Uganda or America? April 4, 2008

Uganda or America?

Anne Jackson talks about a question posed to her and a (religious) leadership development team during a recent trip to Uganda:

“Would you rather your children grow up in Uganda or America?”

What would you say?

Seems like an easy answer, no?

One man — a pastor/father/Ugandan — said this (without hesitation):


Some of us seemed a little shocked. America. It’s the land of opportunity. It’s safe. You can get medical attention. At least three meals a day.

“Exactly,” the man said. “You know where your next meal is coming from. You have jobs. Paychecks. In Uganda, you may not know where your next meal comes from. You have no money. You have nothing to depend upon but God. And I would rather have my children rely on God more than I would want them to be distracted by everything else.”

I’m trying to figure this out — without any American bias on my part.

Given the choice between a wealthy country and a poor one, is there really any good reason to live in the poor one? Saying you’d want to live in the poor country so your kids would have to rely on God more seems tantamount to abuse (“I don’t want my children receiving better medical care in America; I’d rather they pray for it”). Why would anyone forego having the agriculture/health/schools/etc? It’s one thing to be talking about the distractions of material goods, but this guy is also including the essential resources.

I certainly don’t think this man is more pious than any other Christian that was there. If you believe in God, that’s that. I don’t rank people from least pious to most pious; it’s all the same (mistaken) belief to me.

Yes, you probably have more distractions, even at church, in America. But if you get “distracted,” that’s your own fault. I don’t think anyone’s accusing (non-hypocritical) Christians of not being as faithful as their third world counterparts. Christians thank God for what they have in life and they sincerely believe that. To say that you have to give up what you have in America in order to believe more strongly in God seems wrong. (Again, talking about necessities, not luxuries.)

Maybe this guy is just rationalizing his unfortunate (in my opinion) lot in life.

Anne’s commenters seems to be thinking along the same lines.

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Matt

    I once talked to someone here (in the U.S.) that was a window washer. He loved it because he could listen to the bible on his mp3 player all day long. He had 5 kids. He was teaching his oldest boy to be a window washer. He wasn’t going to allow him to go to college because that is where you fall away from god. You should always be in a state of poverty.

    I stopped talking to him at that point out of fear I would punch him.

  • Aj

    This view is not that rare a view in Christianity. Other religions also have their versions of this, from Islam, to New Age, to Buddhism. Some believe that modern life is sinful, others believe that suffering is good, and pleasure is bad. Some see that poor communities, suffering communities, seem to place faith higher than others, they prize faith, so think that it’s worth the suffering. Even some non-religious groups romanticize peasantry and hunter gatherer lives.

  • Jon Strong


    Actually, I don’t find this too surprising. If you’ve ever travelled in Africa, you’ll realize how generous, considerate, and loving most African communities are. Many are very tight-knit, and I haven’t experienced anything like that here in the ‘States. I don’t think fervent religiosity is required for this stuff; these values are community values with deep roots in African tradition.

    That said, I agree the United States is a better place to raise a child. The reasons that man gave for Uganda were just plain stupid.

  • Julie

    I had an African student once who was kind of shocked at how out of touch Americans are with their environment, where our food comes from, things like that. I can see believing that having an easy life distances us from reality, in a sense. But the respondent she is referencing throws in the idea that having so much material wealth distances us from yet another fiction.

    I think her blog commenters are reacting to their own guilt that we live in a rich country, and so they’re trying to make it this great and noble thing that these Ugandans have so much less.

  • Daniel

    The question was asked in Uganda, to a Ugandan. There is national pride in every country in the world. That is the easiest way to explain the answer without even considering the religious implications.

  • Bdox

    This from a country where racketeering is OK. Kidnapping is an industry. Fraud is business as usual.

  • Ahh, Christian hatred of life. But then, what can you expect from a religion that sees man as property of a God… and sees nothing wrong with that?

  • Claire

    I think most people who aren’t completely desperate prefer what they have, even with its drawbacks, to the risk of the unknown, no matter how attractive. Add that to the reasons given above (national pride, guilt over wealth, some inbuilt longing for the simple life, an appreciation of the warm community and culture they have, and on the darker side, a belief that suffering is somehow good) and it’s not surprising that he prefers what he knows, religious considerations aside.

    Sometimes religion is just the hatstand where people hang their stupid hat.

  • Darryl

    The Ugandan made a thoroughly-Christian-theological observation. Ignorance of worldly learning and being poor are aids to holiness and fidelity just because their opposites imperil faith. Jesus clearly taught that wealth tempts a person’s loyalties away from heaven to earth. The Apostle Paul challenged the wisdom of this world, indeed he called it “foolishness,” and famously said to one non-Christian politician “much learning makes you mad.” Where do we find religious fervor most potent? Among the poor and uneducated. Send a kid to college and give him a big salary and chances are, in time, he’ll relinquish the faith he believed as a child; at the very least he’ll be less likely to be a fundamentalist.

