love singapore drivel
by Zhou (Chew) Hong Jie
“God’s dream shapes history.
It enters Earth through the Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It’s a force for good and not for evil…”
- 4 July’s entry, “politics of dreams” (Love Singapore 40-Day Prayer 2012)
The above is excerpted from this year’s 40-Day prayer devotional, an intercessory prayer initiative by the Love Singapore network of evangelical churches. This christian network kids itself into megalomaniacal wishful thinking – that secular Singapore will some day be christianised. Legend has it that the chief christian shaman of South Korea, a Pastor Cho Yonggi of the notoriously dubbed largest church in the world, has once claimed that god told him (what charismaniacs call “prophecy”) Singapore is akin to the city of Antioch of biblical times and that countless numbers would bleat the name of Jesus in this country.
Dishonest christian demagogues love to fortune-tell what the sheep likes to hear – and they are often grandiose prognostications about personal calls to preaching and pastoral ministries, corporate visions of national christianisations, and even the proselytisations of political leaders.
And thus while the overt christianisation of Singapore is an orgasmic thought for evangelical christians here, it is but sandcastle-making in the nanyang air. There is this illusion of grandeur for many years about a spiritual “revival” which will some day occur in Singapore, airbagged by a facade of christian “success” in the likes of blood-diamond mines like City Harvest Church, New Creation Church, Lighthouse Evangelism, Faith Community Baptist Church, Trinity Christian Centre and Victory Family Centre.
But the statistics concerning the religious demographics gargle a more banal story. Although the number of buddhists has tumbled a huge 9.2% from 42.5% in 2000 to 33.3% in 2010, it is still the majority religion in this country. The statistics for christianity is a bit serpentine, as it umbrellas together Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Protestantism and perhaps even neochristian sects like the mormons ( I am not sure on this).
This means that while the number of christian adherents is a far second from buddhism with 18.3% in 2010, the actual number of evangelical christians (all protestants in Singapore) is a lot smaller. This makes the number of people with no religion as the second largest group of Singaporeans, at 17.0% in 2010 (the numbers may have increased by 2012). The third largest group would be the muslims at 14.7%.
If yours truly is allowed to do some prophesying , I will wager on the high probability of an “atheist” revival in Singapore, with many of its adherents dropping out of Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism. One has to realise that there are also a significant number of people who call themselves christians, buddhists, taoists or even muslims only out of cultural and ethnic loyalties. Many of them do not seriously believe any of the superstitious and premodern woo woo claims of these religions. Does that make them really christians? Or Taoists? Or muslims? Remember, some of these communities have serious esteem issues with people who want to leave the religion.
Anyhow…back to the excerpt at the start of the post. It was the reason for my scribbling anyway. Jeez, boy am I a windbag.
The scribbler for the 40-day drivel does not realise how stupid that first few sentences of the 4th of July entry makes him (or her). While Yahweh supposedly created the observable universe 14-odd billion years ago, he dilly-dallied for about 10 billion of those donkey years before fashioning this one singular planet in this teeny-weeny solar system. He procrastinated again for about 1 billion or so year before deciding to birth the first biological “life” in the solar system – some self-replicating molecule.
This omniscient warrior-god doesn’t seem to know what he is doing – allowing homo sapiens to arise only about 100 to 200 thousand years ago. What is he doing all those millions of years? Playing with the bacteria? Dancing with the flora? Fucking the dinosaurs? He is very benevolent and loving indeed, to allow his magnum opus – human beings – to grovel in the mud of a struggling and despairing existence for about 96 to 196 thousand years before he finally comes to his senses and “dream his Dream”. One wonders why he calls himself Yahweh, a very tribalistic hebrew name, if he wasn’t a tribal deity. Christians do not realise that they are relying more on greek philosophy than Jewish categories when they pontificate about Yahweh being metaphysically simple, all-powerful, all-knowing and singularly one and indivisible.
It becomes even more absurd why this god chose to “reveal” himself in mythical stories that cannot be verified by the best of our contemporary historical and archaeological research. One has to assume that sketchy figures like Abraham and Isaac are real historical people if one is to read the biblical narratives in any meaningful way. One has to assume also, that Adam and Eve are real (are they neanderthals then? Or homo erectus?) – otherwise the whole original sin thingy is rubbished.
Yet…no intelligent person today can honestly accept that the creation and national myths of the tanakh are historically accountable. And without the historicity of the hebrew texts, what more can we say about the christian new testament, a haphazard collection of scribblings which were obviously based on the hebrew tanakh to get their ideas?