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My take on religion

Fragments
by Art Verdiano

It is hard to talk about religion. It is full of sensitivity, interpretation and subjectivity. Though interesting, I have shied away from talking about it after I left college. I feel that it is kind of pointless to have it discussed when the same is basically a matter of one’s faith and of personal opinion.

I also came to realize that although religion has many kinds and form, somehow, they are all the same in the sense that it is a belief in an Omnipotent Being who created us and everything around us. Mahatma Gandhi must be thinking the same thing when he said that, “Religion is one tree with many branches. As branches, you may say, religions are many. But as a tree, religion is only one.” Thus, only the approaches are different but in essence they can be considered as one.

I have different set of friends ranging from the religious, devout, atheists and agnostics. Much of their belief has been shaped by their life-experiences and the way they were brought up. Many also stated that they did not choose their religion and that their faith is based upon the religion of their parents or ancestors. Most were baptized when they were still kids and were not even of ripe age to think for themselves. That is why even when one becomes an adult, it is hard to change what has already been instilled on one their mind.

But even with all these hodge-podge of faith (or lack thereof), my friends and I managed to get along well. There are more things besides religion which we share in common. Never have we talked bad about another’s religion although at times we ask how or why their church or group is doing this or that. The answer is not always satisfying but you just have to respect what they do. Provided of course, that it does not infringe on one’s right.

Now regarding President Duterte’s infamous stupid God remark, quite frankly, I did not feel offended by it. For one, my God is not stupid so he must be talking about someone else’s God. Second, he is entitled to his opinion and interpretation of the Bible in the same way as I am. Third, my faith is strong enough to say that what he said are just petty comments and may have been taken out of context by the media and those who have heard what he said. More so, he has been known to say that at times, religious propaganda runs counter with what is good for the people like issues on reproductive health, divorce, and even same sex marriage.

The point is, it is really senseless to delve on these things. While it is true that the President’s words have weight, our relationship with God is personal. It is not just on the outside but is more focused in the inside. It is not going to church or mosque just to fulfill a spiritual duty but in the philosophy of being kind to others. It is of doing the greater good for the sake of many, and to love one another with respect and humility. Let us accept that there are people who need religion to profess their faith and there are others who don’t. But what is important is that our faith is strong regardless of what other people say.