On Religion

on Wednesday, 2 July 2003
Before I start, I have a little disclaimer: 1. I am not a religion expert, just your average Malaysian Chinese guy, but I'm going to refer to Christianity mostly; 2. I am not trying to offend or be blasphemous, so to ye of narrow mind, let ye be warned! 3. To non-Christians, please do not take my words too seriously, these are merely my views and my perceptions, which may be wrong and/or inaccurate.

First off, I'd wanted to blog about this for a while already. I just never got started until I read these and this and this. Those links don't really related to what I'm trying to say here but some of the comments do. It's either I don't understand Christianity well enough, or I understand too much of points that most Christians seem to ignore.

I kept thinking about Christianity ever since I found my love. She's a Christian you see, and it seems that both my girlfriend and her mother would really prefer that I convert to a Christian soon. Sigh. Know what? I can't. I'm not an atheist or free thinker; I do believe in divinity, be it a single God or Gods, doesn't matter. A God would have multiple facets or sides and each of those sides could be seen as another entity, so it could be a polytheism technically. My view of God isn't similar to most, if not all, religions (narrow-mindedness reminder!) because I see God as a passive entity. And as such, I don't believe in religions and all they tell of. How can they know? Sure, it's based on holy books or scriptures, but that doesn't guarantee that's what God says (although the faithful would probably start shaking their head and/or cursing me). My point is, how would God be considered as taking an active role in our lives when there are no signs of it?

I used to believe in Christianity, back when I was a kid. But my father forbidded it (he says children must not be influenced so early, let us grow up and decide for ourselves) and really scolded my mother for even taking me to church. So you could say it's a childhood phobia. But as I grew, I saw that the God Christians spoke of isn't all that great. My er4 yi2 (second aunt on my mother's side in Chinese) died of liver cancer. She suffered for years in bed. Her husband became a devote Christian and everyday, pastors and fellow worshippers came from around the area to pray for her health. She died anyway. And my cousin (best friend at the time) and I became estranged cos his father moved and remarried.

Then there's my uncle who's a real hypocrite. Mouthing Christian virtues yet committing the most selfish and self-centered acts to his siblings and relatives. Serves him right for being a lonely old man now. There are others too, pretending to be good Christians yet are rotten when they're outside the church.

My point is not that Christians have to be good. My point is why did God let such things happen? My aunt was a devote worshipper and loved me and my mom very much. Why the hell did God let her die? Yeah, sure, Christians will say that it wasn't God's will, it's just plain bad luck that she was afflicted. Same goes for those who got SARS or were in Afghanistan or Iraq when the US invaded.

There was once this sermon I heard, which says that we should be thankful to God for the good things He provided, but must not blame him for the evil things that befall us. And here I was thinking that is so contradictory. And note that this doesn't just apply to Christians. This applies to most major religions. If God is all-encompassing, shouldn't it be possible for Him to be vengeful and punishing? Why does God not save His faithful, and why does God let live big evil-doers? Hope they will repent? Yeah right, like they will. Wars, famine, crimes, bad things are happening everywhere. Where's God? Does he care? Doesn't seem like He does. He weeps? So He'd rather weep than do something about it? I'm not saying God is bad or lousy, I'm just saying that He's a more passive type than religions try to portray Him (or Them, depending on your beliefs). Ever see any of your non-trivial prayers ever come true? It's never an unexplainable success or good luck. Pray for success? Sure, work hard, get the right connections, and you'll succeed. Exams? Sure, study hard, plan schedule, maintain health, spot questions. Pray for safety? How about good fortune? No, I forgot, there's no such thing as good luck, just bad luck.

One more thing is this: What is Heaven? An eternal realm of light where there's no pain or sorrow. This applies to almost all known major religions right? And I would ask, what else? What else do we do there? Do we just worship and praise God every day eternally? I've never met a Christian who has actually thought about this before. Just what is it can we do in Heaven that's going to last forever? Won't it be a pretty boring place when you do just about the same thing every single day for the rest of eternity? I don't know about you, but the idea of having to live forever in one place and do the same thing over and over again really scares me.

This is even more so if I go there with the knowledge that my parents, relatives, and close friends will never be there. My father's as good a father as you'll ever get. Providing for the family all by himself and raising great kids (shameless vanity!). My mom's a really devoted parent. And I have a wonderful, if sometimes bossy, sister. But they're not Christians; they don't go to church; they don't belong to any religion. By most religions, they're going to Hell. How can this be? What happened to "Love thy neighbour, love thy enemies"? Will God not be compassionate and let all righteous, honest, and hardworking people go to Heaven? Or must they spend an eternity in Hell with murderers and heinous evil simply for the 'sin' of not being a faithful?