The God Confusion

I am disturbed by how religion is the whipping boy of so many issues these days. From homosexuality to wars and politics. The list is endless. I’m upset because religion, particularly mine, i.e. christianity, is used as a tool of intolerance, for closed minded people. All this in the name of God. This is enough to makes believers and unbelievers alike doubt his existence.

That’s the problem of a moral code. It defines right and wrong, but there is also a big grey area that is not defined by this moral code. This code does not dictate how you dress, or what you eat– at least not for the majority of believers. And a code not only restrains and constrains behaviour, it also creates positive action — it promotes charity and cultivates other desirable traits in one’s character.

Jesus promoted tolerance- He was the one eating with sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors (the outcasts of the society in his time) even though the holier-than-thou Pharisees (the religious leaders of his days) were not. He was the one reaching out to people. He came ‘not to condemn the world but the world through him might be saved’. He told his followers not to judge: ‘Judge not, that you be not judged.’ He made it very clear who the ultimate judge is, and it’s definitely not his followers. He wasn’t keen on governing as well — “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and to God the things which are God’s.” The separation of church and state was not a problematic issue.

Christianity is divided into so many denominations, and has a wide set of beliefs that some believers are more inclined to, and some that others are not so crazy about. The Bible is of course, subject to interpretation, and there is a mainstream set of beliefs and core value systems.  I suppose this can be embodied by the Apostles’ Creed and are the fundamentals. As with any belief systems, there will be extremists and people who preach hellfire and brimstone. Yes, but these are not what most of the Christians go around saying.

With proselyticism getting more prolific, one needs to appreciate the spectrum of Christianity doctrines. (I’ve heard stories of them grabbing bystanders hands at the MRT stations and praying for them.) For every mad zealot out there, there are five others who live completely normal and fulfilled lives.

Essentially, what I’m trying to say is that Christianity in Singapore doesn’t even come close to being a tool of oppression. The IRs are being built as we speak, the Da Vinci Code was still shown in the theatres no matter what the National Council of Churches did. (I’m of course, not in favour of banning the movie, which was really quite bad in my opinion. Not because it was blasphemous or anything, it was just one of those bad book-to-screen adaptations that just didn’t fly. More to the point, I think a person’s faith is unlikely to be shaken by a movie anyway.)

I don’t think there are that many Christians in Singapore to form part of the majoritarian view that has significant persuasive weight to oppress anyone. According to the International Religious Freedom Report 2006, Singapore’s estimated Christian population is about 15%. Among the Christians, the Protestants outnumbered the Roman Catholics by slightly more than a two-to-one ratio. 51% of Singaporeans are Taoists, Buddhists or practise some form of ancestor worship. Sure, there are always that one or two irritating Christian friends of yours perhaps, with that smug look on their faces, so much so that you wish that they would just hurry up and go to the heaven they are working so hard to get into. Those that judge and criticise and criticise and judge some more. No one is perfect, and definitely, definitely not those who professed to believe in Christ. Some are also painfully aware that they are not as moral as those who do not believe. Which is why they need God to help them in the first place. The problem is when one holds oneself out to be a Christian, others automatically measure them by using the standard of Christianity. This standard of sinless perfection is one that will not be achieved in one’s lifetime. One remains human, with its weaknesses and flaws. One remains shaped by his or her own experiences, which usually has more of an impact than doctrine.

And that’s my 2 cents worth.

Disclaimer: The views above are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the views of any particular denomination or church.

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Comments
80 Responses to “The God Confusion”
  1. Kitana says:

    I like this post. And I like the fact that you understand things. I wonder why so many of them call themselves Christ-ians, but no one behaves particularly Christ-like. A lot of the stuff that is referred to comes from the Old Testament, but I thought that Jesus by his actions kind of revolutionalised the way we see Christ-ianity.

    But I think that underlying all this, is the idea of power play and power struggle. Throughout the centuries, the church did all that it could to exert control over the lives of its followers, whether all of these methods would actually have been condoned by Jesus himself were he around (my guess is that a lot will not have been, killing Muslim babies during the Spanish Inquisition or having Galileo tortured are just 2 such instances of monstrosity done in the name of religion).

    Modern day, a lot of people either blindly follow the stuff that has been set in stone through centuries of following, whether they ought to be followed or not, and some use this to further their own political ends. I think it’s sad tt the Christians that do strive to be Christ-like, that do try to be tolerant, to spread love and acceptance, end up being marred by the misguided efforts of the vocal unthinking.

  2. Hey babe! Thanks for dropping by. =)

    I agree with you on the part of the power play and struggle. Ultimately, those people with agendas other than metaphysical speculation seems to use religion to achieve their own ends. The crusades were horrific, and I think the church is still embarrassed by how it had adamantly claimed that the sun revolves around the earth during Galileo’s time.

    I guess the appeal of blind faith lies in its comforting nature. There is no doubt, no effort required to ascertain the truth of beliefs. One simply needs to follow, with the assurance of a reward in the afterlife. It smacks of laziness but is comforting nonetheless. The fact that there is a group of people who believes together with one reduces the incentive for one to think for him or herself. Among a herd, there must be someone else doing the thinking for the group. I’ve always found it odd why Jesus followers are called sheep. Sheep aren’t the brightest animal, and they just follow blindly. Hahaha, maybe it’s cos he knows us better than we do. Well, hopefully, the vocal unthinking do not form part of the believing majority.

  3. Kitana says:

    Mehh. =)

  4. Ben says:

    Good job!

  5. yh says:

    ‘I guess the appeal of blind faith lies in its comforting nature. There is no doubt, no effort required to ascertain the truth of beliefs. One simply needs to follow, with the assurance of a reward in the afterlife. It smacks of laziness but is comforting nonetheless.’

    And that is why I don’t believe. A significant number of my Christian friends have been trying to convert me and I don’t blame them for evangelising, but it gets on your nerves when you explain to them that ‘Christianity is against my principles’ and they give you the ‘You’re-Going-To-Hell’ Stare. Of course, I’m glad to see that there are people like you who still exist because I’ve been to a Catholic school, where there are also a number of tolerant believers. It’s quite saddening to see so many people claiming to be ‘Christians’ when they’re just following a trend, ie. going to Church to make friends. Maybe they should think things over before deciding on what they really want. In this case, you don’t really go for ‘trial and error’, do you?

    Sorry for digressing!

  6. lorelai says:

    haha dia, not wanting to stir any debates anytime soon, cause of the mounting end of undergrad career assignments. have you ever heard of Christianity being called the lazy men religion? you and i know exactly why it is referred to as such.
    which reminds me, are you taking a break between end of school and start of work?

  7. Kelvin Wong says:

    Thanks righting the article, but I don’t agree with what you have said. Probably because you never had troubles with Christians (being Christians yourself) and you were never at the receiving end of some of the their intolerance. I guess its not surprising as people who have never been oppressed by Christians are not able to see beyond those shaded glasses, a bit like the elite-girl-syndrome.

    Despite the small minor, some Christians have significant influences in Singapore society. Focus on Family, the right-wing American fundamentalist Christian movement, is very well establishing in the provide “non-sectarian” family services, they have their own newspaper column and news radio show. They are also very anti-gay in the stances. Not only that, they have been giving “sex” education to schools and tell students how sinful and wrong it is to be gay and also to have premarital sex. Liberty League also managed to get funding from the govts volunteer funding body (but after much protest, I don’t know if they got it) and they also promote the “Christian” value that homosexuality is wrong disguised as a non-sectarian value.

    Choices run by the Church of Our Saviour, have been running reparative therapy for homosexuals based on their religion, but such therapy has been denounced by psychiatrists as harmful to the client. They are so well established that the Army, SOS and some other services all refer to Choices for clients facing homosexual issues. I don’t know how many gay people they have damaged in the process.

    Almost more than 90% of the counselling services here in Singapore are run by Christians or associated organisations. And some of them would advise clients against homosexuality based on the organisation’s religious affiliation instead the counselling ethics.

    The National Council of Churches which sort of represent 100% of most churches in Singapore, have put up statements to influence the public policies on its stance on homosexuality, trying to exert their Christian values to a multi-religious society.

    The Catholics and some Christian organisations also regularly organise letter writings to write against homosexuality by giving sample letters in their email list and getting Christians to have a letter campaign so as to influence the public.

    Dr. Thio Su Mien and her daughter Thio Li Ann have been writing letters to the press about why homosexuality is based based on their Christian point of view and pseudo Christian science, trying to convince people that those facts are scientific and non-sectarian. Now Thio Li Ann is an NMP.

