In the dark: Why we Filipinos love religion

When you think of the Philippines, what’s the first thing that comes into your mind? Have you ever given it much thought? Do you imagine white beaches, tranquil waters, and unique wildlife? Congratulations, you’re a tourist. Do you imagine chaos, poverty and corruption? If you did, you’re a realist. But if all you think about is love, respect, and god, well, you’re the target of this article.

Religion is to Filipinos as Water is to a sponge. According to Marx, he said “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” You can see that he puts religion as the essence of humanity, and in a way, it is. Opium back then was legal, but it was also addicting, the cause of wars, and something that brought power and might to the people who wielded it. Religion is power. By controlling the beliefs of people, you hold them and their values. You bring fear into their hearts and strike them by using the two greatest fears of the human race: The fear of a higher being and the fear of death.

We’re all afraid of death. We want to know that there’s something beyond death and something waiting on the other side. We also fear something higher and greater than we can ever be. In a way, it makes sense. Primitive man was always trying to avoid death, yet death was so normal that he had to find something to appease his fears. Man, as a social animal, had to follow the chain of command, he had to follow his alpha, be it to glory or to death. You can plainly see how the promise of an almighty lord and his paradise is so appealing to us. And I respect your belief in it, whether or not you truly believe.

But the thing is, is religion becoming a hindrance or a means of support? The question that should be pondered by officials making laws should be “Will this work?” not “Will the people be satisfied?” When BF did changes in Marikina and the Metro, did he wonder whether or not it was moral? Squatters beg for their homes not to be destroyed, but is it moral? Should there be justification to a higher being? The answer is simple: No.

Don’t bow down to something who doesn’t take any part in anything. If God was really there for us, it would be up to you to decide. The thing is, we make HIM decide. We make the deity whose entire “book” is vague and free for interpretation. If the bible was so foolproof and true, why is there so many religions and sects interpreting and rearranging facts and opinions? We put our faith in ministers and priests, but really, has it worked out in the past?

Admit it. In the Spanish era, it was clear that religion was a weapon. The early Filipinos believed he would save and redeem everyone, but in truth, weren’t they being used? “Indulgences for a few pesos!” “Offer something and be freed from one year in hell!” “Offer us your body!” Doesn’t that seem quite corrupt? Even up to now, faith is still a weapon. Let me take into account the RH bill. Rational people say it’s bad because of economic factors, loopholes, and cost. But still, so many people still think that morality and the catholic bible is such a valid excuse. Try saying that to a judge. “Your honor, her death was God’s will! She is a adulterer! She didn’t deserve any help or medicine for her AIDS! She took up her cross for God, and now she is with him! I did her a favor!” Faith truly is blind.

Look at the Constitution’s preamble and read on how the constitution invokes God’s name, power and grace. A few pages later, the constitution says that the Church and State should be separated. And in the entire bill of rights, catholic morality was also used as a basis. Here’s a fun fact: There were TWO catholic priests who helped in the writing of the constitution. Wow. They would’ve added another one to represent the holy trinity, but that would’ve been to obvious.

Ride a jeep and take the route passing by a church. Chances are that some of the people riding with you will do the sign of the cross.Faith isn’t just blind, faith by its very definition ignores everything contrary to it. When I was in my religion classes, all I saw was blatant hypocrisy. People answered the teacher with solid agreement, but they can’t even find the time to go to church. They talk about how YFC changed their lives, but it’s blatantly obvious they do it just for the girls. I once went to a church and saw the Shroud of Turin’s picture. It was labeled “God’s self portrait” and people started blessing it and wiping their handkerchiefs on it.

Grow up! In the church’s teachings, and based on what the priest says, images are not gods. They have no power. They are NOT goodluck charms and they are NOT all miracles. The Shroud of Turin itself is highly-doubted, even by some Church Officials, and it’s entire existence has been used by atheists as a way of explaining Jesus’ resurrection. (When embalming, the blood from the wounds is removed and the body is cleansed, and if there’s still blood on the shroud, evena fter cleaning him, it means he had a heart beat. In other words, he didn’t die.)

People tout themselves as clean and call onto the power of these things, yet it’s taught that they shouldn’t. The same church is also frequented by vendors, most of them selling in front of the church and even in it’s courtyard. Remember, Jesus told all of the vendors in the temple to get out. He even did it with a whip. Isn’t that serious enough?

