Updated: Jan 26
Don’t be shocked but I do intend to shake your faith. And, if you flinch a tiny bit, then, I’ve done my gig effectively and that’s mission accomplished on my end.
Everything here might or will not make sense to everyone…especially to the blind devotees…who may think like zombies.
I will be alluding most of the time to Catholicism but this piece of my mind, by and large, concerns the whole of Christianity.
My only request is: Please have an open mind.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m also into religion. Perhaps, we’re what you call the laughingstock of other sects for taking pleasure in aged-old rituals that border on the absurd. Imagine those more than a million followers of the Black (Jesus of) Nazarene who madly or, should I say, passionately jockey for positions and jostle their way through that gruelling 3-5-hour procession with a request in heart or a “Panata” (pledge) to fulfil for an already granted prayer. This death march…err…faith march (or should we call it ‘fate’ march instead?), they do every year. And, one or two or more die annually, too…in the name of faith…as manifested in all those shoving and trampling all the way to God’s heart? Is God happy to see these people practically kill themselves for devotion’s sake? Jesus Christ! That’s pathetic! Maybe apathetic is a more suitable narrative. You tell me who is (apathetic) and I respect your point.
To think that there are zillions of times that He may have looked sideways—like during the heartless assassination of 58 innocent civilians (mostly journalists) in Maguindanao in 2009 whose perpetrators were recently convicted but 80 of which are still sneering at the Philippine justice system as they enjoy their liberty (only God knows where) practically giving justice to the aphorism, “getting away with murder”; OFW domestic helper (DH) Jeanelyn Villavende who allegedly died in the hands of her female employer in Kuwait just this December 2019 following the pitiless killing of another Filipina DH (Joana Demafelis) in 2018 whose body was discovered inside a freezer at her employer’s flat; what about the notorious truck bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia in 2017 that took away 512 lives plus the latest vehicle blast that slayed 81 non-combatants in December 2019 that the Somali Islamist crew Al-Shabaab has plotted anew?; or the millions/billions of victims of World War I and II in the hands of extremists and radical ideologists Hitler and the Japanese Imperial Army covering the equally bloodied hands of heads of state of equipped Superpowers United States and United Kingdom (UK) who have contributed greatly to the bloodbath by holding on to the mantra of “bombing for peace”; going much deeper into history and you’ll wonder why advanced medical knowledge came late to save those tens of thousands slain by the Black Plague whose culprits were simply diseased rats living and polluting the poor water system in a now highly developed country like the UK; transported to a darker period (or evil is always at a high across all timelines?), now, I’m hearing shouts of “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Baffled? You should be. Where is/was the Almighty God (the Father) in all of these—exactly my very first argument—does God truly have full control? Otherwise, I/we are very much in the driver seat(s) of our fate ship(s).
Priests and pastors would/might say literally and figuratively that s_ _t happens on earth. But, we should just trust in God and everything will be fine. Hello! Are the aforesaid facts and circumstances fine to you? As we speak, I’m in the process of analysing when and where God intervenes? I hear sermons and spiritual (not motivational) talks (Brother Jon Escoto always says that he’s not a motivational speaker.) here and there and all I understand clearly is that when I fu_ _ up in life, I personally get the blame, and when I earn accolades, I must not attribute my accomplishments to myself because “all are blessings” that come from God and He has a hand in everything. Well, good luck! Try looking for His hand(s) in those events mentioned in that previous paragraph.
Whoa! Before you overreact, there’s more on the Black Nazarene tradition. As a prelude to this fanatic parade, which starts in the morning and stretches beyond high noon (Good thing, January is the coldest month in the Philippines.), the “Pahalik” happens the night before wherein believers take turns in kissing the feet of the Nazarene’s iconic effigy enduring hours of long queues. The less enthusiastic enthusiasts, I presume, pass on this opportunity but nonetheless touch the image or wipe it with their hankies. These individuals might have triggered their scientific perception that there are lesser germs acquired in touching than kissing—a statue—but all the while forgetting that wiping the spittle (saliva) with a hanky and rubbing the latter on one’s face spreads the microbes just the same.
I, myself, am guilty of once following most of these customs to the letter without question…or with some instinctive qualms. I have also put my lips on those wooden figures before (talk about first kiss) and continuously wipe my hanky on the statues of Virgin Mary and the whole cast of saints present in the church (even on those glass cases where the image of Jesus lies in peace and where a thousand and one Mama Marys stand in their own melodramatic fashions). Likewise, I dip my saint-inspired necklace and rosary wrist band and other religious paraphernalia in the Holy Water. Yes. I still do these things except for the first one I mentioned, rationalizing that I’m not into Paganistic sacraments since I don’t really venerate these statues but only consider them as conduits of the Holy Spirit. Funny how this sounds close to worshipping idols that is a big no-no in Christianity. Funnier that Catholicism works this way.