    It is very well known that a majority of our MP are Christians or Catholics if not the fundamentalist kinds.

    The reason why IR get to go ahead is a matter of economics. Buddhists also protested about the casinos. Government will have their way because of economics, if nothing else.

  8. YCK says:

    Thoughtful. If only all people stop long enough to reflect, the world would be a more peaceful place. I for one do not. Guess that is why I have regrets … sometimes. But I suppose if you do not stop at all you would no regret at all. That is how bigots get by 😉

  9. Kelvin,

    I beg to differ on the part about christians being immune to intolerance. In fact it seems that if some of these intolerant christians find out ur from a different denomination…they even become MORE intolerant and are highly critical of ur denominations practices and beliefs.

    YCK,
    all this bigotry has caused my mind to be overloaded…the song “Where is the Love” keeps going on in my mind now 😛

  10. YCK says:

    Hi Nedstark,

    So the storm in Aaron’s and Kiiana’s blogs got to you? It beconmes a little poinless after a while.

    Thanks for sharing the ear worm. Now it got stuck :b

  11. Kelvin Wong says:

    Hi YCK,

    Thanks for your comments, I have very good Christian/Catholic friends and lots of them also, so my encounters with Christianity is not that bad. I guess I was just summarizing my experience as a gay through the years and what people have experienced. But I guess my point is that some Christian voices do make an impact.

    StarkInWinterfell, yeah, agree with you, there are intolerance amongst demominations… actually surprising, this exists in Buddhism too!

    Anyway, here is more of what some Christians can do:


    Metta

  12. YCK,

    it was the first time i had posted so much on aaron and kitana blog that i felt that i had spammed them 😛

    basically wbg just dismissed me and said i was a phantom…haha…but i agree…it got tiring after the fella kept on going at it like an old accordion..
    But i was appalled at his lack of decency and his “ur either with us or with the terrorists” kind of mentality..

  13. Ben says:

    Ice cream?

  14. Yoz Kitana, thanks for the publicity babe and all the best for yr assignments!

    Hey Ben, don’t sue WBG lah, he’s not worth the space on which he types his comments on.

    Hey Lorelai! Thanks for the photos! =D Yep, I’ve a month break after I end school and before I start work. When are you coming back?

    Wah, this is the first time that I’ve received so many comments from people I don’t know personally. Heh, let me try to address the comments one at a time.

    Hi yh,

    I understand what you mean when you say that people just go to church to make friends. Indeed, I’ve met many of them who go to church just to check out the pretty girls. Lol. But some became true Christians after attending church a few times. I guess it’s up to the individual. Trial and error is one of the ways to find out the truth. 😉

    Kelvin Wong,

    Eh, don’t compare me to Wee Shu Min lah. I take personal affront at that leh. Lol. But seriously, I do agree to a certain extent that conservative views are over-represented in the government sector. However, I think this is not because of Christianity per se. It could well be that the policy-makers are conservative in general, which is why the Army and SOS refer to Christian organisations to use religion against homosexuality. These policy-makers are not christians perhaps, but just have a deep-seated prejudice or discomfort with homosexuals. Christianity conveniently gives them a reason for their discomfort and is then used to justify the prejudice. Same thing with premarital sex– most people have conservative views regarding premarital sex and religion is then used to give the argument against premarital sex more weight. These are all examples of how religion is used to further agendas. As for NMP Thio Li Ann, she was nominated for a reason as well, perhaps her conservative stance is in line with the policy makers who may or may not be christians.

    Thanks YCK and The Stark in Winterfell for dropping by as well. =D

  15. Kitana says:

    Haahaa. Ned, come meet us for ice-cream lah. We’ll all feel better after that. This whole thing is making me damn pek chek. Not just WBG, but all the fundies who die-die think that homosexuality is wrong just because it’s condemned based on one biblical phrase and then they go around trumpeting this idea even though psychological studies have proven otherwise scientifically, and then they expect everyone to consider their views. Dammit I need more than ice-cream, I need a drink. A strong one. AAARRGGHH.

    Sorry for spamming your blog babe. I’m just v pek chek.

  16. Kelvin Wong says:

    Hey Humaniod,

    Sorry for that comparison. Actually I was just trying to say how well organised and infiltrated some Christian organisations can be. It may not necessarily be the effort of those organisations all. But because they were the only ones who were organised enough to provide such services (like family values (urgh), “gay” counselling, etc), they were the only choices.

    I think when we say conservative, I would tend to think that we are talking about Victorian values rather than any other values.. or did you mean narrow minded? 🙂 I mean what are Asian values? What are conservative values?

    If we say conservative means traditional, then, traditionally, Malay, Chinese, India, Japanese and many many cultures all have homosexual elements without a blink of an eye. We know about this because when Jesuit priest visited those places they were “disgusted” by the male-to-male sex that exists in those cultures. China and India have a long written history about gay officials, emporers and personalities. China even have male brothels in the ancient times. Japan needless to say. Even tradition India stories talks about Muslim Kings and their male love.

    Come to think of it, not just 20 years ago, I could watch any films without any ratings, now kids have to “protect” from those influences… I like uh? We didn’t need that back in the 70s when I was 10 years old.

  17. YCK says:

    So might I ask what are you conservatives conserving?

  18. Your analysis (3 March, 6.48 pm) may be right. Policy makers, even if not Christian, are conservative and they find useful allies in the extreme Christians to help them pursue/implement their conservative agenda. But over time, there has been a steady build up of extreme Christians in the public sector… I can guess at a number of reasons, but it’s too long to go into here.

    I agree with the point you made in the main article that extreme Christians are probably just a minority among Christians in general. However, in human affairs, numbers seldom mean very much. Just as a few crazy Muslims have totally changed how much of the rest of the world perceives Islam, so too, the highly vocal fringe of Christianity is changing others’ perception of the religion as a whole. The analogy with Islam doesn’t end there either. The relative silence of the majority of Muslims is part of the problem. Likewise, we almost never hear other Christians speak up AGAINST the extreme, power-motivated ones (present company excepted). It stands to reason why the vocal, extreme fringe has disproportionate impact. The rest of the world interacts not with the silent Christians, but with the noisy ones, the ones who force themselves onto others, while the silent one have removed themselves from the equation.

    There is the tendency of the silent Christians then, like the silent Muslims, to deplore how they’re being “misundertsood” or “mistreated” by the rest of the world, because others perceive their religion through the prism of the extremists, but just as calls are made for the moderate, peaceful Muslims to speak up against their co-religionists for their wild ways, likewise until the silent Christians speak up against their co-religionists, they can’t expect to be counted, however numerous they are within their faith.

  19. Kitana,

    ice cream sounds good 🙂 Thanks for the offer…

    Alex,

    ur comments do have some truth in them. I agree that moderates do have to stand up and be counted, otherwise face the same brush as the extremists.

  20. Yay, we can all have an ice-cream party! Hehehe..

    Hi Kelvin,

    That’s the thing about organized religion, one can get things done very fast. A monopoly also helps things along as well. But I suppose these organizations can’t be blamed for being there. It’s up to people to decide whether to turn to them or not.

    Hmm, I was thinking about what you said about traditions. Well, I’m not sure how far back in history you’re looking at, but my take on conservative values is that it consists of what is generally accepted presently. It also consists of a certain narrow mindedness, as you term it, since what is not accepted is deemed immoral. Of course, this general acceptance is not set in stone and would most likely change with time. Perhaps it is less of a values argument than a majoritorian’s discomfort with the minority.

    Hi Alex,

    I do agree that the moderate should be more vocal. However, the general nature of a moderate is to be considerate and usually silent. So they remain silent until they’re damn pissed off by how the extremists have marred the name of God. So things might have to get worse before they get better, before the moderates stand up for their views. For instance, the Muslim organization in Singapore have properly denounced acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam quite a number of times. The change of party control in the U.S from the Republican to Liberal is also another example of how extremist views are almost always countered with a wave of moderate views. (Liberal in this case does not refer to liberalism which rejects established religions. It refers to moderate Christians since many of the Democrats are Christians too.)

  21. The problem, as I see it, with basing religions (such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) on books like the Torah, Bible, and Koran, is that these books are full of contradictions, and that modern versions of these religions are based on selective interpretations of these books (and their inherent contradictions).

    There are passages promoting peace in the Bible and Koran, but (especially in the Old Testament), there are so absolute gems of violence. (E.g.: Numbers 31:18, where Moses tells his army to keep alive the virgin girls of the Midianites that they have just captured – and kill everyone else). The peacable early chapters of the Koran, are often superseded by the more war-like later portions.

