Christian Would not like this
Some Memories; No Doubt just Ramblings to the Passerby
When I first entered the National University of Singapore, I was the
loner kid who did not bat an eyelid at girls. Girls, with all their
idiosyncrasies like gossiping or buying pairs of shoes after shoes,
were too much for me to handle. I was more interested in climbing, and
girls only served to take away my climbing time.
You first approached me. You started giving me gifts, like chocolates
and small cards. These little nuggets made a boring day suddenly
exciting. In all your little notes, you asked about my life; you
dropped encouragements; you made me feel special in a way no other
person has managed to. Any unfeeling heart would melt under these
In the one year that we spent together, I cannot remember a single
unhappy moment. Sure we had disagreements, but we sorted them out as
soon as they surfaced. Never once had we an argument. I still remember
the incident when you crashed the car. To the best of my ability, I
arranged for a mechanic to repair the damages, negotiated for a good
repair price between the accident victim and the mechanic, and paid for
all the upfront costs first. Do you remember how I told you then since
you did not have any liquid assets; you could try to barter your fully
stocked cupboard with the parties? A little nasty yes, but all for your
own good. In the end, I still helped you make the payment with the
money I scrupulously saved.
I still remember our overseas trips. Those weeks spent away from
urbanisation, getting to learn more about each other, and gaining
insights together. All these memories I hold close to my heart. But
they aren’t important anymore. After one year together, without
warning, you dropped a bombshell on me – convert or break up. I was
devastated. I cannot begin to describe the hurt and anguish I felt.
You’ve left me behind to walk the long road ahead on my own. I
languished in my grief. I can’t even do the thing I loved to do most –
climbing. All the fight has been drained out of me. How long will it
take to pick up the pieces? I wonder. One Chinese proverb particularly
lent me support: If you can pick it up, you should be able to put it
down. In my desire to understand how a religion, which in its entirety
claims to preach love and compassion, drove you to unilaterally and
resolutely want the break up, I achieved revelation. Indeed, the
learning process is accelerated when feelings are invested.
Undone by 2 Corinthians 6:14
Do not be unequally yoked together with non-believers. You believe that
God created you in His image, and that He is ‘a member of your body’.
Because of this religious doctrine, you believe that the resulting
union between a Christian and a non-Christian is unholy. You believe
that you will not be granted entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. You
believe that if you commit the sin, you will burn for eternity in
I realise now how you could be so calm when you made your decision to
break up known to me. I collapsed with grief, whereas you could still
go jamming with the rest in the immediate aftermath. You felt like you
were doing God’s work, and you found peace in Him. I had no such
consolation. My life just fell apart. In sorrow, I grasped at reasons
at why you might be unhappy with me. Did I treat you badly? Was I
overly possessive? Was I not spontaneous enough for you? All these
queries drew a blank.
Only after reading the scripture did my hurt, disappointment and anger
subside. I realised the very difficult spiritual position you were in.
Just like how Christ is head of the Church, the man is to be the head
of the house. I cannot provide you with the spiritual support that is
demanded of me in the bible. The bible you believe to be the divinely
inspired word of God.
A Reason-Driven Life
You shared with me how you attended Sunday school since you were in
primary school and finally got baptized in secondary one. You shared
with me how you were previously a naughty and unruly girl, and how
religion has changed you for the better. Unfortunately, I do not share
that same background as you. But like you, I am a social construct of
I used to be the typical nerd in school and studied diligently. From a
young age, I’ve learnt to correlate good results with hard work. If I
studied hard and obtained good grades, I deserved all the credit. If I
decided to be lazy, took a back seat and get punished with bad grades,
then I reap what I sown. I do not praise the Lord for everything good
thing that happened in my life and vice versa, blame Satan for
everything bad. Rather, I encourage and berate myself in accordance to
my successes or failures. As a result of my firm belief in effort and
reward, my grades have always been above average, if not excellent. In
the blink of an eye, 23 years have passed. In that same duration I have
lived without a God in my life.
Because of this upbringing, I am firmly steeped in reason and anecdotal
evidence. Just like how you are indoctrinated in unquestioningly faith
as a virtue, I am indoctrinated in intellectual scepticism as a merit.