  • Actually, while I think the reasoning is cockeyed, I don’t think the answer is ridiculous. There are lots of good reasons for wanting to stay in the country you’re in — and for wanting your children to stay there. Continuity with your past; connection with family and friends; not wanting to be uprooted and have to start over someplace new; the love and attachment that you get for the place you’ve lived in for years. I mean, I think many countries in Europe would probably be better for me to live in than America… and I’m still not moving there.

    And as Daniel said, national pride exists everywhere. Even irrational national pride. It certainly exists here in the good old U.S. of A., where plenty of people are stubbornly and irrationally attached to the idea that anything America does must, by definition, be better than anything any other country does. Suggest to a rock- ribbed American patriot that life elsewhere — Europe, say — might in many ways be better than life in the U.S., and prepare to get socked in the eye.

    Maybe more to the point, there are plenty of things about America that are profoundly fucked-up: from the homogenous strip-mall monoculture, to the increasing atomization of the society, to the lousy health care system (better than in Uganda, to be sure, but worse than almost any other industrialized country). I could go on for pages. And it’s not like the life of a poor African immigrant in America is so terribly grand.

    Again, I agree that the “life here is hard so people turn to God, and I want my son to turn to God” reasoning is appalling. But the idea that of course life in America is objectively better and any sane person would prefer to live here than in their crappy home country… that’s an idea that I find quite troubling.

  • Kathryn

    I kind of look at it more as him saying, “I don’t want my children to take God for granted”, or life for granted in any measure, the way many Christians in America seem to.

  • Claire

    the idea that of course life in America is objectively better and any sane person would prefer to live here than in their crappy home country… that’s an idea that I find quite troubling.

    To be fair, the question posted here was not US versus Uganda (as was the original one posed to Anne Jackson), but rich versus poor.

    All things being equal (and they seldom if ever are) most people would prefer to live in a rich country, if for no other reason than the availability of education and healthcare. The gentleman who prefered Uganda didn’t do it for any one of a dozen good reasons I can think of, but just because the US was wealthy. This seems so much against the best interests of a child that it’s simply makes no sense. I just can’t imagine depriving children of food and shelter and security for no other reason than to make them more religious.

    The important part isn’t so much personal wealth, it’s social wealth. If I were raising children, I would be ok with doing it in a place that didn’t have running water or electricity or any of the things we take for granted – as long as there was a good hospital, a library, and a school. It might also be in Canada or Europe, or some other place with a better health care system, not necessarily here.

    I didn’t really get from the comments here that people thought the US was necessarily better, but I’m guessing you did? I don’t think that’s what they meant, at least most of them.

  • Bdox, which country are you talking about, again?

  • Fyurien

    Hey Atheist Boy,

    Up for a friendly argument? =)

    Pretend for a moment that you are not atheist. What do you believe in? Well you don’t believe. But wait, isnt that what an Atheist is? Nope. Ok now, pay attention, this is me telling you, you are wrong, in a polite way. =P

    Believing in a God is a belief. What god do you believe in is up to you. But its still a belief. Thus, I present to you, The Theist. Not believing in God is still a belief. Maybe a better way to say it, is you believe in Not God. What god do you believe in Not is up to you. But its still a belief. I present to you the The Atheist.

    On one side of this stupid argument is the Theist. Insecure and ignorant. His basic human need for comfort and aversion to fear leads the Theist to imagine (at best) a God. They dont really know, so they believe. On the other side? The Atheist. A bit more content with things, but still ignorant. His basic human need to understand leads the Atheist to imagine (at best) that imagining a God is silly. They don’t really know, so they also believe.

    But there is a catch. And I quote LotR “But they were all of them deceived, for another ring was made.” Theists and Atheist are two sides of the same coin, and both arguing the same point. In all actuality, Theists are pretty atheists too. They for example only believe in their god, but are atheistic towards other peoples gods. Atheists on the other hand, believe in no ones god. But clearly they believe. Not!! (jk)

    Neither of these two individuals really know. No one posses knowledge, yet both are so happy to proclaim it.

    Then one stands up with an open mind and looks around and wonders what the deal is with all these crazy Theists and their pompous counterparts the Atheist. And by the way, Atheists, you’re not doing yourself much good by taking a elitists attitude towards the rest of the world. Anyway… The deal is that both Atheists and Theists are the result of our human nature. Evolution, or God or The One Ring has managed to cram into our heads the most compelling and profound capacity for imagination while at the same time the strictest and adamant sense of reason. And the result….


    Wake up… you know very, very little. And what little you know is not particularly certain.

