Social Question

jerv's avatar

Is God the only hope that Haiti needs?

Asked by jerv (28889 points ) January 18th, 2010

I know these people mean well and all so I don’t want to come down on them for their religious beliefs. However, when I heard about this group sending electronic Bibles that cost $157 each to Haiti instead of things that they really need right now, I couldn’t help but think that they were being totally impractical to the point of insensitivity.

Don’t get me wrong; under normal circumstances, I would have no issues with this, especially since Haiti is predominantly Christian. However, there is a time and a place for everything, and I think right now is not a good time to do something like this in that place; leave the runways clear for medical supplies, doctors, and other aid.

Am I wrong here? Like I said, I know that their hearts are in the right place, but isn’t this just tacky given the current situation there?

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142 Answers

faye's avatar

No, I think you are absolutely right.

shilolo's avatar

You know, God >>> antibiotics. ~

madmax303's avatar

I think that it is very wrong to be giving electronics instead of food/water/supplies/etc….. I am sure that God would love them to get bibles too, but i know He probably doesnt think its very neccecary right now.

Facade's avatar

No. God gave us our own minds for a reason.

amarte87's avatar

as long as we are all willing to help in some way, i believe god has something planned for haiti!

tinyfaery's avatar

What a great example of how many Christians have nothing in common with Jesus. When dogma trumps basic needs there is a serious problem.

TexasDude's avatar

Haiti is gonna need a lot more than an invisible sky daddy to lift them from the clusterfuck they are involved in.

nayeight's avatar

Haiti doesn’t need god anymore than I or anyone else does.

kevbo's avatar

I actually have a relative who works for that organization. I’m not religious, but the scope of their operation is pretty impressive.

Catastrophic aid generally doesn’t conform to the need. How many of the thousands of pints of blood that were donated did WTC victims really need?

Beyond that, I think it’s a little kneejerk to assume that what probably amounts to less than a pallet of materials is going to clog a runway.

lilikoi's avatar

It certainly is not practical. You can’t eat bibles after all.

rooeytoo's avatar

Strikes me as religious mania gone amuck but I am a bit of a cynic.

jerv's avatar

@kevbo Normally I would agree with you, but the way I see it, NYC has more ability to accept transports than Haiti does and the scope of the disaster is just a bit larger. And considering that they have already had to turn away flights of medical gear/personnel already due to the transportation issue, it may not be quite as kneejerk as you think. I think we are talking more than A pallet here; I saw how big they are, so unless they are only shipping a couple of hundred (and I’ve heard they want to ship three thousand) then it could be a planeful or more.

Now, maybe when the screaming of the dying and wounded fades away, it’ll be time for such an effort, but not now.

kevbo's avatar

@jerv, your article said 600, and my point is how many pints of blood do dead people need?

With respect to what Haiti really needs, I think there’s (obviously and understandably) a bit of reaction to the drama of the situation. Haiti has had a lot of need for a number of years, and Haitians have endured a lot of suffering during that time, but we don’t have CNN 24 hour rescue porn for that. I’m not trying to be callous or to pick on you in particular, but I would rather see “us” fixing Haiti over the last few decades than rending our garments over an 800 lb catastrophe.

edit:: Speaking of tacky.

jerv's avatar

@kevbo First off, a clarification; 600 are on the way, but the site of the organization that is sending them says , and I quote ”There is an immediate need for another 3,000 Proclaimers

Now that I have that off my chest, I think we can both agree Haiti has needed a lot of things for many years, and there is a part of me that thinks that now that the country has been effectively levelled, now would be a good time to rebuild it better than before, much like Japan was rebuilt after WWII. There is no infrastructure to replace any more; it’s a clean slate.

Of course, such a massive undertaking requires effective planning and, given that medical aid and food are more immediate needs than even shelter (you can live in the rain, but you can’t live with festering wounds and/or total lack of sustenance), it would seem to me that the best course of action would be to make sure that there are survivors to listen to God’s Word first.

It’s a matter of timing. These people have nothing; lets worry about getting them the very basics first. Keep them alive then comfort them.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I think god has already done enough.

Nullo's avatar

Hopewise, yes But supplies are nice too.
And why the heck are they sending electronic Bibles? A really nice print Bible with footnotes, unit conversion tables, maps, and a concordance costs a third of that, and works without batteries. That’s either more Bibles, or aid. I’d go with aid, since one Bible goes a long way.
Bah. Maybe the disaster is causing guilt pangs?
@lilikoi
And food can’t save you from eternal damnation. Funny ol’ world, isn’t it?
@nayeight
Those who say that they don’t need God are the ones that need Him the most.
@Lightlyseared
How do you mean?

jerv's avatar

@kevbo Yeah, I heard about that too, but it seemed just so… well “par for the course” that I just eye-rolled and walked away.

@Nullo I’ve heard some rather cynical people say that they should just remeber Job and take this disaster in stride.

Steve_A's avatar

Common sense, it’s hard to come by.

Well if they are religious then it was probably just God’s will and divine plan and if thats the case well praying or electronic bibles won’t do much good. I love George Carlin.

I say send some fucking food. Or sell the bibles , if they are worth anything over there.

Nullo's avatar

@Steve_A
God doesn’t pass out natural disasters to third-world countries.

Fernspider's avatar

God made everything and can create miracles etc etc, but he can’t create natural disasters or prevent them? Until this religion reigns in the hypocrisy, I will continue to be cynical.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Nullo earthquake – act of god

kevbo's avatar

@Lightlyseared, et al, not necessarily.

Others are engaging even in an eco- type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.

-Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, 1997

Maybe the terrorists are passing out natural disasters.