    Compare and contrast with “Thou shall not kill”. (which incidentally, was originally intended to refer to “Thou shall not kill (Jews)”. Hence the copious amounts of killing of non-Jews in the name of God in the Old Testament).

    With this amount of inconsistency, you could potentially quote anything you want from the Bible/Koran to support virtually any viewpoint you want to propagate.

    PS: I obviously don’t believe that Christians are child rapists…..it was a convenient illustration of my point that you can quote anything to support your point…..the fundamentalists have a nasty habit of doing this…..

  22. Aaron says:

    Hmm.

    Should we all then make it a point to be more vocal in terms of articulating moderate views from our own religion? As Alex said, it is true that all it takes is a few crazy people from a religion to change things dramatically. However, by the same token, doesn’t it mean that all it takes is a few extremely vocal and moderate people from a religion to kick up enough of a ruckus to counter the crazy extremists?

    If at all, the guilty ones are not the crazy extremists. It’s the moderates.

  23. Aaron,
    it takes both hands to clap i guess.

  24. palmist says:

    kelvin

    I am not sure what programme church of our saviour is running but the person being counselled would probably have to agree to the counselling. Counselling is a guided process where the person involved must first agree to the change. If not any amount of counselling would not do any good. I am not sure if it is compulsory to actually attend these counselling session. Maybe you can shed some light.

    Alex

    It is the same for gays. If someone generalise gay community as one that is promiscous and usually involve in orgy and multiple sex partners you would probably frown upon my statement. In this case the silent majority of faithful lovers would probably not count for much even if they speak out. I don’t see a lot of gay speaking out against multiple sex partner. They usually claim majority are monogamous. Then again my interactions with gays are limited. Just my perception from my little corner.

    Sorry if I treated the blog as a forum. Will blog about some thoughts on homosexuality from a christian perspective.

  25. Hi awanderingshark,

    It is true that when a document is open to interpretation, there arises many problems. However, this does not mean that an individual should not even attempt to interpret it for fear of misinterpreting it. I understand where you are coming from though. In Thomas Hardy’s words, ‘Do not do an immoral thing for moral reasons’.

    Hi Aaron,

    I find it difficult to agree with you that it is the moderates fault for not speaking up and this validates the extremists actions. The extremists actions should not be imputed to the moderates. And although Alex is quite right in his assertion that it only takes a few people to change things dramatically, these people must necessarily be in positions of power and influence. So your assertion that moderates are as much to blame must be based on the premise that such moderates are in these positions of policy making in the first place.

  26. wang says:

    Kitana

    Once, I deemed that Galileom was tortured, but the historical evidence shows otherwise and refers to the polemics & rheotorics of the time.

    Please review the following as well as the book, there was no torture or evidence of torture of Galileo. Please see the below.

    Wang

    In the end, Galileo recanted his heliocentric teachings, but it was not—as is commonly supposed—under torture nor after a harsh imprison- ment. Galileo was, in fact, treated surprisingly well.

    As historian Giorgio de Santillana, who is not overly fond of the Catholic Church, noted, “We must, if anything, admire the cautiousness and legal scruples of the Roman authorities.” Galileo was offered every convenience possible to make his imprisonment in his home bearable.

    Galileo’s friend Nicolini, Tuscan ambassador to the Vatican, sent regular reports to the court regarding affairs in Rome. Many of his letters dealt with the ongoing controversy surrounding Galileo.

    Nicolini revealed the circumstances surrounding Galileo’s “imprisonment” when he reported to the Tuscan king: “The pope told me that he had shown Galileo a favor never accorded to another” (letter dated Feb. 13, 1633); ” . . . he has a servant and every convenience” (letter, April 16); and “[i]n regard to the person of Galileo, he ought to be imprisoned for some time because he disobeyed the orders of 1616, but the pope says that after the publication of the sentence he will consider with me as to what can be done to afflict him as little as possible” (letter, June 18).

    Had Galileo been tortured, Nicolini would have reported it to his king. While instruments of torture may have been present during Galileo’s recantation (this was the custom of the legal system in Europe at that time), they definitely were not used.

    The records demonstrate that Galileo could not be tortured because of regulations laid down in The Directory for Inquisitors (Nicholas Eymeric, 1595). This was the official guide of the Holy Office, the Church office charged with dealing with such matters, and was followed to the letter.

    As noted scientist and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead remarked, in an age that saw a large number of “witches” subjected to torture and execution by Protestants in New England, “the worst that happened to the men of science was that Galileo suffered an honorable detention and a mild reproof.”

  27. wang says:

    Kelvin

    I am not sure of where you get your statistics from but the basic issue remain they are voluntary attendance & organisations and not compulsory attendance & organisations. If you do not like it, you can go elsewhere to others or set up your own.

  28. YCK says:

    Hi wang,

    I quite agree that Galileo should not be held up as a martyr too lightly. History is often more subtle, as I realized from reading Dava Sobel’s “Galileo’s daughter”. Are there any accessible and respectable books you would reccommend?

    But back to the point, it was clear that Galileo was made to recant his view for religious rather than scientific reasons. Though I would agree with what you said of his treatment under house arrest. He was treated rather well. But might it be in no small part owing to a religious institution becoming more circumspect with age? If true does this not also serve as a hint that adherents of religions should be more thoughful in their dealings with other people?

    humanoidinterface,

    Thanks for starting these discussions with your post 🙂

  29. kuey says:

    Wang

    Just wanted to add my two cents on the Galileo issue. Sorry, occupational hazard, but I’m always a bit worked up when I hear/read comments that Galileo wasn’t treated that badly.

    He was made to kneel in front of the Pope and uncategorically and publicly renounce his support for the heliocentric model. And yes although he wasn’t tortured, he was kept on house arrest for the rest of his life. Actually, I would find that a torture, even if I had all the comforts materially possible. And I’m sure most of you would, too.

    Would also like to offer any reason why Galileo wasn’t treated too badly. By that time, Galileo had already built up quite a bit of reputation as a scientist, even in the eyes of the general public, and it could have deterred the Church from taking too harsh a stance.

    All these aside, the issue is really not about whether Galileo was right or not. I mean, at the time that Galileo was voicing his support for Copernicus’ heliocentric model, the jury was still out over the model was the “correct” one. It certainly offered a simpler mathematical model in predicting the motions of the heavenly body, but in reality, due to the incompleteness of the model at that time (e.g. elliptical orbits rather than circular orbits), the predictions from the heliocentric model was actually LESS accurate that the previous earth-centric model. The point is whether the Church should have stepped in and denounced a stand simply because the Bible said so, without considering the other evidences.

  30. Ben says:

    Okay okay house arrest is not torture. And surely the point is that the history of the persecution of people in the name of religion is quite apparent. A big yawn really? And religion’s epic struggle with science? That is all sufficiently recorded. The only reason to visit it is to reconsider where religious people gone wrong, but folks go about defending it instead. Of course one should also visit it to see where it went right. But Galileo is clearly not the case. *Shrugs*. But thats all past.

    And regarding the voluntariness of organization and churches, I am glad that consent and choice is so well regarded by Wang. Surely in the same spirit, he might suggest that it is no biz for others that two gays to have intercourse in their private bedrooms, or that people choose to watch porn instead of Hollywood Flicks, or the Madonna DvD, or to read Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses? And does Wang protest against the interference of such matters? And why?

  31. Kitana says:

    Hello Wang,

    Okay, so assuming you are right and that Galileo wasn’t tortured, but simply imprisoned at home for the rest of his life, you are therefore condoning what the church did?

    The church relied on the holy book, and they rejected the finding of science without even considering for a moment. And they were proven wrong. And this was not the only time that the church had simply opposed something because it undermined their power.

    Even if we can’t fault find with Galileo, can we forgive the second event I raised of the Spanish Inquisition, for example?

    *shrugs*

    BTW Aaron, I can’t agree with you that it’s the fault of the moderates. I was thinking about it, and I thought tt one of the things tt characterised moderates is tt they, unlike fundies, don’t impose their views on others. It’s a “live and let live” type mentality – i.e. okay, you feel this way, but I feel this way about it. But it’s okay, we can just accept difference of worldview.

    So if the moderates were going to try to correct the fundies at every turn by imposing their own views on them, we’d have another type of fundy. And uh, one type’s bad enough, thanks.

