I was inspired by Grimwald’s previous article that I felt I want to delve into it and try to add my own insights. It’s a Sunday and as Grimwald puts it, time to deliver a sermon.
We go to God whenever we are in crisis but generally no one really bothered to examine our relationship with him as a nation.
The Philippines is a predominantly Christian country in South East Asia and actually East Asia. Catholicism dominates the Christian religion in the Philippines and, as Ninoy Aquino added in the quoted interview below, “…we were instinctively Catholics.” There are other sects established in the Philippines who claim they are more improved and are Bible-based than the dominant religion but I have a few friends there too that say otherwise. But the bright side of it is that there are still Filipinos who are continually “seeking his righteousness.”
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However, I am wondering. If we are indeed one of the most Christian countries in the whole world, why does it seem that God’s blessings are not reaching the Philippines despite centuries of prayers and pleas? We are his only believers in this region of the world so we should get divine priority, right? Is he not hearing us? He is too powerful that no sound audible to humans or not that he cannot hear. Are we not praying enough? In the Bible, God explained in many ways that praying have certain requirements. Are we not complying those requirements? And, lastly, how much do we know about the person we are praying to?
1. Do we have an accurate knowledge of God?
“… 85% of Filipinos are Christians…but we never really read the Bible (referring to the Catholics). I don’t know why…” – An excerpt from the interview of the late former senator Ninoy Aquino in The 700 Club.
The primary source of information about God for us Christians is the Bible. Some may cling to other literatures but ultimately it is the Bible as the Muslims to their Quran. I studied in a Catholic elementary school and I somehow proved to myself Aquino’s statement about not reading (or reading less) of the Bible. We had books about religion but those literatures tell more about saints and their miracles, and about the rituals of the Catholics. None of those literatures discussed God’s personality, his sense of justice, proof that he is love, a giver, an all-knowing, all-loving, all-caring person in detail. I graduated from that school carrying an understanding that we have a very strict and unforgiving deity that it once led me to conclude that he is unfair and I preferred being an atheist rejecting the possibility that such a powerful person as God is too impossible.
I just wondered, if we do not have an accurate knowledge of God, his personality, what makes him happy, what kinds of prayer he hears, then I guess we need to reexamine our understanding of him first. Otherwise, don’t you agree that it’s like we keep calling him but we kept dialing the wrong numbers?
2. How much do we follow the Ten Commandments?
(Note: I will not discuss all of the commandments)
a. Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3)
How many of us Filipinos are still starstruck ignoramuses that our minds are very occupied by the affairs of our showbiz idols almost 24/7 instead of gaining accurate knowledge of God? How much time is spent on studying religious matters compared to watching TV for some popular show, browsing the internet to see what is and is not trending or just to get an update on showbiz news. As Christians, we all agree that God created us. If that is so, why are we spending only an hour of an entire week to worship our Creator while we spent the rest of it on some actor, actress, or politician that doesn’t even know us and will fade eventually in a matter of years? To who do we owe our existence? To our government officials? – Que horror!
If we are to construe Exodus 20:3, don’t you think that God also means “I must have your undivided focus” which was actually put as “Love God with all your heart, with all your strength and with all your mind.”?
My point is if we are not giving God much attention, then perhaps he is doing the same to us.
b. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God (Exodus 20:5)
What is it exactly that we do not understand about “thou shall not make a graven image” and “thou shall not bow down to them, nor serve them”? In fairness to the INC, (one time I watched of their programs on TV) I understood this commandment more when I saw one of their commercials. Let me describe to you what I saw:
– Comes in the scene a man holding a chunk of timber
– Waiting at the setting is a chisel and hammer (no other tools, just that)
– He began working on the wood
– Done! Finished product – a figure.
– Lit candles (two based on my memory)
– Final scene: puts the figure and the candles on top of a table, kneels down and pray.
My feeling after seeing that –> Disgusted. I’m sorry my Catholic friends. Why? Because I suddenly remembered when I was around 7 years old, one Christmas Eve, we kids were told to fall in line and kiss the Baby Jesus figure.
If we are praying to God but does this with an image considering that he explicitly told us not to do so, do you think he’d hear us?
c. Thou shall not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14)
Adultery is defined by dictionary.com as ‘the voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse.” In the Bible, I recall Christ preaching against adultery twice and in one he said that a mere lustful look at a woman is already adulterous.
What do we have in society now? Don’t we have leaders that are known philanderers? Who voted for them? Isn’t it the majority? What is their basis? The performance as a previous official and potential to do good could be the answers but then again, being a philanderer should at least made us think twice about these men with respect to the commandment thou shall not commit adultery. Or is it just the Filipino male’s sexuality and ego comes to play in choosing who to vote for?
Ilang babasahin ba meron tayo ngayon na sa bungad nito ay mga litrato ng mga babae na naka-posturang akala mo e (patawad sa paggamit ng salita) – naglalandi. Some will say this is art or freedom of expression. To those who will say that, please explain where do you draw the line? When do you say it is pornographic and when it is art? And please explain when this has become freedom of expression because, according to thelawdictionary.org, it is “The right to say what one wants through any form of communication and media, with the only limitation being to cause another harm in character or reputation by lying or misleading words.” The definition did not include posing almost naked in the media. I can see one word in the mentioned definition that applies to my contention: misleading. It somehow sends a message that women are pleasure objects waiting to be devoured anytime which leads to lust then to adultery.
Imagine this: God is about to grant our prayers and travels from his realm to Malacanan for it but along the way he saw magazines and tabloids with barely clothed women on its covers? Do you think he’ll proceed or will have his convoy turn back?
d. Thou shall not steal (Exodus 20:15)
How many leaders have we elected to office that had previous records of plunder or suspected of amassing millions while in office? Have we learned our lessons? I don’t think so. Some of them have been tried and proven guilty but somehow found a way to crawl back to rise again. Others are suspected and under investigation but cannot prove their innocence in any forum and yet they have quite a number of supporters.
If you are god and you have your people praying for economic progress with such leaders that will supervise the benefits of “economic progress” how will you hear the prayer?
Could it be the one of the reasons why we are still so Third World?
e. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)
Lately, I have been seeing and hearing claims that former president Marcos was merely maligned in history as if we were wrongly informed about him. On another note, I’ve seen a blog telling the scandals of the Aquino/Cojuanco family. Totally different from the way media has projected them. At any rate, reputations have been damaged and public image has been tainted. But I am certain that there are lies in either or both stories.
