Bumping into a former colleague on the street, I find myself listening to gossip about various old friends and acquaintances. It is all instantly forgettable except for one thing: well-off Wendy, who has been home-schooling her two children up to now, needs to send the older off to high school soon. She has been using a special Christian curriculum, but as number-one kid approaches the age of 11, it is clear that she must hand over to professional teachers out there in the big, wide world of evil and Godlessness. (To give an idea of how insulated from wickedness the youngsters are, my former colleague once observed one of the children removing the other from the sight of a TV because it was showing a kids’ cartoon that involved Biff! Bam! violence.)
The father is a businessman with a modest public profile and, apparently, little interest in theology. So the fundamentalist Evangelical Wendy makes all the decisions on schooling, and it seems she has chosen a place called International Christian School in picturesque Shek Mun, Shatin.
It is, says the blurb, a non-profit making school providing Christ-centered education. According to the profile, the students are mostly English-speaking Chinese from families of businessmen, professionals and civil servants. They can, however, mix with slum kids on the annual Week Without Walls community service learning experience. A debenture costs HK$190,000 and fees are up to HK$115,000 a year, which I imagine is steeper than the government-subsidized English Schools Foundation establishments but cheaper than the big-name private International Schools.
All in all, it seems pretty unremarkable. The website shows happy smiling kids and suggests that the school does a reasonable job of getting the devout upper middle class’s princes and princesses into university. However, down there in the small print, the institution declares: “We affirm the authority of the Bible over all matters of faith, the exclusive Lordship of Christ and a life of discipleship leading to holiness, witness and service.” In case you didn’t get that, it also says: “We believe in …The Old & New Testaments, inerrant as originally given…”
Inerrant. This is a place of Biblical Literalism, Christianity’s 20th Century heresy. Along with their Mandarin, art, chemistry and history, the kids will no doubt learn that dinosaurs co-existed with humans, mountains were created by God not plate tectonics, and of course no way were our great-grandparents monkeys. Keeping her children uncontaminated by evidence-based science (except the OK bits that give us electricity, modern medicine and huge eight-seater cars) is Wendy’s overriding priority. Whatever happens, her offspring mustn’t be exposed to Genesis-defying cosmology, geology or biology – or how will they be saved and born again? So vital is it, she will even send them off to Shatin.
Geeze, its sort of horrible and amusing at the same time that someone will pay that much to have their kid learn creationism…
Hey Hemlock … you are treading on dangerous ground here
There’s a lot more people who believe the world is only 6,000 years old than who believe that Henry is a “good thing” ( or a “bad thing” – same same )
I got the shock of my life when meeting a childhood sweetheart a few months ago back in UK . She has turned fundamentalist Christian , with which I have no problems. After all: REAL Christianity – i.e. the teachings of Jesus – are very fundamental and a challenge to us all.
But when we accidentally strayed into evolutution and I asked what about the dinosaur fossils, she blithley said : “of course we find a lot of them deep in the earth because dinosaurs are very heavy so they sank faster in the Great Flood”
When I asked about light from stars that are billions of light years away she said “there’s a way to explain it , but I can’t remember the details”
Beware : wars have been and will be fought over such rubbish
Meanwhile the world of science moves on and more dinosaur fossil species have been found in the past 20 years than the past 200 years (National Geographic : 11.2011) But never once has a modern species – still less a human – fossil ever been found alongside a dinosaur fossil.
Guess the dinosaurs had tougher bones…
Or else God has a wierd sense of humour .
Signed : RTP ( BA , MA and D. Phil in Physics from Oxford )
r Donald and Stephen alumni?
In the American state of Utah -and in the US West in general- there live the so-called Mormons.
If you think evangelicals are weird, you should have a close look at the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That is off-the-chart weirdness.
I wonder if Utahraptor was so named just to mess with the local religious nutjobs.
Christian fundamentalist schools occasionally have a ‘biblical’ interpretation of school discipline that makes turning a violent cartoon off somewhat ironic.
@ Joe Blow
Oh please do not drag the mormons into this ….
Just last night I was watching a Nat Geo documentary on mormon polygamy
And I daily walk past the wierd mormon building at the corner of Gloucester Road and O’Brien Road. Strangest building in HK – never saw anyone walk in or out of it . Who lives and works there ? ( certainly not God)
Even more secretive than the US Consulate in Garden Road but at least there are queues outside the US Consulate* ( + wikileaks)
* true story : at around the 1997 handover there were more press reporters in HK than anywhere else in the world – or so it seemed. A friend saw a press photographer snapping pics of the queue outside the US consulate and asked : “Why are you snapping these pics? ” Photographer says : “These are the last HK-ers fleeing HK for USA to escape the dreaded Commies , just like in ‘Nam before the Viet Cong hit Saigon”
Says my friend : ” This long queue is for the USA tourist visas . The queue over there with only 3 people waiting is the immigrant visa queue”
Says the photographer : ” Yes I know … but snapping this long tourist visa makes a much better story”
PS : I am thinking of following Mike Rowse to change my UK nationality and passport to PRC. At least Mike is one honest guy who put his money where his mouth is .
