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Posts tagged "Christianity"

by Red Tani

Some of your bishops have challengedCorona’s accusers to sign his waiver. Bishop Pabillo said that “there is really something wrong when they want a person to disclose his dollar accounts but his accusers refuse to do the same or don’t want to be transparent.” Your former president, Oscar Cruz, clarified that your message was to let people “know who have no sin and [let them] throw the first stone.”

You are saying that only those who are blameless can challenge others or throw blame. Since you have challenged Corona’s accusers, you must think that you yourselves are blameless. In the terms of Corona’s waiver, this means you think you have no ill-gotten wealth to hide. But you are mistaken.

No one knows ill-gotten wealth like you do, because you have founded your Church on ill-gotten wealth. Literally. Your organization wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for the billionsyour predecessors stole from the Philippine government.

In case you’ve forgotten, I’ll remind you. When your former colleagues, the Spaniards, colonized us, they stole lands that belonged to Filipinos and gave it to your friars. These friar lands allowed you to control everything: business, education, politics, etc. So aside from money and property, you also gained power. You used this power to further amass wealth that went beyond the original value of the lands that were stolen.

When the first Philippine Congress was established, one of their first plans was to take back what was rightfully ours — to confiscate the land that was stolen and then redistribute it among Filipinos. But unfortunately, their plans were thwarted by another colonizer: the Americans. They would eventually give us back our freedom, but they didn’t give us back our property — well, not really. Instead, they did what capitalists do best: sell it to us.

Read the rest of the article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

By Red Tani

“The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country.” Church leaders, anti-choice groups, and many others have made this a mantra, some using it to ward off the specter of secularism, others to respect their religious roots, and most out of mere routine — they’ve just heard it and said it so many times that it feels unnatural to think otherwise.

A Country of Catholics

But is it true? It depends. What does it mean to be a predominantly Catholic country? For some, it simply means that Philippine citizens are mostly Catholic. In this sense, it is true: around 80% of Filipinos do identify as Catholic. But what that Catholic identity implies is another story.

What bishops and anti-RH individuals think it means — or would like it to mean — is that as a country of Catholics, the Philippines is led by Catholic bishops: the Philippines is their Church, and they are its pastors. This interpretation — or some version of it — is the reason organizations such as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) are still respected even by established institutions.

Unfortunately, one of those institutions is the Philippine government. Although secularism is enshrined in its Constitution, politicians pander to the Church out of the belief that bishops are also representatives of their Catholic constituents: Pandering is the respect paid by one representative to another.

This pandering is most apparent during elections, when candidates cower in fear of the Catholic Vote. Although many have shown that it is a myth…

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

By Red Tani

Despite disagreeing with bishops on almost every political issue of controversy — contraception, LGBT rights, etc. — many progressives maintain their Catholic identity for one reason: primacy of conscience. But this doctrine is misunderstood, as I elaborated in my previous post on primacy.

Long story short, primacy of conscience means that a Catholic must always act consistently with her conscience. However, a Catholic’s first duty is to always have a conscience that’s consistent with the Church. Taken out of context, primacy seems to grant Catholics freedom. Taken in context, however, primacy gives Catholics freedom to do only what the Church tells them — which is not really freedom at all.

I strongly suggest that you read the entire post; I believe it has enough good reasons to convince most that primacy is a fallacy (at least in the way progressives usually understand it). Yet some still refuse to accept that a Catholic’s first duty is to obey, and I can sympathize; it implies that Catholics are intellectually enslaved.*

If the post doesn’t convince you, nothing I say will be enough. But maybe the Vatican’s recent actions will change your mind.

Progressive Nuns of the United States

While continuing to protect pedophile priests around the world, the Vatican is waging a war on nuns

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

Seeing that story about Einstein and the atheist professor popping up? An old meme is made new again, still without the facts to back it up. The story of Einstein and the atheist professor is a piece of feel good fiction for Christians. Here is a thorough debunking of that story from the Filipino Freethinkers archives:

“…the alleged account of a classroom encounter between young Albert Einstein and an atheist professor is FICTION. The exchanges never took place, and Albert Einstein, whom many deem the most intelligent person who ever lived, is not a Christian.

Moreover, we know it’s not true because Einstein, the most famous scientist of the 20th century responsible for the famous E=mc2 equation, was a careful thinker who would never have put forward the specious logic attributed to him.”

Read how this story fails on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

by Red Tani

The Hypothetical Case of Corona


Imagine that by some miracle, the prosecution managed to provide overwhelming evidence that could convict Corona. But for some reason, the senator-judges arrive at a surprising verdict: not guilty.

When Senator-Judge Enrile (still our hypothetical presiding officer) is asked about it, he explains that like the other Senators, he, too, was convinced that Corona should be convicted. However, Enrile explains, conviction was impossible.

Why? Because if Corona is guilty, it would mean that Ex-President Arroyo made a mistake in appointing him Chief Justice. And if Arroyo made a mistake, it means that presidents aren’t perfect. And if presidents aren’t perfect, then democracy is doomed. Therefore, Corona is not guilty.

