Crusades are conflicts by another name

Guest essay by Lim Jialiang

The growing religious extremism in the world today is not something that will come as a surprise to you. Regardless, we have the tendency to think that such extremism can only come from Islam, which is extremely wrong. Extremism and terrorism are two separate issues, and one might lead to another. This is a case of extremism. The recent incident that involves the Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) has indeed come as a shock for many of us, who have been born and raised in a multi-religious society. Currently, the Cru in Singapore has taken down all online material, in response to the large social media outcry.[1]

The Campus Crusade for Christ is an interdenominational Christian organization that promotes evangelism and discipleship in more than 190 countries around the world. In 1996, USA Today called Campus Crusade the largest evangelical organization in the United States. Today, the organization employs over 25,000 full-time missionaries and has trained 225,000 volunteers around the world.[2] Unlike a traditional church, they do not maintain a physical office in most countries, and ministries are largely sustained within school campuses. However, they list Singapore as one of their Area Operational Offices[3], the implications of which I will get to later.

Although this is one of the first cases that we’ve seen such an overt call to rather aggressive evangelism, this is hardly a one-off situation and needs to be placed in the larger context of religious forays into secular society. In this piece, I hope to show some characteristics of the Christian Right, and to highlight the importance of evangelism for them. I’ll also discuss about their growing influence and why Singapore is seen by them to be a platform for such missions.

The Christian Right in Singapore

This discussion must be framed with the wider social and religious implications that must be addressed. We should not write them off as simply extremists, and hence, miss a valuable opportunity in understanding their actions. Extremism, however misguided, is guided by certain core ideologies that they are rooted in. Moreover, such aggressive evangelism is not something new, as I’ll cover later. This is not an attempt to paint the Christian Right in any negative light, but merely a study of ideologies and how extremism can be borne out of them.

The Christian Right has always prioritised evangelism and salvation as a key tenet in their ideologies, as compared to liberal Christianity, which has a greater focus on exigent suffering (humanitarian missions, social welfare, etc.). Reflected in this light, the Cru is typical of an organisation of the Christian Right, and they seek to actively convert peoples of other religion into Christianity. As Daniel Goh said very eloquently, instead of ‘peoples with sacramental rice who were already Christians without knowing it (Liberal Christianity), the evangelicals saw the peoples as rice fields ripe for harvest.’[4] Hence, efforts of evangelism come primarily from the Christian Right, for those who are not Christian are seen to be non-believers.

Such fervent evangelism is not new. In 2000, LoveSingapore,[5] began as a desire to “hold a March for Jesus in the downtown area”, but knowing that such an event would not be allowed by the government, was rebranded and launched under Touch Community Services as a charity walkathon.[6] Most importantly, LoveSingapore, in actuality, was planned as a mass evangelism campaign.[7] Overreach came when in 2001, when they took out a two-million-dollar media campaign for it. Within two weeks, the government banned the print and television advertisements.[8] This swift decision upheld the religious harmony in Singapore and put an end to overt evangelism.

The struggle for morality

Coupled with the efforts of evangelism, it also serves the second objective of salvation, particularly moral salvation. The AWARE affair in 2009, whose efforts has been summarily pinned by academics to be due to extremists from the Christian Right[9], can be seen as a response to the fading moral direction by part of our government, whose authority had been waning due to the many liberal directions, for example, their unofficial stance on homosexuality and also the case for the casinos.[10]

Indeed, this perception seems to correspond to the Cru’s view of Singapore, which sees that along with ‘the growth in wealth, East Asia is witnessing increased materialism and moral decline.[11]’ It is not just a battle for redemption in the name of Jesus Christ, but also to stop the perceived moral debauchery. The palpable moral panic[12] and sense of crises lead many to consider this as a need for ‘spiritual warfare.’ The militant attitude and language used should come as no surprise for those who have an understanding on the workings of Pentecostal Christianity.

Each mission tripper will be trained in raising personal support*, evangelism skills, spiritual warfare, intercessory prayer for the nations, cross-cultural training and team dynamics.[13]

Naturally, such moral decline is perceived to be due to the lack of Christian faith, and spiritual warfare serves as part of a means to an end. What is most offensive in the quote given above is the idea that these nations are perceived to be lacking in Christ, and by extension of their beliefs, lacking in morals. ‘Intercessory Prayer for the nations’ brings about a connotation of spiritual lacking for the country, an attitude frighteningly similar to crusaders of the past. It should come as no surprise that they are called Campus Crusade for Christ.

Why the preoccupation with the salvation of Singapore? Although this is usually explained as religious fervour, this is just part of the question. As I’ve mentioned earlier, it is not surprising that Singapore is the Area Operational Office of East Asia. Not only are we located in convenient reach to most of the East Asian Countries, we also have a well-educated group of tertiary students who are largely Christian.[14]

Moreover, this perception is backed theologically. Billy Graham, a famous evangelist, once prophesised Singapore to be the Antioch of Asia, a reference to the famous Christian city that was ravaged by the crusades. Singapore is therefore seen by the Christian Right to be at the centre of spreading Christianity in Asia.[15]

From these factors, it is therefore easy to see why the Cru has set up a regional office here, and have also planned missions with the sole purpose of evangelism. This is perceived to be a harvest of souls for Christ.

Political and Social Implications

With Singapore’s position as a multi-religious society and considering our geopolitical surroundings, any forays as made by the Cru can (and will) be seen as offensive to our neighbours of East Asia and beyond, and would affect our relations with them in time to come. Thailand and Indonesia will not take kindly to the religious meddling that this group has overtly admitted to.

Moreover, the huge public outcry is indicative for the unpopularity of the group. However, due to the international nature of the ministry, the response by the government and police will necessarily be more measured than one which is a local church, as seen from the previous cases that I’ve presented. This might explain the current inaction on the part of the police an government.

Religious harmony, not religious dominance

I do not wish to condemn, nor insult, the people who are involved in this church. Although their message is offensive, and their characterisation of other religions disturbing, it is merely due to their misguided imposition of what they consider to be truth. However, Singapore is a country with freedom of religion. There cannot be one religion that preaches supremacy over all others.

I merely wish for them to apologise for the insensitive “missions” that they’ve embarked on. I also respectfully ask them to cease all missionary trips overseas, for they can be interpreted as political and religious antagonism, and to remove all presence of their campus ministries in Singapore. I do not wish for Singapore, the crossroads of faith, to be privy to the religious intolerance of such a church.

* * * * *

Update

As of the time of writing, the National University of Singapore has told the group to remove posters and online comments it had put up which contained “disrespectful and insensitive remarks about other religions and communities”, as reported by Today newspaper, 16 Feb 2012. A public statement has also been issued by NUS Campus Crusade. This is no apology for extremism, but an apology for communication.

Dear Netizens,

We humbly apologize for the distress we have caused you through the poster of ours that has gone viral online. We recognize that our choice of words used should have been more sensitive and tactful. We acknowledge that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and it is definitely not our intention to force anyone to believe in what we do.

We have since removed our posters and websites, and will be watchful of future actions. Thank you for your understanding and our deepest apologies again for the distress that this incident has caused you.

With sincere apologies,
On behalf of NUS Campus Crusade

————————————————————————–

Lim Jialiang is a first year student at NTU studying sociology.

————————————————————————–

[1] The author has personally made copies of one of their websites, and the various screenshots floating in the internet is proof enough of their indiscretions.
[2] (Wikipedia 2012)
[3] (Campus Crusade for Christ 2011)
[4] (Goh 2010)
[5] An event that is still on-going annually.
[6] (Khong 2000)
[7] (Goh 2010)
[8] (Goh 2010)
[9] See (Goh 2010), (Chong 2011), (Hamilton-Hart 2009)
[10] (Chong 2011) This paper gives a very comprehensive and detailed argument in regards to the perception of flagging moral authority on the part of the government.
[11] (Campus Crusade for Christ 2012)
[12] A sporadic episode which subjects society to worries that the values and principles which society upholds may be in jeopardy.
[13] (Campus Crusade for Christ 2011)
[14] (Singapore Department of Statistics 2011)
[15] (DeBernardi 2008)

Bibliography

Campus Crusade for Christ. 2011. “About Us.” Campus Crusade for Christ International. Retrieved February 15, 2012 (http://www.ccci.org/about-us/index.htm).

Campus Crusade for Christ. 2012. “Wave 2 Projects 2012.” Campus Crusade for Christ. Retrieved February 15, 2012 (http://gen12ii.cru.sg/projects/). As of 16 February 2012, the website has since been taken down.

Chong, Terence. 2011. “Filling the Moral Void: The Christian Right in Singapore.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 566-583.

DeBernardi, Jean 2008. “Christianity and Chinese Religious Culture in Singapore: Anthropological Perspectives.” in Facing Faiths, Crossing Cultures: Key Trends and Issues in a Multicultural World, edited by Lai Ah Eng. Singapore Institute of Policy Studies.

Goh, Daniel P. S. 2010. “State and Social Christianity in Post-colonial Singapore.” Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 54-89.

Hamilton-Hart, Natasha. 2009. “Religion, Extremism and Terrorism: Is There a Link?” Kuala Lumpur.

Khong, Lawrence. 2000. The Apostolic Cell Church: Practical Strategies for Growth and Outreach from the Story of Faith Community Baptist Church. Singapore: Touch Ministries International.

Singapore Department of Statistics. 2011. “Singapore Census of Population 2010.” Census, Social Statistics Division, Singapore.

Wikipedia. 2012. “Campus Crusade for Christ.” Wikipedia. Retrieved February 16, 2012 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campus_Crusade_for_Christ).

122 Responses to “Crusades are conflicts by another name”


  1. 1 JC N 18 February 2012 at 14:08

    “it is not surprising that Singapore is the Area Operational Office of Singapore”

    Hello and apologies (on Jialiang’s behalf) for the error. That line should read

    ” it is not surprising that Singapore is the Area Operational Office of East Asia”

    Thank you.

  2. 3 joeljoshuagoh 18 February 2012 at 15:50

    Firstly, your description of Antioch as “the famous Christian city that was ravaged by the crusades” is misleading. To most Christians, Antioch refers to the ancient city of the Bible from which most of the Apostles embarked on their evangelical journeys when the world was far from Christianised.

    Secondly, your statements “Singapore is a country with freedom of religion. There cannot be one religion that preaches supremacy over all others.” is contradictory. To most Christians, the most fundamental tenet of their faith IS that it is supreme over all other beliefs, that it is the Only Way. I definitely agree that this is no license to impose any belief on others, and it definitely is a belief to be publicised tactfully. However, to claim that there is freedom of religion (and hence freedom of belief in Christianity) and that Christianity cannot preach its most fundamental message, just displays a lack of understanding at best, and hypocrisy at worse.

