May God Bless You?

Posted: 25/05/2013 in Likes and Dislikes, Myself
Tags: , , , , , , ,

First of, I’m not a very devoted Buddhist anymore. I do not pray daily like I did till half a year ago. I still lie at times although I don’t kill/steal/drink/cheat with one’s spouse. If I have to come out with an excuse to conceal my laziness, it has to be my lack of commitment on studying more about it and meditating. Buddhism in Myanmar, to be precise, traditional Buddhism in Myanmar is too vague. Since a couple of years ago, I become to have a strong feeling that I must learn Buddhism via English resources. Many Myanmar might bash me for saying so but who are they to judge me?

Leave that aside, from time to time, I have been developing my tolerance and impression on other religions, or rather people who follow different religions. I have lots of Muslim friends – my first every best friend was a lovely Muslim girl, my first neighbour in my entire life was a very friendly Muslim family, one of my my first colleagues is a funny Muslim girl and I have been asked if I was a Muslim at times because of my facial appearance. Long story short, I do not have any problem with them just because they follow a different religion apart from a need of reminding myself not to talk about/eat pork when they are around. Same thing goes for Christians. In fact, I even feel like Christians in Myanmar are really lovely and fun to hang out as they have open mindset comparing to average Buddhists, a little bit more westernized in a way. And that is very cool with me. Needless to mention for Hinduism as my great great grandpa is a Hindu and even my parents still believe in some parts of Hinduism.

Being said, I do not really like the idea of discussing about religion with friends. What’s the point of doing so unless you are in an interfaith dialogue section? I feel it way more peaceful, fun and enjoyable whenever we do not discuss about it with people with various beliefs. For me, religion is something to practice yourself, not to show off to everyone around you as if you own a genuine diamond ring while theirs are intimate ones.

Here’s the point of those long winded intro. Very recently, a friend of mine chatted with me. She is my childhood friend whom I know since like 16 years ago. She is the one who had introduced me with Christian for first time ever when she had given away Christian leaflets in our primary class on her birthday as gifts to classmates. So, recently we were talking about childhood and all these stuff. She seems to love me so much even now and I love her, too. She is super adorable. Finally, she asked me what should she pray for me at church next time. I was like “Wow, she loves me that much?”. Then she concluded our conversation with “May God bless you.”

I kind of felt uneasy. To make it very clear, I am very thankful to have such a friend who would spend time for me during her religious session. And that made me think of all those “May God bless you” things. As there are very few religions in our world which are not based upon “God”, many people are very used to say “May God bless you” as if it was a greeting phrase. I am really thankful to be greeted so but I can’t help thinking if we actually need it? Of course, you should definitely do it with those whoever believe in God. But for other people who are atheists and who follow religions with different nature, would it even make sense? Yes, I know. Whoever saying “May God bless you” to me really care for me and want me to see fine with everything. I totally understand they say it with good will. But shouldn’t there be a better way to show our “love” with something  that is not related to religion? Wouldn’t it be a bit more comfortable?  Why do we need to bring “religion” to stress that we care our loved ones? Just my thoughts, you can differ freely. And I would still appreciate whoever would say this to me in future like I thank to whoever tell me to eat more vegetables although they know I have lachanophobia. (At this point, I consider literally like 15 times should I publish this or not as I do not want to lose friendship with any of my friends. I was kind of scared people would think me immature or intolerant. But I still want to do it so that you are reading it now. 🙂 ) 

And I still have no clue what should I reply apart from a boring “thanks” to “May God bless you” greeting. Should I reply something like

Impermanent are all created things, strive on with awareness.