Steve_A's avatar

@kevbo Oh my beans….good stuff.

whitenoise's avatar

I think it is a great idea…. had they send paper versions, people would certainly have used them as fuel. Now we’re can finally rest assured that these electronic bibles have absolutely no other use than to pour more feelings of guilt into the minds of these people.

After all, if these people were struck by such natural disasters, there must be a plan by God. And what better way to show these people that they are part of that plan than through electronic bibles…. that must really help them.

I think a little bit of evangelical comfort will surely make them feel better after loosing their homes, wives, fathers, mothers, children, etc. To at least know that your misery serves a higher purpose and is not just a consequence of poverty and poor building standards combined with an earthquake that is no one’e fault, but just that.

Nullo's avatar

@Lightlyseared
That’s the media being melodramatic. |:\

Was it also Cohen that said that Hurricane Katrina was caused by a weather generator in Russia?

@whitenoise
I think you have a skewed idea of the Christian faith. Might wanna look into that.

faye's avatar

1000. bibles @157 dollars buys a lot of food and medicine.

whitenoise's avatar

@Nullo
I know I take a skewed look at Christian faith, not an overly positive one either. Sorry…

But please don make the mistake that my dislike of Christain faith and faith in general stems from being poorly informed. It stems from the overwhelming negative effets of these religions that from my point of view far outweigh their benefits. Benefits that are often falsely attributed to religion and on top of that can easily be attained through other means than religion as well. At far lower costs to humanity and the rest of the world.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

My nephew was in Haiti on Sunday; residents were going to church in tents in the midst of the devastation. They definitely need food, water, medical supplies and clothing before they need bibles.

Fyrius's avatar

Mmmyes.
If you believe in an interventionist god at all, then he was the one who decided Haiti should get pwnt in the first place. I agree that it would be insensitive to advise them to look for solace and protection from the one bringing them the suffering they need solace and protection from.
In fact, I think that mind-set borders on insanity.

sandystrachan's avatar

’ GOD ’ Is the reason it happened

Steve_A's avatar

Thank God I am not the only one who think-s….oh wait a second….hehehe :)

markyy's avatar

Normally I couldn’t care less about this kind of deal. What does piss me off is that there was a limited infrastructure to begin with, which is now completely gone. It’s hard enough to get supplies and people into Haiti, cargo space they are taking up with electronic bibles. I have no doubt these bibles will come in handy when they can be used as a trading commodity in the future.

Trillian's avatar

@Lightlyseared, I’d like to jump in for just a moment. As I understand it, ages ago, God gave power and dominion over this earth to Satan, the fallen one. God specifically said that he ould NOT intervene, and they would contest for the souls of man.
So I believe that people are mistaken to blame bad things on God, just as Christians are misinformed when they say that something bad was the will of God.
Since God is love, why would he want to hurt or cause pain? To say that death is a punishment and life is the candy is a VAST oversimplification perpetrated by both sides of this divisive issue.
It would be more appropriate to place the blame, or cause for disasters or bad things squarely in the lap of Satan and his minions who are legion. The adversary commits destructive senseless acts for their own sake. The resulting pain and chaos is the only goal. I’d like to see cynics and Christians alike stop blaming God. This too serves the purpose of the adversary.

HTDC's avatar

That is unbelievably ridiculous. Here have an electronic bible. Who cares if you’re starving, dehydrated and on the verge of death. God will help you. What a joke.

That’s like saying to someone who’s on the edge of a cliff about to fall off, “well I would grab your hand and pull you back up BUT here, say a prayer to this pebble and you will be helped.”

What an insult to those poor victims of the earthquake.

Fyrius's avatar

@Trillian
If god entrusted the world to the devil, in full omniscient knowledge of everything that would happen if he would do so, how does that exempt him from responsibility for the bad things that happen?
He could have kept the reins in his own hands to keep the world a nice place all the time. He could have prevented this Haiti catastrophe, and every single other one in the history of the universe. Instead he decided to leave us all at the mercy of someone who he knew didn’t have any.

If I know someone to be a psychotic serial killer, if I know with absolute certainty that he will torture my children to death if I let him anywhere near them, and I still decide to let him do my babysitting, would you say I can reasonably contend that it’s not my fault at all if the kids die a horrible death? Would you still call me a good parent? Would you think for a moment that anyone could do such a thing while loving their children?

No, I can’t say that’s a very thoughtful world view you have there.

ubersiren's avatar

Every time I hear that someone will simply pray for or preach at a problem, I cringe. I’m reminded of a little story/joke that I’ve heard many times and I’m sure many of you have, too. For those who haven’t, here it is.

~~~~
The Devout Man
There was a great flood in a small town, and everyone was evacuated, but one man remained claiming, “I am a devout man. God will save me.”

The man’s neighbor came by before he left and said, “Everyone is leaving, you better come with us!”
“No,” replied the man. “I am a devout man and God will save me.” So the neighbor left.

The water rose and filled the man’s first floor, so he moved up to the second. A fireman in a boat came by and said, “It’s getting really bad, sir. Get in the boat and I’ll paddle you to safety.”
“No,” replied the man. “I am a devout man and I have faith in God. He will save me.” So the fireman left.

The water was so high now that the man had to climb onto his roof. In a last effort to rescue all survivors, the National Guard came by in a helicopter and spotted the man on the roof. One rescuer climbed down the ladder to rescue the man, saying, “This is the last ride out. Come with us and we’ll fly you to safety.”
“No,” replied the man. “I am a devout man, and I just know that God will save me.” So the helicopter flew off.

The water continued to rise, and with the man’s increased weakness, he was swept away and died. The man, being so devout, went to Heaven. When walked through the pearly gates and met God, he asked, “I put all my faith in you. I was truly a devout man. Why didn’t you save me?”

God replied, ” I sent you your neighbor, a boat and a helicopter! What more did you want?”
~~~~

God has supplied the churches, ministries, charities with the funds to truly help these people. The last thing they need is a book. Unless that book comes with a doctor, food, and fresh water, it’s not helping anything.