For me to convert to become a fundamentalist Christian like yourself,
instead of becoming a half-past-six Christian (as one Christian friend
has appallingly recommended me), I need to be surrounded by
overwhelming, mutually self-reinforcing evidence. I embarked on reading
the Bible, and within the first few chapters of the holy book I already
found several distasteful contradictions. Contradictions I am unable to
reconcile. At this point, we must decide if we think whether
intellectual scepticism or blind faith more virtuous. Should a child be
inquisitive and ask and question and debate or should he be obedient
and servient and accept everything spoken to be the truth of the world?
Perhaps I failed to read the Bible spiritually, or adopt its teachings
with the same unquestioning acceptance as you did. If I were to become
a baptized Christian, then all my queries have to be answered to me by
the faith, one by one. Prepare yourself for a deluge of intellectual
Big Bang Theory
Mathematicians have calculated that the probability of us coming into
existence out of random chance is very, very minute. Therefore, some
higher being must have created us. But this hypothesis creates more
problems than it solves – the problem of infinite regress. If you
follow the logical train of thought, if God created us, then who
created Him? Christians tell me that their Judeo-Christian God is
uncreated, and that he has simply always existed. There is no analogy,
no basis for comparison against this argument in nature, and I cannot
wrap my head around this claim. If I were to worship a God, then
naturally it behoves me to worship the ultimate creator. Can you
conclusively prove to me that your God is the ultimate creator? Just
because you firmly believe in something doesn’t necessarily mean it is
correct. If I firmly believe that there is a teapot orbiting around the
Earth, then the onus is on me to prove my theory. The onus is on you to
prove your God to me.
So many Religions, Which one is True?
How are we supposed to know which religion is the true religion? Just
because someone follows a certain faith does not necessarily mean it is
the right path. Perhaps no one religion contains all the truth of the
world. Perhaps every religion contains fragments of the truth and it is
our responsibility to identify those fragments and piece them together.
Or perhaps there are no gods. No one can say for sure. There were 3200
religions in the world since the start of time. Since only 1 religion
can be correct, then the other 3199 religions must be wrong. Christians
say their God is the one true God, as do the Muslims, Jews, Hindus and
more. And radicals from each faith are willing to be a martyr for what
they think is the highest ideal.
Do you not see that the place of your birth determines your religion?
If you were born in Japan, you’ll be a Shinto. If you were born in
India, you’ll be a Hindu. If you were born in Tibet, you’ll be a
Buddhist. If you were born in Norway during the times of the Vikings,
you’ll believe in Thor and his hammer! The fact that Christians think a
child to be the child of God, instead of a child of Christian parents,
or Hindu parents, or Muslim parents, is unacceptable.
Do not all religions appear strange to those who stand outside of them?
A case in point: when I recounted my predicament to a PRC friend, she
found religion to be a ludicrous myth. Only an insidious force such as
religion can break up such a happy relationship, she told me. She also
shared with me how the Fa Lun Gong Movement is creating a lot of social
problems in China.
Age of the Earth
Creationists argue that the world is 6000 years old. But science,
through using several independent methods of radiological dating, has
repeatedly proven the world to be about 4.5billion years old. Dinosaur
fossils are tested to be about 65million years old. That the age of the
Earth is 6000 years old is a myth. How Christians stand steadfast in
their story of creation in the face of such staggering evidence defies
Genesis 6:15 states that Noah’s ark was 300 cubits by 50 cubits by 30
cubits in size. Today, experts agree that a cubit was approximately 18
inches, yielding a volume (if perfectly rectangular, the most
voluminous possible shape of three unequal dimensions) of 1,518,750
cubic feet. Into this, you must fit two of each of the 30,000,000
species on earth (60,000,000 creatures altogether), plus all the food
needed to keep all of them alive for about a year when the flood raged.
Even without the mind-boggling amount of food required, it is
technically impossible to pile all the creatures in the ark, together
with space for bedding or room to stand. Furthermore, Noah has to go
the Arctic to collect 2 penguins, go to Antarctic to collect 2 polar
bears, go to Kalahari Desert to find 2 meerkats, go to Asia to find 2
tigers, and get 2 Tyrannosaurus Rex to enter the ark.
