Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Da Vinci Code Movie

Sony Pictures presents The Da Vinci Code Movie

It's here! The Tsunami comes and we are prepared! It debuts in Malaysia on 18th of May 2006, so we have time for a few more forums? I wonder if we should do it before or after the movie?

The silly trailer says;

"No matter what you read
No matter what you believe..."

and then ends there! I was waiting for a conclusion that never came.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Comparative Religion Dialogues?

Our good friend is in the news, be prepared for more 'peace and harmony' in the planned dialogues...

The Star, Monday November 21, 2005

Foundation plans more interfaith talks

KUALA LUMPUR: The Islamic Information and Services Foundation (IIS) plans to conduct more interfaith dialogues with non-Muslim religious groups to better understand their views involving Muslims to promote peace and harmony.

IIS Dakwah officer in comparative religion Shah Kirit Kakulal Govindji said the foundation was already having closed door dialogues to discuss issues pertaining to Islam and other religions.

“We are now planning to have a public forum with other religious organisations. I am of the opinion that these dialogues help us have a better understanding of other religions and to promote the true meaning of Islam to non-Muslims,” he said during a talk entitled “Islam ... A Backward Religion?” at a hotel here yesterday.

More than 300 people of various faiths attended the hour-long talk on the basis of Islam and why the religion was misunderstood after the Sept 11 terrorist attack in the United States.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

C. S. Lewis Superstar

C. S. Lewis Superstar

"Clive Staples Lewis was anything but a classic evangelical, socially or theologically. He smoked cigarettes and a pipe, and he regularly visited pubs to drink beer with friends. Though he shared basic Christian beliefs with evangelicals, he didn't subscribe to biblical inerrancy or penal substitution. He believed in purgatory and baptismal regeneration. How did someone with such a checkered pedigree come to be a theological Elvis Presley, adored by evangelicals?"

Read the full article on Christianity Today

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Agora: December

Topic: Can Man Live Without God?

An overview on atheism. Why it is attractive? How do we engage our friends who struggle with God's existence in meaningful dialogues?

Presenter: Lee Han Meng
Date: 4 Dec 2005 (Sun)
Time: 1.45 pm
Location: CDPC

Topic: Postmodernism

An overview on postmodernism and the modernism of which it is 'post'.
What are the challenges/opportunities to Christian mission in this brave new world?

Presenter: David Chong
Date: 10 Dec 2005 (Sat)
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: CDPC

Monday, November 21, 2005

Mission For the Glory of God: A Reflection

An old entry somewhere in the dusty archive:

Mission exists where worship does not, John Piper reminds us that mission, contrary to what many many of us seemed to be taking it to be, is not the ultimate, God is...

[click on title for full post-outside this web]

Friday, November 18, 2005

What On Earth Am I here For?

Will I Miss God's Wonderful Plan(s) For My Life?
Why Is Finding God's Will So Hard?
How Do I Discern My Calling In Life?
Is My Work A Curse Than A Gift?
When Will We Liberate the Laity?

We spend only one day in church, while the other 6 days are spent in the workplace. But we don't hear it being discussed much in church.

"Oh, we talk about it all right. But usually our talk consists of complaints about our current job or the search for a new job. Work occupies an ambiguous place in our Christian lives." (Marvin Wong, Between Friends)

Do you see your work as a missionfield or you mission in life?
Come find out how you can discover the vocation(s) which God has placed you here to be and do.

Discover more about the way you have been made and the path to which the Creator of your life is leading: the invitation of God to live and work wholeheartedly and fruitfully.

Speaker: Paul Stevens
Date: 3 December 2005 (Saturday)
Time: 8 pm
Venue: City Discipleship Presbyterian Church

Jointly sponsored by Grace@Work & The Agora.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sex Change

If you have a friend who derives excitement from amputating his own leg and ask for your blessing to carry out that operation, what is the most loving thing for you to do in that situation?

Allow him to amputate his own leg or tell him that there is something wrong with his thoughts?

Any normal person would have chosen the latter, and so would I.

So these 3 churches, Bountiful Harvest, Shepherd's Centre and Assembly of Love, that blessed the wedding of Joshua Beh and Jess Chung, do they really think that they have done something very loving, allowing and condoning a sex change (and then marriage) when the deeper problem lies not with the sex but the depravity of the mind?

The media is trumpeting the fact that those who backed this wedding are "loving, open and understanding". But you don't love a person with toothache by giving him sweets when he ask for it. You love him by bringing him to a dentist.

To be open and understanding, let's look at the facts. I recommend this article by Paul McHugh, a psychiatrist-in-chief at John Hopkins Hospital - Surgical Sex. I quote him:

"We saw the results as demonstrating that just as these men enjoyed cross-dressing as women before the operation so they enjoyed cross-living after it. But they were no better in their psychological integration or any easier to live with. With these facts in hand I concluded that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness. We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia."

Isn't this exactly what the Bible also teaches:

"For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles." (Romans 1:21-23)

"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error." (Romans 1:26-27)

On what grounds, if not on the authority of Scripture, that these 3 churches decide to bless this union of same sex? (Notice I still use same sex because I don't think going through a sex-change operation means a person's sex is changed. You can remove the gonads, but not replace them. Read here)

NECF has responded by saying:

“It’s clearly stated in the Bible. There is no such thing as creation of half-half. Therefore, biologically and genetically, there is only male and female. Therefore, there is no chance it (the marriage) will be condoned by the Christian church. As a religious group, we have to follow the religion based on the Bible.”

