Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Religion kills

I little boy found dead and stuffed inside a suitcase was killed by members of his own religion. They starved him to death because they thought he was a demon.

Ria Ramkissoon, the mother of Javon Thompson, was charged Sunday with first-degree murder in the boy's death. A Baltimore judge denied bail for the 21-year-old woman, who is accused accused of starving her toddler to death while a member of a cult.

Her lawyer, Steven Silverman, said she "was not in control of the situation" when her son died.

Ramkissoon and four others identified by police as members of a cult called 1 Mind Ministries are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Javon Thompson.

Members did not seek medical care for Javon when he stopped breathing, and the boy died in his mother's arms, according to court documents that described police interviews with a confidential informant and two children. He would have been about 19 months old when police say adults stopped feeding him in December 2006.

Source: Boy in suitcase was cult victim, police say - CNN.com

I don't even know what to say. These guys killed a child in the name of god. The press calls 1 Mind Ministries a cult. But I don't know. They believe in the same god as the Baptist don't they? What's the difference?


Anonymous said...

They believe in the same god as the Baptist don't they? What's the difference?

That is the heart of the problem with religion: any belief counts as valid. It seems to me that the primary factor that distinguishes the harmless beliefs from the harmful ones is that the harmless ones have been tempered by rationalism.

Carolyn Ann said...

I find myself in the rather dubious position of defending the religious... Your average, every day Baptist would not condone this, and would act to defend the child.

These people are evil - but it does the atheist no good to confuse the merely enthusiastic with the despotic.

Goodness knows: you, of all atheists, have come across the idiotic, and the fervent. (And the fervently idiotic, not to mention the idiotically fervent...) As you've said, you've had some cause for concern over the years you've been doing "your good deeds" :-)

I'm not saying that some believers aren't nuts; they clearly are. Some are criminal - as you so rightly point out. But to believe an 18 month old baby is a demon? That takes a special, and exceptional, derangement.

This is one case where I'm more than willing to suspend my abhorrence of the death penalty. But not if it's a quick, humane death - these people don't deserve that privilege.

Words basically fail in describing the abhorrent behavior of these people.

Carolyn Ann

DB said...

Calling it a "cult" makes it better. No one wants to tarnish the name of Christianity now, do we?

Volly said...

"They believe in the same god as the Baptists don't they? What's the difference?"

Completely true - if it weren't for the Bible and the widespread dissemination of its contents, the concept of demonic possession would never have made it into our culture. Our world would be a very different place...I like to think it would be a better place.

Mark said...

I really have nothing to say other than it's so sad.

DromedaryHump said...

carolyn ann said: " But to believe an 18 month old baby is a demon? That takes a special, and exceptional, derangement."

Any more deranged, or just as deranged, as a 3 year old being imprisoned for three years in a dungeon as a witch in Salem, MA in the 17th century?

More or less than forced excorisms?

More or less than the flaying alive of men and women during the Spanish Inquisition?

More or less than the killing of every man woman and child in a French city (Cathars AND Catholics)to destroy Cathars with the Cardinals's admonishment to: "Kill them all, God will know his own."?

More or less than drowning your three kids to prevent them from going to hell?

More or less than severing the arms of your toddler at Jesus' direction?

The list of deranged Christian leaders, followers, and their hiddeous actions are epic. To suggest this one example is "exceptional" is to deny that the mind myth inherent with religiousity causes people to do crazy things, or justifies it for them. It has for centuries, it will next week and next month, etc.

Arthur C Clark said it best: "Religion is the most malevolent of all mind viruses. We should get rid of it as quick as we can."

Mojoey said...

I think the thing the talked to me on this story was that it was just so sad. The people involved are deluded by their own beliefs. A child suffered a horrible death for it.

Mojoey said...

Carolyn ann - I remember a story from just a few weeks ago where a baptist beat a girl and starved her to get the demons on off her. I remember another story were a pastor raped another young girl to remove her demons (and plant one of his own). It is what people do in the name of religion that bothers me most.

Carolyn Ann said...

I really am not disputing that these people are evil. People do evil things, and they do them on the most tenuous of excuses; religion happens to provide a plethora of reasons.

What I wondered about, more than anything, was how irrational this mother must be. That's not "average", it's extreme. Her belief was extreme, and yes - there's a series of logical steps that automatically lead to extremism. Somehow, most of us avoid wandering down that particular path. Middle Eastern terrorists and religious nuts excepted, of course.

Other than that, I'm not going to "defend" my words. I'm not going to justify them by explaining religious massacres, and I'm certainly not going to get into an argument about the degrees of faith needed for a mother to murder their child. I am also, most assuredly, not going to issue trite noises about my atheism.

Mojoey, as usual, made an excellent point - but I questioned an assumption. That's all. Should I not do that in the future?

Carolyn Ann

Mojoey said...

Carolyn ann - by all means, question everything. I don't mind.

DromedaryHump said...

Carolyn ann,
I meant no offense, if i came across that way, my apologies.

I simply took exception to your use of the word "exceptional" to describe this horrific event committed in the name of religious fervor.

There is nothing exceptional about it when viewed in historical context. Perhaps it is only "exceptional" in that it isn't practiced on a wider scale in this country.


Dana said...

Any more deranged than murdering aboriginals for "specimens" for the museum, referring to them as "black game" all in the name of Darwin?
Ancestors not Specimens

People do incredibly weird, vicious and evil things, and they do not really need religion to prompt them to it. If it weren't religion, it likely would have been some other bizarre belief. People who get involved with these things have issues.

If you seriously do not see the difference between this and the teaching of your mainline Baptist, then I think there s a problem there. I agree with carolyn ann...

These people are evil - but it does the atheist no good to confuse the merely enthusiastic with the despotic.

DromedaryHump said...


sorry, but please show me where that article speaks to any mass murdering of aboriginal people for specimens. Perhaps I missed it.

I did find NUMEROUS mention of grave robbing, and stealing of remains of already dead aboriginees, and gross disregard for the rituals, rites, of those people, and indignities to their deceaseds remains.

How anyone can be even remotely equate grave robbing by athropologists to the documented mass murder, genocide, and hideous history of religious bloodletting for 1000 years and on a regular basis in present day, is quite a stretch of truth/fact.

That Aussie aborigines, like North American natives, and the south american indigenous people were the victims of western cultural expansion, greed, and racism ("Black Game", "Red Devils", "Godless Savages", etc.)is an ugly fact. To somehow lay that at the feet of "darwin", or even "science", and embellish the facts to make it appear as though it was widespread scientific genocide, is an absolute perversion of history and reality. But I admire your attempt.

Indeed, we have the good christian settlers and armies of those invading westernern cultures to thank for the demise of those indigenous peoples. Or would you proffer thats the armys and settlers of those places were hordes of "atheistic darwinites"?

Theists are uniquely equppied to conduct these kind of exterminations. They have justifications for it in their scripture, and have used it as such for millenia.

DromedaryHump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DromedaryHump said...

Sorry..i meant to add this:

PS: there is no doctrinal justification for killing by atheists, scientists, "darwinists", et al. in the name of scicentifc discovery or for any justification. I challenge anyone to show me such a doctrine.

Any incident attributable to such a thing would be singular act of a sociopath, acting independently.

Contrast that with Christianity, or Islam, or even Jewish Zionists, where scripture can and has been used as justification for everything from extermination, to forced conversion, to slavery.

Thus, in the world of "bizarre belief[s]" only religion has foundational doctrine for its inhumanity.