Is God Imaginary?

Community => Guest Speakers => Topic started by: Former Believer on April 01, 2012, 08:59:22 PM

Title: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 01, 2012, 08:59:22 PM
Let's all welcome Leo Igwe, a Nigerian free thinker and activist, to the forum for a special visit!

Leo Igwe was the Western and Southern African representative to IHEU, the International Humanist and Ethical Union. He has bravely worked to end a variety of human rights violations, including anti-gay hate, sorcery, witchcraft, ritual killing, human sacrifice, ?untouchability?, caste discrimination, ?child witch? superstition, and anti-blasphemy laws. He is presently enrolled in a three year research programme on ?Witchcraft accusations in Africa? at the University of Bayreuth, in Germany.http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/bio/igwe/ (http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/bio/igwe/)

I'll start out the questioning, but feel free to add your own questions before Leo responds to mine.

Leo, first, thanks for agreeing to do the guest visit.  To my knowledge, you are the first Western African to visit our forum.  How did you become a skeptic/humanist in Nigieria, a very religious nation?  Do you define yourself as an atheist, an agnostic, or something else?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 01, 2012, 09:07:56 PM
welcome here leo,
I have read a brief synopsis on you and your challenges you have faced.
I hope your time here will be enjoyable and friendly.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 02, 2012, 03:21:56 PM
Thank you friends for inviting me to visit and contribute to your forum. It is a great honour and privilege to be in your midst. On how I became I a skeptic/humanist. I think the skeptical/humanist impulse beats in the hearts and minds of every one including the pope or the sheikh. The only difference is that while some decide to express their skeptical sentiments or thoughts others decide to suppress them. So why did I decide to express mine. Anyone brought up in a deeply religious environment can always hear the ?loud pulsation? of skeptical rationality in the doctrines and dogmas, in the rituals and lithurgies, in the practices and pronouncements. Beyond seeing or perceiving the pulses, one can see or feel the impact- the negative impact of lack of acknowledgement, the dark and destructive consequences. One could also envision what a better and enlightened society it would be without these negative impact.
Encouraged by those who did the same in Europe and brought the ?Enlightenment? I decided, on leaving the catholic seminary where I studied for over a decade, to express my skeptical impulses with the hope that it will help ignite some light in a continent that was once described as a ?Dark Continent?.
On whether I define myself as an atheist or an agnostic or?.
I do not bother so much defining myself. I will leave that to history and posterity
Labels can limit and at the same time leverage the positions people take on issues. I describe myself severally as atheist, humanist, skeptic, rationalist, freethinker, bright,?..any definition of a position or identity informed by reason, science, critical thinking and compassion is applicable to me.

Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 02, 2012, 03:55:42 PM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 02, 2012, 03:21:56 PM...
I think the skeptical/humanist impulse beats in the hearts and minds of every one including the pope or the sheikh. The only difference is that while some decide to express their skeptical sentiments or thoughts others decide to suppress them.
...
hehehe hahaha
I got a good belly laugh out of your comments!
matter of fact I am laughing out loud!
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 02, 2012, 05:58:07 PM
Welcome Leo,

I am very interested in hearing about your experience in Nigeria with the entrenched religion there. I have a good friend who is Nigerian and I have become much more familiar with the region as a result. I understand that there is essentially a coalition of many tribes, and that each tribe tends to be dominated by a religion, either Muslim or Christian. Am I very far off it that description?

My friend showed me some home videos and such that he shot while in Nigeria. It appears that the area is modernizing, however one of the primary things being imported seems to be our penchant for producing mega-churches and treating ministers like rockstars. I saw a few thirty foot billboards depicting preachers, and I wondered how the theology being taught differs.

I understand that there are some areas that enforce a form of sharia in which you could literally have your hand cut off for stealing something. Have you ever visited such an area?

Are you familiar with Helen Ukobia and her ilk? It is abominable that such a practice is occurring in the year 2012. I wonder if you could tell me (assuming you have heard of her and her kind) what the popular opinion from the general public is towards them.

I am also very interested in how religion effects the politics throughout Nigeria.

Forgive me if I have overwhelmed you with questions just at the start.
(https://isgodimaginary.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Ffrmarkdwhite.files.wordpress.com%2F2009%2F08%2Fbertrand-russell.jpg%3Fw%3D96%26amp%3Bh%3D96%26amp%3Bh%3D96&hash=1e35577692503fbdbcfc190e079b4fb1efd42e83)
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 02, 2012, 06:11:08 PM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 02, 2012, 03:21:56 PM
Anyone brought up in a deeply religious environment can always hear the ?loud pulsation? of skeptical rationality in the doctrines and dogmas, in the rituals and lithurgies, in the practices and pronouncements. Beyond seeing or perceiving the pulses, one can see or feel the impact- the negative impact of lack of acknowledgement, the dark and destructive consequences.

That's an interesting take.  Christians often will say that atheists "know in their hearts" that there is a God, but you seem to be saying that theists "know in their hearts" that some things are goofy with their religious beliefs and practices.  Or, am I misreading you?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: maritime on April 02, 2012, 06:55:04 PM
Welcome, Leo.

Thank you, Former Believer, for inviting Leo to share/discuss here at IGI. I will be listening.

I can identify with the "loud pulsation" and listening to the inner imperative to separate from those who would keep one narrow minded and under domination to some set way of thinking, that determines inclusion or not, that determines privilege or not, and the systemic thinking that subjects others to ridicule and mistreatment (and/or worse).
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 02, 2012, 07:47:57 PM
As you rightly pointed out, religion is entrenched in Nigeria. Not too long ago, Nigeria was polled to be the most religious nation on earth. Traditional/animist religion was the norm prior to the advent of christianity and Islam. But right now these two alien faiths are dominant after centuries of forced convertion and jihad. Infact today the two religious are pitched in a fierce battle for control and influence. Christianity is dominant in the Southern states and communities while Islam is dominant in most parts of the North. Most Nigerians are brought up, educated and socialized to profess one religion or the other. Due to their upbringing many Nigerians identify, support or align with religious positions whether they are right or wrong, good or bad, harmful or beneficient. In the sharia dominated states in the North, sharia is in force but a militant group Boko Haram is saying that the sharia currently in place is not forceful enough So the group is currently prosecuting a jihad to enforce their own Talibanic version of sharia. The government of Nigeria is currently waging a fierce battle against this terrorist group which has killed thousands of Nigerians including muslims who are critical of the violent campaign. While in the South, penticostal churches are having a field day exploiting poor, guillible Nigeria and using the money to erect mega churches.
And one of them is a notorious witch hunter Helen Ukpabio,    Just do a google search of her name and you will find out for your self the damage she and other pentucostal nuts have done to children and vulnerable members of the population. Ukpabio is not alone in this 'sacred business'. Many Nigerian prophets, pastors, Bishops and Imams are into it. Religion has become the most lucrative business in the country
Yes religious fundamentalism and exploitation is thriving at the expense of reason and critical thinking. The dominant faiths are holding politics and democracy in Nigeria hostage.
My country is laid back because of superstition and dogma. Nigeria is in urgent need of intellectual awakening, religious reformation and enlightenemnt
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Airyaman on April 02, 2012, 08:04:05 PM
This, in my opinion, is why religions such as Christianity and Islam are still growing in the world. There are still places that breed the right kind of environment for the religious to exploit. Sad but very true. I am not saying all do it, I used to know quite a few home folks (here in the US) that were all about the gospel of Christ (in a good way I think) and all they wanted to do is share what they thought was good news.

America is slowly becoming a country where the environment is no longer good for these religions. Maybe Islam to some extent because many people are ignorant of it, but Christianity is slowly losing its foothold, regardless of our fellow Christians who might say otherwise. With each new survey, you see less and less people identifying with any definable religion. They simply don't see the need, imho.

Now that I've been agnostic atheist for many years, I really no longer see the appeal either. Sure, the community aspect, the fun of singing ("worship"), and other activities, but none of these are really focused on praising any god as much as they are about seeking self satisfaction.

Thanks for stopping in Leo, +1 from me.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 02, 2012, 08:06:44 PM
I had not heard about the Boko Haram. That is indeed disappointing. Also disappointing is that the only way I am likely to have any understanding at all about the governance and events in a non-white foreign country is if I am talking directly to someone from the region. The news here in the states does not even seem to understand that Africa is not a country but a continent. I wish you and your people the best of luck in combating this virulent strain of Islamic fundamentalism. I can only hope that some of the western enlightenment values are also being imported.

How is Helen Ukpabio being seen in the public eye. Are here supporters the fringe or do you see a general acceptance of her practices among your contemporaries there?
The "Magic Sandwich Show" (an atheist talk show of sorts, which you may have heard of) devoted several hours to the practices of her and her kind this past month, and it was rather sickening.

Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 02, 2012, 08:32:26 PM
Sickening to a critically oriented mind- a mind that can question and express its doubt and objections without fear. Not one that is crippled by fear of the Lord- even when the Lord or the Lord?s is Ukpabio- which they said is the beginning of wisdom. Because so many people in Nigeria believe in witchcraft few people are ready to speak out against her. Afterall  were they not told in their so called holy book 'Touch not my anointed do my prophet not harm? 1 Chron 16 22)?  This is believed by millions of Nigerians to be the word of God and anyone who goes against it risks going to Hell fire...and NO NIGERIAN wants to go to HELL even if it is imaginary. That is why the likes of Helen Ukpabio and other prophets and imams/marabous are having a field day exploiting the gullible while a few of us continue to hope and strive for a new DAWN... a New Day .....a new Enlightenment
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 02, 2012, 08:48:19 PM
Are there forums for free expression in Nigeria? The enlightenment came out of an environment in which great thinkers were able to express and distribute their ideas throughout the known world through the printing press. Does Nigeria have such a forum? What is the level of access to the internet for example?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 02, 2012, 09:06:35 PM
There are actually forums which people adjudge free like the local media But the question is this: are the media really free? Particularly when it comes to matters concerning or critcal of religion ?islam for instance?  Definitely no. Yes internet access is growing and providing freethinking Nigerians forums to express themselves. Yes the internet has been helpful Just check out this link  http://grahamghana.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/the-role-of-the-internet-in-spreading-humanism/ (http://grahamghana.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/the-role-of-the-internet-in-spreading-humanism/)

Freethinking people still need more and better internet access..... for the African Spring whenever it happens
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 03, 2012, 01:03:28 AM
Leo,let me apologize!  I just noticed I named the thread "Leo Igwe discuss his religion and superstition in Africa".  I didn't mean to include the word "his"!  I corrected the title, but unfortunately, you'll still see it in some subsequent posts.  As most people on this forum can tell you, I frequently make typos that don't do justice to my keen intellect and writing abilities  ||grin||.

