Child Rape in South Africa

A 4-year old girl was reported missing, in Brakpan near Johannesburg, last month.

The entire community was out looking for her, and due to admirable police work, she was eventually found in her own home, under the bed – dead.

The little girl had been raped and murdered, by her own 20-something year old uncle. This is not an allegation – the rapist took the police to where he had hidden the body. That’s an admission of guilt, I think.

The community of Brakpan was devastated. Wreaths and soft toys were laid outside the house where she lived, candles were lit and prayers were prayed, (If you want to appear to be doing something useful, start praying)

The girl’s parents’ lives were threatened because they allegedly did not take proper care of her. (Because violence in response to violence is an appropriate reaction?)

At the funeral, which was in a christian church and attended by hundreds of angry, upset neighbours and friends, a reporter from the local TV station interviewed the little girl’s 6-year old sister.

The interviewer asked her how she felt, and the little girl replied she was “happy” because her baby sister “is in heaven.”

The parents reported that they are “not ready to forgive the rapist yet.”

 

Okay, I don’t know about you, but this whole thing makes me sick to the stomach.

WHY would you feel some obligation to FORGIVE the bastard who had raped your child, caused her terrible suffering and pain, and then murdered her? Even if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, what he did is UNFORGIVEABLE!! He deserves to rot in jail for the rest of his life. He should be removed from society, locked away for good.

I think it’s despicable that the rape and murder of a child is glossed over, and it’s all okay because she is now “in heaven.” No, she’s not, she’s dead. A sweet young life has been snuffed out in the most horrible way. It’s not okay to take comfort in the belief that she is in a  better place. Face facts – she is dead, you will never see her again. All your hopes and dreams for your daughter have died with her.

BE ANGRY!!!! Do something to prevent more little children suffering the same fate!! Forgiveness and “heaven” are not the correct response to this tragedy!!!

The rapist’s trial has been postponed for the police to do further investigations. And in the meantime, more babies and children suffer the same fate every day. We don’t always have the same outcry about it, but it’s happening. Only 5% of rape cases result in a successful conviction, so this rapist could conceivably get away with his crime…

South Africa has one of the highest incidences of HIV/AIDS in the world (well over 5 million infections, over 300 000 deaths annually), and there is a supposed “cure” available: sex with a virgin. South Africa also has the highest incidence of child rape in the world.

Connect the dots…

How do we stop this madness?

  • Educate people. especially children, about the real causes and treatments for HIV/AIDS and other venereal diseases
  • Promote safe sex, provide free condoms
  • Reduce police inefficiency and corruption, so that more rape cases are successfully prosecuted
  • Much harsher punishment for anyone found guilty of rape, especially where it results in the death of a child. This is one instance where I think the death penalty would be appropriate – and I don’t say that lightly…
  • Political leadership – preferably get rid of our president who has been on trial for rape himself, and got away with it
  • Better Child Welfare services
  • Citizens should report suspected cases of child abuse – about 90% of child abuse goes unreported in South Africa.

That last point is critical in my opinion. If you know, or suspect, that a child is being abused, report it to the authorities. Get Child Welfare involved. They will get the police involved if it’s warranted.

But don’t just sit back and pretend it’s not happening, and when that child is raped and murdered, don’t comfort yourself with the myth that at least she is now “in heaven,” and you should “forgive” the rapist.

That kind of thinking has only contributed to the terrible situation we find ourselves in now…

A Plea to Wealthy Christians

 

I have just finished reading a book of “Atheist Responses to Religious Arguments” by Frank Butcher. It’s pretty much a confirmation of what I know already, but one of the last points the author made really got me thinking.

Why don’t wealthy christians give away their wealth, as the bible requires them to do if they want to go to heaven?

In the parable of the rich young man, Jesus is said to have declared: “Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

and “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven” Mark 10:25

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing we shall be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Timothy 6: 6-10

Clearly the new testament, which is the bit of the bible christians really approve of, is in favour of poverty. The above are just three of many admonitions to the godly to be happy with the basics and not crave wealth.

