Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Why I haven't posted for 11 months

An email I got from someone via the newly resurrected Atheists Meetup group (Atheist Haven - if you're interested, check it out before the subscription runs out again):

"It was great! You have a web-site for recovering Christians? A pity that you've stopped posting on it."

I was reminded of the existence of this blog, which hasn't been updated since my last post in August last year.

I stopped posting because I was the only one posting here and cross-posted the posts my personal blog anyway. Also, I post semi-regularly on religious issues (not just Christianity, and even Christian-related posts aren't tailored to the theme of "Recovering Christians") on my personal blog anyway. You can check out if you're interested.

Recent posts include extracts from Dostoevsky's The Grand Inquisitor (from The Brothers Karamazov), a transcript of a newscast on the Onion Radio News on an ex-gay, Paul Tillich on Fundamentalism and an explanation of the strawmen that some apologists attack, like how it was impossible for Jesus to walk on water unles she was the Son of God (which is something contemporary opponents of apologists never bring up)

In any event, the appetite for religious discussion which includes non-theism in Singapore is very small, which probably explains the death of this blog.

Friday, August 03, 2007

How to deal with evangelists

Rojak or the melting pot: Things I have said to evangelists

"It happened again. Two girls, bright, perky (in more ways than one), polite - approached me in a shopping mall, and asked me if I would be interested in attending a "special event" at their church.

I've always had a special interest in Christian evangelists in Singapore. Singaporeans as a whole seem to be shy about approaching strangers. Evangelists on the other hand, don't seem to mind, in fact, they're quite happy to do so. It's something they share with those credit card roadshow folks, time-share marketeers and "Hi we are looking for model" people.

(strangely enough, students on flag day seem prepared to die of embarrassment. And block the escalator while doing so.)...

EC: Yeah. Take a look at this handy little Christianity 4 Noobz booklet I happen to have here. All here.

Mz12: But I think I'm [insert faith].

Younger cousin: And I'm already Christian, cos I'm Catholic.

EC: Nya-uh. Did you know that [prominent leader of faith] went to hell? There was this guy, see, who had an mystical vision, and saw [leader] in hell. It's true. You can trust people with mystical visions...

YC: Did we just get converted? Mum is going to kill me.

Mz12: I think you go to hell if you convert.

YC: Mum's worse...

Mz12: I think I'm too young and you're not allowed to chose religions if you're too young. I can't even watch porn yet, how can I choose Gods?

EC: You watch porn?

Mz12: Erhm. Bye...

EP: Christ is the only pathway to heaven!

Mz17: Like Led Zeppelin?"

Incidentally, 'Evangelist' is an anagram for 'Evil's Agent'.

I always beat evangelists at their own game. Everyone should try that. It's great fun for the whole family!

Oddly the only time I've been approached since JC (6 years ago) was when someone who knew me tried to do it, and I'm told she was very traumatised by the experience. Maybe I'm too famous already, hurr hurr.

It's also interesting that the evangelists in recent years have stopped approaching Muslims. They're probably afraid of going to jail for sedition.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Praise God!

A second South Korean hostage has been killed by the Taliban.

Praise God!

There is no need to mourn our brothers in Christ, for they went to their deaths steadfast in faith and conviction.

This can only serve to deepen the Faith of the rest of the hostages. And even if the other 21 are killed, this will just serve as a testament of their faith to bear witness to the rest of the world.

Also, we must remember that God, in his Wisdom and Grace, has allowed - nay, dictated that this happen. Even if all of them are crucified upside down and then gruesomely beheaded, this is all just part of his Divine Plan and is for the Greater Good. Therefore we should pray that His will be done and that if need be, all 21 of the remaining hostages will die in any manner necessary, no matter how horrific it might be.


Monday, December 25, 2006

The persecuted have become the persecutors

Christianity and Islam are the 2 religions which most often make the news with adherents protesting against blasphemy. The irony is that both religions feature founders who were persecuted for *their* blasphemy, but who were later vindicated by history (or rather by demographics) and have thus become the standard against which it is now blasphemous to deviate from. Viz., the events leading up to the Hijra.

