Monday, August 18, 2008

Offspring Murder Club: Prayer Never Ever Works

Prayer never works. Just ask Javon Thompson and 1 Mind Ministries:

Baltimore, MD and Philadelphia, PA - When Javon Thompson died, he was only about 18 months old. Sometime between December 2006 and February 2007, the toddler was killed and left in a green suitcase in a shed in Philadelphia. Little Javon was starved to death by the members of his mother’s cult because he wouldn’t - or couldn’t - say “Amen” at mealtime prayers. Now Javon’s mother, Ria “Princess Marie” Ramkissoon, and four other cult members are charged with his murder.

Queen Antoinette’s punishment for Javon not saying “Amen” was simply to withhold food and water until the next meal, when he was given a chance to say it again. When he couldn’t or wouldn’t comply, Javon got no food and water for that meal either. At no time did Ria Ramkissoon pick up her baby and get the hell out of there. At no time did anyone call for medical assistance. The group watched baby Javon’s eyes go dark. They watched him dehydrate and starve. And they watched him die.

Once Javon was dead, Queen Antoinette put him in a room and told the cult members that God would resurrect the toddler. But she was apparently unclear on the resurrection process, and Javon did not come back to life.


Unclear on the resurrection process? Quite. Specifically, she was unclear that resurrection doesn't happen, and prayer never does shit!

What a stupid bunch of people. Jevon would have been better off if he were put in a basket and floated down a river than left in the care of his own mother, that's how bad Ria's brainwashing was.

Ria made an incredibly stupid series of mistakes. First of all, she believed in and prioritized her religion and her God over her own child (the mere fact that all religions require you to prioritize the faith over your own family should have been a big enough warning). Secondly, she made the mistake of thinking that prayer can somehow override the need for food. Third, she mistakenly thought that prayer could overcome the biological facts surrounding death. For these reasons, Ria Ramkissoon and 1 Mind Ministries are the newest members of the Offspring Murder Club!

Holy shit. A fully grown adult woman was unable to discern the facts of reality and, despite her good intentions (trying to bring her baby closer to God), she was unable to properly care for her baby's life. Indeed, she was the direct cause of the death of her baby. I think some well known words of wisdom are appropriate here: Good people do good things, and evil people do evil things, but for good people to do evil things, that takes religion!

The Offspring Murder Club is only a couple years old, and its membership roster is already bursting at the seams. Why don't we try to convince people to stop applying for membership in this club? Why don't we help spread the word that this is not a good club to belong to? Why don't we teach people to Kill the Afterlife, and kill prayer, rather than kill children?

14 comments:

wade419 said...

The worst part about these stories is that people may get the idea that God encourages this type of behavior.

Any concept, no matter how good its intention, can be used for a negative purpose when people begin to take it in the wrong direction. Yet, the fact that something has the capacity for terrible things does not mean that it in itself is flawed, and should be done away with. Just because a marine can kill someone with a spoon in a ton of ways doesn't mean that we should stop making spoons.

In this instance, the woman who starved her child because he did not say "amen" made a terrible decision, and/or was led to do so by twisted people or desires. I believe that God is much more saddened by these instances than anyone else hearing about them.

Aaron Kinney said...

Well I certainly agree with you, Wade, that God didn't tell this woman to starve her child.

But the reason I think this is different than yours... it is because I dont think that God exists.

At least you and I are in agreement about this woman being totally in error :-)

Aaron Kinney said...

Well I certainly agree with you, Wade, that God didn't tell this woman to starve her child.

But the reason I think this is different than yours... it is because I dont think that God exists.

At least you and I are in agreement about this woman being totally in error :-)

Anonymous said...

Religion is bullshit. This woman should rot in jail. She won't be having any more babies to subject to her insanity.

Can't wait for Religulous to come out ... so many Jesus freaks out there.

breakerslion said...

Great post Aaron. To answer your last question, because we're not the ones who are teaching people. The ones that are doing the teaching have a more or less fanatic agenda that we lack. There is a whole range of fanaticism. Not everyone is a clerical megalomaniac. Some people simply believe that society would fall apart without this authoritarian sticky bullshit to hold it together. Others just don’t ever want to be in a place where they might have to admit that “the Emperor is naked,” so to speak. Some understand that religion greases the rails for other scams, and will defend it to the death even though they know it’s bullshit. It’s a socio-political machine that buys defenders with favors like any political whore.

Aaron Kinney said...

Beakerslion, I must sadly admit that you hit the nail on the head. What a crazy world we live in!

wade419 said...

breakerslion (and Aaron): I have to wonder, though - does the way that something garners attention define its validity?