Cruiser's avatar

These audio Bibles are only part of the relief effort being provided by this ministry. I am not particularly religious but if you just lost everything including your loved ones…I would believe religion is about all these people have left. I am sure these audio bibles will be put to good use amongst the food and clothing being sent with them.

HTDC's avatar

@Cruiser. Oh yes, how could I forget? Believing in a character out of a fictional novel sure would bring them relief and reassurance.

Cruiser's avatar

@HTDC Your criticism of their beliefs is exactly what these people don’t need right now.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Ridiculous and not surprising. People will make money on anything. And don’t event try to bs me that this is about offering salvation – or they’d be sending there for free. And to answer your question, Haiti doesn’t need god.

HTDC's avatar

@Cruiser LOL at the sarcastic overtones of our answers just then.

Snarp's avatar

No, wasting space on this stuff that could be used for much needed food, water, and medical personnel is wrong. Send your bibles when there’s no longer an issue with getting needed supplies in.

Trillian's avatar

@Fyrius. Your example is not a good parallel. As I said, life is not the reward and death the punishment. It isn’t that simple, but I cannot give all I know and have learned to you in a couple paragraphs.
You want God to keep the reins in his hands but that counters free will.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I’d prefer that you studied a bit more before coming to a conclusion, but you have the free will do do so or not. As you choose.
I added this thought for everyone intent on blaming God. Just wanted to add another perspective. There is plenty of study material out there in support of this belief, but I’m not here to convince you or anyone else to believe my way, nor to criticize anyone for being ill informed. As I stated, many Christians are not certain of this sort of thing, well meaning though they may be.
There’s certainly no need to denigrate my “world view” because it doesn’t coincide with yours.

CMaz's avatar

Now I know why the world is going to end in 2012.

The world is going to go broke trying to bring haiti up to first world standards.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz so what? I’ll take it. Some of the world can stand to go broke.

whitenoise's avatar

@Trillian
I don’t think @Fyrius necessarily needs to study more…
You and @Fyrius may disagree, but I think I see you ask him to be respectful of your opinion, yet you accuse his point of view to be based on being ill-informed. Respect should go two ways and so far you’re not scoring points in my book.

Fyrius's avatar

@Trillian
I’d still like to pursue this subject for a bit more.

Even if death is not a bad thing (I can agree to that), the fact remains that there’s a lot of pain and suffering and general unhappiness in the world. Elementary logic excludes the possibility of a universe created by someone omnipotent and omniscient who wanted everyone to be happy, where some people are not happy. It’s the failure of someone infallible, or the ultimate callousness of the very embodiment of love.

Even taking the free will issue into account, he could have created a world without natural disasters, at least. (Are you going to tell me that earthquakes are a result of god letting us have free will?)

And for that matter, surely someone omnipotent could create a universe with free will and without unhappiness. He’s a freaking god. The whole point of omnipotence is that he could have made the universe in any way he damn well pleased. And he decided to make a universe where free will clashes with happiness.

And for that matter, even accepting the logically impossible premise that he couldn’t have done that, it was he who decided we should have free will, which would often make us unhappy, rather than make us perma-happy but non-autonomous. Is it really worth it?
If not, that’s another sense in which he would be the one to blame for our unhappiness.

And for that matter, the free will issue can’t really be an issue anyway, because we can’t really have free will if there exists someone who is omniscient. He already knows the outcome of every last decision ever made and ever to be made. To someone omniscient, free will is a laugh.
He also knew whether anybody was ever going to decide anything he might want to intervene in, before he decided never to do so.

The only way to fix this logical contradiction is to either reject the notion that god is omniscient, or the one that he is omnipotent, or the one that he wants us to be happy. At least one of the three has to go. Unless you’re willing to deny that there exist people who are not happy.

I have so far not denigrated your point of view – only called it “not very thoughtful” – [removed by Fluther moderators]
I can accept and even respect views I disagree with that are at least logically possible. This is not one of those.

Snarp's avatar

@Fyrius But it gets really interesting when you start thinking about heaven. Heaven is supposed to be a perfect place where everyone is happy all the time, right. No dying, no killing, no stealing, no hurting other people, all the ills of this word will not exist there. Then if all those ills are justified by allowing free will, that would mean that in heaven God strips away our free will. Well that doesn’t sound so perfect, does it? A perfect heaven is impossible. Either it is imperfect because we have been stripped of our free will and are mindless God praising zombies, or it is imperfect because we still have free will and can therefore still do bad things to each other.

Blondesjon's avatar

Stupid is as pious does.

Trillian's avatar

@whitenoise you choose to interpret my words in a negative way. When I say ill informed I mean that there are other options out there that bear scrutiny that someone may not know about as yet.
As I stated. I’m certainly not here to evangelize or change your point of view. I wouldn’t dream of taking responsibility for another persons spiritual viewpoint.
the incipient hostility when presented with a differing point of view is, to my way of thinking, parochial and narrow minded.
At the risk of repeating myself, I merely throw out this alternative way of looking at things for those who may not have previously considered it.
@ Fryius, this is meant for you as well. Your desire to have someone to “blame” is something that I can’t change. If you don’t want to take the time to investigate an alternate source, I can’t force you (Nor do I want to) and if you choose to mock something that you insist on oversimplifying I also can’t change that.
I read a VERY interesting text book from a seminary called God at War. I keep hoping that someone with an intellect will read it too and discuss it with me. I look forward to that at some point in the future, but I won’t look for it to be with you. That’s a shame. You could have provided a counter to my credulousness.

mattbrowne's avatar

So one United States group is sending Bibles while hundreds of others send water, food, medicine, doctors, nurses, and search and rescue dogs.