For example, The Last Temptation of Christ was lambasted and Molotov Cocktail-ed when it first came out, but is now accepted by some as making a valid theological point:

"In his defense of the movie, noted critic Roger Ebert writes that Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader

"paid Christ the compliment of taking him and his message seriously, and they have made a film that does not turn him into a garish, emasculated image from a religious postcard. Here he is flesh and blood, struggling, questioning, asking himself and his father which is the right way, and finally, after great suffering, earning the right to say, on the cross, 'It is accomplished.'""

The persecuted have become the persecutors, but then this is how like groups that complain about the lack of freedom of speech then try to censor others' freedom once they come into power. Ditto for totalitarian laws and revolutionaries.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Why Won't God Heal Amputees?

Why Won't God Heal Amputees?

"No matter how many people pray. No matter how sincere those people are. No matter how much they believe. No matter how devout and deserving the recipient. Nothing will happen. The legs will not regenerate. Prayer does not restore the severed limbs of amputees. You can electronically search through all the medical journals ever written -- there is no documented case of an amputated leg being restored spontaneously. And we know that God ignores the prayers of amputees through our own observations of the world around us. If God were answering the prayers of amputees to regenerate their lost limbs, we would be seeing amputated legs growing back every day...

What are we seeing here? It is not that God sometimes answers the prayers of amputees, and sometimes does not. Instead, in this situation there is a very clear line. God never answers the prayers of amputees. It would appear, to an unbiased observer, that God is singling out amputees and purposefully ignoring them...

By looking at amputees, we can see that something is wrong. Jesus is not telling the truth. God never answers prayers to spontaneously restore lost limbs, despite Jesus' statements in the Bible. Accepting this piece of factual information, rather than denying it, is the first step in understanding something extremely important about how prayer really works...

Here is another explanation that you might have heard: "God needs to remain hidden -- restoring an amputated limb would be too obvious." We will discuss this idea in more detail in later chapters, but let's touch on it here. Does God need to remain hidden?

That does not seem to be the case. In general, God seems to have no problem doing things that are obvious. Think about the Bible. Writing the Bible and having billions of copies published all over the world is obvious. So is parting the Red Sea. So is carving the Ten Commandments on stone tables. So is sending your son to earth and having him perform dozens of recorded miracles. And so on. It makes no sense for a God in hiding to incarnate himself, or to do these other obvious things. Why send your son to earth, and then write a book that talks all about his exploits, if you are trying to hide?

In the same way, any medical miracle that God performs today is obvious. The removal of a cancerous tumor is obvious because it is measurable. One month the tumor is visible to everyone on the X-ray, and the next month it is not. If God eliminated the tumor, then it is openly obvious to everyone who sees the X-ray. There is nothing "hidden" about removing a tumor. So, why not regenerate a leg in an equally open way? If God intervenes with cancer patients to remove cancerous tumors in response to prayers, then why wouldn't God also intervene with amputees to regenerate lost limbs?...

Finally, there is this oft-used chestnut: "There is no way to understand the mysteries of our Lord. People have believed in Jesus for 2,000 years, and there must be a very good reason for it." This feels like a sad point in the conversation. On one side of the conversation is a person who is defending the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe. This person's position should be unassailable. Yet, if God exists, and answers prayers as described in the Bible, there is no explanation for what we see in the world around us. The Bible is silent in this case. God is silent. There is not a good, comfortable explanation for the situation faced by amputees except to say, "We cannot understand the mysteries of the Lord. We have no explanation for why God refuses to answer prayers to regenerate lost limbs."...

Amputees are not the only ones either. For example:

* If someone severs their spinal cord in an accident, that person is paralyzed for life. No amount of prayer is going to help.

* If someone is born with a congenital defect like a cleft palate, God will not repair it through prayer. Surgery is the only option.

* A genetic disease like Down Syndrome is the same way -- no amount of prayer is going to fix the problem."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A comment I got in my guestbook

Hello, I'm a Christian, and I find your entries on, or rather against Christianity, highly thought- provoking.

While I do not agree on some of the points and feel that I can come up, sooner or later, with a reasonable, logical argument against them [without having to refer to faith and the bible says etc etc], I strongly appreciate it that you, unlike some others, are able to bring forth a very mature perspective of such a sensitive issue. For this reason I am leaving a comment behind, to acknowledge a very well crafted piece of argument.

