Yesterday I went to the Jade Buddha exhibition at Ngee Ann City. And there was this notice board above the donation center area, where you can donate rice or money or flower. The notice board said (roughly, I couldn’t remember the precise wording):

“…health, wealth, and prosperity for the Year of the Dragon as you make a donation…”

This is of course only a tiny part of the whole exhibition and thus does not do justice to the organizer (go and see the exhibition for yourself, you can learn a little bit about Buddhism from their own perspectives), but I found this little quote to be profoundly similar to what you would find in churches who held to prosperity theology. It confirms my suspicion that prosperity theology, at least in Singapore scene, basically echoes the mainstream local Chinese belief that our ultimate aim is to have good fortune (福) in life. So what happens is you find your way to achieve it, whether it is through the Buddha or Jesus or any other god/no-god. It becomes the battle of the gods, really. Jesus, then, becomes not the goal in himself, but becomes a mean to achieve another end. Of course, it is not the only reason why mega-churches who holds this teaching have become so popular, but at the very least tapping into popular folk religion will not hurt your cause.

(Conversely, prosperity theology in Singapore must be understood within the Singapore context. It is, to use the cliché, uniquely Singapore.)


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