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Zimbabwe Elections

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Wandapec
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« on: April 01, 2008, 15:54:02 PM »

At the risk of preempting the outcome of the Zim elections - any bets that if the MDC win we will be hearing nothing but "our prayers have been answered". Most of the people will forget that for nearly 10 years now their prayers haven't quite been getting through!  Smiley (Not that chatting to an imaginary boogey man by talking to yourself was going to help anyway!)   

I guess most of these people would, as PZ Myers puts it, fit into the target audience for this book.
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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2008, 18:05:00 PM »

... we will be hearing nothing but "our prayers have been answered".

I love discussing prayer.  I can't remember where I read it (I thought it was at http://www.godisimaginary.com/ but I can't find it there) but there was a simple argument about the logical contradiction of prayer.  I loved it.  It went something like this...

Why pray for rain?  What is your intention when you pray for rain?  There are only a few possibilities:
  • God is perhaps forgetful.  You are simply nudging him to remind him that he's forgotten to send the rain.  No? I didn't think that you'd like that one.
  • God is fully aware that he did not send rain.  It is part of his plan.  This is god's method of controlling the aphid population so that next year's crop is not ruined by these nasty insects.  Are you saying that you have a better plan than him?  No? I didn't think so.
  • God is fully aware that he did not send rain.  Not sending rain is a "test of faith".  He is waiting until a few more people believe in him and when the number of prayers hits the magic number then the rain will come (or perhaps he is waiting until you really mean it - pray harder).  No, I didn't think you'd like that either.
  • [ETA this one, saw it in a blog comment]Satan is actually causing the drought, proving that god is not omnipotent and the most powerful deity.  Didn't think you'd like that one either.

There are no other explanations for god's actions in this case.  Why are you praying?

I did find this example mentioned in this blog post about Georgia praying for rain.

I remember when I was attending church the different kinds of prayers that we had.  There was one occasion where one of the tea ladies (quite frail) was home in bed (under doctor's orders) sick with severe bronchitis or flu or similar and the call came from the pastor to pray for her speedy recovery.  Then there was another occasion when a family member of one of the congregants had N-stage cancer and was unlikely to survive the month and we were called upon to pray for the family's strength at that trying time.  Why weren't we praying for her speedy recovery?  Of course now I know the answer, because statistically it is more likely that god will save the mildly ill and ignore the prayers of the terminally ill.

I guess most of these people would, as PZ Myers puts it, fit into the target audience for this book.

This is a great post from PZ, thanks for the link.  The comments had me in stitches too.

I remember once, not many years ago, I was watching TBN (yes, I still do from time to time, it's great for simple exercise in Philosophical studies, you can point and interupt with "circular logic" or "argumentum ad odium" or similar - but not for more than an hour or your head will hurt trying to keep up) and an American evangelical preacher was relating the story of his "friend", a preacher from Johannesburg (grabbed my interest, but Johannesburg was probably selected because it is far enough away not to be investigated) who was present when a man's prayer for proof was answered.

The story went that a man, disillusioned with his faith, had prayed to god for a sign, proof of his existence.  He climbed the bell tower ... I'm not sure how many churches I've seen in Joburg with bell towers, I'd say none, the ones I have seen have been mostly modern and angular steeples without an actual bell and certainly no way to get up there - perhaps old catholic/anglican churches have bell towers but I'm not sure how many catholic priests hang around with evangelical protestants.  So, he climbed the bell tower and really really prayed for a sign, and while he was up there the preacher's wife, so full of the spirit of the lord did a cartwheel infront of the church.  The man in the bell tower exclaimed "Hallelujah" and ran down to relate his story to the preacher.  The preacher asked his wife why she did that and her answer was "I don't know, it just felt right".

But why I was particularly interested in this story was the reason why the American preacher had told the story.  He had concluded that this was an example to everyone, that everyone should use this as a lesson that god does provide proof and that his congregants should not need to ask for proof themselves.

Quite convenient.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2008, 18:49:25 PM by ArgumentumAdHominem » Logged
Mefiante
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2008, 20:19:13 PM »

Recommended for Zimbabwe is an immediate and radical Bobectomy… Wink

Upon success of the above procedure, it will be good that god never answers certain prayers.