So one United States group is sending Bibles while millions of people worldwide make generous donations.

What is the important news here? The vast majority of the world community cares about the fate of the people in Haiti. The willingness to help is overwhelming. As it was after the 2004 tsunami. This effort will save thousands of lives. 100 years ago the news would have reached only a few people. 100 years ago the international community did not have the means for a serious rescue effort. Today we know that clean water and sanitation takes priority over burying the dead. Modern civilizations are a good thing. Science and technology are a good thing. Progress is a good thing. We learn from every disaster and relief effort. The right things are being done. The essentials are on their way. This is what matters. Now if one group also sends a few Bibles in addition to all the essentials we should not start a lot of bickering about it.

Snarp's avatar

@mattbrowne If there weren’t huge infrastructural problems preventing enough aid from getting in I might agree with you. But when planes can’t land and aid can’t get through because of traffic on what’s left of the roads, to increase that congestion with anything other than needed aid supplies is wrong.

HTDC's avatar

* sighs * I’m so tired of people trying to defend religion and the bible.

JLeslie's avatar

The vast majority of Haitians (I think over 80%) are Catholics. Somehow I doubt this group is sending Catholic bibles. It seems like it is an effort to convert at a time of great dispair. Opportunistic.

CMaz's avatar

Bibles make for good fire wood. Correction. Something “good” to sit on. :-)

Oh God.. I am really going to hell now.

Snarp's avatar

@ChazMaz But they’re electronic bibles. I don’t think they would burn very well, and the smell would be awful.

Fyrius's avatar

@Trillian
I’m oversimplifying? What intricacies am I disregarding? What sort of intricacy could possibly keep an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent being from doing something about all the unhappiness in the world?
Please indulge for a moment and give me just one good reason to take your belief seriously. I have just given you six good reasons not to, I think that’s fair.
You can’t bring an absurd view to my attention and then expect me to go read up on it. Even I have better things to do. At least give a brief impression of what’s in those books that invalidates anything I have said.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne If we were talking little ones like this (or the ruggedized military version) then I wouldn’t have such an issue.

kevbo's avatar

Here’s some worthwhile insight, an article from 2005 that even references Haiti and international “interventions” there. I suppose this does a better job of illustrating my point that I have a hard time now getting riled up over the drama of this event when we’ve had the Haitian people (and other poor/indigent type nations and peoples) over a barrel for some time now as a matter of policy (albeit hidden).

It’s frustrating to watch a puppet show with people who don’t see the strings, and even more so to see the seeming futility in trying to correct that fallacious perception.

Trillian's avatar

@Fyrius. I will state yet again that this is not my belief. You want me to defend a position which I have not acknowledged. I simply give this point of view as an alternative for you to consider. I say again that it is not my mission or goal to convert you or change your mind. If you don’t care to look into it, then do not. I said that it was more information than one could cover in a couple paragraphs. I fail to understand why you are so hostile. If you wish to disregard what I’ve thrown out to you, then do so. Don’t keep asking me to validate it for you when it is clear that no matter what I said you would refuse to even listen, much less think about. Go on about your day and forget what I’ve said. It’s not worth arguing about. All I ever wanted to do was discuss it with someone who was familiar with what I was talking about. That person is not you. I can live with that. Go back to the beginning of what I first said. “As I understand it…” I was careful to present it in such a way as to make clear that this was an idea, not something carved into stone. I do not require you to open your mind. I personally don’t believe that I know all there is to know about anything. This includes how the universe was created and the presence or absence of a divine being. This is far from the original thread and I’m finished trying to explain that my position is not what you keep assigning to me. I give up. Have a nice day.

Fyrius's avatar

@Trillian
“I will state yet again that this is not my belief. (...) I simply give this point of view as an alternative for you to consider.”
It’s not your belief?
Um. You never stated this before. In fact you stated earlier that this is your belief. You said, “As I understand it…”, as well as “So I believe that…”. You showed explicit agreement.
Well, at any rate, I considered it, all right. [removed by Fluther moderators]

Incidentally, when I share a thought, I for one consider it my responsibility to justify at least why it was worth sharing, if needed. Even if you insisted on not reasoning with me, you could have shut me up at any moment by agreeing that the thought you shared was logically inconsistent.
Changing your mind is not a shameful thing. You could have earned considerable respect from me by doing so.

“Don’t keep asking me to validate it for you when it is clear that no matter what I said you would refuse to even listen, much less think about.”
But this pisses me off. Have I given you any reason to think I would not listen or think about it if you would give me any arguments? Have you even considered trying? The only thing I’ve heard so far is “you haven’t read what I have read”.
I have just proven, in fact, that I do think about the things you say. I didn’t copy-paste that rebuttal. I found the arguments and wrote it on the spot, in reply to you, a process that requires quite a bit of thought. If I were not prepared to think about it, I would just have said something along the lines of “whatever, you’re religious, that’s enough for me to know you’re wrong.”
Don’t assume I’m a bigot just because I don’t respect illogical beliefs.

Have a nice day, stay in school, don’t do drugs, and rational thought is your friend.

Response moderated
flo's avatar

@jerv You are right on the money. I wonder if they also sent money, but the Bible part is the only part that made it to the news, since that is the sensational part. In a way I hope so.

Is there a way of deleting my previous posting above? I just forgot to add the @jerv part, it might look like I am responding to the previous answer.

