ambiguity

February 8, 2010

Religion-less

Filed under: Uncategorized — theinkhorn @ 1:22 pm

I love, absolutely love, talking to people about religion. It’s astounding, the lack of knowledge people have about their own religion, and of others. You’d expect more from someone who fervently believes in the existence of an invisible man with a divine plan. That is the common benchmark, i understand. My theory is if you’re going to criticise, make sure you get your facts right. Apparently that concept is lost on Lighthouse Evangelism Pastor Rony Tan.

I don’t want to come right out and insult someone, but who names their kid Rony? How badly do you want your kid to be beaten up? Anyway, that’s besides the point. Mr Rony Tan, according to this article from the Temasek Review, criticised Buddhism’s aspects of reincarnation and meditation, and was blasted by netizens for allegedly “ridiculing” it.

Coming from a man whose belief systems revolves around a spiritual being living in the sky whose son died and rose again three days later, that’s a little oxymoronic isn’t it. Or moronic, whichever makes you happy.

The truth is, the idea of reincarnation is much more acceptable than Christianity. Think about it. Christianity revolves around the belief that God sent his only son to die for our sins, so that we may once again enter the kingdom of heaven. This son apparently died and rose again three days later. The entire belief system works around the assumption that we are worth saving in the first place. That’s a little arrogant don’t you think? What have we done to deserve the attention of this almighty being?

The Buddhist rendition of reincarnation, however, teaches that it is not one’s identity that is reborn into another’s flesh, contrary to popular belief, but a stream of consciousness. It teaches that depending on one’s karmic “seeds”, a person in this life may be reborn as a different being in the next, but without any recollection of the previous life as it is not his/her personality that has been transmigrated. Don’t you sometimes look up in the heavens and curse your luck? Don’t you sometimes pose rhetorical questions such as “what did i do in my past life to deserve this” to yourself? This could be your answer. And it’s foolproof because since there is no transfer of memory involved in reincarnation, you wouldn’t remember. Hence there’s no way of proving if any of it is true. What a genius Siddy must’ve been.

The issue of meditation is a no-brainer. This guy’s a pastor, no? Surely he must’ve glanced through the bible at least once. Remember Joshua 1:8? You know, something about meditating on the book of the law? It’s in between Joshua 1:7 and Joshua 1:9. If you see Joshua 1:10, you’ve gone too far.

Meditation in Buddhism, at its worst, teaches one to direct his/her focus onto a single subject. It encourages thinking, and helps one understand his/her individuality. Way, way more productive than church if you ask me.

Make no mistake, I am in no way, interested in defending any religion. I am, however, very, very interested in dismissing the callous views of an uneducated man who believes that the only belief worth having is his own. If there is a god, i have no doubt that he would be disappointed.

If this god, or higher power or whatever you want to call it actually exists, then it certainly does not belong to organised religion, simply because no god would allow his religion to be the sole cause of so much death and bloodshed(“No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this” – George Carlin).

No amount of tough love, no amount of lessons to teach, no amount of reasons no matter how outstanding could ever justify Northern Ireland, Kashmir, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Thirty Years’ War and the Holocaust, just to name a few. Labelling a fellow religion ridiculous is itself a ridiculous thing to do. Yet another case of the pot calling the kettle a pot. Rony has to learn to think about what he says, especially since he holds a position of certain power and influence within his community. Then again, when has that ever stopped the religious?

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5 Comments »

  1. I don’t want to come right out and insult someone, but who names their kid Rony?
    -> maybe he named himself?

    Comment by quirkyhill — February 9, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

  2. Then it’s a simple matter of altering the question: What kind of wanker names himself Rony? It is one of the great mysteries of life. One of those question you will never get a decent answer to.

    Comment by theinkhorn — February 9, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  3. Zealots are always a worrisome bunch. But still, he apologised and the Buddhist Federation has accepted closing the matter for now, and what more can be done without causing more harm to the already deepening tension?

    Comment by thesunshineson — February 9, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  4. Don’t forget one of Buddhism’s noble eightfold path’s teachings – to speak in a truthful and non-hurtful way. Peace brothers.

    Comment by The journey — February 9, 2010 @ 10:17 pm

  5. thesunshineson: To be fair, religious people are all a worrisome bunch. The ability to accept the existence of any sort of spiritual deity causes me immense distress. I don’t discriminate. And, I do not buy into Rony’s apology one bit. Read the entry above for more info.

    Tension, contrary to what the government wants you to believe, is good. Simply because it enables growth. BUT only if both sides are civil enough to sit down and have a proper discussion. Which, apparently to Singaporeans, is redundant since calls for his resignation and prosecution are rampant.

    The journey: While it is true that I have more tolerance for Buddhism than Christianity, I feel like i have to make my stance clear. Buddhism, for me at least, is more a way of life than a religion. Besides, preaching Buddhist values only serves to maintain and enforce the fact that most religious scriptures encourage the same good behaviour anyway, but in different words. I may have defended Buddhism this time, but it may not be that way the next.

    Comment by theinkhorn — February 9, 2010 @ 11:28 pm


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