    Thirdly, your purported wish that all mission trips cease (and be apologised for) is quite unreasonable. As you yourself have recognised, evangelism is a basic and most crucial element of the Christian faith. You are paying lip service to “freedom of religion” while demanding that a religion also be restricted in practice. And don’t get me wrong here (before I get labelled as with “extremist” or “Christian Right”) – I am not condoning ALL sorts of evangelism. I think there are foolish ways of doing acceptable things. But you are demanding an absolute, that they “cease ALL missionary trips” and “remove ALL presence of their campus ministries in Singapore”.

    Fourthly, I’d have loved know how exactly asserting that “Buddhism leads to no true joy” justifies all the demands you have made at the end of your article. Especially when the poster was meant for the audience of Christians (to whom “true joy” has the connotation of religious conviction) and not the public, who would quite understandably be quite offended.

    In that respect, I would have liked to hear you explain your assertion that this is not a mistake of communication but of conviction. Are you telling Christians that they are now not allowed to believe that Buddhism leads to no “true joy” (within the definition in their theology)? Are you telling them that they are no longer allowed to profess this conviction which is so indispensable in their religion? Or do you agree with CC’s statement that it was only a mistake of communication, that this sensitive belief (and Christianity is not the only exclusive religion around – Islam and Judaism both preach that their faiths are exclusive in the same way) was placed in public rather than circulated internally?

    Fifthly, I would also have loved to hear what you feel of the public sale of books with titles such as “The God Delusion” and “God is not great” and “How religion poisons everything”.

    • 4 Lim Jialiang 18 February 2012 at 19:08

      Hi Joel. Thank you for your reply. I’ll answer your rebuttals to the best of my ability.

      1. Thank you for your theological perspective. I’m not a christian, so this nuance was lost on me. However, that gives me a new understanding of what Billy Graham meant by Singapore being Asia’s Antioch, and is still an appropriate answer to use. Simply substitute world with East Asia, and the example is still valid.

      2. Quite frankly, I don’t see the contradiction. Aren’t you essentially agreeing with me that no religion should be dominant? Also, freedom of religion in Singapore does not mean you can do anything you want. It is more of a tolerance granted by the state in practicing certain forms of religion.

      “Singapore is a country with freedom of religion. There cannot be one religion that preaches supremacy over all others.” Never once have I mentioned that it is wrong to believe in Jesus Christ. Neither have I said that they cannot preach, just this group in particular, and for reasons non-religious in nature (international relations).

      3. As I’ve argued, they are in the international spotlight. This demand is also for their safety. They have a mission trip to Macau, which is in China.
      It is highly likely that they are considered an “unofficial” religion there, and that means that congregations there are likely to be illegal. Punishment can range from fines, to manual labour.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_house_church

      As to in the case of the apology, it is due to their extremism. Although I do concede that my request for them to disband is a little over the top. Quite a few of my friends have pointed that out to me, and I see their point.

      4. It doesn’t. My entire argument is tailored to why I made my “demands.” Please don’t cherrypick.

      Again, please stop saying that I’m asking them to stop having these beliefs. I believe that I’ve qualified my arguments time and time again. I personally feel that their beliefs are extreme, and it is not healthy for parts society to carry such beliefs. Also, I do wish that you don’t generalise. Many of my friends (who are also christian) feel that they are extreme.

      5. The books exist, just like how books purporting the “science” of creationism exist. Again, perspective.

      However, a good and less militant/aggressive/angry book on atheism would be Sam Harris’ Letter (book really, 300 pages) to a Christian Nation.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_to_a_Christian_Nation

      Also, your argument would have been better served if you didn’t stoop to calling me ‘misinformed” and a “hypocrite.” However, thank you again for your reply. I believe that we should debate and discuss about such issues.

      • 5 zee 23 February 2012 at 17:06

        Jialiang,

        Your answer to joeljoshuagoh’s fifth point is inadequate and unclear. How does the fact that “the books exist” and throwing up the word “perspective” answer his critical question as to why these books should not be banned? Can you draw a principled distinction?

    • 6 Josiah 18 February 2012 at 21:37

      I believe that most of the main points of contention in your comment stem from your interpretation of how much importance we should place on freedom of religion. The freedoms we have today are often compromises; the very imposition of certain rights on other members of society limits the range of actions you enjoy. Often, the freedoms we hold dear come with certain compromises.

      In your comment, you argue that many of the statements in this post run counter to that of the freedom we should have in practising religion, while indicating you are cognizant that certain limits that should be placed on it. I believe that our society today (specifically Singapore), does have a differing opinion from you on where the line should be drawn. Loudly preaching the superiority of the religion you hold over other religions is likely to be perceived as disrespectful, and could potentially incite a flurry of reasonably interesting blog/social media posts. You clearly argue that Christianity must be able to (tactfully) preach its superiority over other religions, yet fail to notice that in this current climate, such evangelistic behaviour is frowned upon, as evidenced by the many examples in this post on how the Religious Right might have overreached in their efforts to act upon this belief. I would disagree with your assertion that such a belief should be preached. The action of choosing a religion does implicitly indicate an individual’s preference of one religion over the other; however, I would believe that this is different from the version of “superiority” you claim to be fundamental and essential to your version of Christianity. The former does not require one to actively judge other people and the beliefs they profess, while the latter does so, and actively pushes the message that those not of your religion has made the wrong choice. I believe that both of these beliefs are separate, and should not be conflated with each other. The messaging that has been put out by some in recent years tend to lean towards the latter interpretation, which I (and probably many others) find to be distasteful.

      The need to speak “tactfully” does indicate that the core idea of a message is somewhat incongruent with the environment it will be thrown into. This does not imply that that the idea is flawed; just as the distastefulness of an idea cannot invalidate it. Yet, the expression of an idea is an act that cannot be divorced from its potential consequences. To despoil the religious harmony we have is an ugly thing to do. You profess the freedom to hold whatever beliefs you want – that is something no one can take away from you by force; the actions that are entailed by such beliefs however, is a considerably fuzzier area.

  3. 7 NoGod 18 February 2012 at 18:43

    I have read The God Delusion. Awesome book. God is not great and How religion poisons everything are next on my list.

    Highly recommend all theist to at least give one of them a try, and then THINK and QUESTION your faith critically.

    • 8 Anonymous 18 February 2012 at 22:49

      Fully agree!

    • 9 Anonymous 19 February 2012 at 10:04

      I read The God Delusion too. Now I’m a follower of the Pink Teapot-ism!

    • 10 SN 19 February 2012 at 20:14

      I am so enthused by the quasi-/pseudo-atheism on display!

      I shudder to imagine what would had happened to your (now) liberated mind had Dawkins not written his magnum opus!

      You protest too much against those you regard as sheep, sheep.

      Regards.

    • 11 Joel 21 February 2012 at 09:03

      You may also want to read The Dawkins Delusion by Alister McGrath

    • 12 ajdsfuasdbf 22 February 2012 at 21:40

      I’ve read “The God Delusion” as well. Will try “God is not Great” probably next holiday. Dawkins’s writings on the evolution of belief in religion was interesting, if snarky (Well, he IS arguing that I haven’t grown out of my childhood phase). That being said, though, Dawkins’s book was largely unconvincing for me. His treatment of the cosmological argument was, imho, superficial (it was less than a page). Also, the “Ultimate Boeing 747” argument isn’t sound given that it is a good argument against a contingent being but not a necessary one. Given that the God of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc is necessary, the Boeing 747 argument is inapplicable. I found it very interesting, though, that Dawkins has great contempt for agnostics (weak atheists, if you will).

      Now then, I’ll recommend all atheists to give “Reasonable Faith” or “Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview” a try, and then question their beliefs critically.

      • 13 Poker Player 23 February 2012 at 10:49

        “His treatment of the cosmological argument was, imho, superficial (it was less than a page).”

        But it is still much more substantive than his treatment of the transubstantiation vs consubstantiation debate😉

      • 14 Poker Player 23 February 2012 at 11:24

        My point is, you participate in a debate only the debate makes sense either way.

        There is a reason why the big names in recent philosophy – Sellars, Quine, Davidson to name a few .. don’t bother with the topic in their original work – it is as much an anachronism to them as the transubstantiation vs consubstantiation debate.

        The debate is still around to serve a religious constituency – I am sure the technical intricacies of transubstantiation are still taught in Catholic universities – ditto the God-proofs in Evangelical USA.

        And one page is too much when it is so hard to do better than Kant a few hundred years ago.

  4. 15 lky 18 February 2012 at 18:58

    One should also read A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krause and God No! By Penn Jillette.

    When one talks about religion, all human reasonings stop.

  5. 16 lky 18 February 2012 at 19:01

    The best way to be an Atheist is to read the Bible like you would read Alice in Wonderland. Penn Jillette

    • 17 yawningbread 18 February 2012 at 21:19

      But why *should* one be an atheist?

      • 18 lky 18 February 2012 at 23:43

        Well if you read the Bible like you would read Journey to the West, then you realized those books belong to the category of fairy tales. They are not even historically accurate.

        None of the religion in existence today describe the world and the universe as we know today. You are left with what we now called the God that we don’t know, called the God of the Gap (in knowledge). The God of the Gap has become smaller and smaller and has become more and more irrelevant as science progress. From the earth being flat in Galileo’s time we can now possibly conjecture that the universe could arise from nothing and that hypothesis is currently the subject of intense empirical investigations by scientists using the lage hydronic collider. We also know how the elements of the universe came about, how chemistry became biology and how the first living life form emerge and grew into complex organisms. If you watch astrophysics, palaeonthology, evolutionary biology and anthroprogeny (CARTA) in YouTube, you are left with the only notion that if there is a God he possibly created the big bang and then vanishes because there is no longer any need for any divine plan to arrive at the universe that we now know today after the big bang.

        Lawrence Krause and many scientists are now trying to prove a Universe out of nothing. If hey can do that, the last notion of God disappears and the God of the Gap also vanishes.

        Whatever label you want to call it, religion and the notion of god will go down in the annal of history many years down the road as the dark age of spiritual belief.

      • 19 Anonymous 19 February 2012 at 15:08

        Nobody *should* be anything they don’t want to be Alex, and that’s the problem a lot of atheists have with the more strident theists. They won’t stop forcing their beliefs down our collective (as in all of us, even theists of other stripes) throats. Especially the mono-theist faiths. Why can’t these people understand that secularism is the best method humans have invented that allows EVERYBODY to practice their religion without persecution?

        Also, I always find it funny when people use the word militant with atheist. How the hell do you become a militant non-stamp collector? Since when do atheists go around bombing and killing people in the name of atheism?