  32. Aaron says:

    HI and Kitana,

    If the moderates do not get aggressive to counter-balance the extremists, what’s the likely consequence? 🙂

  33. the Stark In Winterfell says:

    There will always be moderates, and always be fundies. The moderates job is to state their case to those who are undecided. Take that gay issue. There is no way anyone can convince that fella short of shoving hot pokers up his behind (AKA the Inquisition). For all u know he could continue to protest even if faced with a date with Darshan. If moderates do that then they will become another type of fundy.

    Take a simple eg. A is a fundie, B a moderate, and C is the undecided jury. B must show C that A is a goon and should not be listened to. Aggresion is sometimes necessary but if one becomes to aggresive, people will start to be sympathetic to the other guy and in one stroke the fundie will become the victim.

    But being quiet will also make a moderate culpable. Its the “all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” thingy.

    At the end of the day, being a vocal moderate aint easy but the consequences are grave should nothing be done.

  34. wang says:

    Good Day Kitana

    Please note that my reply was to your one point on torture of Galileo. I quoted and corrected based on the facts which can be googled.

    To All

    If you regards house arrest as a torture or otherwise, I cannot dismiss that viewpoint, but you forget that his house arrest is very enlightened at that point in time and strange in that he could be allowed to travel to argue his case and continue his other research and paid for by the church at the time (eg Gravity , his experiments).

    I do not condone what the church leaders had done but it was the best available choice at the time of historical period. Please read history of Copernicus or Kepler, why were they not imprisoned or tortured at the time.

    Acknowledged that the church leaders in the name of God has done many wrongs before both to its adherents or non-adherents. Likewise than the church leaders of that time should be condemned for their non-adherence to God’s moral laws.

    However, please argue to the point in which you request of others and do not bring other issues because this is just point scoring.

    Further, in regards to your other point of the Spanish Inquisition and the resultant horrors, please review the historical period as well to understand the circumstances. They definitely did not render unto God what is due to God neither did they render under Caesar what is due to Caesar.

    What I find perplexing is that all here like to make sweeping statements without considering whether all the facts are in support and yet when corrected, say what about my other point. My silence is neutral, If I do not comment, I am just reviewing the complexities involved for the other point.
    Furthermore, there is a tendency to think the worse of others for a a correction of a point. If you wish to proclaim that there should be a dialogue, please do not assume.
    I thought the mode was to accept the correction and move on to the rest .

    As this is Management 101, “assume” means it makes an ass of both you and me.

  35. YCK says:

    Hi wang,

    At the risk of bringing in other issues, might I ask what relevance Kepler and Copernicus have?

    The former was not from Galileo’s part of town, being based in Prague I think. The latter just did not publish till after his death. They were either spatially or temporally removed form the possible wrath of the Catholic Church.

    Well, not competely, as his On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres was placed on a List of forbidden books.

  36. wang says:

    Good Day to All

    As I have no further wish to be involved with the diatribes to come. This will be my last post on the above.

    Let me state that I agree with HI that the fundamentals are related to the Apostles Creed and the CATHOLIC creed reiterated in different situations eg in Nicene , Chalcedonian or even under Greek Orthodox or Russian Orthodox.

    In regards to the other’s issues on human sexuality, let me just inform that it is not just one paragraph but many others both in the King James Standard(KJV), New King James Standard(NKJV), New International Standard(NIV),Revised Standard(RSV),New American Standard

  37. wang says:

    Good Day to All

    My apologies on the double post.

    As I have no further wish to be involved with the diatribes to come. This will be my last post on the above.

    Let me state that I agree with HI that the fundamentals are related to the Apostles Creed and the CATHOLIC creed reiterated in different situations eg in Nicene , Chalcedonian or even under Greek Orthodox or Russian Orthodox.

    In regards to the other’s issues on human sexuality, let me just inform that it is not just one paragraph but many others both in the King James Standard(KJV), New King James Standard(NKJV), New International Standard(NIV),Revised Standard(RSV),New American Standard(NASB),Jerusalem Standard or even in its original texts versions(in Hebrew, Aramic or Latin or Greek) and under the study of hermenieutics should be read in the context of the passage for the Christian worldview

    To those who do not wish to believe, fine and well. The choice is always there and applicable for any faith or non-faith. As for me, this still stands “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOD”. I recognise this and hence seek. But to others , the choice is theirs in whichever faith or non-faith, they wish to follow or not.

  38. wang says:

    To YCK

    I am just factually pointing out that his contemporaries who espoused also such similiar contradictory viewpoints to the established church thought at the time were not put under house arrest.

    The following is just an opinion.

    Further, Prague was under the Holy Roman Catholic Church at that time and if the Church wish, he could be brought to trial, so maybe things are not cut & dried as people wish to assume. Sometimes politics of the time does make things unnecessarily difficult.

    So my plea is to please review first and not assume.

    The “why” would be speculative and subject to the mores of the time and that age and definitely further research and further may/would be interpreted differently based on the present day age values & thoughts.

    I can only cite the belowmentioned book “Galileo in Rome: The Rise and Fall of a Troublesome Genius and Galileo’s Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church
    by Stephen M. Barr” on the politics of the time.

  39. kwokheng says:

    ‘…facts which can be googled.’

    orhh.

    ok, time to go back to my little planet with my doggie and my pillow.

    twinkle, twinkle, little star
    how i wonder what you are.
    up above the world so high,
    there’s a catfish in the sky…

  40. kwokheng says:

    wang:

    i’ve always wondered why the christian organisations dont give bond-free scholarships/bursaries, whereas the buddhist ones do.

    nothing much. just a thought—there are so many shiny churches.

  41. YCK says:

    wang,

    So Prague was part of the Empire. Well guess I learnt something.

    Thanks for the title. Shall check it out.

  42. Ben says:

    I am not sure why the question has become Galileo’s Mistake or Not and why we are actually engaging with a historical question. My erudition is not as deep or wide as Wang, and perhaps the question of what constitutes torture based on context and subjective experience eludes me/ My recently acquired knowledge of Galileo came from the Catholic Encyclopedia online available at new Advent. The Church error it appears, was mere censorship, but to say it is Church is not strictly accurate because there was no real judgment made on the science. The chief blame appears to lay on the Italian Inquisition. And besides John Paul II did in 1992 amounts for Catholics, an apology to Galileo. And Galileo was a very devout Catholic, even till his dying breath.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06342b.htm

    And in the same spirit of the article, for those souls tendered towards reading, I suggest tenderly, for I am no Christian myself, the more important question for Christians is whether these meant that the Church is opposed to science today, and I think the answer is no. It is not about point scoring, but I think Kitana original main idea was that many harmful acts were done in the name of religion while Wang counter point were sometimes specific, and sometimes general.

    But were many harmful acts done in the name of religion? That clearly is true, even today. It believe it takes a very relativist to suggest that ““why” would be speculative and subject to the mores of the time and that age and definitely further research and further may/would be interpreted differently based on the present day age values & thoughts.” I am unsure what does this mean for historical survey. So we cannot judge the Japanese for their act in the Second World War? The Crusade, the Inquisition stand as historical examples of how religion can be used badly with severe consequences. The reduction into it as the moral and political scenario teaches us a lot of facts and that right conditions might have prevented it from happening? But we can say that of Nazism Germany, and Communist Russia. It is the politics?

    And I think that this should come back to the point that was first discussed, which is whether moderates should stand against the more extreme factions of their communities. In this context, it appears to be the issue of human sexuality, specifically homosexuality. I get the picture from Christians in Singapore that homosexuality is definitely unnatural – but I do not get that Impression from Christians in Canada, Europe or the United States. It appears that only in Africa and Asia, are Christians more concerned with those aspects. Am I right? Or is that a proliferation of more liberal churches in the Canada, Europe or United States? I hazard that Wang might be right here – could this actually too be the politics?

  43. Kitana says:

    Aaron,

    I dunno lah. How do you suppose moderates shld counter-balance the actions of the fundies?

    I mean, it’s easy to reason with a moderate, but it’s impossible to reason with a fundy. I don’t even know if moderates can.

  44. wang says:

    YCK

    To expand further, the Holy Roman Empire in name were suffering from a period of the Thirty Year War which was one of the darkest periods (killing in the name of God but more as a property expansion by the princes of Germany and ) although as well as one of the best periods for scholarship and the idea of deductive as well as inductive reasoning.

    If you wish to read fictionalised accounts, please go to http://www.baen.com and look under the 1633 series.

    Kwok Keng

    ” Without Prejudice”

    MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!!!

    your other post, no fact/no stats,no opinion.

