The room was abuzz with discussion. About the upcoming US elections? Nah. About Maoist resurgencies? Nay. How about G7’s warnings about the US economy? Nope. What my kiddoes were interested in were the photographs purportedly of Edison Chen in his own version of Lust, Caution with starlets the likes of Gillian Chung and Cecilia Cheung. The kiddoes gave me the link to the pictures and ahem, yes, i have looked at them. *ashamed*. Half of me wanted to be holier than thou but my evil twin was quite excited about seeing a supposed Edison in the buff.
The photos were crass. Panty-less Britney would have been suitably impressed by Gillian or well, her lookalike. I don’t think Edison or the female celebs were in the wrong though. I mean, I am no fan of such pictures but if they were of age, it is their choice if they so wish to immortalise their moment of passion. The person who circulated the pictures on the other hand is in sore lack of integrity and moral values. Many boys commented on how “power” Edison was to have bedded so many “hot babes”. The “hot babes” were however, according to them, stupid and “cheap”. So much for the equality of sexes -_-. I feel quite bad for the actresses if the pictures were to turn out real. If the shots in question were a little more classy, a little less explicit-in-your-face porn, it wouldn’t have been so bad. I was a little shocked by Gillian though. She has always been portrayed as this pristine, virginal sweetheart and the last time she was secretly photographed changing backstage (she was still in a bra, according to my kpo sources, and it was a back shot, tame stuff supposedly), she wept quite badly.
The real question is however, why I am wasting so much time discussing such a frivolous scandal. The irony is also how i am contributing to the spread of this..er piece of news while happily condemning the person who circulated the pictures. But at least I am not posting the link lahz:p
The conversation also gradually changed tone- from immorality and sex-crazed celebs to the role of religion in modern society. Once again, i am amazed at how the topic of religion can provoke shy people blushing because of discussions about sex scandals into fierce defence of their beliefs.
Religion, to me, is a force to be reckoned with. Without power in the equation, religion provides different routes to emotional peace and spiritual fulfillment. Without power in the equation, religion offers hopes for greater peace because most established and respected religions advocate kindness and empathy. The problem is that religion can hardly be divorced from power because it is human nature to compare. How many times have we heard stuff along the lines of “My God”, “Your God”, “My God is better/more superior”, “Mine is the truth and yours isn’t“? Once words like “yours”, “mine” and other similar pronouns and superlatives come into the picture, the uneasy and inadvertent marriage between power and religion begins.
Since time immemorial, religion has been used as an excuse for the worst genocides and oppression of non-believers or the so-called heretics. Religion has also been abused by power-hungry, charismatic leaders who exploit the blind faith of believers to commit fraudulence and the most heinous of sexual crimes. From The Crusades to the Holocaust, and now lecherous priests and Jihad, religion has become more than anything else, a divisive and monstruous force.
I am no atheist or agnostic for I believe in God. Yes, I am all for the Big Bang theory but I also believe in the Creation cos’ a divine being must have been responsible for all these wonders. Yet, i also believe in karma and reincarnation. God, i even believe in spirits residing in trees and pray to my Granny cos’ I am convinced she can hear me in Heaven. Any religion that teaches good, and which makes people happier, is worthy of respect and praise.
What I am not really interested in is God’s real identity. Whatever or whoever God may be, if it/he/she makes you a better person, that is all that matters, isn’t it? So what if my idea of God is different from yours? Does it make you more superior? Does it mean I am less deserving of your friendship/love/respect just so because we will end up in different Heavens? If i am less spiritually attuned than you are, does it mean you are in a league above me? Can you really prove, beyond a shadow of doubt, who God really is? I get a tad worried when kiddoes base their entire self-worth on their God and become people who get way too worked up when their faith is challenged in the most innocuous fashion possible.
In a series of letters published after Mother Teresa’s death, it was revealed that she had, for the longest time, felt separated from God. She couldn’t feel God’s presence and was frustrated and afraid. Nonetheless, Mother Teresa, god bless her soul, worked relentlessly for the destitute and sick simply because she believed. Now, this is true faith. Faith can intially be born out of fear and of the need to assure one’s after-life/future life. True and strong faith, however, is born out of a will to do genuine good, and out of trust. Faith should never be a tool to assert one’s superiority over another and should not be a cause of baseless hatred.
So my point is, pray, go to Church, meditate, make offerings, go vegetarian, do whatever it takes to be closer to God, to achieve Nirvana, and to make life more meaningful and less painful. Differences, however, should be respected and appreciated. There is no use ignoring the presence of power in religion, it only makes sense to be aware that power can seep into religion very easily. A person who believes that his spiritual pursuits can accord him with a more superior or all-knowing status and therefore the right to deride or persecute another, is worse off than one without a belief.