  1. Win Hein says:

    Hello! If you would like, I’d be happy to discuss why Christians say such things (even to non-Christians) from the viewpoint of a somewhat-learned Christian who has studied about his faith for the past three years. You know where to reach me. 🙂

    • mydaydream says:

      Can we talk here? I would love to hear more perspectives! 🙂

      • Win Hein says:

        Sure thing. Well, I must first tell you, that we must step out of the realm of “post-modern thought” (where all truth is only a matter of culture and opinion) to the realm of “modern thought”, (where truth is always truth). So let us assume that truth is always truth, and we are here, living in a world that had to come from somewhere, and the truth which I believe (and I do look at my belief as the absolute truth, and not just my outlook on things) tells me that a triune God, who has eternally existed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; said at the beginning of creation “လင်းဖြစ်စေ”, and through that command, not only gave light, but also created it. God has a lot of power, mercy, grace, and forgiveness, but ever since Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God in the garden of Eden, we have been eternally degrading as a people, due to the existence of အပြစ် in our lives. However, years later, one “person” of the triune God (တစ်ပါးဆူတည်း) known as ယေရှု (from the Hebrew “Yeshúah” which translates to “ကယ်တင်တဲ့သူ”), died the lowest form of death in the Greco-Roman culture of the time, which was being left on a cross to die. But, through his death and resurrection, all of humanity has been rescued from their အပြစ်, despite of this, many people still believe it is through their own efforts and their own works that they go to heaven. Thus, putting themselves above God. However, according to one of the books of the Bible, which we believe is the true and inspired word of God… အဘယ်ကြောင့်နည်းဟူမူကား၊ လူအပေါင်းတို့သည် ဒုစရိုက်ကို ပြု၍ဘုရားသခင်ရှေ့တော်၌ အသရေ ပျက်ကြပြီ။ (ရောမဩဝါဒစာ ၃:၂၃)။ And also ကျမ်းစာလာသည်ကား၊ ဖြောင့်မတ်သောသူမရှိ၊ တယောက်မျှမရှိ (ရောမဩဝါဒစာ ၃:၁၀)။ Thus, since none of us have ဖြောင့်မတ်ခြင်း, no one is able to get to heaven through their own merit, it is all due to the Grace of God. Of course, I know that you, being a Buddhist, hold an atheistic viewpoint and believe that there is no God. But, as I said, when my faith is taken with a modern viewpoint, rather than post-modern, all Christians believe that our belief of God; who gives us အခမဲ့အပြစ်ဖြေလွှတ်ခြင်း without expecting anything back (since we can’t give him anything, being sinners); is the absolute truth. We genuinely love and care about all of our friends and family members, no matter their belief, and we want to see them in heaven with us after we all die.

        In the famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) “Sermon On the Mount”, Jesus says:
        (ရှင်မဿဲ ၂၅:၃၁−၄၆)
        31လူသားသည် မိမိဘုန်းအာနုဘော်ကို ဆောင်လျက်၊ သန့်ရှင်းသော ကောင်းကင်တမန်များ အခြံအရံ တို့နှင့်တကွ ကြွလာတော်မူသောအခါ ဘုန်းရှိသော ပလ္လင်တော်ပေါ်မှာ ထိုင်၍၊ 32 ရှေ့တော်၌ လူမျိုးအပေါင်းတို့ကို စုဝေးစေသဖြင့်၊ သိုးထိန်းသည် သိုးနှင့်ဆိတ်တို့ကို အသီးအခြားခွဲ၍၊ 33 သိုးတို့ကို လက်ျာတော်ဘက်၊ ဆိတ်တို့ကို လက်ဝဲတော်ဘက်၌ ထားတော်မူလတံ့။

