"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Saturday, April 05, 2003

Reworked introduction:


Following is an essay - part personal reflection, part dissertion - assembled from numerous pages of scribblings assembled by me in wroth after a Catholic Retreat in Sabah in March 2003, which caused me to renounce my faith and become an agnostic.

I am aware that the retreat I went to was of a ludicrously puritan and hideously ascetic bent ("sheesh. what you went to sounds like a cross between extreme puritan catholicism and charismatic movement. it is -not - representative of moderate christianity"), and that probably only the Pope and various other extremist fringe sects have such extreme and outdated views. Indeed, I am told that Singapore Christianity is "uniquely perverted" and "takes itself far too seriously". Nonetheless, the retreat has scarred my psyche indelibly, pissed me off immeasurably and alienated me considerably, resulting in a pronounced aversion towards Christianity, especially fundamentalist Christianity.

Thus, I have written this essay - in part to consolidate my thoughts and reflections, also to set out a case for why I believe that religion - especially human-organised and interpreted religion - is likely a delusion, but mainly to rebut all the points of doctrine preached at the retreat that I found repellent.

This retreat was conducted by one priest, mostly. He will, hereon, be referred to as "the priest"

1) Disclaimer and primer

The author is no stranger to controversy, and does not shy away from traditionally taboo topics. He believes in the Socratic method of seeking truth, and (so far) hasn't been forced to drink hemlock yet. If you are fond of excommunicating people on the slightest pretext, or if every other facet of the modern world is blasphemous to you, you might want to give this essay a miss. But a thought for you: "Blasphemy? No, it is not blasphemy. If God is as vast as that, he is above blasphemy; if he is as little as that, he is beneath it." - Mark Twain. On the other hand, if you've never questioned your faith, or if you are in your religion only because you were brought up in it, perhaps some meditation would serve you in good stead. Just don't get too lost in the interminable passages.

In this essay, I have tried to deal with a broad range of topics, ignoring a few like Creation "Science" and the Immaculate Conception, and have neither the space, time nor ability to explore many issues to as deep a level as I would like. I have no revolutionary, earth-shaking ideas to share, as this ground is well trod upon, and indeed some might say barren, but I hope some insights might be found useful. I've tried to exercise some form of essay discipline but the sheer extent and wealth of material is overwhelming, really, especially since I've no editor. I'll be working on this essay when I have material to add, or when the whim strikes me, though, so it should steadily become more lucid. All feedback (but for mindless hate mail) is welcome. Many thanks are due to all who have given feedback so far :)

Hopefully, everything should come together as a coherent whole by the end of this tract :)'

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