Thoughts on Boxing Day

I have been reading the works of Richard Dawkins lately and I’m glad that he was the final nudge that drove me back into being an atheist. Thank God Darwin!

The problem about the resurgence of religious extremism in the later part of the century had made this world a very ugly place to live. We have people from all sides who claimed that God demanded them to blow up the world back to the stone ages. I don’t know about you but if God asked His children to kill each other, it seem to me that Satan (if he exists) is the one who is probably doing the talking.

Furthermore, enterprising people are using religion as a vehicle to accumulate huge amounts of wealth. Whether this wealth is used to enrich the soul is another question altogether. I’ve seen a church in Malaysia that is so obsessed in building a big multiplex mega-church activity center that it has programs to continuously raise funds just so that The Holy Spirit can have a proper home. The congregation is asked to support this vision through “faith” pledges, building funds, etc.

I’m just thinking aloud but if the Holy Spirit exists- which I know he/she/it doesn’t- I think that he/she/it would have wanted the congregation to focus its energy to doing good and helping people. It is through this good work that gains them respect, not huge monuments that play to one’s ego. And what is this fixation about building the biggest church, temple, mosque, statue got to do with God anyway?

Some people would quote some Bible passages and said that somewhere it is there. God wants so-and-so to build a great monument as decreed in the scriptures so that …ya-da-di-ya-da-da…. And since God’s scripture is divinely inspired it is always taken as the truth. But this is not the case as the Bible has been reinterpreted more times than George Lucas has ever tinkered with his Star Wars trilogy (or sextology or whatever you call a 6 parter). 

Take for example, the passages relating to slavery. We don’t keep slaves anymore (see slavery passages in Matthew 10:25, Luke 12:45-48 and many more) and that puts the Christian text into a little bit of a quandary. To be politically correct in the 21st century, we have to interpret “servants” in these passages as servants and not slaves. However, the historical context of the era in which these texts were originally written in refer to “servants” as slaves, not the meek and mild definition of servants that we are familiar with today. It is a far cry for us to imagine that two thousand years ago, there were people who voluntarily seek a life of bondage (unless you are that kind of sexual deviant, but that’s another story). Jesus had a chance to make Abraham Lincoln redundant but he didn’t.

Of course, one can’t do that nowadays without being labeled a heretic. It’s convenient, isn’t it? When it comes to religious matters, one just need to invoke the divine nature of God and all contrary forms rational and logical arguments are summarily dismissed. It is as if our priests, pastors, imams and mediums have an exclusive inter-dimensional direct hotline to their gods. How can they interpret ancient stories and myth to come up with something that is relevant to today’s world? I have an answer but it is not something that most will agree with me with.

I believe that it has to do with an earlier point that I was trying to make: in the world of big business, the business of salvation is a pretty lucrative one. What more if I can entertain you with stories about the parting of a sea, the virgin birth of a foretold saviour and the eventual ufo-like lifting of believers into la-la land before the final uprising of machines against unbelievers. Err. Okay, so the last one was lifted from the Terminator and Matrix movies but Schwazenegger and Keanu Reeves did make hugely obscene bucket loads of money from them. And when money is involved we all know what happens as one thing that still rings true today as it did two thousand years ago is the old maxim: The love of money is the root of all evil.

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