I stumbled by accident into your site, and I just wonder if you are also prepared to feature articles written in English. If so, I would certainly like to contribute some of my ex-Christian reflections with you members. The following link will lead you to a few samples that I have posted on Scribd.com, among other article sharing sites in the US.
Thank you for your interest. I followed the links that you gave me and glad to know that you are an author.
The main website mainly consists Chinese articles since I thought there were already have enough support in English readers. So if you have any great article related to exchristians, I certainly like to post it. Mostly I would also translate into Chinese as bilingual, like the witness of Elsie Tu (http://exchristian.hk/home/article/show/73).
If you release bilingual version, I would greatly appreciate it.
Hello Water or [抽刀斷水]：
Thank you for your reply to my inquiry.
I am glad that you are fluent both in English and Chinese. I must apologize for the fact that even though I am a native Chinese speaker of three dialects, I cannot write Chinese very well nor have I learned to type it as you do.
How about if I foward my documents to you one at a time for you to see if it is worth your time to translate, i.e., that it is the kind of material you would like your readers to see. You see, my approach to the subject is more theoretical than testimonial. Its purpose is to provide ex-Christians a few biblical as well as philosophical points to justify their stance (to themselves as well as to their Christian friends) against the arrogant, unbliblical and superstitious claims of fundamentalist Christianity in particular.
Yes, please just forward any articles related to exchristians and see if I understand them.
BTW, can you read Chinese?
Yes, I read Chinese. As a matter of fact, I have breezed though your writings and translations at the site without much trouble. Only that I could not write fluently as you do. What is out of practice for a long time has become out of mind, so to speak.
I admire your initiative and agree with your objective. That is why I would like to share with your readers some of the views I have on the subject. What I have in mind at the moment is half a dozen of excerpts from my Sou, God, and Morality, which you may find to be appropriate. Let me line them up for your evalutation in three modules.
(1a) The Golden Calf of Arron: a critigue of traditional Christian theology on both rational and biblical grounds.
(1b) Reflection on the Theism-Atheism Debate: my argument for the rational basis of agnosticism.
(2a) On the Hereafter: a critigue of belief in the persistence of personal souls in a spiritual hereafter -- again on rational and biblical grounds.
(2b) The Problem of Unconsciousness: a philosophical argument exposing the baselessness of thinking that it takes a personal soul to have a mind.
(3a) The Meaning and Purose of Life: an attempt to uplift the courage of those who have left Christianity to persist admidst the difficulties of life.
(3b) A Sad Tales of Two Imperatives: a critigue of established religion in general and call for a moral and altruistic way of life as advocated by "founders of religion" such as Jesus and Bhudda.
In the process of translating, I would encourage you to insert comments of your own where you deem necessary for purpose of elucidating some of the points therein for the benefit of general readers. Doing that will made this joint endeavour of ours a cooperative effort in the real sense of the word.
So, attached is The Golden Calf of Arron for your evaluation and translation. Please let me know where clarification is required. If you want me to be your proof reader, I shal try the best I can. Otherwise, what is good enough for you is already good enough for me.
Peter M.K. Chan
At the end of its all, I do not know if you would also agree that we could make these translated documents downloadable in pdf for anyone who is interested..
I do not mind your sharing my email address, our email exchanges, and its attachments with your friends and associates, or should I say, "comrades in arms". After all, sharing ideas is what we are about.
Please feel free to do whatever you think is best. If some of your associates are able to offer a helping hand, so much the better. As a matter of fact, I was kind of worried that translating all these pages might take up too much of your time and energy.
I sense that you are not as young as I thought. I also feel tired sometimes with thinking and writing. But daily walk and jog with a bit of sun has always been my salvation, so far anyway.
In the history of mankind, there have always been some who are presumptuous enough to tell others about the nature of God. But this is not to say that all contributors to the Bible (which is revered by some to be the revealed Word of God) are in the same boat.
First of all, let me concede that when confronted with the wondrous workings of material nature and the starry heavens (or what astrophysicists nowadays are telling us about anti-matter, mysterious dark-energy as well as supernovas and black holes), few are exempt from the gut feel that perhaps, there must ultimately be more to what meets our empirical and scientific eye. And it is this ‘more’ that often drums up the concept of God. After all, the origin of the universe (with Big Bang in particular) has to be accounted for. For those who think that ‘nothingness’ is already a boundary concept, the universe will have to be construed as having brought itself out of nothing (due to some unfathomable quantum fluctuations perhaps).
From where I stand, what that indicates is that the God question is often decided upon on ground of inclination rather than reason and fact. This is also why when confronted with the suffering and weeping of many animate lives, human ones in particular, all one tends to ‘see’ is the blind amorality of Nature. On the other hand, in the more joyful and sanguine of moments, many have also found it natural to say that the whole of creation, the parts that are conscious and the parts that are unconscious, is singing the glory of God. With respect to such poetic of moments, all I wish to warn is that this is where one has got to be careful. Having the concept of God and know how to use it is a far cry from having cognized God, much less to have known Him.
Of knowledge claims about God, let me point out that as far as ancient Judaic guidelines are concerned, God is not to be understood in terms of anything. That is what the phrase ‘I am that I am’ (or Jehovah) means. It should be observed that on the basis of this strict admonition, even to conceptualize God as Love, Light, and Truth should also not be allowed (as Zarasthustranism first did—not the New Testament, mind you). It was rather unfortunate that most of those who came after had to submit matter of principle to the desire of the masses, and conceptualize God not only as the golden calf of Aaron, but as being in three persons—one of whom is taken literally by some to be the begotten of God the Father.