      • 20 Suoji 20 February 2012 at 01:17

        To Iky, sorry but I am not sure to understand why proving that the world came out of nothing would result in the vanishing of the idea of god. It would seem to me to be rather the opposite. If this was proven true (which is actually probably the case), and given that from a purely scientific point of view things can only exist in a relation of cause and effect, then there should be a cause for everything to exist out of nothing, which is what god is anyway in some way, some sort of void and emptiness from which everything springs out (and please note that I am not putting a capital G to the word, I too am not fond of the Big Brother image that religions sticks on that concept).

        The big problem with materialist science is that it has been trying for the last two centuries to severe its original tie to spirituality. But a tree grows out of a seed and even though it doesn’t have the form of the seed at all when fully developed, it cannot help in the end but to produce new seeds. I wouldn’t be so hopeful as you are that science will manage one day to really push the “dark age of spirituality” in the realm of distant history.

        One should not forget that today’s science is hardly anything else but the outcome of the early practice of astronomy (and not astrology) to understand the movement of the planets and stars and know what is the place of planet earth in the universe. It is from these observations that geometry and mathematics developed.

        The bible and the journey to the west are certainly nothing else but “”stories”, fully agree. But think carefully for a while and you will realize that the so called “reality” is precisely nothing but “stories”. Down at the subatomic level, there is nothing but emptiness and tiny particle of energy. And so there is nothing but “stories”, the story of the constant transformation and evolution of the universe. And this is why myths of the antiquity are so important. Don’t forget that whenever you call the days of the week you are actually calling the names of ancient gods, like it or not.

        In any case, not all scientists are taking this kind of materialist stance, far from it. The “God doesn’t play dice” of Einstein when he couldn’t accept the contradictions of quantum physics is a good example of it. Maybe you could try reading Trinh Xuan Thuan, a prominent astrophysicist who combines rational scientific understanding and spiritual view of the world. They are not as you seem to think necessarily excluding one another.

      • 21 Poker Player 20 February 2012 at 15:12

        “To Iky, sorry but I am not sure to understand why proving that the world came out of nothing would result in the vanishing of the idea of god. ”

        If not that, at least let’s agree on

        1) There were never any talking snakes
        2) Our (human) genetic diversity requires that we don’t have a common ancestor living somewhere between 3000 to 5000 BC
        3) Different languages were spoken around the world before long before 5000BC
        4) Kangaroos were never ever in a boat in the middle east – or at least never before their discovery by Westerners

        Well, you get the idea…

      • 22 Poker Player 20 February 2012 at 15:15

        “The bible and the journey to the west are certainly nothing else but “”stories”, fully agree. But think carefully for a while and you will realize that the so called “reality” is precisely nothing but “stories”. Down at the subatomic level, there is nothing but emptiness and tiny particle of energy. And so there is nothing but “stories”, the story of the constant transformation and evolution of the universe.”

        Have you ever tried this in a court of law?

      • 23 Poker Player 20 February 2012 at 15:25

        “The big problem with materialist science is that it has been trying for the last two centuries to severe its original tie to spirituality.”

        Why “problem”? And why “last two centuries”? Because Galileo lived before that period😉

  6. 24 gee. 18 February 2012 at 20:05

    i concur with joeljoshuagoh’s aforementioned point. you appear to have adopted a rather ardent advocacy towards the belief that “singapore is a country with freedom of religion”. i do wonder, though, what your definition of “freedom of religion” is. should you be of the opinion that all religions should, bluntly put, exercise their individual faiths and leave the rest of the world alone (i.e. no overt promotion or display of one’s faith), then regrettably, almost every religion practised here has overstepped this delicate boundary, whether in little or major ways. i don’t reckon i need to provide instances of this.

    i also think that perhaps you need to understand the concept of “extremism” a little better. you’ve articulated how evangelism is a manifestation of “extremism”, probably because of its seemingly intrusive, coercive nature that might threaten the religious equilibrium of our tiny island and violate the freedom of choice that each of us has been entitled as humans. well then, i do wonder if anyone has ever come up to you, jabbed a gun at your head and forced you to convert, or else. i highly doubt it. why? because what i illustrated was an extreme example. extremists are only labelled as such because of their callous disregard for and violation of others’ moral and religious rights, and these attitudes and tendencies are characteristic of many of their endeavours. extremists are also frequently anti-establishment, and unabashed about it. should we observe well-known extremists that have made headlines in the recent decade, i daresay few or none of them have considered the element of universal free will when they embarked on their pre-meditated missions. simply put, in their own eyes they were gunning for their rights, they thought they were doing good, and everyone else just didn’t have a choice but to grapple with the repurcussions.

    from what you’ve quoted, it appears the apology from crusade specifically mentions, “we acknowledge that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and it is definitely not our intention to force anyone to believe in what we do.” i do believe that any discerning reader would recognize this as a non-coercive statement. is this, then, an extremist attitude? ironically though, your response was: “I merely wish for them to apologise for the insensitive “missions” that they’ve embarked on. I also respectfully ask them to cease all missionary trips overseas, for they can be interpreted as political and religious antagonism, and to remove all presence of their campus ministries in Singapore. ” in so requesting/wishing, you are implying that these people not be given any other alternative or avenue to practice their faith. basically, it’s what you want and they have no choice.

    now then, is that not in itself an extremity?

    • 25 tk 20 February 2012 at 14:51

      alex, no-one *should* be anything. that’s why it’s so sick to call your child a christian, a muslim or a buddhist. a child is a child – let them make their own decision later when they can think for themselves. and when they’ve learned to think for themselves, i reckon you’ll find they decide to stay free from religion for good.

    • 26 Anonymous 21 February 2012 at 11:56

      To Souji:

      I read and re-read your post multiple times, and while I understand what the individual words that make up your post, I don’t understand at all what you are saying.

      I confess to having a hard time trying to pin down what you mean. What do you mean when you say:

      “If this was proven true (which is actually probably the case), and given that from a purely scientific point of view things can only exist in a relation of cause and effect, then there should be a cause for everything to exist out of nothing, which is what god is anyway in some way, some sort of void and emptiness from which everything springs out ”

      I don’t know that science postulates everything must have a “cause and effect”. I know that science assumes that the universe around us is empirical, observable, and testable. Science, as a problem solving enterprise, does not assume a prime mover cause until and unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise. This is a lecture video of the Lawrence Krauss stuff that Iky referred to:

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2011/09/a-universe-from-nothing/

      It’s an hour long, but well worth the watch. He says nothing about a prime mover concept. In fact, all he wanted to know is how the universe ends, rather than how it began. You are jumping to conclusion when you tag on the prime mover thing.

      I can’t wrap my head around your next two paragraphs:

      “The big problem with materialist science is that it has been trying for the last two centuries to severe its original tie to spirituality. But a tree grows out of a seed and even though it doesn’t have the form of the seed at all when fully developed, it cannot help in the end but to produce new seeds. I wouldn’t be so hopeful as you are that science will manage one day to really push the “dark age of spirituality” in the realm of distant history.

      One should not forget that today’s science is hardly anything else but the outcome of the early practice of astronomy (and not astrology) to understand the movement of the planets and stars and know what is the place of planet earth in the universe. It is from these observations that geometry and mathematics developed. ”

      I don’t know that it had it’s roots to spirituality, original or otherwise. Science is simply problem solving, and a method of trying to understand the world around us. The people back then didn’t know as much as we do now, and their tools for observing reality is a lot less sophisticated then ours, so they got some things wrong, which we corrected as our understanding and instruments get better, and which the people that comes after us, will hopefully do the same.

      As I mentioned, I really cannot understand how your next paragraph can flow from the previous. Astronomy is a science, hardly spiritual. As you correctly pointed out, it’s not astrology, which is complete nonsense. So what’s the connection? How is claiming that science is not spiritual supporting your assertion that science is spiritual? There must be a huge misunderstanding on my part. Would appreciate it if you can clarify.

      You will also need to cite where you are getting this “today’s science is hardly anything else but the outcome of the early practice of astronomy”. This is complete news to me. I had no idea that when the first farmers practiced the storing of grain, the invention of the wheel, the cutting of stone tools, the advancement of metal working etc. etc. was all due to early astronomy. I’m interested to know. Can you cite the books or the papers you are getting this from?

      I had more, but I think my post is getting too long. I think there may be some kind of misunderstanding you have on what science actually is though. Might be good to learn a little more about it.

      • 27 yawningbread 22 February 2012 at 00:45

        It’s something I have long noticed about religious people. They tend (not all of them but I can discern a pattern) to want to see cause and effect. They kind of need this kind of explanation in order to understand the world around them; they are not comfortable with non-causal phenomena or things with no beginning, no end.

        Thus, they see science through the same prism: that science, like their own creation stories, also posit cause and effect for this world. In other words, they don’t see science as science is (a process of enquiry), but read into their perception of science another laid-down creation narrative.

        This is related to an idea that I’ve held for a long time; that there are personality differences between those who are religious and those who don’t have much time or interest in religion — and I say this without attaching value judgement to either side. I am coming around to believe that it is personality that drives a person to seek out religion; whereas other kinds of personalities are repelled or disinterested in it. It actually doesn’t matter what the religion is; the choice of religion is a situational one: whatever is available in one’s culture; or whatever is more status-affirming. The key difference is not between Muslim and Christian, or between Buddhist and Hindu. The key difference is between those who need religion to give meaning to their lives and those who don’t. They are, to put it starkly, a subspecies apart.

        But I would also add that many people who identify with a religion are not religious. Their attachment is more social and community-oriented than religious. So, the divide I speak of is not between those who profess a religion and atheists — it is between the religious and the non-religious.

  7. 28 patriot 18 February 2012 at 22:22

    Hahaha…

    asking the Crusader and Jihadis
    to cease their missions is like asking
    them to stop doing their religious
    duties.
    And
    they have been calling
    people sinners/infidels since the day
    their Faiths were established.

    It has been going on for millenniums.

    Can anyone change it?

    • 29 Dr Tan Tai Wei 22 February 2012 at 10:00

      Alex, “science as science” doesn’t pressuppose cause and effect? So you are prepared to pay a doctor who tells you to take your illness as it is, and don’t medicate: for there can be no diagnosing it since this involves tracing its cause, and no medicine is effective for there can be no effect?

      • 30 Poker Player 22 February 2012 at 10:43

        In Quantum Mechanics our common-sense intuitions about cause and effect break down. YB is correct. It is an intuition that you can dispense with or use depending on what the particular theory needs to make it fit experiments and observation.

      • 31 Poker Player 22 February 2012 at 14:03

        An aside. Scientific theories are not constrained by common-sense intuitions. Our notions about time, space, location, identity that apply to everyday life cannot be extrapolated beyond the range of human experience. We see things that are no longer there (what is a light-year?).