Also, if it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, then given the severe
drop in salinity of the seawater, most of the fragile marine species
should have died out – something not evident in the world today. Given
the above analysis, the story of Noah’s Ark cannot be true.
Bible not being a Good Moral Compass
God tells you to stone people who believe in other gods to death
If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or
the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul,
entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which
thou hast not known, thou, nor thy father; Namely, of the god of the
people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee,
from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the Earth;
Thou shall not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him, neither shall
thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shall thou
conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first
upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the
people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die (Deuteronomy
Abraham makes an offering of his son to appease God’s whimsical wishes
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and
said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said,
Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee
into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon
one of the mountains which I will tell thee of (Genesis 22: 1-2).
Abraham heard an imaginary voice in his head telling him to murder
Isaac. He subsequently lifts the blade to his son’s throat. These
actions demand unquestioning belief. It requires what philosophers
refer to as a leap of faith. Earlier, God had promised Abraham that he
would spread his seed far and wide for him. A dilemma is presented at
this point. How can I possibly spread my seed if I kill my only son?
That God ultimately did not claim the sacrifice is of secondary
importance. What if one day, you hear an imaginary voice in your head,
telling you to sacrifice your child? I can only imagine hapless
believers, killing their children over what they think is God’s
mandate. To people outside the faith, this act of abomination is
nothing less than cold-blooded murder. Furthermore, this contradicts
with the ‘Thou shall not murder’ commandment. So many inconsistencies,
yet you can effortlessly accept where I find it morally repulsive to.
Moses the Prophet
Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every
woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women
children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for
yourselves (Numbers 31: 17-18). Moses, who was angered at the
Israelites merciful restrain towards the conquered Midianite people,
ordered his men to kill innocent children in cold blood, and kill every
female that is married to the Midianite men. What sin did the Midianite
male children and married females commit that demands this genocide?
The greatest irony is that it was Moses who brought down the 10
unbreakable commandments inscribed in stone. Given the savage nature of
what you have already witnessed, it should come as a big surprise to
you that one of the commandments were actually Thou shall not kill.
Yet, here was Moses, ordering the mass slaughter of children and women
in cold blood, not unlike the gas camps of the Nazis or the killing
fields of Pol Pot.
Rape My Daughter as you Please
Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the
city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at
the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying
Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.
And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto
them, Nay, my brethren, nay I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that
this man is come into mine house, do not this folly. Behold, here is my
daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and
humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto
this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not hearken to him:
so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and
they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when
the day began to spring, they let her go. Then came the woman in the
dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where
her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning,
and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and
behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the
house, and her hands were upon the threshold. And he said unto her, Up,
and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon
an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. And when he
was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid down hold on his
concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve
pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel (Judges 19: 22-29).
This entire particularly nasty paragraph describes the inferior status
of women, equivalent to that of playthings, as sanctioned in the Bible.
The man offered his concubine to be raped, instead of fighting to
defend her, as I would have done without hesitation. Following that,
the same man desecrated her body when she died instead of providing her
with a proper burial. I hope this piece of scripture shocks you as much
as it has shocked me. In today’s civilised world, such acts of betrayal
and moral destitution are considered socially repugnant, yet these are
the teachings you meekly accept with unquestioningly faith. These are
the issues that you must grapple with if you truly accept your faith in
Cherry Picking within the Bible
Of course now Christians will be protesting, because they claim that
Jesus, who has descended onto the world to die on the cross for our
sins, has changed the world since the nasty days of the Old Testament.
No doubt the New Testament is an improved version of the Old Testament
from a moral position. The idea is that God had himself incarnated as a
man, Jesus, in order that he should be hideously tortured and executed
in order to redeem our sins. And not just the original sin of Adam and
Eve, but all future sins, whether we decide to commit them or not.
Ultimately when we die, God is both judge and jury in the decision to
allow entry into the gates of the Holy City. So then, why does he need
to die on the cross for us to atone us for our sins just so he can
judge us again at the end? Why not just forgive us outright? Is he not
supposed to be all powerful and all merciful?
In fact, contrary to what many Christians believe, the New Testament
openly endorses the laws of the Old Testament. Think not that I am to
destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to
fulfil. For I verily say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot
or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled
(Matthew 5: 17-18). All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3: 13). It cannot be any
clearer. The laws in the Old Testament are to be obeyed. It is
downright shameful how Christians can interpret otherwise.
