Thursday, August 21, 2008

Taking the plunge into my first missions trip!

Procrastination is bad - and I know I have to conquer it, even if it's just blogging!

In the last three weeks or so.. the daily hits of my blog have reduced by almost half - not that there're many to start with! Well, no, that's not the `motivation' for me to blog.. but the fact is, I do have things to share.. I could easily blog another six posts at one go but no, I really don't have the time.

I will start by sharing on this: I'll be going on my first short-term mission trip next month - to Kunming, China! :)

Missions and evangelism have always been close to my heart.. In fact from a Spiritual gift `test/questionnaire' that we did in a camp in 1995, I actually scored quite highly in this area. And I have tried to be involved in missions related ministry in church or out from time to time and these few years, even took up the role as `missions coordinator' for my peer group.. But to be honest, I have not been doing much.. such a far cry from others who really are devoted their time and effort in investing in sharing the gospel to others..

About 3 years back, I have this thought to join a short-term missions trip and my church does organise such trips a few times a year to various places - such as Nepal, Cambodia, China and other parts of SEAsia. All these places have great needs but somehow I feel more burden to want to reach to the poor and lost souls of my ancestor's lands - maybe because we share the same heritage and culture, and on top of that, I am Chinese literate so communication will be easy.

I have missed at least two short-term missions trips to China in the last few years (esp that time when I was still employed) as well as other opportunities to to other places. There were usually many excuses in my head - including that whether I could cope in the environment!!

Then, as I was almost crying out to God for my stale spiritual life these days, one Sunday I read in the bulletin that pastor is organising a short-term missions trip to Kunming next month. Of course I didn't just sign up immediately but ponder on it for a week or so. I really wanted to go - I mean I had told myself and God that I wanted to go to China for short-term mission trip.

But now while time is now not a main factor, the cost is a factor.. (I can't afford to go on a long-haul trip anymore this year!) But guess what - my dad came with me to church the following Sunday and although he is not a Christian yet, he was so touched and challenge by the missionary speakers and when I told him about the missions trip, he was ready to sponsor me!

We spoke to Pastor who said they were just looking for one more female - it's a small group - and even encouraged us further so I think my dad was sold! To him this experience will be good for me.

So to cut a longish story short! I am going for the one-week trip. The flight has been booked! I still do not know the full itinerary but pastor said basically we will be working in partnership with the local church there and will be spreading the Gospel to the minority tribes there..

The last time I visited the minority tribes in that same province of Yunnan (but different areas), I was there for a child-sponsor visit with World Vision. It was an unforgettable trip but we weren't spreading the Gospel. In fact, as a matter of policy, WV - tho a Christian NGO - disallow sponsors to talk to the children about Christianity at all..

Well, physical needs are vital but our spiritual side can't be neglected. Only some people need help physically BUT we ALL need God in our lives.. it reminds me one of my favourite verse in the Bible: "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36)

True, doing mission work is not just about missions trips to foreign countries, we also have to start with people around us, in our own land.. Having said that, I think God has called me to take a step of faith, to open up my eyes to the world around and to use me and train me up for His kingdom.

And yes, I'm thankful and excited! :)

14 comments:

Douglas Yau said...

Please stop inflicting your religion on others.

The Bible story of Jesus is a contradictory and confusing account. The Bible shows that this Jesus fellow spoke and taught many absurd and foolish things, and often believed he was having a conversation with devils. If one will read the entire Bible, one will find tales of ignorance, murder, sexual perversions, mass insanity, idiotic laws, and even cannibalism and human sacrifice. It staggers the imagination how anyone in his right mind could read the Bible and believe that it was written by a wise, just, and loving god. Christians have found biblical scriptures telling them to burn people at the stake, to justify slavery, to oppress and persecute others, and to kill and commit war in the name of their god. Unfortunately, there are some even today who would have us return to the teachings and laws found in the Bible.

We are taught in our culture that Jesus is the divine hero, but other cultures have different saviors. Religious beliefs are a function of the culture in which one lives. If we had been reared in a different culture, we would have heard the story of a different savior, instead of the Jesus story. Upon comparing the stories of the different saviors, one finds that the similarities are so striking, it is beyond a doubt that they are more than just a coincidence.

jesscet said...

