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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There wasn't really much point in my post to that other topic. I'm just so frustrated with some of the views expressed in that thread, and the fact that reasonable people feel they have to act really careful of speaking against such obviously delusional thought. That kind of dialogue leads to people teaching the story of Eden in schools, which means not ever explaining clearly what a scientific theory is. It leads to funding being withdrawn from charities that supply condoms to AIDS ravaged countries. It's just sick. I'm tired of being polite about a delusion that is tearing the world to bits.

This is what I think, if anyone cares:

There is no one 'soul' or 'self' 'inside' each person. This just seems obvious to me. Meditation, and DP the way I experience it, and some drugs, all lead you to realise how malleable consciousness is, and how if you take away all the bits, you are left with nothing. Realising this can be a frightening thing, or it can be an overwhelmingly blissful thing. I think it is a good thing however the experience feels, because in literally making you less selfish it makes the sufferings of others as important to you as your own. Of course that is a transient experience, but you can take something from it.

The opposite of that is living your life entirely in a fake (I feel nice believing this, so it is True) framework of words and values that allows you to feel that you have deserved everything that you enjoy, and that you can only live in by ignoring the suffering of others as something unreal. Starving children on the news do not seem to really be a part of the same physical world as the one that the wide-screen TV is sitting in, do they?

Some aspects of self-based living are nice, and I think in the long run healthy. Love for your family and friends, the desire to have and look after children. All that kind of thing. But those things are made disgusting if they become a justification for living like a fat maggot at the top of a pyramid of suffering, blindly comfort-eating everything you're offered in the endless shiny advertisements until you die and your fat maggot offspring take your place.

Well, some religious people I would like to be friends with, even though I would not enjoy talking to them about anything important or interesting. That's the people who religion makes into good people, or perhaps they just are good people who happen not to be very insightful. Either way, people that think about the origins of what they buy, choose an ethical career, give most of their money to charity (not just a 'reasonable' amount - what's reasonable about having a car that goes up to 150 when you think about the good that that amount of money could do in the third world?). You'd think that'd all be pretty easy wouldn't you, with eternal life and happiness as the reward and God helping you right the way through it?

Right, so why aren't the 60% (or whatever it's supposed to be) of Americans who believe the creation story doing that?? What's stopping them?

Well, I'm not living like that either. It's difficult to. I'm somehow justifying a shiny new mp3 player as 'reasonable' in just the way that I hate. But I am a better person than I used to be, and one day I hope that I will be living completely in line with my ideals. The difference is that I am honest with and about myself, and so I realise how I should be living. The second that you invent a comfortable world to live in you can ignore any responsibilities that you have, act as selfish as a psycopath, because, I suppose, god makes everything all right in the end.

I do believe that the 'meaning' that people think religion gives, and the feelings that inspire it are all very real and amazing things. I think the Tao Te Ching says more about it than the Bible, although it too talks a fair bit about war. It's just really sad that the experience of bliss and security can make people into such monsters instead of making them more empathetic and rational. Religion is all about running away from the world, either through fear or apathy.
 

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and the fact that reasonable people feel they have to act really careful of speaking against such obviously delusional thought
Yes, it's very depressing Beth. The religious have the comfort of hiding behind a blanket of 'offence'. It's tedious, cowardly, and frankly ridiculous.

I don't care, however. As many people on this board already know, I'm not scared in the slightest at exposing religion for what is it. The 'faithfull' still try to cling to the fact that religion is a taboo subject, and shout and scream when we dare to criticise their faith and the reality of their imaginary friends. It says a whole lot more about them than it does about it, wouldn't you agree?
 

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I'm generally on Martin's side on this issue, and I'm somewhat glad that I live on "this side of the pond" since the people tend to be far more cynical about the delusional nature of religious faith.

I was round a mates and turned on the "God channel" the other day. I have to say that I was shocked, and also in hysterics at the same time. It's distressing that so many people believe in this stuff, so I think any small contribution such as the post Beth gave is a good thing.

Incidentally, there are people on this site who believe the world is only 6,000 years old.
 

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Please God, please spare me. Dont allow me to type out a response to this...please Lorrrr...Aw, the heck with it. The devil made me do it.

Why do I always get the distinct impression that atheists are looking for sympathy? Why do you guys feel so ganged up upon? The most outspoken people on this spirtuality forum are atheists. Far more than 60 percent of this board beleives in some form of God. But they're afraid to post because they know that their beleifs, they're experiences, and their intelligence will come under fire from you guys. Stop whining.

