Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Religious Food for Thought

Sometimes, all that is needed to tear down the barriers between people is just a simple interaction, that I realized during one of my Religion and Society tutorials today. We talked about the recent controversy surrounding NUS Campus Crusade (where they posted "offensive" remarks about other religion on posters) and the FHM's latest article about equating celebrities like Justin Bieber and Tom Cruise to Jesus Christ (the issue was pulled off the shelves just a few days ago). While I did not speak much (which what I usually do in classes, which is keeping my mouth shut so I would not end up looking like an idiot), I did find that the points raised by my fellow classmates were quite interesting.

Somehow for some strange reason I find that I am particularly attuned to the topic of religion. Growing up as a Christian, I regularly tried to convince my friends that Christianity is the only ticket to heaven for them and fervently believed that myself. I would spend loads of time on the internet, reading arguments on why Christianity is real and prepared myself with the ammunition needed should I be involved in any religious debate with friends. I was considered to be a very religious person among my school friends and I wore that recognition with pride.

Coming to university sort of changed all that though. I guess my curious nature was to be blamed. Instead of staying in my comfort zone and staying ignorant, I chose to step out and to go even further. And that lead me to cross paths with a legendary atheist named Kok Sen Wai. Though I still do not agree with him on some points (internally), the way he argued sort of changed the way I think. Coupled with my classes in Psychology, slowly my thinking began to change too.

Instead of sticking to the belief that Christianity is the only true faith, I began to grow more tolerant of other religion and start to question the degree of how real is Christianity anyway because honestly, if you put your mind to it, there's a lot of Christian denominations, each with their own interpretations of the Bible and Christianity. Not only that, Christianity has undergone a drastic change from the early days of the apostles, to being Rome's official religion, to Catholicism, to what it is today. How much of the core teachings of the early days remain? How sure are you that what your priest/pastor is telling you today is what the apostles said more than two thousand years ago?

If you think about the possibilities, is actually quite scary.

 And this semester, that curious nature of mine pushed me even further by taking a Sociology module called Religion and Society, which aims to examine the phenomena of religion through a Sociological standpoint and hopefully a scientific standpoint too. Not only that, another module that I'm taking, Darwin and Evolution (which some Christians might consider as a heresy), also helped a lot in putting more questions into my head.

While my mum would definitely be freaked out by now, still I find all these new knowledge refreshing and intriguing. Going to a Hindu temple, speaking with the people there and learning about their religion, added with learning the beauty of the evolution theory, which is viewed in such a fearful light by some religious people, helped to open my mind to view things in a totally different way.

It's not to say I've become a complete atheist who hates religion now, because still no one is able to prove that God does not exist, I just find myself thinking in a completely different way now than the religious Luke back in Form 6. There's still a long way to go though and I'll never know where I will end up. Besides, religion and spirituality is a question that only can be answered when you die.

Besides, I'm really writing this for the sake of having a post for today.

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