In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The day Sunway stood still

So I took part in the Freeze. Yeah, it's an event where everyone participating decides to stop moving for no apparent reason. Everybody synchronizes their watches beforehand and are given specific instructions by someone a good thirty minutes before the deadline. When people around them stop moving suddenly, onlookers are confused and they draw lots of attention. And after 4 minutes, the frozen people start moving again as they were before the Freeze, as if nothing happened.

Cool huh?

Except in the Malaysian Version, nobody synchronized their watches. Participants who are slow to respond must be commanded to stop moving by everyone counting down the freeze together. Worse, after the participants show no sign of *unfreezing* since they're not keeping track of 4 minutes, they need to be babied along through *another* countdown. After which much cheering, clapping and even screaming commences. Oh yes, much subtlety was lost.

Still, it was fun taking advantage of Shane while he was frozen. :P

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

God is dead? You wish.

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

– Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann

Oh yes. Tis the season to get all philosophical, tralalalala, lalalala. Hey, don't blame me! Sam started it, and Alexander continued debating it .

"God is dead" was Nietzsche's infamous quote, which is often misquoted (Personally, I think of an article from Time magazine). Nietzsche poses the problem associated with the death of god - that without a faith in an absolute being from which we can derive absolute truths, people are left without a source of absolute morality. Which leads to Nihilism, the philosophy that essentially says life is devoid of meaning and thus there are no ethics or right or wrong.

It was Nietzsche's hope that people would eventually *overcome* nihilism and move on to something else involving √úbermensch or supermen or whatever which I find quite silly (no, Nietzsce wasn't reaaaaally nihilistic himself). But personally, I think he's quite mistaken in believing that atheism has a strong foothold on people. Religion is very much alive - as long as there is doubt, uncertainty and insecurity, people will look to religion for hope. And there always will be.

In the mean time, atheists continue to have the problem reconciling nihilism (the belief that life is meaningless and so is morality) with their lack of a faith in an absolute power. And as I have just discovered, atheists like myself are utterly useless at consoling people at funerals! Go figure. >.>

But then again, perhaps the bigger question to ask is; Does it really matter WHAT you believe? WHO you believe in? Would a good God (assuming God is worth worshiping) reaaaally mind if a good man picks the wrong religion to believe in, out of the many religions out there continually pushing for their faith?

Live your life as best you can. Let God sort the rest.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Quotes from C.S. Lewis

So why would an aeithist quote a Christian writer on thoughts about the afterlife? I think Puddleglum says it best.

Puddleglum to the Witch-Queen of Underland: "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia."

* in The Silver Chair, by C. S. Lewis


Great. But then, as many Christians would have you believe (along with Muslims or whatever religion), isn't almost everyone going to hell? After all, if you don't follow their religion you're going to hell - that sort of thing. What did C.S. Lewis think about that?

Emeth the Calormene: "So I went over much grass and many flowers and among all kinds of wholesome and delectable trees till lo! in a narrow place between two rocks there came to meet me a great Lion. The speed of him was like the ostrich, and his size was an elephant's; his hair was like pure gold and the brightness of his eyes, like gold that is liquid in the furnace. He was more terrible than the Flaming Mountain of Lagour, and in beauty he surpassed all that is in the world, even as the rose in bloom surpasses the dust of the desert. Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of Thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou has done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites. I take to me the services which thou hast done to him, for I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if a man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted."

* in The Last Battle, by C. S. Lewis

This paragraph was soooooo obviously inspired from a passage from the bible:

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

Matthew 25: 37-40


It's no secret that in spite of being an aeithist, I have a respect for C.S. Lewis's writings. One final quote:

And [this] is why I cannot give pederasty [homosexuality] anything like a first place among the evils of the Coll. There is much hypocrisy on this theme. People commonly talk as if every other evil were more tolerable than this. But why? ... The real reason for all the pother is, in my opinion, niether Christian nor ethical. We attack this vice not because it is the worst but because it is, by adult standards, the most disreputable and unmentionable, and happens also to be a crime in English law. The World will lead you only to Hell, but sodomy may lead you to jail and create a scandal, and lose you your job. The World, to do it justice, seldom does that.

* C. S. Lewis, in Surprised by Joy