World Saving Tips for Bono, Brangelina and Boy GeorgeHello Bono. Caio Angelina baby, Brad, George Clooney. Bono, last year you were named one of Time magazine’s “People of the Year.” Angelina and Brad, you have been raising consciousness through your adoption of a couple of third world children. Angelina, you are even a U.N. goodwill ambassador. George, you are currently involved in raising consciousness and money for the situation involving Darfur. And lest we forget Madonna, who’s recently adopted an African lad.

Congratulations are in order for all of you. In a world dominated by inane celebrity nonsense, bravo and three cheers for your efforts. Oh and by the way, just in case anybody is actually interested in knowing how to actually help the situation in the third world, I thought I’d offer a few hints. For what you are currently doing makes for nice sound bites, but is doomed to fail.

Bono certainly isn’t the first to take an interest in the third world. Rock stars have a long history of involvement in social issues. Dylan and the Beatles pioneered rock star social consciousness in the 60’s. In the 70’s it was George Harrison and his concert for Bangladesh. Then the 80’s, Live Aid and Michael Jackson’s “We are the World.” 200 million pounds were raised by Bob Geldof to combat world hunger in 1985. Of course, 200 million pounds is only one weeks debt repayment of third world countries, (Africa) to us first worlders.

After all this aid and awareness we still have an ongoing tragedy occurring in Africa. Millions are dying or infected with AIDS or HIV, many millions more are starving, wars, civil wars, tribal wars injure and kill millions more with clock-like regularity. I would opine that we could raise a billion dollars per week and it wouldn’t alleviate the problems of the third world.

The initial approaches to the problem involved giving money and aid. Laudable certainly, the only problem is that it doesn’t work. Then Bono came along championing new approaches, let’s reduce the debt of third world countries and free up the capital they will need to care for themselves. This with recognizing World AIDS day, comprises the new one-two punch of saving the world.

Up until about 500 years ago, the entire world was essentially in the same boat. The entire world slumbered, throughout medieval times and the middle ages under the somnolent fog of superstition and religion. All light, all thought, all science, all reason, all rationality were swept aside and crushed under this theological tsunami. Then about 500 years ago, The Renaissance, Da Vinci, later the Enlightenment, all that good stuff. Suddenly, mankind had found its head again, science began to take form, reason and rationality began taking baby steps. But unfortunately, it didn’t take hold in Africa because the situation in Europe was unique to that region, for more reasons than I can go into here.

Jump ahead 500 years to present day. (Hold onto your hats, here comes the big quote.) The principal difference between us first worlders and the third worlders is simply that we threw off the yoke of religious malaise and Africa didn’t. Africa is being strangled by it’s continued adherence to centuries old religions that kept us all in the dark for much of human history. Or as Tai Solarin, one of Nigeria’s leading educators put it, “they must be educated to stand on their feet. The worst bane of African nondevelopment is the chronic dependence on the deity to solve all earthly problems. Give everybody education for self-reliance and we will vie with the best nations everywhere”.

Now comes Bono preaching with his “good book” philosophies. Even his songs contain many religious references and lyrics. “I believe in kingdom come”, “if you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel” are but a few lines. Oh… wrong, crooner boy. Get people up off their knees and standing on their own feet, living here and now in this world, this is the way to help and strengthen people. For, in my view, it is the religion itself, that serves to keep people weak and subservient. Only by emboldening people with science and secularism will we ever be able to help anyone. This is the lesson of Europe, it can be the lesson of Africa as well.

And it is by no means confined to Africa. In India, the British ruled for over 300 years. The lacy-sleeved and tea-sipping, pinky in the air British. How? Why? The people of India, steeped in Hinduism felt that whatever they were getting was deserved, from past lives, from Karma. Besides this is just another life in an endless series of lives, a new is coming for us just ‘round the bend, so why fight it? Lay back, do nothing. Soon we will be whisked away from this veil of tears. The list of examples goes on and on, I’m simply limited by space here.

Yes, by all means give aid, forgive debt, curb AIDS, raise consciousness and money, but until we are able to fundamentally change the way people think about themselves and life it will all be for naught. Give them the tools to begin fishing for themselves instead of giving them fish. All the rest is, while laudable, destined to fail.

Let me add just two brief caveats. In the “Celebrity Atheists List” published on the web, I noticed that George Clooney was listed as ambiguous (doesn’t know if he believes in heaven or hell), and lo and behold, Angelina was listed as an atheist. Well, folks, really want to help the situation? If these are your views, then come out and come out strongly with some public comments involving these issues. Let’s hear it for secularism, humanism, science and reason. They aren’t dirty words. In our world of celebrity worship, just a few words along these lines would go a very long way, instantly reaching the ears of multi millions. So…we’re waiting…we’re listening…don’t be shy…step up to the microphones.

Everybody Hates Chris

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