'Luthon64
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slowcheetah
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2008, 09:01:32 AM »

Prayer: How to do nothing and still think that you are helping.
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Tweefo
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2008, 10:01:31 AM »

I now see the MCD won. How do you get a country back on track? A inflation rate of over 100,000%. I don't know what it is going to take but it ain't going to be prayers. If this was a private business it would have gone bankrupt long ago and some other business would be in place by now. Only the owners / investors / leaders would have suffered. A free marked (and a real democracy) works like evolution - the survival of the fittest.
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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2008, 12:30:23 PM »

I now see the MCD won.
The MDC has the majority in Parliament, however, we still await the results from the Senate race (the Senate is a higher body than the Parliament in Zimbabwe, a lot like the Senate being a higher body than the House in the USA - no law is passed by Parliament, they must be ratified by the Senate) and of course the veto-holding President has the final say in law making.

But I do agree that things are looking good for the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC taking control of all three of these levels of law making.

Let me start by saying that I have not studied Economics at all, but that has never stopped me from pretending to be an expert  Wink Please, anyone, feel free to correct me ...

So how do they fix the inflation?  Two words; "investor confidence".  The MDC must make inroads into repealing many of King Bob's laws which allowed him to do whatever he wanted to.  Keep in mind that this is letting go of power which is very hard for even the best of us human beings to do in practice.  We have no idea what type of leader Tsvangirai actually is.  The international community will watch like hawks what his first steps will be.

Only once there is an increase of investor confidence then Zimbabwe can look at scrapping the Zimbabwe Dollar and introducing a new currency.  For a time the currency must be freely exchangeable with the old currency (for a limited time so that the over inflated Z$ does not affect the new currency) but must very soon be completely replaced.  This is not cheep, reissuing all currency, and will severely affect this crippled country, but if we look at Germany after WWII (where the Reich's Mark was just as inflated as the Z$ is today) the introduction of the Deutch Mark put a stop to the bleeding.  But here is where the analogy with Germany must end because Germany was a country literally divided by the Iron Curtain and so both sides wanted to prove their superiority by pumping-in investment into each side.  Zimbabwe will not be able to benefit from a Cold War pi$$ing-contest like the one in Germany.  Zim has limited natural resources (copper, gold, platinum) that are already heavily invested in by firms like Anglos but nothing else "sexy" to offer the foreign investor (like untapped gold or platinum resources or oil, gas, etcetera).

Zimbabweans will have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and once the international community sees this they will jump on board.

Zimbabwe's economic data is available on the CIA website.  There we learn that the currency isn't the only problem.  68% of the population is below the poverty line, 80% are unemployed, 24% have HIV/AIDS and the average life expectancy is a dismal 39 years.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2008, 12:39:05 PM by ArgumentumAdHominem » Logged
ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2008, 08:30:23 AM »

Well, it turns-out that prayer is not going to be the solution, but a "cleansing ritual" is exactly what the ancestors are waiting for to release the deadlock which is currently happening in Zimbabwe.  That's according to Martha Katsande in this News24 article.

Quote from: Martha Katsande speaking to News24
How can we talk about tomorrow when the prerequisite traditional rituals have not been undertaken yet[?] So we can hold one election after another, but all that will be child's play.

And throwing the bones is not "child's play"?
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2008, 14:26:00 PM »

I cant understand why prayer is such a major topic in the Zim debate. I think some people have religion issues. Shame. Zimbabwe is just another example on the failure of democracy in Africa. Zim is currently in a coup with the military and the police being the only form of legal power. Mugabe's term in office was over just before the elections started in other words they have no leader at the moment. The only reason that Mugabe is still seen as controlling Zim is because he has lots of loyals in the police and army. Tsangarai can do nothing to stop the situation. Zimbabwe is a military state and the only way to get Mugabe out is by force. I personally want a peaceful resolution but with Mugabe and his words 'Zimbabwe will never be a colony again', 'let me be Hitler tenfold', 'the MDC are puppets of the west', 'You keep your Britain let me keep MY Zimbabwe' I doubt it.
One thing is a fact Mugabe is a racist. Anyone who doesn't agree with my statement let your voice be heard.
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