Mudslinging – wow!
In an election one candidate will definitely rise from the mudslinging where he himself took part and win. Then he will take the oath in which the last statement he will say “So help me God.” – Knowing what he did to get there – “So help me your face!”
By the way, how sure are we that the winner won fair and square? (Bear false witness…)
“Vox Populi Vox Dei” – And God was like “not in your elections.”
Finally, am I expressing a lack of faith in God? I’m not. I am questioning, as I have mentioned, our relationship with him as a nation and our collective means of communicating with him. Remember the Biblical story of Nineveh? It took them only one warning and they repented and God forgave them. What about us?
[Photo courtesy Tempo.]
I use to be a future Supreme Court justice.
76 Replies to “Are we Filipinos indeed Christians?”
That bowing before graven images bit might be the most misinterpreted entry both hardcore Christians and their critics are so guilty of. Those texts are heavy with symbolism. Try not to take everything too literally.
Ah, no, they’re not heavy with symbolism, seth. They get repeated several times. They’re as explicit as “thou shalt not kill”, which is another commandment Filipinos take a bit too lightly.
Atheists think those commandments are pointless, or at best an indication of (human) jealousy. I suspect there was a very good reason for them: viz, worshipping inanimate objects causes something weird to happen to the worshipper. He debases himself to such a level – essentially, placing himself lower than a non-living thing – that he no longer feels constrained by human values.
Because he himself has become an object, nothing is “right” or “wrong” anymore. He is no longer alive and in control of himself; he is merely a thing, buffeted by the laws of physics and the neurotransmitters rattling around in his brain.
I may be wrong; but consider people you know who indulge in this practice, and see if the analysis fits.
“worshipping inanimate objects causes something weird to happen to the worshipper. He debases himself to such a level – essentially, placing himself lower than a non-living thing – that he no longer feels constrained by human values.”
This is very correct.
Hmm… Well done…
Thank you, Grimwald.
(I might do this every Sunday to start a tradition).
Can it just be very likely that your beloved friend never existed in the first place?
Did you ever pray for a person who was so sick, was given 3 months to live but thanks to your prayer still lives today? And that her/his survival was 100% attributable to your prayer? Pls give proof and evidence if YES.
The problem many GRP writers do have is that they write about a topic but never tackle it from ALL angles. Only the angles they want. Isnt that misleading?
Of course we tackle it from the angles WE want, Robert. It’s because each article reflects the point of view of the author. And that is where the comment section comes in, so that you could provide YOUR angle on the issue.
It’s not a problem, Robert. It’s just the way it is here or for that matter on ANY blog.
I know Ben, I know.
But then in this particular case Mr Vincent has to be careful with the words he chooses (misleading is the word). Writers dont have to go in detail about every angle but at least he could mention the other possible options as well. Showing me (a reader) that he thought about every possible option. Now it looks like there are only HIS angles that can apply and that there are no other possibilities.
Vincent can mention all options and then even dismiss a few as “not applicable”. Again at least he showed all of us that in his mind he has all possible options.
I am sure if he (and most other GRP writers would do that) that all comments would be different.
To add (based on real events):
A muslim couple comes to a Dutch doctor. The doctor tells/informs the couple that her (or his) father has only 2 weeks to live and then he will die.
A dutch doctor cannot say such things to a muslim couple bec death is only in the hand of Allah. Only he (Allah) decides when one dies.
Moral of the story: dad died 2 weeks later. Was it Allah’s decision or was it just something the doctor already knew would happen? Now, who is fooling who?
Faith without reason (science) is superstition; reason (science) without faith is idolatry of man
If I would be a GRP-writer I want to include all possible options exactly bec I dont want to be blamed of having some kind of tunnel vision or being blamed for being brainwashed and indoctrinated or being blamed for being biased. I rather want to discuss (with the commenters) about the content of my article then talking/discussing about what is NOT in the article. The former is much more productive and the latter cost a lot of time and is eventually a waste of time and effort.
So I want to include everything and be complete. And if I forget to mention an option in my GRP article/blog I will add that as PS and that it wasnt done deliberately.
Catholics do NOT worship statues or worship saints! A statue is merely a representation of someone who was once living, or in secular terms it can also be a sign of something, such as independence. What about that picture of your family that you have on your desk at work. Your picture helps you to remember and it brings back memories. Are you worshiping your picture every day? Of course not!
pls explain me what I see every time I visit Sto Nino church in Cebu City. I always see people waiving at the statue (behind glass) representing Sto Nino. Every time I see that happen, I really have to leave the scene. If I stay, I would really start to laugh out loud. It really looks so absurd and stupid.
Oh and BTW I dont have a picture on my desk of my family. Also something ridiculous to do. I see my family every day. It would be – maybe – a different matter if my entire family was dead but then still I wouldnt put a pic of my family on my desk. Grrhhh. So simple.
Mabuhay Sir! So simple. You REALLY NEED TO DO YOUR RESEARCH before you make statements about the Catholic church. 🙂
Sorry for being ignorant, my god. You are almighty, so pls you explain. I just ask you to explain to me what I see every time I am visiting Sto Nino. Thats all.
And BTW sir, please read the whole exodos not just exodos 20:15 and also read 1 & 2 Kings.
Happy blessed seeking sir and God bless!
Sorry Mr, but I never read fictional books. Only non-fiction.
Oh i see! I’m woman that’s my nickname.
In this current times, when dealing with seculars, you need to convince them that the Bible is true. Otherwise, you’ll be viewed as talking nonsense.
BTW, presuming you’re a member of the RCC, you need to convince them that the bible AND the church are authoritative 🙂
There are 40,000 Protestant denominations in the world today.
Why so many? Because when one disagrees with another’s belief, he goes off and forms another church. Sometimes, their conflict isn’t even about beliefs but practices and personalities.
One of the things I notice when Protestants convert to Catholicism, it’s not because they’re looking for an experience. It’s because they find theological and logical reasons that convince them to become Catholic.
Errr, we’re talking about discussing Christianity with seculars, who are non-religious by definition, and not Protestants. Don’t shift the discussion, okie? 🙂
It is simple, Robert. And, it is also complicated. Religious experiences are religious experiences, and there is a whole array of psychological books about it. Attending a music concert, for example, is some kind of a religious experience, though of course we don’t call it religious. A Bach, a Mozart, a Beethoven, etc could transport the listener/s to something subliminal. Rock concert even does more than that because they don’t just allow the mind to do the transporting, but also allow the body to follow with jumping or dancing.