        34 ထိုအခါ လက်ျာတော်ဘက်၌ရှိသော သူတို့အား မင်းကြီးက၊ ငါ့ခမည်းတော်ထံ ကောင်းကြီးမင်္ဂလာကို ခံသောသူတို့၊ ကမ္ဘာဦးကပင် သင်တို့အဘို့ ပြင်ဆင်သောနိုင်ငံကို လာ၍ အမွေခံကြလော့။ 35 အကြောင်းမူကား၊ ငါသည် မွတ်သိပ်သောအခါ သင်တို့သည် ကျွေးကြ၏။ ငါသည် ရေငတ်သောအခါ သင်တို့သည် သောက်ဘို့ပေးကြ၏။ ငါသည် ဧည့်သည်ဖြစ်သောအခါ သင်တို့သည် ဧည့်သည်ဖြစ်သောအခါ သင်တို့သည် ဧည့်သည်ဝတ်ကို ပြုကြ၏။ 36 ငါသည် အဝတ်အချည်းစည်းရှိသောအခါ သင်တို့သည် အဝတ်နှင့်ဖုံးလွှမ်းကြ၏။ ငါသည် အနာ ရောဂါ စွဲသောအခါ သင်တို့သည်ကြည့်ရှုပြုစုကြ၏။ ငါသည် ထောင်ထဲမှာနေရသောအခါ သင်တို့သည် ငါ့ထံသို့လာကြ၏ဟု မိန့်တော်မူလျှင်၊ 37 ဖြောင့်မတ်သောသူတို့က၊ သခင်၊ ကိုယ်တော်သည် မွတ်သိပ်တော်မူသည်ကို အဘယ်အခါ၌ အကျွန်ုပ် တို့သည်မြင်၍ ကိုယ်တော်ကို လုပ်ကျွေးပါသနည်း။ ရေငတ်တော်မူသည်ကို အဘယ်အခါ၌ အကျွန်ုပ်တို့သည် မြင်၍ ကိုယ်တော်ကို သောက်ဘို့ပေးပါသနည်း။ 38 ဧည့်သည်ဖြစ်တော်မူသည်ကို အဘယ်အခါ၌ အကျွန်ုပ်တို့သည်မြင်၍ ဧည့်သည်ဝတ်ကို ကိုယ်တော် အား ပြုပါသနည်း။ အဝတ်အချည်းစည်းရှိတော်မူသည်ကို အဘယ်အခါ၌ အကျွန်ုပ်တို့သည်မြင်၍ ကိုယ်တော် ကို အဝတ်နှင့်ဖုံးလွှမ်းပါသနည်း။ 39 အနာစွဲတော်မူသည်ကို၎င်း၊ ထောင်ထဲမှာ နေတော်မူသည်ကို၎င်း၊ အဘယ်အခါ၌ အကျွန်ုပ်တို့သည် မြင်၍ အထံတော်သို့ ရောက်ပါသနည်းဟု ပြန်၍လျှောက်ကြသော်၊ 40 မင်းကြီးက၊ ငါအမှန်ဆိုသည်ကား၊ သင်တို့သည် ဤသူတည်းဟူသော ငါ့ညီတို့တွင် အငယ်ဆုံးသော သူတယောက်အား ပြုကြသမျှတို့ကို ငါ့အား ပြုကြပြီဟု ပြန်၍မိန့်တော်မူလတံ့။

        41 ထိုအခါ လက်ဝဲတော်ဘက်၌ရှိသောသူတို့အား မင်းကြီးက၊ ကျိန်ခြင်းကို ခံရသောသူတို့၊ မာရန်နတ်နှင့် သူ၏တမန်တို့အဘို့ ပြင်ဆင်သောထာဝရမီးထဲသို့ ငါ့ထံမှ ခွာသွားကြလော့။ 42 အကြောင်းမူကား၊ ငါသည် မွတ်သိပ်သောအခါ သင်တို့သည်မကျွေး၊ ငါသည် ရေငတ်သောအခါ သင် တို့သည် သောက်ဘို့မပေး။ 43 ငါသည် ဧည့်သည်ဖြစ်သောအခါ သင်တို့သည် ဧည့်သည်ဝတ်ကိုမပြု။ ငါသည် အဝတ်အချည်းစည်းရှိ သောအခါ သင်တို့သည် အဝတ်နှင့်မဖုံးမလွှမ်း။ ငါသည် အနာရောဂါစွဲသောအခါ၌၎င်း၊ ထောင်ထဲမှာ နေရ သောအခါ၌၎င်း၊ သင်တို့သည် မကြည့်ရှုမပြုစုကြဟု မိန့်တော်မူလျှင်၊ 44 ထိုသူတို့က၊ သခင်၊ ကိုယ်တော်သည် မွတ်သိပ်တော်မူခြင်း၊ ရေငတ်တော်မူခြင်း၊ ဧည့်သည်ဖြစ်တော်မူ ခြင်း၊ အဝတ်အချည်းစည်းရှိတော်မူခြင်း၊ အနာစွဲတော်မူခြင်း၊ ထောင်ထဲမှာနေတော်မူခြင်းတို့ကို အကျွန်ုပ်တို့ သည် အဘယ်အခါ၌မြင်၍ ကိုယ်တော်ကို မပြုစုမလုပ်ကျွေးဘဲ နေပါသနည်းဟု ပြန်၍လျှောက်ကြသော်၊ 45 မင်းကြီးက၊ ငါအမှန်ဆိုသည်ကား၊ သင်တို့သည် ဤသူတို့တွင် အငယ်ဆုံးသောသူတယောက်အား မပြုသမျှတို့ကို ငါ့အား မပြုကြပြီဟု ပြန်၍မိန့်တော်မူလတံ့။ 46 ထိုသူတို့သည် ထာဝရအပြစ်ဒဏ်ခံရာသို့၎င်း၊ ဖြောင့်မတ်သောသူတို့မူကား၊ ထာဝရအသက်ရှင်ရာ သို့၎င်း သွားရကြလတံ့ဟု မိန့်တော်မူ၏။

