And you thought witchhunts were over

thatonedude
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And you thought witchhunts were over

I wish I could say that we had made it past this, but we haven't: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/01/08/png.witchcraft/index.html

All that is necessary for the triumph of good is that evil men do nothing.


pauljohntheskeptic
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 I read this too but

 I read this too but couldn't tell if it was for religious reasons or just ignorance of backwoods villagers. I found a little more on New Guinea's newspaper about actions they plan to take as they seem to have  major problems. See Here. They actually claim the churches have helped to reduce some of the killings. 

 

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Sage_Override
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Quote:Her death adds to a

Quote:
Her death adds to a growing list of men and women who have been accused of sorcery and then tortured or killed in the South Pacific island nation, where traditional beliefs hold sway in many regions.

 

I almost had to make sure that the "C" in "CNN" wasn't an onion when I read this.

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 Why would anyone think

 Why would anyone think witch hunts are over?  Poor uneducated people have to do something to entertain themselves.  This is Papua New Guinea we're talking about.  It's the home of Kuru, the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy that put transmissible spongiform encephalopathy on the map, and people get it by eating the brains of their own dead relatives; a little bit of witch-killing should be expected.

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
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anniet
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pauljohntheskeptic

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

They actually claim the churches have helped to reduce some of the killings. 

I would disagree with that analysis.  All the churches have done is moved the animist superstitions to a more formal theology.  Exposure to the West has cut back on some of the worst social practices (cannibalism, honor in killing others, extreme repression of others by the bikmen, etc.), but that is due to the secular morality of the West, not religious based morality.  Adventists are huge there but few people completely rest on the sabbath or give up pork and beetlenut.  The religion is a side note in society that gets a lot of lip service, but is not really followed more than superficially.

I taught at a church affiliated school in East New Britain in 1994 (almost all schools are church affiliated).  The kids and teachers professed to be christian, but most completely believed in the power of and were terrified by witch doctors.  Witch doctors could hurt or steal their bodies and souls.  That was taken to be undisputable fact.  Witch doctors were far more real than Jesus.   It's been almost 15 years, but I doubt much has changed in that time.  Community decisions are based on long-standing tradition, not new-fangled religion.  I would also note that I was not in the bush, this was in an area that had exposure to western religion since the late 1800's and still had not affected the culture more than superficially. 

That a suspected witch would have been killed somewhere in the country is not surprising at all.  The lack of education and critical thinking skills in PNG is beyond just being a bad situation.

 

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pauljohntheskeptic
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anniet

anniet wrote:

pauljohntheskeptic wrote:

They actually claim the churches have helped to reduce some of the killings. 

I would disagree with that analysis.  All the churches have done is moved the animist superstitions to a more formal theology.  Exposure to the West has cut back on some of the worst social practices (cannibalism, honor in killing others, extreme repression of others by the bikmen, etc.), but that is due to the secular morality of the West, not religious based morality.  Adventists are huge there but few people completely rest on the sabbath or give up pork and beetlenut.  The religion is a side note in society that gets a lot of lip service, but is not really followed more than superficially.

The New Guinea Post-Courier actually made a pointless statement. They said "The churches have done a lot to improve it but it’s getting worse every time."

So WTF does this mean? Did they contribute to improvements or is it getting worse with each incident?

This is like a Bushism. Things have improved but its getting worse. 

It would seem you are likely correct based on your experiences that now they have a religious basis to use for sorcery killings.

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"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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Witch Burning

Sun Tsu who was plagerized by Mushashi said "Strike when you are strong."  I take this to mean when they kick in your door, that is the time to fight, not when they tie you to a stake or march you into the gas chamber.


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thatonedude wrote:I wish I

thatonedude wrote:

I wish I could say that we had made it past this, but we haven't: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/01/08/png.witchcraft/index.html

Christianic doctrine + indigenous superstition + poverty = evil * evil * evil
In Africa, the youngest child of a family is often considered to be an intrinsic witch and blamed and punished for everything bad what happens in several miles around the hut, including a drought, bad crop, diseases, and so on. Children who doesn't fit into a collective, faces these consequences as well. Specially a children who says strange things and have invisible friends (as it is rather common among our children) are destined to end up abandoned in wilderness (or worse situation) rather often.


 

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Witchhunts have always

Witchhunts have always existed. You could argue that the KKK is an endless witchhunt.


Vastet
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When one considers that

When one considers that there are still a couple tribes that have had absolutely no contact whatsoever with society at large, not to mention all the nations that are poor and uneducated, such things are not so surprising.

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only one rational response to this

Stories like this make me ill, and I blame myself and my fellow Christians.  If we had been more diligent in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ among the heathens in Papua New Guinea, we would have prevented this senseless cruelty.  Thanks for offering up some motivation for my support of Christian ministries to the third world!

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anniet
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RespectfulButBelieving

RespectfulButBelieving wrote:

Stories like this make me ill, and I blame myself and my fellow Christians.  If we had been more diligent in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ among the heathens in Papua New Guinea, we would have prevented this senseless cruelty.  Thanks for offering up some motivation for my support of Christian ministries to the third world!

You forgot the sarcasm tag right?  Papua New Guinea is crawling with missionaries.  You run into them everywhere, even piddly little villages in the middle of nowhere.  I don't think there's a secular high school or above in the country.  Too little christianity is definitely not one of the country's problems.

"I am that I am." - Proof that the writers of the bible were beyond stoned.