Opinion Former Article

BHA: Witchcraft and the Rise of Skepticism in Uganda

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Freethought Kampala founding member James Onen is touring the UK this month to talk about the promotion of reason, logic, science, and critical thinking in a highly superstitious society.

On Wednesday 12 October, the British Humanist Association (BHA) is hosting an event that will focus on irrational beliefs and why they are so pervasive across the African continent.

Onen states that ‘It is hard to believe that given all the advancements in medicine and science in the last 500 years, so many people still attribute their misfortune and sickness to evil spirits and demons, courtesy of witchcraft.’

He goes on to say that ‘these beliefs benefit from the tacit support of mainstream religions, particularly the fast growing ‘charismatic’ forms of Christianity, which, while denouncing witchcraft as evil, fully endorse the view that it is efficacious. In their view witchcraft is seen as evidence of ‘Satan’ at work.’

The lack of a rational voice in this public conversation about what are spiritual matters prompted a number of local rationalists to come together and form Freethought Kampala, a club that seeks to promote reason, logic, science and critical thinking in a highly superstitious society.

As a founding member of Freethought Kampala, James Onen will give an insight into:
the experience of being a sceptic in a deeply superstitious society;
the phenomenal rise of charismatic forms of Christianity in Uganda, and its impact on belief in the efficacy of witchcraft;
the politicisation of religion, spirituality, and mass conformity; and
the rise of scepticism, challenges for scepticism, and the way forward from here.

Details:
Date: 12 October 2011
Time: 6:30pm for 7pm Start - 9:30pm
Venue: The Camden Head, 100 Camden High Street, London NW1 0LU
Tickets: £7 general, £5 concession

Tickets and more information is available from the BHA website: http://www.humanism.org.uk/meet-up/events/view/156

Notes
For further comment, details or information, contact Sara Passmore on 020 7079 3586 or by email at sara@humanism.org.uk
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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