IMHO, I think this calls for a certain measure of Christian discipline on the 3 churches by the community of Christians in Malaysia if they continue to stick with their wayward beliefs.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

RC Sproul dreams of a modern reformation

R.C. Sproul's vision of believers applying truth to every sphere of their lives. "I dream of a new reformation," he says, "a reformation that is not simply a renewal of life but a new vision of life: a vision that yields new forms and structures in society and culture. As long as Christians restrict their Christianity to a religion, a faith that is compartmentalized and isolated from life, they can have revival but never, ever reformation. We need to hear and do the Word of God in all of our lives."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Mauvaise foi is french for Bad Faith

The French Existentialist Jean Paul Sartre coined the term ‘Mauvaise foi’ which is translated “bad faith”, defined as the culpable self deception involved in declining to accept responsibility for one’s choices. He used it in the context of refuting Christianity’s concept of original sin, claiming it violence to human responsibility and free will [1].

But this concept has evolved over time, and bad faith has come to mean a lot more, one popular theme is the idea of cognitive dissidence which is best summed up as;

“Cognitive dissonance is a condition first proposed by the psychologist Leon Festinger in 1956, relating to his hypothesis of cognitive consistency. Cognitive dissonance is a state of opposition between cognitions. For the purpose of cognitive consistency theory, cognitions are defined as being an attitude, emotion, belief or value, although more recent theories, such as ecological cognition suggest that they can also be a goal, plan, or an interest. In brief, the theory of cognitive dissonance holds that contradicting cognitions serve as a driving force that compels the human mind to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, or to modify existing beliefs, so as to minimize the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions.”

Source: The Wikipedia

So the person with this bad faith, deceives himself, and mitigates any threats to their framework, believes, so that they are not vulnerable. I have seen this illustrated before in situations like;

Example 1

I remember listening to CNN news, a few weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the world trade centre, an American journalist was in Afghanistan, interviewing a Taliban man who was exporting illegal narcotics from Afghanistan, and when he was asked if this was wrong, he agreed that it was. And so the reporter retorted, “If its wrong to sell these drugs, why are you doing it” to which he promptly responded “As long as we don’t sell it to Muslims, its fine”.

Example 2

DA Carson tells of a man, that woke up one morning convinced he was dead. His wife did everything she could to try and convince him he was still alive, but he refused to accept it. Finally she calls the family physician, and he comes over and reasons with the man. Two hours later, he realizes its futile, the man remained convinced that he was dead, and so the doctor got an idea and said to the man, “Do dead people bleed?”. The man said, “I don’t think so” and so the doctor gave him a 30 minute scientific explanation to prove that one dead as long as he has been, could not possibly bleed. So the man conceded “yes, dead people cannot bleed”, and the doctor reached into his bag and pulled out a needle. He then went over to the man, and pricked his hand, and a drop of blood appeared and soon turned into light bleeding. The doctor said to him, “see, do you know what this means?” and to this the man exclaimed, “yes, I suppose that dead people do bleed!”.

So this is a condition that we Christians must avoid at all cost, we must strive, not to build our empires of ideologies, then make and modify truth to conform to it, but to seek to follow truth, to where ever it, and He, may lead us.

[1] Sartre's French term for "bad faith," the culpable self-deception involved in declining to accept responsibility for one's choices. Recommended Reading: Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, tr. by Hazel E. Barnes (Washington Square, 1993) {at}; Joseph S. Catalano, A Commentary on Jean-Paul Sartre's 'Being and Nothingness' (Chicago, 1985) {at}; and Ronald E. Santoni,

Bad Faith, Good Faith, and Authenticity in Sartre's Early Philosophy (Temple, 1995) {at} bad faith {Fr. mauvaise foi} In the philosophy of Sartre, an effort to avoid anxiety by denying the full extent of one's own freedom. Bad faith, on this view, is an especially harmful variety of self-deception, since it forestalls authentic appropriation of responsibility for ourselves. Recommended Reading: Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, tr. by Hazel E. Barnes (Washington Square, 1993) {at} and Ronald E. Santoni, Bad Faith, Good Faith, and Authenticity in Sartre's Early Philosophy (Temple, 1995) {at}.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Living Room

Rev Wong and Dave will be in the hot seats of the Living Room, a young adult ministry in SIB that addresses marketplace issues... So far, the ministry dealt with gender issues, reverse-culture shock etc.

The Topic: Da Vinci Code forum
Date: Nov 11 (Friday)

Please pray for us... Ian, the energetic end-time financial consultant, reminds me of Larry King :) and hilarious as David Letterman could be... hehehe... Suspect it would be fun.

But more importantly, i hope it's informative and prepare Christians to engage culture in an intelligent, calm and sensible manner.

Movies can work for us (Narnia) or against us (Da Vinci Code).

La Shawn Barber was right on the money when she wrote:

"Unbelievers (and not a few Christians) may scoff at us for taking The Da Vinci Code phenomenon so seriously. But pop culture is powerful, and although we surely have more productive things to do, setting the record straight and offering a reasoned defense of the faith and correcting historical inaccuracies are also important, even when the subject is fiction.

Christian bloggers can create a blog swarm around the upcoming movie...

Commit to studying your Bible if you’re not doing so already, read early church history (see articles) and articles on The Da Vinci Code written by other Christians, and start publicly defending what you believe."

Saturday, November 05, 2005


A non Christian version of the Agora

"The Agora Project is a non-profit co-operative organization of young professionals with the mission of fostering an informed, creative, and engaged generation of independent leaders through the free expression of ideas, community development opportunities, and social activities"