Friday, May 15, 2009

The irony of the Gay and Lesbian conspiracy theory

The irony of some Christians claiming that the gays and lesbians have a hidden agenda to promote gay and lesbianism. As if it were that easy. I interact with gays quite often and I am still heterosexual. That being said, I have a lot of Christian friends and some have tried their darnest to convert me, and I am more atheist than ever.

But more to the point, we who are of Chinese, Indian and Malay descent, what are the beliefs of our forefathers? Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and other religions like that. Where did Christianity originate from, Israel? How did this 'foreign' religion spread across the world? If the early missionaries simply preached the word of God, they would have probably been ignored or worse, physically abused. So what happened? The missionaries opened schools, to teach English, mathematics and Science. Yes, this transfer of knowledge is good. But they ran the schools and they preached, they cajoled, they evangelised the word of God. They offered us much needed knowledge, but they were not neutral on their beliefs, far from it.

The fundamentalists Christians believe that the earth is only 6000 years old. We had farming civilisations in India and China 10000 years ago. In the old testament, the believers had to make sacrifices to their God for salvation. In the new testament, Jesus formed a new covenant and he was the way, the only way, to heaven. Well, our poor forefathers, who in their belief of Confucius, or Shiva or some other God, are doomed to hell. If there is a Christian hell, and we end up there, we have several civilisations worth of company, including Buddha, Confucius, Mencius and many Hindu saints whom I am afraid I cannot name.

The conversion of Chinese, Indian and Malays and other people like Native American Indians, has caused much personal grief within families. I have seen a lot of friction caused by the younger people converting to Christianity. And in the religious intolerance of the converted, that they are not even willing to respect their own parents' belief that is sad. For a religion professing love, this intolerance to the parents' beliefs and rituals is frankly disrespect for the elders. What some new converts to Christianity fail to see in their fervor, is that parents with their age old belief in Taoism or Buddhism, raised them and gave them life. In many cases they gave them their education. And in these schools, the evangelicals converted them. Is there no graciousness in the new faith for the parents and elders of their society? The very parents who struggled so that they may live. For a time I was Christian. In my house I said grace and Thanked God for my food. My father was more amused than angry, he told me to thank him because he paid for the food on the table.

And how did these conversions happen? It was an un-hidden, blatant agenda, to convert the youth in educational institutions. And no, it was not neutral. There was no let us consider the major religions and you can decide. It has been in my experience, listen to the 'truth', 'you are a sinner and have to be saved, do you want to rot in hell?'

So to accuse the gays and lesbians of having a hidden agenda is truly hypocrisy of the highest level. There are a few neutral lines on gay and lesbian sex in CSE and so there is a conspiracy? Although I have been hit upon by gays before, I have never heard them tell me that I am sinner for remaining heterosexual. I have never had gays tell me that they have the one and only truth and it is gay. I have not heard of gays and lesbians being intolerant of heterosexuals! I have not seen the gay and lesbian community build a mega church or evangelise their beliefs on banners. Yes, there are gay bars and spas, but they do not bar straight people.

To profess to be a religion of love and to promote such hate. The real irony, is as unnatural as it may seem to conservative Christians, it is the gays and lesbians who are making love.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Month Of Photography Asia

Month Of Photography Asia

Month of photography is back. Look up the exhibitions and activities at their web site. And yes, Steve McCurry is conducting a workshop in The Pond.

Friday, May 08, 2009 » Fallout of the Aware saga: A letter to concerned parents » Fallout of the Aware saga: A letter to concerned parents

Catherine Lim writes an open letter to concerned parents. She says what I would like to say but she is much more eloquent than I am. The responses to her open letter are also interesting reads. I think that homosexuality is not something that will be easily resolved in Singapore. But at least people are now openly talking about their views. This is one good outcome of the AWARE saga.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

God vs. Science - TIME

God vs. Science - TIME

I must admit that I agree with Richard Dawkins on his views. So what surprises me are scientists who still believe in a religion. I think that Francis Collins, puts a good case for one to be an agnostic, to conclude that there may be a god. But I think Collins still fails to convince me why one religion should be favoured above the others.

This article makes and interesting read. And I also like the engagement in discussion and conversation. I think both men put their view points across forcefully, but do not use underhanded methods. There is not hostile takeover of another's organisation. There is no holy war. I think both men's ideals do not rest on the subjugation of other people like some more fundamentalists religious people.

I hope that both atheists and religious people continue to question with integrity and humanism.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A victory is not the winning of the war

I am glad that AWARE has voted out the fanatical Christians. This was NOT a victory for pro gay and pro lesbian lobbies. This was a time when moderate Christians, Muslims, heterosexuals, homosexuals came together as a civil society and said 'no' to power play by a minority group.

However, you can see that Josie Lau, in her belief that homosexuality is a deviant act, is unrepentant over her actions. I think that in the short run, the victory of removing Josie Lau and the Christian exco from AWARE is necessary. But the real work is yet to be done. For Singapore to truly move forward, people of different faiths and beliefs need to start engaging each other in a civic debate. We do not just need to discuss sex, homosexuality, abortion, stem cell research and other controversies in GP class. We need to discuss at every age and in every strata.

I have to talk about the elephant in the room that no one has the guts to talk about. People tell each other that they respect each other's viewpoints, but everyone's religious book is the infallabe, divine truth. Religions are mutually exclusive! And the truth is that to follow the holy books of one religion completely, is to destroy all non-believers.

The ten commandments from the book of Exodus:

11 Observe what I command you today. See, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

12 Take care not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or it will become a snare among you.

13 You shall tear down their altars, break their pillars, and cut down their sacred poles

14 (for you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God).

15 You shall not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, someone among them will invite you, and you will eat of the sacrifice.

16 And you will take wives from among their daughters for your sons, and their daughters who prostitute themselves to their gods will make your sons also prostitute themselves to their gods.

17 You shall not make cast idols.

18 You shall keep the festival of unleavened bread. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.

19 All that first opens the womb is mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep.

20 The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem.

No one shall appear before me empty-handed.

21 For six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even in ploughing time and in harvest time you shall rest.

22 You shall observe the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year.

23 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.

24 For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.

25 You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven, and the sacrifice of the festival of the passover shall not be left until the morning.

26 The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God.

You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

27 The Lord said to Moses: Write these words; in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.

The irony is that it is secular law, that keeps the peace here. Otherwise we would have an intractable war like the one in the middle-east.

I do not have the answers. But I hope that more people will weigh the price of their beliefs in this day and age. And then decide how to conduct themselves in a multi-racial, multi-religious society. Do we want to give up our peace and economic success for religious and/or racial conflict? Do we want what is happening in Southern Thailand between Muslims and Buddhists? Do we want the bloody civil war that has so scarred Ireland?

People hold their unshakable faith. I hope that the secular government can hold the peace in our country.