        Thankfully we haven’t seen somebody trying to pull a textbook ontological/cosmological proof of God’s existence in the comments…which are exactly that…tidied up common sense intuitions applied to something beyond the range of human experience…

      • 32 Dr Tan Tai Wei 22 February 2012 at 15:06

        ‘Poker’ shouldn’t despair of searching for explanations even in areas where what he claims to be ” commonsense cause-effect explaining” seems inapplicable. Even there, it is against the grain of our being rational to just take things as they are, and only because we haven’t as yet discerned a pattern conforming to our previous notion of cause-effect. We feel constrained to seek how things come to be, we assume there must be some explaining, some sort of cause yet to be uncovered, if not our “commonsense”sort. This applies also, surely, to our wondering about ultimate questions as to how things as a whole have come to be. Just because modes of explaining of things within our natural experience are inapplicable to explaining the whole of things, it does not follow that no sort of explaining of it can be had, or ought to be sought.

      • 33 Poker Player 22 February 2012 at 16:35

        “Just because modes of explaining of things within our natural experience are inapplicable to explaining the whole of things, it does not follow that no sort of explaining of it can be had, or ought to be sought.”

        But it is a defect that needs to be pointed out when such attempts are made.

      • 34 Poker Player 22 February 2012 at 16:42

        “But it is a defect that needs to be pointed out when such attempts are made.”

        Especially when claims about how human beings should conduct themselves are based on them.

      • 35 zee 22 February 2012 at 20:59

        “It’s something I have long noticed about religious people. They tend … to want to see cause and effect. They kind of need this kind of explanation in order to understand the world around them; they are not comfortable with non-causal phenomena or things with no beginning, no end”

        “I am coming around to believe that it is personality that drives a person to seek out religion; whereas other kinds of personalities are repelled or disinterested in it”

        Performative inconsistency, no? Lesson learnt: never a good option to argue against the belief in cause-and-effect.

      • 36 yawningbread 23 February 2012 at 00:47

        That’s just snarky defensiveness. It was clear from context that I was referring to large metaphysical questions. Of course where, empirically, cause and effect can be shown or deduced, religiosity does not come into the picture. But there is an observable difference between those who go out to seek answers to big questions like ‘how did the world begin?”, ‘where will we go when we die?’, ‘why did a tornado hit my house?’ _AND_ in the absence of a logical answer from the physical world, prefer to hold fast to a narrative that purports to explain the phenomenon, rather than let it remain unexplained.

        ‘Why did the tornado hit my house’? Pick one:
        (a) It is God’s will
        (b) Just chance

        ‘Why did Ah Ong get hit by cancer just as his business was beginning to succeed?’ Pick one:
        (a) He did not propitiate the gods and follow the principles of fengshui
        (b) Just chance

      • 37 Dr Tan Tai Wei 23 February 2012 at 10:45

        “Just chance” is one possible “answer” among possible ones? Nay, it seems in truth evasive of answering. Seems to be more like “take things as they are; they just occur, period. Just assume that out of the blue, some big bang just occurred, and things just developed to the complex, intricate phenomena we need the sciences to just partially explain today. And consider how “nature” would have had to repeatedly score all the numerous and unimaginably huge lotteries, at numerous junctures of its development, to be what it is! What a Chance!

        Why not then trust our “commonsense” intuition, that has worked so well for us for seeing truths within our natural experience, that there must be some reason why of things, and try applying it even as we wonder about the Why of it all? And in so doing, consider seriously and fairly religion’s purported answers, ie. educated versions, and not, say, naive and trivial readings of such literature as the Bible?

      • 38 Poker Player 23 February 2012 at 12:51

        As to why, look up “virtus dormitiva” used in the context of discussions on the nature of explanations.

      • 39 Poker Player 23 February 2012 at 13:06

        “naive and trivial readings of such literature as the Bible?”

        They become described as naive and trivial only *AFTER* confrontation with scientific and archaeological findings that contradict them. Before that, they were “educated” readings. Galileo’s persecutors were as educated as he was.

      • 40 Poker Player 23 February 2012 at 13:21

        ” And in so doing, consider seriously and fairly religion’s purported answers, ie. educated versions, and not, say, naive and trivial readings of such literature as the Bible?”

        So you are asking for the Bible, the same thing astrologers/fortune tellers/palm readers ask for their predictions?

      • 41 zee 23 February 2012 at 16:59

        Alex,

        The implicit assumption in your worldview that there is no non-natural (or supernatural) cause to natural phenomena is as much a metaphysical observation/answer to the *big questions in life* as any other answer posited by religious minds. It also isn’t self-evident why the belief in cause-and-effect should cease when it comes to metaphysical matters.

      • 42 Dr Tan Tai Wei 23 February 2012 at 21:16

        Sorry, I must explain that by “trivial readings of such literature as the Bible”, I do not mean the literature is trivial, but that it can be trivialised by misinformed and uneducated reading of them. I guess it must be such readings of the Bible that have led some authors here to say it is “fairy tale” and the like. The best, short and readable book on the Bible is undoubtedly CH Dodd’s “The Bible Today”. I think the script is available on line, although it is, like most precious books, long out of print and unavailable in our national library.

      • 43 Poker Player 24 February 2012 at 10:52

        “The implicit assumption in your worldview that there is no non-natural (or supernatural) cause to natural phenomena is as much a metaphysical observation/answer to the *big questions in life* as any other answer posited by religious minds. ”

        It is a methodological working assumption. When applied, it gives us the modern world.

      • 44 Poker Player 24 February 2012 at 10:54

        “It also isn’t self-evident why the belief in cause-and-effect should cease when it comes to metaphysical matters.”

        Just don’t call it “proof”.

      • 45 Dr Tan Tai Wei 24 February 2012 at 21:07

        Except that that might not just be “a narrative” and “a felt need”. Might it not be a true intuition corresponding to what Reality in truth is? Why the bias in favour of “only fairy tale”, told ONLY to fill a “a gap”?

      • 46 Poker Player 24 February 2012 at 23:00

        If you use the word “might” every other sentence, is there anything you can’t say?

    • 47 Poker Player 23 February 2012 at 12:45

      I wonder if Tan Tai Wei realizes that his response applies as well (mutatis mutandis) to the (a) answers😉

      • 48 Dr Tan Tai Wei 24 February 2012 at 12:18

        My “response” does, as “Poker Player” says, “apply as well to the (a) answers”, but only when the (a) answers are given the kind of trivial interpreting I mentioned before. If “god’s will” and “feng shui” are placed in the same category as the “just chance” YB ascribed to things, then they are, of course, in the end just as “chancy”. As the child will continue to ask, “Who made God?”

        But that only adds to our wonder, as rational beings, as to how things could be ultimately just fortuitous. And if not, then the answer cannot be found at the same level, for a god who made god would also need to be made, and so on, ad infinitum. That is the route of thought and wonder that has resulted in the postulate of transcendent “Necessary Being”, without Whom nothing is in the end explained. Like all issues at the ultimate level of thought, the decision to see Reality as rational requires what has been called “a leap of thought”; not just blind faith, but a “leap” taken when one is most intellectually alert, after thinking and pondering through it all, and having cultivated a way of seeing where “those who have eyes and ears would see and hear”.

      • 49 yawningbread 24 February 2012 at 17:17

        Hmm. . . you’ve proved my point when you wrote:

        “But that only adds to our wonder, as rational beings, as to how things could be ultimately just fortuitous. And if not, then the answer cannot be found at the same level, for a god who made god would also need to be made, and so on, ad infinitum. That is the route of thought and wonder that has resulted in the postulate of transcendent “Necessary Being”, without Whom nothing is in the end explained.”

        I had said that some people just _NEED_ to arrive at an explanation, even when the empirical does not yield one. They would look for a metaphysical narrative rather than accept an agnostic position. They need to _believe_ in something rather than accept a “don’t know”. You have described exactly that thought process.

      • 50 Poker Player 24 February 2012 at 22:20

        Wittgenstein on Heidegger

        Man has the drive to run up against the boundaries of language. Think, for instance, of the astonishment that anything exists. This astonishment cannot be expressed in the form of a question, and there is also no answer to it. All that we can say can only, a priori, be nonsense.

  8. 51 Anon 18 February 2012 at 23:24

    To the good man Gee:

    The foundation of Singapore’s tenet of multi-religiosity is based on temperance with regard to co-existence and not necessarily “not overtly promoting or displaying faith in one’s religion”. While there may be conflict there, it is usually not the case in Singapore. Rather what does concern us Singaporeans is the assertion of superiority or inferiority regarding other religions. Our wonderfully theocratic government strictly enforces that while canvassing for converts is allowed, demeaning another religion is not. The other point is, all religions are allowed as long as there is no third party harm to society. Singapore can thus be considered one of the most religiously liberal countries in the world. (if you do cite Jehova’s Witnesses as a counter-example, i’ll simply say that refusing national service is a breach of social contract )

    Gee, “extremism” as you have defined, stems from “callous disregard for and violation of others’ moral and religious rights”. Now. . .i am very sure that levelling allegations that someone’s nation is “a place of little true joy”, “moral decline”, only having “touristy photos and shopping” or implying that just because a nation’s population is mostly “M”, it needs “much prayer and work” pretty much infringes upon others’ right to religious freedom and dignity; Infringes, i say, in a callous manner, without any regard or consideration for the feelings or rights of these people to live the way they want. In short, they ain’t thinking about these people. So certainly the label of “extremist” is justifiable.

    As much as they might find their cause a great and wonderful pursuit, it does not justify any acts that society at large considers harmful or repugnant. I will repeat it: however deluded these individuals are, it does not excuse infringing upon society’s sensibilities.
    SO!!! while they “insert quote you quoted”, they also see fit to insult, condemn and demean other nations/religions. As i have pointed out above, by your very definition of extremism, they pretty much fit the bill. Whether or not they intentionally did it, the very fact that it was put to print and advertised is reflective of their mindsets. Had societal backlash not kicked in, i am very sure they would not have realized exactly how far they have overstepped the boundaries of what is appropriate. (Well at least they aren’t burning Qur’ans. )

    I personally disagree with Jia Liang’s request for them to cease missions simply because i do not find anything wrong with them as long as they maintain their respect for others. What i do consider disagreeable is your allegation of him being “extremist” in his views. Let me put it this way. If he is an “extremist” he is in a manner just like our government. “Extremist in Moderation”, being afraid of the extremes of any situation or aspect, they thus greatly gravitate to the middleground at all cost. “Extreme Moderates” i would call them and justifiably so, for what’s “moderation” but another extreme in itself. But if you asked me to choose an extremity, “moderation” is the one i would go for. The other poles are a tad frightful.