I, for one, do not understand why it is really necessary to conceptualize God in such precise human terms. Would it not be less sacrilegious to think of Him as having three aspects rather than a multiple personality of sorts with what sounds like reproductive functions as well? Besides, if the three Persons in God are all eternal, it is difficult is see how any of these eternal Persons (existing without beginning and without end) could really have come to be ‘begotten’ by any one of the other two. However, as it is not the habit of theologians to dwell too deeply into such conceptual discrepancies, these muddled conceptualizations have also continued to be mistaken by their listeners to be the nature of God.
Further, in characterizing God as infinitely good and powerful, traditional theology has also invited the problem of evil. It is that if God were good and powerful, why would he allow Satan to ruin his original blueprint known to all as “the Garden of Eden”, and why does he allow all the cutting of throats (physical and psychological) as well as natural disasters? This is before complaining about the eliminative fury of the wrath of God attested to throughout the Bible -- the most impressive of which were the ten plagues unleashed against the people of ancient Egypt as depicted in the book Exodus, and the doomsday scenario as portrayed by the book of Revelation.Why didn’t He just take the Pharaoh of Egypt out in the first instance, and eliminate the sway of Satan over mankind in the second?
With respect to such a string of metaphysical questions, there are only two honest ways out. One is to say that the decision of the Boss is not to be questioned. As creatures, we must take whatever is given. That is equivalent to admitting that we are not really in the know. Another is to adopt the position taken by the author of Job (one of the wisdom books of the Old Testament) when he conceptualized God and Satan as bargaining equals. This belief in the eternal struggle between Good and Evil, as I am sure readers are aware, has also been popular with many polytheistic religions. Its function is to serve as a kind of intellectual dumping ground for inexplicable problems such as the ones just highlighted.
And if I may further point out, this steak of what looks like a bi-theism of sorts, or the continued presence of Satan in the religious scheme of things, has also come through in the New Testament. It says that Satan had even tried to bribe Jesus (believed to be the second person of the triune God) into submission, and that the eventual triumph over Satan and its dominion over mankind is only to be accomplished at the world’s end (Revelation Chapter 20).What that means is that God was not really thought of in the Bible as being supremely powerful over the affairs of man (at least not up to now). It also means that those who had thought that God is infinitely powerful and claimed to be in the know were actually making things up.
As to those who have come to hold that theBible isthe revealed Word of God, all I would like to say is that it may be more respectful to believe that God writes Nature rather than books as we do, or having to commission anyone to ghostwrite for Him. As a matter of fact, this was more or less also the view of Apostle Paul (check with Romans 1:20 if you must). And if I may further add, neither should any puny human mind with mere human concepts be so arrogant as to think that it is really equipped and qualified for the job (see footnote 6.1below for further comment).
Now, for those who are still too stubborn to take no for an answer, let me also refer them to the words of Solomon, reputedly the wisest of them all. Toward the end of Ecclesiastics (another wisdom book of the Old Testament), he also said in no uncertain terms that the way of God is not at all knowable. This is not very different from the view of Apostle Paul in the New Testament when he confessed to the fact that as all the prophets before him, what he thought he saw were but vaguely as against some dark mirror of sorts. And that as such, his kind of theological understanding would also have to be discarded eventually for the real thing (I Corinthians 13: 9-12). For what I can understand, this is nothing less than a warning to all those who have drunk from this same well not to tell people otherwise.
Of course, most believers of Holy Books are not really concerned about such finer prints. They would accept any theological characterization for as long as it promises to save their personal souls, especially if all it takes is to say yes, also known as salvation by faith alone (please see footnote 6.2 for further comment).
Footnote 6.1: On the Bible as the Word of God
The doctrine that the Bible is the Word of God was very much a product of the Protestant Reformation. As to how one is to know that this doctrine is true, the usual answer is that it is because the Epistle of Timothy (another Pauline document in the New Testament) says so. However, a careful reading will show that what the statement really refers to (as per small prints therein regarding its original meaning in Greek) are “all scriptures that are inspired by God”. It does not say that the Bible as we have it today is the Word of God. As a matter of historical fact, since the New Testament was in those early days nowhere to be found, all that could be made to show is that the Old Testament was inspired by God, i.e., not the Bible as a whole inclusive of both its Old and New Testaments. Besides, it would not take long for anyone with some basic understanding of science to see that the Bible is only able to reflect the primitive world-view and cosmological understanding of its day.
Footnote 6.2:On Salvation by Faith Alone
For those who are not already in the know, let me point out that the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith, as expounded in the Epistle to the Romans, was actually rejected by James (the brother of Jesus) when he said (in the Epistle of James) that faith without work is dead. Nor is there any evidence from the Gospels to show that justification by faith is what Jesus had in mind. Quite to the contrary, his parable of the Ten Maidens was definitely on the side of James rather than Paul. It is rather clear from the parable that Jesus was of the view that the door of his Kingdom will be closed to those who do not have oil of good work in their lamps.
Peter M.K. Chan is the author of The Mystery of Mind (published 2003), and Soul, God, and Morality (published 2004). Recently, he has also competed any work titled The Six Patriarchs of Chinese Humanism (not yet in print). For details regarding the above, please visit http://sites.google.com/site/pmkchan/home