Sunday, May 07, 2006

Nice Story, Wrong Way of Dissemination

Many teenagers like forwarded emails. Some forwarded emails are the "you are my best friend", "I can't live without you" or "the true meaning of love" messages, while some others are uplifting and touching little stories. I have to say that sometimes there are stories which bring me close to tears, but apart from that there are way too many same ol' cliche stories which are basically a waste of time. Those are the stories which you know at once that the author is trying too hard to make a story touching when it really is not. No matter what, I like stories - the good ones.

However, today I just received another forwarded story, and I can't help but to lament here. This story is about a mother who has just lost his son and got a letter from her son in heaven (read the story here). At the end of the email, there is an extra paragraph as follows:

Let's see Satan stop this one. Take 60-seconds and send this to five other people, within the hour, you will have caused a multitude of believers to pray to God for each other. Then sit back and feel the Holy Spirit work in your life for doing what you know God loves

"When you're down to nothing, God is up to something.
I flinched as once as I saw this paragraph. You know what, to the person who first added this line - this kind of expression is the exact reason why many non-Christians have biased perceptions towards Christian's proselytization.

I understand the kind intention of Christians spreading this kind of love messages, and you see, I am okay with a random pedestrian approaching me and telling me how great the God is. Normally I would just listen to them and reject them politely. It's not that I am oblivious to religions, God(s), or people's good intentions of spreading the Gospel. Quite contrary to that, I am a frequenter in ReCom's religion-related threads and I do involve actively in all the discussions. It's just that the whole idea, the whole religion doesn't appeal to the secularly-minded me. Religion just isn't that compatible with logic and science, in my opinion. (I hope that my comment box is not flooded with rebuttals from over-zealous believers... :P)

Therefore, to Christians who try to proselytize others, continue your kind work but don't shove your belief down others' throat. Don't nag and come back to haunt people who have already rejected you politely. Don't say that the other religions are ridiculous and it's foolish to believe in anything other than Jesus. Don't say that Jesus is alive but Buddha is dead. And to cap it all, don't lose your empathy towards non-believers - just imagine how insulting if people say "God is just a haughty arrogant cruel guy who wants others to glorify Him if they don't want to be condemned to the eternal hell". If you feel insulted, I can tell you it's the same feeling we feel when you say that "your religion is wrong".

Correction: I am only referring to the inconsiderate acts in some people, and I am in no way referring to every Christian out there. Sorry if you feel offended, it was unintentional.

And to the person who added that line of "Let's see Satan stop this one" - yes, I stopped this one, but not because there is a Satan in me. In fact, this sentence is the reason I stopped it. And I do realise that you think I will go to hell. I will only pray that you will learn to be more empathic.


p/s: To the person who sent me this story, I would just like to let you know that this is nothing personal against you. I am only unhappy with the "satan" part, and I know it's not you who added this line. I do appreciate you sending the story to me though. :D

12 comments:

Omega said...

Hey,

Have u ever thought that that line might not have been written by a Christian? There are many kinds of 'Christians' out there, and I think its not fair to lump all of us into one stereotypical category. Not all Christians 'shove' our religion down other people's throats, in fact most of us don't touch on other religions when we tell others about our religion.

Not trying to preach here, but this is just so you know that not all Christians are like that.

And are you so sure that religion cannot be logical? :)

youngyew said...

Hi,

Thanks for visiting my blog! Haha, never knew you actually read it.. :$

Yeah, I do understand that there are not-so-considerate Christians and considerate ones. And if you read carefully, I was referring to the person who added that line and over-zealous proselytizers who aren't considerate towards non-Christian's feelings. In no way was I referring to every Christian on Earth. If you felt offended I apologize sincerely.

Eerm, about religion being illogical thing, I would invite you to see some of the threads in ReCom regarding religions. It would be too long-winded if I were to type it out here.

StanleyYP said...

Dear Satan Yang,

1.i thought u hv made it clear in ur article that u did not refer to ALL christians?

2. Quote:

'Therefore, to Christians who try to proselytize others, continue your kind work but don't shove your belief down others' throat. Don't nag and come back to haunt people who have already rejected you politely.'


i hv always been invited to the church for free lunch..... n some of them are jz too 'persistent' to persuade u..... many of my frens in KL, London, Cambridge have been facing the same thing. n i hv always been told that im a follower of a dead person until, (sometimes), i almost tell myself that im a satan.


3. of course, yang, not all the christians are like that. n im sure that when u wrote this article u hv been well aware of this fact. it's just a post to express ur dissatisfaction with those, perhaps minority of the christians who are inconsiderate and arrogant while spreading the gospel.


n im sure that christian friends who read this article, knowing that u arent the same, shd join chang yang to disapprove this behaviour.
While agreeing that 'not all christians shove their religion down other people's throat', perhaps that has jz confirmed chang yang's points, that :
1. this behaviour is not justified.
2. n this is not referred to ALL christians

n thus no one shd take it personal nor be over defensive.

youngyew said...