My apologies as I realize you are neither religious nor superstitious.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 03, 2012, 01:07:21 AM
From some of the internet stories I read about you, it seems like your father is a "free thinker" as well?  How religious (if you don't mind me asking) are other members of your family and how much support do you get from them in your efforts?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 03, 2012, 03:09:46 AM
Yes my father is a freethinker He became a freethinker lately in the course of probing and trying to understand why I embraced freethought. This is how it happened. My parents did nt know or understand much of what I was doing because I left the catholic seminary and moved to another part of the country. But my in law who is a pastor with a church in the US got to know at a point and ?reported? me to my father. My in-law called humanists satanists. So he downloaded some stuff on humanism from the internet and sent to my father who was curious to know what had gotten over the son. I visited home without knowing all these. I only knew that my parents were worried about my ?non challant? attitude towards religion.
So while I was visiting, my father confronted me with the matter and told me straight away that he read the stuff on humanism from my in-law and that he agreed with much of what they(humanists) said. He asked me to send him some more humanist books and publications which I did... I gave him Ingersoll?s the Mistake of Moses and Dan Barker?s Losing Faith in Faith. After reading these two books he said he was done with religion. He refused to return my copy of Dan Barker?s book till date. My mother is religious but she does not bother me. She is constantly worried about my safety and fears that fanatics might attack, harm or kill me. My brothers simply do not care but sometimes they make feel as if I am the other(that my brother who does not believe in god' is the way they often describe me). But I faced serious a lot of challenges when I wanted to marry. I never met any woman even the one with whom I am living with right now who was confortable and happy with my atheism. One lady dropped the phone on me as soon as I told her I was an atheist, another one walked me out of her room, a mother to one, on realizing that I was godless, threatened to arrest me with police if she saw me around her house Even though some were not so religious by my own assessment but for them atheism was a taboo and even if I decide to be an atheist I should not be open or vocal about my atheism I should simply be an atheist and SHUT UP, and keep my atheism to myself. But I pressed on and I am still pressing on...thanks to the support of friends out there.

Pressures? Yes I anticipated them and I am weathering and treating them to the best of my ability....but generally I can say that THINGS ARE GETTING BETTER.....


Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 03, 2012, 03:28:43 AM
How can we in the states help to support the efforts of yourself and others in Nigeria. One suggestion that was made within the American Atheists Convention if I remember correctly was to start translating or at least subtitling videos from PZ Meyers, Thunderf00t, and Aronra into other languages. Nigeria, if I remember rightly, generally has some English as a part of their inter-tribal communication, but I don't remember what is the general language, or whether there are multiples in the region. Is there a language barrier which is making it more difficult for western ideas to be adopted?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 03, 2012, 03:49:18 AM
First of all, events and programs by humanist groups should be global or international in nature. I understand there are local specific challenges but a national approach to them is almost outdated.

There is no language barrier in terms of Nigerians accessing or using materials published in English. English is the official language. Freethought publications in Enligsh will be helpful
Title: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Pastafarian on April 03, 2012, 05:24:48 AM
BM
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: leese on April 03, 2012, 06:00:14 AM
BM
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: FGOH on April 03, 2012, 11:11:54 AM
How much does superstition pervade everyday life in Africa?

I have not visited Africa save for a week in Zimbabwe in around 1993. Whilst in Harare for a day we bought a local newspaper. There was an article in it about a series of robberies that had taken place in a nearby village. The villagers had lain in wait and discovered who the perpetrator was. Then they reported this to the police. Some time later the police still had not arrested the villain so the villagers had demanded to know why not. The answer from the police was that they could not arrest the villain because he had visited the local witchdoctor and obtained a potion which rendered him invisible every time the police came to arrest him.

Is this type of thing common?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 03, 2012, 01:38:09 PM
I just found this old article that Leo wrote in 2004.  It is scary.

http://www.csicop.org/sb/show/ritual_killing_and_pseudoscience_in_nigeria (http://www.csicop.org/sb/show/ritual_killing_and_pseudoscience_in_nigeria)

Religion, superstition, and belief based on hearsay and assertion still play a prominent role in the lives of most Americans, but the problems that we face here pale to what you're dealing with in  Nigeria (and I'm guessing many other African nations, although I realize Africa is an incredibly diverse continent and I know that things vary from nation to nation, region to region and culture to culture).

Changing attitudes in a nation and continent where "goofy thinking" is so deeply entrenched seems like an overwhelming task. 

When you were in Nigeria, I know that you organized an anti-witchcraft hunting conference as part of an effort to educate Nigerians.  Can you share with us what some of the other things you have done in the past to help make a dent in the problems caused by religion and superstition, what your current efforts in Germany entail, what your plans are for the future, and if any long-term strategy exists to bring more rational thinking to Nigeria and Africa as a whole?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 03, 2012, 04:15:23 PM
Superstition pervades everyday life in Africa the way snow covers most parts of Europe at the peak of Winter season. There is hardly any definitive space for science and critical thinking. And when you talk about superstition do not restrict it to traditional beliefs like the one you pointed out. That is still common as you can see from this story.. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/nigeria/4325377/Nigerian-police-hold-magic-goat-over-attempted-car-theft.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/nigeria/4325377/Nigerian-police-hold-magic-goat-over-attempted-car-theft.html) Superstitions also included those of christianity and islam. In fact these two religions are the greatest obstacle to the process of eradicating superstition in Africa. While many traditional superstitious beliefs still persist, many have been christianized or islamized. In fact christianity and islam have introduced new ones that are causing additional damage. They have made fighting superstitions a very dangerous undertaking. But there is no price that is too small to pay in combating these forces of  dark age
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Dexter on April 03, 2012, 04:23:43 PM
The success of Islam and Christianity has been dependent on the ability to absorb local superstitions and traditions. Nowhere near on the scale you are relating, I cite Christmas and Easter from a Christian perspective.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 03, 2012, 04:40:35 PM
What I have in the past to address the problems caused by religion and superstition in Africa are so many. For instance I formed or helped form humanist, skeptics or freethought groups in many countries across the region. I believe there is power in organization. I have organized meetings conferences and campaigns in many African countries. Becuase I believe it is important to provide forums for people to discuss and debate these issues. I have written articles and letters to the editor in newspapers Because I believe it is important the voice of reasion and critical thinking is captured by the media. I represented IHEU at the African Commission on Human and People?s Rights where I made statements drawing the attention of the commission to these problem. In March I address the Human Rights Council http://www.iheu.org/iheu-slams-witchcraft-belief-un. (http://www.iheu.org/iheu-slams-witchcraft-belief-un.) I believe the problem is such that we have to tackle it on difference fronts using different strategies including scholarship. Last year I was given a place at the University of Bayreuth. I will be returning to Africa later in the year for my field work. Meanwhile I continue to follow and monitor events and developments in Africa and in African communities abroad on superstition related issues. I guess you must have heard about this case http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17255470. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17255470.) At the end of my problem I look forward to returning to Africa or to taking up a position with an regional or international institution that will enable me further the campaign.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 03, 2012, 04:51:06 PM
May be you are talking about the success of christianity in Europe not in Africa, where the tradition and superstitions of christmas held sway. In Africa the two religions have tried also to absord local traditions and superstitions like witchcraft, caste discrimination, patriachy, gender inequity, faith healing thereby making it difficult to combat these abuses or related injustices
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Dexter on April 03, 2012, 05:40:31 PM
Wherever Christianity goes it is always prepared to change the word to suit local customs. Easter and Christmas are only examples from Western Europe. I am sure in earlier times the concept of the virgin birth and the popularity of Mithras would also have had an effect on shaping the early New Testament. Jesus is a shape shifter.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Hemingway on April 03, 2012, 05:51:37 PM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 03, 2012, 04:51:06 PM
May be you are talking about the success of christianity in Europe not in Africa, where the tradition and superstitions of christmas held sway. In Africa the two religions have tried also to absord local traditions and superstitions like witchcraft, caste discrimination, patriachy, gender inequity, faith healing thereby making it difficult to combat these abuses or related injustices

Wow... that is interesting. Both religions have really attempted to incorporate elements of witchcraft etc? I would have thought that the preachers of both Islam and Christianity would have attempted to eradicate such beliefs in native peoples.

Oh and welcome by the way.

I have read your story with great interest on the other threads FB has started here about your work.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: nateswift on April 03, 2012, 05:59:13 PM
"Wow" is a good word.  You have got your work cut out for you for sure.  What I see you saying seems in part at least to be derived from intense competition between the two major religious incursions, so that it seems that both retreat to a kind of mindless and violent fundamentalism in order to not only keep their own folowers in line but to inspire acts of terror aimed not only at the "enemy" faith tradition, but at less than enthusiastic followers of their own.  My question is how moderate or even liberal (if there are such) members of the two competing systems (or even possibly some enlightenend animists) may help in getting a more open and less violent dialogue.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 03, 2012, 06:42:37 PM
Sadly the so called moderate and liberals are not proactive with their moderate and liberal stance. A lot of them are misconstrued to be enemies or infidels and are often targeted or demonized. In the case of Boko Haram, many outspoken moderate or liberal muslims are shot and killed. So the moderates are just there speaking from both sides of their mouth, too afraid to call a spade a spade. Unfortunately there are verses in the Koran and the Bible which sanction and sanctify violence...and piety is often understood as living in line with these injunctions
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 03, 2012, 08:03:33 PM
You have our sympathies Leo. Looking at the situation in Nigeria makes me very glad to have been born into a secular republic, and I fear that unless secularism is adopted as a standard within the government in Nigeria there will continue to be bloodshed as the different religious factions fight to create their own theocracy at the detriment of all of the rest of the population. Unfortunately you do not have the benefit of a public largely romanticized by the idea of enlightenment ideals such as they were at the inception of America, and you do not all share a common foe, as the American colonies did toward the british. Had the American colonies been left unmolested by the british I fear our secular republic would never have been created.