    Ben

    My opinion, as long as we deal with human beings and their ideologies/beliefs/non-beliefs, there will be disagreement on what is the mean or even median. This applies to even Scientology, existensialism, trotskism or even KK’s causticisms or whatever isms

  45. Kelvin Wong says:

    Palmist, you asked Alex:

    “It is the same for gays. If someone generalise gay community as one that is promiscuous and usually involve in orgy and multiple sex partners you would probably frown upon my statement. In this case the silent majority of faithful lovers would probably not count for much even if they speak out. I don’t see a lot of gay speaking out against multiple sex partner. They usually claim majority are monogamous. Then again my interactions with gays are limited. Just my perception from my little corner.”

    People are the way they are, I don’t think that I will frown upon such stereotypes, but acknowledge that it is not balanced and probably neither will Alex, partially, because its is part of the landscape of human sexuality and the gay landscape. Also do not forget that that mass media, for example, will only portrait gay people in bad light, you will never find a story in the ST about how happy a monogamous gay couple is, but they will tell you all the stories about how much gay people take drugs, have sex and party (which is not necessarily untrue). Such unequal news reporting lead to the skewed level of understanding of gay people in our society.

    I think we are making a valued judgement when we think that only a monogamous relationship should be part of our sexual landscape, but history have shown us that there are a lot of different types of relationships (sexual or otherwise) between people throughout history and throughout continents. I attribute this ideal of monogamy to the Judeo-Western school of thought that we are brought up in and internalised to think that this is the only one and best arranged in a relationship. One man, one woman… Adam and Eve…. noting that in Buddhism, for example, there has never been any insistence on any marriage model as long as the relationships are not harmful. Marriage after all to a Buddhist is not a must nor a divine order, just a social contract.

    Yes, I agree that there is probably an imbalance within this stereotype that could be addresses. However, unlike a moderate Christian or Muslim, its not easy for any gay persons to come out into the public sphere. They have a lot of considerations like their family, friends, workplace and religious affiliation. Only a minority of gay people are actually out, some are thrown out of their house, some were beaten up and some disowned, there is also fear of your job security, what if you work in the civil service? What if you are an MP? or even a grass root leader…. being visible for a gay person is not a trivial affair, it can mean a difference between bread and butter, life or death.

    Metta
    Kelvin Wong

  46. YCK says:

    wang,

    Thanks again!

  47. saltwetfish says:

    Sorry, I actually posted something like this, but left 5 links and it did not appear, I guess it was chucked as spam by Akismet!

    Palmist, you said (sounds like American Idol liao):

    “I am not sure what programme church of our saviour is running but the person being counselled would probably have to agree to the counselling. Counselling is a guided process where the person involved must first agree to the change. If not any amount of counselling would not do any good. I am not sure if it is compulsory to actually attend these counselling session. Maybe you can shed some light.”

    I think we must understand that when gay people needs to see a counselling for such matters, they are usually ridden with issues, guilt, shame, doubts and low self-esteem. Some are even suicidal. At such moments, they are susceptible to any suggestions that will make them “happier” or “well”

    Moreover, organisations that practices reparative therapy views homosexuality as a mental illness and its only some fundamentalist Christians that have been advocating this since its usefulness has been overturned by most if not all professional psychiatrists. On top of that, sometimes they may take a “non-sectarian” approach but in fact include into their counselling are definitely sectarian views. The hoohah over sex education in schools by some Christian organisation masked as non-sectarian is a very good example. It becomes worst when they assert that their pseudo-science is facts.

    I have seen documentaries about gay people who have gone through the Choices programs and its a very heart wretching to hear their pains and shame and guilt which they had to go through to try to be straight and to hate themselves. Many of those are emotionally scarred for life and even as I meet some of the gay people who have went through such programs, I could still sense those scars on them.

    Here is 2 urls:
    http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_HRC&CONTENTID=31569&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm
    http://www.yawningbread.org/apdx_2004/imp-146.htm

  48. saltwetfish says:

    Sorry for spamming, as I cannot add too many urls in one post, here are 2 more links

    http://www.logcabin.org/lef/reparative_therapy_article.html
    http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2003/yax-337.htm

    Anyway, a search on the internet for “reparative therapy” will provide you with a lot of information, albeit mostly US based

  49. kwokheng says:

    wang:

    ‘your other post, no fact/no stats,no opinion.’

    no opinion? but surely, it’s not my fault if you can’t read it.

    you go and look thru scholarship listing loh… see how many scholarships/bursaries you find from christians.

    but we should thank christians for boosting the construction industry i suppose.

    because that’s probably most of where the money goes to.

    kh

  50. saltwetfish says:

    kwokheng,

    I hope that this is does not become a christian bashing thread, for I don’t understand why should Christians give scholarships free, just because Buddhist did that. After all, is the perogative of Christians to do wha they want with their sponsorship, isn’t it? What about Muslim, Hindus and other religions?

    swf

  51. kwokheng says:

    if you think that kwokheng cares, then you’re wrong.

    if you think that kwokheng did not care, then you’re also wrong.

    and in any case, it doesn’t matter: because kwokheng doesn’t exist.

    where the thing in question cannot be represented, it cannot be said to be, real.

  52. kwokheng says:

    there is always the ‘delete’ button.

  53. kwokheng says:

    there are christians and then, there are christians.

    some christians seem to be false christians.

    not HI however.

  54. kwokheng says:

    in any case, kwokheng has done his bit.

    the land that you call ‘country’ should be guaranteed a survival for at least 20-30 years more.

    and it is thus, kwokheng need not answer to you.

  55. Kelvin has asked me to come back here and respond 🙂 I think there are only three issues I feel any need to touch on.

    1. The question was posed: if moderates get vocal like the fundies, won’t they be fundies too?

    No, because what makes a fundie is not because he is vocal, but because of the intolerant, dogmatic positions he espouses. So it is still possible for a moderate to speak up and be seen as a moderate. I’m sure no one here is asking for moderates to shove their moderateness down the throats of others, but only to ensure that the fundies do not monopolise the public image of their religion, which was the concern that prompted the above article in the first place.

    2. Someone above asked (rhetorically?) whether then the moderates by their silence are to blame for the state of affairs.

    I don’t think it is helpful at all to speak in terms of blame. I think where I was coming from was to agree with this blog that hey, there is a problem with the perception of Christianity (not just over homosexuality, but politics too, as the blog article mentioned at the satrt)…. and that one way of addressing this problem is for those who feel that it’s not a comfortable situation for them, to speak up with their (different) views as well. I grant, as another comment said, that moderate people are by nature the live and let live type, and that they are not easily aroused to speak up compared to the passionate extremists. So, ya, there is question of social psychology which I can forgivingly understand too.

    3. Palmist brought up the question of how gays are also perceived unfairly as promiscuous.

    Actually, this is not exactly an analogous situation with the public (mis)perception of Christianity and Islam. In the case of the religions, the people who first create the (mis)perception are members of their own religions, albeit the statistically unrepresentative ones. But the notoriety so created affects other Christians/Muslims too.

    The image of gay people as promiscuous is created mostly by those with an anti-gay agenda, not by gay people themselves, in order to paint the minority as morally degenerate… in order to achieve their anti-gay ends.

    Nonetheless the dilemma created for the great majority of gay people is similar to the dilemma created by extremists for the majority of Christians/Muslims.

    Shouldn’t “moderate” gays speak up too, Palmist asked.

    But here the analogy breaks down again. Because palmist’s idea of speaking up is to deny/forswear promiscuity. Promiscuity is independent of homosexuality, and is a moral standard used mainly in the context of the Abrahmic religions. Some gay people believe in monogamy, just as some heterosexual people do. But some gays and some straights don’t. Monogamy is not necessarily a standard that everybody, universally subscribes to. it is a culture-specific standard.

    How do I explain this?

    OK, say non-Indians go around believing the stereotype that Indians are uncivilised. Then someone says, if Indians feel they are unfairly stereotyped by this, then (moderate) Indians should speak up and deny that they do uncivilised things such as eating with their hands.

    But as you can see, the question is really this: why is eating with one’s hands considered uncivilised such that it is used as a test for moral or civilisational fitness? Ditto, why monogamy?

    Another person could go around and say, see Christians are ungodly because they eat meat. Moderate Christians should speak up and deny that they do such things!

    Such a challenge is absurd. The choice of the test standard is loaded. The moment one tries to defend oneself to such a question is to accept the test standard.

    Hence, many gay people, like myself, do not directly respond to the test standard of monogamy. We question the biased intent behind such a standard.

