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Tales of Mr. Tan IV – Religion Everywhere? November 15, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Mr. Tan.

Mr. Tan, the thinker, read a newspaper article on how religion was not to be divorced from politics. He noted drily, ‘it is important to separate fact from fiction. How can it be that the Chinese word ‘船’ consisting of 8 mouths be a reference to Noah’s Ark? The symbol was there long before the story of Noah’s Ark was told.’ Amused, he noted too that the author notes that ‘religion promotes accomodation.’ If so, he made a big mistake in quoting a Chinese word in a Christian context – what happened then to history and the culture of the Chinese people before the missionaries arrived? Mr. Tan noted that such direct transfers of everyday happenings into Bible passages hinted at a disturbing phenomenon of fundamentalism, when religion is understood by the face value of the words and not the symbolism behind it – something which the author himself professes not to be.

Also, Mr. Tan noted drily the danger of merging religion and politics. He said, ‘politics must stay separate from religion because while politics involves the polis, the city and the people and thus affects every country and its inhabitants as a whole, religion involves the connection to a being which transcends the individual, a connection which can be described by a multitude of views, and where unity is almost impossible. He noted that in the Middle Ages, religion mixing with politics led to the fall of the Church and the Crusades – the mixture of politics and religion led to many atrocities being commited e nomino domini.

‘Furthermore, religion mixed with politics would cause problems – with a multitude of religions, people are forced to make an image of their God, because it’s the only way that they can express their convictions. With this concrete image, people compare – and that’s dangerous, because everyone believes their religion has the absolute truth,’ he mused.



1. toto - November 16, 2007

today’s politics is about wealth creation. however, the result thus far is more wealth for some, less wealth for many. is this sustainable in the long term? many doubts.

today’s religion is confuse. its effectiveness or rather, ineffectiveness has been contained. like a bird in a cage, it has wings but can’t fly.

mix the two together? you have wealthy chickens in a field rich with worms for the pecking.

2. guojun - November 16, 2007

apparently someone said it in the states times what…haha.

3. gykung - November 22, 2007

Gandhi roughly had the same question in mind, but realised that religion could not be separated from politics. Everytime he wished to talk about religion, he could not do so without response from the authorities, govt or the people. And just my opinion, because both politics and religion actually have the function of controlling people, their conflict remains. At the basis of religion and politics, within the context of civilization and society, is simply a group of people trying to control people’s minds.

4. guojun - November 22, 2007

yes, thats why they must be kept apart so they can act as a balance for each other…thats my perception of it so far.

5. |c3^sNoW - January 18, 2008

agree w gykung..
regarding ur comment in aaron’s blog abt e NUS president leaving..i used 2 think like u 2..tt students in FASS r like, “inferior” 2 those in sci..n so i went 2 sci..bt i totally love the arts modules i took n score better @ them than in sci..
i think most ppl r 2 pragmatic 2 c e usefulness of arts modules..

6. guojun - January 19, 2008

Haha…what a perception! Anyway, i am an Arts student myself. I grew disillusioned with the obsession with Sciences despite my Science background and despite my thinking that way too. And i haven’t looked back…I was referring at Aaron’s about what people normally perceive the Arts student to be. Hope that clears things up!

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