12th March 2010

“Religion is second only to corruption and tribalism as the biggest threat to socio economic development.”

Ben Ofosu-Appiah

25 Responses to “12th March 2010”

  1. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    It’s been pointed out that the single greatest weapon against poverty is the empowerment of women in education and reproductive rights – two things religious traditions (except for Judaism) have not had much use for.

  2. GoodWithoutGod Says:

    I’m not quite certain I agree with the quote above. I believe the biggest threat is what the Captain alluded to: the suppression of woman’s rights (education, birth control, etc). One can successfully argue that this suppression is driven largely by religion.

    Corruption and tribalism are largely innate human characteristics, in my opinion. I would agree, however, that they are fostered – and heightened – by religion.

  3. tech Says:

    The true women that believes she has rights will do as she wants.No one s going to tell her what to do.People who have other beliefs should back off and mind their own affairs. The Church as we know it has to make a lot changes and it will be contary to the old beliefs.If they don’t there will be nobody in the pews.After all is said and done the church is for sinners.

  4. GoodWithoutGod Says:

    Believing one has rights is one thing, tech. Being able to exercise them is something else.

    It is a fact that women in many countries – mostly Muslim, perhaps? – are not offered the same access to education as men. As much as a woman might believe they have the same access, reality prevents it.

    But it isn’t just the church. Equal pay for equal work is a nice slogan, but hard to execute in reality.

  5. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    It is not a coincidence that some of the poorest countries are also the most repressive toward women. This repression is often driven largely or exclusively by patriarchal monotheism. What good is it for the 13 year old girl to “believe she has rights” when she is given away in arranged marriage to a man 4 times her age as his 3rd wife and he will beat or even murder her (lawfully, as far as his religion is concerned) if she doesn’t comply with his smallest order?

  6. tech Says:

    Caption in those countries they don’t know anything different.Your talking about something that,s been going for along time. Its going to take a lot of education to change, maybe even blood shed.The sad part is that its done in the name of Religion. No religious person who genuinely believes in the Lord Jesus Christ would even go along or agree to such tradition.

  7. Holysmokes Says:

    I think religion actually lowers the corruption potential in many people. The fear of a higher being and the consequences of defying him/her/it can act as a deterrent.

    How to reduce negative tribal effects? Increase diversity. One planet, one people.

    How to lower corruption? Much harsher laws. Make the cost too high for would be offenders.

    How to eliminate religion? Science.

  8. Atheist MC Says:

    in those countries they don’t know anything different

    Oh they know different alright, it is just their misogynistic religion that keeps them behaving this way. Which is the point, stoneage religions keep you in the stoneage.

  9. steve Says:

    I don’t know that I agree with this quote, although I have never considered the ranking of the three as similar threats. Seems like they are mixing apples and oranges.

    Religion is patently a threat. How can you base anything on lies and make it help a society long term? Of course, you can cite short term manipulations that are helpful, but for a society to mature there must be a fundamental honesty.

    Similarly, corruption is a threat based on deceit. I have my doubts that you can ever completely eradicate that threat, the best you can do is suppress and control it.

    Tribalism is not defined here, but I can see situations where my notion of tribalism is not always a bad thing. Isolated cultures need tribalism. As a survival skill, we have all evolved with tribalism. I do not see that fact changing soon.

    So, to sum up, I find the quote misleading. Tribalism is not always a threat to socio-economic development, but when it is a threat, there is a way to correct it through progressive alternate social structures.

    Corruption needs to be controlled in all societies.

    Religion is always a fundamental long term threat. To base any fundamental socio-economic agreement on delusion just cannot end well, and in turn promotes the corruption that we all can agree we want to eradicate.

    “When you believe in things that you don’t understand and you suffer… …superstition ain’t the way. Hey Hey.” (Sorry Stevie)

  10. steve Says:

    Holysmokes, I gotta quibble on this one:

    “I think religion actually lowers the corruption potential in many people. The fear of a higher being and the consequences of defying him/her/it can act as a deterrent.”

    I agree, as far as regulating individuals, which is what I think you might have intended.

    Religion only institutionalizes the corruption. It keeps the flock in line, but they are still getting regularly fleeced. The threat of the supernatural may be a deterrent to the individual, but it does nothing but give leverage to the very real people who are making those threats.

    And then there are the secondary effects of regulation – the stealing of paper clips by pissed off employees. Subjugation by threat only makes the corruption harder to see. But that is a whole ‘nother argument for another time.

  11. tech Says:

    You talk about corruption like its only in the churches, Rubbish. Atheist stone age is where some of you guys belong, they way I read it anyway.You’re all too caught up in religion,it seems thats all you talk about.I know we don’t all enjoy the same freedoms.We all have the freedom to do the right thing,lets do it. We should also watch where we put our noses,keep it out of places it doesn’t belong. Live and let live.There will be crimes committed every day. Leave it to the law to take care of, why worry about it.Unless affects me directly, I could care less. Life is too good to waste on things like what some manic or sex pervert is doing inside or outside some religious sect.God never placed me here on earth to be a judge.