There is one style of yoga meditation, when a person is asked to think via first concentrating and focusing on a dot, as a way of removing all other thoughts, and from there to move to thoughts, if possible, abstract, or something immaterial. Paintings, arts, sculpture, especially those by masters, could also transport the mind to things abstract, beautiful, and thoughts that encourages deep thoughts or meditations, or even feelings bigger than, or outside, the body.
Religious arts, images, etc, especially when the symbolism is understood, should also allow such thoughts into the sublime, but with one direction towards heaven and God. But, if the mind can’t do this, of course, there is no point to it all. Worse, if they start worshiping the images or sculpture, then it becomes the worst kind of aberration. But then because it involves the mind, it is very hard to judge what is in a person’s mind by one who is not that person.
But, I understand what you are saying, because I know Philippine Catholicism as practiced is very much mixed with superstition, animism, a primitive totem pole kind of worship. And thus the question of Vincent is relevant: if we call ourselves Christians, do we know the real meaning of that, or did we just actually learn it only by rote, without even understanding it?
Thanks Add (seriously),
I am not an expert about any religion. I never read the bible. All I think (at least for myself) is that I dont need a religion to be a good person. Although I hate such statements saying “I am good person”.
I do think – however – that a religious person cant evolve, cant progress, cant improve bec any religion is limiting such movement forward.
I am even convinced that if more people would lose their religion that the world would be and become a better place.
If I would be a strict catholic I cant even worship Michael Jackson. I am not even allowed to be proud.
For me its very fucked up to be religious. Well next week we get another sermon from Vincent (if I understand him correctly). Maybe he could study becoming a priest and keep his sermon to himself and his flock.
Ah well, freedom of speech for everyone.
Don’t be so sure about these things, Robert. I was born Catholic, grew up what might call a Cafeteria Catholic, became a Born Again (Protestant), got attracted to Buddhism when I was spending a lot of time in Seoul, ended up as an atheist to an aggressive atheist, until something happen in Indonesia, and I am back as a Catholic, but this time serious, but frustrated because the more I read, the more I see I don’t know much.
Don’t look for God, Robert; He will look for you. So, relax; just continue with what you are doing. I can see that you are very good person, so I get this feeling He will look for you.
when he shows up looking for me, I will open the door for him (no sarcasm). But I dont think that will happen in my life time. He still has about 30-35 years to look for me.
To be very honest, I dont see myself becoming a member of any religion. I like my life, I like my friends (male & female), I like my work, I like my hobbies, I like my health.
I dont think a religion can make one of the mentioned aspects even one notch better. Only I can improve all those aspects.
And I am too selfish to focus my entire life on one thing/person. I like diversity. Diversity makes life more exciting.
Oh I forgot. Sex is also a religious experience, though maybe I should not call it religious, less I be misunderstood. Maybe, subliminal is better. Psychology-wise do, terms are same.
Sorry Add but here I have to draw the line. I disagree with you. Sex is something beautiful where two people and two bodies become one when they both have a simultaneous orgasm (pure and plain lust). Having an orgasm is a heavenly feeling and emotion. But there has to be 2 orgasms otherwise good sex is meaningless.
I really hope you ever – no correction – that you always experience a simultaneous orgasm with your partner. Its the best moment, but not the only moment. The foreplay is as important, as is the afterplay.
When a woman is unable to reach her own orgasm then sex is like fucking a robot. Its boring and dull and will finally lead to ending the relationship.
No, Robert, you are actually not disagreeing with what I said. Look at the words you are using: beautiful and heavenly — notions that signify transcendence. You actually fortified what I said.
Let us take out questions related to morality and to modern technology like contraceptives, IVF, stem cells, etc, and just consider the biology of it.
Evolution says that the intense pleasure is there so that species has the incentive to propagate. (I know you would immediately say sex congress does not need to propagate, but this will bring us to another topic, and that is why I said let us look only at biology.)
Science, despite its very advance stage now, has not yet figured how chemistry jumps into biology — despite all their efforts to position the correct elements at the correct time and at correct place, they have not produced a single living cell. For sure, it is a continuing research. We don’t know if they will be successful or not. Admittedly, a success will shake a lot of shallow Faith. I say shake because to obliterate Faith, science should be able to create something from nothing. But, the consensus right now is that life seems to be coming from somewhere. So, life plus chemistry equals biology.
Now, I think you are ready to assume the possibility of God. I am NOT asking you to believe, just assume a possibility. If God exist is He possibly the source of life? I will not go into the long philosophical discussion to answer that because again that will bring us to another topic. But, absent of that philosophy, are you prepared to assume that God is possibly the source of life? Again, the key word is assume, not believe — I will not dare to impose anything on you.
Now, if you are prepared to assume that, can you now see why a sexual congress could be a religious experience? Well, I will tell you why: Both you and the woman are feeling heavenly because you are actually both near heaven, and it is beautiful >>>: both you and the woman at that point are allowing yourselves to be co-creators WITH God of a new life!!! (Why He would choose mere creatures to be co-creators is an interesting question.) Of course, God being a free being could also join or not in the act of creating a life, so there are coitus that don’t produce a life. (Now, don’t ask me about rape, masturbation, sodomy, etc, as that would lead to a very, very complicated philosophical and theological discussion which I don’t think you are interested to listen to.)
okay, let me put it this way.
I actually dont care if a god ever existed or exists still today. Does that make me an agnost? Again, I really dont care. But I see myself as an evolutionist.
If there is something like a god or something like a religion then all I think is that we people can be good even without all those rules, doctrine and what not.
Have I ever killed? Yes I did. I killed many ants and bees/wasps.
Have I ever sinned (according to religious standards)? Yes of course.
Have I ever committed adultery? Oh yes, I did (Every time I see a beautiful woman, I totally undress her with my eyes)
I am just very sorry Add but I think I am too intelligent (am I (too) arrogant now?) to follow their rules. Their rules dont feel good.
Do I help others? If someone asks me to fix her/his computer problems then I will give it a try (free of charge) but I have learned in life (the hard way) that helping people financially always is the start of the end of relationships. And always helping the same people makes me sick and tired. Do I feel bad about that? Not at all.