What I mean is, just because some of the ways that Christianity is spread are those that you mentioned does not mean that Christianity is, in fact, authoritarian bullshit. It only means that some people tend to promote it in a way that makes it seem as such.

One of the biggest problems in today's world is that people need incentives to do *anything*. So in order for many people to get a point across, they feel it necessary to dress up even the most worthy of causes with some sort of (usually capitalist, sensational, or authoritarian) incentive so that people will take notice. Then, once these worthy causes *look* like every other fanatic agenda, others can jump on board with their own scams and such.

The question is, though: does the fact that a cause garners attention in the way you described undermine its baseline worth?

Honestly, I think not, and each cause should be judged on its own merit, once as many of the social and political prejudices and add-ons as possible are taken away. I personally have looked long and hard at Christianity and found it to be sound.

Aaron Kinney said...

Re: Wade419,

breakerslion (and Aaron): I have to wonder, though - does the way that something garners attention define its validity?

Good question. I will admit no. I would say that in this particular instance, the validity of this woman's (and cult's) beliefs were shown false through what happened to the baby.

What I mean is, just because some of the ways that Christianity is spread are those that you mentioned does not mean that Christianity is, in fact, authoritarian bullshit. It only means that some people tend to promote it in a way that makes it seem as such.

Good point. I admit that you are correct. I used to be a Lutheran, and I readily concede that, if I learned of this story when I was a Christian, I would have quickly pointed out that the cult and the mother were not adhering to Christianity as I defined it. Even as an atheist today, I will concede for the sake of argument that this cult and the mother may have practiced a faith that is not really Christianity but some strange mutation, hybrid, or perversion of it.

However, as an atheist I would also argue that these points are by and large irrelevant to the argument I presented in this blog post. This blog is called "Kill the Afterlife," and while I do mostly attack versions of Christianity in this blog, I do also attack other faiths and spiritual beliefs. As my blog title indicates, I am ultimately trying to debunk belief in the afterlife in all its forms. That includes wacko cults like this one. My position is that all forms of afterlife belief are detrimental to humans and society, and the particulars of any given brand of afterlife belief are by and large irrelevant.

One of the biggest problems in today's world is that people need incentives to do *anything*.

Do theists not need an "incentive" to obey the God or doctrine that they believe in? Isnt the afterlife that very "incentive?"

So in order for many people to get a point across, they feel it necessary to dress up even the most worthy of causes with some sort of (usually capitalist, sensational, or authoritarian) incentive so that people will take notice. Then, once these worthy causes *look* like every other fanatic agenda, others can jump on board with their own scams and such.

I agree :)

The question is, though: does the fact that a cause garners attention in the way you described undermine its baseline worth?

In terms of afterlife belief, yes. This tragedy is an example or manifestation of the backward logic and immoral values that all afterlife-believers hold.

Honestly, I think not, and each cause should be judged on its own merit, once as many of the social and political prejudices and add-ons as possible are taken away. I personally have looked long and hard at Christianity and found it to be sound.

Well I can see why you disagree with me considering your Christian worldview. Its obvious that youve thought about these issues, and I respect how you honestly and open-mindedly engage me :)

But let me ask you Wade419, which "life" do you value more: this earthly life, or your upcoming afterlife in heaven? If necessary, which of these two would you sacrifice first?

breakerslion said...

My answer will have to wait. I do want to address this though. Going where the Internet isn't for a day.

breakerslion said...

Wade419:

”I have to wonder, though - does the way that something garners attention define its validity?”

No, not by itself. It does however, call into question the ethics of those who promote it. Religious belief is not a scientific fact like the atomic weight of Hydrogen. It is competing systems of self-promoting and contradictory superstitious beliefs. It has all of the classic characteristics of a scam, con, or flim-flam with its myriad of internally-consistent, plausible sounding explanations lacking external validation. People want to believe, so they do. Con-artists want to make money, and they do.

”What I mean is, just because some of the ways that Christianity is spread are those that you mentioned does not mean that Christianity is, in fact, authoritarian bullshit. It only means that some people tend to promote it in a way that makes it seem as such.”

I agree with your first sentence, but not the second. The words in the Bible make Christianity authoritarian bullshit. Likewise the “holy” writ of other faiths. “Bullshit” in the sense of the product of bullshit artists. The best bullshit contains a grain of truth. In this case we have some outlines for ethical social conduct masquerading as edicts from some higher than human power.