I agree with you Beth. I think that consciousness is a collection of brain functions from each of the different lobes. Take one function away, less consciousness. I dont think there is a "center" to it. But the soul isnt thought, and most religions dont beleive it to be. Thus lack of thought, lack of consciousness still equals human w/soul. If you go back to the original Greek, soul came from the act of God breathing life into the body. Anything living contains soul. It is not seperate and distinct from the physical.

Living a life where "I feel good so it must be true" is a pathetic existence. I dont know anyone who lives that life. I know plenty of people who say " I know this isnt true, its wrong and selfish, but f--- it, I'm doing it because it feels good." That stands against every bit of the Christian ethos as it is written. People in America arent fat and lazy because of a belief in God - they are fat and lazy in spite of it. And I would go so far as to say that before a belief in God and family and tangible morals declined in the US, and our crime skyrocketed, Americans were alot more like what you wish for. My grandfather layed the brick for our Church in our hometown, and gave dinner to beggars who came to our door. You wont see people doing either of those things nowadays. You dont need to look to the third world to find a place to start changing the world - look outside your own door. I see alot of committed athiests on my campus, railing against free trade, third world AIDs, and joining every trendy propaganda campaign which comes their way. But its just as mislead as people who beleive that they can pray away the world's ills. What about AIDs shelter's here? What about issues that arent fashionable to help with or glamorous to talk about? What about homes for abused women and women who are abandoned by their families for having children outside of marriage? What about the panhandler on the streetcorner? Instead of throwing change at him, which he'll just use to buy more alchohol, do you think you might be able to talk with him, and buy him something to eat, and direct him to a social worker? Dont worry about that MP3 player you bought. Keep it. And listen to the music from it while you help at a soup kitchen run by a religious non-profit, as they all are. And then tell me whether Americans are truly religious, or whether like some athiests, they're just plain naive. I've seen too much propaganda from too many people. Like Janine is fond of saying, stop living in your own mind, and go out there and experience these things for yourself.

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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While we're slinging insults at different groups' attitudes to the state of Africa, let's bear in mind that something in order of a third of the world AIDS relief budget is channeled through and distributed by the Catholic Chruch, and that not only do its activists preach abstension, but condemn condoms. This doesn't really help matters in the least, and seems to me a classic example of how an overarching morality based upon metaphysical principles can lead people to ignore real matters in the present.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was feeling a bit embarassed by that emotional outburst, so it's nice to have two people agree and only a very moderate and polite reply from the opposition.

Replies to various things - I think big injustices are more important than small injustices, although of course charity at home is important. What's the point of labelling opposition to Free Trade as trendy? It's one of the most important things there is to think about at the moment. That's where the frustration that led to the above post came from actually, a conversation with a friend who just dismisses everything I've been doing as trendy and not worth anything. Exactly what we need is a shift to a global perspective.* Newspapers and people that dismiss everything as middle-class conscience salving are just too lazy to act or respond themselves. And I don't know about America, but here plenty of charities aren't religious. Oxfam is one of the biggest charities and is secular. Although my favourite little old lady at Oxfam is a Christian. Blatantly only because she fancies monks. But then, who doesn't?

Yeah, it was the condoms thing I was thinking about partly Monkeydust. It was really funny at the G8 rally, they had a Cardinal talking about his support of the Make Poverty History movement.

*Which I think would also be easier without the feeling of divide that religion engenders.
 

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Homeskooled - how can one man say so much and yet say so little? It's really quite a talent, and one that I successfully employ in my miserable attempts at writing fiction.

I see alot of committed athiests on my campus, railing against free trade, third world AIDs, and joining every trendy propaganda campaign which comes their way. But its just as mislead as people who beleive that they can pray away the world's ills.
What a shocking thing to say. Really, how do you sleep at night? Surely even your imaginary friend doesn't sanction such putrification of morality? Or perhaps he does. At least those trendy atheists (let's call them humanists for the sake of arguement) are trying to do something about the worlds ill's. I would have thought that god/s would look far more favourably on a student who's missed the sub-culture boat and is feeding a dying child some glucose, instead of someone popping a dollar in a pot for a new church roof, for those rich and comfortable enough to enjoy such luxuries.