    Broaden your views a little, it does you much good.

    Sincerely,
    Anon.

  9. 52 gee 19 February 2012 at 01:09

    to anon, thank you for your reply. i have considered your views and understand where you are coming from. however, please do allow me to clarify just one thing:

    when i suggested that the author’s views were “extremist”, i was not referring to anything else he had brought up in the post. what i was in fact, referring to, was merely his request that ALL campus ministries cease, as well as ALL mission trips (it was the sole example i cited, if you look at my comment again). latching onto your definition of the behaviour of an “extreme moderate”, i honestly don’t find that very moderate or “middle-groundish” (for lack of a better word!) at all, simply because of the undeniably absolute nature of the request (i.e., usages of the word “all).

    other than that, though, i do not reckon the rest of the content was extreme in itself.

  10. 53 thyme 19 February 2012 at 01:56

    I know I’m going against the (very strong) current here, but I just want to know whether there is any wrong in telling other people (1) what you believe and (2) why you think they should also share this belief, (3) without stepping on other religious beliefs, (4) in a private setting.

    And, if so, I also want to know why people are so offended that some individuals are going overseas to share their beliefs in such a manner.

    Or is there an implicit assumption that all evangelism necessarily involves the bashing of other religions?

    From what I understand thus far, the poster has been very offensive, but the anger now seems to be directed at a much larger target. Larger than I think necessary or reasonable. I know Christians have not historically excelled at compromise, though, so I guess we deserve this in a way.

    May I also add that there seems to be an overly convenient distinction between the Christian Left and Right, with the former getting the credit for doing all the good stuff and none of the bad. I observe that the major denominations in Singapore (Presbyterian, Methodist to name a couple) do have social services of their own (search for Presbyterian Care Services or Methodist Welfare Services). These major denominations tend to be more conservative in outlook and thus more aligned to the so-called Right.

    One last point: I may risk your ire here, but I note that in one of your replies, the persecution of Chinese house churches was mentioned. There was absolutely no regard to the extent to which the religious freedom of these people were curtailed; instead, their persecution was used as a reason to justify the unreasonableness of sending Christians to China. I know this is a tangential point, and I do not think it was the writer’s explicit intention to be unsympathetic to the plight of the house churches in China, but it nevertheless seems to reflect a subtle bias on the writer’s part.

    • 54 Lim Jialiang 19 February 2012 at 16:05

      Hi Thyme,

      There is nothing wrong with all the points you raise. However, please don’t misrepresent me. Firstly, the final paragraph was emotional, rather than rational. That is my mistake. I agree that some of my requests were out of hand, especially the last request of disbandment. The rest would seem out of hand if there were no due justification, which I regret paying more attention to.

      However, that is that. Identify any part of the argument before that which says that people are “so offended that some individuals are going overseas to share their beliefs in such a manner.” I certainly was not offended. I was offended by the characterisation of other nations, and the arrogance that the group displayed, not the act of evangelism. The sheer religious fervour, which resulted in the belittlement of other religions, is what is offensive here.

      Perhaps you’re reading too much into the forth section. Again, did I say anything, anything emotionally charged, anything irrational, when I wrote that section? I merely laid out the long-term plans of the group with respect to my understanding of Pentecostal Christianity which is academically justified.

      Again, Christian Right used in academics is hardly a term for certain denominations, but for ideological ones. It’s a standard self/other, liberal/conservative polarisation that they use. Humans search for patterns, and patterns can aid us in understanding our world better. The Christian Right gained greater academic significance ever since George W. Bush wooed them as a voting demographic. I can provide you with a paper by Terence Chong on the Christian Right, I’ve taken my main definition (very abridged it may be) from him.

      Chong, Terence. 2011. “Filling the Moral Void: The Christian Right in Singapore.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 566-583.

      Again, there is no bias in the case of China I brought up. If there was, my bias was out of concern for the tertiary students who go on the missionary trips. Do you honestly think that the world is not keeping track of all these major disruptions in Singapore? If they keep silent about a matter, it’s not because they do not know, but it’s because they’re waiting for further developments. The risk is there. The Cru is now too high profile to ignore. Again, this is not about you.

      Finally, my demands are only directed to this church. I’m not asking everyone to stop sending missionaries overseas. Why is this particular case of evangelism offensive to me? Well. I’ve answered that question many times already.

  11. 55 A 19 February 2012 at 10:34

    Ask a Christian what is the meaning of spiritual warfare. I believe you may not have understood the term when you used it.

  12. 57 ponder 19 February 2012 at 11:11

    @thyme: have you ever wondered if it is “right” to tell others that your religion and only itself is the best while belittling other religions? who are you to decide that your religion is better than others? clearly, the poster had stepped on
    a) Buddhism by implying that the Thais do not experience “true joy”
    b) Muslim by labeling them as “M” which contains a degradory tone
    nobody is stopping you from practicing the religion of your choice but please do not attempt to convince others that your religion is the one and only correct religion.

  13. 58 Enxu 19 February 2012 at 13:26

    Dear author,

    First, I would like to say I respect your stance on this, and I would like to think that you indeed have the welfare and well-being of your fellow citizens in mind when you write this. On this, I do applaud you and agree with you. But I hope to comment on the specifics of your article which you seem to have missed out or misunderstood about.

    But before I go into this, I would hope to receive an honest answer about this question from you: Before you even wrote this commentary, did you actually read up and understand what Christianity really is about? Did you really explore its fundamental doctrines and examine what it really teaches, whether by consulting a Christian friend or asking a Pastor from a church or reading some Christian materials?

    I ask this question, because it is what is essential to make your article credible in the first place. If I were to comment about an ideology or another religion today, but I did not research enough into it, or did not ask the opinions of those who are acquainted with this ideology or religion, would you perceive that my stance or viewpoints are credible? I believe not, and this is one of the fundamental problems I see in your commentary.

    Now if I may continue, I would first like to know why you would view the current evangelism of Campus Crusade for Christ as “extremism”. I believe that anyone who has a bit of a knowledge of Christianity would be aware that evangelism is part of Christianity, in fact it is a commission for all Christians. I would presume that extremism would mean that Christians force people to hear the Gospel and threaten them with physical violence if they do not believe in Christ, but we see that nowhere does Campus Crusade for Christ ever condone or promote such behavior.

    I personally feel that this unnerving labelling of any form of evangelism as “extremism” is disturbing in itself, and reflects a lack of understanding and tolerance for something that is crucial to the Christian faith. Calling Christian evangelism an act of extremism and demanding that such acts be forbidden is no different from asking Christians to deny Christ and their faith and stop the work they are called to do. If such is indeed the intent, then I would hope to ask: Where then is the religious tolerance and freedom for Christians?

    Furthermore, if you have been noticing the negative comments and upheavals from the general public, it has turned into a pretty violent and hatred filled response, simply because of a wrongly phrased statement, whether intentionally or not. It seems to me that when it comes to Christianity, there is no room for errors and forgiveness, and one mistake would be deemed serious enough for those young students to be sentenced to jail or burned to death (yes I have personally seen a Facebooker calling for them to be burned). Again, I hope to ask, while we are here talking about religious freedom, harmony and tolerance, why such fierce condemnation against a group of young adolescents for an honest mistake on their part? Simply because of Christianity and their evangelism?

    And for the rest of your comments about what the Crusaders have written about, again it is something very Christian based, and many would understandably not agree with it. But does that then mean that there is “extremism” involved and that these people should be banned, simply because the consensus does not agree with them?

    It is indeed unfortunate to see how much damage this has done, but I hope to bring up a point to you and the other readers here: When we are calling people “extremists” and denouncing their “evangelism”, is it really because of what they have done (or intend to do), or is it because of deep ingrained biasness in us? Are we calling them “extremists” really because of their evil intentions? Or are we simply labelling them as “extremists” because of our own strong biased opinions that just does not agree with their stance? I believe that the general response seems to lean towards the biasness side rather than what the group in concern has really done in reality.

  14. 60 Enxu 19 February 2012 at 13:38

    @ Ponder: As to your comment, I would feel that this really depends on what people imply from that statement on the poster. While you and the general consensus may imply that Campus Crusade for Christ is belittling other religions, have you and the rest ever considered that this was not part of their intent? Do you then think it is just and fair to condemn them just because they wrongly phrased a statement unintentionally? Consider yourself in their shoes, if you will.

    Again as to the matters of “true joy”, this is something Christian and could not be perceived correctly if you or I do not first have an understanding of what this means. Why take it to the extreme and imply that Campus Crusade is stepping on other religion, or for this case, Buddhism?

    I do agree with you though on the “M” part, that it should not be done in this manner. But hey, they are students and still young, why hold onto grudges and pick on their wrong choice of words when we can all easily forgive them and let this go? Does re-emphasizing their errors and stirring up more wrath do ANY good to the current situation? Or are you unwilling to be appeased until you see them condemned? Please, have some compassion.

    • 61 Poker Player 19 February 2012 at 20:12

      “why hold onto grudges and pick on their wrong choice of words when we can all easily forgive them and let this go? Does re-emphasizing their errors and stirring up more wrath do ANY good to the current situation? Or are you unwilling to be appeased until you see them condemned? Please, have some compassion.”

      Look for the most aggressive and or violent word in the article. Then consider the acts of violence committed under actual ***orders*** of Christian religious authorities.

      Get a sense of proportion.

      • 62 Enxu 20 February 2012 at 12:05

        I have yet to see any actual (physical) violence being done by Campus Crusade for Christ, so I have no idea what you are talking about when you say “acts of violence committed under actual ***orders*** of Christian religious authorities.”

        But if you are referring to the connotation of spiritual warfare, then it is wise to know that if you are not a Christian, you cannot and will not have a correct understanding of what is involved. But if you happen to have the impression that this kind of “warfare” means threats or violence done to non-Christians in order to convert them, then I can safely assure you that such “threats or violence” is none existent, at least in true Christianity.

        With that side, even the spiritual warfare connotation is a part of Christianity and I wonder why there can be no tolerance for such connotations. It is understandable that different people view things differently, but I hope to ask: If the spiritual warfare connotation does not result in physical violence or does not result in Christians deliberately taking up arms against non-Christians, why can’t it be accepted as part of Christianity?

