Friday, November 30, 2007
  Jesus Saves
... in an offshore account?

A seminar is being held in Jakarta tomorrow, Saturday, at a venue known as Serenity Towers. Its aim is to coerce local Christians into paying loads of money to learn how to earn loads of money because it is their God-given right to do so during their infinitesimally short time here on Earth before, like the diamonds they flash, they return to the earth.

Whereas many Muslims treat the Koran, their Holy Book, as the, ahem, gospel truth, many Christians, generally Protestants, rather than taking to heart the purported words of Jesus - "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - ask themselves "Why not gain the whole world plus my soul?".

Naturally these perverts of the truth, sorry - THE TRUTH, find justifications for their greed.

"Ask of me and I will give you the heathen for thy inheritance and the outermost part of the earth for thine possession."
Psalms 2.8

That, presumably, is the justification for having crucifixes made in the sweatshops of a factory in Dongguan City in heathen China.

The mostly young, female employees work from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. seven days a week and are paid 26 cents an hour with no sick days or vacation. Workers live in filthy dormitories and are fed a watery 'slop'.

On reading stories like these, one may be tempted to dismiss religions as being contemptuous of humanity. It is encouraging, however, to discover that an awareness of ethical investment does exist among some Christians.

Being a good steward of one's financial resources also means making money in an ethical way that is compatible with Christian values.

Also, the Bible points out that part of the blessing of having money is to use it to help others and further the Kingdom of God: "If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother"
(Deut 15:7, King James Version).

Jakartass was raised in a predominantly Christian environment because that was the England of the post-war years. I have since learned that wars are fought and terrorist outrages are perpetrated in the name of false prophets by folk who think that life here on Earth is so shite that their only purpose is to destroy it.

Then there are those who wish to wrest the riches of the Earth for their own ends from the heathens who occupy the surface above. Those who argue against these despoilers or suggest alternative points of view are labelled as blasphemers or infidels.

Building edifices for the supposed glorification of one's gods is a timeworn practice. Grand mosques, temples and cathedrals are dotted around the globe, with a few mountain sized Buddhas to watch over them. Here in Jakarta, as my good friend Indcoup has reminded us, the Bethany Church is the force behind Christ's (and the world's) tallest erection, the planned Jakarta Tower. Amongst the treats in store for the hoped for 40,000 visitors a day will be a mega mall, something that is sorely needed here. (Sick joke sic transit.)

There are various cults who believe that with the Second Coming of Christ, True Believers will be carted off to heaven. I'm not sure how many virgins and/or gigolos will be available, but that sure as hell sounds attractive to some. What I'd like to know, however, is what Jesus would buy, apart from a new pair of sandals.

This is a valid question because this is a feeble attempt at giving a plug to a new documentary available on DVD called What Would Jesus Buy?. Made by the Reverend Billy, this follows a church choir called "The Church of Stop Shopping," which crosses the USA singing anti-shopping and anti-corporate songs. I presume that the Rev is also a major supporter of such initiatives as the Buy Nothing Day which took place last Saturday, the 24th.

Unfortunately, I had no advance notice of it, even though there is an Indonesian website and it was celebrated here in Jakarta with a free market in Sambas Park, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and provided free food, clothes, free T-shirt printing, book readings, acupressure, a free acting class and an introduction to Braille from the Mitra Netra Foundation for the blind.

Ika Vantiani, 31, from a community called the Dipepi Free Food Gang, said that Buy Nothing Day was intended to counter consumerism and to promote the concept that sharing was better than buying.

The event, however, took a not unsurprising turn for Jakarta, with more people turning up looking to get freebies than to give. Ika had initially announced the free market on a number of mailing lists in her network. However, radio stations and newspapers interviewed her before the event and hence the rapacious throngs.

At least 100 people visited the park, with many of them not quite grasping the concept behind the free market. Strangers to the idea of sharing and 'Buy Nothing Day', many of the visitors appeared hell bent on grabbing everything in sight.
(fr. Jakarta Post)

"Rapacious throngs .... hell bent on grabbing everything in sight"? Shopping and sweatshops as the new religion?

It's 'Christians' like these who are the patrons and managers of various educational establishments here which, they claim in their missionary zeal, will produce the country's élite. In spite of their earnest speeches, in practice teachers remain exploited and underpaid, and Indonesia continues to slip down the international ranking lists related to the quality of education. (cf. UNESCO - Education For All Global Monitoring 2008, released yesterday, shows Indonesia has slipped to position 62 - out of 130 surveyed - from 58 last year.)

But sharing, caring, with no financial reward? Offering free classes for the poor, campaigning against sweatshops and trafficking, concerned about the excesses of a consumerist society and hopeful that there still can be an Earth fit for future generations? What kind of people are these?

Simple, they are unsung heroes who believe in the inate power and goodness of the rakyat (common people). They also recognise that there's a thin line between good and evil. What do you see?

What I see is that folk who profess to take the words of the Bible (and the Koran) as the literal truth are following their own thought processes without due regard for the actual words and intended meanings of the Prophets.

Modern Christianity is a religion of great variety, from so-called liberal to arch-conservative, yet all forms of Christianity contain traditions that not only are not found in the teachings of Jesus but rather, are opposite to him and in the way of Human Rights.

In other words, these self-proclaimed élitists really can't give a shit for society as a whole or even the religion they profess to be adherents of and are best left locked up in their exclusive 'serene' complexes with the entrance gates locked.

A sign of the times?

At least that keeps them away from decent folk.


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