I am surprised someone who calls himself a Buddhist (at least part of) has such narrow minded, erroneous and antagonistic view of another faith..

I think I know the Bible better than you having been a Christian for 21 years now and studied it regularly...What you put there was totally outrageous, blasphemous and preposterous - was your theory based on something from `The God Delusion'?

Unfortunately space and time do not allow me to elaborate what Christianity REALLY means and WHO Jesus is. I think it's hard for people to accept that we're all sinners while God is all just and loving. Do u think the faith that a few billions believe in and I'm sure of is like a `big cult'?! Of some of the bad things that Christian might have committed, there are also true believers who contribute so much to humanity - think of hospitals and schools etc..

quote: `Please stop inflicting your religion on others." This is the most ludicrous thing I heard.. I am sorry you decided to reject God and Christ but millions in lands like China is yet to hear the greatest news. And we just share, never force nor convert. Everyone has free will to choose their path.

But your `attack'is hardly surprising coz Jesus taught in the Gospel that Christians would be ridiculed and persecuted because of their faith.

Nothing is sadder than rejecting and denying the God who created you. Is Jesus the same as other religious heroes? what other religions have a Saviour who died on the Cross and rose on the 3rd day? This has never been disproved even by the biggest critics.

Heroes yes, teacher yes, prophet yes, but Saviour - only Christ.

I have always respected your faith and still do of your lack of it. So why should blogging about my missions trip bother you? This is my blog and I'm writing about my own belief which is an integral part of my life. Hope you respect that too..

p.s. at least you put your real name and not anonymous so I give u a little credit for that.

Carmen and Kim Kee said...

Dear Douglas

I fully understand where you’re coming from. In fact, I was a Buddhist. Before I become a Christian, I had the same doubt, objection and criticism towards Christianity as you’ve mentioned. Thus, your negative description of Jesus is not surprising to me at all. I went through what you’re going through now.


But at the end, nothing can convince ones to believe in Christ as the only Saviour until and unless you experience it yourself in your life. There is this Chinese saying, ‘百 闻 不 如 一 见- Seeing is believing. Therefore, I strongly believe that no one could convince you until and unless you experience or see it yourself, or rather I’d say it will not happen until or unless you’re convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Please allow me to share my personal testimony with you. I was brought up in a Buddhist family. Many times in my life, I was approached by my friends to become a believer. At that time I perceived Jesus as another ‘Hero’, another ‘Saviour’ or another character with lots of contradictory stories, just like what you’ve pointed out. Going against my ancestor’s belief or religion will bring shame to my family. Culture has moulded me in such a way that ‘Buddha’ is the only saviour to us, more so for Chinese. Thus, I chose to ignore this great character – Jesus.


My life was not changed until the day I severely suffered from a viral fever during my college days. I had this viral fever for more than a month but the fever didn’t seem to go away. Subsequently, I was admitted to a hospital. But alas, no improvement seen during my 4-day stay in that hospital and no conclusive diagnosis was made. Thus, I was discharged from there and sent to another hospital. At the same time, my best friend in college betrayed me and she totally turned up to be another person. She never called or visited me at all ever since I was sick. I wonder what had I done wrong. Not to mention that I have to skip a lot of lessons in my college and my exam was around the corner. I just could not imagine myself failing my exams. So many burdens just felt on my shoulders like heavy rocks. I was utterly hopeless at that moment.

I remembered clearly that there was 1 night during my admission in the second hospital, while I was lying in my bed, I was staring at this God’s portrait in the ward. I felt a strong desire to share my agony with Him. He was a stranger to me at that moment. Yet, I felt so close to him. I was sure that I was fully awake, not in my dream. Minutes later, I broke down in tears and the next thing I did was to pour out my sadness to Him. He indeed was listening to me attentively though I did not see Him in person. It’s not a delusion, neither a hallucination. I felt so relieved after my sharing. Before I ended my conversation with Him, I closed a ‘deal’ with Him. If I woke up without any fever the next morning, I would consider becoming a Christian. True enough, I got up without having any fever the next morning. With indescribable joy in my heart, I thanked Him and I jumped off my bed and asked for a bible from a nurse. This was the first time in my life flipping through a bible. And at that very moment, my physician walked in for his routine ward round and he was amazingly shocked when he saw me holding a bible. He asked me, ‘Are you a Christian?’ But I was not really sure as I thought my recovery might just be a co-incidence. I answered, “ ‘In progress’ to become one”. He laughed but I will never forget what he said next, “IT’S GOOD TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN. GOD HEALS YOU’. Oh, he is obviously another follower of Christ. Yup, he taught me briefly how to read a bible and asked me to turn to Book of John about God’s healing grace. Indeed, God used this physician as a channel of blessing to me. Ever since then, he’s been my regular family physician back home. From there onwards, I start to learn more about Jesus each day through my church mates.