      • 63 Poker Player 20 February 2012 at 16:59

        Sometimes quoting is all it takes:

        ***
        I have no idea what you are talking about when you say “acts of violence committed under actual ***orders*** of Christian religious authorities.”
        ***

  15. 64 Dr Tan Tai Wei 19 February 2012 at 14:52

    One must distinguish between 1) Christian “evangelism” that forcibly intrudes into other people’s personal freedom to either listen or not to, from 2) that which only seeks to share whatever the “truths” that they think they have, leaving it optional whether others want to heed or not. In the latter case, even should what they think be false or unfair to other religions, provided they are sincere and not bluffing on purpose, they have the right to their belief and to try to share it, to those who choose to hear them through. It’s like how we tolerate even inaccurate commercial advertisers, provided they are not deliberately fraudulent, if they only display their “goods” on posters, websites or even leave leaflets in our mailboxes, but allowing us the freedom to ignore them and chuck their things into the rubbish bin next to the mailbox. It would be different where they make us their captured audience, like, say, including their stuff into our children’s school syllabuses.

    Now, surely, “campus crusade” evangelism is the second sort?

    I agree, though, that they should improve on their understanding of their own beliefs visavis those of other religions. But so also, others on this forum, judgong from some remarks made in postings above.

    I don’t know if the postings on my blog on religion could contribute towards better understanding of these things, but I invite you to come in and see if you can help me to clarify my thoughts, based upon my readings and reflections. The address is tantaiwei.wordpress.com

    • 65 Poker Player 19 February 2012 at 19:59

      People who do 2) can also be the same ones who do 2).

      Your distinction is not one between groups. It is between sorts of activities.

      In areas of life where they **DO** have power, 1) is the preferred mode of action. It is precisely because of secularism that they have retreated to 2) for many areas of life.

      Amen to that.

      • 66 Poker Player 19 February 2012 at 19:59

        People who do 2) can also be the same ones who do 1).

        Your distinction is not one between groups. It is between sorts of activities.

        In areas of life where they **DO** have power, 1) is the preferred mode of action. It is precisely because of secularism that they have retreated to 2) for many areas of life.

        Amen to that.

      • 67 Enxu 20 February 2012 at 12:13

        @ Poker: Then I believe you have a very wrong idea about Christianity. Jesus Himself preached throughout the land when He was here on earth, His miraculous ability to heal people and cast out demons alone should render Him certain influence and power that even the religious leaders in His days did not have. But yet He did not preach excessively to people who were not willing to hear. If that is how Jesus Himself responds to hearers, I see no reason why Christians today cannot follow His example and apply what He taught. In fact, I believe true Christians will do exactly that. So I’m afraid your notion that Christians with power will choose 1) will not stand.

      • 68 Dr Tan Tai Wei 20 February 2012 at 13:36

        Agreed. And so, preachers should take care to avoid, not only obviously “bullying” targeted audiences into being “captive audiences”, but also insidiously propagandizing their faith, such as using measure that leave others no psychological freedom to consider and reject their faith. (And so too, politicians and commercial advertizers.)

        But, on the other hand, and with regard to mature audiences, should not we tolerate, even appreciate, the attempt, however in truth silly and unfair, by someone to want to convey messages to us with the sincere intention to “save us from hell-fire”? Suppose we were really caught in a sinking ship, and not realise it, and someone saved us against our freewill, intruding into our freedom by not obtaining first our consent to be rescued, would we complain thereafter? Well, fundamentalist Christians think they do just that, when preaching their “goodnews”. Shouldn’t we appreciate their intention, even as we rightly try to object to their faults?

      • 69 Poker Player 20 February 2012 at 16:57

        “Then I believe you have a very wrong idea about Christianity. ”

        But the right one about Christians.

      • 70 Poker Player 21 February 2012 at 08:38

        “But, on the other hand, and with regard to mature audiences, should not we tolerate, even appreciate, the attempt, however in truth silly and unfair, by someone to want to convey messages to us with the sincere intention to “save us from hell-fire”? Suppose we were really caught in a sinking ship, and not realise it, and someone saved us against our freewill, intruding into our freedom by not obtaining first our consent to be rescued, would we complain thereafter? Well, fundamentalist Christians think they do just that, when preaching their “goodnews”. Shouldn’t we appreciate their intention, even as we rightly try to object to their faults?”

        What happens when there are TWO groups of people like that?

        Oh, the title…

  16. 71 georgia tong 19 February 2012 at 15:09

    Lim Jialiang’s article is well written and neutral in stance. thanks Alex for sharing his article with us.

  17. 72 ponder 19 February 2012 at 18:37

    @enxu: i acknowledge your point regarding the meaning of “true joy” but if one were to read the whole poster, the “M” part may already have brought the reader to the wrong context. personally, i feel that they should be condemned, as they brought it to themselves for not being more tactful. i also believe that the FB-er doesn’t really mean “burning the students” literally but more of a tongue in cheek comment.

    • 73 Enxu 20 February 2012 at 12:26

      @ Ponder: Thank you for your kind acknowledgement. Like I have said, I agree that the “M” part should not be done in that manner, and I believe Campus Crusade for Christ will remember that to heart. But I also think that why they chose to use a single letter to represent a religious group was exactly because of the sensitivity of the situation. Not that using a single letter is wise, but can’t you see that they also acknowledge the sensitivity and thus they chose not to explicitly mention the religious group?

      Condemnation is indeed a very harsh word, if I may say, seeing that we are talking about a group of young adolescents. I mean, who among us in our lives (even adult lives) do not make at least one or two mistakes in our choices of words and cause unintentional offense to those around us? Is it worthwhile or even ethical to condemn a whole group of people just because of what a few have mistakenly done? If such cruel condemnation is justified and ethical, then I believe every one of us need to be condemned in one way or another, and then what? Our whole society will be filled with condemned people. Is that the end you desire to see? I believe not.

      I brought up that example, because I hope to let you see that the verbal condemnation is already very intense, when it in fact is not even necessary in the first place. Look, if we are talking about mutual understanding and tolerance, why are we still demanding these group of students to be condemned? It is really ironic and does not at all fit in a multicultural and religious society.

      • 74 Anonymous 21 February 2012 at 09:54

        “I brought up that example, because I hope to let you see that the verbal condemnation is already very intense, when it in fact is not even necessary in the first place. Look, if we are talking about mutual understanding and tolerance, why are we still demanding these group of students to be condemned? It is really ironic and does not at all fit in a multicultural and religious society.”

        I like your use of the word “condemned”.

        If this was say 1500 AD or before in the parts of the world that referred itself as “Christendom” – you ought to be scared shitless if you heard the word (or the Latin version of the word at least).

        Today, you hear the word “condemned”, you can probably yawn…next morning when you wake up, you still get your McD Big Breakfast … thank you liberal secularism…

      • 75 Wilson 24 February 2012 at 01:12

        Dear Enxu,

        I am greatly distressed at your argument that “who among us in our lives (even adult lives) do not make at least one or two mistakes in our choices of words and cause unintentional offense to those around us?” as valid defence of the “group of young adolescents”.
        University students may be young adults, but are full-fledged adults with all rights and thus responsibilities accorded to them. They are of legal age, and as tertiary students should be very conscious of the nation’s and society’s stance towards religion in this country. If I am not wrong (I am not a lawyer), they are liable to be charged under the Sedition Act if it can be proved that the poster had tendency to produce feelings of ill-will and enmity between different races or classes of the population of Singapore.
        What I am trying to bring across is that religion is a very sensitive issue in Singapore; as (local?) university students studying in this country, they should very well know they are in precipitous territory and act with full caution and reservations in the manner they communicate with the public about this topic.
        I hope you can understand that this issue is not about Christian youths coming under fire for poor word choice: this is about a university’s religious group’s committee making poor word choice (whether intentional or unintentional) in a poster which could be viewed by any passer-by (could have been a visiting dignitary) in a secular country with secular laws in a region of many differing faiths and beliefs, and that the national religion of another country in this region may easily be perceived to be insulted by this poster. In other words, under unfortunate circumstances, this could have been an international incident.
        Imagine that they are graduates and had published this poster as advertisement for their church: I believe the uproar and consequences would be definitely much larger.

        Indeed condemn is a harsh and ill-suited word; I would tend to believe @ponder meant the students should be sufficiently reprimanded/punished so as to fully bring across the gravity of the situation to them and to prevent similar incidents from occurring due to lack of tact in word choice.

        About the Facebook comment, do you really take it seriously? If so, I would advise you to lodge a police report against that commentor.

  18. 76 Nunilim 19 February 2012 at 18:48

    I know that I have eternal life through Christ Jesus.
    The Great Commission is God’s love mission to and for the world.
    If someone did not witness to me, I’d still be lost without Jesus.
    For God so loved the world that He gave His begotten son that who should believe in Him shall not perish but will have eternal life.
    I know that salvation is not found in any other name under heaven.
    I know that Jesus died for my sins and He forgives us our sins when we repent. I know my Redeemer lives.
    We shall focus on Jesus and His love for all humanity.
    This is an opportune time to pray for the Spirit of God to touch more lives.
    The work of the Holy Spirit is unboxable. Love is contagious.

  19. 80 Gentle Lamb 19 February 2012 at 21:49

    The author tried to link it to a Singapore christian context when CRU is operating in East Asia and does not have strong associations with the SG local churches including the love Singapore movement. More evidence is required to support these allegations. Regardless, it is a good read. well done.

    • 81 Lim Jialiang 20 February 2012 at 10:56

      That example was used to show how sensitive evangelism is in Singapore, and to also prove that aggressive/overt evangelism is not something that’s new in Singapore. Many are treating this as something of a surprise, but history suggests otherwise.

  20. 84 walkie talkie 20 February 2012 at 00:42

    A Buddhist’s belief is of course that Buddhism is the true way to true enlightenment and that Buddhism’s teaching is closer to the ultimate truth than any other religions.

    A Christian’s belief is of course that Christianity is the true way to true salvation and that Christianity’s teaching is closer to the ultimate truth than any other religions.

    A Muslim’s belief is of course the Islam is the true way to the true worship of the true God and that Islam’s teaching is closer to the ultimate truth than any other religions.

    An atheists of course believe that those who believe in supernaturalism (such as God, Nibbana, spiritis) are mistaken or delusional and that atheism is closer to the ultimate truth than any religion.

    I prefer that each belief system be allowed to state their beliefs clearly, including what they believe other religions. Religious beliefs should not be immuned from critiques just because those beliefs are under the category of “religion”

    In that light, I propose that such hypothetical situations should be allowed:

    1. A Campus Atheists Club put up on their notice board, lcoated at a common corridor, a poster telling their members: “Members, as we know, most of our student population in our campus are either Muslims or Christians. True freedom comes only when one is freed from the mistaken belief in God. Please invite your monotheistic friends to come for our upcoming seminar ‘Discover True Freedom in Atheism’

    2. A Campus Christian Group can put up this poster on their club notice board, located on a common corridor, a poster telling members “True Joy is found only in Christ. 99% of the people in XYZ country are Buddhists and so they have not discovered true joy. Please sign up for this upcoming missions trip to bring true joy to the people in XYZ.”

