[2820] A god to justify us

Yet a personal God can become a grave liability. He can be a mere idol carved in our own image, a projection of our limited needs, fears and desires. We can assume that he loves what we love and hates what we hate, endorsing our prejudices instead of compelling us to transcend them. When he […]

[2818] God in the marketplace

There are times when books of different focus and field would run parallel with each other and reveal new insight on a specific idea, making that particular idea richer. I recently finished Jürgen Kocka’s Capitalism where he touched on, among others, the shift of power from feudal lords to the merchant class. I am currently […]

Hearing voices announcing something over the loudspeakers in public spaces makes me uncomfortable. It gives me the feeling that somebody is watching me and worse, the unknown person is giving me an order. The automatic reaction by the libertarian in me is to question and resist, even if the announcement makes sense. Most announcements in […]

As far as I understand it from my experience living in the United States during my undergraduate years, the Christian right, which is a loose socially conservative religious group, believes that there is a social war going on. It is a war on Christmas. The war is really about the secularization of Christmas. It is a […]

Words for Malaysian religious conservatives, maybe especially for Hasan Ali and his sympathizers. In November, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, an independent Salafist cleric and presidential candidate, was asked by an interviewer how, as president, he would react to a woman wearing a bikini on the beach? “She would be arrested,” he said. The Al Nour […]

[2472] Douthat on Hitchens

Whereas they feel entirely authentic when they’re couched as “aux armes, citoyens” rallying cries in the struggle against tyranny. Hitchens is never more himself (for better or worse) than when he’s railing against the supposed cruelties of Benedict XVI, or comparing God to Kim Jong-Il. In this sense, he’s really less of an atheist than […]

Utusan Malaysia recently alleged that Malaysian Christian heads were conspiring to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia. The conservative Malay daily cited two blogs of questionable credibility to back its front-page report. For a society highly conscious of  ethnicity and religion issues, the report caused uproar and tension between various communities. Assuming the allegation […]

Prejudice against any group depends on generalization for it to take root successfully in one’s mind. Although I have to admit that sometimes there are voices in my head whispering ethnic prejudice and stereotype, I typically find it hard to harbor such sentiment for long. I have friends of ethnicities different from mine. If I […]

As long as there are those who believe in supernatural explanations to rationalize the completely natural world and as long as there are public choices that require collective decisions, religion will be relevant in our society. The relevance of religion, however, is not a ticket to be used with impunity in the public arena. In […]

At a recent public lecture in Sydney, Australia, Anwar Ibrahim said he avoids answering which he aspires to: a secular state or an Islamic state. He reasoned that the issue is contentious and unproductive to engage in. He believes what exists instead is a quasi-secular state, and a hypocritical one at that. He went on […]

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