I have probably gained a lot of insight regarding a non-Christian’s POV, for example, on relentless evangelism. I strongly agree with you that evangelism should not cross over to harassment, but sadly not everyone shares my mindset. And yes, I agree that there are many people who parade around proclaiming to be Christians but doing and saying things that are just down right wrong,[not just in Christian context] and I abhor such acts, too. While I cannot claim to be 100% innocent of hurting anyone or whatever in the past or in the future, I can say, with all science and humanity backing me up, that a Christian is still a human, and humans can make mistakes, divine intervention or not. Pity that if we draw a Venn diagram of any believer, we’d have our faith as a subset of our human nature, not the other way round.

These are just the few points I’m acknowledging. I would not be denouncing my faith anytime soon, however. But you article has at least made me wake up and see that being labelled a Christian isn’t something that I should take lightly, especially regarding my religion’s history and wide-spreadness. So thank you for writing so thoughtfully from an ex-Christian’s POV, it has truly been interesting to delve into your logic.

Cheers =D


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Questionnaire for Christians

(Originally from:

Seminal questions to ask Christians across the spectrum, and not just fundies:


1) Do you believe that the bible is literally true?

If so, how do you explain its internal contradictions (2 creation accounts in Genesis, 2 genealogies of Jesus - one cannot be of Joseph since he wasn't the father, Jesus' parents not knowing why he stayed in Jerusalem's temple when he was 12 [Luke 2: 42-50]) and historical inaccuracies (no evidence of the flood, no town of Nazareth in the 1st century BC, no record of Herod's slaughter of the infants)?

If not - how do you know which parts are false, which parts must be 'interpreted' and which parts must be taken in 'context'? Can 'context' ever justify acts of misogyny, evil and genocide (Timothy, the Flood, Joshua & Numbers)? If some parts are false, how do you know others aren't as well?

Who's to say that your particular 'interpretation' is correct; with sufficient 'interpretation' anyone can make the Bible say anything they like? If you interpret it according to your god-given religious and ethical sense and instincts, doesn't the fact that everyone has different instincts and senses mean that it is everything to all people? In which case it loses meaning and significance.

2) Do you think all non-Christians/those not of your specific denomination go to hell? If so, how is it just or fair to condemn billions of innocents to hell for all eternity just because they were born in the wrong place at the wrong time? What if you were wrong and, when you died, you went to the Islamic hell? What would you say to Allah?

3) Do you believe that your god is the ultimate arbiter of morality, yet is supremely good? If so, didn't he merely define himself as good, making a mockery of the concepts of morality and goodness? If one defines morality, wouldn't he be amoral rather than supremely good? If it is impossible for your god to not be good, how does the concept of 'good' have any meaning?

To wit: If your god commanded you to kill, rape, pillage and commit genocide (cf the Midanites), would he still be considered good? How would you know that you were under a good god? And if your god were incapable of doing anything evil, would he not have lost his omnipotence?

4) Do you think your mythology unique? If so, why are so many elements shared with previous religions? (Salvation: Mystery pagan religions - Osiris, Eleusinian mysteries, Alleged virgin births of god-men: Romulus, Augustus, Dionysus, Perseus, Baptism: Mithraic mysteries, ablutions, Miracles: Asclepius raising the dead, Resurrection: Dionysius, Osiris)

If you lived in China, could you "invent" chopsticks?

5) Have you ever communicated with, or felt your god or his presence? If so, how would you distinguish your experiences from similar mystical experiences in other religions, people on an acid trip, those who believe they've been abducted by aliens or those who hear voices in their heads claiming to be gods telling them to kill other people?

Deanna Laney, a Texan mother, thought God told her to kill her children, like Abraham and Isaac. The court did not accept her argument. Would you?

6) How does your faith in your religion differ from that of others in theirs? If it is the same, who's to say which religions are correct?

Put another way, if Hermes, the divine Messenger of the Gods, appeared to you with his winged sandals, broad-brimmed hat and Caduceus and told you that you had been chosen to rescue a princess (or prince, if you like) in distress, what would your reaction be?

Would you expect someone from another religion to have a different reaction if the Angel Gabriel appeared to him?

7) If Christianity is such a good religion, why has so much evil been done in its name; why has it failed to rein in all this evil? If the evil was done only by evil or confused people in Christianity's name - despite their faith, wouldn't the same logic apply for the good it has supposedly encouraged?