Sunday, February 18, 2007

Perspectives

So I'm surfing facebook, clicking on random links. And come across this page: www.truthforyouth.com in an anti-Christian union facebook group. The group members range from being outraged at the way non-christians are portrayed to superior about their enlightenment, as proven by the contents of the website.

And I can't say I blame them. Why do so many christian 'outreach' programmes and websites insist on portraying non-christians as stupid or just plain bad? As well-intentioned as it may be (how that's well-intentioned I leave up to your conjecture), that's just not true. Bad things don't only happen to bad people. More fundamentally, who are we to judge who are bad people? Christians aren't the only ones who know better than to do drugs/binge-drink (not that all of them don't) - non-Christians, religious or not, are perfectly capable of having strong beliefs and personal morals. And none have a monopoly on reason, logic or intelligence.

It's surprisingly hard to be Christian here. Not because people make it difficult, just because it's so much easier to not be. And when I say 'be' I mean, act like, profess, actually believe. When in a situation does walking away constitute testifying...and when does walking away put up a barrier which will impede future wall-breaking conversation? Does one shun all potentially sinful situations because of that potential sinfulness, when not being there means removing one's self from friends who do occasionally concede to at least hear Christianity out?

I guess it's about time I realised decisions aren't going to be clear cut anymore. It's going to be nigh impossible to completely opt out of certain situations, unless I'm willing to sacrifice everything that comes with it. The line between what's wrong and what's not is a fine one - and one that's permeable, at that.

What's interesting though is how it's made me a lot more aware of Christianity as an identity. And how Christians really are going to be looked at differently, and, if they're going to be true to what they profess, going to have to behave differently.

Why did I never feel this before? Possibly because Singapore is, ultimately, pretty religious. We all had different religions, yeah, but we HAD religions. There is a mind-boggling number of atheists and agnostics here. And Christians, Muslims, Jains and people of other religions who, to put it bluntly, don't actually believe. And while people are rarely actively hostile, Christians tend to be the butt of many jokes (for reasons usually entirely, unfortunately, explainable). Thus far I've only been able to figure out two reactions, of which I generally prefer the latter:
1. Take offence, walk away (and burn all bridges)
2. Accept the humor, glare a little, hope a chance comes to talk slightly less flippantly about it.
Still not very satisfactory, though.

Back to where I started. It annoys me when non-christians are portrayed as, for lack of a better word (and time), inferior. Foremostly because it isn't true, secondly because it usually annoys them enough to negate whatever progress that MAY have been made.

I think the point I'm trying to make here is this: we need to stop rendering black and white what in actuality is various shades of grey.

With a lot less ease than it looks.

2 comments:

Shane said...

we're the butt of jokes simply cos we've been the most commercially 'mainstream'. Like how Christmas got turned into another excuse for drunken debauchery.

that and, we have the best sense of humour.

crack a joke about Prophet M and you get a nation up in arms against you. crack a joke about Moses and, well, I myself crack jokes about Moses.

Anonymous said...

Let me annoy you.

The number of miracles claimed to have happened on Earth is in the millions.
Obviously believing in all of them is not an option.
So we must develop some sort of criterion for believing in a miracle.
The most rational, most straightforward criterion is 'Do not believe in a miracle unless it would be miraculous not to believe it.'

Is the fact that there is a book, claimed to have been written under divine inspiration, claiming that there was someone in the Middle East thousands of years ago who performed miracles, so mystical so extraordinary so unexplainable that it would be miraculous not to believe it?

I think not.

And I think that if someone chooses to believe in miracles even if unmiraculous explanations are presented, then they have a contorted worldview.