Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm an Atheist. Ask me.

Yesterday was "Ask an Atheist Day":

So, I decided to let my friends ask me. One person did take me up on my offer and here's the question:

Why won't you accept Christ into your heart?

And here was my reply. Not really the best answer I could give given the time I had available, but it is a good enough summary of my outlook on life:

I probably already have, at least a good chunk of the stuff he represents as a model of what is decent human behavior.

I am just extremely hard pressed to believe the theological mythos surrounding Christ. It does not even matter to me if he was real. The time lapsed between his death and when the gospels first appeared seem, however, highly suspect. The evidence is also scant that the authors really were who they claimed to be. The fact that many other texts claiming to represent Christ's teachings did not make the bible also makes the modern accepted canon, well, dubious.

More importantly, I do not need Christ in my heart (I choose to stick with the established metaphor ... the truth is probably closer to some part of the brain governing emotion and dealing with the unknown/contradictions) to derive any meaning from my existence. If nothing goes wrong, I have approximately 30 years remaining. I would rather spend this time be spent being a source of comfort to my friends and the ones I love; being useful to humanity's continued existence; and allowing our fellow living creatures on Earth a chance to succeed if we are to falter. In the unlikely chance that Earth really is the only (or earliest) place to harbor life in the Universe, then I believe it is essential for us to learn to leave our cradle and to spread life elsewhere before Earth inevitably fails to be a suitable home.


Kevin Jang said...

Hi Chee Wai, I am a Christian and I am not sure that the brand of Christianity which asks a person to "invite/accept Christ into his or her heart" is a correct form of Christianity to begin with. It is universally accepted as a norm of evangelical Christianity on an ecumenical level but from convictions, I believe it has no basis and does not accurately reflect Christianity at all.
It pertains to a lot of phrases used in the practice of Christian faith as well, such as "personal relationship with God" which is also not only not found in the Bible or orthodox historical understandings of Christian faith throughout early patristic days through the Middle Ages, but also based largely on a popular mediatized vulgarization of Christian faith. (I am going to have my fair share of Christian haters---yes, some Christians actually shout at me because of these beliefs of mine, but I just ignore them because for the most part, they have even asked me what I believe in, and assume rightaway I am a heretic or atheist lol).

-Adrian-K- said...

Stumbled on to your blog, and its a good read. You guys have it lucky to be able to effectively organize humanistic meetings in Singapore. In Malaysia I guess people don't take too kindly on that haha.

@Kevin Jang
Sorry but sounds to me like a No True Scotsman's Fallacy.

Chee Wai Lee said...


Thanks. I am afraid it will be an irregular read, however.

I do promise, however, to try my best to keep my posts as un-ranty as possible (I've failed on numerous occasions).

Why is it harder in Malaysia to organize humanist meetings? Is it against the law? Or are there intense social pressures against free-thinkers?

-Adrian-K- said...

Hi Wai Lee,

Haha it's okay, no journalistic pressure from me :D

From a legal standpoint, it might be difficult for us to be an official organization. Probably due to the fact that the government is Islamic. We're not sure whether its black-and-white though.

Social pressures also come into play especially with evangelicals who think we're straight from hell. We also have the issue with Malay apostates, and everyone isn't sure how to proceed with that haha.

Kevin Jang said...

Hi Adrian,

I am not so sure what you mean by a "No True Scottsman" fallacy. You will have to explain this to me. My Christian beliefs are different from the mainstream affective branch of Christianity practised in modern-day evangelical Christianity, and I do not believe in accepting Christ into your heart to become a Christian. There is a historical basis for rejecting such beliefs and I do not see how that is fallacious.

yuen said...

saw you comment in Yawningbread; I just set up new website - still trying, though people much prefer stuff like temasekreview

Chee Wai Lee said...

Hey Prof Yuen,

Yah, Janet told me about your new blog site. Well, TR is the place for people who really do not care what others have to say but wanna say what they want to say :).

Kevin Jang said...

Hi Chee Wai, I think you probably have read enough of the Temasek Review even from your own end over there. Personally, I find that it is rather entertaining a read, although some parts of it are so blatantly anti-establishment to the point of its being unapologetically anti-incumbent, such that I believe it does end up as "alternative media" in its own stereotyped way of classifying itself. The Online Citizen seems to be more balanced than it at least on the rhetorical count. I do think that some people, especially those friends of mine who are very pro-incumbent and often even overtly rational to the point of just not caring even if a "bad policy" is made(because well, they can afford it if they are rich and well-to-do), get turned off by the TR and calls it unbelieveable. I am more sympathetic to it on some counts, at least from my own end. We always need alternatives either way!