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Religion debases and dehumanises - Exhibits 5 and 6

15 February 2013, 12:00

A man on the East Rand asked his three children - one of them his fifteen year old son - to go to their rooms. He then proceeded to cut off his wife's head. 

Read about this story here:

While this was going on, one of his children snuck out and called the police.  When they arrived they found her head in the bathroom, and her body in the bedroom.  The man had used an axe and a saw to decapitate his wife. The father and husband explained that his plan was to travel to Kwa-Zulu Natal to sell her head for muti, which - according to his beliefs - would make him wealthy.

The police found the woman's body already wrapped in plastic, and a hole dug in the garden, presumably for her body. 

While it's possible this man has been watching too much Dexter (or possibly too little), it's obvious that his beliefs in muti were so overwhelming that he thought it perfectly reasonable to send his children to their rooms in their RDP house, and his wife a perfectly acceptable (and convenient) sacrifice for an improved life.  If he wanted a better life then it was his right to deprive someone else of their's.  Really?

Unfortunately, reality has intervened, and instead of prosperity, his personal circumstances are likely to deteriorate beyond repair. Christians will once again howl that this is a rare and exceptional occurence.  Many of them know very little about tribal beliefs, even less are exposed to them on a daily basis.  Muti isn't a rare occurence in South Africa.  In fact, in many squatter camps and large swathes of RDP sprawl superstitions are rife.  Some people place car tyres on their roofs to ward off evil spirits (very good trade to the 2nd hand care tyre merchants in the area of course).

Others believe that a child with a disability has an evil spirit.  Also, an albino person is believed to be 'powerful' muti.  Monkeys and cats are also associated with evil spirits.  Often these animals are stoned to death by hysterical people, as in this instance:

Whilst 'right-minded' religious folk will say that these beliefs are fringe or exceptional, and of course their own beliefs make sense, this comment demonstrates otherwise:

"Christians will not be shocked by these kind of tragedy,as traumatic as it is,but our reference scriptures say DURING LAST DAYS,there would be blood flowing,people will become LOVERS of money,people will be intolerant,so let the Shembes,Muslim,ancestors worshipers and Artheist be SHOCKED, be saved,Jesus is COMING SOON!!! These are just SIGNS and there is no going back instead worst of these will occur,be it in the US or SA,or where eve"

The writer seems to be making the point that when strange and diabolical acts occur, it's actually a good thing, because this encourages God to come even sooner.  He's already taken 2000 or so years, and when very despicable acts occur God becomes even more impatient to return to Earth and smite the wicked with his vengeance.  What nonsense.  This reaction simply allows for a hell on Earth, because Christians clap their hands and say, see, God is coming to deal with this.  That attitude actually means that no one is dealing with it, which opens the door for things to get even worse (which makes an even better case for God's return).

Talk about a sick, self perpetuating (and self defeating) but religion enforcing pyschology. 

Exhibit 6 - polygamy. Polygamy may have made sense under certain circumstances; such as when very few people were wealthy, and when there were very few people in the world.  When one's wealth was determined by the size of one's family, and increased via labola and the number of cattle one raised.  The more cattle you had the more wives you could afford.  Women might actually enjoy better protection under a ruler than working in pastures etc.

President Zuma King of Swaziland seem to like the idea of a harem and a compound and lots of wine, women and song.  The rest of the country can rot of course, because the chief may do as he likes and wants, because it's tradition, it's the chief's prerogative, it's 'culture'.  Of course these attitudes in societies rife with AIDS and conventional, contemporary one-partner marriages simply undermine the mores of the entire society. 

The leader, by his very example, debases and dehmanises the society he was elected to serve.  That he is allowed to do so, means there are sufficiently large proportions of voters who believe that he has the right to do so (and presumably, so do they).  Of course, the psychology of collecting wives may also manifest in another psychology altogether - which is if your wife no longer makes you happy, maybe you can sell her body for muti just the same way you can sell the flesh of a cow and use the money to improve your personal circumstances.  Really? 

In other words, is it fair that someone should sacrifice their right to live in order to improve your life.  If one takes that psychology further, that means any and every person is theoretically up for grabs.  Sons who may be impatient with studying at school might as well kill their fathers, take over the household and get rich.  Anyone who wants to speedtrack their circumstances should just choose a convenient target and murder away.  Really? 

This same muti mentality informed the marikana slaughter.  The reason the miners were unsuccessful, it turns out, was no because anything was wrong with the muti, but because a rabbit in the area was killed, which messed up the muti.
Makes sense doesn't it?

NOTE: The Oscar Pistorius murder (the guy who describes himself as an evangelical question and has a bible verse tattooed on his body) is another example, which I'll get to in a moment...

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