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Andrew Goes to Korea: The Gay Christian Debate

Andrew Cheng wrote a summary of the July 25th debate between Pastors Paul Warren and Daniel Payne on whether or not the bible condemns homosexuality. An excerpt of his post is below:

Translation: 'Let's protect and support homosexuals'... Daejeon City's Ordinance Ammendment Causes Ripples

Today's translation is from an article over at the Kukmin Ilbo.  The political leanings of the religious paper can be seen clearly, which, along with the contents, can deepen our understanding on how rights for sexual minorities in Korea are both established and attacked. 

An Interview with Joey Rositano, Photographer of Jeju Shamanism

Joey Rositano is not your ordinary expat. Hailing from Nashville, the Tennessee native has called Jeju-do, an island off the southern coast of South Korea, home for the past nine years. 

Gayspeak: 탈동성애자 (Ex-homosexual)

Today's word is used mostly by the religious right for those who have 'left' their homosexual ways.

탈동성애자 (tal-dong-seong-ae-ja) 

So, what does 탈동성애자 mean? Understanding the word is quite easy. 동성애자 is a homosexual, and 탈 is the Chinese character 脫, which means take off or remove. The whole praying the gay away phenomenon. Yikes.

South Korea's Top 3 Temples

I love sharing my experiences in Korea with you guys, but let's face it... my eyes can only see so much. So, to give you a bit of a wider perspective, I am now accepting guest posts on Seoul Searching. I'm excited to announce that the first contributor is Dale Quarrington, Korean temple aficionado and author of Korean Temples: From Korea’s Southeast Corner, with his top three temples in Korea. Check out his post below.

I Love Seoul, I Like Temple: Temple Stay Diary


Watch Our Video about our Temple Experience Here:


The Offense Rests: a (Rather) Cross Examination of the Jehova’s Witnesses

My latest piece over at Sweet Pickles and Corn, on the reason I’m just not destined for eternal life:

The Offense Rests: a (Rather) Cross Examination of the Jehova’s Witnesses.

The Offense Rests: a (Rather) Cross Examination of the Jehova’s Witnesses

Queer Links from the Week

Queer Links from the Week

Faith In Archy

Thought-sparking piece about anarchy in The New Yorker today: the anarchists involved didn’t convince me, or the author, however, that anarchism is any different from Savonarolism: take everything and burn it just because a few things don’t work. But it did get me to consider anarchy for an instant. I thought of the case of certain religious types, probably predominantly American, who believe that faith in god (and a corresponding fear of hell) is the only thing that keeps everyone from murdering each other, and there would seem to be a parallel among archists like myself: the government is the only thing that keeps murderers from breaking down my door.

Spin Kicks, Spirituality, and a Sunrise: Templestay at Golgusa Temple

It's never a bad idea to start out a new year with a few extra good karma points... you never know when you'll need them.  So, instead of spending New Year's Eve drinking too much in a crowded, overpriced bar in Seoul, I decided to ring it in at Golgulsa, a Buddhist temple located just outside Gyeongju, South Korea.
Templestays have been gaining popularity amongst tourists and usually involve a short-term stay in one of the 900 traditional Buddhist temples in Korea.  Participants follow a rather strict schedule to experience a day (or two or three) in the life of the monks that reside there.  A templestay was something that had been on my bucket list for a while, so when I found a special New Year's program on the official Templestay website, I knew I had to sign up.
It was about a five hour trek from Seoul to Golgulsa Temple that required two bus trips, a bit of waiting around, and a short walk to the temple grounds from the final bus stop.  Once I had arrived, I was given a brief introduction to the program, a map of the complex, and special clothes that I was to wear during my stay.  I was then directed to my room where I would be spending the night with about fifteen other women.  The room was a rather large common area with pillows and blankets spread out on the floor for sleeping.  There was a bathroom with a toilet, a few open showers, and sinks that were to be shared.  I've become use to this arrangement after living in Korea for a few years but wondered how other Westerners not used to copious amounts of nakedness would handle the situation.

Korean Faiths

I was in a cafe, where a Buddhist monk came to bang on his hollow wooden moktak for exactly three seconds before the barrista, a chubby man who had been chomping and slurping at his noodles like a ravening horse not five minutes before—shaking the windowpanes with the barbarous thunderous smacking of his tongue and his lips—ordered him to get the hell out, almost before he even started chanting, like this:

Monk: [to wooden knocking] Ha-may-ha-may-ha
Barrista: Fuck off!

Christian Korea

Beomeosa Temple

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Established in the year 678, Beomeosa is probably the most important Buddhist temple in Busan. And with its location in the foothills of Mt. Geumjeongsan, it’s certainly among the most beautiful. Entering the complex is like stepping into another world, one more sacred and peaceful.

Creationists in Korea: They’ve hit the big-time!

Two weeks ago, I wrote about changes to Biology Textbooks in Korea.  At the time, I was of the opinion that the changes were merely updates: one example of evolutionary change being replaced by another.

Gord Sellar recently wrote about the changes and earlier errors – were at least partially the result of conservatism among the publishers.  The industry receives five-year contracts  and if a publisher has won such a contract, it won’t want to make any changes beyond what is required.

Draw Muhammad Day

This is my most controversial drawing of Muhammad. Previously, I had him playing soccer and arguing with Harold Camping (2/3 of the way down – the third ‘Brian’).  My previous drawings were relatively innocent but this one picks the low-hanging fruit of his marriage to a nine-year-old when he was in his 50′s.