Finally, I am a too busy person to devote all my spare time to one single thing/person.
From a personal touch – and I really dont like to mention this bec I think its a cheap shot – but where was god when my mom died of cancer; where was god when my dad died of yet another insane illness? Or were that just god’s punishments?
However, I can understand – in a way – that the RC church and religion is still strong and powerfull in PH.
Religion itself is not the problem, but the people who follow religion how they interpret things and that they follow it to the letter (Sharia law comes to mind; the story of Ona comes to mind).
If my nextdoor neighbour wife wants to coveth me bec her sex life is poor and lousy then I understand that. She could better leave her husband but thats another story.
My mindset is that everything I stand for is actually opposite to what the bible dictates. I am pro-abortion, pro divorce, pro euthanasia, pro pre-marital sex.
But pls let us stop making comparison with a religion as if that is THE standard.
Add, I will always listen and I am interested in religion but not to a point to join a religion but just to increase my knowledge. And believe me that I will need someone to interpret textures bec otherwise I may translate things wrongly (unless it can be explained in more than 1 way).
I know and understand that sex is the only NATURAL way to procreate but technology (IVF) overtook that as ONLY way.
I am sure that once you mingle with atheists like me that you think we are Sodom & Gomorrah, a bunch of hedonists. Well maybe you are even right (in your mind).
End of the day, I am not into religion at all. Religion doesnt need me and I dont need religion.
To answer maybe your most important question: I am an evolutionist and not a creationist.
When you have a picture of your gf in your wallet and when you miss her you take it out and look at it and even talk to it and kiss it is that idol worship ?
Regarding bowing down or kneeling down, this is not an act of worship this is an act of showing respect. For example when the US president Obama went to Saudi Arabia he bowed down eight times to the King Abdullah of Saudi and was he worshiping the King?
How about citizens of a The Monarchy of Thailand and United Kingdom, when people kneel and bow down to the their King and Queen are they worshiping them?
In fact Canadians still bow to England’s Queen.
Nice article, Vincent.
Vic-vic: you’re indulging in the Filipino habit of telling us what we’re supposed to think, rather than observing the evidence before our eyes. Psychologists call this ‘gaslighting’ – that is, attempting to make someone disbelieve their own rational thought processes. I expect you to respond with anger, denial, and misrepresentation of my opinion.
Re. the show of respect to human persons: they are at least ALIVE, and it is quite clearly a show of respect. Nobody venerates the queen as a deity capable of supernatural intervention.
You Filipinos bow down to STATUES. Inanimate objects. I’ve seen it. You also pray to saints, in violation of:
“you shall have no other gods before me”.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
So what do YOU think someone is doing when they bow down to a wooden or fiberglass god? From where I’m standing, it looks a lot like idolatry. Catholics reply they’re just asking the saints to ‘intercede’ for them. But Jesus never asked us to do this: he asked us to speak to HIM directly, not to dead humans, or things that “remind us” of him.
Robert: point taken re. belief or non-belief, but I think Vincent is saying that, if Filipinos want to be Christians, they should at least learn what that actually MEANS. Filipinos haven’t absorbed they Christian philosophy. They just think of God as some sort of magic santa in the sky who will fix their problems, while they sit on their ass and crack open another bottle of Red Horse.
But for me its nothing new that christians are becoming less christians.
In my country we can distinguish 3 groups of Christians:
1) the strict followers
2) the moderate followers
3) the enlightened ones.
I just guess there is a movement going on from 1) to 2) in PH and maybe even to 3).
I am surprised that Vincent is not acknowledging such a transition. Hence, I cant take him very seriously. It sounds and looks to me he is living in a cave for quite some centuries
And for sure I dont respect his views at all.
Like I told Benign0, just be complete and cover all angles. Now he just fails to amaze me.
Jesus Christ established a visible Church On Earth.The Catholic Church is the only church that can claim to have been founded by Christ personally.
Jesus Fucking Christ, you sound even worse than people from Scientology.
christ never founded a church, catholic or otherwise. nowhere in the four gospels does christ say found a church in my name, nowhere. spread the gospel yes, build a church with hierarchy and a need for lots and lost of money, no.
constantine founded a quasi-religious/political entity known as the roman catholic church to co-opt the growing pre-existing christian population into the downward trending roman empire.
the challenge is to be christ-like not christian (whatever organized brand it be). christ, if people would just follow and live jesus’ teachings, the ones in the bible, people of faith would be more credible.
ice cube: I don’t think vic-vic has ever read the bible. He/she is just repeating Catholic dogma.
The Catholic Church isn’t even a Church. It is, primarily, a political organisation, and was founded as such. It has territory (originally huge), a head of state, written laws, a police force and (at one time) an army, and diplomatic missions which it uses to interfere in the affairs of other states. Religion is just a cover for its activities.
Somewhat like Al-Qaeda, come to think of it.
I’ve heard people say, “I don’t listen to the Church. I only listen to what the Bible says.” Here’s a problem with a statement like that. You wouldn’t have a Bible if you didn’t have a Church that met, debated and argued for 300 years that the Bible we have now will be in this form. If you don’t believe in the Church, then you can’t believe in the Bible because the selection of its books rests in the authority of those who chose which books to include in it.
>> If you don’t believe in the Church, then you can’t believe in the Bible because the selection of its books rests in the authority of those who chose which books to include in it.
The second part of your sentence is (partially) true. What we today call the Bible has been selected from (no doubt) a larger body of work. Some bits may have been “lost in translation”, distorted, or misrepresented. Therefore, when you read the Bible you are (to some extent) subject to the prejudices of the people who compiled it. There’s not much we can do about that.
However, there are many different Bible translations, all funded by different people (including private individuals), and they’re all very similar. Therefore, the first part of your sentence does not follow. You do not have to “believe in” any Church merely because Churches funded some of the translation work.
Catholics specifically believe the Church is the source of salvation, which to a Christian is blasphemy. Christ said “no-one comes to the father except through me”. He was pretty clear about that, and we have to assume that quote was not manipulated. Humans – popes, saints, or whoever – cannot dispense forgiveness. That is God’s remit.
a person can never solve a problem when looking at it from one angle.
If the person looks at a problem from one angle only, he may apply a tool to solve it. But after x days, weeks, months or years, he realizes that that tool doesnt work.
In a business environment, it will never work to solve a problem by just looking at it from one angle. So why would it work in solving PH problems?
