Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Try a little tolerance

Robert Price (2000, p214-21) has shown that empty tombs and resurrection scenes were a staple of early Greek and Roman popular romances, occurring in such stories as Chaereas and Callirhoe, Xenophon's Ephesian Tale, Leucippe and Clitophon, Daphnis and Chloe, Heliodorus' Ethiopian Story, The Story of Apollonius, King of Tyre, Iamblichus' Babylonian Story, and in places in Apuleius' The Golden Ass. -- from my historical commentary on the Gospel of Mark

I've blogged a couple of times on what a great place Taiwan is for atheists. Taiwanese Buddhism and Taoism are not exclusivist religions, while Chinese Folk Religion is rampantly polytheist, syncretic, and tolerant. Taiwan is also host to dozens of small syncretic religious cults. Every time I see a temple in Taiwan, I think -- isn't polytheism wonderful? And purely as an aside, living in polytheistic Taiwan has given me much insight into the workings of early Christianity and its Hellenistic matrix. Thus, the other day the Taipei Times discussed an example of an unusual complaint in Taiwan:

Taiwanese-American hip-hop singer Stanley Huang's (黃立行) new album has triggered protests from the religious community because the title song is about atheism, a Chinese-language daily reported yesterday.

Since radio and TV started playing Atheists Like Me, the lead song in the album, Huang's record company has received more than 100 phone calls protesting the content of the new song, the local China Times newspaper reported.

Huang's record company said it was prepared for the controversy and Huang stressed the song was about love, and had nothing to do with religion, the paper said.

But the protests kept pouring in, via telephone and e-mail, forcing Huang's record company to shut its website for three days, the paper added.

Somehow, I doubt it is Taoists, Buddhists, and local folk religionists who are bombarding the company with calls and letters.


Kerim Friedman said...

The radio show "On the Media" had a good show about atheism in America. You can read the transcript (and download the show) here.

Anonymous said...

Tolerance yes, but it would be nice to see a litte separation of church (temple?) and state from time to time.