  • Jodie

    While I lived in Mali, I got numerous marriage proposals, daily: “You are white. We will get married and you will take me to America/France where I will be rich.” Every Malian I met would have given all of their possessions to go to a country that is considered first world.
    The one thing Mali had on America? I slept with my doors unlocked every night for two years. Children run around village all day and their mothers never worry about child molesters, kidnappers, et al. Everyone watches out for everyone and the protection there cannot be here.

  • Karen

    This seems so much against the best interests of a child that it’s simply makes no sense. I just can’t imagine depriving children of food and shelter and security for no other reason than to make them more religious.

    Well, the problem with things like religion, and national pride, is that they so often do not make logical sense. They come from emotion, not reason.

  • Claire

    So true, Karen, but this didn’t make any kind of sense to me – not logical sense, not emotional sense, not decent-human-being sense or love-your-kids sense, either.

    It may have made Abraham-on-the-mountain sense, but that just proves the point.

  • Bdox


    You really, really do not understand what atheism is. Which is also true of a lot of self declared atheists who are all ego involved.

    Atheism is NOT a belief or a system of beliefs, other than the fact that a pure atheist does believe in things for which evidence presents itself. Atheism is the natural condition. If someone believes in omens, it is because it is taught to them or is the result of faulty reasoning. Same with gods. Beliveing in a god is taught. It is the result of individuals (con artists,) finding ways to exert power over others. Tools like “eternal damnation” are simple boogie men to scare people into behaving in certain ways. Being able to see through these simple-minded devices and laughing at them, is atheism.

    There are, unfortunately, a number of atheists who adopt atheism as a position or a philosophy. This is just a device, like becoming a Yankees fan, or wearing a Nascar hat, to create a personal identity. They may really be atheists, but they are using their “non-belief” to somehow bolster themselves up. This is nearly as silly as religion.

    In my view, atheism is simply ignoring things that make no sense. Unfortunately, in a society where the majority believe in nonsensical things, it becomes necessary to refute them.

    But don’t mistake accepting the obvious, things supported by overwhelming evidence, as “believing” in them, it is simple acceptance. Accepting that a plant, deprived of water will not prosper hardly equates a religion.

    So you have not figured out what atheism means, or is. Perhaps you have only been talking to people who use atheism as an identity. But “being” an atheist, is not a state of being at all. Being an atheist is not being anything in particular, but it does include the quality of not being easily deceived by propagand.

  • ash

    Fyurien said,

    April 4, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Hey Atheist Boy,

    Up for a friendly argument?

    tip #1, don’t start with cheap nicknames if you’re looking for a reasonable discussion
    tip #2, if it’s friendly you want, the word you’re looking for is ‘debate’.

    i’m not really sure what you want to debate though, you seem to be arguing that you are more open minded and intelligent than anyone else by means of setting up the strawmen examples of ‘the Theist’ and ‘the Atheist’ (ignorance) and concluding you’re better than either (pompousity). care to start again?

  • Fyurien

    Hi Bdox! =)

    With coffee in hand, I’m ready for you. Ok, now pay attention, this may seem slightly abstract. I’m going to explain this to you and anyone else reading, but you are not likely to understand. Ok.. ready?

    You don’t know very much!

    Don’t be offended. I don’t know very much either. If you look at what Ash said, clearly he also doesnt know very much. Actually, his real problem is his ego. But later on that. Back to you. You don’t know very much and as such put your self in a bit of a odd position. Why? Because you claim you know.

    Let us dance, shall we? =) Amongst the few paragraphs, many sentences and the large number of words, you managed to declare all the things you know. As such, you know that I really really dont understand atheists. You also know this is true of a lot of self declared atheists. Do you know if I’m an Atheist? =) You know what atheism is not and what it is. You know that god was created by men and even who these men were. Further, you know that depriving a plant of water is not so good, though how much more water does seaweed need? You even know what your view is (which actually is good). But above all, you know.

    What you also seem to know is that practically speaking, if there is no evidence for something, you should not believe it. And I (sorta) quote The Atheist “If I cant see it, touch it, hear it, feel it and heck, even taste it, it must not exist” Jk, I actually made that up. Then there are the scientific Atheists who probably say “If I cant observe it, test it, re-test it and publish it for peer review, it must not exist.”