Filipinos would do anything for there faith. Some people say it’s an asset, but they clearly have no idea on the repercussions of faith. Things change and become more complicated. As I said earlier, morality is changed and turned into the only thing we care about, even though it’s alternative is worse.  Annulment is just a longer version of Divorce. Annulment would make you have to render a marriage invalid, and find reasons for it. Divorce is the same thing, but with a shorter process, and it only removes the union. But to the church, it seems that annulling a marriage is way better.

Is there a good side to religion? Yes, there is. There always is. Religion is the bliss and a way of life. Religion gives purpose, and without it, we wouldn’t have a lot of things. Before, religion was the driving force to advancement, but now, is it still? To me, religion won’t ever stop. We have to live with it, but we can’t let it be the one controlling us. Religion was made to guide the people, but it was not made to BE the people. We were not made for the religion and we have the choice. We shouldn’t hand it over, we should make the decision ourselves. Because in the end, who should profit from laws? The people or the church?

 

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About linewave

Student, writer, and a patriot.

16 Comments on “In the dark: Why we Filipinos love religion”

  1. “If the bible was so foolproof and true, why is there so many religions and sects interpreting and rearranging facts and opinions?”

    So many religions and sects are interpreting the bible and rearranging facts and opinions because there are lot of ignorant people who would follow them – followers means money for self-indulgence.

    Ignorant people arose in the Philippines because people do not study the bible. That’s a fact: majority of Filipinos do not study the bible or even read it. So whenever they hear someone talking about the bible, even if they really don’t, they believe them – like children being led to believe Santa Claus.

    Try studying the bible so you wouldn’t be anyone’s fool.

    Religion is no help for Filipinos. We are religious but are ranked among the most corrupt. We just use religion to make us look righteous when our daily living says otherwise.

    We need godliness not religion.

  2. To quote George Carlin’s skit (not accurate but close enough).

    “In the bullshit department, you can’t take the candle off of a clergyman. Big time, major time bullshit, you’ll have to stand in awe in the number one in the bullshit department, religion. NO CONTEST.

    Religion, has actually, convinced people: That there’s an invisible man, living up in the sky, who watches you everyday and eying your every move.

    The same invisible man who made a special list of 10 commandments that you must follow. And if you break any of those in the list, he’ll put you in place full of smoke and ashes and fire and sulfur where you’ll cry, suffer for all eternity!

    But he loves you… He loves you and he needs money! He always needs money! He’s all powerful, all knowing and somehow just can’t handle money! Now if you want a good bullshit story… HO-LY SHIT” *bow*

  3. Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”

  4. “A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.”
    – Mohandas Gandhi

  5. I went to a Technical Seminar…and I heard this story from a noted Theoretical Physicist:
    During the French Revolution. There were three condemned men, to be executed, during the Reign of Terror. One was a Priest; the other was a Lawyer; and the last was a Physicist…
    The Priest came first. They put his head on the Chopping Block. Then, pulled the Rope holding the Guillotine Blade. The Blade stopped, just to nick his neck…the crowd grasped: ” This is a Holy Man, we are executing.” So, they freed the Priest.
    Then, came the Lawyer. They put his head on the Chopping Block. Pulled the string tied to the Guillotine Blade. Agsin, the Blade just nicked his neck. The crowd again grasped. And shouted: “This Lawyer is an honest Lawyer. God have saved him.” So, they let him go…
    Then , it was the Phycisist turn. From there, the Physicist shouted: ” The Rope on the Pulley is stuck.” So they repaired the Rope and the Pulley. And, they cut, the Poor Physicist head.
    Moral of the story: Sometimes, we in the Scientific community; must learn when to shut our mouths..and save ourselves from troubles…

  6. Typical Filipinos are superstitious not religious. But they like to call themselves religious and morally upright and all that. Especially when an outsider is around.

  7. Religion can never be removed since many people hold on to it as a basic need. That’s why those who aim for the elimination of religion from human civilization should think twice. Such a drive may actually do more harm than good.

    1. religion is the reflection of society. The mores and norms of society is reflected in the system of morality imposed by the religion to the faithful. When religion seems to be bad, pure of hypocrisy, contempt, malice, and paradoxes, it speaks much about a society in distress.

