I don't believe in religions; so I'm immune from all those so-called teachings from the holy books. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, is what I would describe as a "very strong believer". She goes to St Simon Church every Sunday without fail. Some years ago, she tried to convince me to be a practising Roman Catholic, i.e. to go to church every Sunday. But of course she has long since given up hope on me. I'm just beyond help, you see.
Mia is what I would describe as the fence-sitter. Apparently, she does believe a bit in the Catholic God. But she doesn't really believe all those chantings—I think it's what they call "speaking in tongue", or something like that—when the church goers are "touched" by the Holy Spirit. I must remember to ask her if she believed that Mary was a virgin when she had Jesus.
I thought there couldn't be any harm to "give" my JJ a religion. So I sort of played along with the baptism thing when she was about 6 months old. We were kinda late, since I was given to understand that usually the baptism ritual is carried out within the first month or two of the baby's delivery. Anyway, Mia, JJ and my mother-in-law go to church every Sunday together. I decided to opt out since donkey years ago, I think by now I must have tonnes of "unwashed" sins!
I was talking to Mia about the Holy Bible just a couple of days ago. I said contrary to what most christians say, I see the Bible as an imperfect document. In fact, most, if not all, of the holy books are imperfect as far as I am concerned. Jesus, for some strange reasons, enjoyed speaking in parables. I fail to see why couldn't he had simply spoken in a plain ordinary language—y'know, like being normal?
The Bible contains mostly things which are ambigious and subject to many numerous different interpretations. And because of the many possible interpretations, I think we can no longer be sure of what's the original intention of the authors. For example, I don't really know what to make of the story about Noah and the Ark. Is that to be taken literally? Or is that some kind of symbolic story which is supposed to have a deeper meaning to it? When we read about how Jesus fed 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish, and still had 12 baskets of left-over after that, was that supposed to have been taken literally?
There are so many possible interpretations of the Bible, and it is no surprise that so many people have come up with their own "churches". They each have their own interpretations—they're slightly different here and there.
So although still using the same Bible, they start to convince some people to join their "churches". Usually, the congregations would start in the housing estates with small prayer groups. They would then rent the upper floors of shophouses. At the same time, they collect monetary contributions from their members, as much as 10% of the incomes—evidently something called tidings, which I was told is provided for in the Bible. Before long, they will actually buy a premises. Then buy a land, and eventually build their own churches. In KK alone, we have so many churches around; some still occupying the upper floors of shophouses, and some already rich enough to have their own churches as in the real "church" building constructed on their own lands.
The beauty of it all is that they are very good in recruiting new members—people who're willing to sacrifice everything for the leader. I always find myself amazed anew each time I see people actually believe in these new churches. I'm having trouble believing in my own Roman Catholic church, let alone these other churches.
That's why I could only shake my head when a man who's been dead for 13 months was not buried; rather was kept in his coffin and placed in the living room of a rented house here in Penampang. Each day his believers held prayer sessions throughout those 13 months while waiting for his resurrection. But of course he has remained dead up to now. And it was probably a blessing in disguise that the police finally forced themselves into the house to stop all the nonsense. [The Star]
BUT! Keeping an open mind, even if he had resurrected from his death, I think he would've died again very quickly the second time due to suffocation. He must have forgotten to instruct his followers not to bundle him up in blankets and plastic wrappers. How was he supposed to breathe that way? Some people are just so bad in planning!