Why do I always get the distinct impression that atheists are looking for sympathy? Why do you guys feel so ganged up upon?
I've no idea why you get this impression. I certainly don't want sympathy from the religious. I'd rather stick my head in a bucket of rotting fish on a hot day. Atheists, or rather the more vocal of us, rage against religion for the less fortunate who don't have the luck or facilities to protect themselves from being preyed on.

But they're afraid to post because they know that their beleifs, they're experiences, and their intelligence will come under fire from you guys
Why is that? If they are so secure if their faith, then surely the pathetic rantings of a few stupid atheists wouldn't make any difference. I would have thought they would have relished the opportunity to put us in our place.
[/quote]
 

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Ah, would that be the fiction that you wrote in the Josephus Flavius thread, Martin? :twisted:

You see, you're looking for some overarching message behind my words, as if they are some sort of smokescreen I use to convey a dark, religious message. They arent. I'm reminded of a story in Nancy Reagan's biography. After a particularly grueling day in the California house of representatives, then governor Reagan came back to the governor's mansion looking exhausted and dejected. "Whenever I give a speech, Nancy," he said sighing, " They always look at each other and say 'But what does he really mean? If they only understood that I mean exactly what I say, no more, no less, then we'd finally get somewhere."

What a shocking thing to say. Really, how do you sleep at night? Surely even your imaginary friend doesn't sanction such putrification of morality? Or perhaps he does. At least those trendy atheists (let's call them humanists for the sake of arguement) are trying to do something about the worlds ill's. I would have thought that god/s would look far more favourably on a student who's missed the sub-culture boat and is feeding a dying child some glucose, instead of someone popping a dollar in a pot for a new church roof, for those rich and comfortable enough to enjoy such luxuries.
Martin, I sleep fine with this opinion. How do you sleep at night? I imagine that with all the worrying you do about the third world, not well. I'm tired of people picking doing what people do - caring about things or thinking that they are important, just because other people tell them to. People not thinking things through themselves. AIDs isnt the worst problem in the world - it isnt even the worst medical problem in the world. Malaria kills more people in Africa. But AIDs is trendy precisely because its political. When you make a statement about AIDs, you are also making a statement about promiscuity, homosexuality, abortion, feminism, chauvinism, etc....And it just smacks to me of political correctness, and dare I say it, vanity. We do it for ourselves, because its cool to be "into" the African AIDs epidemic. And being "into" it over here does so little good for the African people. We destroyed the economy of Tanzania by giving them the greatest amount of foreign aid of any African country. If everyone in the world started at changing their problems at home, lasting improvements would be reached. Throwing more money at Africa inevitably weakens the homeostasis of their own economies. The best thing we could do for them is forgive their debts, in my opinion. Now we need to invest in industries there, and keep sending professionals over to give the Africans knowledge and expertise in medicine, industry, etc...We truly dont know the numbers of those with AIDs in Africa. Because labratory testing is almost impossible over there, much of the statistics rely on estimates and "head counts"- if you say have AIDs, you're counted. But because one receives more aid from foreign workers, this method is subject to much fraud. If you want to help, really DO something. Join the PeaceCorp, and become one of those professionals lending their expertise. Help with AIDs at home first. If the Africans were as concerned with their AIDs epidemic as we are, they would be faring much, much better. And yes, Martin, feeding a dying child glucose would be wonderful. But I dont see a whole lot of college campaigns lobbying for better healthcare for diabetic children in Pittsburgh. I see a whole lot of suffering here, and so many people acting indignant about politically-hyped issues 6,000 miles away that they dont even seem to understand. I think its just one of the many ways that well-meaning people end up doing a whole lot of nothing, just like relgious people who only try throwing money at problems, or church roofs.

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great. Pretty much the perfect example of what I was talking about. Here goes...

AIDs isnt the worst problem in the world - it isnt even the worst medical problem in the world. Malaria kills more people in Africa. But AIDs is trendy precisely because its political. When you make a statement about AIDs, you are also making a statement about promiscuity, homosexuality, abortion, feminism, chauvinism, etc....And it just smacks to me of political correctness, and dare I say it, vanity. We do it for ourselves, because its cool to be "into" the African AIDs epidemic. And being "into" it over here does so little good for the African people.
AIDS is trendy precisely because it's political?