Christian apologetics reason that in the days of the Old Testament, we
had to follow the moral, civil and priestly laws. For them, because we
are not under a theocratic system today and because by sacrificing
himself Jesus fulfilled the priestly law, only the moral laws apply
today. This explains why homosexuals and adulterers were stoned in the
past, but are not today. This explanation is flawed. The moral law is
created by God, the civil law by whichever political system was
governing the country at that time, and priestly laws by the priest. If
God commanded that adulterers be stoned, then it is solely a moral law
set by him. Do the civil or priestly laws have the right to interfere?
Do you mean to tell me that the state or the priests have more power
over the supreme Creator of your universe? How can Christians allow the
moral law of their God be tainted by the secondary laws set by humans,
especially since human beings were intelligently designed to be
imperfect? I would think that if you were a true Christian, you would
follow your God’s law to the letter.
As much as the Bible supposedly preaches values of love, compassion and
mercy, it also advocates slavery, hate, pettiness, anger, jealousy and
narrow-mindedness. Just one line from Confucius could triumph all the
moral pretentiousness of the Bible. “Do not do unto others what you do
not wish to be done unto yourself”. Imagine if this phrase was
incorporated as one of the tenets of the 10 commandments (instead of
the morally inept “You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife”
commandment). It is obvious that the world will see much less conflict
or better still, no conflict at all. Not to mention the irrational
breaking up of a perfectly happy relationship.
Disagreement among the Different Sects
There are many different Christian denominations, all of which disagree
with one another over which doctrine to place emphasis on, which church
to follow, etc. The faith is spilt into the 3 branches of Roman
Catholicism, Anglicanism and Protestantism. Under each of these
denominations there are further sub-groups. For example, under the
Protestant group, further denominations include the Anabaptists,
Pentecostals, Adventists, Baptists, Calvinists, Presbyterians,
Congregationalists, Methodists and Lutherans. Not forgetting other
sects like the Puritans or Pletism that have died out since the 1800s.
As if the disagreement between various religions is not conflict
enough, denominations within the Christian faith all disagree with each
other. Catholics believe that Mary had no original sin, remained free
of sin throughout her life, is the “Mother of God” and the new Eve.
They also believe of her bodily assumption into heaven instead of
death. Other Christian factions disagree. Seventh-day Adventists
believe that the Saturday, originally the seventh day of the
Judeo-Christian week, should be the Sabbath. Other Christian factions
disagree. Mormons think that all drugs, including caffeine in coffee
and tea, are a travesty to biblical laws. Other Christian factions
disagree. It appears that conflict, not consensus, is a central theme
Debate over Homosexuality
Recently, the issue of gay pastors has been thrust into the limelight in predominantly Christian America.
In August 2006, leaders of the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination
began a tense debate in Minneapolis on whether to ordain gay men and
lesbians. The denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
is considering lifting a ban on noncelibate gay and lesbian pastors,
permitting the ordination of people in committed same-sex
relationships. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about homosexuality.
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them
have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their
blood shall be upon them (Leviticus 20: 13). Know ye not that the
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:
neither fornicators, nor idolater, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor
abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor
drunkards, nor revilers, not extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of
God (1 Corinthians 6: 9-10). Is it not peculiar how the Lutheran Church
leaders interpret the scripture in a vastly different way from how you
interpret it? Such church leaders, with the power to influence the
minds of all of their gigantic congregations, has despite the warnings
listed down in the Bible, decided to go ahead with the vote to ordain
gay pastors. Can you not see how religion is susceptible to starkly
contrasting interpretations, and subsequently abuse? I cannot imagine
the day when Singaporean church leaders decide to interpret the Bible
in the fundamentalist way (that their religion is the one true religion
and all other religions are profoundly false and necessarily wicked),
and incite religious hatred against other faiths.