Blondesjon's avatar

you do all realize that if haiti was such a great place to begin with they would have named it “likey”, right?

rooeytoo's avatar

Let me think about it, I am starving, have no shelter, my family is dead or dying of hunger, would I want food, water and a tent or an electronic bible. Well if I opted for the bible, I don’t have any new batteries for it and no place to plug it in to recharge if it has a lithium battery. So even though my soul is probably starving too and would love to lounge about in the sun arguing the fine point of biblical messages with other bible recipients, I think I will take the food instead.

Nullo's avatar

@HTDC et al.
Faith offers hope, and those people need hope right now. The Bibles are a good idea, but the wrong format.

Ron_C's avatar

It seems pretty stupid to send electronic bibles to a place with no electricity and virtually no batteries. If they want to waste their time compiling these supplies, let them. It will keep the evangelists out of the way of people that are actually going good for the Haitians and it gives the donors the feeling of being useful.

I think that it is pretty self serving to send missionaries to a country that already has a religion.

Nullo's avatar

@Ron_C
A lot of churches are also sending teams out.
It’s a little premature to brand evangelists (and not all are evangelists; Haiti is pretty Christian and a lot of churches are sending support people) as worthless in the situation.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo @Ron_C To their credit, that might be why they are sending the huge, brick-sized ones with built-in solar cells instead of the little pack-of-gum-sized ones that need regular batteries.

Now, if they had done this before the disaster then I would have no problems with them sending E-bibles to a mostly Christian nation. But the timing on this is poor judgment. It’s not about getting The Word to people who can’t afford (or read) a Bible of their own; it’s taking advantage of people in a time of need.

rooeytoo's avatar

How very considerate of them!

mattbrowne's avatar

@Snarp – But that’s my point exactly. The issue is not a lack of all the essentials we’re shipping over there. It’s the bottleneck of the local distribution. The conclusion that a few electronic bibles (which is a weird idea at this point) are responsible for an increase of the misery is simply not true. There is enough money. There are enough planes trying to reach Haiti. But as you said the local infrastructure can’t handle this. In my opinion these bibles should remain in the US and they can be shipped at a later point. The folks who had this idea are probably not among the sharpest pencils in the box, but they probably meant well. What I don’t understand is other folks welcoming this opportunity for ceremonial, ritualistic religion bashing. Where are the sharper pencils?

rooeytoo's avatar

Hunting for my sharpener….....

mattbrowne's avatar

I recommend a Presto Pro EverSharp M120 cordless double blade electric sharpener.

Blondesjon's avatar

@mattbrowne . . . I believe this is a more appropriate sharpener, given the situation.

Cruiser's avatar

Jeeze Louise what is all the fuss here over these bibles?? This ministry is sending them because they are generous enough to do so…is that so wrong?? They are sending them along with lots of food, clothing and other needed items. In case anyone has not noticed there are thousands of dead and still dying human beings that will need last rites and burial rites. A few bibles in such a hellacious time these people are living through would go a long way to restoring a little dignity in these poor peoples lives.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser The people are Catholic, I doubt they are giving Catholic bibles, maybe I am wrong?

Someone on another Haiti question mentioned the Haitians in the long term need education, population control, etc. Flippin’ religions are going to encourage babies being born. For some reason religion does not see the connectuion between poverty and a lack of control on births.

Also, someone pointed out that it is difficult to even get all of the food, water, and medical supplies from the airport to the people. Lets not waste time unloading electronic bibles. If there is a God, He will understand that water is more important, people can pray without a bible.

Snarp's avatar

I just think it’s a box that could have been filled with medical supplies instead. If that box gets through the logjam and it could have been filled with medical supplies instead of bibles, then that is not ethical to me.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Blondesjon – Don’t share this with animal rights activists. Ouch.

Cruiser's avatar

@JLeslie I can only imagine a Haitian whose body is smashed beyond repair dying in the hot sun and how a few familiar last words from their “God” read or heard from these Bibles would bring such comfort to someone about to die or to those saying goodbye to their loved ones again having these actual words by their side in prayer instead of winging their final goodbyes. Maybe I am just being too sentimental here…

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser I would guess the Catholic church is sending in Priests and bibles with them. I still want to know if they are Catholic bibles? These people are Catholic. Doesn’t it matter if it is their bible? I know last rights is important, I would not want to take that from them, but I think they look to a priest to give last rights not an electronic bible. The physical needs are more important now. Believe me the woman crying out to God because of her agony from a fractured hip is not praying for an electronic bible, she is praying for a doctor to fix her. I think even God would not answer the prayers of Haiti with a bible right now.

Cruiser's avatar

@JLeslie far be it from me to talk you out of your determination to begrudge a dying Haitian from the word of their God…no sirree Bob!! Plus I don’t think all the local priests were killed in the earthquake but assuredly their churches and bibles were destroyed and IMO a few new bibles within such devastation will go a long way to provide much needed solace to the sick and dying.

BTW…perhaps you didn’t see the news footage last Sunday…days after this horrific event what were these Haitians doing on Sunday??? They were dressed in their Sunday best praying and singing in the street amidst the rubble, ruins and rotting corpses…so the word of God is obviously mighty important to them.

I also think that is why most every hospital has chapels and Chaplains on call to provide comfort to the sick and dying. The word of God is mighty powerful at those trying moments. I hope when you are on your death bed you have access to your word of your God in your final moments of your life or would you be more concerned about your physical needs before you take your final breath??

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser I’m an atheist. But that does not matter. If it is important to a Haitian before he dies to be given last rights or have people pray for them, I am fine with that. I support whatever belief the individual has regarding this type of thing. If I were religious I would not be happy about getting an electronic Christian bible, because I am Jewish, which again brings me back to are these bibles Catholic bibles? Since it is some group in New Mexico that sent them I have a feeling not. I would think if they are Catholic bibles the article would have said so. All assumptions though. You do realize there are various versions of the Christian bible.