Have you worked at all with AAI? (Atheist Alliance International)
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 04, 2012, 02:17:38 AM
I served in the Board of Atheist Alliance International for a few years. But I am currently associated with AAI. As I noted in one of my posts, there is a need for a global approach. We run a greater risk as a world in this 21st century if we continue to see these problems as Nigerian or Algerian or Iraqi etc. These problems have transnational dimensions which we ignore at our own risk.http://news.yahoo.com/italian-british-hostages-killed-nigeria-raid-italy-govt-172936676.html (http://news.yahoo.com/italian-british-hostages-killed-nigeria-raid-italy-govt-172936676.html) For instance, Boko Haram in Nigeria is has international support not just in terms of arms but also ideologies. Many countries in the Middle East prefer funding Quranic indoctrination centers to building secular liberal education centers, they prefer rewarding those who run Madrassas schools to those who promote scientific, technological and critical thinking values. This is applicable to evangelical groups in Europe and America
They are not interested in the impact on the lives of the people. They just want to promote their religions at all costs. And this is sad. Do not get me wrong I am not against international support. But we need to ask, international support for what? In Gambia, an islamic charity is building a mosque in every public school in the country. So you go to a public school with no good classrooms, desks and learning material and you find a magnificent mosque. Think about it? What message do you send to students and youths in the country?In Swaziland, Malawi and other Southern African countries I saw islamic missionaries funded to convert Africans living on less than one dollar a day from one religion to another....I mean I can go on and on to point out the international dimension to the problem. Even though at the end of the day I put a greater part of the bulk on the door step of Africans themselves
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 04, 2012, 02:30:47 AM
Somebody asked me what my plans were for the future. Simply put I want to spend the rest of my life waging the 'culture battle' A lot of damge is done in the name of religion, culture and tradition in Nigeria and Africa I plan to set up programs to shine light on this damage, if possible to undo the damage. On another hand I am interested in promoting critical, creative and positive thinking in Africa. Because I do not think the change we need in Africa will be achieved without changing the thinking pattern. I tell my African colleagues that there is nothing wrong with the color of our skin, the shape of our nose or the texture of our hairs but there is something wrong with the prevailing thinking pattern.

I know that changing people's mentality is and can be diffcult, it takes time it is risky but it is not impossible....
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 04, 2012, 05:27:10 AM
You know, Leo, I hadn't really given much thought as to what it meant to be a "humanist" until inviting you to visit this forum.  It's a term that I never used to describe myself, and to be honest with you, I think my brainwashing from my old Assembly of God days may have left a subconscious bias against the term imprinted within my psyche.  However, after reading the stories about you and by you online and seeing your responses in this thread, I think I am gaining a better appreciation as to what it means to be a humanist.

In my former days as a Pentecostal believer, a "secular humanist" was seen as evil.  Essentially, the idea was that being our own humanity was being worshipped and that god was being denied.  This was of course evil, because goodness and life and decency were derived from god.  What strikes me as ironic is that you, a man who embodies this "secular humanism" is the one who is demonstrating decency and honor because by stripping away god and religion out of morality and ethics, you have rid yourself of the dogma and superstition that harms human beings rather than uplifts them.   
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 04, 2012, 05:27:37 AM
Duplicate post.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 04, 2012, 08:22:11 AM
Sometimes I encounter people who tell me that- that humanists worship human beings Why? because they have been brainwhashed to think that one must worship something Sadly we must not. Some may choose to. We are free beings.
Now think about it Who are those worshipping the Popes and Bishops, the sheikhs, Ulamas and Imams, the Rabbis etc? Is it the humanists? Often I hear people say that scientists or atheists play god. If humanists play god, the popes and the Ayotollahs do what? Well friends sometimes I think this sounds petty because we have huge problems out there in urgent need of solution and attention. Diversity defines the way human beings are, believe, or act So we should strive to cooperate with each other. I prefer preoccupying myself with acquiring skills and competences to persuade people along the path of progressive change. I always want people to understand that if we make this world better, it is not for me alone, or for atheists alone or for theists alone as the case may be. It is for everybody
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Maggie the Opinionated on April 04, 2012, 12:18:41 PM
I can't speak for what happens in Islam but no Catholic worships the pope or the bishops, nor do Jews worship their rabbis. Respect and worship are not the same thing. The pope does not play God, nor do rabbis.

No one has to brainwash humans to worship. That impulse is hardwired in us. The only question is what we should worship and how that worship should be expressed. Identifying the problem you are trying to solve correctly is, I think, an important first step.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 04, 2012, 02:04:45 PM
Part of the problem is that some people claim to be representing god, to be sent by god, or to be the mouthpiece of god -the alter christus(another christ). So their pronoucements and positions on issues of public importance are often taken or better revered as divine, as god's- infallible, unquestionable and absolute. For me I am interested in the consequences of positions individuals or groups take on human beings whether they decide to play god or spirits or humans.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: maritime on April 04, 2012, 02:35:38 PM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 04, 2012, 08:22:11 AMI always want people to understand that if we make this world better, it is not for me alone, or for atheists alone or for theists alone as the case may be. It is for everybody

indigenous saying shared in Lynne Twist's The Soul of Money: If you are coming to help me, you are wasting your time, but if you are coming because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

I think it is devotion (rather than worship) to the vision of those purporting to represent god and/or god's thoughts, some wholeheartedly moving it along, others passively carried along. Question the vision, the (not so great) end of the means and those making up the requirements.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Maggie the Opinionated on April 04, 2012, 03:45:24 PM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 04, 2012, 02:04:45 PM
Part of the problem is that some people claim to be representing god, to be sent by god, or to be the mouthpiece of god -the alter christus(another christ). So their pronoucements and positions on issues of public importance are often taken or better revered as divine, as god's- infallible, unquestionable and absolute. For me I am interested in the consequences of positions individuals or groups take on human beings whether they decide to play god or spirits or humans.

So are the pronouncements of a charismatic secular humanist somehow less subject to being revered or unquestioned? When backed up by an army, or merely the force of law, are the secular humanists' positions less absolute?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 04, 2012, 03:58:25 PM
Quote from: Maggie the Opinionated on April 04, 2012, 03:45:24 PM
So are the pronouncements of a charismatic secular humanist somehow less subject to being revered or unquestioned? When backed up by an army, or merely the force of law, are the secular humanists' positions less absolute?

Yes because the religious leaders claim that their positions are unquestionable, and that to question them is quite often punishable. This is true even of the Catholic church which under the right circumstances will excommunicate those with whom it disagrees. Somehow they did not feel that Hitler warranted this however @_o .... I have yet to see a secular humanist claim such a thing, especially considering that it would be antithetical to secular humanism to take such a stance.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 04, 2012, 04:25:58 PM
Maggie, did you read what I said very well I said "For me I am interested in the consequences of positions individuals or groups take on human beings whether they decide to play god or spirits or humans." So is the so called charismatic secular humanist not an individual? Of course he or she is and the position can be questioned. I came to this position not because I want to discredit the theistic position. Not at all but in the course of trying to find out why human beings have been sacrificed over the years on the altar of religious beliefs http://www.religionnewsblog.com/17786/muslim-students-beat-christian-teacher-to-death-for-desecrating-koran (http://www.religionnewsblog.com/17786/muslim-students-beat-christian-teacher-to-death-for-desecrating-koran) Also truths, human rights and civilized values are sacrificed....and at the end of the day everybody is affected. So Maggie it is not a matter of secular humanism versus theism or religion No. It is a matter of truth versus lies, civilization versus barbarism, progress versus stagnation, honesty versus hypocrisy, darkness versus light.......
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Maggie the Opinionated on April 04, 2012, 06:17:59 PM
But who decides what is truth? When you look at the history of humanity, where do you see human rights prevailing except, let's be honest, in those nations shaped decisively by Christianity? Who defines human rights? truth? civilized values? You speak as if they are self-evident. They are not, in the absence of some overarching principle that defines what we humans ought to be and what we ought to be striving to become. It is all very well, and, indeed, it is a good and noble thing to fight obvious injustices such as slavery, witch burnings, etc. but what will take their place? The worship of secular reason has led to some of the worst atrocities in human history. Why, is that, do you think?

This is why I say that the first step in tackling any problem lies in correctly defining it. The easy assumption that it is religion, per se, that is the issue and that getting rid of it will solve the problem has already been refuted by history.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 04, 2012, 08:01:19 PM
We human beings decide what is truth through a thought out and reasoned process. (Truths' are not revealed by god to prophets and messengers.) And we can always revise and review whatever we think it true in the light of new information or knowledge. Those systems of belief which we cannot question, revise or review its doctrines have been the greatest obstacle to human and intellectual . Christianity like other faiths(and your overarching principle) was created by human beings. One of the greatest disservice religious faiths have done to humans including you, Maggie, is to attribute to an imaginary god feats achieved by human beings and again this mistaken idea that humans cannot achieve a better life through 'unaided reason'. I can see that you have introduced the phrase 'the worship secular reason'. Ah Maggie why must we worship? Why cant we use a word devoid of human debasement? Even that thing you think we need to appeal to- the overarching principle or whatever it is called is your creation- human creation. I have not said that religion should be gotten rid of. No instead I think we should put religious teachings where it belongs- the archives. The myths should be treated as myths, the lies contained in the scriptures should not be propagated as truths, superstitions should not be preached as science or used to undermine science. It is surprising that we are still told in this 21st century that some doctrines were revealed or dictated by god/Allah many centuries ago. I mean this sacred lie is no longer sustainable.  The religions in question should tell us the truth about those who made their thoughts divine revelations.
I think that will help us in defining the problem.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Maggie the Opinionated on April 04, 2012, 08:56:51 PM
Thought out and reasoned processes? How do they come about? If we are capable of that, why are you having to deal with witch burnings? The rape of children and virgins to cure Aids? Why aren't these people thinking and reasoning? It is no answer to say that it is because of a religion they have adopted. If they adopted that religion while thinking and reasoning, what does that tell you about how much reliance you can place on that method of approaching human problems? If they did not adopt their religions through a process of reason, what makes you think they will give them up and suddenly adopt a "reasoned" approach to life?