Suddenly, Moses slapped me. God sent an earthquake to clobber our imbecile ancestors who worshipped the golden bull statue. I could probably rationalize that that bull carving is very much Paganism as it doesn’t connect to anything that God stands for while the sculpture of the Black Nazarene shows the appearance of Jesus Christ. Or, this is His appearance as the historians or artists or writers describe Him to be. We can’t be so sure of His 100% looks—no preserved photos or FB pics shared or Instagram snapshots that could verify this. Nothing!
This leads to my second argument: Is Jesus Christ fact or fiction?
The main proof of His existence is the Bible. The New Testament (NT) is about Him. It is my conviction that if you believe in God, you must believe in the supernatural. Well, the Bible, containing the Word of God, speaks philosophically in a magical way. Philosophical because Jesus spoke in parables that logically touched on the mundane lives of people encumbered in either constant hypocrisy or unbelievable kindness. In a grand magical scale, He engaged a society exorcising its own demons or a humanity on the verge of earning heaven with His mystical charisma and fantastic “super powers.” Except for His mortal death, He miraculously revealed the bizarre—ordering the stormy wind to stop; telling the paralytic (from birth) to take up his mat, stand and walk; turning water into wine; feeding the 5,000 men (excluding women and children) with two (2) fish and five (5) loaves of bread; giving sight to the inborn blind; walking on water; driving out demons from the possessed; bringing Lazarus back to life; and the most mind-blowing of them all, rising from death after three (3) days. Not to downplay the intensity of all these supposedly earth-shattering spectacles, but they were already replicated by castigated magicians. Plus, our Catholic priests ironically preach not to believe in the paranormal which is what the Son of God embodies (in NT); what God exemplifies (in the Old Testament [OT]); and what the Christian faith in general epitomizes.
So, which is which? You’re saying I should just believe in the supernatural nature of Christianity in the forms of demonic possession, Heaven above earth, a virgin giving birth, eternal fire in the pits of hell, roaming guardian angels, resurrection and the afterlife, but simply disregard the existence of ghosts, monsters, aliens, a multiverse, time travel, Akashic Records of past lives, fortune/future-telling, reincarnation, ESP, telekinesis, all sorts of psychic powers and the likes?
Well, then, if God and Jesus are true, then the aforementioned things must also be true. What boggles the mind is that the pious powers-that-be on earth want us to be one-sided. They may have anticipated though that the world will eventually advance to a level called “multiple thinking” and they can only convince their flocks to a certain degree. In my case, I can accept an all-powerful God and an equally mighty Jesus but I would have to open my mind to the fact that there are similar weird stuffs going on around me. Anyway, science can be as flexible as I am but it will always be analytical as ever—me as well. That’s why as more scientists agree to the reality of a Supreme Being residing above or below us [For sure, He or “She” or “It” (Better push forward all possible niceties until we’re sure of the gender.) can cross to any dimension wherever that may be having the label God in hand.], most of them keep on investigating and exploring the great beyond. They could actually rake through all possible fields of scope, whether tangible or intangible, but I bet one thing is certain, the idea of “Someone So Super Out There” (neither called Superman nor Thor) is incredibly unreal as He/She/It negates the natural laws that normal people follow ala Superhero but way, way cooler than that tag.
Now, where was I with my second argument? Oh, yeah! I almost forgot. So, where does Jesus fit in this Almighty puzzle? Of course…He is the Son of God. The Word Incarnate. He became human to save all of us. There is where the loophole lies. He was human. He made all of these bombastic claims that He and the Father (God) are One but He also said that Only the Father knows who will sit at His right and left sides in the Kingdom of Heaven. Granted that He came from heaven but still doesn’t know everything, that’s quite acceptable since He is just the Son (of God) and His Father might not have told Him some things that only God must know. But, going back to becoming flesh and blood while walking on His side of the land (Middle East, of all places), Jesus did things that no normal person can do. And, I could understand that God, on one hand, needed His Son to die on the cross to show the entire human race that He is willing to sacrifice for us all. On the other hand, He wanted to show the world that He can make everything possible…because it’s not every day that you see someone walk out of His tomb after three (3) days and go through walls to show His scars and wounds to His scared disciples, ultimately, culminating to a show of mythical force by levitating to the highest heavens. I wonder how amazed the disciples were at that time. Come to think of it, they have seen Him perform one miracle after the other during His lifetime (before dying). They weren’t just expecting that He would suffer that nasty death—beaten black and blue then crucified on the cross that was meant only for criminals. Meaning, death truly signifies life and our sins are already paid (forgiven).