“blessed are the poor”

And yet, the world is full of super-rich christians! Some of them are “spiritual leaders” who preach the gospel of prosperity – they claim that the bible teaches that financial blessings are the will of god, that faith, positive speech and donations will always increase one’s material wealth (especially donations!)

A good example is that of Oral Roberts, whose Methodist healing ministries reached millions worldwide. He performed hundreds of crusades, and claimed that he could raise the dead. His organisation raked in $120 million a year and employed 2 300 people, at its peak.

Roberts was a pioneer of TV evangelism. In January 1987 he announced that unless he raised $8 million by March, his god would kill him.

 

His passionate pleas and crocodile tears earned him $9.1 million…..

He’s dead now – maybe he wasn’t making enough money to satisfy his god towards the end there 🙂

Even when times were tough, Roberts continued to wear silk suits, diamond rings and gold bracelets – which were airbrushed out of publicity shots by his staff. (Reed Christopher (15/12/2009) “Oral Roberts Obituary”, The Guardian, London.)

Spreading the gospel has been a VERY profitable business for other evangelists:

  • Benny Hinn’s healing crusades earned him in excess of $200 million a year, with a personal salary of over $500 000. He flies around in a private jet, and has a generally lavish lifestyle
  • Joyce Meyer reportedly earned $900 000 a year back in 2003, thanks to her ministry
  • Kenneth Copeland refuses to tell anyone how much money he makes out of the god-business, but it’s obviously quite a bit because he owns a $20 million private jet, and lives in a mansion the size of a hotel.
  • Creflo Dollar (name says it all) made $69 million in 2006, but refuses to divulge his financial records because he is “concerned for the privacy” of his donors.
  • The list goes on and on…

These preachers lead tax-exempt organisations in the USA, and take full advantage of their “non-profit” status. Obviously, their followers are either unaware of how much money their “spiritual” leaders are making out of them, or they are simply turning a blind eye to the facts.

Copeland’s website, for instance, in his “Financial Accountability” section, merely lists the PERCENTAGES of income spent on the various parts of his ministry – NO actual figures are mentioned anywhere that I could see.

Oral Roberts Ministries “financial report” shows EXPENDITURE, but not INCOME! Sorry guys, that’s not a financial report – that’s you trying to hide the facts.

Benny Hinn’s website actually lists financially relevant questions, such as “How does your ministry spend its money” and then links to a page that tells you what they spend it ON, but not how much they receive, or the amounts they actually spend.

So much for transparency and telling the TRUTH!

So, what about the ordinary, wealthy christian? Do they feel any compulsion to give away their wealth? Especially now, supposedly just before the “rapture”

to be sure of their spot amongst the eternally worshipful and subservient in heaven?

Many christians give regularly to charities, which is very commendable. It doesn’t make them any different from many muslims, jews, buddhists and atheists who all feel compassion for our fellow man, and don’t have any problem supporting worthy causes.

Fortunately, as a Humanist (and atheist), I make my own choices. I am not bound by someone else’s ideas of what’s right or wrong. I’m especially not bound by the “supernatural” ideas of ancient nomadic desert dwellers, and their descendents. I choose to support secular charities such as the National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa. Unlike the TV evangelists, the NSRI really does save lives, every day!

Bill Gates. a well-known atheist, has set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and personally donates a large proportion of his wealth to the Foundation, which does very good work in the fields of health, education and agriculture all over the world. Their audited Financial statements are on the web, completely transparent, for anybody to examine – a nice contrast to the charlatans listed above!

Interesting to note: the Gates’ Foundation’s motto is “All Lives Have Value.” This is an atheist/humanist viewpoint, as opposed to the christian or muslim viewpoint that if you’re homosexual, for instance, you have no right to marriage, children, and at the extremist end – life itself. (Or if you’re a muslim, it’s okay to kill innocents in the name of Jihad.)

