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.


maryann koh said...

i want to say that your first 2 paragraphs is a great summary of the saga. although i have not heard of AWARE till the take over by Josie Lau and group, and i am not gay or christian, i felt the same indignance as a lot of my fellow singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there is no such thing as total secularity simply because each one of us has our morals and values by which we make ethical judgements.
The 'secular law' that you talk about as keeping the peace is still based on something - in most cases you will find it is the very 10 commandments that you talk about (except, perhaps in the middle east).
As for your use of the 10 commandments in this post, I fear you have taken them out of context - destroying all non-believers is not the aim of Christians - (I will limit my input to Christianity here since it is quite obvious you have an issue with this group). It is said that,no matter what position you propose, you can find a Bible verse to support it. However, in doing so, you would probably need to take portions out of context thereby losing the actual meaning an intent of the passage.

Although I am a Christian, I don't particularly agree with the strategy that these women took. They may have had good intent but went about it the wrong way. It is good to see someone who has a conviction about something and willing to stand up for it at all. And I do agree with you that I would like to see more openness in airing and sharing one's views WITHOUT the emotional put-downs as we've seen of late....sadly, including in your post here.

Heng said...

I find the Christians the most active in evangelising their belief in Singapore. And although there is a lot of use of the word love in the promotion of Christianity, there are many verses in the bible and there are many passages which can inspire people to violence as well.

So while many Christians choose to focus on the love, which is good, it is also possible to interpret from the bible things like,
- The earth was created 6000 years ago
- Being gay or lesbian is a deviant act
- Stem cell research is the murder of embryos

These are viewpoints I do not agree with.

So if I have taken the ten commandments out of context, it really is not that difficult a thing to do. And that is dangerous in itself.

As Christians have taken it upon themselves to spread their beliefs, I feel that I need to express my viewpoints and my misgivings about religion as I know it. I have misgivings about the Quaran as well.

If this seems like an emotional put down, it is no more so than being told that my atheist parents and I can only find salvation in Christ. Or the idea that as Christ is the only way to salvation, all my ancestors in China are now in hell.