In November 2006, leader of the 30million-member National Association
of Evangelicals in the US, Pastor Ted Haggard, resigned after being
embroiled in a gay sex scandal with another man. The other party,
prostitute and masseur Mike Jones felt he had to expose the hypocrisy
behind Pastor Ted’s anti gay marriage preaching on one hand, but
engaging in sexual activities with a man on the other. Pastor Ted has
since been stripped of his ministry. Saying one thing but doing
another? That’s old news to me, at least where Christianity is
A Holistic Interpretation
Here is what the Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford, has to say on the
issue of homosexuality. “Well if you take the issue of homosexuality,
there is no doubt that more so in the Old Testament, but also present
in the New Testament, that there are a number of texts, not as many as
people think there are, but there are a few, that clearly regard
homosexuality as wrong. But it is a question of how you interpret the
Bible – whether it is right to extract a few isolated texts, rather
than seeing the whole message of the Bible; the whole message of
Jesus.” He says that in the past during the Roman times homosexuality
as a choice is frowned upon; whereas from the understanding that
biology gives us today, it appears that homosexuality is a
circumstance. Progressive values espoused from such an authority figure
in the religious circles are steps forward for mankind. Christians need
to read the Bible in its entirety and inculcate the over-arching loving
and compassionate message of Jesus.
If the Bishop of Oxford says that extracting a few isolated texts from
the Bible is morally unjustifiable, then extracting the sole “Do not be
unequally yoked together with unbelievers” line, and basing your
decision to break up on religious dogma should be considered most
Worldwide Conflicts as a Result of Religion
I see how you remain blissfully (or should I use woefully) unaware of
current world affairs. Whenever I point out conflicts arising as a
result of religion to you, I notice how you always looked shocked. It
is as if you live in protective little bubble your religion provides,
and think it impossible how so much evil can arise out of a supposedly
good thing like religion.
You are fortunate you reside in Singapore, where religion is kept
separate from politics. Having the Internal Security Department hawk
over the evangelical groups to toe them in line, though admittedly
draconian, does have the merits of preventing religiously intolerant
religions like your own from inciting racial and religious hatred. Case
in point: Pastor Rony Tan shooting his mouth off in his sermons.
Do you not see that incompatible religious doctrines have divided our
world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become
a continuous source of bloodshed? Indeed, religion is as much a living
spring of violence today as it has been at any time in the past
(Crusades and Spanish Inquisition). The recent conflicts in Palestine
(Jews vs. Muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians vs. Catholic
Croatians; Orthodox Serbians vs. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims),
Northern Ireland (Protestants vs. Catholics), Kashmir (Muslims vs.
Hindus), Sudan (Muslims vs. Christians and animists), Nigeria (Muslims
vs. Christians), Ethiopia and Eritrea (Muslims vs. Christians), Sri
Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists vs. Tamil Hindus), Indonesia (Muslims vs.
Timorese Christians), Iran and Iraq (Shiite vs. Sunni Muslims), and the
Caucasus (Orthodox Russians vs. Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis
vs. Catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few cases in point.
I sincerely hope that I have opened your eyes to blood spilt all over
the world by people who fight over whose God is truer. You still think
religion is always a force for good? Think again.
In 1994, Reverend Paul Hill shot Doctor John Britton and his bodyguard,
James Barrett outside the doctor’s abortion clinic in Florida. The
crime of the doctor, as religiously perceived by Hill, was the carrying
out of abortion procedures for a woman who requested it. In a religious
fervour to do his version of God’s work, Hill turned his back on
progressive values and went against civil law. In a statement before
his execution, Hill said that he felt no remorse for his actions, and
that he expected a great reward in Heaven. In his last words, he
encouraged others who believed abortion contravenes the word of God to
‘do what you have to do to stop it’.
This psychopath, who somehow managed to get himself ordained as a
reverend, is telling his followers to go and commit more of such cold
blooded murder of abortion practitioners. Has he decided to selectively
skip the ‘Thou shall not kill’ commandment? In the course of his
journey to become a priest, has the values of love and compassion and
mercy (the same values that you probably hold dear to your heart) not
been drilled into him? How can he commit such an atrocity and yet
remain defiant even till his deathbed? Perhaps just like the peace you
found in God when you decided to break up with me, he found his peace
too. This same ‘peace’ has led to uncountable nights of me sobbing into
my pillow. The same can probably be said for the wife and young
children the doctor has left behind.
