Re: Unicode politics (was: A basic question on encoding Lati

From: Scott Horne (
Date: Mon Oct 04 1999 - 20:45:17 EDT wrote:
> I have no intention of
> pursuing religious discsussions in this forum

Then why did you start a religious discussion?

> It is well known that SIL provides support to many people with
> many affiliations (including a large number of indigenous
> organisations and mother-tongue translators) who are doing
> Bible translation in minority languages around the world. This
> is by no means, however, all that SIL does in the way of
> assistance to speakers of minority languages throughout this
> world.

Would you say that SIL is open to non-Christians? Certainly I, as an
atheist, find the following statements exclusive:

        The members of SIL ... all have a common motivation and are
        unified by a belief that every person is created in the
        image of God.... []

        What kind of organization is SIL? SIL International is a
        non-profit, scientific educational organization of
        Christian volunteers.... []

        Members of SIL share a Christian commitment.

These statements suggest a Christian orientation that is not at all
evident from SIL's home page.

> We are engaged in programs in some
> countries where we are not in any way involved in Bible
> translation.

If I, a skilled, knowledgeable atheist with a desire to promote
and develop the endangered languages of the world, wished to
participate in one of those programmes, would I be welcome?
If a non-Christian community asked SIL for strictly secular
assistance, or for help with the advancement of its own religion,
with the understanding that Christian proselytisation would not
be allowed, would SIL respond?

Volunteers for SIL are asked to raise their own funds. How is this
usually done, if not through solicitations at well-heeled Christian
churches? Do the fund drives emphasise the need for literacy in
oppressed communities or the importance of saving a few thousand more

> As for translation of the Christian Bible, I personally look at
> it this way: the rabbi Jesus of Nazareth said,
> "You have heard that the Law of Moses says, 'Love your
> neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your
> enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way,
> you will be acting as true children of your Father in
> heaven." (Good News according to Matthew, ch 5, vv 43ff)
> Apart from any religious convictions I may hold, I have no
> qualms whatsoever translating this message for the benefit of
> anybody anywhere in the world, while leaving them the choice to
> read it or not.

Christian missions have not meekly presented their book of eclectic,
inconsistent, self-contradictory, barbaric superstition to non-Christian
peoples so that they might "read it or not". From Constantine to the
present day, Christianity has advanced by means of the sword. The
translation of the Christian bible (by the way, I don't recognise the
English translation you cited above) is politically motivated. Please
do not try to pass it off as an act of making available a haphazard
piece of literature for purely democratic or educational purposes.

If you're going to translate part of the Christian bible, please
start with these words of the purported rabbi *Jesus of Nazareth
(whose very existence is completely undocumented), which curiously
seem to be disregarded by many people of your faith:

        5 kai hotan proseuchêsthe, ouk esesthe hôsper hoi hupokritai,
        hoti philousin en tais sunagôgais kai en tais gôniais tôn
        plateiôn estôtes proseuchesthai hopôs an phanôsin tois
        anthrôpois. amên legô: humin hoti apechousin ton misthon
        autôn. 6 su de hotan proseuchê, eiselthe eis to tameion sou,
        kai kleisas tên thuran sou proseuxai tô patri sou tô en tô
        kruptô, kai ho patêr sou ho blepôn en tô kruptô apodôsei
        soi en tô phanerô. [Matthew vi]

> In respect of the purpose of this list and the divers views of
> the members, I won't pursue discussion on this topic any
> further here.

Neither shall I.

Scott Horne

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