No. AIDS is important politically precisely because it's political. The point of campaigns that raise public awareness and of lobbying politicians is that we live in a democracy (to a greater or lesser extent), and that the people are responsible for the actions of their government. It is a horrible joke to promote ?abstinence until marriage" programs in the most heavily AIDS-affected countries. In your own country too, if that's all you care about, the US government censor information about AIDS. Even if you agree with the principles of abstinence programs, they don't work. People still have sex, they just don't know enough to take care of themselves (and their partners, and the babies of the next generation) while they're at it. So AIDS is highly political, in that politicians are making it more of a problem, not less, and that could be reversed if there is enough public pressure.

Many aid programs are working against malaria. People are campaigning for more and better directed aid everywhere that it is needed. The issue is not such a political one because it is not such a political one (see above).

We destroyed the economy of Tanzania by giving them the greatest amount of foreign aid of any African country.
Aid has in the past been tied to sanctions and trade agreements. Especially for America it has been a tool. And now those people that used it as a tool, are using the mess that they created as an excuse not to help people who are dying for lack of help. Of course money shouldn't go to corrupt governments. Nor should we be involved in the arms trade in third world countries. But oh we are, when there's any profit in it.

Now the way in which we ARE destroying economies is by dumping subsidised products (mostly us) and by roping countries into a throttlehold of deals that only benefit the already rich in return for any help (mostly you).

If everyone in the world started at changing their problems at home, lasting improvements would be reached.
Throwing more money at Africa inevitably weakens the homeostasis of their own economies.
See above for explanation of 'throwing.'
What homeostasis? - See above re subsidy dumping.
'weakens' - All developed countries went through a stage of quite high protectionism before they reached the levels of affluence they are at today. The Fair Trade/Free Trade debate is a false one. There is no Free Trade among rich countries, it's all about keeping the money where it is.

The best thing we could do for them is forgive their debts, in my opinion.
Be a bloody start wouldn't it? But you really think that then everything would be fine? We can do so much more than that, and should.

If the Africans were as concerned with their AIDs epidemic as we are, they would be faring much, much better.
It is very hard to reply in a moderate fashion at all to this kind of thing. Can you even hear what you're saying? They aren't concerned??? Do you know the percentage of people that have AIDS in some African countries? Do you know how many children are orphaned by it? I think they probably DO care, just a little bit. The most important thing that ordinary Africans can do, other than try and keep their families alive, is to use condoms. And, oh yes, America and Catholic countries are STOPPING people from educating them about AIDS in a scientific way, so that they can put some of that caring (which I really think they must) into improving things.

And yes, Martin, feeding a dying child glucose would be wonderful. But I dont see a whole lot of college campaigns lobbying for better healthcare for diabetic children in Pittsburgh.
I don't really get why you insist on only the things in your own backyard mattering. That isn't where the greatest injustices are. Of course they do matter. And there are people dealing with them. But can't people care about someone who is a greater distance away? Surely compassion and justice has nothing to do with national bounds?

I think its just one of the many ways that well-meaning people end up doing a whole lot of nothing/
Without public pressure even the small steps forward that this last G8 took wouldn't have happened. And they are important first steps. Taking an active interest in political and important issues is not 'a whole lot of nothing. And if you'd like to see what people's time and money is doing, try this website - http://www.oxfam.org.uk/ What's a whole lot of nothing?

A whole lot of nothing is justifying your unwillingness to try to change the world with a load of ill-reasoned cynicism.
 

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Dear Beth,
AIDS is important politically precisely because it's political.
No, it isnt. AIDS is important because it kills people. It should not become a tool to spout political, religious, or moral opinions. The West's way of approaching these country's and their medical dilemmas's, frankly, angers them.

It is a horrible joke to promote ?abstinence until marriage" programs in the most heavily AIDS-affected countries.
No, it isnt a "joke". This is where one's moral opinions begin becoming intertwined with true medical treatment, and politics begin getting in the way of treating it like any other disease. It is one of three treatment options and prophylactics used against HIV infection. (1)Contraception such as a diaphragm or condom (2) Abstinence (3) Anti-retrovirals. Thats it.

Even if you agree with the principles of abstinence programs, they don't work.People still have sex.
No, thats another generalization. Abstinence works. If you use it. What you are really saying is that noone you know would use it. They would opt for numbers 1 or 3. And the medical definition of abstinence is not a lack of sex - it is sex with one partner, whether or not you are married.

Many aid programs are working against malaria.
Actually, besides the WHO, there arent very many. It gets much less funding and attention than AIDS, and it isnt even the first or second infectious killer in Africa. Tuberculosis and pneumonia outrank it. Funny, noone over here really seems to care about those. This is an excerpt from a WHO document entitled the Malaria: Reemerging Disease in Africa.

