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Old 08-22-2013, 03:04 AM
 
Location: South Africa
5,563 posts, read 6,325,062 times
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The thing that prompted this post was this share on FB


Incredible Vampire Hunting Kit From The 1800′s

Looking at how many folk that post here believe in the unfounded "supernatural" and based on the history of the US viz. the Salem witch trials and the origins of many new religions like the Mormons and Scientology; I asked myself if this is a unique mindset to the US?

My whole life in Africa, there have never really been major proponents of stuff like creationism and ID, it was the sort of twaddle one heard in church and even then not really a dogma. Considering that our education was to a large extent Brit influenced and my entire schooling, we had assemblies with the Church of England type hymns we sang and after that was all done and dusted, folk went to classes where I never once saw any god posters or ten commandments framed in the office halls etc. We were there to learn about the world and when it came to science, back in junior school, I still remember the oldish female teacher having to correct us ignorant youths concerning the fact males and females had the same amount of ribs yet did it w/o causing a raucous with angry parents writing nasty letters or whatever.

For some reason we learned a lot about US history in both junior and high schools.

Stuff like UFOs were stories circulated by conjecture and probably influenced a lot by the early Star Trek episodes. We even have a photo of a UFO in my home town Bulawayo and it caused speculation and then died out w/o much fanfare after a week.

Despite the fact we had religious assemblies and no one really had issues, Jews were allowed to excuse themselves from the religious components. In those days we were all white so we had no need for muslim considerations nor hindu. They attended other schools and I have no idea how they dealt with it, they would have been minorities.

Anyway, back to the USA. The stuff that gets mileage there like UFO sightings, proponents of ID and creationism, the new fear of the evil muslim threat, the old witch trials, the legends of vampires and so on, we, well at least I, never heard of this happening in Africa in the colonial days.

A lot of our culture was influenced by American TV due to sanctions by the Brits on art and entertainment yet it never developed any cult like followings that happen in the US. Nowhere in SA or my then Rhodesia, did we have comic cons where folk (adults) dressed up as super heroes and convened in a town on a regular basis, that stuff we grew out of by age 12 or so.

Pretty much all the horror flicks of vampires, ghosts et al emanate from the US as do all the apocalyptic films like 2012, and many others.

The only cult like thing I have witnessed here are the christian mega churches with ties to the US evangelicals; these are really a fringe minority.

The odd thing is that, (particularly the whites) come from similar stock as the early US settlers (Europe) yet seem to have evolved along very different and diverse paths. It seems that there is a lot more superstition in the US than what we have here in Africa.

Also I read a lot of how invasive some Americans are concerning their beliefs by quizzing other folk which church they attend. That too is a taboo subject here like politics, here folk tend to keep their religious beliefs to themselves. When I was a batcrap crazy evangelical, other believers were uncomfortable when I touched on the subject and flatly refused to discuss it, the only ones that did talk were as crazy as I was. Yet we have the exact same stats as the US of 78% self IDd christians. I was the only crazy one to put up xian twaddle in my workspace and I was surrounded by what would have been a majority of so called believers, they all thought I was crazy and I was. What I deduce from reading here and elsewhere, it is the inverse of what I have experienced. Seems like folk there are more in the crazy mode (like I was) and the irreligious here an inverse of what seems to transpire there. Or is it just the folk we actually see on the internet forums giving a incorrect representation of what happens there in RL?

Could this over exposure to myths and superstitions be the reason why there appears to be more crazy christians in the US per capita than anywhere else in the world?

Love to hear some opinions from your side before I conclude you all are crazy.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:43 AM
 
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I wouldn't be surprised if we had our Vampire hunters in the 1800's. We seem to have our share of Witch - killers, even today.
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:59 AM
 
4,456 posts, read 3,710,742 times
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Quote:
Looking at how many folk that post here believe in the unfounded "supernatural" and based on the history of the US viz. the Salem witch trials and the origins of many new religions like the Mormons and Scientology; I asked myself if this is a unique mindset to the US?