I heard that the main church in the city was destroyed and the Arch Bishop and other priests were killed. Very sad. I also know that a Priest, who is a doctor, who was at his dying mothers bedside in New Jersey left America to medically treat Haitians http://uscatholic.org/node/6536 and also give last rights I would assume. You have to choose what is most important in a horrible situation for the LIVING first.

kevbo's avatar

There’s a similar raging debate going on at gizmodo, where the winning quote of this entire discussion can be found…

“I think Haiti would be better off if they sent these Proclaimers instead.”

rooeytoo's avatar

@mattbrowne – here I thought you were an eco guy, save the planet, cut down emissions, carbon trading, and now you are suggesting that instead of using a plain old crank type, no emissions, no batteries, human powered pencil sharpener, I use one that requires all that man made global warming causing insides! I am appalled. But not surprised. @blonesjon’s was so much more energy efficient.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser I think that anybody pious enough to find comfort in God under such circumstances probably knows the scripture well enough already (even if they only remember Job) that it would be redundant.

Besides, I am sure that there are relief workers there who are “of the cloth” that can pinch-hit until they are out if immediate danger (or can improve the transport situation) and can afford the luxury of sending purely religious aid. I am sure that quite a few of them would be more than happy to share the Bibles that they have in their personal effects, or read to the illterate follwers if they have time after searching through the rubble and/or tending the wounded/ill.

augustlan's avatar

[Mod says] Personal attacks are not permitted and have been removed via internal edit.

rooeytoo's avatar

Well they just had another horrendous aftershock so let’s hope they quickly send some more electronic bibles!

faye's avatar

I read 6.0, is that right?

rooeytoo's avatar

One news source said 5 point something another said 6. It has to be so scary to feel the ground shaking again.

Nullo's avatar

Bibles are as vital to a relief operation as a roll of bandages or a package of rations; the latter two are for the mending of the body, but the first is for the mending of the heart and soul.

@jerv
The interesting thing about the Bible is that no matter how many times you read it, you can still have new insights.
@JLeslie The difference between a Catholic Bible and a Protestant Bible is the Apocrypha, which is to the Bible what ”Animatrix” was to the “Matrix” franchise. Leaving it out is no great detriment.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv The misunderstanding here about my POV and many others here is these essentially small number of bibles which in my estimation would not even take up a whole pallet are only a small part of this Ministries quite large aid relief effort. These bibles are also what defines the character and devotion of this Ministry to their faith and hence desire and belief in the good of their efforts. Which most certainly elevates their own community spirit and desire to donate to this Ministry’s cause. Take the religion out of the equation and I guarantee you the money, food, clothes and water that they are also sending with the bibles, all this simply goes away. People will donate more readily to causes they believe in and personally I think these E bibles is probably a big part of the motivation for this Ministr’s members to dig even deeper in their pockets for this relief effort. Good for them is what I say! If I was religious I would even say God bless them!

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Ok, I don’t know the differences, I only know that when I bought my girlfriend a bible I made sure I went to the Catholic church to buy it. As an atheist, I would want to give them their bible if it would give them comfort, not my bible.

@Cruiser I don’t understand. Why are these people giving more? Because bibles are being included? Their bible? They can’t just give because people are suffering? I am not saying they really are that calculating about it. Like you said they probably put together all the things they felt might be helpful, water, medical supplies and threw in some bibles, because they thought it would be helpful, but still, I don’t like it. If someone is near death, don’t they want the comfort of their own religious book?

Cruiser's avatar

@JLeslie Read the link…it is their bible even in their own dialect!!

JLeslie's avatar

I read the link. It does not say what religion it is, unless I missed it.

JLeslie's avatar

It doesn’t matter. The point is if you are lying there bleeding you need a bandage. If you are dying of thirst you need water. There is that old joke about someone needing help and he passes up help from several people, and then when the person in need asks God why He did not give him help or a sign, God replies that he sent many people to help. Practical help is what these people really need. If they are religious, they already have their religion, it is within themselves.

tinyfaery's avatar

The difference between a Catholic Bible and a Protestant “Bible is the Apocrypha, which is to the Bible what ”Animatrix” was to the “Matrix” franchise. Leaving it out is no great detriment.” That’s the most self-righteous bullshit I have heard recently. What gives you the right to belittle someone else’s beliefs?

Blondesjon's avatar

@JLeslie . . . How much did you give and will you be writing that off on your taxes this year?

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, I will be writing off my donation to Haiti.

Last year I gave to a friend in need (a gift not a loan), who had lost his job, and not to any charities I could write off.

I prefer not to disclose how much I give. Why do you ask?

Blondesjon's avatar

Would you have made the donation or donated as much if you couldn’t write it off?

Snarp's avatar

@Blondesjon Is a gift less charitable if you take advantage of the tax breaks you are given?

Blondesjon's avatar

@Snarp . . . Not at all. @JLeslie was basically questioning the motives behind donations so I am trying to understand hers.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blondesjon Yes. In this case, Haiti, yes I would have donated the same. I will admit my donation to Haiti was not very large, but I am considering giving more later, when donations will be slower and there will be a continued need, and I have more time to look at the specific work specific organizations are doing. I tend to think many organizations are bad at saving some money in the kitty, so I think a lot of frontloading sometimes is not the best thing. I am open to hearing anyone’s thoughts on this if they have information on how charitable organizations historically handle money in these sitations.

Back to the amount and if I consider whether it can be written off. It really depends on the circumstance and the organization. Mostly, I think of the write-off as a perk, not a requirement for giving. Like I said I helped out a friend last year and it had nothing to do with taxes. I give clothes to the psych hospital I work at, which does not give me any write off.