In Malaysia, dispute over the use of the word Allah in Christian
doctrine had erupted in conflict. Churches were vandalised and set on
fire by fanatical Muslim youths who believed that the word Allah
belonged their faith and not to Malaysians who practiced other faiths.
Retaliatory attacks were soon launched on Muslim mosques. How many more
places of worship has to be defaced, how many more lives have to be
lost, before you peer out of your cocoon and see the truth of the
Religion is seen by the scholars as false, by the commoners as true,
and by the politicians as useful. Case in point: United States
President George Bush Jr. told the American public that God gave him
the mandate to attack Iraq. In a media boo-boo, he said that it was a
crusade against evil. Crusade. The word rings a bell, doesn’t it? The
reason behind the illegitimate invasion was to destroy the weapons of
mass destruction Saddam Hussein kept, but they found none. They found
barrels of black gold though.
Christian Leaders as Good Role Models?
Earlier I pointed out how the Bible is not exactly the best moral
compass. Similarly, the actions of some Christian leaders leave much to
be desired. A right-wing Christian group who perceived the campaigns of
AWARE (a non-profit organisation), as being pro-homosexuality,
storm-troopered the advocacy’s group annual general meeting and
snatched power. AWARE saw a stunning leadership change when newcomers
captured 9 of the 12 executive committee posts. Older members
questioned their motives as well as the sudden influx of new members
who joined AWARE just months before the AGM. The new team sacked the
AWARE centre’s manager, a paid employee, changed the locks at the AWARE
office and had a stand-off with old guard members who turned up later.
With four of the new exco members attending the same church – and
having the same ‘feminist mentor’ in the form of lawyer Thio Su Mien –
and all espousing ‘pro-family’, anti-gay sentiments, it is obvious that
a religious group is trying to impose its agenda on a secular
non-profit organization. Do you not see the problem here when religious
people, no doubt in the zeal to do God’s work, go beyond simply
evangelising their beliefs to attempting to pass their preferred moral
practices into legislation. By their actions, the Christian Right has
notoriously established a benchmark for religiously inspired activism
that may well be emulated by people of other faiths. This is the start
of a slippery slope. The consequences of skidding down that slope are
unimaginable for a multi-religious society like Singapore’s.
Father Joacquim Kang
Kang was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail in 2004 for
misappropriating $5.1 million in church funds while serving as a parish
priest at St Teresa’s Church. I wonder if his followers will still have
faith in him. Leadership by example, anyone?
Pastor Rony Tan
Rony Tan, the leader of Lighthouse Evangelism, an independent church
with 12,000 members, ridiculed Buddhism and Taoism in his sermons to
his church. The most appalling thing was that as he was inserting snide
remarks and nasty untruths about other faiths, the entire congregation
was laughing together with him. I shudder to think that some of my
Christian friends may be sitting among those in that congregation.
Catholic priests molesting children
The catholic sex abuse cases are a series of lawsuits, criminal
prosecutions and scandals related to the sexual abuse committed by
Catholic priests against minors. Beyond the actual abuses, much of the
scandal focused around the actions of some members of the Catholic
hierarchy who did not report the crimes to legal authorities and
reassigned the offenders to other locations where they continued to
have contact with minors, giving them the opportunity to continue their
sexual abuse. Again and again, we see examples of how these people with
religious authority abusing their power and causing hurt and suffering
in their charges. How many more examples do you need before you
understand my unwillingness to be blindly led around by the blind?
Personal Contradiction between 2 of the 10 Commandments
Commandment 1: You shall have no other gods before me
Commandment 5: Honour your father and mother.
My father and mother pray to other gods. When they die, as the eldest
son, I have the traditional duty to conduct funeral rites for them,
which would inevitably conflict with Commandment 1 should I have
converted to the Christian faith. But if I do not take up this duty,
then I am guilty of contravening Commandment 5. A lose-lose situation.
Personally, I place a higher premium on filial piety than on religious
dogmatism. During his 2009 National Day Rally speech on religious
tolerance, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recounted stories of
Christian converts who refused to do as their parents wished on their
deathbed and ended up hurting the very people who have painstakingly
brought them up for many years. Fulfil your parent’s deathbed wishes –
to do or not to do? Honestly, I am repulsed at the actions of those
ingrates and will definitely do as my parents wished to the best of my
I found it ridiculously easy to reach this conclusion just with
rational reasoning. There is no need to commit to a book to resolve
moral questions of this sort.
