Mathematical proof that the Ateneo “AMDG” slogan contributes ZERO to God’s glory


In school, most Ateneans will have acquired the habit of writing the acronym “AMDG” at the top of their exam papers or any important schoolwork and then affixing a cross on top of it. AMDG stands for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, Latin for the presumptuous phrase “for the greater glory of God”. This practice has been criticised as not really being about God’s “glory” as it had been reduced to more of a good luck charm and, as such, a mere artifact of superstitious belief.

Stepping back a bit, it is worth revisiting the notion of doing something “for the greater glory of God”. It seems a bit presumptuous that one can actually add to God’s glory considering that said glory is infinite. Indeed, if we analyse this concept mathematically, we will find that no matter how much one contributes to infinite glory, one will end up contributing nothing.

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Mathematicians regard the magnitude of any finite number relative to infinity as an infinitessimal and, in calculus, this relative quantity has been resolved to zero by stating that: The ratio of any number to x as x approaches infinity is equal to zero.

This is mathematical proof that even if the entire human population on the face of the planet who had ever lived (and who have yet to be born) was put to the task of doing stuff “for the greater glory of God”, their net contribution before God will ultimately add up to zilch. Indeed, even if every sentient being in the universe is crucified, all that will amount to jack shit before God’s eyes. Because he is an “infinite being” and anything put before infinity amounts to zero.

So why even try?

The trouble with the Roman Catholic Church is that it sets its flock off to do impossible tasks and teaches them that they will be condemned to eternal damnation if they fail to succeed. That’s absolute nonsense. People are wasting their time believing the drivel they get subject to everytime they open their ears to these men in robes.

And this is the whole trouble with Philippine society. A society that continues to hinge itself on Catholic dogma even as alternative, more modern, and more coherent ways of cognitively dealing with reality are now ubiquitous and accessible is a nonsensical society. The great thing about all this is that the solution to extricating Filipinos from this abject primitivism is sitting right under our noses. The Roman Catholic Church needs to be removed from the power equation of Philippine politics. Only then will the quality of Filipino thinking advance.

13 Replies to “Mathematical proof that the Ateneo “AMDG” slogan contributes ZERO to God’s glory”

  1. I never did that practice of writing AMDG on my test paper when I was there in college (or maybe just once, lol). I thought that was a reflection of what Filipinos do, “sucking up.” If you want special favors, suck up to someone. I think at least a teacher said, “even if you do that, it’s only your right answers that count.”

    In our evangelical Christian teaching, we are told indeed that humans can’t add any more glory to an already infinite God. Also, if humans claim to be doing something for the glory of God, it’s likely to be untrue and is actually just vested interests. Some people are just seeking the most effective rationalizations for their stupid wants over others, and claiming to have “license” from a divine being is one of the latest fads.

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  2. Maybe it’s just my curiosity that I would want to ask both of you, if I may.

    @ChinoF, what do you mean by “evangelical Christian teaching”? I mean, to what group do you belong?

    @benign0, is your belief in god also allied with some group or something, like the bible, or with an ideology/philosophy perhaps, because you would always say “modern thinking”?

    1. Evangelical had been called “born again” in this country some years back. It’s often grouped along with Protestants, along with Baptists, Pentecostals and Lutherans, but evangelicals have sometimes wanted to be considered separate from that group. I accept the Protestant label though.

  3. I don’t mind people putting “good luck charms” on their exam papers. If they are Muslims, they could put there the Islamic Shahadah , that is : “There is no god, but Allah, and Muhammed is his prophet.” If they are Buddhist, they could put, the logo of Buddha, meditating. If they are Hindus, they could mumble the “oracion” : “Om, Om, Om”, before taking exam.

    The Roman Catholic students, put :” For the greater glory of god. ” With the Christian cross on the top… I would bet that Atheists will just take the exam, and not put anything. Or they could draw a rabbit foot, as a good luck charm.

    If they fail or are “bagsak” in their exams. It is no longer the glory of their god. They did not study their lessons well, or may had crammed before the exams.

    This world is still strange, even if we have advanced much in Science and Technology. Some people just do not want to part with their “oracions” or good luck charms. Some priests are holding tight to their superstitions, and make it sure it will continue to the next generations of Filipinos.

  4. If we try to quantify the glory of this infinite BEING in terms of the amount of energy at play in the cosmos: there are about 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe, with say 100 billion stars per galaxy; one of these nuclear fusion reactors suspended in “empty space” is our sun, which beams energy in every direction. At a radius of about 90 million miles, some of that energy finally reaches Earth and that radiant heat is enough to sustain life on the entire planet.

    Now just how much of the sun’s energy reaches Earth? A measly 0.000 000 000 1% according to Quora. Then wind back and try to imagine how many “Earths” the entire collection of stars in the universe can sustain…. yes, it’s jaw dropping. And the Pinoy elite Atenista/Lasallista has the audacity to say “God, let me help you out”.

    We really ought to start putting things in proper perspective: the nations are but a drop in the bucket/ocean for this BEING called God (who fine-tuned the physical constants G,h,c,… and programmed the DNA to bring forth intelligent lifeforms). It’s time Filipinos began reflecting deeper on their “significance”, or rather insignificance, in the grand scheme of things.

    1. Yes, most people cannot grasp the numbers and magnitudes involved in discussions and ponderings like these. Even within the finite, our lot shrinks to an infinitesimal significance. What more relative to the infinite.

    2. And here we see the failure of the Intellectuals at hand. Always trying to manipulate people’s view of the world through the lens of their material theories and abstractions. Never once considering the vital, qualitative aspects of life that matter in the life and formation of various peoples.

      What might seem infinitesimal to you is certainly not infinitesimal to the spirit of the times and to God. Seeing as he is not some Numerical Abstraction but the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

      I guess I should be happy that you people are self-marginalizing twats. ;^)

  5. Do you write it down for Him to read it or for yourself to read? Genius, it is a reminder for yourself to do your best and level up. Also since we are indulging your bullshit, infinity would not be infinity if it were missing one single point. So while any single persons contribution approaches zero, the mere lack of it makes you one less than infinity. so you could argue that the implications of one good deed can swing between nothingness and infinity. Therefore do it best you can. AMDG!

    1. Love says: ‘I am everything ‘. Wisdom says: ‘I am nothing’. Between the two my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience. I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.

      N. M.

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