  12. Holysmokes Says:

    Tribalism is a double edged sword. Yes, it can be a positive in many ways, especially for cultural and survival issues. But is typically a negative.
    If your son is playing soccer, which team do you cheer for and want to see win? His tribe, or the other? Humans beings almost always think like that. Here in the US we typically cheer for country first, then state, county, town and frequently the individual school. Tribalism takes on many layers and we are all participants. It doesn’t matter whether its a sport, or a war. Those other people are different so we want our tribe to win.

    People naturally migrate to people who think, act and look like themselves. Just watch what happens to people who immigrate. They have a tendency to settle in areas together, even if they are from vastly different areas of the same originating country. It is human nature and true globalization is the only cure. If it were up to me, the world would have one language, currency, laws and one very free government. It always seemed rather unfair to me that its ok to do a certain thing in one country, but not in another. We are all humans and should be treated equally. It won’t happen because we want to keep our tribes ..and there is a serious inherent danger in one government. What if it goes sour?

    Tribalism hinders progress via isolation and unnecessary violence. I think it is responsible for more problems then religion. In fact, religion is a subset of tribalism in that it’s just one more thing that can make countries different when a war is brewing.

  13. solomon Says:

    Ahhh……all you Atheists are only blaming religion with arrogant heart without knowledge for unequal rights of women or corruption.In fact theres no truth at all in it.Religion especially Islam is responsible for the rights of women.It has outlined concise rules for this feminin group.Steve has been a little sincere when quoting religion can lowers the corruption potential in many people.
    The stoneage thinking or tribal practice are actually in your lots minds.

  14. Holysmokes Says:

    Solomon, are you required to walk around wearing a helmet?

  15. steve Says:

    Thanks Holysmokes, now I gotta wipe all this coffee off the screen.


    Maybe I need the helmet – with a splash guard. I ought to know better to read short responses on this site while drinking…

    I see your position on tribalism. At the same time, there are lots of tribes that share religious overlords.

    In any event it seems a race to the bottom. Corruption, religion, bad tribes. I suspect that the original author is from Ghana and has a meaning for tribalism quite specific to his background, in which case I tend to agree with him.


    …and now, for someone completely different…

    Sollie, sollie. I am not sure where one sentence ends and another begins in your world. With one line you have convinced me that you are truly bat-shat crazy:

    “…in it.Religion especially Islam is responsible for the rights of women.It has outlined concise rules for this feminin group…”

  16. tech Says:

    Solomon Solomon , It seems the only time you open your mouth is to change feet.

  17. GoodWithoutGod Says:

    tech, I agree that we all have the freedom to act correctly and I wholeheartedly agree we should “just do it”. Where we might differ – and correct me if I’m wrong – is that I would do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because a God tells me.

    However, this contradicts the notion that we should “watch where we put our noses, keep it out of places it doesn’t belong”. If I see something that’s not right, I want to correct it. If religion is allowed to be promoted in the public domain, I have a right to stick my nose into their business. If I see bronze age mythology being sold to children as truth, this strikes me as wrong, and I want to correct it. It is my business.

    Again, the “live and let live” motto is nice, but it does not work for me 100% of the time. I’m not about to sit idly by while ignorance is sold as pablum. I need to raise the alarm about the poison in the pablum.

    Yes, there will be crimes committed every day, but I do worry about it. Why? Because we elect the people who make the laws, so I can’t “leave it to the law to take care of”. Removing my voice from the process that shapes the law is a recipe for corruption and tribalism.

  18. Holysmokes Says:


    It was that same line you pointed out that prompted the “helmet” question. Women’s rights indeed. Islam does more to squelch women’s rights then all other major religions combined!

    Back to the quote; religion, corruption and tribalism. It is difficult to say which is worse, but as long as greed and self-preservation prevails, (even at the needless expense of others), then at least two of the three will continue to reign supreme.

    Humans are not nearly as advanced as we like to think. If collectively, we continue to believe in magical beings and are willing to sacrifice others for our own material improvements, then we have a long way to go before we can consider ourselves truly enlightened.

    On a strange note; If I were a critter from another planet observing humans, I would do everything possible to prevent humans from reaching the stars. Why? Because we can’t even get along with ourselves. How can beings capable of space travel expect us to ever get along with them? Now that’s depressing.

    GWG, well put!

  19. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    Sol is right about Islam giving women lots of rights… in the Orwellian sense in which peace = war, freedom = slavery and square = circle.

    Here is one such right: to be stoned to death if seen talking to an unrelated male.

  20. John Says:

    If muhammad; the founder of islam would marry a 6 year old little girl then rape her when she was 9; what makes you think today’s muslims would have any kind of respect for little girls or their women today?

  21. solomon Says:

    Captain and John doesnt know a fuckin thing about womens rights in Islam, yet have the boasting attitude of trying to tarnish it.The phaedopiles are your lots fucking around countless childrens.All the blames on Mohammad is not true or makeup lies.

  22. Mohammed the Prophet Says:

    Solomon put your “fuckin” helmet on!!

  23. John Says:

    Cussing? You have to cuss? It’s not my fault that in the Dark Ages, your great dictator was a documented PEDOPHILE ! Today, even you would stone him!

  24. John Says:


    I’m sure when you where playing dress-up in you mommy’s burqa in 120 degree heat, you never broke a sweat. Right?

  25. solomon Says:

    Mohammed the Prophet,

    To HELL with your FUCKIN helmet.