Explain the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami or the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. When
the waves of the massive tsunami crashed into the city of Aceh and when
the gusts of the hurricane slammed into New Orleans, what was going
through God’s mind? Why did God, in all his omnipresence and
omnipotence, not stop the tsunami from crushing the lives out of
hundreds of thousands of innocents, many of them children? What crime
did the children commit? Hundreds of thousands of lives were killed in
an instant. These were people of faith, dying! In New Orleans, did he
not hear the prayers of the elderly who fled to the attics to escape
the rising waters, only to be slowly drowned as they murmured their
prayers? What kind of all-powerful and all-compassionate God is this?
Not surprisingly, the people who survived reaffirmed their faith.
Praise the Almighty Lord for delivering us from harm, they would say.
But do they not see that the same God who has supposedly spared their
lives has also mercilessly drowned infants in their cribs? If you
accept that there is a God, then He must be powerless, or evil, or He
does not care.
Why is it that the Bible can dedicate huge chunks of texts to
encouraging slavery, to promoting gender inequality, to curtailing
sexual behaviour, to describing in gory detail how to punish adulterers
and homosexuals, yet it cannot prophesize natural disasters of such
biblical proportions? God told no one of the impending doom. Science
did. Hours before the tsunami or hurricane struck, meteorological
calculations and satellite imagery foresaw the imminent disaster.
Meteorologists rushed to warn people to evacuate the danger zone.
Without science, more lives would have been lost.
Isn’t it amazing how God can address the prayers of those who ask for
good grades in their exams, or good results for their competitions, but
fail to hear the prayers of those about to die?
Promising Young Lawyer Killed in Mumbai
Ms Lo Hwei Yen, 28, a promising Singaporean lawyer, was one of at least
188 people, including 22 foreigners, killed in a shooting and grenade
rampage by 10 militants who terrorised Mumbai for 60 hours in 2008.
Incidentally, she happens to be a devout Christian.
Why did God put such a promising girl like this girl into the world,
only to claim the life back when she is at the prime of her life? Is
the purpose of her life to die in the cross fire of some religious
Do you think the Muslim terrorists from Pakistan, indoctrinated with
their highest ideal of introducing an Islamic state in South Asia and
liberating Muslims residing in Indian-administered Kashmir, cares about
the collateral damage? It saddens me to note what extremism in the name
of religion has led to the passing of a beautiful yet innocent soul
like Ms Lo. It should sadden you too.
Satan as the Convenient Excuse
Please do not be so foolish to think that Satan is the cause of all
these evils. It was apparent in my conversations with you that you
think that Satan is solely responsible for everything you cannot
explain. In my conversations with more enlightened Christians, they
tell me that Satan influences, but ultimately the choice belongs to the
person. Father Joacquim Kang and Reverend Paul Hill should have known
better. And if God is all-powerful, why didn’t he eliminate Satan? Or
better still, why didn’t He simply just not design Satan?
For Better or for Worse? Till Death do us Part?
Much to my chagrin, there have been several attempts by Christians who
earnestly invite me to their church time and time again. I appreciate
their goodwill and kind gestures. However, my issues with the faith
cannot be simply resolved by repeated visits to the church.
In one of your letters to me, you told me that you liked me for my big
brain. I’m assuming that you like me for my intellectual discourse.
Oxymoronic then, that what attracted you to me in the first place is
also responsible now for turning you away.
This brain of mine is my blessing. It is also my curse. I just wonder
if I were indeed intelligently designed by Him, why didn’t He erase my
persistence in reason.
Dull sensation in my chest
Never seem to fade away
There is no all-seeing, all-loving God which keeps us from harm.
Atheism is not a recipe for despair. I think the opposite. By
disclaiming the idea of a next life, we can take more excitement in
this one. The here and now is not something to be endured before
eternal bliss or damnation. The here and now is all we have – an
inspiration to make the most of it. Atheism is life-affirming, in a way
religion can never be.
Richard Dawkins, Oxford Professor and Prominent Atheist