Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I've been pretty vocal about my views regarding religion, at least in my head. Being a staunch supporter of the RH Bill and having relatives who are members of the infamous Opus Dei and friends who would rather talk about Bruno Mars's concert rather than opinions about religion, I'm afraid to say that I don't really have an outlet with regards to these matters, hence this out-of-character article. So forgive me for this philosophical rant. I'll admit, I probably don't know half of what I'm talking about but I guess this is a good medium to be educated and possibly have an enlightening conversation from someone with a contradicting opinion.

I was surfing YouTube earlier and found myself watching a few heart-wrenching videos of the destruction brought about by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I got to read the comments and was astounded by how people were arguing about God and religion rather than offering their sincerest sympathies to the people of Japan. I read more of them and was bewildered by some comments bashing others for blaming God for this catastrophe for he is a good God and he cannot possibly be responsible for this kind of destruction. It's the tectonic plate's fault for moving, Mother Nature, science... not God.

Then I searched for a bit around the interwebs and found this meaningful snippet from

Problem of evil and religion's double standard

Q: Many have criticized Pat Robertson's suggestion that the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti was the work of the devil or a form of divine punishment. But if one believes God is good and intervenes in the world, why does God allow innocents to suffer? What is the best scriptural text or explanation of that problem you've ever read?

One of the striking differences between modern, "organized" religion and tribal or folk religions--religions without seminaries and theologians and official books--is that in tribal religions they have no double standard! They thank their gods for the good stuff that happens and blame them for the bad. The idea that God is a worthy recipient of our gratitude for the blessings of life but should not be held accountable for the disasters is a transparently disingenuous innovation of the theologians. And of course it doesn't work all that well. The Problem of Evil, capital letters and all, is the central enigma confronting theists. There is no solution. Isn't that obvious? All the holy texts and interpretations that contrive ways of getting around the problem read like the fine print in a fraudulent contract--and for the same reason: they are desperate attempts to conceal the implications of the double standard they have invented.

Analyzing such complex matters like this can give one a migraine, but my point is simple. Because when you think about it, if you believe that God exist and there is a Supreme Being in the world, who has this omnipotent Will (Yes, in capital letters) and is capable of ruling lives and making things happen (Dear God, thank you for making me pass the board exam, thank you for landing me a job.. To God be the glory!) it logically follows that since he is the master of all things... he too must be responsible for everything else, the good and the bad

The disappearing tumor, the earthquakes, the miracle cancer recovery and the wars. I just find it confusing how people blame science (The earthquake isn't God's Will, it's about the sudden movement of tectonic plates!) when horrid things happen and thank God for the good ones. How convenient.

But, I admit, putting the blame on God for the recent catastrophes all around the globe doesn't seem right. I feel like I'm now going to get struck by a lightning made from heavenly fury because I am committing a sin from actually thinking and trying to understand the stuff that is going on in our world. I am not a theologian nor have studied excessively about philosophy so feel free to correct my errors and enlighten this confused mind.

Losing Faith in Modern Structured Religion

Personally, I think modern structured/organized religion is crap. Maybe not a lot of people think too much the way I do that they need a shepherd to follow around, but I honestly believe that these institutions just makes matters more complicated than they really are. They are supposedly there to give us answers but they create more questions from the 'answers' that they give. I find all the rules and the obligations you must perform or-else-you-soul-will-rot-in-hell-for-all-eternity propagated by the leaders of these congregations manipulative and unnecessary, targeted mostly at those who lack education and personal conviction.

Double Standards on Sex

Take for example the (Catholic) church's obsession with sex and birth control. It is perfectly fine to believe that premarital sex is the downfall of civilization, they are entitled to that opinion, but to completely ignore what is currently happening in our society is wrong. Teenage pregnancies are being conceived almost everywhere and sexually transmitted diseases run rampant in our country. The church has been teaching the same lessons (abstinence, abstinence, ABSTINENCE!) for eons now, and obviously, they are not working. 

It's time to face the real 21st century music and, instead of lecturing about staying pure and chaste, which everybody else who are planning to have sex will ignore anyway, let us teach them to take control and be responsible of their bodies and future.

So what's the double standard there? Let me just put a brief mention about the priests being condemned left and right for sexually assaulting children and having secret families/lovers while the Vatican does its notorious clean-up operation, covering everything up better than a serial killer could his latest murder victim.

Painting the Church White 

How many times have I heard this: "We will have a 2nd collection for the painting/completion/building of our parish church.. etc. etc." And this is not just for the Catholic congregation but also for the other churches where gleaming golden altars shine through our poverty stricken country. 

Just passing by Ortigas Avenue  (Did you notice that gigantic Christian sacred-temple slash mall hybrid being constructed in this massive land area?) made me realize how ridiculously rich the founders / leaders of established faiths are. All of them preach about sharing wealth, staying humble and living a simple life like Jesus did by giving most of his fortune to the poor and yet they spend hundreds of millions of pesos creating these accessory buildings when they could very well donate everything to charity, adhere to what they teach and probably do more good in the world.

Have you noticed how lavish our churches are? How much did that stained glass cost? How about that glass crucifix? I bet the amount of the pretty golden lining decorating the statue of Mother Mary could send a impoverished child to school.

Not to mention the countless CDs, books, prayer guides, rosaries, holy water, statues and crucifixes being sold everywhere. What a booming business religion has become.

No Place For The Thinking Sheep

Do not get me wrong, I am not an atheist and I believe very much in a higher being. I think God is a psychological life vest for humankind. There are just some things that one must do alone but because of fear and uncertainty and the sheer fact that life is hard, one must hold on to this belief that someone, something, more powerful and everlasting, is there to help us achieve our goals and save us in our times of need.

Speaking for myself and not any other person, I choose to have a personal relationship with the Higher Being rather than listen mindlessly and adhere to rules made by mere mortals with God complexes. I guess, at this point in time, I frown with skepticism at structured religious organizations that teaches one thing and does another.

What I Believe

I believe that God is good, and that He (or she), is  looking after each and every one of us. He is not jealous of other Gods nor condemn them because he knows that ultimately, He is the only one. He wants us to love one another, respect other's uniqueness and  and spread joy and peace throughout the world.

Most of all, I think He wants us to avoid wars, especially those brought about by different beliefs regarding his true form and nature.

Now tell me, how complicated is that, really?


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