    So very well, the world was flat until some sailor went about and found that it really wasn’t so flat. The thing is, people at that time really, really knew that the world was flat. Just like you really really know that God does not exist. Just like atheists know that believers are wrong. Why? Because there is no evidence for God. But, wait, for a very long long time, there was no evidence for a round world. But that didn’t stop people from getting on their boat and setting sail. They didn’ just ignore it. Or, to use your words, you simply ignore things that make no sense. God… obviously… does not make much sense to you. Right? I’m not saying you should get on your boat and look for God. This God figure is a bit of a problem, because by sheer definition we cant find him/her/it, no matter how awesome our boat is. Does Quantum Mechanics make much sense to you? How about something fundamentally more complex? Do women make much sense to you? We should probably ignore both. =)

    My point is, you don’t know God does not exist, anymore than believers know he does exist. You sorta believe. The fundamental problem is with religion, not the belief in God. Belief in something is a natural bi-product of hope, or as a way to avert fear. So take it easy, its just our nature. (I KNOW THIS!) =P As for religion , it has made God their mascot, the idea clearly printed on their banner, but thats another story. This point is, arguing for or against God is like arguing with a computer. Do it, but you probably have better things to do with your time. But anyway, off the branch and back to the tree. Back to what we know and what we ignore.

    Knowing stuff is really hard. Ahhh screw it, if I cant understand it immediately and with little effort, it does not make much sense. Quantum Mechanics, I IGNORE YOU!!! I am, by all whimsical accounts, a quantum mechanics atheist! In Yo Face, Quantum Mechanics Followers!!!

    So now to close. Maybe I have not figured out what Atheism is, or means, or both. Perhaps your right and I have only been talking to people who use atheism as an identity. Amongst those people I’ve found one atheist (you) who know so much yet say the know so little. You know, what I mean? =)

    Personally, I have zero patience of religious people, only a little more patiences for believers, and just slightly more patience for atheists. Dawkins is a douche, he and his ego have managed to further alienate religious followers simply because he is so pompus. And I close with…

    You dont know very much (still)… You’re best bet is to give up Atheism and any other silly ideas (religion) and just be you. =)

    PS: Sorry, then ending was kind of weak…

  • Fyurien

    Ash, its your turn! =)

    Dear Ash, I kindly request of you, no better yet, I beg of you. Do not be so sensitive.

    As for your tips? And I quote Barboosa “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means no.?” Really it would have totally worked better if “request” was “tips”, but anyway, you get the point.

    Tip #1: Spending time working through what argumentative devices someone uses, ala “Strawman” or “Ad Hominem”, is really a waste of time. Dont imagine for a second that anyone other than yourself cares much about good manners in a debate or proper discourse. Stick to the argument… or debate… or whatever (see tip #2).

    Tip #2: Semantics is a luxury only people with a weak argument fall back on. If you worry less about words… you wont get stuck on “Atheist Boy” or “Friendly Argument” and might actually make it to the first paragraph.

    And… it looks like you made that conclusion of pomposity. Defensive much?

    PS: Read what Bdox said… it was a pretty good reply.

  • Ausmith1

    About 10 years ago I met a very interesting African woman at a friends party in Dallas, she was from Mozambique as I recall, she had two children and rather than raise them in Dallas she had sent them back to Mozambique to live with her mother. She felt that that they would get a better education there and she had absolutely no worries about their safety there.
    The funny thing was she was a schoolteacher at one of the better schools in the DISD…
    At the time I though this was a really odd position but now looking back on it I see her point. As an immigrant from northern Europe myself I can now certainly see the appeal of sending my kids to school in a country that actually values a good education. At least I no longer live in Texas, the school systems there are a joke, and of course you all know about their weird god and football fixations, I’m not sure which they worship more at times.

  • Claire

    Fyurien said

    the world was flat until some sailor went about and found that it really wasn’t so flat. The thing is, people at that time really, really knew that the world was flat.

    That’s actually a myth, and it’s the one I heard in grade school, too.

    Aristotle, as far back as around 300 BC or so, thought the earth was round, based on observed evidence. By medieval times, it was common knowledge that the earth was round. The reason Christopher Columbus has trouble finding funding for his voyage is not because it was believed that the earth was flat, but because it was thought that a ship couldn’t carry enough provisions to sail all the way to the other side, and they were right. If he hadn’t stumbled into the Americas, his expedition wouldn’t have made it.

    Spending time working through what argumentative devices someone uses, ala “Strawman” or “Ad Hominem”, is really a waste of time. Dont imagine for a second that anyone other than yourself cares much about good manners in a debate or proper discourse.

    Say what?? Those aren’t about manners at all, they are about validity, and validity has everything to do with debates and discourse.

    I don’t think there is a god because I see no evidence, at all, direct or indirect, for such a being. That makes me an atheist. I really don’t understand what your problem is with that….

  • Brontie

    …because god has such a proven track record in Africa…

  • Fyurien


    First you… “Say what?? Those aren’t about manners at all, they are about validity, and validity has everything to do with debates and discourse.”

    Now me… =P

    Back to you “I don’t think there is a god because I see no evidence, at all, direct or indirect, for such a being. That makes me an atheist. I really don’t understand what your problem is with that….”

    Ok, now back to me again… =) But seriously… =P.