I did question the motive of the bibles, I admit, but I also stated that I didn’t think that was the main motivation, that mostly I think they put together a donation that they thought would be helpful. @Cruiser stated “People will donate more readily to causes they believe in and personally I think these E bibles is probably a big part of the motivation for this Ministr’s members to dig even deeper in their pockets for this relief effort.” So I questioned that, because I don’t necessarily agree with it. The implication was people give more because of the bibles and the work of the ministry. I was sticking up for the idea that these people would give regardless.

Blondesjon's avatar

@JLeslie . . . I would encourage you, and anyone else that would like to donate money, to read this article and visit the Doctors Without Borders website.

and fuck wyclef jean

Snarp's avatar

@Blondesjon That’s why I always give to the Red Cross’ general international response fund rather than to the disaster of the moment specifically.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blondesjon I will look your links over. Thanks.

Does anyone know much about the Salvation Army? I saw a news report that they were already in Haiti before the earthquake and are helping now. The rep they spoke to said they had been there to help women, children, and planned parenthood type services. I have been meaning to try to look up info on that, because it interests me.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser I figured that they were about the size of a sidewalk brick based on the pictures I’ve seen of them, and that is not counting any packaging (electronics generally do need a bit of cushioning to survive transit). Like I said, were they the pack-of-gum sized “Bible Sticks”, I wouldn’t have nearly as many problems with it.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv There you go giving the Haitians something they really don’t need right now!! They don’t need packs-of-gum!!! They need food, water, medicine!!! If someone needs chewing gum let them bum a stick off a rescue worker!!

Just messing with you bro!! ;-)

Nullo's avatar

@tinyfaery
I’m not belittling anything. I am, in essence, saying that having no Apocrypha is better than having no Bibles at all.
If I wanted to belittle the Apocrypha (and I may, at some future point), I could have done a lot worse.

Fyrius's avatar

@Cruiser
Fun fact: chewing gum makes a great toothbrush replacement.
In the long run, some chewing gum would actually be pretty helpful in this sort of situation.

mattbrowne's avatar

Like I said more and more aid reaches the people. The relief organization are doing a great job. The world community is doing a great job being generous with donations. I’m sure every Flutherite who can afford it has already donated money.

Eventually there should be a high-level international conference creating a cohesive and realistic roadmap with milestones indicating how Haiti can be turned into a functioning country. In my opinion the Haitians can’t do this alone. It would be wise if they accepted mid-term counseling and external support. All management teams for the basic infrastructure administration for example should include people from other countries.

A EU-style North American Union or North and Central American Union would even be better. The US should take the lead here. The EU has demonstrated how to turn poor countries into moderately rich countries and there are mutual benefits. The US should not tolerate any poor country in their neighborhood.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne But if they kill off all of the poor Americans with poverty then we will have a rich country again. Besides, if you look at the per-capita figures, we are doing quite well. I mean, if you have 9 people with nothing and on person with $10 million, then on average we earn about $1 million, right?

JLeslie's avatar

I hate averages. Maybe the mode average should be used for wealth if they must use averages.

Ron_C's avatar

@mattbrowne I like the ideal of a North American union, as long as the presidency floats between members similar to the EU. What I would not want to see is the U.S. dominating the other members. We tried having an empire under Bush, it sucks and we don’t have enough soldiers to use as cannon fodder. And to @jerv I didn’t get where mattbrowne wants to kill off the poor. He only has grandiose ideas about how capitalism is supposed to work versus how it really does work. I think he read too much of Ayn Rand.

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo bye the way, I don’t like the idea of churches seeing this disaster as a recruiting opportunity. The last thing they need now is religion. Religion is for your leisure time, there is too much real work to do.

Nullo's avatar

@Ron_C
Recruiting opportunity? These are churches, social clubs. If the world is a sinking ship, churches are where the lifeboats are kept.

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo to expand on your allusion, if the world is a sinking ship, religion is attacking the hull with axes. Religion, especially the fundamentalist types provide the mental gymnastics to keep people separated. Any religion that assumes that they worship the “one true god” automatically assumes that all others are condemned. Their suffering is deserved. That is Pat Robertson’s position and isn’t he a “great religious leader”?

Fyrius's avatar

If the world is a sinking ship, the place where the lifeboats are kept is obviously the headquarters of NASA.

whitenoise's avatar

@mattbrowne
To be honest… I have not donated and will not do so, for the short term. In general, I donate frequent (about 150 US$ a month) but I choose to rather do that for longer term projects than these types of emergency reliefs. I am convinced that there is currently more money flowing into Haiti than the relief system can absorb. My personal view is that relief in these kinds of situations is not primarily a matter of money, but rather of a coordinated efficient effort. From my point of view that would be a governmental role, so I am happy to pay a lot of taxes and have my government be generous and actively helping out in these types of situations. As soon as I am convinced that Haiti can again absorb money to help their situation, I might reconsider.

But hey… being Dutch, I can say that my government is keeping up to what it should do.

mattbrowne's avatar

The US is the richest country in the world. If countries like France, Italy, UK and Germany can show financial solidarity with many of the former failed communist countries in eastern Europe (like Romania and Bulgaria) I see no reason why the US can’t do the same. Maybe one reason are right-wing politicians in the US who confuse solidarity with socialism. Let’s not help the folks in Mississippi let alone the ones in Haiti. Sure, a few donations are fine. Visions? Long term commitment? A North American Union? No way.

jerv's avatar

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

candide's avatar

it’s too late for that, now they need human resources

Nullo's avatar

@mattbrowne
Doesn’t sound very sound, financially. The rich stay rich by not giving away all of their money, after all. And Haiti is, at present (and a bit before) a monetary sinkhole. And I might be mistaken, but I don’t think that the federal government has the power to make a North American Union. And a lot of people would take issue with the implied loss of our national sovereignty.
Technically, the United States is already structurally similar to the EU: a union of States. We are what you’ll be in about a hundred years.

