The following conversation happened a few months ago. Me and a few colleagues were on the subject of megachurches in Singapore when one if them, a lady, who had a disdain for religious establisments (especially churches), voiced out her own spiritual belief.
Her: “I am spiritual but not religious.”
Me: “What do you mean by that.”
Her: “I believe in a God, but I don’t believe in religious dogmas and rules.”
Me: “Many people also believe in God or in a god or many different gods, so how does it make one spiritual?”
Her: “Well, God is spiritual and I believe in Him. I believe He will watch over me.”
Me: “But I still don’t see how by just believing in God makes you spiritual. And how you can be certain that He will watch over you? How do you know you are good enough for Him?”
Her: “Well, I believe that God loves all his children and I have never done any bad things in my life.”
Me: “Hmm.. based on whose standard do you measure what is good or bad? And if God loves everyone, does it mean He will also watch over the terrorists?”
Her (with a hint of impatience in her voice): “At least I didn’t kill anyone. Those people you mentioned are the bad guys. Of course God wouldn’t bless them !!”
Me: “So you are just measuring yourself by your OWN standard, which means anybody can set their own. So how you know the “bad guys” aren’t up to their own standards? After all, many of them believe in their god too. In fact, I believe their faith level is very much higher than most of us for them to do what they did.”
Her (raising her voice): “How would I know? Go and ask God yourself!”
The conversation continues…
Me: “So why are you, in your opinion, not religious?”
Her: “I cannot stand the way some religions, like Christianity, which think that their truth is the only truth. There are many ways to God and theirs is just one of the ways. Also, they have so many laws and rules to control their believers.”
Me: “How do you know that? Have you been controlled by a church before?”
Her (again, getting impatient): ” I have heard so many stories from my friends and from the newspapers!! There are even books written about it in the bookstores!!”
Me: “So you don’t really have first-hand information. So how do you know those stories are accurate? Have you been to a church yourself to find out?”
Her (raising her voice further): “I have never step into a church before, I don’t know! But I do know that that Christians hate gays who just happen to be of different orientation! They think they are holier than the rest of the world!”
Me: “Have you read the Bible before? Do you know what Christianity really teach?
Her (turning very very impatient): “No!! I have never read the Bible!! So what? God is interested in my heart, nor whether I read the Bible or not!? Why are you asking me all these? If you are so smart, then you should know all the answers yourself!!”
Me: “No, I don’t claim to know all the answers, that is why I asked. But I am quite amazed on how you managed to form an opinion on on God and Christianity just basing on hear-says, without even researching it at the source. Do you think it is a fair assessement?
Her (defiance in her voice): “I don’t really care… ”
Me: ” And how do you even know that those so-called laws and rules are not laid down by God to protect us from… us?”
Her:” God want us to be free. Not to follow rules and regulations. They are all man-made?”
Me: “Really? Imagine what if Singapore have no laws? People will all be FREE to do whatever they want… including the crooks. But do you call it freedom or chaos. Freedom is not freedom if you are constantly living in fear of what others will do to you. Will you comfort yourself that “oh, it is the price of freedom”? How can a loving God NOT have a judicial system to protect us from the bad guys?
Her: “Ok, I don’t care. I have enough of this conversation.”