Friday, October 10, 2008

The Denial of Death

It is interesting to read in this book by M. Scott Peck that he quotes Ernest Becker in his book The Denial of Death ascribing most human evil as the attempt to avoid consciousness of mortality.

I could think of an interesting piece of performance art that can be put on the streets of any city: Take a busy road, say Orchard Road in Singapore, have a bunch of actors dressed in plains clothes, an executive, a student, a middle aged woman, an attractive lady all positioned at different points. Then choose a target. As the target walks along Orchard Road, your actors suddenly become "possessed" and then point to your target, look them in the eye and calmly but firmly say, "You are going to die!" Then they break back into their characters and walk off as if nothing had happened. It would probably scare the living daylights out of someone who gets 5 different people suddenly saying that to him/her. But it could change some lives. It would be nice to videorecord the reactions of people who get targeted.

We don't think of death very much. But Ecclesiastes 7:2 says "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart."

And you know, it's true. A lot of people party, they get drunk because they want to avoid facing up to the realities of life.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

God Loves Atheists Better?

rehab477.jpgI found this link to a comic on another blogger Cowboy Caleb, one of the top anonymous bloggers in Singapore.

This comic commits the fallacy of using convenient examples.

If I wanted to compare two different philosophies but paint one in a worse light, I would take the worst example from one and the best example from another.

I could say that Western Freedom of Religion and Democracy is better versus Chinese Communism and Atheist Government. Just look at the melamine milk scandal.

In regards to the comic, some alternative examples I could use are:

Panel 1: A Christian would diet because he has learnt to follow the example of Christ, who sacrificed his own life. So what's so difficult about sacrificing that chocolate doughnut?

Panel 2: I could come up with another example that a true Christian doesn't steal because he loves his neighbour. Whereas an atheist may not steal because he's afraid to get caught. Not because he won't steal. Another atheist may believe that lying is okay. Some atheists that reject God believe that lying is inevitable and live by principles from Machiavelli's The Prince.

Panel 3: And finally, what about the person who lives by the tenet "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. If someone slaps you, offer him the other cheek."

Jesus did illustrate in the parable of the Good Samaritan that whoever did good, he was the one loving his neighbour. It didn't matter whether it was the Jew or the Samaritan. You could be a priest and yet ignore your neighbour's needs.

But the unspoken assumption is that entering heaven God comes from doing good. In the end, it becomes a contest of "who has the more moral, and better set of beliefs."

Perhaps in this way, that is why merit from God cannot be earned. So then another person with a better set of beliefs comes in, and this set of beliefs has an even stricter set of moral codes. So who should God favour?

The reason why atheists can't be with God is because they just don't believe he exists. How can you experience love from someone you don't believe exists?

Perhaps, it is like two children arguing in the field in daytime over who is the better child and which one their dad prefers. When dinner time comes, the one who is naughty and rebellious still comes home for dinner, while the one who is "better" refuses and remains in the field to be prey to the night.

Do good because of who we are, children of God, made in His image; but don't think that doing good earns us the right to be with God. We go to God because he is our father. An unearned right.