chris Vick, Spokesperson, Department of Human Settlements +27 83 556 7644 or +27 12 421 1645 RELATED ARTICLES • Housing projects to curb SA slums • Soweto housing market soars • Social development in South Africa • Urban housing success storyBongani NkosiAfter living in a Soweto farming settlement without proper shelter for about 15 years, Itumeleng Malebo has finally moved into a new house.Malebo, in his early 30s, is one of the beneficiaries of the Lufhereng housing scheme taking shape on Doornkop and Zuurbult farms in Soweto – South Africa’s largest and most famous township in south-west Johannesburg.The unemployed Malebo moved into his semi-detached house on 14 August 2010, where he stays now with his 20-something cousin, Tshepo Mfati.Soon after relocating, Malebo found a way of keeping hunger at bay by starting a spaza shop, which he runs from one of the bedrooms of the new house.“I opened my shop immediately when I moved in last Friday,” he said.He mostly sells groceries in his fledgling enterprise, and business has been growing gradually as fellow residents trickle into the newly developed area.This is what’s motivating Malebo to expand his small-scale venture: “I want to put in shelves very soon,” he said.The government officially handed over Lufhereng’s completed houses to beneficiaries on 17 August during a ceremony attended by community members and Minister of Housing Tokyo Sexwale.Lufhereng is a combination of Sesotho and Tshivenda words, meaning a place where people come together.Mixed housing optionsSince late 2008 more than 900 houses have been built on the 18 000ha site, which will eventually accommodate between 24 000 and 25 000 dwellings. It’s Gauteng’s biggest government housing project.“Every week we will be moving people into Lufhereng,” said Ruby Mathang, a leading official in the City of Johannesburg’s housing department.The new project’s beneficiaries are primarily Doornkop and Zuurbult farm labourers and residents, as well as people from Protea South informal settlement and elsewhere in Soweto.All these individuals registered for government’s social housing scheme in 1996 and 1997, including 79-year-old pensioner Nomfesane Mthula, who’s lived in the Protea South informal settlement since 1982.Lufhereng is a mixed housing project, meaning it has residences available for free, for the unemployed; and houses for middle- to high-income earners, who qualify for a bond.In the future it will also have houses for rent, schools, a business complex and other facilities.“Families with differing income levels will have access to an array of different accommodation options,” said Johannesburg’s mayor Amos Masondo. “The demand for housing remains high.”Farming to continueThe farmland on which Lufhereng is being built won’t disappear completely, as the government plans to set aside a portion of 480ha for cultivating crops.This will benefit the experienced and aspiring farmers of the area, according to the Gauteng provincial government.Black Economic Empowerment cooperatives will also be able to cash in on the agri-business scheme and Gauteng expects 10 000 jobs to be created through agricultural opportunities there.Breaking new groundThe Lufhereng project is one of many that the government is leading as part of its policy called Breaking New Ground.About 8 000 housing projects are under way across the country thanks to this concept, which aims to speed up development of new formal settlements and eradicate slums.The housing department was allocated R15-billion (US$2-billion) in the 2010 national budget to build new houses and has intensified its fight against corruption, which has plagued the sector over the years and seen many houses being handed over to incorrect owners.The Special Investigating Unit has been roped in to probe 20 “problematic housing projects” across the country, as well as private contractors and employees of the department.last_img read more