Almost every plane crash can only be attributed to a series of mistakes. Not just only one mistake. Mr. Vincent is looking at problems from only one angle and he thinks that there (in that one angle) lies the solution.
In my company, he would be fired for his attitude and mindset if he addressed business problems in the same fashion.
@Robert: well, you have to pick one topic at a time, and Vincent’s was the Philippines’ overt religiosity but complete lack of spiritual development.
Like it or not, the Philippines IS a religious country, and the best way forward might be to harness that fanaticism by nudging it in the correct direction, rather than attempting to eliminate it entirely. And you would perhaps agree that the Philippine version of religion IS a massive problem, so addressing it certainly is a big part of the solution, even if it’s not the whole solution.
Incidentally, I think you conflate ‘religiosity’ with ‘faith’. The latter is a very personal thing; it’s usually harmless and sometimes socially beneficial, at least if people have faith in something good. The former – fanatic obsession with an organised religion – is invariably bad.
@Vincent: I’m not sure if God is “offended” as such. I think it’s more the case that Filipinos aren’t even speaking to Him: they’re speaking to … who knows what? I mean, look at their idols. They look like something from the Chucky movies. They f’ing freak me out. The fact that they call their deity “Jesus” is neither here nor there. Whoever they’re calling upon, he certainly isn’t Jesus Christ. If it were, they wouldn’t do the terrible things they do. It’s more likely, I think, that they’re addressing Bathala and/or their traditional spirit-gods.
In any case, God doesn’t need to get offended. Nature deals out all the punishment required. Throw trash in the storm drains and the laws of physics will ensure that your city floods. Cut down your forests and nature will wreak revenge on you. Spray poisons everywhere and your crops will fail. God doesn’t need to lift a finger when the Filipinos are busy shooting themselves in the foot at every opportunity.
If and when I would/will write a GRP article/blog then I will start by mentioning all the things that needs to be addressed in order to make the PH less poor/richer for the public/people.
After mentioning all those things, I will start addressing them one by one and how to “attack” and solve them. So in case there are 5 topics/subjects that need to be addressed, I might write 1 long blog or 5 different ones (part 1 to part 5). But I will include all by looking at the bigger problem from ALL angles. And then finally end with a PS that if someone thinks I forgot one that I not intentionally, not deliberately mention that 6th topic.
Here is my provisional list in random order
1) the (corrupt) government, politicians, president
2) PH laws and constition
4) educational system
5) the PH culture (utang na loob, respect, traditions, crab mentality, OFWs, remittance of money, etc, basically it comes down to THE people => the dysfunctionality of the PH society)
6) the media (TV, radio, printed media, internet).
Now as you are well aware by now, Mr. Grimwald refuses to mention religion as a possible cause for the state of the PH and cause for the poverty.
Mr. Grimwald refuses to mention the people (= culture) as a possible cause of all problems.
So in my book, Mr. Grimwald is just a coward. What is the proverb: dont bite the hand that feeds you?
I really think Mr. Grimwald is too afraid to attack his own religion for losing friends and family members who are looking over his shoulder.
Thank you Marius.
“if Filipinos want to be Christians, they should at least learn what that actually MEANS.” – Precisely. Maybe the insufficient, or lack of, knowledge or understanding of the Christian doctrines but applying it in governance (or even in day-to-day affairs) is what’s keeping us in our national “misery”. We could be misusing it and God is already offended, hence, he is not hearing and will not hear us.
My 2 cents here. Philippines is a religious but not a Christian country. I have to agree with Robert that identifying a problem and solving it has be thoroughly examined in all angles. My number one problem on the list though would be religion. Religion teaches us not to question God, not to question Church leaders, not to question our parents or someone older, not to question the leader of the country. Just have faith and everything will soon be alright. What did God gave us brain for?
In šāʾ Allāh
Hugh: good point, that’s EXACTLY the problem with the Church as it exists in the Philippines: it reinforces dictatorship and demagoguery by preventing people from thinking.
Whatever your concept of God, is your business. Whatever you do to practice , your religion is your business.
As long as you do not Force others to your religion; like being a Jihadist. Suicide bombing yourself and other people, to prove your point. And earn your eternal sexual activities with 72 virgins in Paradise…it will be okay for me.
Organized religion is both a Curse and Blessing to mankind. How many wars have taken place , in the name of religion? How many Murders/Mass Killings have been committed, in the name of religion? How many slaves, prejudices, bigotries, and other human exploitations, have occurred in the name of religion?
During a plague of serpents sent to punish the Israelites during the exodus, God told Moses to “MAKE A STATUE OF A FIERY SERPENT, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it shall live. So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live” (Num. 21:8–9).
Not a good argument for Bowing down to statues. Nehushtan, the name the Fiery Serpent was known eventually, was later destroyed by King Hezekiah.
The fact that King Hezekiah had to destroy the bronze serpent does not change the fact that God had commanded its construction in the first place, used it as a vehicle of his healing power, and that Jesus said it was a type of himself(John 3:14-15).
He actually commanded it to Moses, does the makers of these statues ever heard the voice of God and commanded them to create a statue for him, guess not. People just assumed, that’s why God never talk to us anymore, he just set us to our own freewill and use our brain to do what is right. But unfortunately, we are not analyzing the religion we are in, we are merely brainless follower. For example, i respect that men are created above women, but i believe god is a Fair God, so it doesn’t mean that men will just shove their authority over women without justice, with giving-in to man’s authority, women should be respected, which i rarely see nowadays.
To all of those opposing my graven image opinion let me ask you this (to help me out if you think I’m drifting from the correct doctrine):
We are talking about a law given by the Christian (or Mosaic) God which we as Catholics needs to abide. There is a subject in law called Statutory Construction and one its topics are “Adherence to, or departure from, language of statute.” One studied Philippine case in that subjects says “If a statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. This is what is known as plain-meaning rule or verba legis. It is expressed in the maxim, index animi sermo, or speech is the index of intention.”
Now tell me, what is it about the Commandment regarding “making graven images” and “not vowing before them” that is not clear or ambiguous that we could interpret (or depart from) it in another way apart from what was expressed which is the prohibition to do so? By the way, not only was this prohibition expressed in the Exodus but also in Isaiah (42:8) – “I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
Regarding vowing to human monarchs, I don’t know. Maybe they too are committing a sin. For instance, in Acts 10:26-27, Cornelius “met him (Peter the disciple) and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. ‘Stand up,’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself.'” (New International Version) I for myself am not sure if I will do that. Perhaps if there’s a gun in my head I might consider but until then, I might just offer a handshake to human king or queen just like JFK to Paul VI.