  56. kwokheng says:

    Those who make the most noise—that is, without the spirit of ‘live and let live!’—should contribute the most to society.

    And that, is my problem, with Christians.

    Or to put it more accurately, ‘false Christians’.

  57. kwokheng says:

    In other words: ‘The Art of Painting Yourself Into a Corner, Then Rebelling Against it’.

    Why?

    Because some people derive most of their energy from rebelling against Something.

    So it always helps, to burn ALL the bridges.

  58. palmist says:

    “Yes, I agree that there is probably an imbalance within this stereotype that could be addresses. However, unlike a moderate Christian or Muslim, its not easy for any gay persons to come out into the public sphere. They have a lot of considerations like their family, friends, workplace and religious affiliation. Only a minority of gay people are actually out, some are thrown out of their house, some were beaten up and some disowned, there is also fear of your job security, what if you work in the civil service? What if you are an MP? or even a grass root leader…. being visible for a gay person is not a trivial affair, it can mean a difference between bread and butter, life or death.”

    Hi kelvin

    while I understand the difficulties faced by homosexuals trying to come out I must say that there are many other platforms (eg the internet)to voice out their disagreement within the community of homosexuals. I don’t think one has to come out of the ‘closet’ to speak up against practices that put them in a negative light.

  59. palmist says:

    hi saltwetfish

    “I think we must understand that when gay people needs to see a counselling for such matters, they are usually ridden with issues, guilt, shame, doubts and low self-esteem. Some are even suicidal. At such moments, they are susceptible to any suggestions that will make them “happier” or “well””

    I just like to clarify if it was made compulsory for them to attend such counselling.

    I am not sure if the counselling center actually tells clients that they would be happier and well if they go for counselling.

    I would like to clarify if you are suggesting that their vunerability absolve them of all responsibility in the choices they make?

    I have never been for such counselling and have not met people who has gone through such counselling so I would like to gather accurate data before I make a judgment. Of course I would like to think that Church of Our Saviour did not act irresponsibly in a counselling session.

    “Moreover, organisations that practices reparative therapy views homosexuality as a mental illness and its only some fundamentalist Christians that have been advocating this since its usefulness has been overturned by most if not all professional psychiatrists. On top of that, sometimes they may take a “non-sectarian” approach but in fact include into their counselling are definitely sectarian views. The hoohah over sex education in schools by some Christian organisation masked as non-sectarian is a very good example. It becomes worst when they assert that their pseudo-science is facts.”

    did you find out what COOS beliefs are? I am not sure you seem to assume that they believe in the same thing?

    I am not sure which christian organisation was involved in the hoohah but if my memory does not fail me I think it is a catholic organisation. We have very different theology and beliefs.

    “have seen documentaries about gay people who have gone through the Choices programs and its a very heart wretching to hear their pains and shame and guilt which they had to go through to try to be straight and to hate themselves. Many of those are emotionally scarred for life and even as I meet some of the gay people who have went through such programs, I could still sense those scars on them.”

    Again are these documentaries you’ve watched done in singapore? If not can you assume that the programme ran in singapore are the same as the ones in US?

  60. palmist says:

    “Actually, this is not exactly an analogous situation with the public (mis)perception of Christianity and Islam. In the case of the religions, the people who first create the (mis)perception are members of their own religions, albeit the statistically unrepresentative ones. But the notoriety so created affects other Christians/Muslims too.

    The image of gay people as promiscuous is created mostly by those with an anti-gay agenda, not by gay people themselves, in order to paint the minority as morally degenerate… in order to achieve their anti-gay ends.”

    Actually I don’t think that is true. I am no expert in homosexuality, so correct me if I am wrong. AIDS was first discovered because of unusual case of kasopi sarcoma from the gay population. That in itself has no anti gay agenda but just factual reporting. The first correlation of AIDS was with homosexuals. From hindsight we would know that promiscuous behaviour can lead to the spread of AIDS. I don’t think there is any antigay agenda in it. Coupled with the fact that anal intercourse do increase the risk of transmission.

    Saying that all report of the gay population has antigay agenda is not entirely accurate. There are some reports that are antigay just as there are reports of religion motivated by hate.

    “Nonetheless the dilemma created for the great majority of gay people is similar to the dilemma created by extremists for the majority of Christians/Muslims.

    Shouldn’t “moderate” gays speak up too, Palmist asked.

    But here the analogy breaks down again. Because palmist’s idea of speaking up is to deny/forswear promiscuity. Promiscuity is independent of homosexuality, and is a moral standard used mainly in the context of the Abrahmic religions. Some gay people believe in monogamy, just as some heterosexual people do. But some gays and some straights don’t. Monogamy is not necessarily a standard that everybody, universally subscribes to. it is a culture-specific standard.”

    Actually I am not speaking from a moral perpective but more from a public health perspective. Promuscuity leads to spread of AIDS especially in the gay population because of anal sex(I do recognise not all gays engage in anal sex). Maybe the piece of news has antigay agenda but do gay actually speak up against those public bath house to meet guys to engage in sex. Of course I can agree and respect the right for individual to choose their lifestyle. However it can also be a public health concern.

    I don’t care to restraint gay sexual habit, but I am sure we can agree that promiscuity can increase the spread of AIDS. Especially anal sex. So I guess speaking up against multiple sex partners is not exactly just about moral standards. If a significant portion of the singapore gay population thinks that monogamy or rather commiting to a single sex partner is bullshit, then AIDS might just spread a bit faster in the population. Of course safe sex practice counts.

    Do correct me if there is any factual errors.

    Thanks HI for allowing the discussion. I hope you don’t mind us treating your blog as a playground 🙂

  61. humanoidinterface says:

    I always welcome discourse, so no problem. Sorry for the silence, but I don’t have anything new to add.

    In other news, the irksome whybegay site is down. Yay! Kudos to Aaron, Ben and Kitana for discrediting him entirely.

  62. Dee says:

    Heh… even if there isn’t a majority, as long as there is a vocal and influential minority, their views and speeches will have a lasting impact on the population. As long as anyone takes them seriously, that is.

    Intolerance of homosexuality and other bigoted views? Sometimes, one only needs to look at some of the schools and wonder what exactly they’re promoting. There’re at least a few teachers who pepper their comments with xenophobic and homophobic and other bigoted slurs.

    Anyways, I wonder how much longer it’ll be before such fundamentalist Christians progress to acts of violence. For history has shown that radical groups tend to become increasingly vocal and often, start employing physical attacks when “preaching by word” is no longer enough.

    How long before some parents start beating up a hapless child(from school) because they deem that he/she is sinning for practising an “unacceptable religion”? Or when teachers start meting out punishment because “said religion” is unacceptable? Or when said religion becomes yet another factor for exclusion in terms of job employment?

  63. Ned Stark says:

    HI,

    seems that the gay fella strikes again, this time on Mr Wang’s blog. But Mr Wang has an interesting link to a web talking about lesbians who are Christian. Rather interesting i must say.

    Dee,
    Well i dun think we need to fear another inquisition in Singapore as of yet. The government wont allow it. But no one can say for certain what the future holds so…

  64. Hi Dee, I like yr name, it sounds like mine. Lol. Hmm, I personally think Christianity is quite far from evoking violence in the name of Christ. The war imagery is commonly used in Christian doctrines, i.e. the good christian soldier and the armour of God and so on. However, in Singapore at least, this is all figurative speech that has a biblical basis and is used to urge the flock to fight the daily battles of life, to not give in to personal vices and so on. It has an edification purpose, and usually it is quite clear that the ‘enemy’ is usually oneself (fleshly/carnal nature) and not a human being, i.e. a hapless child for instance. The ‘enemy’ also includes the devil, whom I think has been glorified too much by Hollywood already and needs no further mention.

    And I think our efficient government is there, ready at all times to wield the Sedition Act to restore order and peace should even a hint of violence erupt within the religious community. But I do understand where you’re coming from and I recognise that this ‘us against them’ attitude has dangerous implications, especially in a non-homogeneous society.

    Ned Stark,
    As for interesting articles on lesbians, there’s another article on Yawning Bread’s website about how the Council of Churches wanted consistency in the laws, i.e. since male homosexual acts are criminalised, female ones should likewise be criminalised.

    http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2007/yax-719.htm

  65. Ned Stark says:

    HI,
    Yup, read that one. I must say that while they do not seem to be whipping any anti homo emotions as of yet, they seem to be nudging people in the direction that homosexuality is a sin. Thus it is too early to say if there will indeed be a second inquisition. However that gay guy is once again out there , for lack of a better word, talking c%^& in mr wang blog. Some people are just plain dumb:P

  66. saltwetfish says:

    Hi Palmist,

    Sorry for the late reply as yours was a long one and need time to think about it.

