I had a narrow escape from a nasty accident while out cycling last Saturday morning. In fact, I dare say I might have even cheated death that morning. I supposed it's one of those perils of cycling on the highway. It was quite an experience, really; one which resulted in a sudden surge of adrenaline and chilling sensation down my spine.
Then later that morning, we found ourselves in a coffee shop for a drink. The fellowship was a lot of fun; and at the end of it, I paid for everybody. A couple of my friends teased me, jokingly asking me if it's my birthday. The truth was that it's my small way of paying forward. If there's God, He has been kind by protecting me on the highway. And I reckoned that it's my small way of saying "thank you" to Him by showing a little act of kindness to others in return.
Just about 2 weeks prior to that, I was running with some friends, and we got to talk about religions. I told them about the time when I went to church for a few months many years ago, and tried to blend in with the congregation. It was a strange experience—I was there to listen to the sermons, and I was hoping to find God. But I ended up feeling like a total idiot. When people started singing, I sang a little, but for the most part, I did not. When people stood up, I did not stand with them. Neither did I kneel down when it was time to do that. Nobody actually said anything unkind to me, but you should have seen their piercing stares—it's a kind of stare of disgust, one that made me feel so small!
Not many people can understand my position as far as God is concerned. You see, I believe in God; but not the one mentioned in religions. To me, God of the religions is a very conceited being. He yearns to be loved and worshiped by us all; He claims to give us free will, but actually not really. He knows absolutely everything. Yet He put the two idiots to the test in the Garden of Eden, knowing all the time that they'd fail miserably. He had to know what the outcome of that test would be, because He knew everything, you see. He claims to love us all, yet He is liable to lose his temper and go on a killing rampage on a grand scale!
My friend gave me quite a good lecture during that run. One of the things he said to me which remains stuck in my mind up to now, was that I should have a relationship with God. Well, as a matter of fact, I do have a relationship with God. But my God is not the God of the religions.
Most people would claim that they, too, have a relationship with their respective Gods. They dress according to the requirements of their religions; they pray in a specific way, or in a specific venue, and perhaps even in a specific direction too. On the surface they try very hard to behave every bit like what's required of their religions.
But the truth is that nobody is able to see the decays underneath the surface. Bigshots of the church have been known to have sexually abused young children. Women who are covered from head to toe getting pregnant out of wedlock; and they are quite capable of killing their own children to prevent others from knowing their dirty little secret. And when there is a need, they would readily swear on their holy book to deny their wrongdoing, knowing fully well that they're guilty as hell of the crime they're accused of.
This reminds me of a man I knew many years ago, who cheated on his wife. He said he'd admit to me that he fooled around with women. But nothing would make him admit such a thing to his wife; and he'd willingly swear on the holy book if he must!
No—I must beg to differ from Dr Mahathir's suggestion that "it is better for Muslim politicians to "swear properly" to fend off allegations instead of clogging up the courts with frivolous lawsuits." I don't care how proper is proper; it can never be good enough! I pray to God that nobody would heed such an idiotic solution to "unclog" the courts in Malaysia!