Why must we worship? You tell me. Where don't humans worship something? When in all of human history has reason ever prevailed? What does reason, divorced from culture, look like? Do you believe that you are guided strictly by reason?

What, by the way, is your proof that God hasn't revealed himself to humans?  When you talk about worship as "human debasement" I am forced to smile. The worship means to "give honor/respect" to the One who deserves it. God does not need it; we do. It helps us orient ourselves rightly to live rightly. There is no debasement in that. It is sanity in a world that is not always sane.

I do not trust human reason alone. I don't know why anyone who has read history would.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 05, 2012, 04:36:26 PM
Maggie, that one thinks or reasons does not mean that one cannot err. History is replete with mistaken ideas or thoughts of human beings. And humans have made progress by later correcting or abandoning those positions through education or legislation. But often the process of correcting or getting people to abandoned mistaken postitions for instance as contained in Ex 22: 18 which says Suffer not a witch to live' take time as in the case of witch burning. It is also difficult and risky particularly when such positions are sanctioned and sanctified in holy books.
Maggie I think there is something you are not getting correctly. Religions are products of human creation. The religions of today are the reasonings of yesteryears divinized, dogmatized and institutionlized. That is why you can notice similarities in religions and traditions http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/igew20120203. (http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/igew20120203.) Or I should put it this way religions are largely outdated reasoning. Religions are ancient reasoning in spite of today's reasoning. The scriptures are codified ancient thoughts. The thinking of people who lived centuries and millenia ago. They had little or no access to the information available to us today. That is why religious dogmas are improper guide for humans in this 21 century. Open the pages of the Torah, Bible or the Koran. I am sure you will disagree with many things contained therein.
You once said that people do not worship the Pope Now you said that worship means honour and respect. Are you saying that people do not honour or respect the Pope? I am still wondering how worshipping spirits and gods helps to orient ourselves properly I come from a worshipping and religiously devout country and continent. If you dont trust human reason alone what other faculty do you add to it and how did you arrive at this 'supplement'? How did you know it is useful?
I want to reiterate that a reasoned approach to life is not error proof It is self correcting unlike the revealed apprach to life ||smiley||
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 05, 2012, 04:38:39 PM
I just got this statement which I thought might interest friends at this forum....
 

Dear All,

Very little time left, but I would encourage everyone who is concerned to sign, individually and if possible in the name of your organisation and circulate the joint NGO statement. The deadline is today. Direct link to sign - http://tinyurl.com/7rxvac3 (http://tinyurl.com/7rxvac3)

Statement circulated by AWID (the Association for Women's Rights in Development)

For the first time in its history, the 56th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)--a key global policy-making body dedicated to gender equality and the promotion of women's rights--ended with no Agreed Conclusions. Not since Beijing (4th World Conference on Women in 1995) has there been such a stalemate between women's rights advocates and ultra-conservative forces. Once more, culture and tradition were invoked to stall progress on critical women's rights issues and provoke a political deadlock. Fundamentalist forces see this impasse as a great "pro-family" victory.[1]



The African Group, the OIC [Organisation of the Islamic Conference], the Holy See, CARICOM [Caribbean Community and Common Market] and several states worked in various combinations to explicitly block progress on several key issues, including opposition to already agreed upon language in international texts, such as removing the term traditional from "harmful traditional practices", lobbying to change "early and forced marriages" to the more ambiguous "child marriage", and replacing "gender equality" with "equality between men and women" to refute the existence of any other genders.



The most conservative blocs also sought to advance "parental rights" and deny the right to comprehensive sexuality education and "reproductive rights and sexual health" as human rights. The Holy See once more insisted that the terms "sexual and reproductive health" and "reproductive rights" should exclude abortion and abortion services. They also refused to endorse contraception or condom-use for family planning or preventing HIV/AIDS and other STDs, or support sexuality education stating that:



"The advancement of an agenda which promotes 'sex education' and artificial contraception to children, and completely disregards their parent's [sic] involvement, is antithetical to the role of the state which has the responsibility to promote the common good of the family and society."[2]



In a joint statement, Say NO to safeguarding "traditional values" over women's human rights!, women's rights organizations have expressed their outrage with the end result of the 56th CSW. The statement calls on governments not to put on hold the advancements of women's rights because of political battles between states; says no to re-opening negotiations on already established international agreements on women's human rights; and calls on governments to promote, protect and fulfill the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and reject attempts to invoke traditional values or morals which infringe upon human rights guaranteed by international law. They urged governments to ensure that the health and human rights of girls and women are secured and reaffirmed at the upcoming Commission on Population and Development and the International Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).



More information can be found at:

http://www.un.org/News/Press/ (http://www.un.org/News/Press/) docs/2012/wom1905.doc.htm



To add your name to the list of signatories to the above statement, please click here.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] See the Family Watch International report on the 56th CSW here.

[2] http://www.turtlebayandbeyond (http://www.turtlebayandbeyond). org/2012/family/norway- religion-and-morality-hazards- to-womens-rights
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Maggie the Opinionated on April 05, 2012, 05:30:11 PM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 05, 2012, 04:36:26 PM
Maggie, that one thinks or reasons does not mean that one cannot err. History is replete with mistaken ideas or thoughts of human beings. And humans have made progress by later correcting or abandoning those positions through education or legislation.
Who does the educating? Who does the legislating? What makes their ideas correct and those of the people they are correcting wrong? What are your standards for making such judgments? Do you hold yourself to be so perfectly objective and reasonable that you would feel entitled to force (that is what legislation does) people to do the right thing-- the thing that you have decided is right?

QuoteMaggie I think there is something you are not getting correctly. Religions are products of human creation.
This is your opinion. While some obviously are, most do try to capture what people understand, or think they understand about the God of creation. Without revelation, however, that is not nearly enough. But do you have evidence or a logical argument to make to support your opinion that no religion correctly reveals the living God?
QuoteThe religions of today are the reasonings of yesteryears divinized, dogmatized and institutionlized. That is why you can notice similarities in religions and traditions.
Oh? Or are the similarities there because there is something at bottom, God, that all men have seen and understood, poorly or well as the case may be?
QuoteOr I should put it this way religions are largely outdated reasoning. Religions are ancient reasoning in spite of today's reasoning. The scriptures are codified ancient thoughts. The thinking of people who lived centuries and millenia ago. They had little or no access to the information available to us today. That is why religious dogmas are improper guide for humans in this 21 century. Open the pages of the Torah, Bible or the Koran. I am sure you will disagree with many things contained therein.
I am a Christian. I don't care about the Koran for reasons I have already stated. I do not disagree with anything in the Bible or the Torah. I actually understand how to read them.
QuoteYou once said that people do not worship the Pope Now you said that worship means honour and respect. Are you saying that people do not honour or respect the Pope?
The word "worship" has taken on a specific meaning over the centuries that makes it inappropriate in American English, at least, for use with human beings. In commonwealth countries "your Worship" is still used as an honorific (so far as I know) applied to mayors, justices of the peace and other magistrates. Of course we respect and honor the pope but we do not forget for one single moment that he is a man, just as we are, and in need of prayer and forgiveness.

QuoteI am still wondering how worshipping spirits and gods helps to orient ourselves properly I come from a worshipping and religiously devout country and continent. If you dont trust human reason alone what other faculty do you add to it and how did you arrive at this 'supplement'? How did you know it is useful?
Worshipping spirits and gods is not a good thing. Worshipping God is. When we know what he demands of us and keep our eyes on the prize of becoming perfect, like our Lord Jesus Christ, we are orienting ourselves rightly. Reason tells me that this is a very good thing. Faith tells me that it will be possible.
QuoteI want to reiterate that a reasoned approach to life is not error proof It is self correcting unlike the revealed apprach to life.
How is it self-correcting? One has to have something to reason about. Where does that something come from? How does reason decide that this is good, that is bad? Again, you talk as though we could reason in a vacuum. We cannot. We are finite creatures whose every attempt to elevate human reason has ended in disaster. No one is a blank slate. We are a bundle of needs, desires, ego, resentments, etc. Reason, unimpeded by a sense of accountability to God, may decide that collectivizing farming is a good idea but before it self-corrected 6-7 million people in the Ukraine were deliberately allowed to starve. At least one of Stalin's henchmen thought that was a good thing-- it showed the peasants who was boss. His words, in Russian of course. That is reason that does not acknowledge God.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 05, 2012, 06:56:39 PM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 05, 2012, 04:36:26 PM
I want to reiterate that a reasoned approach to life is not error proof It is self correcting unlike the revealed apprach to life ||smiley||

I really like the way you worded that, Leo.  Reasoned versus revealed. 

Religious folks who "know" they have the truth, must make all evidence conform to their paradigms.  The paradigm is sacred, not the truth.  Thus, if you're a Fundamentalist Christian who believes that the Bible is infallible, you must "spin" all the evidence that suggest that the Bible is not infallible in a manner that attempts to maintain your paradigm, even if the explanations that you offer are twisted and forced.  If you are a Catholic, you must maintain the integrity of Church doctrine and teaching in the same manner.

Free thinkers are not in such bondage.  Bill Maher, a comedian who is an atheist, had a great bit about this on a Real Time Episode recently.  He said that if Jesus appeared at half-time of the Super Bowl, Maher would admit he had been wrong and say "My bad...Praise the Lord!".  Same with me.  Show me good evidence for any sort of deity and I'll believe.  My paradigm is not sacred. It is maleable and may change. The truth is sacred, not the paradigm. 
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 05, 2012, 07:04:18 PM
QuoteMaggie: We are finite creatures whose every attempt to elevate human reason has ended in disaster.
This whole internet and computers thing, and y'know, the medicine, and the flying to the moon. Sure seem disasterous to me.  ||Kerly|| As usual, whatever you like about modern society you will attribute to your church/god and whatever you do not you will attribute to non-believers or "not true christians". The fact that your world-view remains internally consistent says less about it's truth value than you might think.

Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 05, 2012, 07:23:43 PM
Quote from: Argyle on April 05, 2012, 07:04:18 PM
QuoteMaggie: We are finite creatures whose every attempt to elevate human reason has ended in disaster.
This whole internet and computers thing, and y'know, the medicine, and the flying to the moon. Sure seem disasterous to me.  ||Kerly|| As usual, whatever you like about modern society you will attribute to your church/god and whatever you do not you will attribute to non-believers or "not true christians". The fact that your world-view remains internally consistent says less about it's truth value than you might think.
She has probably never cut down a tree and scribed some silly words on it.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Maggie the Opinionated on April 05, 2012, 08:09:44 PM
Quote from: Former Believer on April 05, 2012, 06:56:39 PM

Free thinkers are not in such bondage.
Oh yes you are. There is no such thing as a "free thinker". There are only people who think more or less rationally. We are all products of our time and culture. You can no more escape that than you can decide to grow wings and fly away.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 05, 2012, 08:12:39 PM
Quote from: Maggie the Opinionated on April 05, 2012, 08:09:44 PM
Quote from: Former Believer on April 05, 2012, 06:56:39 PM

Free thinkers are not in such bondage.
Oh yes you are. There is no such thing as a "free thinker". There are only people who think more or less rationally. We are all products of our time and culture. You can no more escape that than you can decide to grow wings and fly away.
insert jesus, fly away.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Maggie the Opinionated on April 05, 2012, 08:15:56 PM
Quote from: Argyle on April 05, 2012, 07:04:18 PM
QuoteMaggie: We are finite creatures whose every attempt to elevate human reason has ended in disaster.
This whole internet and computers thing, and y'know, the medicine, and the flying to the moon. Sure seem disasterous to me. 

||Kerly||  Now, try posting something relevant to what I have been arguing here.

QuoteAs usual, whatever you like about modern society you will attribute to your church/god and whatever you do not you will attribute to non-believers or "not true christians".
Oh? care to point out a single message I have posted in the last two years that does this? Your ability to understand what you read is the best evidence possible that you have not thought out or reasoned your way to your current positions. They are decisively shaped by your ego, your fundamentalist upbringing, and all your particular cultural baggage-- of which I am unaware. So are you but only one of us has an excuse for lack of awareness.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 05, 2012, 09:01:57 PM
http://isgodimaginary.com/forum/index.php/topic,44949.msg364668.html#msg364668 (http://isgodimaginary.com/forum/index.php/topic,44949.msg364668.html#msg364668)
||whistling||
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Maggie the Opinionated on April 05, 2012, 10:37:15 PM
I am so pleased that you found that brilliant post that I will refrain from telling you the obvious-- it doesn't have much to do with the subject here but deals with the shaping of culture.

And culture shapes us.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: rickymooston on April 05, 2012, 11:26:57 PM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 03, 2012, 04:15:23 PM
Superstition pervades everyday life in Africa the way snow covers most parts of Europe at the peak of Winter season.

What I've noticed about the Nigerians I know, is that they seem to speak somewhat poetically.

I'm reading through this thread with some interest.

I glanced over the petition you are making. I'm unsure what to say. Amnesty International isn't swayed by the views of conservative states though. How binding are these resolutions?

An awareness needs somehow to come from "within" that some of these practices are wrong and apparently, political forces are going in the other direction.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 06, 2012, 02:51:17 AM
Quote from: Maggie the Opinionated on April 05, 2012, 10:37:15 PM
I am so pleased that you found that brilliant post that I will refrain from telling you the obvious-- it doesn't have much to do with the subject here but deals with the shaping of culture.

And culture shapes us.
what...?? the shaping of culture...? culture shapes us...?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 03:05:21 AM
Hope I?m not coming too late into this conversation, but here are a few things I would like to say. Bad things come from the religious and non religious alike. The fault is in human nature ? not religion. Human sacrifice in the name of religion is appalling.  As is anti-gay hate crimes. However, human trafficking encouraged by a non religious/secular ideology is equally horrendous. As is genocide promoted by an anti-religious fascist group. 

I think it is a weak position to single out religion as the root cause. More specifically I think it extremely weak to single out religion as instigating the denial of women?s rights. The disrespect and lowly view of women is hardly limited to religious institutions.

You speak of ridding the world of barbaric and perverse behavior. How?s this barbaric picture for you . . .  a commercial during half time showing a bunch of drunk men ogling over barely dressed women who all have fake boobs, have been air brushed, and most likely suffer from eating disorders. Surely, this non religious secular world view about the ideal woman is not pro woman?

Oh, but they argue it is. These woman are free they tell us. Free to have sex with whom ever and whenever they like (as long as it is their ?choice? and as long as they are ?responsible? of course ? all they need to do is take that little pill ? don?t worry they tell us, it gives you freedom. The benefits far outweigh those pesky side effects.).

Who is using reason here? Who is actually acknowledging the truth? Who is actually accepting the facts? The science? The research? The obvious? The statistics show time and time again women don?t emotionally handle casual sex as well as men and the physical harm from things like the pill is indisputable.   

I guess I also always find it a little amusing when atheists/humanists/non-religious think people believe their religions b/c their religions say so. I can?t speak for others here, but as a Catholic I use logic and reason. Something is not true because the Church teaches it. The Church teaches it b/c it is true. Do you understand the difference?

For example, sex outside of marriage is not a bad idea b/c the Church teaches that it is a bad idea. The Church teaches sex outside of marriage as a bad idea b/c it IS a bad idea (TRUE). The Church accepts all the evidence on this matter. The Church is not the one ignoring the statistics ? the facts. It is almost always the non ?religious who throw reason out the window and turn to ?wishful thinking? and actually think if we tell ourselves it?s ok, then it will be ok. LOL! Where is the reason? Where is the logic?   

In short, to think religion is the problem is again not being honest. You would be hard to find that the majority of aid to the poor, the hungry, the sick and women and children, does not in fact come from religious organizations. That, once again, I?m afraid is a statistical fact. A lot of good and a lot of people have been helped in the name of religion. If humanists want to really see the greatest potential for man achieved, he can?t just ignore the good b/c it comes from a source he is ideologically opposed to.

I think your argument seems to be religion can get in the way of progress. I couldn?t disagree more. Stupid people can get in the way of progress. I think I could make a pretty good argument showing in fact religion has been the motivation behind many of mankind?s greatest achievements. If we all really want to work together, shouldn?t this be acknowledged?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: rickymooston on April 06, 2012, 03:13:36 AM
Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 03:05:21 AMHow?s this barbaric picture for you . . .  a commercial during half time showing a bunch of drunk men ogling over barely dressed women who all have fake boobs, have been air brushed, and most likely suffer from eating disorders. Surely, this non religious secular world view about the ideal woman is not pro woman?

Many of the people willing watchng said commercial go to church. ||666||
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 03:21:15 AM
Quote from: rickymooston on April 06, 2012, 03:13:36 AM

Many of the people willing watchng said commercial go to church. ||666||

Yes, but I don't think it's the Religious Right or Conservative Christians producing these commercials. They might be part of the ones watching them, but depending how important their faith is to them, they probably feel bad about it.  ||smiley|| and recognize such a worldview of women is not in the best interest of man or society.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 06, 2012, 04:20:04 AM
Wow.. meAgain are you really trying to imply that the objectification of women is driven by secularity?
Is it tiring carrying around all of those straw men?

You are aware of course that the current roles of women as sexual objects which are the property of their husbands is included in many religious interpretations, and that secularists are currently fighting against those religious forces to gain equality for women, sure they are joined by great numbers of religious groups, but non-belief in gods or the idea that religions should not be setting social policy is not a cause of female objectification, it just isn't.

Also, given the statistics, I would imagine that quite a few religious individuals were involved in the production of those commercials, but I'm sure you're going to say "but they're not true christian's!"

||tip hat||
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 12:59:23 PM
Quote from: Argyle on April 06, 2012, 04:20:04 AM
Wow.. meAgain are you really trying to imply that the objectification of women is driven by secularity?
Is it tiring carrying around all of those straw men?


I?m saying the secular culture can be just as guilty as the religious in doing so. Are you saying the objectification of women does not exist in the secular culture?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 06, 2012, 01:20:17 PM
nope.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
Argyle, a few more thoughts about how religion has no right to shape social policy . . .

Why should humanist ideology shape social policy? How is it better than someone else?s ideology? The humanist does not simply base his beliefs on science, reason, and that which can be observed (I?ve already shown how the Catholic Church does this as well). The humanist projects, just like any ideology, his assumptions. The humanist may believe that religion serves as a disservice to man, but in reality he has no proof. As I mentioned before one could argue the flip side. His case is flimsy, as many a secular group has developed theories and practices that have been a disservice to man. 

And what exactly makes the humanist believe his belief is the correct one? Humanists will admit murder is still considered to be wrong, unless, of course, the victim is an unborn baby. How have you determined such? And how is how you have determined such any better than how a religious person determines right from wrong?

Argyle, you may actually believe you are free from dogma and constrained thought, but from where I stand, you simply espouse different dogma and insist they are reasonable.

Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 06, 2012, 01:38:13 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
Argyle, a few more thoughts about how religion has no right to shape social policy . . .

Why should humanist ideology .....[garbage].....
"humanist ideology" what is that?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: rickymooston on April 06, 2012, 02:09:43 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 12:59:23 PM
I?m saying the secular culture can be just as guilty as the religious in doing so. Are you saying the objectification of women does not exist in the secular culture?

The question is whether its caused by it or not. Many football games have prayers and hence lol, in theory its not. On the other hand,

Argyle, it s valid to say somebody is a poor christan if its obvious what they do violates the commands of christ. Jesus complaned about lustful stares and divorce. SPAG and sciiptural interpretaton belong in another thread tho
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 06, 2012, 02:12:11 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 12:59:23 PM
Quote from: Argyle on April 06, 2012, 04:20:04 AM
Wow.. meAgain are you really trying to imply that the objectification of women is driven by secularity?
Is it tiring carrying around all of those straw men?