Boy, I wouldn't mind having that as a historical 'relic!
Interesting. I was just curious. Doesn't SA have its own traditions as well? I'd think arguably voodoo comes under that 'superstition' moniker or am I wrong on that? I'm not sure how voodoo is looked at from 'believers' and I mean all 'believers' in anything under the sun.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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SA, the problem is that having grown up in US fundamentalism (albeit not a terribly intense version of it, non-charismatic, etc) I don't have anything to compare it to first hand, on the more liberal side of things. One of my good friends is a retired Universalist minister, another is a Jesuit-educated liberal Catholic, so it's not as if I have zero exposure to milder forms of religion. It's just that they don't compute for me, in a "why bother" sort of way; for me either the Bible was fairly literally true or not and no half way measures will do. Make of that what you will. I don't perceive that this has much to do with US-specific aspects of religion, it is more about fundamentalist thinking and my own personal tendencies that attracted me to it (fairly linear, literal thinker, rather idealistic, more oriented towards risk avoidance than risk taking, etc).

The main thing that is different / unique here, IMO, is the "rugged individualist" mentality; everyone wants to be self-made. Also, remember that many of the original settlers here were fleeing religious persecution and why would that be? Well, they were already religious nutbags from the perspective of mainstream European protestantism, and so the US from the start developed a high tolerance for letting religious folk do their own thing -- to be "rugged individualists" with respect to religion. The Puritans come to mind, as do the Amish. Today, much of our public "discourse" (if you can call it that) is still along the lines of "leave me alone to worship as I please, get the government off my back". Except that when conservative Christians got a taste of political power in the late 20th century, it went to their heads and many of them fantasize about forcing their values on everyone else to cement their hegemony forever. They began to believe that "this has always been a [fundamentalist / literalist] Christian nation" and that this would somehow be returning to first principles -- conveniently forgetting that most of the founding fathers were Deists.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:28 AM
 
2,826 posts, read 1,868,963 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekerSA View Post
The thing that prompted this post was this share on FB

My whole life in Africa, there have never really been major proponents of stuff like creationism and ID, it was the sort of twaddle one heard in church and even then not really a dogma. Considering that our education was to a large extent Brit influenced and my entire schooling, we had assemblies with the Church of England type hymns we sang and after that was all done and dusted, folk went to classes where I never once saw any god posters or ten commandments framed in the office halls etc. We were there to learn about the world and when it came to science, back in junior school, I still remember the oldish female teacher having to correct us ignorant youths concerning the fact males and females had the same amount of ribs yet did it w/o causing a raucous with angry parents writing nasty letters or whatever.
They said it best in Easy Rider.

Everyone wants to claim this is a free country, but if they see someone actually living it, it's a threat.

ID is what I believe in, but I also believe in evolution.

The fact that these are viewed as two mutually exclusive dogmas is an anathema to me. The fact is, I'd be okay with either type believing what they want, but it's the "busybody" mentality, that yes is very much American, dating back from the witch hunts that seriously annoys me.

But yea, Africans are as superstitious as other people, it's just they don't have an obnoxious "I have the right to my theism/atheism, but you don't" mindset.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:58 AM
 
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The problem is that there is a difference between being free and doing whatever the heck you like, and never mind anyone else. And there is a difference between having a belief, no matter how whacky, and wanting to have everyone else believe it, too, and yet another difference between teaching people something with some credible scientific support and teaching people something with virtually none.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:36 PM
 
Location: South Africa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lerner View Post
Moderator cut: Orphaned
In this case google is not your friend. You have a strawman list of stuff pertaining to a small minority of disturbed black folk, I do not deny this happens but the comparisons is on the settler types (whites) not the natives. I suppose if we were to compare natives here to the US natives, you may have a point but in this context, not so much.

These things you list as superstitions are actually treated as crimes and although the black's "witchcraft" is allowed, their practices are not when it comes to stuff like harming other humans or animals for that matter.

The only place vampire myth seems to emanate from is the US and perhaps a legacy from Europe. Ships sailed to the US and to SA and other colonies and yet there does not seem to be the same "idiocy" here as there was/is in the US.

