Category Archives: religion

Shocking review of The Golden Compass

While surfing blogs with wordpress.com’s Tag Surfer, I stumbled onto this quote of a review of The Golden Compass. When I first saw the advertisement, I was thinking that this is just another fantasy story based on some book and I was not terribly interested since many of them turn out badly. This movie is supposed to be very well done and totally subversive and shockingly had a very anti-Christian agenda. I had no idea. Now that I know, I will want to watch it so that I can have an opinion if friends and colleagues talk about it. I don’t want to say the wrong thing.

You can read more here.

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Jesuspets

No this is not about keeping Jesus as a pet, but about who will take care of your beloved pets if you are raptured away. These people who do not want to be raptured will stay behind to take care of your beloved pets to make sure they will not die of hunger. They even have the relevant Bible verses in their FAQ to show you believers that you had better believe what was foretold in the Bible, not that they themselves believe it. You might not necessarily agree with their interpretation of those verses though.

My initial thought was that this is a scam, someone trying to make money out of something that he does not believe in, that he is sure will never come to pass and so he need not ever do this work that he was paid for. This is about as scammy as Christians who do not believe in Santa Claus but will sell you Santa Claus costumes at Christmas time (are there any such people around?) But if this is a willing-buyer-willing-seller thing, who is stop the stupid willing buyer from giving them money?

http://www.jesuspets.com

via Boing Boing.

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Lunar 7th month

The 7th month started with a lot of burning of “ghost money” to the deceased family members. The town council had to provide large metal drums as designated zones for residents to burn their offerings. One woman was scattering them onto the grass instead of burning them. I’m not sure why, never bothered to work out all the details of ancestral worship, which has many unexplainable variants anyway. What I do know for sure is that the foreign nationals who sweeps our housing estate will have to gather them up to be properly burnt the next morning. Will they be cursed as in the movie, the maid?

I’m not pantang, but I work under pantang bosses who bought some good luck charm to deflect their bout of bad luck after the disaster. While we cannot conclusively prove if it worked, they joked that the curse has been passed to other systems that subsequently hit severe problems of their own. A few years ago, the management tried to avoid big-scale implementations during the seventh month. They even made sure we did not move to a new office during that month. They stopped doing that these days. We have deadlines to be met, and to hold back work for a month would be unthinkable.

If the management of the NEL is just as pantang, they would be wondering why they were struck a day early. They could have made a better attempt to inform would-be passengers of that their trains were down instead of letting so many of us wait and wait and wait in the station. I was at HarbourFront and I did not hear any announcement about a technical breakdown, or that the train will move much slower than usual to Outram Park station. Perhaps they did not want their passengers to experiment with other modes of transport that can also get them home.

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FaithActs

Has it been 5 weeks since I started serving at FaithActs as a volunteer tutor? How time flies! There are now 5 records filled in for my students, one for each week that they come for low-cost tuition. These records help replacement tutors know what the students had been learning all this while, should the designated tutors fail to make it for some reason. They also help me keep track of how long it has been since I started.

These kids amaze me at the amount of nonsense they can get up to, at how much life and energy they have in them. Well, most kids anyway. There are just a few who look sickly and scared and who keep very quiet. There are also those who are overly energetic, running around shouting and banging tables at every opportunity. Is aggression linked to the amount of energy you have at your disposal?

I have a half-Japanese boy and a pure Chinese boy assigned to me. I guess my dismal performance at the Christmas games convinced the social workers to assign easier students to me. The Jap is pretty smart and bookish, but careless in his Maths (so was I) and the Chinese is called a “model tuition student” because he is keen to learn and is well-behaved. And I did not realise how weak he is in his English and Maths until the Jap did not turn up today, and I had the chance to go one-on-one with him. Yes he definitely needs help.

FaithActs is run by social workers, aided by a church and relies heavily on volunteers to help out. These volunteers are mostly Christians who desire to serve the community, but there are some undergrads who are Chinese nationals, serving out of the kindness of their heart. It is interesting to see what happens when faith goes into action, doing practical things to help people.

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Prosperity Gospel in New York

New York Times ran an article on how prosperity gospel is gaining popularity in New York City. What is prosperity gospel? It is a teaching in churches that God will bless everyone with wealth and health if you are faithful, that you are not doing the right thing if you are poor or sick.

It is a theology that is excoriated in many Christian circles but is becoming increasingly visible in this country, according to religious scholars. Now, it is beginning to establish a foothold in New York City, where capitalism has long been religion. 

The theology taps into the country’s self-help culture, said William C. Martin, a professor emeritus of religion and public policy at Rice University in Houston. “One of the goals of America is for you to become prosperous,” he said. “For the church to put a blessing on that and say, ‘God wants you to be rich,’ is quite appealing.”

Prosperity is indeed prominent in the Old Testament, but the hardship experienced by Jesus’ followers is prominent in the New Testament, said Professor John Jefferson Davis Jr., who teaches systematic theology and Christian ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, an evangelical institution outside Boston. “Part of the problem is things are out of focus here, and what Jesus makes very clear and central, self-denial and bearing your cross, is somehow left on the cutting-room floor.” 

I can’t imagine our Straits Times daring to post anything that presents a negative view to any religion, no matter how objective. Then again, it is hard to get such quotes in Singapore that clearly condemns a teaching. Except those that have been banned by law.

Wall Watchers, an evangelical organization that monitors the finances of Christian ministries, gave Mr. Dollar’s organization an “F” grade for financial transparency in its yearly report and urged donors not to give to it and similar groups. World Changers officials say members can inspect audited financial statements on the church’s finances if they desire, but they declined to release them to The New York Times.

Sounds like NKF? Even sadded, because this involves religion.

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