Regarding family pictures in the wallet or in your desks, though you may look at them, talk to them or put flowers or incense before it, but I’m quite sure you’re not talking to the picture of your loved ones asking them for providence or for guidance, are you?
Teenagers living in western countries (mainly girls) have posters of One Dirction, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake on their bed room walls. And believe me those girls are worshipping those boys/guys even much more than they worship any god. Justin Bieber is their new god.
As for adult guys, they may have a Rembrandt painting on their wall. And the owner of that painting may worship that painting and the painter.
For me as atheist, there is much more in life than occupying my expensive spare time to something non-existent with stupid rules. The only rules I abide to are the laws set by my government (but I like to take advantage of loop holes in the system)
And if there was a god, he should have punished me a long time ago. But I am still alive and kicking and enjoying my good health.
Thank you, Robert for giving attention to my article.
About me not looking at all angles, well, yeah you’re right. I wrote based on my own experiences and observations. That is why I thought I should reopen my conclusions by asking questions to the readers. It’s like me telling them “this is what I’ve seen. What’s yours? Let’s talk about it.”
“And if there was a god, he should have punished me a long time ago. But I am still alive and kicking and enjoying my good health.” (I am laughing while writing this) – Well, good for you. Maybe God has one favorite human.
thank god, you are not crying while you wrote it.
My personal experiences with overly religious people is that they fail to see reality and not wanting to accept that new reality. And maybe even more importantly, they fail to be critical at their own religion. They never seem to doubt themselves and never doubt their religion. You know what? Every morning that I wake up, I look in the mirror and think: what I did yesterday was that good enough? (Not ethically or morally, but just about could I have done my work better and that leads to stress. Raising the bar higher and higher for myself).
It really must feel good to be religious. One commits adultery and then asking for foregiveness in the confession booth. Wow, I wish I could live in such a world.
Hi Vincent re graven images.
For your kind consideration, if I may:
by Joe Heschmeyer:
I. What Does the Bible Actually Say About Images?
The King James Version of Exodus 20:4-6:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
The word being translated here as “graven images” literally means that in Hebrew, but it’s a bit misleading as a translation. The Hebrew word (pecel) is used some thirty-one times in the Old Testament, and every time it refers to idols. So a better translation is that you shall not make idols.
Understanding the prohibition as literally against “graven images” is problematic for two reasons.
First, it’s far too narrow. What about idols that aren’t engraved? Say, a picture Buddha. Is the picture okay to worship, since it’s painted, rather than engraved? Obviously not.
Second, it’s far too broad. If the prohibition is against images, rather than idols, then all sculpture is out, regardless of the artist’s motivation. We can’t have Michelangelo’s David, or even those miniature statues of lions that people have in front of their houses. And if you ignore the graven part (as Protestants tend to do), it would prohibit all paintings and photographs of people, or animals, or nature. Who actually abides by that rule? Certainly not God.
In fact, it’s much, much worse than all that. In Exodus 25:17-22, God orders the engraving of two golden Cherubim on top of the mercy seat upon the Ark of the Covenant. It was here that God would commune with Moses, and Moses would worship Him.
Yup, incense, and kneeling in front of a couple of statutes. So did God just order Moses to violate the Ten Commandments? Obviously not. But that means that pecel cannot be understood to mean all images. It just cannot, or we’re forced to accuse God of violating His own Commandments.
Instead, the prohibition against making and kneeling before pecels is a prohibition against making and praying to idols, as the NIV, NASB, NLT, and most modern Protestant and Catholic translations of the Bible recognize. This is the only understanding of the passage that makes any sense.
What should be incredibly clear is that God doesn’t order iconoclasm. He doesn’t prohibit art, even realistic art, even religious art. In fact, as surprising as this tends to be for Protestants, He doesn’t even prohibit art where there’s a chance it’ll be misused for idolatry. In fact, He orders it in at least one case.
In Numbers 21:8-9, God orders Moses to create a bronze serpent and mount it on the pole: anyone who looks upon it is healed of snakebite. He does this, knowing full well that within a short time, the people are going to start worshiping the statue, instead of the God who saved them through the statue. And sure enough, the Israelites name the bronze snake Nehushtan, and begin worshiping it, until King Hezekiah destroyed it (2 Kings 18:4). God foreknows that this will happen, yet he orders the engraving of the Nehushtan statue anyway. Why? Because before they fell into idolatry, the statue helped them visibly comprehend the majesty of the invisible God. And it also prefigured the Cross, the most visible sign of God’s love.
So what should we learn from the example of the bronze serpent? God isn’t upset with images themselves. In fact, where images help draw us closer to Him, He wants us to have them. That’s why He orders the golden Cherubim: to remind us of Him. But what upsets Him is anything that causes us to wander from Him. Jesus illustrates this point dramatically in Matthew 18:7-9, when He warns us against letting our own bodies stand between us and right relationship with God.
II. How The Incarnation Answers Iconoclasm
Hopefully, at this point, we all agree that the Old Testament doesn’t prohibit images, doesn’t prohibit statuary or engraved images, doesn’t even prohibit religious images. But the New Testament builds upon and fulfills the Old, and this is true when it comes to religious imagery, as well. See, for example, Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 22:15-22:
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap Him in His words. They sent their disciples to Him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is Your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap Me? Show Me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought Him a denarius, and He asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied. Then He said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left Him and went away.
So while the coin is made in the image of Caesar, each one of us is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), and should give our everything to Him. But look at what He uses to make that point: a coin with a graven image of Caesar, the very man being worshiped by many Romans. Jesus doesn’t order the denarius to be destroyed as some sort of idol. Instead, He uses the coin to show us God.
This is radical, because in the Old Testament, the One you couldn’t do a depiction of was God Himself. He was too big, too infinite, too far beyond human imagination. Any image was considered to be an insult to His Divinity. Christ fulfills all of this in Himself. At the beginning of the book Catholicism by Fr. Robert Barron, he talks about this point. On pages 1-2, he explains the importance of the Incarnation, and what it reveals about God:
The Incarnation tells central truths concerning both God and us. If God became human without ceasing to be God and without compromising the integrity of the creature that he became, God must not be a competitor with his creation. In many of the ancient myths and legends, divine figures such as Zeus or Dionysus enter into human affairs only through aggression, destroying or wounding that which they invade. And in many of the philosophies of modernity God is construed as a threat to human well-being. In their own ways, Marx, Freud, Feuerbach, and Sartre all maintain that God must be eliminated if humans are to be fully themselves.