    3. A Campus Buddhist Club put up a poster on their club notice board located at a common corridor: “Members, true salvation is when one finds Enlightenment or Nibbana. Please invite your Christian friends to our coming Seminar “The Truly Good News: Discover True Salvation in the Buddha’s Teachings” so that some of them may be liberated from false views and start to walk the path towards true enlightenment.

    Please read one of yawning bread’s past post on “the right to offend”. I think yawning bread was saying in that past article that religions should not be specially protected from critiques.

  21. 87 devil 20 February 2012 at 10:31

    @Enxu

    Quote:
    “Now if I may continue, I would first like to know why you would view the current evangelism of Campus Crusade for Christ as “extremism”. I believe that anyone who has a bit of a knowledge of Christianity would be aware that evangelism is part of Christianity, in fact it is a commission for all Christians.”

    I wouldn’t be surprised that people will view this as extremism. The Campus Crusade for Christ to me, a non-Christian believer, is part of the larger Christian religious group. When most of the other denominations are sensitive enough not disparage others they were not. Hence outlier behaviour. As for evangelism being a commission for all Christians, I guess it is obvious most other groups do not take the same offensive approach.

    I am not debating the merit of these beliefs. I am just pointing out how the ‘extremism’ view might have formed in the minds of others.

    Quote:
    “Again as to the matters of “true joy”, this is something Christian and could not be perceived correctly if you or I do not first have an understanding of what this means. Why take it to the extreme and imply that Campus Crusade is stepping on other religion, or for this case, Buddhism?”

    They had to find pictures of smiling Buddhist monks but call them unhappy thereby emphasizing some kind of perceived falsehood. If they know that this cannot be perceived ‘correctly’ by non-believers yet choose to put it up, this is deliberately ‘stepping on others’. Nobody agreed on ‘correctly’ but themselves in the first place. Hence they need to be reminded that the are in the presence of others that do not share their views on what is correct. I don’t see how is any of this taking it to the extreme.

    • 88 Enxu 20 February 2012 at 12:56

      Thank you for your reply, Sir/Madam. I certainly understand that different people have different sensitivity to issues, but I believe there is a proper definition to the term “extremism” and not everything should be labelled as such, even by sensitive people.

      I am also sensitive to many issues, but I don’t go around calling every offense in word/deed (major or minor) “extremism” and then denounce the offender and ask him/her to be condemned in public. I might be hurt, but I would rather learn to forgive and let go than to hold onto grudges. This is not only good for peace, it does not exasperate the situation. If we were all to become ultra sensitive to different issues, then the world will run foul of cries of “extremism” for every social, political and religious offense, and what will happen then? Strife, riots, and wars will start, and we only end up hurting one another more than the original hurt that was done. I believe neither you nor I nor anyone who has the well-being of the society in mind today would ever want to see such a thing.

      This whole incident started out as a wrong choice of words, but it turned into much religious hatred and tension, and why? Because people readily call any offense “extremism”, and then through the use of such intense and extreme words in itself, incite more people to negativity and then everything rows into a big snowball. Was there even such a necessity in the first place?

      So should we really label anything and everything offensive as “extremism”? I believe not, and we need to stay rational and not let emotions drive us around.

      I also do hope you will understand that even though Christians are a big group of people, different people are still different and thus their ways of doing things are also different. Whether it is right or wrong is debatable, but I believe that we should not be quick to pass judgment, especially when we are not insiders and do not even know what is going on. As for the “offensive approach”, I believe every church and denomination also does missionary trips, and not just Campus Crusade for Christ. But again, what is your definition of “offensive”? You do know that evangelism is a part of Christianity, so what kind of evangelism is “offensive” to you? Do be careful though how you use such strong words, and I would think it is wise not to go to the extreme and label everything you don’t agree with as “offensive”. That is not how we should do things and such labeling does not at all create mutual tolerance and peace.

      As for the smiling Buddhists part, again it depends on how you look at it. Personally, I believe different people have different forms of joy, and the quality of joy/happiness is different, depending on our mindset and beliefs. So in Christianity, it is viewed that joy in Christ is true joy, and that’s just how Christians see the issue of “joy”. Does using words like “little true joy” then connote that Buddhists have no (other forms of) joy at all? I don’t think so. So neither is there falsehood when Christians assert that Christ gives true joy, nor is there any implication that there are no other forms of joy in this world. And if you do not believe that faith in Christ alone gives true joy, then it is perhaps worthwhile for you to find out for yourself if that is true or false.

      • 89 devil 20 February 2012 at 18:05

        Quote:
        “As for the “offensive approach”, I believe every church and denomination also does missionary trips, and not just Campus Crusade for Christ. But again, what is your definition of “offensive”? You do know that evangelism is a part of Christianity, so what kind of evangelism is “offensive” to you?”

        Yes I am aware that others also do missionary trips. I have spoken to people that have done so. But I find that irrelevant and deliberately confounding here. The main point is the style of the public material that has been deemed offensive by many.

        In this case I find their material has offensive potential. I think the debate surrounding this has made it very clear why. Evidently this feeling is widespread. Of course one can always say ‘you should look at it my way’. But that is a fantasy. We have different views that is why some form of tolerance and sensitivity is required. At the end of the day, whether others refer to them as ‘extremist’ or not, they create the perception of themselves.

        As for regarding this as an isolated incident and being quick to pass judgement, I am not sure if it is. There are those that have expressed their displeasure at incidents of offensive evangelism. I’m not surprised if that is why the reaction may seem strong. I doubt people form such views from a one-off incident. Not everyone is so vindictive.

        Quote:
        “So in Christianity, it is viewed that joy in Christ is true joy, and that’s just how Christians see the issue of “joy”. Does using words like “little true joy” then connote that Buddhists have no (other forms of) joy at all?”

        Of course not. It asserts that Buddhists have little true joy. I thought that is rather clear. And obviously Buddhists would not agree but I digress.

        Quote:
        “So neither is there falsehood when Christians assert that Christ gives true joy, nor is there any implication that there are no other forms of joy in this world.”

        Unfortunately, there’s no consensus on who or what segment of society owns the right to dictate the definition of ‘true joy’ in public. Replace the word ‘true’ with ‘Christian’ and they can assert whatever they like in the public sphere. In fact, just omit all mention of other religions and their religious persons, and it would not even be a problem.

        And no, I do not find it worthwhile for me to find out if faith in Christ alone gives true joy or not. I find it disturbing you should suggest I do as if I am suffering from some lack of true joy.

  22. 90 Poker Player 20 February 2012 at 11:03

    The response to Campus Crusade for Christ incident is disappointing. I don’t think they should have been made to take down all their material. I think it feeds their martyrdom complex.

    The correct thing to do should have been to show them up with your own articles. I don’t see anything they have written that a smart JC student couldn’t have torn to shreds.

  23. 92 sacha 20 February 2012 at 11:06

    I think Christians (I stress on this word as I never had Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, or Sikhs ever knocking on my door) should practice and preach in their own homes.

    When these evangelists come knocking on my door trying to sell (yes, I view them as illegal hawkers) me their ‘good’ words and are just too obstinate to take a ‘no thank you’ and go on and on, I don’t see it sharing but imposing their unwanted ares and trying to shove it down my throat.

    Why does the government not have a unified board for christian dominations, like the rest of the religions, who provides checks and balances?

    • 93 Anonymous 21 February 2012 at 10:06

      “Why does the government not have a unified board for christian dominations, like the rest of the religions, who provides checks and balances?”

      Only a Singaporean could have come up with this…

  24. 94 JC N 20 February 2012 at 11:48

    A number of commenters here are taking umbrage with the fact that Jialiang linked the name “Campus Crusade for Christ” with the historical crusades. I can quite understand how Christians might not like being reminded of the atrocities of their forebears, just as Muslims would take offense at being continually associated with the actions of radicals in the Middle East.

    However, I do have to point out that by naming themselves “Campus Crusade”, the organisation has essentially brought this down upon themselves. How would you react if your Muslim friend told you one day that he would not be free for dinner on Friday due to his Jihad Academy commitments? I don’t suppose you would nod and smile and be very secure in your religious tolerance?

    In addition, while I have nothing against Christians, I cannot help but feel slightly frustrated when they begin to whine about their supposed persecution. Many churches seem to have repeatedly preached about Christianity being the most persecuted religion in the world, without taking into account that it is the most powerful. Much of this so-called persecution happens when Christians attempt to carry their faiths into other countries in a manner that disrupts their social and cultural order – for example, with what these “Campus Crusaders” are intending to do with Thailand and Turkey. Of course, there are also valid cases of religious persecution in those nations were Christianity is a minority faith, but every minority suffers some sort of persecution; the only reason Christianity can broadcast and amplify the idea of being discriminated against worldwide is because Christians are more powerful and resourceful internationally.

    I notice in thyme’s comment that the very first thing he began with was an apology for going against the “strong current”. The comments on this essay have so far been an even mix, with many posters criticizing Jialiang with many other responding and criticizing the Crusade or the Christian Right. The tendency of Christians to overexaggerate their opposition in order to feel victimised is simply staggering.

    • 95 Enxu 20 February 2012 at 13:21

      @ JC N: You do make a very good point about the name Campus “Crusade”, and I believe it is good that Campus Crusade for Christ would consider this.

      As for persecution against Christians, I believe that at least in the general sense, it is true that Christians are among the most persecuted “religious” group in the whole world. I am saying it in the general sense, so I do acknowledge that there are other groups who are persecuted. But in terms of persecution solely for their faith, Christians have been dealt with the most severe blow.

      The mainstream media certainly don’t give us the full picture, but if we were to even research into it a little bit, we know that it is not merely a whining of Christians that their fellow brethren are being persecuted. We have International Christian Concern (http://www.persecution.org/), Voice of the Martyrs (http://www.persecution.com/) and a whole lot of informal media sharing and raising awareness of the dire situation that Christians face in many non-Christian dominated countries. I have yet to see such organizations/media raised up for people of other religious beliefs. Isn’t then that a sign that indeed Christians are among the most hated religious group in the world, vulnerable to all kinds of attack from their communities? I can understand your annoyance if you do not like to hear about negative news, but as much as you or I do not want to admit it, this is the reality and the world is kept in the dark about the horrible atrocities done against people for their faith in Christ.

      The overreaction here in this incident alone is a glaring evidence that people are indeed very easily incited against any offense/error/unintentional mistake committed by Christianity. There is a deep seated hatred against the Christian belief, and this is the very spirit that is persecuting innocent people for their simple faith. I am not making up some stories or exaggerating, just look at the news (not mainstream news) or do some statistical research and you’ll know.