So much for that miraculous life and death drama. Still, the truth remains—Jesus was (or is?) human. I doubt if God would be excited to send His Son for that so-called Second Coming. Why? For fear that He might be taken for a showboating illusionist. What He did during the time of Julius Caesar and the Pharisees will be dismissed as mere magic tricks in this era. There are still no accounts that medical doctors or scientists have brought another person back to life but I believe that underground experiments are in the works and mainstream data might be hiding something underneath. For all we know, Jesus was able to bring back Lazarus from the grave since the latter was not embalmed yet and might just be practically sleeping. The feeding of the 5,000 might have been basically a show of charity on the part of those same people who didn’t want to share what they have at first but was motivated to give after seeing the others put in the baskets what they have. Hmmm. I read this in a book about Derren Brown (a British magician). The power of suggestion is correlated to the trick on hypnotism. Am I saying that Jesus is merely a hypnotist—making those people do what He wants them to do or making them see what He wants them to see? A likely story. Then again, I have seen Criss Angel and David Blaine levitate but soar to heaven, they cannot. That’s why the other angle here that Christians might violently mob me for saying is that the empty tomb of Jesus Christ might not be empty because He rose from the dead and ascended to His Father—it could be that Jesus’ body was stolen and hidden somewhere just like how any other religious congregations would plot if given the chance to establish a worldwide phenomenon. An old conspiracy theory if you’re in the know.
Well, you could point out that everything in NT were written in OT centuries ahead. It will strike you as astounding that these prophesies are perfectly aligned as if the authors connived with one another despite being separated by a timeline eons apart which must be impossible to say the least. Take note, connive is a verb synonymous to the noun conspiracy. If you want to push revelations to the fore, we might as well bank in on the predictions of the late Jojo Acuin or the ageless psychic Jaime Licauco or that Man (in the documentary) Who Saw Tomorrow. We’re smarting from selective faith, don’t you think?
Indulging in the topic of oracles-visions, which can fundamentally be plain visualizations or crazy hallucinations, I have hypothesised that since God is both omnipotent and omnipresent, He can do everything including looking into the past, present and future. I would have to say that He also knows everything. Hence, if He can do everything and he knows everything, he already knows what we’re thinking and what we will do even before we think about it and do it. Too bad for free will. Therefore, the past, present and future have predetermined conclusions. Are these events irrevocable?
Can God reverse our fates? You may get your answer from the sixth (6th) paragraph herein. Furthermore, you can talk to the rich parents whose 15-year old daughter got raped after they left the house for a Bible study/meeting—she was nearly killed—she invited her two girl friends that night and they were raped, too—the father is a Christian pastor; ask the mother whose left leg got permanently damaged after a wild head-on car collision that took away the life of her youngest who just gave birth to her less than one-year old baby girl—the mother committed her time and effort to join her daughter’s family abroad to take care of the new born—the accident happened on their way to the airport for the mother’s vacation back to the Philippines which she begged to have a good one month before her daughter’s family was scheduled to return to the same country; speak with this brilliant young man who got bullied in a special science junior high school for speaking about the bad behaviour of his classmates who spoke cruelly behind the backs of teachers—nobody wanted to be his friend after what he did—even his supposedly close friends isolated him—he suffered depression and it’s still bugging him at times up to this day; spend some time with this beautiful lady who seemingly has the “blue” gene—she felt neglected in her younger years and carried this over through the years—she can’t seem to get over that “happiness hump”—she’s now doing her very best to instil enlightenment in her mind in any way possible; relate with this middle-aged man who, although intelligent and humble, is stuck in a career rut that he never liked in the first place—he uses his gifts alright but not in more financially productive ways—his humility is annoying to the point that he’s already thankful and contented of whatever bits and pieces of blessings come his way even though the call of professional advancement with material gains become louder and louder by the day—still, he takes every day as it is considering that all he ever wanted is a simple life with his family—but, he knows this is selfishness on his part and he needs to rethink and redo his entire life for the better—but he’s not sure if this is his life to make or what’s up, up there—he doesn’t know what to believe in anymore.
Destiny or predetermination? Sounds the same to me. God, don’t tell me you don’t know anything about this.