Unless you are a Corona cultist, you’d think that such a verdict is insane. Corona himself would admit guilt instead of letting such a mockery of the legal system stand. (OK, maybe not.) In any case, you’ll surely admit that no one would find such insanity reasonable.

Yet many find insanity reasonable when done in the name of religion. This is what happened when Pope Paul VI confirmed that contraceptives were evil.

The Actual Case of Contraception

In the early 60s, many Catholics started suspecting the innocence of an old teaching: the evil of contraception. They expressed dissent so strongly that Pope John XXIII (and later Pope Paul VI) formed a commission to investigate the original teaching’s innocence, so to speak.

After 6 years on trial, the commission reached their verdict:

  • 9 of 12 bishops found the original teaching wrong
  • 15 of 19 theologians found the original teaching wrong
  • 30 of 35 lay members found the original teaching wrong

The commission had found evidence — from Scripture and Tradition to Science and Experience — to conclude that the original teaching on contraception was wrong; contraception was not always evil.

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

by Ron de Vera

Thank you for reading my article “Why LGBT people must get personal with the Catholic Church.” I read through the comments you made on the Filipino Freethinkers site and picked out 13 that I thought I could address immediately. The rest of your comments were clearly opinions that I know you will hold on to dearly so I will treat them with respect by setting them aside.

Let me be transparent with you. My objective for taking time and responding to you today is, at the most, to turn you into an ally, and at the least, to change some of your perceptions by giving you needed information.

Of course, this is only possible if both of us keep an open mind and remain calm and objective. So if, at any point, you show signs that you have closed your mind about the topic without hopes of turning you into an ally, or make personal remarks similar to your verbal attacks against the other commenters, then I will respectfully withdraw from the discussion.

Here goes.

Comment #1:

“Let’s see you are pissed because violence is done to them, well so am I. But the law protects everyone and if there is violence, are you telling me that the police won’t act on it just because the victim is homosexual?”

My response: Yes. There are several reported cases of police not enforcing the law because the victims or complainants were not heterosexual. There are even cases where police take advantage of the situation and harrass the complainant or extort money from them. If you need further information. I will refer you to the right organizations but I cannot post cases here because of confidentiality issues. The bottom line is, to say that “the law protects everyone” is only good on paper but it is not implemented in reality.

Comment #2:

Are you telling me that you want legislation that will penalize bullying of homosexuals… but what not weaklings, handicapped, etc… the bullying of homosexuals is because of the perception that they are weak.”

Read the response to this comment and the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

by Red Tani

(from a post dated 24 December 2009)

I was supposed to deliver a reflection at the Unitarian Universalist meeting tonight, but I had to cancel at the last minute. I was asked to send a short piece that would be read at the service instead. Here it is:

***

I have always loved Christmas. When I was a kid, this was like a bonus birthday, a time when I could ask for another expensive gift. When I was a teen, Simbang Gabi gave me an excuse to go out past curfew with friends and, of course, see a lot of pretty girls, especially in prestigious churches like those in Alabang. And even when I lost belief in the Christ, who Christians assert to be the reason for the season, I never lost my love for the holidays. This is because I know, and have always known, the true meaning of Christmas.

But it is not the same meaning preached by the bishops and priests. I read of a bishop who wrote an article about how Christmas is supposed to be about worship, not courtship. Nor is it supposed to be about commercialism or consumerism or anything material. Even your loved ones — your friends, your family, your special someone — have to take a backseat to the true event which allegedly inspired the celebrated day. After all, they argue, can there be Christmas without Christ?

Yes, there can. And for centuries before it was even called “Christmas,” there has. It was called Saturnalia. It was one of the most popular Roman festivals. But if it was so popular, how come only a few know about it today?

We have the Church to thank for this. They wanted to compete with the pagans celebrating Saturnalia, so they invented a celebration of their own to coincide with it. This is how Christ’s birthday was born. This is interesting for two reasons. First, they had to make an exception for Jesus — it was considered pagan to celebrate birthdays at that time. Second, they didn’t even know when Jesus was born (they still don’t). Eventually, after centuries of conditioning — not to mention the Crusades and Inquisition — Christmas came to replace Saturnalia as the default December celebration.

So for the early Catholic Church, Christmas meant competing with the pagans. But what did it mean for the pagans who invented it?

Saturnalia was introduced to raise the spirits of soldiers and citizens after a bad beating in battle. Students took a break from school, people gave and got presents, everyone had good food and drinks and the celebration that went with it. Everyone — even the slaves. Many described it as the best of days. And although the festival still involved rituals offered to Saturn (the god of sowing), it was clear to everyone why it was a wonderful time.

Read the rest of this article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

by Joey Ramirez

That’s according to Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, who recently chastised the Kapisanan Ng Mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), for not regulating certain radio disc-jockeys on the late night circuit who “are using indecent and vulgar language.”


 

While that is certainly an expected statement from a member of the Catholic hierarchy, it does not mean that is the only viewpoint we should be listening to.