        We all want our friends to end up on the right hand of God on that day, no matter what they may believe, because we don’t just look at this religion as part of our culture — it is the absolute truth which has been revealed to us through ဘုရားသခင်၏နှုတ်ကဖတ်တော်။
        So, in hope that our friends will be blessed by God and come to this truth and gain ထာဝရအသက် in ကောင်းကင်ပုံ, we tell them wholeheartedly “ဘုရားသခင်ကောင်းချီးပေးပါစေ”

        I hope that I was respectful, forgive me if it did not come across as such. Please do ask me more questions, and do not hold back. I love discussing my faith with those that I care about 🙂

      • mydaydream says:

        Well, no matter how that truth is absolute, it’s true only for Christians/Muslims or any people who follow a religion based upon God. If they wholeheartedly like us, non-God believers, to be blessed by God and come to this truth and gain eternal life, they should have done so silently – either during their praying or sometime else, not directly to that person. What if Buddhists wish you something like “May you reach Nirvana(not Nirvana in modern culture, but absolute Nirvana of Buddhism) asap”? I mean, yes, this is not a big deal to be wished so. And yes, I understand how important to gain eternal life and truly believe in God (I have a bunch of Christian relatives 🙂 ) for Christians. Still, I do not believe it is very appropriate to tell someone something based on what we believe even when it is against with what they believe. May be we can agree to disagree. 🙂

      • Win Hein says:

        ” it’s true only for Christians/Muslims or any people who follow a religion based upon God.”

        See, that’s the post-modern mindset I was talking about ;D

        Yes, I get what you’re saying, but honestly, if a Buddhist tells me “အသေဆုံသွားတဲ့အခါ နိဗ္ဗာန်ကိုသွားပါစေ” or something like that, I would not be offended at all, because I truly know that they are wishing me the best that they can. Of course, I would disagree with their mindset, but in that situation, I would not engage in theological debate with them over a friendly blessing that they have given me. 🙂

        “May be we can agree to disagree.” (English tip: In this case, “maybe” is one word.)

        I have gotten used to doing that with many people, but honestly, I don’t like doing that, because I would rather continue in discussion with them, as I find the topic very interesting. I do respect your opinion, but as you know, I’m just offering my side’s viewpoint so you can understand your friend’s rationale better 🙂


      • mydaydream says:

        Oh, I didn’t say I was offended, did I? 🙂 Instead, I repeatedly mentioned I’m very thankful to be wished so. My only point is that no matter how it is important to us, as long as it is not absolute truth that everyone could accept, we should not bring it to our daily life especially in casual situations. At least, that’s what I believe to make our days more peaceful and comfortable. 🙂

  2. Exactly what I want to say… I do not offended with those wishes… But I do feel uncomfortable as it seems like forcing me to believe god when they clearly know I am not. I am neither angry nor offended and I am grateful for their intention. But I don’t like the feeling of being considered or being forced with a word.