Going back to the subject of OT, I’ve read some and heard some more in the numerous Masses I’ve attended about the bottom line of OT—that God is a power-tripping and vindictive God to the extent that He would kill all the first born children in Egypt just to send the message to Rameses (the Pharaoh) that Moses was serious about His threats; that He would amazingly part the water of the Red Sea, wait for the people of Moses to reach the other side of the shore and return the water to its original place, inundating the path of the Pharaoh’s soldiers eventually killing them; that He would have wanted material offerings from His people as a sign of piety instead of (or along with?) pure wholehearted worship; that He would turn Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt because she looked back at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah when told not to; that just so He could win a bet over Satan proving Job’s all-out loyalty, He permitted Satan to kill Job’s loved ones and wipe away all his possessions even though Job was fully devoted to Him; that he would decide on a whim to destroy the face of the earth by sending a flood choosing Noah to build an ark for his family members and several pairs of animals to give birth to a new world afterwards. These and other interpretations about the God of OT created a mark in my mind and in my eldest son’s psyche that God simply thinks like an old, angry and domineering father. It’s His way or the highway. That’s why probably we’re like this because we are created in His image.
And, like a humble person who modestly admits His mistakes, God made a 360° (degree) turnaround in NT by making amends, sending His message of grace and hope with the paradox of life and death through Jesus His Son. Indeed, it was foretold in the Scriptures that the Son of Man will face a cruel death, rise from the dead after three (3) days and ascend to the right hand of the Father in the Kingdom of Heaven where His reign will have no end until His Second Coming.
My meek rebuttal is this, anyone can claim that he or she was possessed by the Holy Spirit and penned all those words and stories to set up the whole Christian realm into a global nation that it is now. But, whoever these Bible writers are, saints or not, they undeniably possess the super powers of psychology and philosophy as they have etched into our brains the principles of a religion that stood the test of time which we could either thoughtlessly follow without inquiring into its history and whereabouts or we could question its moral grounds to prove that we’re not yet dead on our tracks.
Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! I discovered that I only had two strong arguments to boast of.
Hey! The mind is the most powerful thing in the world. Once you control it, the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, I have now confirmed that whatever you put in it at a very young age will own a space there inside even if you fight it. I want to undo whatever’s in here but it’s taking time just like a worn-out computer that processes so slow.
This is why I still pray to the high heavens.
On the second thought, I am made to believe that whenever I pray, I feel good inside and that whatever doubts I have against Jesus, I cannot deny that there is a God unless I die and I don’t see or feel Him anywhere in the hereafter—which agnostics will tell me that I can’t prove when my brain shuts down after expiring. What the...! For all I care, I don’t even know how I can think of Him like this. Believe me, my internal circuits are telling me to just believe…but I don’t…just want to believe. I must totally convince myself to believe. There’s no other way around it. In the meantime, I will do what I feel like doing best…
Going further up the holy hill, I’d like to propose a test of mental powers. Try thinking that God and/or Jesus do/does not exist. Then, think of whatever good you can and want to do for yourself and others in the next hour or so or perhaps, in the years to come. Now, do you believe that you can do GOOD without GOD? Atheists do. And, like it not, they have a point.
With all the Saints and Angels in Heaven,
With the Holy Spirit’s guidance,
With Lord Jesus Christ’s love, life and mercy and the miracles that He provides us every day,
With Mama Mary’s Divine Intervention and Miraculous Prayers,
And, with God’s Holy Will,
Thank you Lord for everything!
How confusing, right? Reading this prayer after everything I’ve written here. Well, I just shared to you a personal prayer I pray every day—even in the restroom.
Remember, I have yet to undo the supernatural damage wrought by religion in my mind. For now, God and Jesus stay where they are…for now. I may be half pretending or half believing but that’s as good as it gets until I solve this paranormal conundrum from within. Just you wait and see.
Giving you a hint of what I’m concentrating my mental senses on, it might be true that since earth is probably patterned after heaven, there is big time politics also happening in God’s Kingdom. That’s why the God of OT took a nosedive in NT virtually selling free tickets to heaven by sending in a powerfully persuasive salesman in Jesus. Otherwise, the OT-NT tailspin happened because of a change in leadership—a better rationale for God’s personality shift, if you ask me. In principle, the God of OT might really be different from the God of NT. Now, who the heck sired Jesus? Perchance, the Son of the Next God (after the term of the NT God has expired) has not yet been born in Paradise? A probable reason why the Second Coming has not been coming—more like Filipinos waiting for the Big One to come.
Before I completely floor you with all my hysterically overflowing thoughts, these, ladies and gentlemen, are what I call philosophical boxing and psychological martial arts—daring ways to keep our spirits upright and our minds fit and fab. Try them at your own risk.
P.S. I’m now experimenting on being an atheist…or agnostic. Or, am I already one even before? You’re saying that I should not do this if I fear God? Are fear and respect one and the same? You should not put the Lord Your God to the test but that’s exactly what/where we’ve been putting Him into since time immemorial. The results? Needless to say…you know the answer to that.