    “I just like to clarify if it was made compulsory for them to attend such counselling.”

    No I don’t think that it is not compulsory for them to attend. However, at a state when a person is deep in self-hatred, self-doubt and self-confusion, what would you do? Would you be able to objectively and logically make good judgement?

    “I am not sure if the counselling center actually tells clients that they would be happier and well if they go for counselling.”

    Probably not, but they may tell them that they can turn straight. Choices slogan is “Gay but not happy?”. They tell their clients that they can change and become straight, there are no leeway to explore ones homosexuality in such counselling.

    For more info about choices go to http://www.choices.org.sg/ and http://www.coos.org.sg/ministries/healingcounselling/index.php?sectnum=p5&coospg=choices.html

    “I would like to clarify if you are suggesting that their vunerability absolve them of all responsibility in the choices they make?”

    You are making an assumption of strong will and free will. Which choices we make in life are not influenced by circumstances around us or things that we internalised over time? Like I have said, people who wants to go for counselling are usually those who have diminished capacity to objectively look at their problems. I am saying that one needs to be able to step into the shoes of another to understand the issue.

    “Again are these documentaries you’ve watched done in singapore? If not can you assume that the programme ran in singapore are the same as the ones in US?”

    Yes those are in the US, but Choices is affiliated with EXODUS who organises these counselling with institutes like NARTH. I am able to say what I say also based by my own experience hearing from gay people who have gone through such programs and also see the effects of it on these ex-ex-gays. I know these are not “objective”, you don’t have to believe what I say, go find it out yourself, go attend one of the choices programs or ask COOS about it also talk to the gay affirmative church in Singapore, http://www.freecomchurch.org.

    Metta
    Kelvin Wong

    Metta
    Kelvin Wong

  67. saltwetfish says:

    Hi Palmist,

    This is a reply to the 2nd posting….for YB I guess.

    “Promiscuity leads to spread of AIDS especially in the gay population because of anal sex(I do recognise not all gays engage in anal sex).”

    I think that you may be confused between a person have AIDS, behaviour and how AIDS is transmit.

    Promuscuity does not lead to spread of AIDS, it is unsafe sex and lack of education that does. Straight men and women are as promiscuous nowadays and they can get AIDS also if they don’t practice safe sex.

    Also sex is only one of the means of spreading AIDS, contact sports, drug needle use and blood transfusion can also spread AIDS. Secondly, even though patient zero is homosexual, what significance does that have? What is the majority of AIDS sufferers now in the world? You seem to think that AIDS chooses it victims.

    Further more virginal sex is as risky as anal sex and there is a much larger population of heterosexual getting AIDS than homosexuals. Again it is the unsafe behaviour and lack of education that leads to the spread of AIDS not just promiscuity alone.

    “Saying that all report of the gay population has antigay agenda is not entirely accurate. There are some reports that are antigay just as there are reports of religion motivated by hate.”

    I don’t deny that promiscuity exists within the gay population (just as it exists in your world), but it also exists in the straight world. Howmany articles have you see in the Straits Times/Newpapers that talks about gay couples and gay people that says how well-adjusted and happy they are, compared to the amount of bad publicity?

    There are reports of religions motivated by hate, but equally there are counter reports from mainstream, have we see this from the mainstream… further more CAN the mainstream actually print it, if they want to?

    Metta
    Kelvin Wong

  68. Dee says:

    Cripes, my comment was lost when I shut down Firefox by mistake! :/ And please pardon my English. I’d only had 3 hours of sleep in the past 24 hours.

    Anyways, here’s what I wanted to say:

    Thank you, my humanoid friend!!! What do you mean, though? :p It sounds like your real name? 😀

    And thank you, humanoid, for the explanation. I’ve not been to church as of late so I didn’t know/remember about the “imagery of war in terms of casting away personal sins”. (Although, I find it EXTREMELY hypocritical that there’re so many well-off churchgoers with horrible behaviour and that the priests/pastors/Fathers don’t even reprimand them much. Instead, these people spend their time trying to convert others based on a set of values they apply to everyone else but themselves.)

    Could the issue of “worshippers blindly throwing themselves into a religion be related to the following fact?

    That as of late, many of the churches have emphasized a lot on “quantity of the congregation” and not “depth of faith”. Could this be one of the many reasons why we’re seeing an increase of “religious devotees who’ve little to no understanding of their own faith”?

    Also, yet another reason could be the fact that humans tend to grow complacent over time. I understand that the churches here have suffered a few scandals(corruption, etc.) but otherwise, they haven’t gone through much, have they?

  69. humanoidinterface says:

    Yoz Dee, yep, you’ve guessed it, it sounds like my real name. Lol. Anyway, I think the hypocrisy part of Christianity is a bit iffy because one has to see which standard one is judging by. If it is judging by the standard of the bible, then like I said in my post, it’s difficult to achieve that standard of sinless perfection. But of course, one should be repentent of one’s own wrongdoing. As for the reprimanding part, I do not know. I get some of them though from my own leaders. Lol.

    Actually, as for your second point, I think there can be both quantity and quality in a congregation. I don’t see them as necessarily mutually exclusive. For instance, if one starts with quality believers, this will result in more people being drawn and leads to quantity. But of course, there is the issue of limited resources of the church. But that varies from church to church. And I think believers who are in a religion for the right purpose will try to glean as much understanding as they can of their own faith. It’s a matter of time.

    As for the churches in Singapore not having gone through much, do you mean persecution? I think there was government action taken against a few believers a few years back when they got socially and politically involved. Since then I think there was a chilling effect. I don’t think you need opposition to build strong churches. It’ll be a crappy way to grow strong, no? The better way might be competition. Let Christianity be part of the marketplace of ideas and try to distinguish itself from others in a positive manner.

  70. palmist says:

    Hi saltwetfish

    “No I don’t think that it is not compulsory for them to attend. However, at a state when a person is deep in self-hatred, self-doubt and self-confusion, what would you do? Would you be able to objectively and logically make good judgement?”

    I seriously don’t know because people react differently. Some would seek help, others would withdraw. To seek help is actually logical. Whether seeking christian counsel is good judgment is debatable. ; ) What I do know is there is a choice. When choice is given people have a responsibility. (that is my view) There is always a choice to seek other counselling centre that are non religious. I am sure even a depress person wouldn’t seek help from any person who offers them. In fact I think there are many depress people who are not ready to share or confront their issues and choose to stay away from counselling. They just want some friend to listen to them. That probably is the best form of therapy for them.

    “Probably not, but they may tell them that they can turn straight. Choices slogan is “Gay but not happy?”. They tell their clients that they can change and become straight, there are no leeway to explore ones homosexuality in such counselling.”

    Why would one go for christian counselling if they want to explore homosexuality. They should go to a non-religious counsellor who offer advice to help them adapt. If however a gay person decides that he wants to change and be ‘straight’ he can try christian counselling. We are talking about choices here right : ) What do the person want. The choice is for him to make.

    “You are making an assumption of strong will and free will. Which choices we make in life are not influenced by circumstances around us or things that we internalised over time? Like I have said, people who wants to go for counselling are usually those who have diminished capacity to objectively look at their problems. I am saying that one needs to be able to step into the shoes of another to understand the issue.”

    I do understand that some people might be desparate enough to try everything to get their relief. With our limited knowledge even if we are objective we can only make the best guess.

    My point is choice was given in this instance. I am quite sure christian counselling is not the only option they have. I do believe that singaporean possess basic knowledge of the Christian faith especially the gay community.

    “es those are in the US, but Choices is affiliated with EXODUS who organises these counselling with institutes like NARTH. I am able to say what I say also based by my own experience hearing from gay people who have gone through such programs and also see the effects of it on these ex-ex-gays. I know these are not “objective”, you don’t have to believe what I say, go find it out yourself, go attend one of the choices programs or ask COOS about it also talk to the gay affirmative church in Singapore, http://www.freecomchurch.org.”

    Ya I guess the only way to find out is to talk to someone who is counselling 🙂 I have no idea if they are the same. Of course there will be ex ex gays and there will be ex gays and all that. I am not about to say who is righ twho is wrong here. One thing I want to point out though that there is a diverse group of people with different experience in the gay population. What works for some might not work for others. I have people who tell me those who can become straight are not true gays to began with much like how we have pseudo christians 🙂

  71. palmist says:

    “think that you may be confused between a person have AIDS, behaviour and how AIDS is transmit.

