23 February 2009

Preachers, pests and usurpers

Two students of Ngee Ann Polytechnic were annoyed when people came to preach to them as they were busy with their project work. But that is only the "soft" end of evangelism in Singapore and Hong Kong. Full essay.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

An alternative to getting
annoyed is to watch them
squirm by asking them to explain

1) Amalekite babies

2) Midianite virgins

3) Egyptian firstborns

4) For Catholics, what "Limbo"
used to be for.

5) How kangaroos arrived
in Australia (those
with the stomach to defend
the Noah story).

Just sit back and watch...

Anonymous said...

This a a resource to help
deal with these nutcases
a bit aggressively

http://www.atheist-experience.com/

Also look up "Hitchens" and "Religion" in youtube.
In the great tradition
of Russell, the strongest
arguments against these
people are - ironically - not
scientific but MORAL!

Here is a taste of it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2G5Y4dSfAk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg5UNxOmTIY&feature=related

For "biblical inerrancy",
here's a start:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJluEnIqTVk

Anonymous said...

Another moral argument against
these nutcases:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofhpfg75rac

Anonymous said...

If all else fails, try ridicule:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o&feature=related

HanSolo said...

"Please don't try to pretend that bible studies or similar gatherings is "spreading knowledge" or deny that the whole aim of all these "going arounds" is ultimately to get others to abandon their religion for yours."

Well said, I couldn't have put it better myself.

On a related note, do you know if an atheist organisation would be banned in Singapore?

KiWeTO said...

Well,

I would propose that an atheist society be officially set up as a 'religion', but logic seems to be beyond those led by visions of an afterlife.

Afterall, if there are a large % of people in Singapore who do not believe in any organized religion, there is nobody to speak up for them when the 7 GREAT religious leaders meet together to promote tolerance in other beliefs.

Atheists could be inspired by visions of a better current life ?


The UK has just formed its first Aetheistic organization. Perhaps we will have ours in another 400 years?


;-)



E.o.M.

Anonymous said...

"On a related note, do you know if an atheist organisation would be banned in Singapore?"

S.Rajaratnam was atheist and made
no attempt to hide it.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

HanSolo asked: "On a related note, do you know if an atheist organisation would be banned in Singapore?"

Technically, there is no law that would automatically ban one. But the way the Singapore government works is that it has written laws that give it a lot of discretion. I can imagine a Registrar of Societies using that boundless discretion and saying that an atheist organisation would so enrage established religions that it would be considered a threat to the security of Singapore, and then ban it.

Of course any secondary school student would be able to point out the intellectual vacuity of such and argument but this would mean nothing. It would just be one more absurd ruling on top of zillions of absurd rulings, including two that said gays and lesbians cannot be allowed to form a society. 1997, 2004.

Anonymous said...

To add to the first comment,
let's try something within
the lifetimes of the Americans
they learned their fundamentalism
from.

Ask them what use was made
of the "mark of Cain" by the
Southern Baptists.

And just to make sure I give the Catholic sense of moral priorities equal time, Goebbels
was excommunicated not for his
part in the holocaust but for
marrying a Protestant divorcee.

Anonymous said...

LOL! An atheist organisation is the ultimate paradox though in these days it may just not be surprising like "socialism with Chinese characteristics".

On a more serious note, I feel that the state needs to expand its ideas of religious harmony from the narrow definitions of refraining from converting muslims in Singapore to one that would force all religious groups to accept religious pluralism and secularism. In this respect, Christian groups in Singapore have refused actively to subscribe to these values.
In the case of this story that YB points out, Younger christians, converts or born-agains seem to be more passionate about forcing their faiths into others throats. I feel that it should therefore be the legal responsibility of christian organisations leash their followers if they are serious in respecting other faiths.

KK

Anonymous said...

Are all these Christians recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. If not, will the relevant authorities ban them?

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

To Anonymous 24 Feb, 11:28 - It is difficult to fathom your question. there is no such thing as "recognition". Not all Christians are Catholics. What "relevant authorities" and what law ("ban") are you referring to?

Anonymous said...

To YB,

I dare say that

"Are all these Christians recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. If not, will the relevant authorities ban them?"

is not English - that is why
you had trouble fathoming it.

It is actually Higher Singlish.
You see traces of it in the Straits
Times. Our 3rd generation Ministers speak it and can't
shake it off.