Voodoo is not practised here in the traditional sense. There does seem to be a common fear of a Tokolosh by black folk that crosses most of southern Africa which in your terms would be like a leprechaun, midget. They place westernised beds on bricks as then they are too high for a threat but that is silly as their ancestors slept on the floor in their huts. Not quite sure where that developed from. Black xians here seem to have kept a lot of their original traditions and merged the two so I am guessing, a lot of what they believe/fear is relatively new.

Last edited by june 7th; 08-22-2013 at 07:52 PM..
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:50 PM
 
Location: South Africa
5,563 posts, read 6,325,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
SA, the problem is that having grown up in US fundamentalism (albeit not a terribly intense version of it, non-charismatic, etc) I don't have anything to compare it to first hand, on the more liberal side of things. One of my good friends is a retired Universalist minister, another is a Jesuit-educated liberal Catholic, so it's not as if I have zero exposure to milder forms of religion. It's just that they don't compute for me, in a "why bother" sort of way; for me either the Bible was fairly literally true or not and no half way measures will do. Make of that what you will. I don't perceive that this has much to do with US-specific aspects of religion, it is more about fundamentalist thinking and my own personal tendencies that attracted me to it (fairly linear, literal thinker, rather idealistic, more oriented towards risk avoidance than risk taking, etc).

The main thing that is different / unique here, IMO, is the "rugged individualist" mentality; everyone wants to be self-made. Also, remember that many of the original settlers here were fleeing religious persecution and why would that be? Well, they were already religious nutbags from the perspective of mainstream European protestantism, and so the US from the start developed a high tolerance for letting religious folk do their own thing -- to be "rugged individualists" with respect to religion. The Puritans come to mind, as do the Amish. Today, much of our public "discourse" (if you can call it that) is still along the lines of "leave me alone to worship as I please, get the government off my back". Except that when conservative Christians got a taste of political power in the late 20th century, it went to their heads and many of them fantasize about forcing their values on everyone else to cement their hegemony forever. They began to believe that "this has always been a [fundamentalist / literalist] Christian nation" and that this would somehow be returning to first principles -- conveniently forgetting that most of the founding fathers were Deists.
Thanks for that. Yet we did have our origins taking place in the same era. AUS and NZ also come to mind and they too seem devoid of this "madness" if I can put it that way. Obviously I cannot make comparisons from their side as I have never been there. However, their history of settlers also happened more or less the same time.

I have met Americans in RL and they did not come over as batcrap crazy and we had a lot in common. There is always something on the news here of what happens in the US but I doubt that is reciprocal of SA or AUZ or NZ for that matter. (not always politics either)
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,118,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekerSA View Post
Love to hear some opinions from your side before I conclude you all are crazy.
Maybe we are crazy, maybe not.

We Americans have the freedom to live however we want to, and we have enough confidence in our military power to feel that no other country or group of countries can seriously hurt us.

What's more, we keep getting better and better. We have less racial separation than we used to, gay people are more accepted, and women have many more activities open to them. Our country is much better than it used to be.

Anyway, we are very pleased to be the way we are. Life is never boring.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:12 AM
 
Location: South Africa
5,563 posts, read 6,325,062 times
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Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Maybe we are crazy, maybe not.

We Americans have the freedom to live however we want to, and we have enough confidence in our military power to feel that no other country or group of countries can seriously hurt us.
Actually from what I read on your news sites and forums, this does not appear to be the case. We all have to abide by laws we sometimes may not agree with.
Quote:
What's more, we keep getting better and better. We have less racial separation than we used to, gay people are more accepted, and women have many more activities open to them. Our country is much better than it used to be.
I think the other former colonies can make the exact same claims. Some of them are perhaps years ahead of the US in some civil liberty issues.
Quote:
Anyway, we are very pleased to be the way we are. Life is never boring.
Sure, but your post actually addressed none of my questions, you should not be overly sensitive to a deliberate snipe with a smiley inferring that it was tongue in cheek, one of these

How about we discuss the folklore differences?
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