First off, I wished the Inquirer reporter had asked the bishop to give specific names of disc jockeys or radio programs which offended his religious sensibilities; that way, any one would be able to gauge that statement for themselves.

If the disc jockeys/programs in question are indeed guilty of breaking the law, then by all means, the government and the KBP should exert all efforts to ensure that they are punished accordingly. (Offhand, legal provisions on that broad category of “indecency” would probably be enough to charge any offenders.)

What I find disturbing – monumentally – is why Bastes was complaining: his contention that “we are a Christian country” certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth, particularly for those who have been advocating a more secular space and tone where discussions of laws and government are brought up, in the context of a democratic government and country.

And what bothers me is that his statement is no different from when the Spanish conquerors claimed these islands for their king centuries ago: He makes it seem like the Philippines has been conquered, and is now the property of the Catholic Church, Inc., so much so that the way things happen and are run in this country should be to their specifications.

Here is a small list of what I have observed as things they want to have or happen:

  • No talking about sex.
  • Presidents of a democratic country should bow down to us and our whims.
  • Catholicism is Christianity. All other “Christian sects” are invalid.
Remember the good old days when the Church could burn anyone who said stuff it didn’t like? —> Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

by Garrick Bercero

Recently, our own Marguerite de Leon challenged the Philippine Daily Inquirer to explain itself for putting a puff piece on Pedro Calungsod as its editorial. De Leon also noted the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s recent history of innuendo against “unrepentant” secularists and liberals. In de Leon’soriginal open letter, she questioned the editorial, which fawned over “a story that is not based on a shred of evidence and is only sincerely believed by some people.” She was referring to a 2002 story of the revival of a clinically dead woman, whose recovery was attributed to the long dead man, Pedro Calungsod (1654–1672). Despite the lack of evidence for the story (such evidence would surely merit at least a passing mention in a medical journal), the respected broadsheet peddled the event as fact and elevated it into its editorial.

For de Leon’s trouble, the Inquirer editorial team’s response was one sentence: “We suggest that De Leon read the editorial more closely for its main message.” And, she did. She wrote a response reiterating her questioning of the lack of evidence for the event in the original editorial asking, “What other evidence-less things do you not only take for granted, but are more than willing to broadcast to the public as the ‘truth’?”

The Inquirer’s editorials have often been suspiciously reminiscent of conservative Catholic talking points, such as when it drew the ire of the art community for comparing Mideo Cruz’s Poleteismo piece to “terrorism.” In this piece, the editorial went so far as to explain the theological distinction between veneration and worship, as if to avoid for itself the common accusation by non-Catholics against Catholics of “worshipping saints.”

That the Inquirer spends so much ink on Catholic diatribes isn’t a surprise as it is a frequent winner of Catholic Mass Media Awards (the Inquirer won 3 this year). However, it is curious that even with the seasoned experience for pro-Catholic bias of the editorial team of the Inquirer (including its anti-RH propagandist, Jess Abrera), they couldn’t find any rational response against De Leon’s queries.

Why it should perhaps be “The Catholic Inquirer” —> Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

 By Wesley Yeoh

The CBCP released a missive yesterday accusing Halloween of being ‘anti-Christian’.

In said announcement, Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, CBCP media director, lamented how some Filipinos celebrate All Saints Day as a holiday “of ghouls and witches.” I don’t know about you, but people I know celebrate Halloween that way, not All Saint’s Day. Perhaps the monsignor’s friends and family are in the habit of going to the cemetery dressed up as characters from Twilight but the rest of the world is content to do their merry-making a day before.

 “All Saints’ Day was intended to enhance the feast of the saints but it morphed into something else… no longer about saints but evil,” laments Msgr. Quitorio. “Let’s celebrate it meaningfully because we would be emulating the saints. We can do whatever we want for as long as you don’t fall down to that level that would be glorifying the evil one,” he said.

 For once, I agree with what the CBCP has to say. Glorifying the works of the evil one, aka. Stephanie Meyers’s ghoulish Twilight series is just plain tasteless…

 If you’ve missed it before, read my vampire rants here.

So in an effort to put the “Saint” back in “All Saint’s Day”, I’ve decided to give Msgr. Quitorio a helping hand by coming up with list of helpful suggestions on how to dress up as your favorite Catholic Saint to really get in the spirit of All Saint’s Day.

Saint Agatha of Sicily – The Saint with Regenerating Boobs

 

Among the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts. An apparition of Saint Peter cured her… Saint Agatha is often depicted iconographically carrying her excised breasts on a platter, in which Agatha sweetly contemplates the breasts on a standing salver held in her hand. The shape of her amputated breasts, especially as depicted in artistic renderings, gave rise to her attribution as the patron saint of bell-founders and as the patron saint of bakers, whose loaves were blessed at her feast day. More recently, she has been venerated as patron saint of breast cancer patients.

Props / Costume: A plate with a pair of boobs

Up next: “Saint Agnes of Rome – Hairy Virgin Martyr”, “Saint Denis – The Talking Head” and more! Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.