Friday, June 30, 2006

Inter-faith Understanding? Religious Tolerance?

Dialogue the way to overcome danger of religious fundamentalism: Pope's envoy

So the Pope's envoy came over to Singapore and talked about how terrorism and religion.

There's two parts of this report that I find interesting..

Singapore leaders agree that it is important to promote a message of moderation and inter-faith understanding.

The Cardinal also hailed multi-racial, multi-religious Singapore as a good example where mutual acceptance and respect for diversity can be cultivated.

Let's just look at the case of Cher who's being investigated and likely charged for posting not-so-flattering pictures of Jesus Christ on his blog, I'm not entirely sure of the whole story but this just shows exactly how religiously intolerant we are.

I do not dismiss the fact that Cher might be at fault, but going to the extent of making a police report? Now who's the one that's overreacting?? Who's the one that's intolerant? What are their religious leaders teaching them?

I understand that harmony needs to be kept, that we need to have religious sensitivity, but to what extend? It's just some pictures, it's offending, but doesn't the Bible teach us to be understanding? Why can't the person who made the police report make the effort to understand why Cher posted the pictures? Why can't the person just tolerate this "misbehavior"?

This reminds me of Da Vinci code and all the controversy around it. My colleague said that the show is heresy and she would never watch it. She mentioned that 60% of Christians who watched the show actually believed that it's true. Though I did not argue with her words, I was thinking, there's nothing wrong with the show, it's a movie for goodness sake, if those Christians really believe in the show, shouldn't the church do some reflections? Why do these Christians have such a weak faith? Instead of blaming the film for "wrong" teachings, shouldn't they use this as an opportunity to strengthen their faiths?

I really find it funny that they blame everything on Da Vinci Code. It's like if I go up to a person and tell him I'm his dad, would he believe me? Same goes for a Hollywood movie, do one really believe the things they show? If you really do, then there's something very wrong about you as a person.

Inter-faith understanding?? Maybe.. But when believers comes head on with non-believers, that's where the action begins. Speaking personally, conflicts always arise when believers clash with non-believers. I don't subscribe solely to one religion, I believe in a higher power, in a supreme being, but not God in the Christian sense or any other gods in other religions. I tend to view things in a logical manner and in a sense, science is my religion for it's logical and theories can be proven (most of the time), unlike faith.

When our leaders talk about inter-faith understanding, do they take us non-believers into consideration? I do not feel so, personally, I feel that they view us as people to be "saved" and sometimes will go all out to "recruit" us. Where's the respect that we deserve? Can't they respect our beliefs in not believing? We do not want to be "saved", we are just happy the way we are.

So, I do not feel that we deserve the praise that we are a country of mutual acceptance and respect, when we need to make a police report over a small incidence. Also I do not feel that we truly have inter-faith understanding as those with faith do not respect us who are without faith.

The next time someone comes up to me to promote their religion, I have a good mind to call the police and complain that this person is seditious, trying to provoke racial hatred by putting down me, who have no particular faith.

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