Mining must be agent of change: Cutifani

first_imgAfrica is home to 40% of the world’s natural resources, which must be nurtured to realize their long-term potential.Africa, with its fast growing population, has the “best age demographic” for growth. Its estimated 1-billion people is forecast to double by 2025, granting it the world’s youngest working population.Seven of the world’s fastest growing economies are Africa. Sierra Leone’s growth rate is at 45%, driven largely by the development of infrastructure to support its iron-ore industry. The government, Cutifani said, had leveraged its success in one industry to grow others.Africa’s labour costs are currently very low. There will be a “transitional process” as technological innovations and strong leadership improve productivity, supporting the increase in wages. 8 February 2013 Visits to Guinea in his role as head of AngloGold Ashanti brought home to Mark Cutifani the fact that something dramatic had to shift within the mining industry if it was to survive. There is something “just not right” about the fact that 1% of the population live with the consequences of mining, while the rest of us benefit, Cutifani told delegates in a keynote address ahead of a session on sustainable development at the Invest in Africa Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Thursday. “The things we do [as the mining industry] are so important to global society, but the communities where we do business get the rough end of the stick.”Starting point ‘the communities themselves’ The Anglo American CEO-designate said a “180-degree shift” was necessary to address this disconnect. The starting point should be the communities themselves: “It is critical to understand how to really engage with communities. We must listen to what communities want to be, not tell them who to be.” The son of an Italian father and a mother of Irish descent, Cutifani grew up in an industrial seaside town south of Sydney in Australia where, he said, he experienced the effects of mining on the community first hand, including the dust and pollution thrown up by trucks on single-lane dirt roads and the coal mines’ cooling towers. As an engineering student, Cutifani worked in a local colliery, going on to work at a number of Australian companies before moving overseas. He will be the first executive to head up Anglo American that has hands-on experience as a miner. He takes over the top job in April. He said mining companies had a responsibility to be agents of change: “We can change the lives of communities forever. We can go from being an extractive industry to a development industry.” Cutifani reminded his audience of the crucial role mining plays in the lives of countries, economies – and in our daily lives. Mining contributes 11.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP), with the value of services consumed a further 10%. And, if one considered the value of products and services facilitated by mining, the industry supported and drove around 45% of the world’s GDP. Mining, Cutifani argued, is “integral to everything we do … it is the most important industrial activity on the planet”. The key issue for Cutifani is to take responsibility for the impact mining has on local communities – a responsibility that should not be left solely with government.‘Difficult conversations’ between all parties Cutifani said he had recently joined other mining industry heavyweights to visit the Vatican in an attempt to learn how to best engage with communities. (Many of the NGOs working in Africa are funded by the Catholic Church.) The meeting proved fruitful and Cutifani seems to have returned to Africa with a determination to deliver a new vision for the industry. Describing 2013 as the year when a new future for the mining industry would be defined, Cutifani said it was through consultation and “difficult conversations” between all parties – industry, government and communities – that would bring about change. “We have to make changes to transform the countries we work in.” Co-operation with governments was also key, he said. Appropriate macroeconomic policies, transparent regulation and security of tenure should be givens to support development and growth. “I am a believer in South Africa. I am an optimist on South Africa – I never miss an opportunity to promote the country,” Cutifani confessed. ‘Why I believe in South Africa and Africa’ He said he had good reason to be so positive about South Africa in particular, and Africa in general: Cutifani said South Africa had consistently defied the critics. The economy has grown at a compounding growth rate of 3.2% – which was only 0.2% less than that of Australia’s, whose resource-based economy often drew praise. It is time that South Africa was recognised for its achievements as a “teenage democracy” instead of being crucified for its challenges. For example, Cutifani said, in the past 19 years, South Africa had “built more low-cost housing than any other country than any other place on the planet”. South Africa could meet its challenges once government and the private sector stopped talking past each other. “Consultation is necessary and, of course, we can all do much better,” he said. There were many capital advantages for the industry, but it was important to take advantage of circumstances to improve the life of all: “The job of those who have stewardship of capital is to support society.” The impact mining has on communities should be positive. “We have changed more in the past five years than in the past 50 years. The next five years will be critical,” he said. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Fajardo shrugs off SMB’s first loss

first_imgTrending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:02Fajardo predicts there will be no sweep in PBA Finals01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding WADA probes possible flaw in test bottles Read Next LATEST STORIES PBA IMAGESWith Ginebra’s Jervy Cruz and Raymond Aguilar stepping up, June Mar Fajardo admitted that the unheralded bruisers’ performance against San Miguel on Sunday was further proof of how strong the Gin Kings are.“We know how good they are. They’re a championship-contender team and they made good adjustments in the second half,” Fajardo said in Filipino.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencerscenter_img Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Sans lead big man Greg Slaughter, Cruz and Aguilar combined for 33 points and nine rebounds in the Gin Kings’ 100-96 victory over the Beermen.Fajardo tried his best to keep San Miguel afloat but failed to rescue the Beermen despite his mammoth stat line of 33 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and four steals.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBut rather than feel down with the loss, the reigning four-time PBA MVP sees the first defeat of the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup as a reality check of sorts.“It happens. We can’t win all of our games. So we have to move on and learn from our lapses,” he said as he rued the Beermen’s 18 turnovers in the matchup. San Miguel still sits atop the standings at 5-1, but the Cebuano giant knows that his squad can’t be complacent as it seeks to bounce back on Sunday against red-hot Magnolia.”It’s a good thing that it happened to us midway through the conference, so we still have time to adjust. But we need to move on and win our remaining games,” he said. MOST READ View commentslast_img read more