I?m saying the secular culture can be just as guilty as the religious in doing so. Are you saying the objectification of women does not exist in the secular culture?

It does, but the difference is that no beer commercial says that a holy book or a deity or religious leader is the authority behind the objectification. 
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 06, 2012, 03:16:52 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
Why should humanist ideology shape social policy?

I could give a rather lengthy argument for humanism, but I think that is for another thread. I think you are conflating humanism with secularism however. Humanism is a particular philosophical approach to morality, while secularism is merely the idea that governments should be religiously neutral. You blame secularism for the beer ads you dislike, my point was that secularism does not endorse such ads, it merely does not make the argument, say, that leprechauns are offended by them and therefore we should not make them for example.

Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
How is it better than someone else?s ideology? The humanist does not simply base his beliefs on science, reason, and that which can be observed (I?ve already shown how the Catholic Church does this as well).

Humanism is not a purely secular philosophical stance. A great many historical humanists were religious, even catholic. I think you will find that the more recent "friendly" Christianity is based on a melding of humanism and Christianity which occurred during the enlightenment, during which the teachings of Jesus became more and more center stage because they coincide much closer with humanist values and the extrapolations of old testament law became less and less prominent.

Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
The humanist projects, just like any ideology, his assumptions. The humanist may believe that religion serves as a disservice to man, but in reality he has no proof.

This appears to be yet another straw man. Nothing within humanist philosophy is anti-religious per-say, it is more that among secular humanists (a subgroup of humanists) an argument is certainly being made that certain branches of religion have demonstrably caused harm, and that there is a pattern in the way that harm comes about which should be dealt with. The cornerstone of that pattern being the acceptance of whatever is taught by the religious establishment as unassailable truth. This of course does not apply to all religious groups, and can apply to many non-religious groups. To the end of preventing such harm secular humanists tend to promote reason as an antidote. It should also be noted that there are a great many secularist humanists who are also religious. There are a great many reasons that a religious person might not wish any religious group to gain power in the government, even his own, and many religious teachings are quite compatible with humanism.

Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
As I mentioned before one could argue the flip side. His case is flimsy, as many a secular group has developed theories and practices that have been a disservice to man.

Rather than have this discussion devolve into arguments of which group contained people which caused more harm, perhaps it would be better to look at those who caused harm in both groups and what mechanisms of social control were at play, and how best to prepare against it. I think you will find that education in reason tends to be one of the better inoculations against the adoption of dogmatic thinking.

Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
And what exactly makes the humanist believe his belief is the correct one? Humanists will admit murder is still considered to be wrong, unless, of course, the victim is an unborn baby.

That sentiment can hardly be generalized to all humanists. You seem to have a very black and white view of the world. Humanism is simply one philosophical perspective which really any person of any political or philosophical stripe may employ when evaluating moral judgments.

Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
How have you determined such? And how is how you have determined such any better than how a religious person determines right from wrong?

Well, in general the argument made by secular humanists with regards to why laws should be evaluated based upon empiricist and humanist approaches is that there are so very many religions which all claim to have a revelation of what the law should be, and in order for all of them to live together in a peaceful and productive society it is desirable that common ground be used to evaluate the best legal system under which all could thrive and battle in the marketplace of ideas, rather than in the streets with clubs. Humanist ideals seem to apply to nearly every religion, sure, they do not provide prescriptive morality EG: X is evil, Y is good, but they do provide a common ground perspective. Secularism seems to be beneficial to every religious group, as the merging of religion and government has historically led to the persecution of the non-dominant religious groups directly proportional to the level of power granted to the religious leadership.

Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
Argyle, you may actually believe you are free from dogma and constrained thought, but from where I stand, you simply espouse different dogma and insist they are reasonable.

I am free from your model of imposed morality, yes, I do not claim to have a perfect understanding of what would be the ideal moral system, but my philosophical leanings are toward a system of moral evaluation which is not black and white. As Sam Harris says, morality is like healthcare. We may not necessarily know what is the absolute best treatment for your throat cancer, but we are fairly certain that drinking battery acid is not it. In the same way we may not know what the best solution is when confronted with a rape victim, but we are fairly sure that stoning them to death is not it.

Hopefully my post has been somewhat an antidote to your mistaken perspective on secularism and humanism.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 05:17:08 PM
Quote from: none on April 06, 2012, 01:38:13 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
Argyle, a few more thoughts about how religion has no right to shape social policy . . .

Why should humanist ideology .....[garbage].....
"humanist ideology" what is that?

Awww come on ? a little honesty in debate please. I never find it all that fair when atheists/agnostics/humanists, etc. get to play the, ?we have no set of beliefs? card. LOL!
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 05:18:58 PM
QuoteI could give a rather lengthy argument for humanism, but I think that is for another thread. I think you are conflating humanism with secularism however.

No, I am simply using some generalizations for the sake of argument and in simplifying debate on an internet forum. I am aware of the numerous groups and sub groups and individuals that make up atheists/agnostics/humanists/secularists/etc . . . In the same way non-religious lump the religious into similar categories, I sometimes do so as well, usually for simplicity sake. We need to at least each acknowledge that we are well aware of the different views and beliefs of each individual, even those who give themselves a label.   

QuoteYou blame secularism for the beer ads you dislike,

No, I blame a certain worldview for the beer ads I dislike. A worldview that is IMO (and here comes another generalization), often formed from a lack of understanding about man. It is often shaped by a distorted view of men and women, love, sex, marriage, and life. And it has simply been my observation that this lack of understanding more often than not comes from a non religious mindset. 


QuoteHumanism is not a purely secular philosophical stance. A great many historical humanists were religious, even catholic.

Absolutely. Some Popes have been humanists. There is nothing wrong with humanism in its truest sense. It is simply a celebration of man. Of course Catholics would support such a philosophy. God created us. It would be right and good to study human nature and learn about what will help man achieve his greatest potential. Unfortunately, humanism has been secularized and when one refers to humanism today, it typically includes the belief that religion is a disservice to man and man would be better off to do away with such nonsense. Unfortunately, IMO, the very idea is ironic.

QuoteI think you will find that the more recent "friendly" Christianity is based on a melding of humanism and Christianity which occurred during the enlightenment, during which the teachings of Jesus became more and more center stage because they coincide much closer with humanist values and the extrapolations of old testament law became less and less prominent.

I do agree with this. However, I disagree that this is the humanism of today and the ideology espoused by those like the guest speaker who makes comments like this . . .

QuoteSuperstitions also included those of christianity and islam. In fact these two religions are the greatest obstacle to the process of eradicating superstition in Africa. While many traditional superstitious beliefs still persist, many have been christianized or islamized. In fact christianity and islam have introduced new ones that are causing additional damage. They have made fighting superstitions a very dangerous undertaking.

I want to spend the rest of my life waging the 'culture battle' A lot of damge is done in the name of religion, culture and tradition in Nigeria and Africa

Christianity like other faiths(and your overarching principle) was created by human beings. One of the greatest disservice religious faiths have done to humans including you, Maggie, is to attribute to an imaginary god feats achieved by human beings and again this mistaken idea that humans cannot achieve a better life through 'unaided reason'.

I think we should put religious teachings where it belongs- the archives. The myths should be treated as myths, the lies contained in the scriptures should not be propagated as truths, superstitions should not be preached as science or used to undermine science. It is surprising that we are still told in this 21st century that some doctrines were revealed or dictated by god/Allah many centuries ago. I mean this sacred lie is no longer sustainable.  The religions in question should tell us the truth about those who made their thoughts divine revelations.

The religions of today are the reasonings of yesteryears divinized, dogmatized and institutionlized.

Hardly a belief that humanism and Christianity ought to be reconciled.

Quoteit is more that among secular humanists (a subgroup of humanists) an argument is certainly being made that certain branches of religion have demonstrably caused harm

I have no problem with this. I shall join them in their crusade, as long as they also acknowledge when harm is caused by non religious groups.

Quote, and that there is a pattern in the way that harm comes about which should be dealt with. The cornerstone of that pattern being the acceptance of whatever is taught by the religious establishment as unassailable truth.

I already commented on this stereotype of yours. See my previous post.

QuoteThis of course does not apply to all religious groups, and can apply to many non-religious groups. To the end of preventing such harm secular humanists tend to promote reason as an antidote.

Do religious groups not also claim to be promoting reason? I know mine does and as I have shown based on facts, so they do appear to be promoting reason. Isn?t it wonderful how we all suggest we just need to all be more reasonable?  ||smiley||


QuoteRather than have this discussion devolve into arguments of which group contained people which caused more harm, perhaps it would be better to look at those who caused harm in both groups and what mechanisms of social control were at play, and how best to prepare against it.

I couldn?t agree more. In fact, I believe I said the very same thing. Perhaps you ought to re-read my posts.

QuoteI think you will find that education in reason tends to be one of the better inoculations against the adoption of dogmatic thinking

Oh, but I do. And I?m really hoping you see that this statement applies to yourself as well. Perhaps with a little education, you might give up some of your dogmatic views yet.  ||smiley||


QuoteHopefully my post has been somewhat an antidote to your mistaken perspective on secularism and humanism.

No, but it might serve as a bit of comic relief pointing out the humor in those who insist they are more reasonable than others.

Bob: Why are your thoughts more reasonable than mine?

Bill: Well, b/c they are mine ? of course!  ||smiley||
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 06, 2012, 07:16:45 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 05:17:08 PM
Quote from: none on April 06, 2012, 01:38:13 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 06, 2012, 01:25:00 PM
Argyle, a few more thoughts about how religion has no right to shape social policy . . .

Why should humanist ideology .....[garbage].....
"humanist ideology" what is that?

Awww come on ? a little honesty in debate please. I never find it all that fair when atheists/agnostics/humanists, etc. get to play the, ?we have no set of beliefs? card. LOL!
so ascribe me some beliefs, build your strawman.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: rickymooston on April 06, 2012, 07:52:56 PM
Back on topic:

We should be interviewing Leo.