    Promuscuity does not lead to spread of AIDS, it is unsafe sex and lack of education that does. Straight men and women are as promiscuous nowadays and they can get AIDS also if they don’t practice safe sex.”

    Are you trying to tell me multiple sex partners do not lead to the spread of AIDS???????? Part of safe sex is not to have many partners. I think your thinking does not stand up to the evidence in the epidermiology.

    “Also sex is only one of the means of spreading AIDS, contact sports, drug needle use and blood transfusion can also spread AIDS.”

    It certainly is not the only way but it is definitely a major route of transmission or it wouldn’t be classified as a sexually transmitted diease.

    “Secondly, even though patient zero is homosexual, what significance does that have? What is the majority of AIDS sufferers now in the world? You seem to think that AIDS chooses it victims.”

    The spread of AIDS initially started with the homosexual population probably because of they sexual habits. Imagine if homosexuals were monogamous and do not share needles would AIDS have spread if patient zero was homosexual?

    I don’t see anything in my writing that suggest AIDS chooses it’s victim but multiple sex partners would put a person on a higher risk compared to a single sex partner couple. With protection or without.

    “Further more virginal sex is as risky as anal sex and there is a much larger population of heterosexual getting AIDS than homosexuals. Again it is the unsafe behaviour and lack of education that leads to the spread of AIDS not just promiscuity alone. ”

    Can I check the source of your information that virginal sex is as risky as anal sex. Would you like to cite some references. What I’ve read seemed to contradict your claims.

    I did not say promiscuitiy alone can cause spread of AIDS. It definitely increase the risk though.

    “don’t deny that promiscuity exists within the gay population (just as it exists in your world), but it also exists in the straight world. Howmany articles have you see in the Straits Times/Newpapers that talks about gay couples and gay people that says how well-adjusted and happy they are, compared to the amount of bad publicity?”

    I am not sure what is the point of publishing well adjusted and happy gay. Do you see people publishing about well adjusted happy heterosexuals?

    While promiscuity exist in the straight world I would not be quick to say that it doesn’t lead to the spread of AIDS. In fact I would say it is one of the main culprits.

  72. Kelvin Wong says:

    Hi Palmist,

    Yeah you are right in some of points:

    Promiscuity, TOGETHER with unsafe sex and lack of awareness can increase the spread of AIDS.

    Yes, unsafe anal sex is definitely more risky then unsafe virginal sex. I don’t about the risk difference with safe sex is involved though. Could not find the data. Actually what I was trying to say is that one can get AIDS from unsafe virginal sex and its happening all over the world and esp. in Africa, also, with the majority of AIDS sufferers being heterosexuals, including those in Singapore.

    Patient zero was the first patient found when AIDS was identified. However, that person was not the first case. AIDS was probably already spread in Haiti and/or Africa before patient zero got AIDS and it was in the heterosexual community.

    Palmist said: “I am not sure what is the point of publishing well adjusted and happy gay. Do you see people publishing about well adjusted happy heterosexuals?”

    The mass media including TV and the govt. are full of happy couples and happy family lives with people are talking about their family, their kids, their valentine, their honeymoon, etc. I guess we are so used to it, we sometimes forget. But every time you read about gay people and homosexual, is only when its a sensational report or some crime. This is what I mean by purposely skew.

  73. palmist says:

    Hi kelvin

    Actually part of safe sex is to have one partner, so I don’t think your statement that promiscuity together with unsafe sex holds.

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/qa22.htm

    The link above is tells you that there is a higher risk involve even with condom because generally anal sex can cause condom to break more easily. So there is a risk difference even when protection is used.

    I know people can get it from virginal sex and that is why I have no problems stating that promuscuity is the main culprit for the spread of AIDS. However I find that homosexuals are not so quick to emphasis this point. Your reply is a good example of how you would not want to point it out because some of your friends do lead that kind of lifestyle. YB expects Christian to condemn certain behaviours of other Christians yet at the same time there are issues in the gay community which they are not too willing to address. Personally I believe in choices. If a person is well informed of the consequences and still choose it, that is his choice. To think that by using a condom, protects you from AIDS no matter how many partners you sleep is not correct thinking(in my opinion) While you tell me virginal sex and many heterosexuals have AIDS, it doesn’t in anyway reduce the responsibility of homosexual population to control the spread of AIDS. It is like telling me I have a problem but the other has a bigger problems so I don’t really have a problem.

    Does it really matter if patient zero was a heterosexual or a homosexual? The data in my opinion strongly suggest that the initial spread (epidemic if I may put it) started from the homosexual population and skip to the heterosexual population either via needles or bisexual. I don’t think any one really knows the origin of AIDS and I can only say your statements about the origins is just a hypothesis. I say this not to demonise the homosexual but just looking at the data. I think homosexual has to be able to accept history without taking responsibility for it. Do correct me if I am wrong.

    I think potraying well adjusted heterosexual couple is of not use. We live in the real world and every couple have gone through their ups and downs. I think when people watch it, they will view it with a dose of healthy skepticism. Whatever the government preaches we follow. I don’t deny the fact that there is a media bias towards gays and lesbians. However there is a lot of movies, plays and althernate media out there that balances it. As much as gays are stereotyped by the mainstream media, the mainstreamed media is also seen as a propaganda tool for the government(not an unbiase information source)

  74. Bogan (Apprentice) says:

    Hi HI,

    I found a very interesting article that parallels your post in The Age (newspaper of metropolitan Melbourne, Australia).

    Here it is:

    Cheryl Lawrie, ‘Meek and mild teacher, or mysterious rebel with a cause?’ (The Age, April 8, 2007)

  75. Bryan says:

    hi everyone

    I think that we are all falling into classic relativism. Without going into specific issues, let’s ask ourselves what Christianity is and why it is different from the other theories, religions and philosophies there.
    I think this represents it:

    – we have firm positions on many issues. I will demonstrate it is not intolerance but for the moment, black is black and white is white. What meets God’s standard meets it and what does not meet it falls short.
    This kind of absolute standard stands uneasy with the kind of relativism we have these days.

    – even though we fall short of God’s standard, don’t forget that God gave us grace, which is undeserved mercy. That is why we should not be intolerant.

    Both need to go hand in hand. One without the other is an imbalanced ship. We need to also remember that these concepts are hard to accept by many especially non-Christians but it’s what Christianity is all about. It’s the Old Testament and the New Testament, it;s the fire and brimstone and the Good News.

    Let’s also not forget that Christianity is a religion that believes in free will. Its followers are free to follow or not follow Christ. And so with that, if its followers wish to not follow any particular stance of the church, they are free to do so (of course with the following consequences but there is no sergeant major to get you in line just for the sake of doing so).

  76. humanoidinterface says:

    Hi Bryan, I know where you are coming from, the black is black and white is white part is something I’ve thought about. But think about it, how many things in life are absolute? And even if one begins with the premise that God’s word is absolute, there is the problem of interpretation. And interpretation makes the bible non-absolute. Of course, there are fundamentals that are not subject to interpretation, but then there are also the non-fundamentals. And even the classification of the fundamentals and non-fundamentals are subject to interpretation too.

    Then what a Christian believes in as absolute is simply the interpretation of what one pastor or the leadership of the church thinks. The thing is I’m not against following the bible, I think it contains infinite wisdom but maybe one should find out for oneself firstly whether it’s as black and white as it is made out to be, and secondly, whether it is the fundamentals of the gospel message.

    I think definitely that one should not place himself or herself in the position of the judge, ready to condemn at will. That’s not what I think the core message of the gospel is about. Even if one thinks that something is wrong, let’s say, promiscuity, one should not flee from the person or judge the person. After all, one does not know what the other person has gone through. One is not God, who can see the entire life span of the human life, and know what makes the person who he or she is. Therefore, I think that it is wrong to practise intolerance in the name of religion. Even if one thinks that something is wrong is no reason for one to advocate its criminalisation. Of course this only holds if it’s done within reason. I’m not saying that murderers should go scot-free and people who rob old ladies in the lifts should go unpunished.

    I am not sure what you mean about intolerance and God’s grace. Is it that since we are all sinners and have been saved by grace, we shouldn’t act holier than thou because like other non-christians we were / are also sinners?

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  1. […] Taken from “The God Confusion”: […]

  2. […] more insidious form whereby people go around daming everyone not from their religion to hell. As Humanoid Interface puts it, relgion has often been used as a tool for oppresion, violence and just plain nastiness at […]



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