Swimming in a sea of ancient religions
The standing stone on the island of Bonerate is an outrageous testimony to the spiritual understanding and experience of many people in south-east Asia. In the above pictures you see the standing stone on Bonerate which is located just a few hundred yards from the Mosque in the same small village.
Surprisingly, even in the modern city of Singapore, which boasts safe drinking water, mass transit and low crime rate, it is common to encounter large temples dedicated to multiple gods and goddesses, ancestor worship, and pagan rituals. In some places they are located next door to a church. While a significant percentage of people are Christian (2010 census: 18%) almost 50% of Singaporeans still identify themselves as Buddhist, Taoist or Hindu.
On the remote islands, the religious heritage of the people is even more complex. 100% of the people will declare that they are Muslims yet most of these will simultaneously continue to engage in animistic rituals and practices--a set of unquestioned beliefs passed down from their ancestors over the centuries.
The contradictions between their ancestral religious beliefs and those of Islam are not an issue for them. They d not feel compelled to decide between what is true and what is not true. The confusion is evident when we discuss spiritual things. We ask questions and they are surprised that there should be answers.
We sometimes swim in the waters of the islands. Spiritually, we are always swimming in a sea of ancient religions. Only a significant encounter with the Holy Spirit can break through this cloud of apathy and confusion and enable them to turn from the beliefs of their ancestors and contemporaries.