And if so, I will apply to join the CCP.
Joe, mainstream Christianity is pretty weird when you think about it. The Mormons do indeed have some non-standard Christian beliefs but many of them (most?) accept evolution, although personally I’ve never been able to get how it’s possible to see a loving God in the randomness, waste and general purposeleness around us (e.g. in the governance of Hong Kong).
RTP, if you think you know REAL Christianity, at least as its come down thru the past 1500 years in the post-ecumenical council eras, then you don’t know it all. I would suggest you read the books by NT scholars like Bart Erhman, Geza Vermes and E.P. Sanders to discover what the ‘real’ teachings were.
As for the Mormons and their beliefs in the imminent arrival of the kingdom (which is what Jesus really taught btw), I get really annoyed when I see them ‘preying’ on the helpers outside World Wide. These predators seek out the weak, lonely and marginalized to spew their insane rantings to and it’s despicable. I saw 2 ‘elders’ of about 22 chatting up 2 helpers at the MTR this morning and I almost interrupted to ask why they deliberately go after the weakest and most vulnerable in this society, rather than approaching the bankers…who could truly use a soul. Run girls, run!
Interesting book the bible – contains some good advice about good vs. evil and some pertinent stories relevant today. Take the story about the good Samaritan and then remember the recent tragedy of a young girl in Foshan, named Yue Yue. But, of course, the CCP, so frightened of its own illegitimacy, doesn’t allow freedom of religion in China. Fortunately we still have the two systems and I can think of a lot worse ways for Wendy to bring up her child.
The bible also makes healthy references to Wine and as we are nearing that time on a Friday evening I certainly will be imbibing as the good book allows.
RTP, once you take up Chinese nationality and membership of the CCP perhaps you can start YOUR OWN BLOG to share your experiences with those who are interested.
I think your friend Wendy is correct, about dinosaurs living with humans, I mean that lot in Peking prove the point .
I certainly can barely contain myself with excitement at the thought of Mr. “Chinese” Real Tax Payer’s blog. Doubtless he will thrill his reader with tales of his hero (mass murderer) Deng Xiaoping, the fun of the party (complete with boot polishing his hair once a week) and personally knowing Dame Conscience. All written in that helter-skelter style where he zooms from subject to subject in one comment. Does it get any better ?
Right Hemlock the weekend must surely be open now … ?
@ Sir Crispin : I am several steps ahead of you .
I have read all those authors, and many more , and I agree with ALL of them ( in principle, if not in detail)
BUT have you read “The Jesus Dynasty” ( James D Tabor) and ” The Jesus Family Tomb” (Simcha Jacobovici and Charles R. Pellegrino published in February 2007.)?
If not – do so ASAP
That will bring you much more up-to date with modern biblical research
Amazing stuff … say no more
Re the mormons : I could not agree more . So strange that there’s such a huge building in central Wanchai, but never a soul enters or leaves . Maybe it’s a spiritual black hole ?
@ RIP and Stephen :
Mike Rowse seems very much alive and kicking ( at least he was the last time I met him) and so do all my 50 + PRC staff with PRC passports.
So I don’t fear a PRC passport vs UK passport ( except the immigration queues at Heathrow) .
Re the CCP : if I really believe in the future of China, which I do, then I need to join them / not fight them
Fact is : the CCP runs China and HK , so if there is to be change it must come from within rather than from without
Things will never change in my lifetime , but at least I can sow some seeds
The one near the old Wanchai Police Station? I see people walking in and out all the time. Clean cut gweilo families and robotic looking individuals.
maugrim, aren’t you referring to the Old China Hand ?
Thanks for the tip RTP, will add it to my list.
“Are you from Foshan?” –> You bastard
Don’t you just love these bloody ‘no-profit making’ organizations; schools, NGOs’ and charities especially. Ther’re in it for the money really, but pay themselves such enormous salaries and perks that there isn’t any left for the tax man.
I’m a ‘non-profit making’ orgainization too. Have’nt paid those wankers at revenue towers a penny for a few years now. Think they’ll let me have my own flag day?!