Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making this up and I am not saying this lightly. If any of you have bothered to keep up with my articles and posts here on GRP, you probably know that I hold religious beliefs. So yes, I know that what I’m about to say will sound somewhat hypocritical. In fact, I think it will sound very hypocritical coming from someone like me. Anyway, just so you’ll know, I’m not posting this because I think religion is wrong; I am posting this because our (at least majority of Pinoys anyway) take on religion itself is wrong. I honestly don’t think believing in God is bad, it’s the way some of us like to take advantage of other’s beliefs that strikes me as wrong but very wrong. So okay, enough excuses, I know that you guys will want me to get to the point.
Anyway, let’s start with my take on religion. Of course, I’ve already shared some of my own viewpoints in some of my articles. However, if you want a much deeper look in how I see things and how it all figures with a higher power, all I will say is that it all goes back to having a sense of personal responsibility. I, for one, believe that there is a God and that he created and watches over us. I, for one, believe that everything I do, have done and will do will have their own consequences and that I will be required to face them in time. I, for one, believe that God has a plan or purpose for each of us that is of benefit to our fellows regardless whether some of said people don’t believe in Him at all. I believe that God sees us for who we really are and that, in order to be truly “good people”, we must also keep an eye on who we are in the dark. We must be honest with ourselves and struggle to make the good choices even if the world is flooded with convenient but often selfish choices.
Now look, you don’t have to share my beliefs. I don’t really care if you have your own belief system or if you don’t have one at all. What I’m trying to point out here is the fact that Pinoy culture is so mired by the filth of corruption, that even religion is badly affected by it. While I have always believed religion to be a kind of guide to people, I can’t help but notice that there are so many people who are all too willing to take advantage of some of religion and how it affects people.
Imparting A Sense Of Self-Righteousness
Sadly, no real religion is safe from this. In the Philippines, you have the Catholics, the Protestants and the Iglesia ni Kristo all vying for the position of being “holy”. I have mentioned in some of my previous articles that religion has become more of a status symbol for people rather than something to warrant a sense of responsibility.
I think that it should be more like: “I’m a Catholic/Protestant/INK, therefore I should follow Christ’s teachings and be good to others.” However, what comes out is: “I’m a Catholic/Protestant/INK, therefore I’m cooler than everyone else.” Indeed, it comes out more like a mace we use to bash people we don’t like or don’t belong in our circle than something that gives us a sense of responsibility.
It Condones Violence
I’m looking at you, Islamic radicals and you Catholics and Protestants who seem to have nothing better to do. Connected with the above, religion and its tendency to make one seem “more holy” than others becomes a ground not just for self-righteousness, but also violence. It runs along the lines of: “They don’t believe in the same things we do so they must be evil!”
This kind of thinking has been used since time immemorial to mobilize people into war and commit atrocities all in the name of righteousness and a false sense of loyalty to God.
It Perpetuates Apathy To The Environment
I have seen this kind of thinking in both some Protestant sects as well as the INC. Apparently, they believe that this world isn’t ours to begin with and we therefore shouldn’t worry about it. We should simply let it go to Hell (literally and metaphorically) as we wait for a savior who will spirit us away.
However, I do remember the Old Testament mentioning that we are the stewards of creation, not simply tenants within it. Indeed, a lot of the environmental issues of today can be traced back to our abuse of nature.
It Creates Unnecessary Fear
Ah, this last part is probably one of the bigger issues that I can’t help but notice these days. And yes, I have been to an INC sermon and know that their ministers just love to do this. It’s always about doomsday and how only the righteous will be saved and everyone else will go to Hell.
Well, excuse me, but I don’t think that spreading fear about doomsday strikes me as something honest people will do. Like a business, it only gets more people to buy your stuff because of the fear it creates as fear is after all one of humanity’s biggest motivators. Scaring people to join your religion is no different from scaring people with chemical attacks so they’ll buy your gas-masks.
It Affects The Government Too Much
I see this everywhere. There’s a reason why in more developed countries religion takes a backseat to government. Religion is based on faith while government should be based solely on empirical evidence, solid proof and quick and efficient action. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to case.
Year after year, the Catholic Church constantly blocks attempts at social progress because some of them might be considered “immoral” even when they may end up alleviating some of the major problems the country faces. Year after year, the wrong officials get voted into office because of the INC’s block voting.
I’m betting that some of you have been offended and are mad now. In fact, it’s safe to say that you guys are probably absolutely murderous by now. Well, good. At least I got through to you.
Am I afraid of eternal damnation? Yes. Can I do anything about it if God decides to throw me into the Lake of Fire anyway regardless of anything I’ve done? No.
I believe that God is good and I believe strongly in the idea that he sent me here for a given purpose. However, I can admit to the fact that I’ve also done a lot of things I’m not proud of. If He decides to toss me into a burning meat grinder for treating my dad like crap, so be it. If He decides to submerge me in a seething lake of carnivorous maggots for letting my dog’s family die and leaving him to live a miserable life and die a lonely death, that is up to God.
I fear eternal damnation, true that. But that doesn’t mean I won’t accept it if that is indeed my fate for being a horrible person.
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