    At first I thought I might have made a mistake using the flat world analogy, until…. wait for it… I remembered that I wasnt talking about Aristotle… nor was I talking about Eratosthenes, not still even… uhhmm whats his name, Ptolemy. (Google them) Right then, I must have been talking about regular folks, the ones that had Pre-Socratic knowledge of the earth. Kind of like you today… you have Pre-Whomever knowledge of the universe as you know it. So I guess it was an ok analogy, and they (the people from antiquity) knew the world was flat, or not round or whatever. =)

    As for manners, or validity, or the validity of manners. Chuckles (Ash) up above got so undeniably lost in the first two sentences that he forgot to even… wait for it… check the validity of the argument. You… apparently got lost in my poking at him. He is apparently MIA (as apparently is the Friendly Atheist Guy) for the time being. =) But, I’m sure he too, upon return, will get lost once more. He’ll probably be thinking… “Validity be damned, he just made fun of me.” =P

    Now remember up above where I said, and I quote “=)”? You dont think there is a god because there is no evidence all all.. direct or slightly off to the side sort of evidence. Thats nice, let me know how that works out for you… Actually, don’t, I’ll tell you. =) So long as you think, you must base these thoughts on something. You must have knowledge of something, or something not. What you most certainly do not have knowledge about is whether God is or God is Not. But, somehow, you have thoughts. *sniff, sniff*… Smells like a belief to me. You believe in God… Not! =)

    Problem is that Atheists (you), would discount a belief with another belief (Not). In the end… neither you, nor the religious types know if the world is really flat or not (read God). You may find out some day… but you don’t know today.

    And as for me, nope, no problem, and possibly no God either…

    Really, who knows such things… =)

  • Bdox

    So Fyurien, Why do your start off with the presumtion that I’m “not likely to understand” what your are going to say? Certainly you can express yourself, or are just trying to be insulting. Well I guess I deserved that, since I said you didn’t know what atheism is. Then you tell me that I don’t know very much, which could be offensive if I did know very much….. so we will let that slide. But then you tell me that I said I “do know.” Then you declare that I told you all that I do know……. which I don’t recall having done. (?) What I did say was that you don’t seem to know what an atheist is because you had evidently learned what you do know from poseurs, ego involved skeptics who call themselves atheists.

    And yes, I guess among the things that I do know is what atheism really is. And I know that many who declare themselves to be atheists are people who choose to deny god for whatever their reasons are. But don’t really “get” the essence of atheism. And yes, I do get it. But that does not imply that I know all, or much, but I do know that.

    But you throw out my presentation about believing or not beleiving in god. You put me in with the scientific types who want repeatable testing and peer review. Not so, not what I described. When it comes to the belief in god, I would require some positive evidence before I would even examine the question. But all the evidence I have seen is negative so I have no motivation to consider the question of the existence of a god.

    Your topic about the earth being flat does not work. There is no analogy and here’s why. Any small boy who has watched a sailing ship disappear over the horizon knows that the hull disappears before the sails. It is no great leap to figure out that is because the earth is round. But in the dark ages, making claims like the earth rotates around the sun, or the earth is round, could get you burned at the stake by the “all knowing” church (who ruled the known world at the time.)

    So I won’t argue against the existence of god, but I will undermine the arguments in favor of, by fools who have bought into it, and would attempt to convince someone of my antiquity that I have missed something that would convince me that god does exist. Do they think that I am oblivious? You do. You think that, “You sorta believe.” Presumptuous of you. The pompous “religious leaders,” church leaders, prophets, seers, shamen, as well as saviours, would be gods and every other shape of clergyman of history have been saying things to prop up the idea of the existence of god for as long as man has been around. The one thing that they have proven is that it is a very good business principle to sell nothing for something. Such as: Come to me and give me your money! In return I will give you promises. Of course you will have to die to collect on those promises, but the money is due now! And in the mean time, you will conduct your lives just as I direct! So sure, it’s a good business, but in all the centuries of selling their promises, you would think that they would have come together on what they are selling but no! They become ever more fragmented in their claims about god. They are the experts, the ones who have the sacred information and are able to communicate directly with god. So eons later, (these guys have been in business for a long time,) they have not a single shred of evidence of god, but go on insisting that you must have faith. Which of course what god is. One big mass dillusion. So yeah, I sorta believe. I sorta believe that the experts have had adequate time to come up with some evidence, which they have not. So yeah, I sorta believe they are con artists because if there was any evidence they would have presented it by now because it would be worth billions to them.

    So no, I am not going looking for evidence of god(s) because the experts are on the job, despite having failed in their efforts for thousands of years. But I am willing to accept their failure as evidence against the existence of god.