Leo, have you traveled to other countries?

Do you feel the situation in Nigeria is getting worse or better?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 06, 2012, 09:32:40 PM
Sorry Leo :] I forgot which thread I was in for a moment.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 01:00:05 AM
I think Leo is on a bit of a hiatus, so until then . . .

Quote from: none on April 06, 2012, 07:16:45 PM

so ascribe me some beliefs, build your strawman.


Believe it or not none, a Humanist Manifesto actually existed.


http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3422 (http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3422)

Although the first Humanist Manifesto did not actually deny belief in God, it suggests that he is, at best, irrelevant.

By 1977, when the second Humanist Manifesto was issued, traditional religion took even more of a beating. This document was signed by such people as the historian Sidney Hook; the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov; the famous scientist Crick; the well-known Soviet Dissident Andrei Sakharov; Betty Friedan, the founder of the National Organization of Women; Allen F. Guttmacher, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America; and the behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner. This document asserted that:

1) Traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human need or experience do a disservice to the human species.

2) We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.

3) We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational needing no theological or ideological sanction. In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized.

The second Humanist Manifesto makes it very clear that traditional religion hurts man, but it never occurs to the secular humanist that religions may actually perform a service for man in giving him something to value above and beyond his own limited physical needs and experience; moreover, secular humanism fails to show that man has not demonstrated a need for religion. Despite the well-documented historical evidence that man seems to need religion, rituals, and revelation, secular humanism denies this need, asserting that man is responsible for his own secular salvation. In rejecting any absolute values or theological principles, secular humanism clears the way for its own undisputed authority. In dictating that all ethical questions be decided on a personal, experiential, and circumstantial basis, it essentially makes the individual his own god and gives him the right to formulate his own ethical system. In matters of sexuality, the secular humanist is convinced that religion exerts an unhealthy influence over believers. As corrective measure, he advocates that birth control, abortion, and divorce be bestowed as rights. The secular humanist does not explain, however, how he will protect man from the pain that these so-called "rights" can and do cause.

So yeah, even if you won?t admit it, I think it is perfectly fair to state that there are in fact a list of common beliefs shared by humanists/rationalists/atheists/free-thinkers/brights or whatever other label of the day you prefer. A few of those might be things like this  . . .

- the universe was not created but simply is self-existing

- belief in supernatural bases for human values is unfounded

- the "complete realization of the human personality" is the proper end of man's life. All progress or personal development must occur, insofar as it occurs at all, in the here and now.

-  traditional religious notions are now pass?

- man is at last becoming aware that he alone is responsible for the fulfillment of his dreams and that he himself has the power to achieve them.

. . .  to name a few

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3422 (http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3422)


Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 07, 2012, 03:40:54 AM
Quote from: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 01:00:05 AM
I think Leo is on a bit of a hiatus, so until then . . .

Quote from: none on April 06, 2012, 07:16:45 PM

so ascribe me some beliefs, build your strawman.


Believe it or not none, a Humanist Manifesto actually existed.


http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3422 (http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3422)

Although the first Humanist Manifesto did not actually deny belief in God, it suggests that he is, at best, irrelevant.

By 1977, when the second Humanist Manifesto was issued, traditional religion took even more of a beating. This document was signed by such people as the historian Sidney Hook; the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov; the famous scientist Crick; the well-known Soviet Dissident Andrei Sakharov; Betty Friedan, the founder of the National Organization of Women; Allen F. Guttmacher, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America; and the behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner. This document asserted that:

1) Traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human need or experience do a disservice to the human species.

2) We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.

3) We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational needing no theological or ideological sanction. In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized.

The second Humanist Manifesto makes it very clear that traditional religion hurts man, but it never occurs to the secular humanist that religions may actually perform a service for man in giving him something to value above and beyond his own limited physical needs and experience; moreover, secular humanism fails to show that man has not demonstrated a need for religion. Despite the well-documented historical evidence that man seems to need religion, rituals, and revelation, secular humanism denies this need, asserting that man is responsible for his own secular salvation. In rejecting any absolute values or theological principles, secular humanism clears the way for its own undisputed authority. In dictating that all ethical questions be decided on a personal, experiential, and circumstantial basis, it essentially makes the individual his own god and gives him the right to formulate his own ethical system. In matters of sexuality, the secular humanist is convinced that religion exerts an unhealthy influence over believers. As corrective measure, he advocates that birth control, abortion, and divorce be bestowed as rights. The secular humanist does not explain, however, how he will protect man from the pain that these so-called "rights" can and do cause.

So yeah, even if you won?t admit it, I think it is perfectly fair to state that there are in fact a list of common beliefs shared by humanists/rationalists/atheists/free-thinkers/brights or whatever other label of the day you prefer. A few of those might be things like this  . . .

- the universe was not created but simply is self-existing

- belief in supernatural bases for human values is unfounded

- the "complete realization of the human personality" is the proper end of man's life. All progress or personal development must occur, insofar as it occurs at all, in the here and now.

-  traditional religious notions are now pass?

- man is at last becoming aware that he alone is responsible for the fulfillment of his dreams and that he himself has the power to achieve them.

. . .  to name a few

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3422 (http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3422)
doesn't apply to me.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 07, 2012, 06:31:43 AM
Well I am back. And thank you all for the posts. I think it is not possible to be openly and expressly non religious and not always getting into a debate with friends. Even among atheists and humanists, the debate goes on. I just wish there were a god that could just sign in and bring an end to it all. But in the absence of one let the debate continue. We all have unique ideas and individual differences. So anytime I express my thoughts I expect people to disagree or raise objections no matter how stupid such points of disagreement or objections might appear to me. No idea or doctrine should be shielded from critical evaluation.
As Socrates said 'An unexamined life is not worth living'. One can also say that an unexamined(an unexaminable idea) idea is not worth entertaining. Sometimes I ask myself questions like...Why I should I respect my parents? Why should I support those in need? Why should I love and care for my friends? etc

Sometimes when I try to condemn the conflicts in Africa, some of my colleagues will ask me Are there no conflicts in other parts of the world? And I often reply by saying look, that there are conflicts on other parts of the world does not justify the mindless killing going on in parts of the continent. We should always try to identify the aspects of life where religion, ideology or an outlook is causing problem, shine the light on it and move on. That an atrocity has been committed for religious and secular reasons does not make it less. Rather it underscores the fact that no idea should be privileged. People should not privilege an idea by saying God said it is so and therefore it must be accepted. If God thinks 'his' idea is too wonderful, he should make it open and public.
If he revealed himself in the past nothing stops him from revealing himself today particularly now we are searching for solutions to problems connected with his past revelations.....
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 07, 2012, 06:51:13 AM
Poignant, brilliant, and beautifully and warmly stated, Leo.  +1, but that post deserves much more.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 07, 2012, 06:52:58 AM
Quote from: rickymooston on April 06, 2012, 07:52:56 PM
Back on topic:

We should be interviewing Leo.

Leo, have you traveled to other countries?

Do you feel the situation in Nigeria is getting worse or better?

Yes I have traveled to other African countries- Benin Togo Ghana Liberia Gambia Senegal, Mail Burkina Faso, Cameroun Congo Brazzaville, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland,...
The situation in Nigeria is getting better but we have a situation where Nigeria makes two steps forward then one step  and sometime 2 steps backward.....
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 12:06:17 PM
Quote from: none on April 07, 2012, 03:40:54 AM

doesn't apply to me.

Sure. Whatever you say.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 12:20:28 PM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 07, 2012, 06:31:43 AM
People should not privilege an idea by saying God said it is so and therefore it must be accepted.


If it is a bad idea ? it is a bad idea ? whether some free-thinker believes it was developed thru applying science and reason or whether some religious believes God told him so.

Religious: God told me to kill the baby in my womb as an offering to Him.

Rationalist: I have the right to kill the baby in my womb b/c I have reasoned that it is my body.

IMO, these are both BAD ideas.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 07, 2012, 02:31:53 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 12:20:28 PM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 07, 2012, 06:31:43 AM
People should not privilege an idea by saying God said it is so and therefore it must be accepted.


If it is a bad idea ? it is a bad idea ? whether some free-thinker believes it was developed thru applying science and reason or whether some religious believes God told him so.

Religious: God told me to kill the baby in my womb as an offering to Him.

Rationalist: I have the right to kill the baby in my womb b/c I have reasoned that it is my body.

IMO, these are both BAD ideas.
yes they are very bad, yet you thought them.
Rationalist/Religous : I have the right to kill the the baby in my womb b/c I have reasoned that my body is in danger.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 04:01:30 PM
Quote from: none on April 07, 2012, 02:31:53 PM

yes they are very bad, yet you thought them.
Rationalist/Religous : I have the right to kill the the baby in my womb b/c I have reasoned that my body is in danger.

Rational?

Danger Will Robinson. Danger. Help!!!!! Save me from this innocent little baby!!!!!!!!!!

Rationalists only prove that anything can be rationalized. How convenient.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 07, 2012, 04:50:19 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 04:01:30 PM
Quote from: none on April 07, 2012, 02:31:53 PM

yes they are very bad, yet you thought them.
Rationalist/Religous : I have the right to kill the the baby in my womb b/c I have reasoned that my body is in danger.

Rational?

Danger Will Robinson. Danger. Help!!!!! Save me from this innocent little baby!!!!!!!!!!

Rationalists only prove that anything can be rationalized. How convenient.
it was a topic for conversation that is all.
ever heard of maternal death?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: rickymooston on April 07, 2012, 05:12:09 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 01:00:05 AM
Believe it or not none, a Humanist Manifesto actually existed.

This may be true but whether or not any given humanist agrees with any given statement in the manifesto is another story. Certainly, I'd be suspicious from the outset

Quote
1) Traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human need or experience do a disservice to the human species.

I don't necessarily agree with this statement

Quote
2) We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.

This is a bit of a strawman in that religious people are no less likely to feel "humans are responsible" or to act than non-religious people.

Quote
3) We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational needing no theological or ideological sanction. In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized.