It’s indeed very hard to explain God’s wonder in words and His beauty is far beyond our imagination. Our intelligence is too limited to comprehend every single thing stated in the Bible. In this secular world, medical professionals always look for decent statistics to support the medical outcomes and lawyers always look for solid proofs in courts. Everyone is trying to explain something with something tangible. God’s words could not be just explained superficially by merely tangible formulations. Our wisdom is so insignificant and we need His wisdom in order to know Him better.

Someone told me, when you take the side view of a cone, it looks triangular. But if you look from the bottom or top, it’s a circle. Now I truly understand what it means. The stories in the bible may appear violent, insane, idiotic or illogical to you now, but I’m sure with God’s help and His wisdom, you’ll view and digest the stories differently. JESUS AND THE BIBLE STORIES ARE NEITHER VIOLENT, NOR IGNORANT, NOR CONTRADICTORY, NOR IDIOTIC, NOR OPPRESIVE, NOR INSANCE and etc…


On the other hand, I totally agree with what Ee-tan has mentioned in her comment. It’s not inflicting your belief or religion on others. It’s just merely sharing the good news. If I were sick and I knew a special medication which could help me recover, I won’t hesitate to share this good news to other patients with the same illness because they might be healed as well with the help of this drug. It’s selfish if I keep it to myself for my own good. What’s more we are talking about offering others eternal healing, eternal life now…Thus, I don’t’ think it’s inflicting your belief on others, rather I’d say it’s a selfless sharing with a good intention, reaching out to the others so that they will get saved eternally. God always gives us free will, you can choose to follow Him or otherwise, He’ll never force you.

Douglas Yau said...

Dear Jesscet, Karmen and Kim Kee,

I have no doubt that all of you are kind and compassionate people and I wish you well in every good thing you do in the name of your god, as I would everyone who does good things in the name of their gods.

The point is, you do not have to believe in heaven and hell in order to be good. We can be good to others and do just deeds without believing in an imaginery entity.

Incidentally, there is no saviour in buddhism but oneself, one does not have to go through buddha to achieve enlightenment, unlike Christianity where you have to go through Jesus the Christ. So you got the fundamentals of that religion/philosophy wrong as well.

Please be true to yourselves and read and study the bible, the complete bible and read into the history of it, not for the betterment of yourselves, but for a critical assessment and then decide whether all its contents are true. Don't just take the words of your church friends or your pastors or priests, read the Bible yourselves, not just the gospels, the whole Bible.

Chances are that you will not believe the literal truth of most of it, but you will be able to come up with an explanation and your own interpretation of what your god really means (on the basis that they were really 'His/Her' words in the first place). Because, in truth, you are all just believing in yourselves, your own private god, your own interpretation of the Bible, your own interpretation of what your god wants for you, and what you want out of this imaginery relationship.

It is fortunate that it so happens that you are nice and kind people and so your interpretation leads to goodness and kindness (or my life would be in danger), but there are plenty of examples where people whose belief in their god was interpreted in such a way that caused great harm to others, as in the case of those who took part in the 9/11 attacks (But then of course, being a Christian, you would say that Islam is not the true faith. Do you still not see it?).

None of you kind people will be doing any harm and in fact will do much good while you harbour this belief of a god created by someone living in the middle of a desert and who conducted mass killings of its own creation and whose church had caused much suffering to millions of innocent people over the course of history (the Crusades, the Inquisition...). I really should never have started something so futile as to try to point the truth out to you and should have let you be, safe and happy in your own world. I am just trying to help.

Sincerely yours,
Douglas

jesscet said...