In the last decade, the prevalence of malaria has been escalating at an alarming rate, especially in Africa. An estimated 300 to 500 million cases each year cause 1.5 to 2.7 million deaths, more than 90% in children under 5 years of age in Africa (1). Malaria has been estimated to cause 2.3% of global disease and 9% of disease in Africa (1); it ranks third among major infectious disease threats in Africa after pneumococcal acute respiratory infections (3.5%) and tuberculosis (TB) (2.8%). Cases in Africa account for approximately 90% of malaria cases in the world (1). Between 1994 and 1996, malaria epidemics in 14 countries of sub-Saharan Africa caused an unacceptably high number of deaths, many in areas previously free of the disease (2). Adolescents and young adults are now dying of severe forms of the disease. Air travel has brought the threat of the disease to the doorsteps of industrialized countries, with an increasing incidence of imported cases and deaths from malaria by visitors to endemic-disease regions. The estimated annual direct and indirect costs of malaria were US$800 million in 1987 and were expected to exceed US$1.8 billion by 1995 (3).
These kind of stats arent very heartening.

Especially for America it has been a tool. And now those people that used it as a tool, are using the mess that they created as an excuse not to help people who are dying for lack of help.
I cant reply unless you elaborate on what you see the aid being used as a tool for. Honestly, I think some of the aid given to African countries has been used to strengthen goverments we agree with, as countries always do for allies. But other than that, most of the aid given by the IMF and the WB is decided by a consortium of western countries, and their motives seem to be altruistic, although ultimately leading to destructive money-lending. The Tanzanian incidence of which I speak occurred in the 60's, when a socialist came to power. The Tanzanians, who have little more than their goat herds and their tin factories, were fairly happy to wander the countryside with their herds. They were, and are, considered one of the poorest African nations. Their economy was domestic, industry was localized, and people were fairly happy. The billions in aid which were poured in, and given to the socialist who came to power between the 60s and 1985 was used to destroy the local industry and place the Tanzanians in communes. It was disastrous. Their leader left in 1985 saying "I have failed Tanzania" and he had. It has not yet recovered. We need to respect the intelligence of these societies and their abilities to work through their own problems as well.

Now the way in which we ARE destroying economies is by dumping subsidised products (mostly us) and by roping countries into a throttlehold of deals that only benefit the already rich in return for any help (mostly you).
Please give me an example of the subsidised product dumping and "deals" of which you speak. I dont know if the "(mostly you)" comment means me, as an American, but I'm never even going to approach rich. Not even once I graduate med school and join Doctors without Borders. Maybe afterwards, when I start up my own practice, and I forget what really matters.

What homeostasis?
Tanzania.

All developed countries went through a stage of quite high protectionism before they reached the levels of affluence they are at today. The Fair Trade/Free Trade debate is a false one. There is no Free Trade among rich countries, it's all about keeping the money where it is.
I sort of agree with you there. Yes, most Western countries went through periods of isolationism and tariffs. According to most economists, that actually works against affluent societies. No Free Trade among rich countries? I wholeheartedly disagree. It is making some poor countries rich, such as China. It evens the playing field. But it also allows whoever pays their workers least and works them hardest to win. It encourages sweatshops and kills local industries becuase "protectionism" is not allowed. I dont think that unmitigated, it is a good idea.

Do you know the percentage of people that have AIDS in some African countries? Do you know how many children are orphaned by it? I think they probably DO care, just a little bit. The most important thing that ordinary Africans can do, other than try and keep their families alive, is to use condoms. And, oh yes, America and Catholic countries are STOPPING people from educating them about AIDS in a scientific way, so that they can put some of that caring (which I really think they must) into improving things.
Thats exactly my point. Noone knows the true head count of people who have AIDS. And because everyone has something to prove with this disease, you'll never get an accurate number. You seriously think that condom usage is going to be the end-all be-all of the AIDS war? The fact that African women are "cleansed" after their husband's death by having sex with their tribal witchdoctor just hints at the difficulty of curbing any STD in Africa. Condom usage hasnt curbed our own AIDS outbreaks very effectively, because they arent foolproof. They break, they spill. Other bodily fluids carry the virus. Dirty medical supplies and needles for drug users will carry it. In that way, even abstinence wont do the trick. And no, I dont seriously think that by promoting it that the Catholic Church is hampering science. They've chosen medical option number 2. And honestly, who is listening to them? Not the women going to the witchdoctors. Not the Western college students who cant imagine living without sex. The Church's voice is just a drop in this sea of insanity.

