"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."
In case you're wondering, I made it across the South China Sea safely and is now squatting in the backroom of my friends' place in the City of Cats - at least till I can find a foothold of my own. Yin Yee, along with a rather enervated post-call Inn Shan, came to pick me up from the airport. Then, for the rest of the day, the two of them plus Nickson showed me around town and helped me with my shopping. Yew Kong lent me the car he just bought from Nickson for me to get my affairs in order - which consists almost exclusively of filling up oodles and oodles of forms in various locations. That's what adulthood is all about you know - filling up forms.
I'm going to be blogging guerrilla-style mostly from now on i.e. writing quick and dirty pieces. I'll get to my point immediately: it's not easy being an atheist in a religious nation. Every time I'm made to recite the National Principles, I'm reminded that a "true" Malaysian has to possess a belief in God. Every time I read the Bible or the Qur'an, I'm reminded of how most people's belief system discriminates against someone such as myself, calling us foolish, wicked, and a huge assortment of other derogatory adjectives from the get-go. We aren't judged by our deeds, but by our inability or unwillingness to believe in something without hard evidence. The next time you encounter an atheist who says nasty things about religion, remember that it's the holy books of the faithful that started the mudslinging first.
The course I attended preceding my induction into civil service reminded me yet again recently of my status as a persona non grata in my own country. It was during a talk about leadership that this came up.
|Translation: A VISIONARY LEADER|
1. Obedience to God
According to the government officer giving the lecture, an atheist can never be a visionary leader. In his mind, an atheist literally do not have the first thing it takes to lead. This is the sort of discrimination against a minority group which we happily allow to happen in Malaysia and in other parts of the world where people wear their faith in an invisible cosmic superbeing on their sleeves like it's going out of fashion. Imagine for a second that the officer's PowerPoint presentation had insisted instead that someone of African descent, or a woman, or a dwarf cannot be a visionary leader. There would be an automatic uproarious backlash against him, but because most people are conditioned by their FUCKED UP RELIGION to think so poorly of atheists, no one saw anything wrong with his blatant bigotry.
If you ever wondered why atheists are so pissed-off most of the time, this is why. This is also why conscientious atheists tend to support women's and gay rights - issues which I speak about often in this website. I know what it's like to be freely discriminated against in most cultures in the world. I know what it feels like to be marginalised by the teachings of religion.
|My group at the Induction Course.|
There is famous statement by a Lutheran Pastor, Martin Niemöller, which I like. It reads,
"First they came for the communists,and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.Then they came for the trade unionists,and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews,and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.Then they came for meand there was no one left to speak out for me."
It said nothing about atheists, women or homosexuals, but the it's the spirit of the message that counts. Would you speak out for atheists? If there's one thing which can change our minds about religious people, this has to be it.
A non-visionary non-leader,
k0k s3n w4i