But there is none of this in the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation. The Word does indeed become human, but nothing of the human is destroyed in the process; God does indeed enter into his creation, but the world is thereby enhanced and elevated. The God capable of incarnation is not a competitive supreme being but rather, in the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the sheer act of being itself, that which grounds and sustains all of creation, the way a singer sustains a song.
That passage is absolutely brilliant, even without diving into that theologically-rich final sentence. This has huge implications for how we approach Creation, beauty, and science (the study of both Creation and truth), as well as how we understand God. But let’s just look at the implications for religious imagery.
Properly understood, then, the Incarnation answers the error of iconoclasm. The infinite and immortal God, beyond all imagination, has taken on our humanity, that we might come to Him and share in His Divinity (2 Peter 1:4). In other words, God isn’t just telling us that Creation isn’t evil. He’s positively telling us that Creation is good. Christ becomes the visible Image of God in a perfect way. Nehushtan is replaced by Our Crucified Lord. St. Paul puts it simply (Col. 1:15): “the Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Imagery of the invisible God is no longer prohibited, because we can now envision God: Jesus Christ.
So in a nutshell, if religious images elevate your spirit, if they draw you towards God, they’re fine. In fact, they’re better than fine. You should use them. But if you can’t tell the difference between religious images and God Himself, then you shouldn’t.
III. The Dangers of Iconoclasm
The prohibition against religious art and imagery isn’t harmless. To the left is a picture of the doorway to a Dutch church (St. Stevens), that was vandalized by Protestants in the 16th century. They cut the heads off of the statues of Jesus and the saints, and the angels from the doorway.
Thank God that they didn’t find the Ark of the Covenant, because I can think of no coherent reason why they’d be against statues of angels in the doorway to a church, but fine with statues of angels on the Ark of the Covenant.
Now, obviously, Protestants today aren’t roving around destroying Catholic art. But iconoclasm has ongoing negative impacts. When The Passion of the Christ came out, it was condemned as idolatry, with commenters making sweeping claims like “all pictures, statues or portrayals of our Lord are idolatrous.” Taken seriously, this goes a lot further than outlawing the local Nativity play (or creche).
If re-enacting the words and actions of Christ constitutes idolatry, it’s hard to see how even Protestant Lord’s Suppers wouldn’t be idolatry, since the pastor speaks the words of Christ in the first person. For that matter, why is it okay to read the words of Christ out loud from the Gospels? It’s about as likely that someone hears their pastor reading Scripture and mistakes him for Jesus as is it that they’ll mistake Jim Caviezel for Jesus Christ.
Can you get to Christ without visible imagery? Certainly. The blind do it all the time. But step back and consider the countless number of people brought to Christ by The Passion of the Christ, or by the Oberammergau Passion Play, or by the numerous Nativity scenes and even Christmas school plays. Those souls would be lost in the dreary world of the iconoclast. That’s far from harmless.
And take heed, Christian. The Seventh Ecumenical Council, accepted by Catholics and Orthodox alike, and one of the seven that many Protestants give at least some weight to, actually declared “Anathema to those who do not salute the holy and venerable images.” This is a real problem for those who pay lip service to the Seven Councils while ignoring what those Councils actually taught.
So, here’s what we know:
The Old Testament prohibits idols, not images;
God sometimes commanded religious images in worship;
In using religious images, we’re not to worship them (obviously);
The mere fact that religious images could be (and sometimes were) abused as idolatry didn’t stop God from ordering them;
The one major religious image taboo the Jews had, about the creation of Images of God Himself, is resolved in the Incarnation, since “the Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Col. 1:15).
Iconoclasm (the total rejection of images) has prevented untold scores of people from coming to Christ;
The Church, in a Council accepted by Catholics, Orthodox, and many Protestants, orders the use of religious images.
One final point: some Protestants try to argue that images in general are okay, but not Catholic statues, because we kneel down in front of them. But what’s prohibited is kneeling in front of pecels, which as we’ve seen, only means idols. And again, there was a ton of kneeling in front of the Mercy Seat!
I’m sorry I forgot to acknowledge my source on statutory construction.
“Statutory Construction”, 5th Ed, Agpalo, 2003. p. 124.
Originally this commandment forbade male Israelites to have sexual intercourse with the wife of another Israelite, though Israelite men were not forbidden to have sexual intercourse with the slaves belonging to their own household. Sexual intercourse between an Israelite man, even if he was married, and an unmarried or unbetrothed woman was not considered as adultery. This concept of adultery stems from the economic aspect of Israelite marriage, as adultery constituted a violation of the husband’s exclusive right to his wife, whereas the wife, as the husband’s possession, had no such right.
So I posses my wife. I thought slavery was abolished
Wat happened to equality? The wife is stripped from rights that men do have.
Hallelujah for being religious.
That is correct, Robert, but the real reason is that the man wanted to make sure that the sons were his real children and deserving of whatever inheritance there was.
Subsequent correct reading particularly of the New Testament, not just of the Old, justified the abolition of slavery, but came much later when canon lawyers began to understand that there were actually two sets of laws in the Bible: a set contingent on customs and the set which is not, by comparing the Old with the New, and vice-versa.
The way you thinks restored my faith that not all men are narrow minded jerks that believe they are gods to be worshipped by a lot of women, that women should be thankful that a man will take them as a wife. It is upsetting that in philippine society, men who has a lot of wives are cool, while a woman who is not a virgin anymore or has two or more previous boyfriends/husband is a slut, that a woman have no right to say no to sex, if she says no, she will be called “pakipot’ (hard to get) but if she says yes she is a slut. Machismo is at its best here in the philippines, it is saddening that women have to suffer for it.
Carmela: maybe you could write an article on that topic? It’s something I’ve noticed myself. Far too many Philippine men seem to be 12-year-old boys in an adult body.
I wasnt raised that way. Women and men are equal, though there are differences, evidently.
I dont see the husband as head of the family. That is so BS. Decisons should be made mutually and consensually.
But no matter what: women must have the same rights as men.
