Monday, May 18, 2009

Truth as a Verb: A Case Study

Through the lens of Bible-informed faith, witches exist and pose a threat, even if they are children:

They are blamed for causing illness, death and destruction, prompting some communities to put them through harrowing punishments to "cleanse" them of their supposed magical powers.

"Children accused of witchcraft are often incarcerated in churches for weeks on end and beaten, starved and tortured in order to extract a confession," said Gary Foxcroft, program director of Stepping Stones Nigeria, a nonprofit that helps alleged witch children in the region.

Many of those targeted have traits that make them stand out, including learning disabilities, stubbornness and ailments such as epilepsy, he added.
It turns out that there are well-founded naturalistic accounts of these "traits" having nothing to do with witches, but the Bible says what it says, and the Bible's peddlars are consistent in nothing if not promoting a Biblical understanding of the world:
Pastors have been accused of worsening the problem by claiming to have powers to recognize and exorcise "child witches," sometimes for a fee, aid workers said.
And there it is -- a further illustration, for anyone still in suspense on the point, that the how of truth matters more than the what.

Not every lens is equal; the manner in which truth claims arise and are subsequently authenticated matters. If the question is "what is true today, and how do we know?" -- how is truth done -- then even the noblest and most resonant expressions appearing in ancient texts are deficient. Yes, the various prophets said fine things about peace, love, and understanding along the way. But everything imputed to them finds its authorization from precisely the same source as the present case in which sick children are tortured for "witchcraft."

The privileging of texts scratched out by ignorant primitives thousands of years ago is dangerous no matter the substance of the particular claim. The abuse of reality and reason produces, sooner or later, the abuse of human beings.

(via TwoBlueDay)

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