”One of the biggest problems in today's world is that people need incentives to do *anything*.”

You could have written that sentence in ancient Greece and it would still seem true. There is no such thing as pure altruism. If you read any good text on selling and advertising, you will discover that these are the same techniques (tricks) used by the clergy, politicians, and others to motivate people.

”So in order for many people to get a point across, they feel it necessary to dress up even the most worthy of causes with some sort of (usually capitalist, sensational, or authoritarian) incentive so that people will take notice. Then, once these worthy causes *look* like every other fanatic agenda, others can jump on board with their own scams and such.”

There is a cynical saying that, “No good deed goes unpunished”. This is true of many worthy causes that have negative as well as positive consequences. For example, when we “help” the poor countries in Africa by dumping our unwanted clothing on them (sold not given by the way, in many cases), we ruin the local textile industry and keep them in poverty through lack of skilled jobs. This is not my opinion, it belongs to government officials and sociologists in those same countries.

The question is, though: does the fact that a cause garners attention in the way you described undermine its baseline worth?

In one way, yes. One is judged by the company one keeps, and in some ways, the utility of a thing must be judged by the company it attracts.

Honestly, I think not, and each cause should be judged on its own merit, once as many of the social and political prejudices and add-ons as possible are taken away. I personally have looked long and hard at Christianity and found it to be sound.

… And Mussolini made the trains run on time. Ok, that was a little harsh. Frankly though, I find this to be a variant of the, “No true Scotsman” argument. If you pare away everything that is wrong with religious institutions, you find some positive contributions. Nobody gets something for nothing, and this includes the religious machine. If you don’t give some value in exchange, the marks won’t come back for more. I find the rate of exchange to be usurious. I don’t think you can ignore the bad and look only at the good. I have looked long and hard at Christianity, and find it to be a pastiche of both forerunner religions, and those that were absorbed along the way (Happy Easter!). This makes it a man made product, like bologna. Also like bologna, it tastes so good you might not notice that it’s not too healthy, and nobody wants to know how it’s made.

All that said, I have good friends whose religious affiliation is such an integral part of their lives, I wouldn't dream of trying to argue them out of it. They seem to understand that our motives are different but our aims are the same. I make a strong distinction between victims and perpetrators.

Craig Duckett said...

It takes language to argue and it takes language to postulate and that is where questions as to whether god exists or what god intends for mankind are conceived, solely within the artifice of words. The moment you close all your books and shut your mouths and walk out and experience the world in wordlessness, there is no question as to whether there is or is no god as there is no question--period. God, like 'heaven', like 'hell', like 'angels' and 'souls' and 'eternal life' and 'miracle', like all religious claims, is construed of nothing but 'definition' and is the product of interpretaive language alone.

Would you ever had any reason to believe in 'God' or 'heaven' or 'hell', etc., if you never heard the word or pondered the definition? Of course not. You can remove the word 'tree' and still point to a tree. You can remove the word 'sky' and still point to the sky. You can remove the words 'dog', 'car', 'water', even 'war', and still point to all these things, but once you remove the word 'god' or 'heaven' or 'soul' or 'angel', where can you point? You can't point anywhere, because religious notions and claims only exist inside of language, and nowhere outside it. That is why religious institutions rely so heavily on so-called sacred books, because without the books, without pointing back and forth to words inside the books, religion would disappear. Religions need language to exist, whereas 'real' things do not.

And that makes the test as to whether something is 'real' or not quite simple. Can 'it' be experienced (whatever 'it' may be) without resorting first to language? If it can, then it is real. If it cannot, then it is by necessity nothing more than an artificial abstraction. Of course, this notion goes far beyond the idea of gods, ghosts, and devils...it includes even social words, scientific words, historical words, even these very words you're just now reading.

Like the old Zen koan says: you use a thorn to remove a thorn, now throw both away. The same goes for words. We can use language to transcend language, then come to a place where we no longer mistake abstract words for reality (reification error). It never ceases to amaze me how many people are willing to put their "faith" in language and to attribute words a greater value then their own bodies, breath, bone, and blood, or more sadly, those of their loved ones.

Pax et bonum,
Craig
http://www.control-z.com

wade419 said...

sorry for the delay, I've really wanted to post but I've been caught up with classes starting again. I'll be back later today :/

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from a cult called "one mind"?

The full name is really "One mind shared between 100-plus people, so very little critical thinking is possible. Expect bad things to happen to its members."

~I AM~ said...

Sorry for the off-topic comment, but Aaron, I can't find your email address. I'd really like your input on my latest post if you have the time.