Eerm, to be fair, I added the "correction" part after Omega's comment. Therefore, there was indeed a chance that one may think I am generalizing that all Christians are inconsiderate in proselytization.

But by the way, the way you called me satan Yang is so funny... :D

StanleyYP said...

hahha..rite...satan bro...

well..u said
'to Christians who try to proselytize others, continue your .....'

obviously u werent refering to all the christians. of course, if u intended to generalise all the christians, i would not agree with u, since i hv many christians friends who practise the religion in a non fanatic way, not intending to disturb me by insulting my religion.
n therefore we should hv nothing against ALL of them.

well, i attended the Easter Service of King's College Cathedral VOLUNTARILY...INVITED my other friends to attend the Christmas Special Service in my university official St Mary's Church...n i find it as a great experience. (n i did not attempt to convert anyone there...hehe)

when u come to UK for a visit, i would bring u to the college chapel here to listen to the Choir....King's College's Boy Choir particularly...is FANTASTIC....

oh...okok..back to the main point. so the conclusion is: nothing personal, n no offence. :P

Casper said...

it will be good if the churches in malaysia practises the very same thing... inviting people to their functions without trying to convert everyone to chrithianity...

Jason said...

Hiya,

I agree some Christians might seem too "pushy" and some outright call non-believers followers of a "lost cult" i.e. other religions. I had a Buddhist friend who related that incident to me and I felt embarassed about it. But I'm also glad he realised, like most of you, that not all Christians are like that. :)

"Religion just isn't that compatible with logic and science, in my opinion."
Of course, many others will disagree with you. But it IS your opinion after all. ;P
Depends on whether you're a theist, atheist, or agnostic.

Have a nice day!

Omega said...

Let me reassure everyone that no offense had been taken, since my comment made such a 'furore'. Frankly, I am surprised to hear so many bad accounts of how christians tell others about Christianity. All I can say is that there are plenty of Christians who DON'T do that. It's good that non-christians attend church functions. If you get nothing out of it, well..you'll still get free lunch or dinner :P

And..erm..i hesitate to write this... but the underlying purpose of inviting non-christians to functions such as those is to tell them about Christ, which can be loosely translated into 'trying to convert' them. Don't misunderstand me though, all the church functions that I've been to certainly do not force anyone to convert.

CY, you asked me to read your blog last year rmb? I have been reading it occasionally when i have the time. See la..wat a good 'ah mui' I've been. Where's my hadiah???

chYn said...

haha, i've always received these sorts of mails and i've never even bother reading through them. Chain letters are pointless anyways, nonetheless created by people who has nothing better to do in life.
I do agree that, Christianity being such a BIG religion, there would be a diverse range of believers and people acting in different way. There are lots of nice ones, and lots of others who,unfortunately uses the wrong approach to spread their religion or whatever.

I remembered there was once i was walking in S'pore and this old lady suddenly JUMPED out infront of me and smiled at me with big big eyes. Initially i thought she wanted to ask directions or something, but she just looked at me in the eye and say, "don't be afraid, jesus loves you!" and continued muttering a stream of who-knows-what syllabus (well i cbb to remember). I rejected her passionate attempt to 'spread the love' and ran away. I'd just have to say that it was sOOO scary. I had a shock of my life. Imagine someone JUMPING out at u and saying something like that. WHOA...

this is just a little story...real life event/experience...no offence to anyone!

Ka Lip said...

OMB! I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL!

I've had my 'not-so-fair' share of encounters..and nowadays I cringe everytime I see a forwarded email with "God" or "Jesus" or something similar in the title..

Although..I am not quite as adamant about religion not having any logical basis...actually...you're right, it doesn't have a logical basis! BUT, I don't completely insist that it is impossible.

;) interpret that however you want :)

Anonymous said...

hmm, the reason all of us had such an experience is not because there really is such a big proportion of Christians "that shove their religion down our throats",but rather its such an unpleasant encounter that everyone has a hard time forgetting it.. Besides, I have come across friends that can be great soulmates, as long as you can put up with their ocassional outburst of nobelness in trying to "save" all of us who have not been saved.

But really,one admirable thing about christianity and church is how they have members who go ard spreading the gospel. I have yet to come across anyone of any other religion that has tried to convert me.. I would dearly love to meet a Moslem who tries to convert me :P

ShouFarn said...

heh, i wonder if it has occured to anyone that, in the oftchance Satan put the letter there, the mom will be spreading Satan's lies using fellow christians, in the name of god.