Thanks for the longer and `kinder' comment douglas and from this i already have a better idea of where you're coming from.

Though your argument seems quite eloquent, i must reply and point out that a lot of what you consider as truths or untruths stem from your personal belief - ie. you don't recognise there is a supreme spiritual being - we call God - who created the heaven and earth, and also all living things including human beings.

So if you already deny God and think all religions are merely man-created and religious people (generally) are kind/nice etc.. you're already missing out THE point.

You seem to think that we Christians are just a bunch of `kind and compassionate' people who have this blind faith in what we're taught in church. Very wrong. It was the Holy Spirit (again, you don't acknowledge God how to tell you who the Holy Spirit is?) who has convicted me personally (or Carmen and Kim Kee)to trust in Jesus, and not any teaching from another Christian or even just by reading the Gospel. We have TRUE experience in the goodness of God and we know He is real. In fact, since u know me personally,you know the types of illness I've suffered in the past but I could STILL live a normal life - medication alone doesn't guarantee that but I know how God has blessed me.

to quote you: "The point is, you do not have to believe in heaven and hell in order to be good. We can be good to others and do just deeds without believing in an imaginery entity."

That's a very atheist/agnostic view - ie. all `religions' just teach u to do good. In short, let me tell you why we believe it's only through believing in Jesus we can have eternal life. Because He is the Son of God and the only Saviour who DIED for us on the Cross and then ROSE again and now living in heaven. Some anti-Christians have tried throughout the ages to debunk the fact that he died and resurrected but there has never been any evidence to show that he did die (as in his skeleton etc) but much more evidence that he rose.

(actually if you have read the Bible you should get this point tho you won't buy it right!)

Another point you brought up is how we should read the whole Bible. Ok, i may not have read it from cover to cover but we are supposed to read the entire Bible and even have Bible studies to explore and discuss and even question. There have been many Christian scholars, authors who have deep knowledge of the ENTIRE Bible. Because of your unbelief in God, the Bible is probably just historical account of the Jews and the early Christian written by men.
Ok, you probably think all these were fables from olden days..
but have you asked why the Bible is still the no. 1 selling book and still the authority for Christians? You think anything man-made can survive this long if it's not the word of God - tho written by mere mortals but divinely inspired.

So my final and most vital point is, what makes you think that what you are telling us is `to help' us, or as chin told me, u just wanted to `save me'? Allow me to say that but you are the one who needs to be saved. And not just you but all who still don't believe.. like what Carmen said, we're not thinking we're more superior than you but we found a source of light and hope to also share it with our fellow humans esp friends and relatives.


You're an intelligent and logical person and sometimes it's your own interpretation and theory that makes you think the way you think and also think that you have discovered the `truth'

But if only you can ponder maybe the universe does not revolve around human beings, but that we are created by a supreme being (God we call), and if you are open to believe there may be `mystery' in this world and beyond that we can't see nor science can explain, then maybe you're more open to any religious faith, and you know how limited our intelligence and knowledge is.

Why is it so hard to believe in a creator God who is omnipotent and omnipresent, and also a loving God who I can personally call Father because I have accepted His Son Jesus as personal Lord and Saviour.

Perhaps you're at this phase in your life that you don't need a religion (I can tell you my dad also went through that) but the truth is, we all are made with a void in our heart - because God made it so, so that our lives would be fulfilled when we come back to Him.

You may not understand this `long winded comment' and still think I'm just `living in my own world'. But trust me, something cannot be psychological - especially if it has influenced millions across the ages (of course not all are true followers too)

Having said that, i do respect all personal views so I posted your comment. And no hard feelings if I sounded defensive earlier too.

In fact, it actually gives me and maybe other readers the opportunity to debunk some misconception of what Christian belief means. And all thanks to you. :)

Douglas Yau said...

Sigh. I give up. You simply do not know enough about the Bible or the universe or theology to be able to conduct a reasoned debate on any of the above.

Furthermore, I have to admit that some people do need their religion in order to get through life, and you do seem to try to be a better person as a result of your belief.