We Filipinos are made up of various imported religion–none of it originating from our culture—that compels us to compete with one another, to validate our heightened sense of selfish/self-serving (makasarili) and aristocratic/arrogant (hambog) attitude and way of life. Christianity (and Islam) is just a prop that Filipinos used to justify their “Pinoy Pride” chicken mentalities and behavior.
For the past 2’000 years, our Church has
committed the most mistakes and we’ve gone through it. We’ve had inquisition. We had the bloody Crusades where we killed Moslems and Jews. We had horrendous popes during the Middle Ages who had affairs and concubines. We also had shameful popes who sold bishoprics and dioceses to the highest bidder.
But thanks be to God we had those failures. You know why? because we’re better now.
Today, there are young churches that claim they are the exclusive path to salvation. Unless you become their member, you cannot be saved.I chuckle and say, “Been there, done that.” There was a time when the Catholic Church used to teach that only Catholics would be saved. But now we’re humbler, older and more mature. We know that we are not the only ones who will be saved.
The Catholic Church may be “better”, but it’s still is disgrace to humanity and to Christianity. Not least: its encouragement of irresponsible breeding, lack of respect for God’s creation, and obsession with political power.
You do not need a Church to be a Christian.
I thought that god’s house is everywhere. So I can even pray in my own toilet (you call it comfort room, I guess, in the Philippines).
I am getting quite sick and tired of all discussions about christianity, (roman) catholocism, church, god and what not. It seems to me – represented by Vic Vic & Vincent – that only religious people are good. Strange, when living in a rich country without any serious problems and where the majority is atheist.
Robert – certainly you can do that. I don’t think he’d be too bothered.
While religion might have no meaning to you personally, it has a great deal of meaning to the average Filipino. A lot of their problems are caused by adherence to dysfunctional religious dogma, so discussions about it are highly relevant, IMO.
As for the “atheist” country in which you live: I think you dismiss your history too lightly, including the central place it had in progressive religious reforms.
While the average Dutch person today might profess to not believe in God, certain religious memes – such as Thou Shalt Not Kill – are firmly embedded in his cultural memory. Conversely, in countries with no such background, you find the worst of human nature expressing itself to the full.
I do know where I come from although I wasnt really present back then. THE change came when the roaring 1960s began.
And pls believe me, Marius, we kill every day. We have legal abortion and in the eyes of religious people that is killing.
And to make matters worse – maybe for you – I am pro-abortion. I think people should be able to have and to get a way out. To undo a mistake.
I am also pro-euthanasia. Doctors even did that with my mom. Giving her a OD of morphine.
I am not pro these things for the sake of it. I am pro because we can undo things or we can die dignified at our own chosen moment.
And we can end a relationship bec its not working anymore (divorce with paying alimony by the person with highest income).
Furthermore what I noticed and notice still is the hypocrisy surrounding being “religious” in PH-land.
Take for instance my EX. She writes on her FB she is a devout catholic, but at the same time she had premarital sex and used contraceptives. Now personally I dont care about the latter 2 but together with the former statement. Wow, she got a nerve.
Therefore, I really think a lot of things happen secretively (under the radar) while in public (like FB) we portray ourselves as goody two shoes. So that all my friends will still think I am a devout catholic.
Can you imagine that such things make me vomit and puke?
Okay she didnt need to post a message that she fucked my brains out day in and day out. But pls remove that religious statement. Amnd dont post any religious message anymore bec you are not worth it anymore.
And besides, before me she had 2 other pinoy BFs that she also F*****.
Anyone (Failipinos in particular) who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.
Also, Filipinos seem to believe that by being a devout Catholic and going to their daily novenas, regular processions honoring their saints while clogging up the already congested roads and streets, and reciting their rosary prayers every night, will help lift their country out of poverty and corruption. Wishful Praying.
If we are a christian country why are we so discriminating abour colors, physical appeareance and other categories that we could mock at. For only the eyes of the sinner differentiate what is beautiful and ugly, we are the most racist when it comes to that, besides, Gods sees what is in the heart and not what human usually look at.
Having a discriminating taste, and prejudice, about everyone and everything in life is part of our human nature; it’s something we can’t deny or rise above to make ourselves non-discriminatory and unbiased. This includes how we discriminate about our spiritual and religious beliefs, and those of others, which we prejudge base on our prior knowledge and experience.
Then let’s show our country men what a TRUE Christian is…Let’s be Christ-like to the core so we can truly become a Christian country…I’m already doing it…are you?
In terms of religion, yes we are a Christian Catholic country in that most Filipinos are baptized as Catholics or affiliated with Roman Catholic religion. However, if the religion is flawed then the Filipinos practicing that religion are also flawed w/c contribute to the condition the Filipinos and the country is like today. Most Catholics don’t fully grasp or understand the truth behind their affiliation (they don’t read their Bible, they only go to church once a week, spend time “with God” just one hour a week during Sat or Sunday mass, they only pray when they needed something from God, they celebrate day of saints and hold Catholic processions for that day and fast only during holy week) still they continue with it because that’s what they grew up with. They comply with conditions of religious culture or tradition they grew up with. And they are mostly using God’s name in vain. Devout Catholics or Christians on the other hand have Bible studies, does catechism or discipleship, go on a mission, assist in church services, and recite different prayers in a day or pray to thank God, feel His presence and receive guidance from Him. They also live guided by the Bible on what Jesus does or commanded them to do. But then what does it really mean to be a Christian? To some being a Christian means following Jesus and turning away from sin (it follows that if you’re a follower of Christ you’ll turn away from sins). It is so but being a Christian starts with accepting Jesus as your Savior and it is by having faith in God’s work that is the first importance of Christianity. That one’s salvation does not rely solely on what one does but on what Jesus did for him or her (John 3:16 dying on a cross because of His love for us) and on who Jesus is (1 John 4:8 – because God is love).
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
“However, if the religion is flawed then the Filipinos practicing that religion are also flawed w/c contribute to the condition the Filipinos and the country is like today.” – Yes, this is my point.
Had it been majority of Filipinos are Hindus, then I would have written that maybe we should review the Vedas; if we were all Buddhists, then I would have said let’s check the Tipitaka; and if we are predominantly atheist but still living as Third World, then I would have suggested that we study how the developed countries with citizens mostly atheist work their systems.
It appears Lea Salonga seems like she’s also asking that question of yours: http://www.rappler.com/nation/102179-lea-salonga-religion