Thursday, December 9, 2010

Define good and evil. And while you're at it, don't bother to be 'good' unless you're a Christian.

This was the opening theme song for The Unbeatables 3 (双天至尊3), one of Singapore's 'homemade' TV series that I grew up with and am actually very proud of. I mean, the series was first filmed in 1993, and the story line, cinematography and acting standard was actually what I deemed on par with many international films! Sadly, it seems that Singapore's acting scene took a turn for localized comedies, and local TV series have sort of lost its appeal to me nowadays.

But this song stuck with me through the years. Here's a little translation of a part of it:
I used to think that if things were not good, it's bad;
That if you weren't in the limelight, you'd have to exit the scene
Don't you think that if things weren't black, it's white
Because there simply is a grey region

My friend and I were having a mini debate over this several months back. What did one define as 'black' or 'white'? Who's to say that killing is wrong? Why is lying considered 'bad', and truth valued? What is the standard for right and wrong? Who set these standards?

I came to the personal conclusion that, for many (if not all) of us, religion is what sets the standard. Even if you're an atheist with no belief in God, the 'rules' of religion are what still governs many of us. It's what our laws are based upon, if not for the sake of 'going to heaven', then at least for the sake of maintaining peace within a society.

Having been born in a devoted Christian family, I've had the opportunity to learn about Christianity from a young age. As a kid, I had the warped impression that only Christians were good people - All other religions were bad, and it was our responsibility to be the 'salt of the earth' and spread the Good News to them about God's love. I'm ashamed to say that my behaviour wasn't exemplary (and still isn't today), but that my 'superiority as a Christian' simply resulted in me being a complete snob.

And what happens to those who those who are good but aren't Christians? Another friend once said "I have a wonderful grandfather. He's kind, caring, generous, honest and loving. But he's not a Christian. When I asked my pastor what happens to him when he dies, my pastor told me that he'd go to hell. It's just not right!"

It's because of this that my friend doesn't wish to believe in Christianity and hopes instead that the Bible is wrong - he simply doesn't want to believe that his grandfather cannot possibly be saved. After all, if he is a good man, has led a long and fulfilling (and some might even say blessed) life being a Buddhist, why should he even consider turning to another religion?

Julie's post, Wasted Love, brought me to recall this short story, for which I've not been able to fully find the answer to. In her post, she also remarked that

Obviously many of these people who are serving and laying down their lives for others are not “believers.” After all, they didn’t say the sinner’s prayer and they don’t go to church on Sunday. So here are my questions:
Is their extreme love for mankind a waste?
Will God still punish these people with the wicked?
Does God turn a blind eye to their love and refuse to reward them?
Did those who died in service of humanity give up their short lives in vain, only to be lost forever?

I have one more question to add - Is doing good a complete waste if you're not a Christian, since you'll just die and go to hell anyway? Who is it that defines 'good' and 'evil' anyway?

What do you think?

Does the bible not say :"There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? " James 4:12 [comment by Megan on Julie's blog post]


  1. If one explores the discourse of what is moral and what is not in terms of religious doctrine, then this discourse is already set in a skewed perspective. To a non-believer, God is merely yet another human construct to fill the spiritual void we otherwise suffer from, and not the "true God" as compared to their own religions (notwithstanding the Atheists). A perceived superiority as a Christian only exists within the confines of this construct (ie: people who believe in the integrity of this construct), and thus does not bear effect on non-Christians. Therefore, I believe it is unfair to even attempt to discern a dialectic discourse between extreme black and white areas, because there will always be subjectivity present in the proceedings - just look at how many different Gods, deities, and monsters we have dreamt up in our image.

  2. Sorry for the late reply! I erm, kinda slept through the weekend :P Trying to catch up on my sleep debt that I've accumulated since many many months/years ago, and it takes a little more concentration to read and respond to posts that erm, use more 'cheem' English :P

    Black, white and grey. Don't we all have a relative standard for those? They might not be similar, but what governs or sets the standards for them? Is it religion? Or is it culture? Or is it simply our laws set by the country? But who set those laws to begin with, and why did they decide that those things were wrong? Why, for that matter, did Buddha or Mohammad decide that killing was wrong (especially since they were not God to begin with), and that their rules set were the ones that were right?

    But this post really isn't so much about the colour of it all, but more of what happens to 'good' people who do not know Christ. Is it fair that they go to hell? Aren't they, then, predestined to die? Especially if they had no logical reason whatsoever to even consider Christianity as a religion?


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