  8. European Renaissance was born from Protestanism. This was the basis as how the West advanced their culture and economy to progressive social democracy.

  9. Religions reinforces beliefs, reassurance, hope.

    However, it must be free and it must compel followers to live a good life that does not impede on the rights of others.

  10. Hi. I’m someone who personally believes in God. I’m a Christian (though I’m not a Catholic). And am really amused by this blog.

    I would like to share my thoughts on this.

    First, faith is not equal to religion. This is one thing most people overlook. Based on Bible teachings (not Church teachings), religion = beliefs plus doing a set of traditions, rituals, etc. to achieve or attain righteousness and salvation.
    Faith = trusting in God for Salvation based on what he Has done, not on what one can do (good works, traditions, praying a redundant rosary). The thing is, the Bible describes God as someone who hates religion. (e.g: “I have had enough of burnt offerings…Bring your worthless offerings no longer…I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts; they have become a burden to Me… So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you… I will not listen…” (Isaiah 1:10-15)). Apostle Paul also combated religion in his teachings, stressing that it is through Faith that people are saved not by works.

    Second, I agree that the Church (Catholic Church) should not meddle with the State. Apostle Paul even said “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1) So it means that the Church, regardless of whether or not they like the laws of the government, should be subject to it.

    Third, about the Bible being vague and free of interpretation, I guess the Bible does seem weird at times. But really, its misuse is not the Author’s fault, it’s the people’s fault, twisting it to justify their actions. It really needs wisdom and Guidance to understand the Bible: understanding the people’s culture back when it was written, the context, and the extent of which and which is valid should be considered before making any inference. About it being false simply because it has a lot of interpretations, let me use a dumb analogy, statistics could also have lots of interpretations, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t true.

    Fourth, about images not being gods, ABSOLUTELY TRUE. This made me laugh a bit. It’s ironic to think that a Church who believes in ONE God bows down to many saints, relics, and statues. Idolatry in a word.

    Fifth, yes, religious people are hypocrites. But I have met and even lived with a lot of faithful people who are true to their convictions. Again, we see the difference of Faith and religion.

    Religion is really stupid. Really really stupid. Like what bulutongboy said in his comment above me, “We need godliness, not religion.”

    That is all I would like to say. Thank you for your insightful post.

  11. priest says to teacher “you keep them dumb then i will keep them poor”

    situation in my northern european country in 1950’s.

    glad we shrugged that of our shoulders but the PI is still here

    Dont get me wrong i love the people here but Pi is the last retarded country in the world where there is no seperation between the state and the church. state equals church.

    One good thing though…i converted my catholic gf into ….an atheist………99million pinoys to go

  12. I’ve been reading Benigno, FallenAngel and the rest of the bloggers here in GRP, and this is the very first article where grammatical error reared its ugly head.

    Tsk tsk…

  13. there is no doubt about the correlation between mental impoverishment and a belief in God. A writer in very poor English writes above that people do not need religion they need faith…or as he states “godliness”. Actually people need faith in goodness and to practice goodness and nothing.

  14. I’m puzzled by the purpose of this blog. I guess like any other blogs, it’s basis is merely a persons opinion. Maybe a little bit of facts here and there. But we will call it for what it is, a personal expression.

    Unfortunately, this entry is as bad to read as it is to interpret or understand. Nagging about how Filipino people are push over to Religion, specifically the Catholic Religion. But at the end you will say that you have to live with it?? you yourself embody hypocrisy.

    Anyway, how can you generalize that Catholics or Religious people as hypocrites? have you met all of them? How can you be certain that Religion doesn’t do anything to people?? have you research thoroughly?? if the Bible is vague and free of interpretation, is that the fault of the book or the person reading it?? And actually the Bible is as straight forward as any book ever written. The people are the ones who try to twist it to their own benefit. So why blame religion, when clearly you don’t know what you’re talking about. Clearly that a religious person doing malicious act/s won’t be the face of the entire congregation.

    I pity your ignorance and lack of better judgement. Maybe instead of looking at other people in your religion classes, you should’ve look at yourself and ponder what is your purpose on earth. And why God or the so called deity, still keeps you alive and breathing. I pray for you, that you find the knowledge and wisdom to understand the blissful way of life that God intends for you to enjoy.

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