Please don’t say “Oh, but that’s the EXTREME view, normal christians don’t think that!” Here’s something to think about:

  • the bible specifically forbids homosexuality, and if you believe the bible, then so should you – even though that view is abhorrent to any rational person – because it is the Word of God
  • extremists don’t just pop out of the air – they start out as normal human beings, are thoroughly indoctrinated as children, and grow more extremist the deeper they get immersed into religion
  • extremists are the ones who follow the bible to the letter – especially the old testament which condones slavery, rape, murder, and other heinous crimes against humanity.

 

In my opinion it’s entirely up to you, the individual, to decide how to spend your hard-earned money. I think it’s most important to take care of yourself and your family, save for your retirement, and enjoy your life. If you have money to donate to charities, by all means do so if you want to.

However, if you’re a christian, and truly want to follow Jesus, then I guess you would feel differently? So, Wealthy Christian, are you going to give it all away – the land, the houses, the cash and jewellery – or hang onto it until death do you part?

What Would Jesus Do 🙂

 

 

Auras – another way to heal?

I have a young friend (who shall remain nameless), who is firmly convinced he can see people’s Auras –  a colourful glow, like a halo, emanating mainly from the head but sometimes from the entire body. My friend has to concentrate really hard, staring at someone intently for a minute or two, until the Aura appears.

Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds exactly like a simple after-image to me – like when you stare at a green dot on a piece of white paper for about a minute, then look away and see a red or pink after-image which gradually fades away. It’s a very common optical illusion caused by retinal fatigue and other natural processes related to the visual system and the brain.

Stare at the green dot for 30 seconds, and then look at a blank white wall.

When I mentioned this possibility, my young friend gave me a “Look” and told me he had once seen a man at an ice-rink who was surrounded by a huge, multicoloured, pulsating aura – and that was no after-image!

So, what exactly are Auras, why do some people claim to be able to see them, and what significance do they have – if any?

Auras are yet another New Age phenomenon – an “electromagnetically-generated” colourful series of outlines that emanate from all living creatures, from bugs to bears and everything in-between, and reflect the metaphysical life force / energy /chi / soul or whatever you decide to call it.

Human auras are said to be generated by the chakras – 7  flower-shaped or wheel-like “energy structures” within the human body. These are strategically located – outside the head, between the eyes (the “third eye”), in the throat, the heart, the navel, the last bone of the spine, and the “tip of the sexual organ.” (Here we go again – it’s so MALE-centered! What happens if my sexual organ doesn’t have a tip? I’m a woman – we aren’t built like that!)

You will notice that they are illustrated in order exactly corresponding to the colours of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet – with the Indigo corresponding to the third eye. I wonder if this has anything to do with “Indigo Children”? An interesting question I will leave for another post!

Apparently you need Special Psychic Powers to be able to see Auras (I bet Norah has it down to a fine art!)

Robert Bruce, an Aura Expert, says:

The human aura is both an energy field and a reflection of the subtle life energies within the body. These energies make us what we are and in turn are affected by our surroundings and life style. The aura reflects our health, character, mental activity and emotional state. It also shows disease – often long before the onset of symptoms.

And exactly HOW do we read an Aura? By the pretty colours! Bright Yellow is Sunny and Exhilarating, Green is for Healing and Teaching, Blue is Peaceful and Contemplative, and so on. Actually, that’s a bit too specific – there is rough agreement on what the primary colours mean, but the more subtle colours are largely left up to the psychic’s imagination.

Assuming you think you may be clairvoyant, how do you conduct an Aura Healing Session?

  • It is best to work in daylight, and to remove your crystals from the room because they may interfere with the electromagnetic field of the aura. (Good idea to turn off the Telly too.)
  • Stand your subject in front of a white background, and look at their side – left or right side, it doesn’t matter
  • After a while you will start to see their electromagnetic energies as “wavy lines of energy”
  • You may notice two or three colours in the aura. You can use your own intuition to decide what those colours mean – there are no hard and fast rules, so you can gaily make it up as you go along. You will undoubtedly still get paid.
  • If you notice any holes in the aura, these may indicate illness, or “imbalance” in the subject’s body
  • Feel free to take a wild guess as to what that illness might be, and inform your subject that they have an emotional problem that is causing this illness
  • Ask them if they are willing to be healed – at the soul level first – if not, the problem with the aura will revert back to a different part of their body
  • Assuming you have laid it on thick, and they acknowledge that their soul is indeed sick, you can start moving your hands around slowly in their aura field, mingling your aura with theirs
  • This will balance their chi / life force / energy field / soul and heal whatever was ailing them
  • Or not.
  • Be careful not to give any guarantees that this “healing” will actually heal anything – a clever disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of your advertising is normally sufficient.