      • 96 Poker Player 20 February 2012 at 17:05

        “As for persecution against Christians, I believe that at least in the general sense, it is true that Christians are among the most persecuted “religious” group in the whole world. ”

        Not Jews? And yeah, I need to look up who the persecutors were and why…ahem…

      • 97 Poker Player 20 February 2012 at 17:40

        Is there a chutzpah award for comments?

        In the confluence of Singapore Christianity and Singapore gay rights on this blog – the first mention of persecution is on the ***persecution of Christians***!!!

        The most politically powerful constituency complains about persecution on a blog advocating the rights of a group barely ranking higher than maids in terms of political influence!!!!!!

      • 98 ponder 21 February 2012 at 08:26

        @Enxu
        Christians have been persecuting people too. what is the point of bringing up christians being persecuted when they themselves are committing the same mistake? condemning them for their actions is not as harsh as you made it out to be. condemning them doesn’t mean they are not forgiven. its a mere expression of strong displeasure towards their immature choice of words. they are guilty, regardless whether it is intentional or not, so let them face the consequences of their actions.

      • 99 christian colonisation continues 21 February 2012 at 13:52

        During the European expansion, the Christian leaders said go forth and convert. Thousands of women and young girls were raped in Africa, India, Indonesia and Indo-China but the church considered that alright because they were saving souls.

        See the irony?

  25. 100 Ian 20 February 2012 at 12:24

    Religion cannot be proselytised without proving superiority/inferiority, its actually called comparison. I compare religion A and B, if i want to people to convert from religion A to religion B, i would say either : A sucks or B is better.

    In comparing it comes the superiority of ones religion and therefore becomes offensive to people who held different beliefs.

    So yeah… religions are headache inducing.

    If i remember correctly, there’s this advertisement of a pink coloured detergent called ‘Vanish’, it provides comparison between detergent X(unknown) and the product itself and say that Vanish is superior. Detergent X is used as an unknown for ALL detergents.

    If that didn’t attract lawsuits then would it have been better if CCC did not target particular religions to tackle in every country and instead says that ‘people there do not believe in Christ to be the Way, the True and the Life’ than what they have now that gives ridiculous explanations on how other specific religions is inferior.

  26. 101 Enter 20 February 2012 at 17:45

    @sacha

    Quote
    “When these evangelists come knocking on my door trying to sell (yes, I view them as illegal hawkers) me their ‘good’ words and are just too obstinate to take a ‘no thank you’ and go on and on, I don’t see it sharing but imposing their unwanted ares and trying to shove it down my throat.”

    I can sympathize with you. However, have you ever wondered why these “evangelists” are trying so hard? Whats their purpose for doing so?
    Whats the general motivation behind “evangelism” from the perspective of Christianity itself?

    • 102 sacha 21 February 2012 at 10:25

      Just like unwanted goods, if I don’t want or need the product , why should I waste my time, energy and money on listening to their sales pitch. With the limited time I have I can better use it listening to music, reading a good book, catching up on exercises or match needed sleep.

      Is that very difficult for Christians to understand? I am seriously not interested in their motivations & want them to respect my space.)

      • 103 Enter 23 February 2012 at 01:43

        @sacha i guess what i was trying to clarify was that evangelism shouldnt be seen like a sales pitch. its not profit-driven, the evangelists do not have any gains from people accepting christ.
        Its not easy to approach ppl to share my belief actually. thou i have to agree with you that there are christians who might come across to you as “hard-sellers” of their faith.
        believe it or not, evangelism is a lifestyle; its practised out of love for the people around us. there is no such thing as “accumulation of good deeds” through practising evangelism.
        i get your point that u prefer your time undisturbed, but if u get to understand the motivation behind evangelism maybe u would be less offended?

    • 104 Poker Player 21 February 2012 at 11:23

      I can sympathize with you. However, have you ever wondered why these targets of evangelists are trying so hard to be left alone? Whats their purpose for doing so?
      Whats the general motivation behind their wanting to be left alone by evangelists from the perspective of their own belief system?

      • 105 sacha 23 February 2012 at 02:53

        Why do I need to justify on my own space? Why must there be a reason for not wanting intrusion? If it can be understood from all other aspects why not from christians and christianity?

      • 106 Godwin 23 February 2012 at 11:45

        How about: “I’ve heard your spiel before, applied critical thinking to it and rejected it, so please don’t waste my time”?

        Evangelists should accept that people who are not of the same religion as them may not be ignorant of the religion, but are perhaps more familiar with the religion than themselves.

      • 107 Poker Player 23 February 2012 at 12:39

        Some people should try to understand a reply before responding.
        Compare:

        Enter:
        “I can sympathize with you. However, have you ever wondered why these “evangelists” are trying so hard? Whats their purpose for doing so?
        Whats the general motivation behind “evangelism” from the perspective of Christianity itself?”

        Me:
        “I can sympathize with you. However, have you ever wondered why these targets of evangelists are trying so hard to be left alone? Whats their purpose for doing so?
        Whats the general motivation behind their wanting to be left alone by evangelists from the perspective of their own belief system?”

        Do I need to explain the punchline?

      • 108 Godwin 24 February 2012 at 10:38

        Ah, my bad.

        Problem is sometimes it’s hard to tell between sarcasm and genuine cluelessness, especially when it is an argument on the part of the evangelist that sinners want to avoid hearing the ‘truth’ so they don’t have to confront it.

  27. 109 walkie talkie 21 February 2012 at 18:41

    Dear fellow readers,

    Would it make a difference if the Campus Crusade’s poster was placed on a notice board INSIDE THEIR CLUB ROOM not accessible by non-members instead of being in the common corridor?

  28. 110 Kelvin Tan 21 February 2012 at 22:12

    It will help to first understand the difference between Polytheism and Monotheism.

    Buddhism belongs to Poly, thus they are fine with believing that many ways lead to God.

    Christianity, like Judaism, is Mono, there is only one way to God.

    In the game Civilization 4, it was the discovery of Monotheism that leads to Organized Religion, thus Campus Crusade may the prime example of such.

  29. 112 yawningbread 22 February 2012 at 09:33

    Straits Times Breaking News, 23 Feb 2012:

    http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_769329.html

    http://www.straitstimes.com/PrimeNews/Story/STIStory_769295.html

    NUS orders Christian group to stop all activities on campus, by Jessica Lim

    QUOTE
    The National University of Singapore (NUS) has ordered a student Christian group to cease all activities on campus, after it came under fire for its insensitive remarks about Buddhists and Muslims.

    [snip]

    The university told The Straits Times on Tuesday it decided the group should cease its activities as it had breached its code of student conduct. Activities will resume only after the university’s internal investigation is completed.

    [snip]

    Checks with Singapore Management University and Nanyang Technological University found that the CCCs there were still in operation.

    Police said they are looking into the NUS incidents.

    ENDQUOTE

    • 113 Poker Player 22 February 2012 at 11:00

      “NUS orders Christian group to stop all activities on campus”

      I hope no one who get’s the point of this blog is happy about this. There is a difference between opposing their views and preventing their views from being aired.

      Give as good as you get. But don’t muffle them.

      • 114 Godwin 23 February 2012 at 11:43

        Of course this will only make them feel martyred and feed their persecution mentality.

        A society where everyone has a right not to be offended only results in a society where everyone is gagged.

      • 115 Passerby 24 February 2012 at 16:28

        Conducting acitivities in the premises of a university is not an inalienable human right. It is a privilege. One that they’ll have to earn back by, at the very least, going through the motions of being contrite, if they are incapabe of the real thing.

        Besides, it is only temporary. After this fiasco, suspension of activities should be the least they are worried about.

      • 116 Poker Player 24 February 2012 at 22:31

        “Conducting acitivities in the premises of a university is not an inalienable human right. It is a privilege”

        To foreign readers of this blog – this is a Singaporean “thing”. A Minister once said the same thing of the right to vote…

  30. 117 Anonymous 23 February 2012 at 13:43

    @sacha

    i didnt expect you to justify your own space. There need not be a reason for not wanting intrusion. I was clarifying certain misconceptions of the motivation behind evangelism. It does not mean that I’m asking of you to accept the doctrines of the evangelist. You still have all the rights to feel irritated by them.

    When i was a non-believer i was also very much irritated by people who try very hard to share their faith. I came to resolve my misconception behind evangelism through a christian friend of mine, and though it didnt lead me to believe in christianity, it did allow me to see how much people around me cared for me. i was really sure i didn’t need the religion and i was certainly irritated, but i wasn’t that offended as compared to the past.

    to illustrate with an example, I remember how my mom forced me to try eating Durian. The smell was so pungent I thought i was licking a garbage container. Believing in the positive intentions of my mother i decided to just toss it into my mouth and swallow it. Never would i imagine how much i would love eating Durian today. If it was a stranger who tried forcing me to try eating Durian, i might have rejected and felt much irritated. What an intrusion it would have been!

    Im not trying to find fault with you or your comment or trying to be intrusive. There is just a misconception of evangelism being a sales pitch that I hope i can clarify with you.

    • 118 Godwin 24 February 2012 at 10:36

      So God is a durian?

      Makes perfect sense now.

      • 119 Enter 24 February 2012 at 19:20

        @Godwin

        thanks for your reply, though that wasn’t what i meant. if you are trying to make sense of God, don’t hesitate to ask any of your christian friends! I believe they might give u a different perspective.

        To be critical of a certain issue requires a basic understanding of the different perspectives people have with regards to that issue isn’t it?

        This article is informative in the sense that it opens me to the perspective of a non-believer. I was sharing my perspective on the issue of evangelism as a christian.

        Lastly, my take is that God is not a durian. Please do not tell this to your friends in primary school they might be offended!

      • 120 Poker Player 24 February 2012 at 23:08

        “Please do not tell this to your friends in primary school they might be offended!”

        Ouch!! Ned Flanders you are not!!

  31. 121 Godwin 24 February 2012 at 23:38

    “if you are trying to make sense of God, don’t hesitate to ask any of your christian friends!”

    “Please do not tell this to your friends in primary school they might be offended!”

    Just so you know why people are offended by evangelists: it’s this condescending tone you take, assuming that people who do not join your religion must be ignorant of the religion.

    I studied the bible with mentors from CCC and was part of my faculty’s Christian fellowship.

    Please don’t assume that people who don’t share your faith are:

    1. Ignorant

    2. Not intelligent or mature enough to understand the teachings

    or

    3. Evil

  32. 122 patriot 25 February 2012 at 00:30

    Going around and into others’ domains to spread personal belief and slighting others while doing so is simply put; SINFUL.

    And that’s all to it.

    Me posted the Above-mentioned Comment at Singapore Note(Blogsite)

    patriot


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