Good luck and keep up the good work.
Douglas

jesscet said...

yes i agree i don't know enough of all those you mention.. but even if your theory or knowledge of those above are better than mine, also doesn't mean what you believe is the truth right? as i said, we're only finite beings so how can we understand an infinite universe (or God for that matter?)

so whatever it is, we should agree to disagree as i hate to make you my enemy! (haha, i was considering that, just kidding)

and now u're made (in)famous in my blog. too bad...its my blog and i write what i want. But you can still comment! ;)

oh, thanks for the kind words. Yes, without my faith, I would be worse a person, and I'm still work in progress.

Carmen and Kim Kee said...

Hi Douglas

Glad to see you sharing your comments again with us. Since Ee-Tan has mentioned all the points I wanted to say, I guess I'll not elaborate lengthily, just want to cut my points short.

It's not about who will become the winner or who is seemed to be wiser in this argument. We see where you're coming from. Obviously, we have different sets of knowledge and beliefs.

I strongly reckon what Ee-Tan says - knowing the bible well is one thing, being SAVED is another issue.

You’ve pointed out correctly, if ‘going to heaven’ is the only motive for us doing good deeds, that’s not right. That’s exactly what the Bible says,

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – NOT by WORKS, so that no one can boast. So, your work doesn’t guarantee you to heaven. We are good to others without any selfish objective, it’s out of love and compassion, like what Ee-Tan is doing in her missionary.

Again, ‘seeing is believing’, we won’t know how joyful and blessed it is to be part of the Christ’s kingdom until and unless we’re convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Douglas Yau said...

Since we are quoting the Bible, I would just like to point out what God commanded Moses to do to their enemies:

Numbers 31:16-17 "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

I really don't want to "see" that if that's what it takes to make me believe in the existence of this god.

Carmen and Kim Kee said...

Interesting, we're getting into bible discussion.

Before having further comments, may I clarify something with you?

I'm a bit confused with your last statement which says, 'I really don't want to "see" that if that's what it takes to make me believe in the existence of THIS god.'

So, does it mean you believe in the existence of other 'gods' but not Jesus? Or, you believe that no god exists in this world?

Carmen and Kim Kee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kkpoon said...

Hello Douglas,

Indeed it is written in scriptures (ASV Num 31:17-18), 17Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. 18But all the women-children, that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

We believe what we SEE here is different from what you SEE. Most of the times, one will try to interpret the verses using his/ her restricted (human) wisdom. For us, we do not see ‘killing’ here as what you might have deemed as cold-blooded, cruel and inhuman ‘murder’.

It’s good to hear that you have studied the bible before. We are not sure of the method you interpret the bible. We can’t jump to a conclusion by merely reading a few verses. Instead, we ought to know the followings:

1. Literary/ Biblical context
2. Historical context
3. Meaning and purpose in the original and biblical context

In order to fully understand the context of these passages, we have to read the books or passages before and after Num 31.

In the first place, what made God so angry? Who are these ‘victims’ during those days in that society? Who can tell the consequences if the ‘killing’ was not done? God is the alpha and omega, He’s the first and the last. For He knows the best to deal with each single individual and circumstance.

Here is a website which could help you address to these two verses particularly. We’re glad that someone has gone through so many researches on these two verses. We hope this will help you clear your skepticism
http://www.apocalipsis.org/difficulties/midianite.htm

From this resourceful website, you’ll find a summary of the whole write up on this topic.

Summary:

• For the relevant background see Num 22, 23, 24, Num 25:1-3, and Gen 15:16
• The Midianites were half brothers to the Israelites and were on friendly terms
• Midianite leaders join with Moab to incite against Israel # Nu 22:4. The Midian princes had also allied with Sihon king of the Amorites (Josh 13:21)
• Midianite leaders together with the Moabite leaders: Sent for Balaam to curse Israel # Nu 22:5-7, God would not curse but would only bless Israel.
• Moabites and Midianites seduced Israel to idolatry and immorality # Nu 25:1-18 as a means to get God to judge his own people.
• God first judged his own people severely and 24,000 died
• The reason for killing the Midianites was given in Num 25:17-18, "because they treated you as enemies".
• The reason for killing the women is given in Num 31:15-16, they seduced the men into idolatry and immorality resulting in a plague in which 24,000 died.
• As for the boys they would have died anyway because there would be no one to look after them. Given the option of a slow death from hunger and thirst, clearly God chose the merciful option of a quick death. Had he allowed them to live among the Israelites they would take revenge later when they became men. If you're going to do the job do it right. The Moabites would probably have used the boys for child sacrifice (by fire) as was their practice.
• He was clearly merciful to the 32,000 virgin girls, after all he spared their lives.
• Our text says nothing about slave-whores? See Deu 21:11
• Prostitution was against the law
• In the context of ancient Near East (ANE) bronze-age culture of ~1500 BC it was either the fledgling nation of Israel or the Midianites. The future of God's chosen people was at stake.
• Evidently they did not kill ALL the Midianites because they remained a thorn in the side, see Judg 7:12 etc etc.
• Further we should note that the God who gives life has the right to take it (Job 1:21).

