Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
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23-01-2012, 01:19 PM
Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Quote:Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it's Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.

It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.

But this doesn't fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.

First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.

You can read more here:

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/3502-...-needs-god

The information in ancient libraries came from real minds of real people. The far more complex information in cells came from the far more intelligent mind of God.
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23-01-2012, 01:50 PM
RE: Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Africa doesn't need God!! It's already a scary place as it is!! Witchcraft + Religion= Disaster! If you came to Zimbabwe, you would not believe how many churches they are, It's like America! African people are the most loyal religious people you will ever meet. It's being hammered to them for so long, that I think it's a permanent phase.

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23-01-2012, 01:56 PM
RE: Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Theo? You still here man? Crazy.
By the way I vote for getting the opportunistic Christians out of Africa. Stop taking advantage of people Christians its not helping.
You want people to convert? Send help without expectation.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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23-01-2012, 02:10 PM
RE: Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
(23-01-2012 01:56 PM)lucradis Wrote:  Theo? You still here man? Crazy.
By the way I vote for getting the opportunistic Christians out of Africa. Stop taking advantage of people Christians its not helping.
You want people to convert? Send help without expectation.

Thank you!

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23-01-2012, 03:22 PM
RE: Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
(23-01-2012 01:50 PM)tazmin98 Wrote:  Africa doesn't need God!! It's already a scary place as it is!! Witchcraft + Religion= Disaster! If you came to Zimbabwe, you would not believe how many churches they are, It's like America! African people are the most loyal religious people you will ever meet. It's being hammered to them for so long, that I think it's a permanent phase.

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23-01-2012, 03:53 PM
RE: Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Africa doesn't need more God. White people have already done enough to plunge the entire continent into a living nightmarish hell, thank you very much.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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23-01-2012, 03:59 PM
RE: Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
(23-01-2012 03:22 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(23-01-2012 01:50 PM)tazmin98 Wrote:  Africa doesn't need God!! It's already a scary place as it is!! Witchcraft + Religion= Disaster! If you came to Zimbabwe, you would not believe how many churches they are, It's like America! African people are the most loyal religious people you will ever meet. It's being hammered to them for so long, that I think it's a permanent phase.

Taz you Zimbo ? HeartHeartHeart Meee toooooooooooooo! Smile
Really?! Oh What a small world!Big Grin Heart

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23-01-2012, 04:03 PM
RE: Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
(23-01-2012 03:53 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Africa doesn't need more God. White people have already done enough to plunge the entire continent into a living nightmarish hell, thank you very much.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Dear Matt

You got a pretty big chip on your shoulder? Fun to take a nice simplistic view of shit like this isn't it?

Peace love and empathy for all except white people.
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23-01-2012, 04:39 PM
RE: Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
(23-01-2012 03:53 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Africa doesn't need more God. White people have already done enough to plunge the entire continent into a living nightmarish hell, thank you very much.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

It wasn't only 'white people'. Even if Christianity wasn't introduced to Africa, Islam could have been introduced or even if they was no religion, Africa would still be bat shit crazy.

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23-01-2012, 04:47 PM
RE: Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God.

And as a father, I truly believe my children need Santa.

It gives them hope and makes them happy. They become filled with the spirit of Christmas and do good deeds. So what if the motivation is false, the deeds are still good. They become better people trying to please a man who they believe to be real.

You see, there's a thing in this world called reality. We try to base our beliefs in it because deluded happiness is unhealthy and a way to avoid the problem. We don't put all hungry people of the world into a building where they are taught that the afterlife is filled with steaks and so they should just accept that they will die of starvation. We feed them. We end the suffering without delusion. Maybe we make an exception when a dying child has seconds to live and they ask if they'll see their dog when they die, but we don't tell starving people to accept Christ if they want to be fed today. You're holding their life hostage and making demands.

Happiness is not necessarily conducive to well-being, or else we would be morally inclined to take Xanax. "A drunk man is happier than a sober one."


(I don't really have children, it was just hypothetical)

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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