    • Win Hein says:

      Please don’t view it as us forcing our mindset upon you. Rather, look at it as that we’re blessing you in the best way that we know how! 😀

      • mydaydream says:

        That’s exactly where we need to agree to disagree. We completely understand you aren’t forcing but it just instantly makes us feel so. It’s like you are asking me to touch a cube of ice and not to feel that it’s extremely cold, rather pleasantly cool. 🙂

      • Win Hein says:

        Sorry, I still fail to see how this offends you.

      • Win Hein says:

        Or sorry, not offended, but “disturbed” or “instantly forced into believing God”. I do not feel that a Buddhist is forcing me to believe in Buddhism when they say something like လာမယ့်နှစ်တွေမှာလည်း အောင်မြင်မှုတွေပိုင်ဆိုင်နိုင်ပါစေ။ I just truly believe they are wishing me the best. 🙂

      • Win Hein says:

        With that being said, I would like to remind you that I do respect and value your opinion အစ်မ although I strongly disagree. I am not attacking your faith nor outlook, rather, I am engaging in dialogue, as I believe you are a great young woman with very thought-out opinions. However, at the moment, I am still struggling to see where you’re coming from 😛

  3. When I was growing up in Burma, I was raised in a Buddhist household, but as I grow older, I now feel it’s more important to treat people with compassion and respect than to subscribe to a particularly religion. My thoughts on your friend’s parting words: Since the word “God” is an intrinsic part of the English language, your friend is most likely using it without even thinking of it as a religious word. She probably says “God bless you!” in the same spirit in which she might say “Have a nice day!” or “Peace be with you!.” (By the same token, people might say “What the devil is wrong with my car?” or “I’m having a hellish day” without thinking about the religious implications of these words.) I wouldn’t be offended by “God bless you,” unless I feel the speaker is deliberately mocking me and my Buddhist upbringing with the phrase. It doesn’t seem like that’s your friend’s intent.

  4. Fendi haris says:

    Tuhan Akan Selalu bersama kita dan memberkati kita dengan KasihNYA..

  5. sunshine says:

    We are living in a modern world and some people still believe in ,heaven,hell,god,satan etc..I ask these people If there is iphone in heaven,an ipad or ipod,internet,and if not then i don’t need heavenor god i’m happy living my life on earth.Christians and muslims beleive ,Adam and eve were the first people on earth,if that is true then then the children of Adam and eve must have married each other to multiply the population since there were no other people,that means brother married sister,…woopf ,Brothers are supposed to protect their sister..and if christians and muslims agree then how can they beleive in such a thing,are muslims and christians supposed to marry their sisters..!

  6. simplysuzu says:

    I like what Kenneth Wong said there above. Some people say things repeatedly that sometimes those words become a part of them.

    But I kinda feel what you’re saying here. I once wrote a blog post about the conflicts in our country based on two religions: Buddhists and Muslims, and one subscriber commented on my blog that the world needs Jesus. So I felt a bit irritated by her comment. Before you get the wrong idea, I’m also one of those people who believe that no matter which religion you believe in, good people will be good and bad people will be bad. I also have nothing against people who believe in different religions but it somehow ticked me when she commented like that. Anyhow, religion is a very sensitive issue and I also prefer not to debate it with other people.

    • mydaydream says:

      Right, sis. The older I get, the more I am reluctant to talk about religion with people. It is, I believe, something to keep in our mind and behave, not to show off. Anyway, I am not offended by any kind of religious greeting and would not be. This just to silently voice out what I “feel”. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  7. Excellent Post. I absolutly agree with you. I was raised with some kind of christian education, went actualy to church and so on, but I changed my mind when I grew up. Now I´m an atheist. I respect every religion but i do not necessarily follow one and I understand that feeling you were talking about in you post. For me is bassicaly because when someone says to me “May God bless You” and you don´t belive in his God, you can´t say “May God bless you” back because you would be lying, and if you say something else like “thanks” it would sound ungrateful…or at least that is what i think.

    I know it is with kindness/love, but it may be little awkward.

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