I might agree with this blanket statement somewhat while stipulating that I think people divorce too frequently these days for my comfort level. I also think that there is a balance between "sexual represssion" and "sexual excess" which each individual must decide for him or herself.

I don't think its good to have "sex with everybody" 1960s style. Sex is a very intimate thing and it goes without saying that having sex with too many partners increases the risk of disease

Its further  true that sex is a rather superficial bond when it isn't accompanied by an actual relationship.

Quote
The second Humanist Manifesto makes it very clear that traditional religion hurts man, but it never occurs to the secular humanist that religions may actually perform a service for man in giving him something to value above and beyond his own limited physical needs and experience ...

Secular humanist believe in the "common good" which is beyond the physical needs of the individual. While the writers of the manifesto may feel  "traditional religion hurts man", individual humanists may have a spectrum of views on the spectrum of traditional religion.

What I can say is, practices exist, which are propped up by some religious conservatives that I find horrible; e.g., female circumcision, wife beating, wife burning, being obligated to have sex with your partner when you are not in the mood, and numerous others.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 08:45:56 PM
Quote from: none on April 07, 2012, 04:50:19 PM
it was a topic for conversation that is all.
ever heard of maternal death?


Yes, especially from the pro-abortion camp. You?d think it was a common occurrence. It is not.

FACT: The majority of abortions do not occur b/c the mother?s life is in danger.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 07, 2012, 08:51:09 PM
I'm drinking beer, brb
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 08:52:23 PM
QuoteThis may be true but whether or not any given humanist agrees with any given statement in the manifesto is another story. Certainly, I'd be suspicious from the outset


I agree, but surely you must admit atheists/agnostics/humanists/free-thinkers often share a common set of beliefs. It?s a bit dishonest to not acknowledge this or feign outrage at the suggestion.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 08:54:05 PM
Quote from: none on April 07, 2012, 08:51:09 PM
I'm drinking beer, brb

Enjoy  ||beerchug||
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 07, 2012, 09:09:05 PM
Quote from: meAgain on April 07, 2012, 08:45:56 PM
Quote from: none on April 07, 2012, 04:50:19 PM
it was a topic for conversation that is all.
ever heard of maternal death?


Yes, especially from the pro-abortion camp. You?d think it was a common occurrence. It is not.

FACT: The majority of abortions do not occur b/c the mother?s life is in danger.
so abortion is an argument reserved for rationalists?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on April 07, 2012, 09:12:52 PM
Dear Friends, I will have to go because I have other pressing issues to attend to in the coming week. Its been a pleasure contributing to your forum and following your discussions and debates. As I said in one of my posts LET THE DEBATE CONTINUE! Occasionally I may 'sign in or chime in' Otherwise it has been intellectually stimulating. Wishing all of you, both those who agreed or disagreed with me, totally or partially, the very best.....
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 07, 2012, 09:20:58 PM
 ||grin||
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 08, 2012, 12:24:47 AM
Leo,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share some  of your life and perspective. You have certainly been a fresh voice here, and I've certainly gained new insights thanks to your visit.  I'm sure that others, theists, agnostics, and atheists alike have likewise been enriched by your presence.

I wish you all the best and thank you again for accepting the invitation to visit the forum.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: rickymooston on April 09, 2012, 12:34:15 AM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 07, 2012, 09:12:52 PM
Dear Friends, I will have to go because I have other pressing issues to attend to in the coming week. Its been a pleasure contributing to your forum and following your discussions and debates. As I said in one of my posts LET THE DEBATE CONTINUE! Occasionally I may 'sign in or chime in' Otherwise it has been intellectually stimulating. Wishing all of you, both those who agreed or disagreed with me, totally or partially, the very best.....

I hope that things in your country will improve. Bestvof luck in you quests.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: none on April 09, 2012, 12:40:41 AM
Quote from: rickymooston on April 09, 2012, 12:34:15 AM
Quote from: Leo666 on April 07, 2012, 09:12:52 PM
Dear Friends, I will have to go because I have other pressing issues to attend to in the coming week. Its been a pleasure contributing to your forum and following your discussions and debates. As I said in one of my posts LET THE DEBATE CONTINUE! Occasionally I may 'sign in or chime in' Otherwise it has been intellectually stimulating. Wishing all of you, both those who agreed or disagreed with me, totally or partially, the very best.....

I hope that things in your country will improve. Bestvof luck in you quests.
I bet he has a home and doesn't need a country.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Hemingway on April 10, 2012, 04:23:14 PM
All the best to you Leo! Thank you for contributing to IGI!  ||smiley||
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 10, 2012, 08:38:42 PM
Leo sent me this story.  Argyle, Leo was influenced by the work of Bertrand Russell, something I know you can appreciate:

http://mg.co.za/article/2012-04-10-suffer-the-little-children (http://mg.co.za/article/2012-04-10-suffer-the-little-children)
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Argyle on April 10, 2012, 09:42:04 PM
Wow, I'm floored. I just read the article date.
My asking him about Helen was without any knowledge of who he was.
Leo if you are still around, myself and my entire family tip our hats to you collectively  ||tip hat||
I only hope I can be as good of a representative of the rationality and fearlessness in the face of oppressive dogmatists that you and Bertrand Russell represent.

Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on April 11, 2012, 01:18:10 AM
http://mg.co.za/article/2012-04-10-suffer-the-little-children (http://mg.co.za/article/2012-04-10-suffer-the-little-children)

I encourage readers of this thread to read this article.  It tells you that Leo is a "doer of the word" and not just a "hearer".

What strikes me is that Leo does this out of his own heart.  He isn't commanded by a deity to do so.  He is promised no reward here or in a future dimension from for his compassion (in fact, he subjects himself to quite the opposite). 

Title: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Pastafarian on April 11, 2012, 06:01:24 AM
God damn it it makes be so angry.
Leo, you are a better man than me and being an African myself (all be it a bastard white one, according to most) I can appreciate what you are dealing with on a very personal level. This continent makes me weep. So many beautiful people, so many unnecessary and unfathomable f**kups.
f**k
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses his religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: IrishMauddib on June 01, 2012, 09:57:23 AM
Leo - I would just like to add my voice to those welcoming you here and I hope you return some time. It was wonderful to meet you myself in person at the Atheist Alliance Conference in Cologne last week. You will remember me as the guy who suggested next year you and Dan Barker could use your preacher history to put on a comedy sermon... maybe with the help of Micheal Nugent to write it. He has written comedy plays before and I imagine he would love to again.

I find it funny to see you write above that your father would not give you Dan Barkers book back. Funny because I saw Dan give you a new copy at the convention! Did you tell him what happened to the previous copy? I bet he was very happy to hear it!! I was sorry to hear about the violence the fanatics brought to your father.

I was very moved by your passionate response to those who tell you they can not help you on your campaigns because they want to "Protect your culture". You were very passionate in how you said "But this is NOT our culture - do not protect us - do not pity us - HELP us". I agree with you that people hide too often behind this joke that we should not correct many human rights atrocities for fear of influencing the culture of a nation or people.

Maybe you can say more on this if you return to the forum. If your campaigns were more successful in the future do you see any changes to your "culture" that you would be sorry to see change... or do you think it all has to go if good change is to be brought to the region? What would you keep if you could?
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on June 01, 2012, 11:47:54 AM
Wow, Irish!  Glad you had the opportunity to meet, Leo.  I'll contact him and let him know you made a post in the thread.
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Gnu Ordure on June 01, 2012, 12:15:21 PM
And many thanks to you, FB, for setting this up and facilitating a most interesting and educational thread.

Excellent job.

||tip hat||
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on June 01, 2012, 12:22:07 PM
Wow, thanks for the postive feedback Gnu!  Much, much appreciated!
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on June 05, 2012, 02:57:34 PM
Thanks Irish yes I can recall our meeting in Cologne but of course I never knew you were part of this forum. Yes Dan Barker gave me a copy of his latest book, Godless. His book which my father never returned is Losing Faith in Faith. I didnt tell Dan what happened to the book because I would like to purchase a new copy myself.
It is morally revolting that some people condone or turn a blind eye on witchcraft related abuses or harmful traditional practices all in the name of respecting African culture. For me it is not just dishonest, it is cowardly. Yes it is racism. It is like saying witchcraft related abuse is good for them because of their backward culture but not good for us because of our civilized culture. Please note that by saying this I am not implying that the white or yellow or coloured race should be held respobsible for this cultural scourge. No not at all I am saying this in response to those in Europe or America who use this thoughtless excuse to justify their inaction on this abuses. For me the bulk of the blame goes to Africans. Yes Africans should blame themselves, not the slavery, not colonialism, not the west, now not China. That is why any belief system that tell Africans not to be so perturbed about life in this world and instead to strive for a perfect(illusory) life in the hereafter is part of the problem. Anyday Africans wake up to say we are done with these abuses and illusions, they would disappear. The 'good change' will not be trusted on Africans. The real and lasting change will be brought and championed by Africans themselves through hard work, creative intelligence, optimism and determination. The real and lasting change will be sustained by Africans. For me Africans are delaying this much needed cultural renaissance to their own peril. Africa should wake up or rue it period
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Leo666 on June 05, 2012, 08:16:34 PM
Witch-hunts: The darkness that won't go away
It is a poison that annihilates relationships, breaks down family bonds and destroys communities. Despite the social damage, witch-hunts are still commonplace in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and here in South Africa. MANDY DE WAAL speaks to Nigerian humanist and witchcraft researcher, Leo Igwe, and explores Africa's witchscape. http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-05-30-witch-hunts-the-darkness-that-wont-go-away (http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-05-30-witch-hunts-the-darkness-that-wont-go-away)
Title: Re: Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist, discusses religion and superstition in Africa
Post by: Former Believer on June 06, 2012, 01:53:59 AM
Thanks, Leo for sharing that.  It is repulsive.

As an American, witch-hunts seem "other worldly".  It's hard to imagine this stuff still goes on in 2012.

Superstition sucks.  Any conclusion reached that is not based on proven methods of investigation and verification is dangerous.

Oh for the day when people,  universally determine reality on the basis of reason and proven methodologies.