Thursday, January 19, 2006

Depressing Bangkok

Bangkok is depressing. Along a busy street, gold-plated metal statues, some protected from the elements by cling-wrap ("clings tight to help keep food fresh"), spill out onto the pavement.

Further on, with the same material that is used to make these statues, shops make cheap golden trophies for athletic competitions yet unnamed and unwon.

Yet further on, these statues conceived by the minds of men, made by human hands, stored in cling-wrap to protect them from the rain and dust, transported by mechanical means, are worshipped as gods.
Why worship a thing that cannot even take care of itself, that cannot even prevent itself from being tarnished by the common weather? How can anyone expect it to help them if it cannot even feed or clothe itself?
The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says,"Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!" And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says,"Deliver me, for you are my god!"

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, "Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?" He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?" (Isaiah 44:12-20)
But there is one true and living God not conceived by human minds or made by human hands who is worthy of worship:
Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
"I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and set it before me,
since I appointed an ancient people.
Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any." (Isaiah 44:6-8)

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5 Comments:

At January 19, 2006 3:46 pm , Anonymous hamster said...

Have you gone down to Bugis Street Alley recently? There's a stretch next to Albert Complex in that area where there sits a large smiling Buddha. People come by to rub its belly (for luck and prosperity) and just stand around after that, clasping their hands together.

Try looking at the people. This is dear old Singapore where we are well educated by most standards. And you see young and old, standing around, looking imploringly at the idol (it isn't even a temple). I wonder what goes through their heads.

Depressing too.

 
At January 19, 2006 5:32 pm , Blogger Sze Zeng said...

One of my fren, in her early twenties, went to Loyang to burn incenses at the famous chinese temple there at 2am. At 2am!!!!

Depressing three.

 
At January 19, 2006 5:47 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, the Isaiah 44 passage says the reason for this illogicality and unreasonable behaviour is =
"They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment"
and
"He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?""

Depressing four...all of us....

 
At January 20, 2006 11:19 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

c damien's blog-vedic hymns of origins.

 
At January 21, 2006 12:23 pm , Anonymous living in the shadows said...

I think it is not that these people go to extremes in worship (molest statues, wake up at weird hours), but that it is illogical that they worhip such useless things.

It also reminds us of the patently undeserved favour we are shown when God reveals himself to us and lets us know him.

If not for his grace, we would not know, nor discern, nor see, nor understand and we would still be deluded and worshipping these useless idols as well.

 

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