Let’s ask Eric Manalang: Would an all-powerful infinite god find offense in Mideo Cruz’s work ‘Poleteismo’?

If you are a scientist, have some semblance of a background in science, or even just simply listened to your high school physics teacher and understood what she said, you’d be able to wrap your head around the single biggest point I make in a comment I posted on Get Real Post the other night:

I fail to understand though why an all-powerful, ominipotent and infinite God would be so concerned about how much or how little he is worshipped — or mocked — by [our wretched lot].

This being a corner of the universe frequented by Filipinos, I’ll spell out in painful detail how the above is relevant to the irony of religious zealotry that routinely escapes, well, religious zealots.

Firstly, religious zealots humanise their gods. Religious zealots presume to know what their gods — beings that are, they assert, far beyond comprehension of our little minds — supposedly look like to our human eyes. Even more ludicrous, they imagine such beings – such “gods” – being subject to human failings — jealousy, envy, pettiness, and anger. Most recent example is the whole brouhaha around Filipino artist Mideo Cruz’s work Poleteismo where, among other things, phallic symbols adorn various images and likenesses of the Almighty.

The overly-zealous led by “Pro-Life Philippines” leader Eric Manalang presume to be outraged by what seems to be his god’s human inclination to find offense in such trivial things. Hmmmmm… Looks like Manalang’s “God” is not such a big fella after all…

Second, compare the religious folk who keep shoving the concept of our infinitessimal humbleness before their almighty gods down our throats, and the scientific community who have painstakingly built an immense but coherent and internally-consistent conceptual framework to describe just how really humble and inconsequential humanity is. Such an exercise essentially pits the quaintness of religious dogma and “scripture” versus the truly humbling edifice of scientific achievement built over generations of brilliant application of what the religious would call our “god-given” intelligence.

Ironies upon ironies that fly miles above the pointed heads of the zealously religious.

Indeed, human history is pretty much the story of how each scientific eureka! moment resulted in a progressive but effective chiseling away at the once mighty notion that human beings were the centre of the universe. Today that once formidable dogmatic notion of our “special” place in infinite space is but a pile of rubble — a sad mere historical curiosity — with a more scientific and, needless to say, sensible description of our true place in the universe standing tall upon it. Not surprisingly, people who derive their views of the world from texts that de facto are not subject to critical inquiry will fail to appreciate the elegant beauty of the products of a fair exchange of opposing theses.

As such, third, all regard for art is a matter of opinion. One man’s art is another man’s eyesore. If bad taste was a crime, then the police should go out and roundup jeepney designers and jolog fashionistas tomorrow and throw them all in jail.

All in all, this circus — taking into account all sides of the story — punctuates a taking stock of just how small a landscape of human insight the Philippine National “Debate” contributes to human civilisation. And that, suffice to say, is a humbling thought.

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[Various parts of the above article were lifted from various articles in the rapid-blog site GRP Shorts. To get the best experience with our newest short-blog service, subscribe to our Twitter account and get up-to-the-minute notifications whenever GRP Shorts is updated.]
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6 Comments on “Let’s ask Eric Manalang: Would an all-powerful infinite god find offense in Mideo Cruz’s work ‘Poleteismo’?”

  1. We have already involved ourselves into senseless polemics…We, Filipinos are still living in the Dark Age…If you look at History…it was the French Revolution; that brought the Age of Enlightenment…good thinkers came out like: Voltaire, Rosseau, Robespiere, Marat, Denton, etc…they overhauled the concept of God; which was the tool of the Monarchy and Aristocracy…the so called: Divine Rights of Kings…we still have the Divine Rights of the Churches…to dictate us, even in our Arts…

    1. Just to be pedantic, the Enlightement happened before the French Revolution, and the French Revolution begat Romanticism.

      1. Yes…the Age of Enlightenment produced Enlightended French thinkers. But, it resulted also in the Reign of Terror and the dictatorial rule of Napoleon Bonaparte…when will we have our own Age of Enlightenment? I don’t want the Reign of Terror…

  2. Would God be offended? I can’t cite Bible Verse, but the Bible does point to several instances where God was offended by the Acts of Man. Of course, we’re really limited to either regarding the Bible as a historically accurate account or as literature. Scientists purported finding evidence of Noah’s Ark and other such discoveries all seem a bit iffy.

    So, I guess, it all depends on where you’re coming from and anybody’s viewpoint on the matter could be deemed right.

    The problem really starts when those viewpoints are imposed on the general population, rather than merely being stated.

    It is arrogant to suppose that one view would be superior to another in a world where evolving communications ensure that all views will be challenged in public space.

    Of course, there is also the fact that in the real world, people who gain control over government and its agencies can and do impose their views on large populations.

    All in all, I’m just glad BF Skinner never really found a way to get pigeons to guide missiles.

    1. Actually, I’m not really looking for answers from the Bible or more “research” on what other philosophers think as to what God “thinks”. I’m looking for personal opinions that are products of a personal applying of one’s mind to the question and not mere quotes. 😉

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