So after going through the summary, you’ll see that our God is a just God. Before He made judgment on others, He already judged His own people (the Israelites), 24,000 died even before the Israelites killed any Midianites.

The fact is during the Old Testament, God only favored the Jews (or Israelites) because they were God’s chosen people But when Jesus came, this special privilege that only the Jews had was also given to Gentiles (or non-Jews).

No doubt it is impossible to believe that God allow the killing of innocent children (even in Exodus 12:29, similar incidences happened where the firstborn sons of the Egyptians were killed). But we must note that who are we to judge? As it is written in the last point of the summary it is God who gives life and definitely He has the rights to take it back. The undeniable fact is - there is a God or a superior being above us.

You are right that every religion teaches us to do good works and all these religions have taught us to reach God with our own strength. Christianity is the only religion whereby God took the first step to reach out to us, instead of us trying to achieve the impossible to reach up to heaven. We don’t really look at Christianity as a religion instead we treat it as a relationship, it’s between us and God. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord, we have atonement for our sins. We don’t need to strive so hard to do all the good deed in the world because it is by grace we are saved through faith not by works so no one can boost as Carmen has pointed out in Ephesians 2:8-9. But we do good deeds out of the love of God that compels us to do it. It's not a duty but we do it because we love our God. As it is written 2 Cor 5:13-15,
13If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.

Mei said...

Hm, I'm actually surprised I missed all this boohah.

Anyway, I think Douglas missed one very important factor when he spoke of the Crusades and the Inquisition - people. People are not perfect and as such interpretation of something that beyond their understand will often vary from one human being to another.

One prime example of this is right in this blog, specifically this discussion. It is clear the Douglas will never understand many of the points brought up by those who disagree with him and vice-versa.

People often interpretate things based on a few factors, one of them being experience and environment. Over the years, perhaps, Douglas encountered a few holier-than-thou characters, enough to create a sense of distaste for members of the same faith in him. I can't blame him for that - it is after all his life.

But one thing that is really interesting is this - Douglas, you say that it is wrong for people to force their beliefs on others, yet here you are, doing the exact same thing.

Oh, Douglas, as for using quote for quote, that's a very dogmatic and out of context approach. KKPoon put it to you best - did you bother researching into the history of the period that verse was placed in? What about the chapters before and after? Or are you one of those people who have the habit of only reading one sentence out of a few thousand and base your argument on that sentence?

In any case, we should all thank Douglas for "enlightening" us on one fact - there will always be some out there who just don't and won't get the picture.

ych said...

Hi Douglas,

I agree with you, I have read the full Bible through several times and found that it is full of horrible things, that by today's 'civilised' standards are such atrocities comparable (or worse) that what's being committed in Darfur today!

I also discovered that I am not a kind and compassionate person that I think I was. And that mankind love to do terrible things - including me, and anybody who opposed me will have their life in danger.

Can't bear to think of the same fate that will befall me and my race - such as genocide and infanticide. Sticking swords into babies and ripping up their guts and intestines spill out. Beheading people on the streets. Wiping out a whole race in a day.

Oh, if there was no mercy in this world there will be no hope for me and my family; some destruction will come one way or another. Because, you see, I am convinced that I am such a terrible person that only mercy save me.

I am also convinced that mankind in this state will not transcend into a UberMensch as what Nietzsche proposed because of our inate depravity. Thus religion is not a pathological anomaly nor a tool evolved for the continuation of the species. Religion is for those who recognise they need a cure, such as myself. But only those who are convinced that they themselves are sick need a physician. How do you view yourself Douglas?