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I have always tried hard to understand religion. My parents were traditional British Christians in that they adhered to the traditions of Christianity but made little pretence at being practising Christians, so we were spared church on Sundays but were able to enjoy other traditions of Christianity such as Easter Eggs and Christmas presents. The crunch came when I came of age to be confirmed as my brother and sister had been before me, but I put my foot down on the basis of not believing in god. There were some tense discussions but eventually my argument that it would be hypocrisy to go through the ceremony was accepted and the matter was not discussed again. People don't seem to have a problem with going along with hypocrisy, still choosing to get married in church and having religious funeral services. But then the churches go along with it too as it keeps them in business.

I can accept that matter is made up of atoms even though I can't see them but I can't believe in a deity. But you can believe in a deity without needing a religion. Religions appear to be more about providing a set of rules to live by than they are about deities, heaven, hell and eternal damnation help motivate the masses to adhere to the rules.

Wong Tai Sin temple

I visited the bedlam that is Wong Tai Sin temple. It is a great experience and one I would thoroughly recommend. Huge quantities of joss sticks being purchased and lit to the point that the smoke stings the eyes; photographs do not convey the atmosphere. There are large numbers of people praying in front of the temple and putting joss sticks into the sand boxes provided but what are they praying for and who are they praying to? Do people believe in these gods or is it like my 'Christian' upbringing and has more to do with tradition or superstition?

As a committed atheist, it is a joy to live in a truly secular country. Countries like NZ and UK are ostensibly secular but still have many references to Christianity btu there is none of that living in Hong Kong or China, so it is quite surprising to see just how many people involve themselves in religious practices. One of my friends is a church goer but will pop into varieties of temples to pray to some god or other, no doubt on the principle that if you pray to enough gods one of them may make you rich.