    Also Fyurien, I have to admonish you for your quantum mechanics jibe. You accuse me of intellectual laziness. That if something is not readily understandable that I blow it off……. not fair. You have to admit that religion is and old argument. I am willing to pursue evidence if there is a reasonable theory and I do so time after time, but it has not made me rich yet. Perhaps I should have started a church!

    So my friend….. do you believe you are an atheist?

  • Claire

    Fyurien, I don’t mean to be rude, but I think you make less sense than anyone I have ever seen post here. I see a lot of things posted here that I disagree with, sometimes vehemently, but what you have written is simply gibberish. You respond to people’s remarks with things like =P and =), not as smileys to indicate emotion but as though those have real intellectual meaning. They don’t.

    During the time period where the average person thought the world was flat, nobody tried to sail around the world, so what does it matter what if they thought it was round or flat? They mostly stayed within sight of the coastline for fear of getting lost. It didn’t matter until somebody tried circumnavigation, and by then, everyone knew.

    Your analogy still doesn’t make sense. Not because it doesn’t correspond with facts, but because it’s just gibberish. How about dropping the analogy and stating in plain english, with actual words, what you are trying, with very little success, to say?

    Problem is that Atheists (you), would discount a belief with another belief (Not).

    Wrong, and I already rebutted that, with something more substantial than your =P

  • Sobex

    Fyurien, notice that I’m calling you by your name, by the name with which you chose to identify yourself. I could use all kinds of other names instead, but I choose to use your chosen name because I would want people to use mine. When you call people “Atheist Boy” and “Chuckles” you fail to respect other people’s identities.

    Nothing more needs to be said. If you cannot address someone by their chosen identity and indeed choose to mock it, you automatically disqualify yourself from the conversation.

    Do not feed this troll.

  • Bdox


    Jodie said,

    April 4, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    While I lived in Mali, I got numerous marriage proposals, daily: “You are white. We will get married and you will take me to America/France where I will be rich.” Every Malian I met would have given all of their possessions to go to a country that is considered first world.
    The one thing Mali had on America? I slept with my doors unlocked every night for two years. Children run around village all day and their mothers never worry about child molesters, kidnappers, et al. Everyone watches out for everyone and the protection there cannot be here.

    I understand your point here.

    I went to the Philippines with a view to retiring there.

    Over a month I had numerous women of all ages ask me to marry them and take them to America.

    This was absurd to me. They seemed to think that simply going to America meant great prosperity and happiness. Sad. I was looking favorably at their country because they have a decent standard of living, yet are in touch with the land. Road signs with poetry. Nice climate, if hot. But the overall impression that I had was the goodness of the country and small town people. Kind and helpful to me (with no promise of reward,) but more to the point, they were good to each other. Anyone having trouble, someone would rush to their assistance. Like your Mali experience, I always felt secure and never threatened.

    The only thing that put me off was the importance of religion. That and all their social events seem to be centered on rites and rituals with religious overtones. Not a society that I could comfortably integrate. But I did love those people.

  • Claire

    Sobex, are you sure that’s a fair assessment? Because the more I read what Fyurien posted, the more I’m coming to the conclusion that he’s simply really incredibly stoned.

  • False Prophet

    Nietzsche has a not-entirely undeserved reputation for looniness, but I think he had a point: religion can be a “slave morality” that the downtrodden, oppressed and poor use to make their depressing lot noble and heroic, and that of their oppressors or even those just more successful, villainous.

    Basically, it’s the fable of the fox and the grapes: “That other guy has more money than me? Well, it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven. Nya-nya-nyah!”

  • Fyurien

    Hey Bdox, so were friends now? Awesome!!! =)

    Not sure others share the same sentiment. Seems like a rather sensitive crowd here. Sobex clearly thinks I’m a troll, and Claire is certainly in no position to argue with him. Though she seems content to feed said troll. Whats more Claire seems to be of the opinion that this particular troll is high, or something. Which makes perfect sense, afterall how can one pontificate with such unfettered eloquence without a slight amount of chemical induced stoning, or stonage, or whatever… (not sure on the proper use of the word there)

    That sounded pompus didnt it? Sorry…

    Anyway, Bdox… and I quote you, “Blahh blahh blahh…blah balhhh… bla” Man you like to write. I mean, really, that took a while to read. Sarcastic quotations aside I agree with pretty much everything you said about religion. It is just about the worst thing man has managed to do. Religion is in a way the best excuse to hurt others, to propagate ignorance, to be ignorant and simply weak of character. Anyone who subscribes to any particular religion is doing so out of sheer weakness. Being more careful with my analogies, I would go so far as to say that religion is sort of crutch for the weak and lame (ignorant) to lean on. Problem is, such ignorance, and thus lameness is indoctrinated in people from birth. Yet another problem I have with religion. =) I can conclude that the vast majority of people today that are religions are so as a result of some terrible form of indoctrination.