I have also discussed burning the Koran(do).

Supporting scientific research and education

Someone on Facebook linked to this article about the teaching of evolution in Korea.  Apparently, two icons of evolution will be removed from the updated textbooks: Archaeopteryx (spelled it right on my first try!) and the series of horse transitional fossils.

The article claims that the move is due to pressure from a Christian organization and the article tries to show how the education of evolution is being diminished, but also explains that the series of whale transitional fossils will be added so I am not sure how much of a difference there is.

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone

Recently I’ve been travelling out from the edge of known space at Jangsan to Gijang, which means that on the return leg of the journey I have found myself trying to catch taxis in the countryside to return to civilisation. It quickly became apparent that this may not be the same as catching taxis in the city.

Athletic fundraisers in Muskoka that I am missing.

I have participated in several ‘marathons’ – in Korea, that is any distance beyond five kilometres – and have found my training improves as I prepare for them.  A few years back, I carefully, but relentlessly piled on the kms in preparation for a Terry Fox run in Seoul only to find it cancelled*.  The week before I learned of the cancellation, I ran more about thirty km.  The week after, about five km.

There were two events in Muskoka that I wish I could have been home for.  The Terry Fox run was ten days ago and a ‘Ride For Refuge‘ occurred last weekend.  I agree with the motivations for these events, but would probably have joined either one for the athletics alone.  The “Ride for Refuge” helps various charities that bring aid to impoverished regions in Africa.

Religion for Atheists

The Herald hosts an interview with Alain de Botton, who has recently authored a book, Religion for Atheists. With the understanding that my views are based solely on this interview and that I have not seen the book, I am at a loss for who he thinks his book is for.

Some excerpts:

“(My family thought) if you are intelligent, you believe in science. … And with respect to my parents, I nevertheless moved away from that position. And even though I am still an atheist, I am now much more sympathetic to many of the lessons and traditions of religion.”

The newly released Korean edition, published five months ahead of the English edition, is de Botton’s philosophical account on how “people who don’t believe in supernaturals” can also benefit and learn from religious teachings and practices.

KB Interview: Pastor Gage Jung of Hipster Church

Pastor Gage Jung isn’t your typical Korean American pastor: yes, he wears skinny jeans and caps, and yes, he has tattoos. But he isn’t a “self-proclaimed” hipster—and to him, that really doesn’t matter. He’s the pastor of Hipster Church (motto: “This ain’t your mama’s church.”), currently meeting in the heart of Flushing, Queens at the Sheraton Hotel.

Religion in the Korea Times

I am torn: there are two articles, pro and con, regarding religion in recent issues of the Times and I approve of neither.

I want to agree with Shin Chul-ho and his article, “Delusions about religion” but I don’t like the way he picks and chooses his representatives for religion.  He describes a few hypocrites who practice Christianity, but every group has good and bad examples. There being around two billion Christians, one is likely to find many with unpopular or disturbing views.  I do agree with his main, and final point:

I do not think that moral behavior came from religion. Long before any types of religion, morality existed. This is the product that was made over an infinite amount of time. People cultivated morality as they came to realize the principle of reciprocity benefits them. 

Buddha's Birthday 석가탄신일 in Pictures

Leave and get on the train. Know that where you are going is considered to be one of the oldest temples in Seoul.

Buddha's Birthday at Jogyesa Temple: Video

Visited the Jogyesa Temple last Tuesday, during the Buddha's birthday celebrations. Again, before I show the picture story I am going to share the video story...

I want to agree with this guy, but…

Roar Sheppard (poor guy, his parents doomed him from the start) is a “New Humanity Culture leader” and director of the Overseas Seon Culture Life Museum.

In an article for the Korea Times, he writes about the earthquake in Japan and links it to other recent natural disasters.  Then:

I wanted to ask nature, what is the reason for abnormal conditions of the Earth to appear all of a sudden? This was the answer I received.

How can we say all of these are separate phenomena? The one organism, the Earth is showing the signs here and there. Human death and shortage of grains ― these are only the result. Take a look at the fundamentals that are giving rise to these.

It Could Happen to You

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

Having a baby in Korea can expose you to a great deal of culturally odd experiences. There are rules about staying in hospital, rules about keeping the rooms there at high temperatures, beliefs that new mothers shouldn't shower for a week, and when the fortune tellers get involved, the minefield of baby naming to navigate. Eventually, those first few weeks pass by and you're left with your newborn at home, and you think things might start to get a little less strange.

But when my wife came into our office and said "I need a picture of a chicken to hang upside down over the baby's bed", I was hardly even surprised even if I had no idea what the reasoning behind it was. Does there come a point where you've been in Korea so long that nothing surprises you any more?

Atheism and autism

According to a Scientific American article, people with autism are less likely to invoke God to explain events in their lives.

Is this from one of my students?

If this survey had been written by one of my students, I would have been very impressed.  it wasn’t, but rather written by a native English speaker living in the US and completing her masters Degree.  This survey is part of her degree work.


I should admit that my own blog is full of little errors and I even spent a little time before writing this post in making corrections. Still, there is nothing formal about this blog.

I should also admit that I wouldn’t have noticed or picked on it if it weren’t written about religion.

Alright, enough with the disclosures.  Here are the three questions that bothered me (the most). I copied and pasted them and lost a lot of the formatting.  I am unable to take the survey again so I cannot return for a screen shot.

6. Please select if your degree is in one of these medical-related areas:

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