So, the question is – are these people simply deranged, or is there evidence that auras exist and can tell us what the psychics say they can?

I have a few problems with the whole concept:

  • The aura-generating chakra structures have never been found or demonstrated to exist is any way. Yes, I know people have believed in them in one form or another for centuries – but that doesn’t make them actually, physically REAL. Attempts to link the chakras to the human endocrine system (as suggested by the famous psychic Edgar Cayce) have never been verified.
  • Chi / life force / body energy fields have likewise never been shown to be anything other than imaginary. Remember, widespread belief is no guarantee that it’s actually THERE. (The same applies to the myriad gods people have ardently believed in and fought wars over for millennia.)
  • The electromagnetic fields in the human body are tiny, they don’t protrude beyond the body, and there is no evidence they can be interpreted as indicating anything about one’s personality or state of health. They are simply the result of natural biological processes: nerve impulses and your beating heart.
  • If there was an internally-generated electromagnetic field around your body, you couldn’t use a hand-held compass – and yet clearly you can!
  •  Visual phenomena such as auras can be explained without resorting to the  supernatural or metaphysical.
  • Photos of auras can be faked, or generated using galvonometers or Kirlian photography (which both react to moisture on the skin.) Here is an excellent explanation, by Joe Nickell of CSI.

In all my reading and exploration of subjects such as auras, labyrinths, astrology, psychics, religion  and so on, it has become very clear to me that many people are searching for control of their lives.

We live in a rapidly changing world, with so much happening that affects us, but that we cannot control. Climate change, economic recessions, poverty, pollution, natural disasters, viral pandemics…

Are these irrational belief systems not just a way of coping? Trying to bury one’s head in the sand and hoping it will all just go away? It seems to me that people are trying so hard to divorce themselves from reality because the hard truth about our existence is too much for them:

  • the fact that medical care and hospitalisation is expensive and sometimes unsuccessful, and that there are some diseases we don’t yet have a cure for – so they reject scientific medicine and instead pray for divine intervention, or turn to reiki, aura healing, chakra therapy, reflexology, magnetic therapy and the like. (Isn’t it hilarious that when they’re in a car accident, or have a heart attack or a stroke they are 100% in favour of scientific medicine!)
  • the fact that their parent, partner or child is dead – so they go to a psychic to try to contact them, or get comfort from the idea that they will see that person again in Heaven. (They never consider that their Loved One may have ended up in that other religious invention – Hell)  (Hell must be a very empty place – all those demons sitting around playing cards, picking their teeth with their pointy sticks… )
  • the fact that they have no control over what could happen in the future – so they turn to astrology, reading their horoscope every day for “guidance” pulled out of someone’s backside
  • the fact that they will inevitably die – so they turn to religion in the hope of an afterlife (in Heaven of course, never in Hell)

All of the above will cost you time and money, and will not make a jot of difference. You may feel better, but nothing will have really changed….

I have a suggestion:

Try living each day as though it might be your last and ENJOY IT!  Love deeply and strongly; appreciate the kindness you receive, and give as much as you can in return; learn about the real world so you can understand why things happen and tackle your problems head-on, instead of cowering behind irrationality;  be compassionate towards your fellow Earthlings – human and animal. Most of all – LOVE YOURSELF! Appreciate yourself, you are actually a Good Person 🙂


You can do all of these things without help from any gods, or psychics, or quacks. You can do them because you WANT to – not to score points towards an eternal reward, or to avoid an eternal punishment.

And when you are on your last legs you will be able to look back at your life and smile – free from worry over those non-existent demons, and happy in the knowledge that you won’t have to spend eternity worshipping a megalomaniac egotist with a seriously sadistic streak!