Ron_C's avatar

@mattbrowne I think that if the people in Louisiana and Haiti were white, the right wing would be more disposed to help. I notice the lack of color at all of these “tea parties” and the incompetence of the figurehead black leaders in the Republican party.

The democrats aren’t great leaders but they tend to let people screw up regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo “Technically, the United States is already structurally similar to the EU: a union of States. We are what you’ll be in about a hundred years.”
We’ve always been a bit behind Europe in many ways. Such is the price of being a “young” nation; awkwardness and temper tantrums are the norm for now.

Nullo's avatar

@Ron_C
What a perfectly horrid thing to suggest. I don’t suppose that you can back it up?

And you’ve made the mistake of equating the Tea Party movement (which has Libertarians and yes, even Democrats) with the Republican party; the two are separate entities. The reason why you don’t see as many black Tea Partiers as white ones has to do with economics, and possibly geography: the Tea Party movement is all but explicitly a middle-class phenomenon (the TPM’s main beef seems to be that the federal government is spending too much and that the middle class – the poor can hardly be expected to contribute much, and there aren’t that many rich people – is tired of being expected to fund it), and the majority of middle-class people are white.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Ron_C – The following six virtues are considered good by the vast majority of cultures and throughout history and that these traits lead to increased happiness when practiced:

1. Wisdom and Knowledge: creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective, innovation
2. Courage: bravery, persistence, integrity, vitality
3. Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence
4. Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership
5. Temperance: forgiveness and mercy, humility, prudence, self control
6. Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality

Curious, why isn’t wealth on the list?

Fyrius's avatar

@mattbrowne
I have to interject something here.
Who composed that list, and what were the requirements for inclusion? Where did they get their data?

jerv's avatar

Wealth? By what measure? If we are talking material wealth then that is pretty much an American thing. For the most part, any culture that has the other qualities will have a decent level of comfort for all.

However, being fair and kind doesn’t lead to the type of personal gain that most people would consider “wealth”. I am sure that there are plenty of people out there that would trade beauty, integrity, and all that for a big pile of cash, thus we are where we are now.

Blondesjon's avatar

Haiti needs a McDonalds, a Home Depot, and a Super Wal-Mart. Every single Haitian would be able to find employ and also receive an employee discount at each of these stores so they can rebuild their economy as they rebuild their island and waist lines.

it only costs your soul haiti. . .just sign right here. . .

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo look at pictures of the crowd, sure there are Libertarians in them but there are also KKK members, Birthers, and people on Social Security fighting against against government supported health care. Virtually all of the Tea Party functions have corporate sponsors. Their main function is to cripple the government and insure the re-election of the bought and paid for incumbents. I notice they rail against other people’s representatives but think their own is o.k.

I have yet to meet an intelligent, or black tea party member. By the way, I spend a lot of time in Columbia Maryland and there are a lot of black middle class people. They don’t go to these rallies for two reasons, they recognize the corporate sponsorship and they are not really welcomed except as token black people.

Nullo's avatar

@Ron_C
Then come to St. Louis during their Tea Parties.

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo I stay away from Missouri, too many right wing fundamentalist Christians. It’s hard to believe that state fought on the union side during the civil war.

Nullo's avatar

@Ron_C Where exactly are all these right-wing Christian fundamentalists that have you so worried? I can never seem to find any. Plenty of agnostics and Creasters, and a lot of dead churches, but no fundamentalists.
And what’s so bad about a fundie? Seriously.
Missouri is somewhat… conflicted.

Fyrius's avatar

@Nullo
“And what’s so bad about a fundie? Seriously.”
Is that really a serious question?
Fundies are terrifying.

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo you’re kidding right. I’ve been to Jefferson City and Cape Girardeau many times in the last few years. I think there’s even a christian amusement park somewhere in Branson. The only good think about Missouri is the rails to trails that goes from St. Louis to Kansas City. Otherwise, they are not my kind of people.

By the way, what is a “Cheaster”.

Nullo's avatar

@Ron_C
Certainly there are Christians, but I can’t think of anybody around here that’s especially fundamentalist. If you don’t like it here (and everybody loves Forest Park, which tells me that you’ve never been there), I suppose that’s your business.
A Creaster is a person that only goes to church for Christmas and Easter (and weddings and funerals, usually).

@Fyrius Yes, I’m being serious. The Bible – the New Testament in particular – isn’t a terribly extreme text. I think that what you’re calling fundamentalists are actually groups that has overshot the fundamentals and gone off in another direction entirely.
Might you have some examples?

Ron_C's avatar

@Nullo it is good that there is a refuge from extremism in Missouri but count me out; there are too many other nice places to be.

Fyrius's avatar

@Nullo
The sort of people I had in mind were the infamous theocrats, young-earth creationists and gay bashers, but truth be told, I dare say anyone who honestly believes an arbitrary set of memes is the unquestionable be-all and end-all of all reality is terrifying in my books.
Someone who accepts any source as “always right” is capable of anything. And that gets particularly unnerving if that source is a relic from the cultural and scientific infancy of mankind.
When I say “fundies are terrifying”, I’m not just talking about Christian fundies.

Nullo's avatar

@Fyrius You wound me, Fy.

Fyrius's avatar

I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, old friend.
But I stand by what I said.

Ron_C's avatar

@Fyrius I had to give you a great answer point for that one, sorry @Nullo

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