Excellent summary Jason. One of the 'humanist' (he asked the second question) who was against giving aid actually wants the empire back.! And yes, shame my question/statement wasn't taken sooner, (she seemed to take questions from the front first, then from the rear, and those towards the middle a later, so luck of the draw I guess) but at least she agreed with what I said, and will amend some of her presentation. But for me the best/worst statement to stimulate debate (after mine of course:) was the second to last question/statement, which went along the lines that if religion gives them comfort, then that's OK. The speaker agreed, which I found annoying. Religion plays a huge part as to why so many countries remain poor and uneducated. 98% of Africans either believe in a god or witchcraft, so because this gives them comfort, it was implied we should say nothing,,, which is wrong.
1 · August 24
Patricia is an engaging speaker with very interesting experience to share, but given the title of this particular event I was rather expecting a different talk, one that focused more on the role of religion in the development aid "business" and it's contribution to perpetuating poverty. Instead the focus of the talk was more on the need for development aid per se and that in order to achieve development aims we, as Humanists, will have to cooperate to some extent with religiously motivated aid agencies which range from those where the religion is almost peripheral, like Action Aid, to those that are heavily Evangelical. Some questioners like Kieron tried to bring the conversation back around in the Q&A but too late at that point. Surprisingly for humanists, some rejected the idea of development aid altogether. Less surprisingly, it seemed accepted that criticising religion was unproductive. So to sum up, a good and interesting talk but not quite the one you might expect from the title.
1 · August 22