    Its a shame really…

    Still, I should mention, I’ve come to think that religion does not lead to ignorance, but rather ignorance leads to religion. Thats another topic though…

    Ok, now back to your “Blahh, blahh blahh..”

    I am not an Atheist… I am Fyurien. Nor am I Christian. I am Fyurien. Actually, I’m not really Fyurien, thats just the name of a character in a story I might write some day. But back to what I am not. I am no random idea, no popular idea, no abstract idea or personal idea. I am Fyurien (the troll). Thats all we ever really are, is ourselves. But a strong sense of self is so terribly hard to come by that most would rather associate with an idea. And thus loose themselves. Whats worse, people like Claire, who I will reply to in a moment, is likely to suffer some amount of distress when that idea (Atheism) is argued against. But than again, maybe all she (?) is, is an idea. Hope that answers your question. =)

    I thought you had a good reply, if a bit wordy. I think rather than focus on what you know (Atheism), it might be better to understand what you don’t know.

    Start from there…

    This one dude a long time ago did it, he wasn’t very popular, but still a pretty good guy. =)

    PS: Sorry, that was kind of wordy too…

  • Fyurien

    Hi Claire,

    Hey, quit being so rude, and seriously, you’re not making much sense. Clearly there is some clarity that needs clarification there. What may surpass your sensitive sensibility as superfluous and serendipitous, is seriously just subtle sarcasm. =) And no, a sideways happy face is not meant to be serious, or profess any profound intellectual meaning.

    Maybe you need a hug or something…

    Now I quote you, so carefully… “Your analogy still doesn’t make sense. Not because it doesn’t correspond with facts, but because it’s just gibberish.” Gibberish it may be, maybe, but for your delight, I shall delight you with a more competent analogy.

    Some time back, where antiquity passed into the forgotten, long before it was recounted as history a few people looked up into the sky and probably said “WTF is that?” The sun of course was sort of cool… but nobody knew What The Fancy it was… So they gave it a name and a God to usher it across. Seems like a pretty hard job for poor old Helios… but he did it day in day out. Well he did, until polytheism became more myth than fact. And voila, we have Mythology, a time period where people knew that a half god was named Heracles and Zeus was an alright guy.

    Well we saw how that went… So my analogy to your delight is that Atheists are as certain God does not exist as Christians are the Zeus does not exist. Sort of analogous, but you did catch me on short notice. =)

    Sorry, I just smiled at you again…

    Have a nice day, and remember don’t feed the Fyurien!

  • Fyurien

    Sobex… need I say more?

    I fail to respect my own identity and rather choose to give myself a name, that by now you must be struggling to pronounce… hint it sounds a lot like Fyurien. =) Anyway, I dutifully apologize to anyone who I so fully and completely disrespected, or dare I say, dissed by my willful ignorance of your identity. Calling someone Chuckles is mean and I’m sorry.

    Are we friends now? Care to bestow upon us great enlightenment and argumentative prowess? Ok, now I’m just being a jerk… Sorry! Anyway, you’re welcome to join the argument which I like to call “Atheists? I don’t believe in you!”

    Clever huh? We’re getting t-shirts made… =)

  • Fyurien

    False Prophet…

    Well said… I think that also explains all the virgins in heaven. I mean if life really sucks here, lets convince ourselves its really, really great, not here (heaven). What would be great is there were nothing but camels up there… I mean seriously, the universe must have a sense of humor right?


  • Claire

    Sorry, Fyurien, I really am, but seriously, you truly did sound a lot like one stoner room-mate I had in college, and she tended to get even more fanciful than normal under the influence. She was also a philosophy major, which cranked it up yet another notch.

    So my analogy to your delight is that Atheists are as certain God does not exist as Christians are the Zeus does not exist.

    Ok, that I understand. Much clearer!

    I don’t think we are all that sensitive a bunch, normally, but this last week or two the trolls have been coming out of the woodwork, for whatever reason. It just wasn’t a good time to spring whimsy on us without warning…

  • Fyurien

    Hi Claire! =)

    No worries, its all good. I can imagine you get plenty of trolls here. Lots of individuals suffering from some sort of conviction or faith. Anyway, cool blog here! Its awesome to see so many people participating I’m the discussion. If you ever have an interesting topic and would like a sarcastic comment let me know. Its fyurien at gmail dot com. =)

    PS: No stonner here… Just a little philosophy and Greek rhetoric. =)

  • Bdox

    I liked False Prophet’s idea of religion being a “slave morality” which somehow ennobles them, even being in the most oppressed and onerous strata of society. It works, why else would they buy it? Reminds me of Plato’s “the cave” and the kind of mentality that can develop.

