Saturday 23 December 2023

A thought at Christmas 2023


I was born into a Taoist Chinese family where reverence for "Tau Peh Kong" (大伯公), an ancient Chinese deity, was the norm. Christianity was strictly forbidden in our household, creating an aura of intrigue around this faith, but I was absolutely uninterested.

As a child, Christmas seemed distant, a celebration confined to affluent, English-educated families. I often found myself envious of their festive joys. with plenty of presents.

One vivid memory stands out: at 12 years old, I accompanied a Methodist friend to his Christmas celebration at St. James Methodist Church in Bukit Panjang. The allure of gifts and merriment captured my imagination. However, upon returning home with my treasures, my joy turned to terror as my mother discovered my "transgression" and unleashed a punishing wrath, forcing me to relinquish my presents.

In that moment, at an impressionable age, I was tempted to screately embraces Christianity, an act met with severe consequences, like disowned by my parents

Over time, as I matured and observed through reading the world's unfolding events, I began questioning the Christian teachings I had occasionally received.

My skepticism grew towards religion, a construct crafted by fallible human hands, appearing increasingly nonsensical to me. Take, for instance, the Christian belief in God's mercy through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for mankind's salvation. The promise of answered prayers for the faithful is a cornerstone of this faith.

However, when I turn my gaze to the suffering of innocent children in places like Gaza, the discrepancies become starkly apparent. The anguish, fear, and loss experienced by these children, living in perpetual turmoil, haunted by the brutality of conflict, stands in direct contradiction to the narrative of a benevolent and responsive deity.

The plight of the Palestinian children, casualties of longstanding conflict, challenges the very notion of a compassionate God. The prolonged suffering, with no respite in sight, begs the question: where is this God in their most dire moments?

Some may offer explanations, citing the mysterious ways of God or His timing beyond human comprehension. But for me, the ongoing anguish for generations underlines the apparent absence of any divine intervention.

The festivity of Christmas loses its significance when juxtaposed with the brutal reality faced by innocent children, their lives snatched away while an unseen God remains silent.

How many more innocent lives must be sacrificed before a purportedly loving God is compelled to act?

God, where are you?

Amidst the holiday cheer, it's crucial to reflect on the anguish endured by the people of Gaza. Their suffering demands acknowledgment and action beyond festivity and merrymaking.

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