Tuesday, January 16, 2018

In the Name of the Father

Throughout mankind’s history, perhaps religion is the most used and abused explanation that one gives to justify something truly unjust. Wars have been fought and the entire civilizations have been destroyed all “by the name of god”. Ironically, the world is in desperate need for something to believe in. People cling to some form of higher being just to get them through the day. After all, as the saying goes, “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope”. This is religion. This is Faith.

Religion is called the opium of the masses. This is what colonizers do to quickly influence an entire nation. If we look back at our own history, we were once but a pagan culture.

Our ancestors existed in a hunting and gathering society who dedicated their everyday lives searching for food, until the Chinese and Malayan traders came. Then the Spaniards came and impressed upon us the light of Christianity. Our forefathers began to build communities around churches and the rest is history. We became the only Christian nation in Southeast Asia.

We reside in the strong belief that if a family prays together, they stay together. We dream of living a better “life” after death. Religion holds a mysterious promise. Whether that promise is eternal life or eternal happiness or a promise of a wonderful world, it still remains a mystery.

Many have surrendered and offered their lives to who they believe their “true” god is, hoping to find meaning in their lives. And no one can stop them from attaining this quest for enlightenment. No tanks can stand in their way, no guns or sword, nor any kind of weapon can stop them from fighting for their god. That is the power of religion.

Today, we can see all forms of religion sprouting just about everywhere. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and Scientology, are but just a few examples of religious organizations. All of them have the same promise of rewards and punishment. Simply put, if one does a bad deed which is what we call “sin”, you will be punished, meaning you will go to a bad place, which is what we call “hell”. It is strange when you think about it, that our world revolves on the concept of rewards and punishment. The concept of sin is always the motivation of one religious group to try and convert another. A very simple concept isn’t it? For example, a religious group will be preaching about a specific belief like, “my god is the true god”; if you will not believe this you are sinful. A very simple concept indeed, yet when magnified over a thousand times may start a war which leads to genocide. Just look at what Hitler did to the Jews. Ironic, isn’t it?

I am not a devout Catholic, but I too believe that there is a supreme being out there responsible for everything that is happening in this world. That being may be called God, to others Allah, or the Buddha. I respect those who believe in them. I respect those who believe in something holy. I laud them for their faith if used the right way. As a thirty something individual who lives in a technology driven world where science is also considered as a religion, I guess that FAITH is a NEED. Something that will make sense out of something in this crazy time we live in.

We all need something to believe in.

As St. Augustine once said, “Faith is to believe something we do not see, and the reward of this faith, is to see what we believe”.

My religion is a personal one. It is a discovery that only I could understand for now, and perhaps one day share to those who are willing to share it with me.