    Claire, I think I love you! You get the prize for recognizing the chemical influence. And what else, the need to talk overriding the need to make sense?

    And Fyurien, your pomposity and verbosity have done you in. Your unwillingness to take a position I think is just your way of making jabs against others while having nothing of your own that you must defend. It is like the amoral man who claims that his position is only “change” which means that when you find fault with him, his philosophy allows him to change or to throw away whatever idea is being criticized. It works, but there is nobody inside.

    Jesse, I did not ignore your question. I’m still thinking about it.

  • Siamang

    Somebody studies too much Shakespeare in his junior high school.

    I get a strong whiff of a young man trying awfully hard to impress himself. Intelligent, yes, but self-impressed to the point of solipsism.


    When you are done pleasuring yourself with your witty turns of phrase, and your references to erudite characters from literature (eg. Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean), you might find it a bit more enlightening to attempt to clearly communicate yourself to other members of the human species.

    Because, believe it or not, a world exists outside of yourself. I know, I didn’t believe it either when I was your age.

  • Fyurien

    At a near whisper I declare…

    Silly Atheists why so serious,
    I ask, I wonder and am so curious.
    A turn a phrase, a quote or two,
    And a silly reference I give to you.

    Actually, I’ve never really liked Shake-a-spear… too wordy, and just about impossible to understand. I’ve also never really liked people that take themselves too serious. Problem with these people (Bdox and Siamang) is, they take themselves too serious. =) It seems that everyone here, with the pleasant exception of Claire have gone the way of the Spartans at Thermopylae. Lay down your arms fair Atheists… this was just a simple point I made, and it so happened that a heavy sarcasm came along with it.

    Arguing for the existence of Not God, is just as silly as arguing for the existence of God. Neither of you know, you just to choose to believe or believe not. Simple! Thus, fellow atheists, saying believers are wrong is just as mistaken as believers saying you are wrong. No one is wrong, and yet obviously, no one is right. God as we have come to define him is, for lack of more coffee in my blood, unknowable. Religious types have set up god this way for a reason. And whats more, at some point they must have realized that this monotheistic God was too unknowable and was a bit too difficult for people to relate to, so they created a heavenly proxy and called him Jesus. Now the people had someone to relate to. Half man, half God and can kick some serious hydra butt… wait no that was another half god/man dude. Personally, I rather like mythology, and would much rather believe in Zeus. Anyone here with me? We can start a blog “FriendlyMythologist” =)

    And as for the turn of phrase and pomposity/verbosity, its because… as Claire was able to pickup on, I was just being whimsical. I don’t bother with serious argument unless there is a serious topic to be argued… seriously. So, serious argument aside, I took to more whimsical pastures. Take yourself too serious, and hang on to your ideas too hard, and the simple musings of a whimsical no one like me is likely to make you ever so defensive. Forget his point… lets just make fun of him. =P

    All I’m saying is… keep an open mind. Even science has its God Particle (LHC) and Dark Matter. No evidence of it, but hey, they’re keeping an open mind. Should be interesting to see what happens when the press the big red button in Switzerland. I already got the popcorn ready.

    PS: Bdox and Siamang, read the bit about argumentative devices up several comments, especially the part about ad hominem. Then you might not get so many whiffs of young self absorbed men suffering from solipsism (crazy word there, I had to Google it) =)

  • ash

    hi, chuckles here….

    i would address your points, but other than ‘blah blah blah i’m-so-much-better-than everyone else blah blah’, i haven’t seen any…

  • I’m rooting for a new Shaker movement where Christians consider ALL sex sinful even within marriage. Then if all Christians convert to this midset, the [religious] problem will take care of itself after a couple generations.

  • Fyurien

    Hey Atheists, heres some interesting reading…

    I’ve found God, says man who cracked the genome

    Its amazing how scientists can work for their entire lives, dedicating hours upon hours of their time and study to understanding the physical world, then, a religious nutbag comes along and leapfrogs all the work and proudly proclaims “What, you have a deeper more complete understanding of the world as we know it? Well, God must have been responsible for that new thing you just discovered too.” Then they just wait around till the next profound discovery and leapfrog that idea too.

    Oddly enough, the religious nutbag in this case is also the scientist. Clearly, he is convinced that God must certainly exist now. The proof is in the genes. Shumuck!!

    Anyway… I guess stupidity comes in all flavors, even the highly educated kind unfortunately. Being intelligent and being smart seem to be mutually exclusive.

    Ash, dont hate me because I’m sarcastic… don’t worry, everyone gets a fair dose of it, not just atheists.

  • Christophe Thill

    Well, recent news prove that, even if you live in the country with the most advanced healthcare in the world (I’m talking about technological capacities, not about the percent of people able to receive it), you can still prefer to rely on prayer.

error: Content is protected !!