Friday, February 26, 2016

Religion and Morals

Beliefs change, Values change, Morals change but in many cases, the Holy Book remains the same.

It is also interesting that something like the bible, where it should be consistent throughout the world, you can find that the interpretation differs as you visit different churches.

With the invention of Mega Churches, Prosperity Gospel, and many other different variants, I realize that many things evolve, and in many religions, there is such evolution which turns out bad.


“I like your Christ,” said Mahatma Gahndi, “but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” 


I could say that the values of our culture is changing and are sometimes different from the values of our faith. This is not new as in bibical times, owning a slave is totally fine. Like politics, religion does have a certain view of things, and picking your religion means most of "your team" feel in a certain way.

When Paul addresses important issues related to sexuality in his letters to the Corinthians, he is speaking to the Church and seems unconcerned with society as a whole:

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral … In that case you would have to leave this world … what business is it of mine to judge those outside the Church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked person from among you’” (1 Corinthians 5:9. 12-13).

I see a lot of calls when I'm in Singapore from religious groups judging performers like Madonna, calling for bans, and intolerant towards gays. Even Obama's speech on Gays was censored by Singapore Media.

In the US, I've seen religious groups protest abortions and are "pro-life" and after meeting several of these people, and sharing some of my disaster relief stories and asking them to support survivors of disasters, I realize that it is much harder to get donations from Religious Fundamentalists than Atheists. Many of them do feel that after going to church or tithe to their church, they do not need to do any other "good". And the survivors in a disaster, which is "God's will" are given a challenge which they will overcome if they have faith.

In Malaysia, I've seen groups taking offence to buildings with a "Cross Shape" on the roofs, asking the developers to repaint them. I have never thought of Muslims as a religion that were easily offended by mere architecture.


Religion is never a bad thing, and sometimes, people following a bad religious leader will do nasty things which are totally uncalled for.

Non-religious people can also do good things, and not all good deeds come from religious roots. Even by making these comments, many religious people will be offended.

I believe religion is a good thing, and religious people should be more tolerant on issues which seems acceptable by society, listen to the other views and be open to new ideas. If not, you may fall to the slippery slope of extremism.

-- Robin Low

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Who does urban renewals benefit?

It is a known fact that the gentrification push out the poor community. Most of the poor people rent their homes or live in public housing. They work locally in low wage jobs and have barely enough to get by.

When the neighborhood gets nicer, residential rents go up, more expensive “quirky” stores open as there is more street lighting and parking spaces and the commercial rents go up. Food gets more expensive, the landlords may renovate their homes and residential rents go up more, making it unaffordable for the poor to stay.

This disruption not only cause the poor to lose their jobs as it is too expensive to travel from their lower cost areas to the now “nicer” part of town, their children may also not go to school as it may now be too faraway.

The end result usually see a lot more middle income people move to the area, and less lower income people remaining, and not the lower income people getting more opportunities to move to middle income earners.

-- Robin Low