“You cannot insult the faith of others.”
To be in the third most Catholic country in the world, it is hard to voice out your opinion about the religion. But, it was imposed. Not really a choice. It has been an “element of national identity”.
I am baptized as a Roman Catholic. I grew up going to church every Sunday, venerating the Saints and celebrating their feasts. In High School, we did the rosary every morning. I was once a member of Legion of Mary. I know the 3 o’clock prayer and Angelus so well. It is a culture that is hard to break away from.
I don’t know how it all started. I don’t know why I question things. Why is everyone calling God a He? Some believers even use She? I just forgot where I’ve read that. I mean, it is not a matter of gender. I don’t know much about the Bible. You can call me ignorant or stupid but seriously, how do you know? I am just really curious. How do you know that all these translations are correct? How do you know it hasn’t been altered through time? Even the people who try to study it haven’t completely understood the whole thing. That is the beauty of it, right? It is one of the mysteries of life. So, why all these religions claiming they are the right one? How do you know? Is it your faith? Maybe.
I stopped going to church. Most of the priests have nothing to talk about but politics. They seem good in connecting the homily into something political. I don’t want to go into details about bills and laws that are against the “Christian principles”. I mean, I go to the church to hear the words of God. I don’t think God will condemn us. It is the people who do. I’m not saying that go on and commit crimes and sins, God will forgive you, anyway. I just think that God will be understanding. The world is changing. We can’t live the way our ancestors did centuries ago. “That is the catastrophic disaster that man has earned in return for evolution.” Conservative is good but change is inevitable. We can still be good servants despite it all. I have heard good priests. The thing is, that is not always the case.
I find people of the church the most hypocrite of all. Growing up in a small town, you literally know everyone who is active in church activities. I know all these righteous people who don’t miss a mass but are never compassionate towards others; who always talk shit behind other people’s back. I just don’t see the point. God-loving? God-fearing? I’d rather have people who are humane. I’d rather accept these gay people who are true to themselves. I can’t emphasize that enough. Philosophy over ideology, perhaps? I can’t speak for everyone, this is just my town.
Back in college, I remember watching Mother Teresa of Avila as part of our curriculum. We watched it inside the auditorium and it was dark. It scared the hell out of me. I was supposed to be empowered and spiritually uplifted? Horror movies don’t even make me shiver like that documentary did. I’m still having goosebumps just thinking about it. Was it my faith? Maybe. Don’t get me wrong though, I still cry over Passion of the Christ and Joseph the Dreamer. I still cry when I pray.
Prayers. I love praying. This is the only time I can be totally honest with myself and God. No other people can hear me. Therefore, no one can judge me. This is how I find prayers so powerful. It is the most truthful thought. You see, I still pray. Not in churches but in chapels or just whenever I feel like it. Maybe you can still consider me a Catholic. But I’d rather not be defined by a religion. I don’t fully believe in its teachings.
Since college, I considered myself a Deist. I have my fair share of hypocrisy just like everybody else. I believe in all these scientific reasons. The study of the universe amazes me. Though, let’s say Einstein is wrong. That would be the downfall of all modern physics. Or maybe not, since Einstein was already proven right when two blackholes collided recently. Still, we don’t know what comes before Big Bang or what the hell there is in singularity. Perhaps Hawking is right? Or maybe Tesla really holds the key to the universe? Divine symmetry like vortex mathematics? It will still all comes back to God. That is the thing, I still believe in God. No matter how much I engage myself in science.
“So you’re made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?” —Neil deGrasse Tyson
The night I almost gave up on life, my father asked me: “Don’t you believe in Him anymore?” I would have laughed if the scenario wasn’t too serious but we were all shaken up so I just kept my silence. I used to think that it is about religion and faith. I was wrong. It is not about me and God. It is not about my faith. It is me not believing in myself—at least not enough to keep me going. I don’t know if you will ever understand.
It’s hard writing this more than I’d thought. This has been sitting on my draft for quite some time now and I think it’s about time I hit Publish.
I’m not saying that religions are right or wrong. I don’t know about that. This is just me thinking that it is more about your own faith. Faith should bind us together and not divide us. I hope we don’t judge people who don’t believe. As long as they live their life peacefully and lovingly, who are we to say they will rot in hell? We can’t say that just because we share different beliefs. Coexistence.
Whatever you believe in, I believe in you. Let us make this world a better place. Let us respect each other and treat everyone fairly. Only then should we take pride being followers of God.
I hope I didn’t offend anyone. Let me know what you think. By the way, my favorite verse remains the same. Mark 5:36 🙂
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