You know it by the frequency of
the words:

1) Qualified
2) Relevant Authorities
3) Credible
4) Elite
5) Calibre

you know the rest.

HanSolo said...

Anon: "S.Rajaratnam was atheist and made
no attempt to hide it."

I'm not talking about individuals, but an organisation to actively promote atheist beliefs and healthy scepticism.


YB: "... saying that an atheist organisation would so enrage established religions that it would be considered a threat to the security of Singapore, and then ban it."

Yes I suspect that is indeed what would happen.

At the end of the day, we can never achieve true religious harmony without allowing frank discussions.

Weiye said...

Something relevant, albeit on the other side of the globe.

The American Family News Network, which is affiliated with American Family Association (the one that prompted the boycott of Campbell soup last December) recently did a poll (Should universities affiliated with a particular church or denomination be expected to uphold the values and doctrines of that religious group?). It's disturbing to find out that over 95% said yes. (http://www.onenewsnow.com/Poll.aspx?ekfrm=426108)

However, I have qualms accepting the arguments that religious belief is not knowledge, and that sharing it is to get people to convert ultimately.

Firstly, what is knowledge? It's something that's too broad and philosophical to debate. Depending on which epistemological perspective you take, (the definition of) knowledge varies.

Secondly, spreading of beliefs occurs everywhere, not only religious ones. The scientific 'knowledge' that we receive these days are not immune to (often male-centric, patriarchal) bias. And these 'knowledge' do underlie certain beliefs that are less explicit, and hence less obvious, than the religious ones in this case (see Harding, 1991; Haraway 1992).

Aren't scientists also trying to convince us to see the world in their perspectives through 'objective' research, experiments, statistics, etc (just as religious folks are trying to convince us with religious quotes)? The problems only occur when alternative (and conflicting) view points are not tolerated. It is therefore possible to spread (a better word will be to engage) religious 'knowledge' and not coerce people to convert. The action and aim can and should be separated. That's my personal opinion. =)

Haraway, D. (1992). Primate visions: Gender, race, and nature in the world of modern science. New York: Verso.
Harding, S. (1991). Whose science? Whose knowledge? Thinking from women’s lives. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Donaldson Tan said...

The Catholics worships a pregnant teenager who gave birth to a child that is not of her husband. And they claim to assert of moral leadership over fellow citizens? Religious pricks!

Anonymous said...

actually,i do not see any conflict between the bible and atheists concern. in fact, jesus is anti religious. :) especially towards christianity. he called for the "temple" to be demolished but religiousmongers either too dim to understand or refuse to take heed.as a resut, todays christianity is basically one big money making machine serving the god of mammon or the capitalists dogs.

and look at what they have done to the world?

during bush holy reign, he rocked the world's economy, destablised the political world and further increased hatred and bloodshed in the middle east.

tell me, what so 'christian" about that?

in fact, that's what christianity about.

the great hypocrisy which jesus hated!

the bible has been grossly misinterprted.

the good news is, a lot of you are right.

Anonymous said...

YB, I may draw your attention to Article 15 (Fundamental Liberties) of the Constitution:

Freedom of religion
15. —(1) Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and to propagate it.

In all jurisdictions, the freedom of religion has been read to mean the freedom NOT to have a religion.

If "[every] person has the right to profess and practise his religion...", it follows that compelling one to have a religion is a breach of the freedom of religion clause.

The legal inference then is that both personal atheism and atheist organizations have a sound legal basis.

Anonymous said...

"Aren't scientists also trying to convince us to see the world in their perspectives through 'objective' research, experiments, statistics, etc "

Ah what wonders postmodernism
has done to our youth...

There are some incredible things
that can only be said when you lack education.

And for some others, you need an
education...

Anonymous said...

"the bible has been grossly misinterprted."

This is not saying anything.

What makes you think people
who "misinterpret" the bible
cannot say the same of you?

Anonymous said...

"actually,i do not see any conflict between the bible and atheists concern."

Look at the first comment
(except point 4)

zhongguoren said...

Read Richard Dawkins who aptly describes religion as a "preposterous mind-shrinking falsehood". Religious fanatics think they have the mandate of heaven to impose their stupidity onto the rest of us.


Seriously, the world would be a much better place without this nonsense called religion.