Freelancing Gods 2014

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19 Oct 2008

Misdirected Zeal

Okay, time for some more thoughts on poverty. Well, tangentially related to poverty really – it’s more focused on how religion can come into play within NGOs.

In case you weren’t aware, some of the biggest NGO charities are built upon religious ideals. World Vision and The Salvation Army are textbook examples. In Australia at least, other well known groups include The Brotherhood of St Lawrence and St Vincent de Paul. And I don’t have a problem with this, by and large. I think most atheists can find common ground with Christians (the faith which all the above organisations represent) and other religious people, and the actions of these groups are generally things I’m happy to support.

What makes me a little angry, however, is when faith gets in the way of helping people – ie. a missionary approach. I know there are NGO organisations here in Cambodia that teach English from the Bible, while others only employ locals if they convert to Christianity. The focus is less about helping others, and more about converting them to your religion.

I’ve no idea if this problem exists in religious-but-not-Christian NGOs – but I was raised as a Catholic, and have some understanding of the underlying ideals of the religion, and I’m pretty damn certain that these less than savoury practices are not what Jesus would do.

Anyway, that’s just an observation (well, more of a rant, really) from my time in Cambodia. And no NGO is perfect, really. I promise future posts will be a bit more constructive though (and hey, there’ll be some more code-focused ones too).

23 Apr 2007

Link: Daily Kos: State of the Nation

02 Apr 2007

Link: Locus Online: Neil Gaiman Sainthood

24 Nov 2006

Link: Exclusive Brethren sect target Greens - VicElection06News - Victoria Votes

24 Nov 2006

Link: When religion loses its credibility - Yahoo! News

24 Nov 2006

Link: RichardDawkins.net - The Official Richard Dawkins Website

13 Jun 2006

Link: nq061106.gif (GIF Image, 300x1212 pixels)

A serious non-sequitur

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