I don't really get why you insist on only the things in your own backyard mattering. That isn't where the greatest injustices are.
Thats exactly the attitude that scares me. So you really KNOW that the greatest injustices arent done in England or America? Because from what your saying, it sounds like we are a whole lot more manipulative than Tanzania or Botswana. And it sounds to me like AIDS is a real worry to you. And there are people in England AND America with it. You cant really understand this disease, or the stigma that is carried with it, or the political ramifications of it, until you try to help a patient who is suffering with it. No, I dont beleive Africa is quite as bad off as we make them out to be. I think we use them as balm for our consciences, when we could really make a difference here at home. And that when we try to help them, we often make things far worse for them. Like I said, make sure they have access to those three treatments, especially the antiretrovirals. Actually, scrap option 1. Option 2 has worked fine for me. Provide them with professionals, and then hope that they deal with the problem more responsibly than we do. We are just so distracted with our own self-righteousness that it scares me. We shouldnt go trying to save the world until we understand ourselves.

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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Dear God...my Sweet Imaginary Friend,

Thank you so much for the person named Homeskooled. His ability to put in to words, and his convictions towards things many of us feel but can't write nearly as well, is a blessing.

Amen,
terri

p.s. And, as always, and as he knows I do, I offer blessings to Martin. :D
 

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Ah, would that be the fiction that you wrote in the Josephus Flavius thread, Martin?
Na, that was comedy. Well, at least I thought it was funny.

You see, you're looking for some overarching message behind my words, as if they are some sort of smokescreen I use to convey a dark, religious message
I don't think I am, consciously at least. But the implications of all religiousness impacts on everyday life. Isn't that the point?

How do you sleep at night? I imagine that with all the worrying you do about the third world, not well
Usually a combination of alcohol and benzodiazepines, but if I'm really lucky I just pass out from exhaustion or boredom. And I don't constantly worry about the third world at all. I'm not usually prone to hypocrisy (although I did get married in a church - ha, stick that one Jesus H.!), so I'm not even going to start pretending that I spend my every waking hour worrying about the horrendous tragedies going on around the world. It's enough to drive me to religion !!! I just hold my hands up and recognise that it's not a perfect world, shed some tears, do what little I can, when I can, to help people less fortunate than me. When I talk about the third world it is in relation to the direct harm that the religious inflict on it. I'm not a do-gooder at all.

When you make a statement about AIDs, you are also making a statement about promiscuity, homosexuality, abortion, feminism, chauvinism, etc....And it just smacks to me of political correctness, and dare I say it, vanity.
Political correctness ? Me ? Are you sure? I haven't got a PC bone in my body, but I must say you are correct about the vanity part. It seeps from my pores. But what can people do? We can only focus our energies on a topic that appeals to our heart...be it the rainforests, AIDS, religion, war, capitalism...whatever, or do nothing. Apathy rules, UK.
 

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Only stupid people rally for/against something because it's "trendy". All the people that I personally know that have been involved with rallies are intelligent people who understand the issues.

Rallying against free trade is not a trendy issue. As a Canadian I rallied against free trade with the U.S. because of the threat to the Canadian economy. We now have "free trade" and the threat has proven very real.

A case in point, British Columbia (where I live) is Canada's largest producer of softwood lumber exports. Free trade has been directly responsible for the closures of dozens of sawmills, which has a very negative impact on the economy.

The "free trade" is not free - the U.S. has put softwood tariffs on our lumber exports which Canada has disputed and taken to the World Trade Organization several times. We've won all the rulings, and the U.S. owes Canadian lumber producers roughly 5 billion dollars in illegally imposed tariffs. Of course the U.S. still disagrees and will likely never re-imburse Canada.

NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) has only benefitted the U.S. The reason the U.S. wanted North American free trade was to exploit Canadian natural resources and to have access to cheap Mexican labor. Yes, now that so many sawmills have shut down permanently we export our raw logs to the U.S. So much for Canadian jobs.

It's a shame that more Canadians didn't rally against free trade - and hopefully some day, some political party (certainly not the last two that have formed governments) will have the courage to rescind the Agreement.

Carole
 
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