Posted by: mensab | April 24, 2012

Our Beliefs and Our Problems

A certain columnist in a Philippine daily wrote about beliefs and religion, specifically Roman Catholicism in the Philippines. (Not all beliefs though are simplistically religious)

He enumerated many negative conditions (even with rankings and percentages) and attempted to connect those with the dominant religion of the country. He depicted the inconsistencies and contradictions that religion is supposed to bring about in its believers and their environment.

I would say, his attempts appeal on popular sentiments, rather than reason. A reasonable reader, especially a student of science, would be able to discern his deficiencies in establishing connections between religion and wide range of problems such as worst driving, garbage collection, air pollution, corruption, crimes, worst country to do business, poverty, etc.. There may be minute connections, but he missed the biggest (significant) connection of all – the government.
Of course, it is easy to blame Roman Catholicism for all these problems. Has the columnist given up on its government to address these problems?

Are we the most corrupt in Asia because of religion? Are we poor because of our religion? Are we one of the 10 the worst countries to do business because of religion? Are we, because of religion?
I must say, we (the readers) know better. Roman Catholicism does not teach driving without consideration of traffic rules; it does not not promote air pollution; it does not tolerate crimes; it does not condone corruption. it does not make a country worst to do business; it does not excuse economic poverty.

Catholics know better. When Filipino taxi drivers return cash and other valuables to tourists and balikbayans, they attribute their acts to their belief in God. They believe, as many Catholics do, that greater value and reward are awaiting in the future. Bicolanos believe it faithfully when they say, Dios mabalos (God rewards you) everytime they receive something good or simply to express, thank you. Can the columnist deny this belief to Bicolanos?

The columnist should know this better because he is a Bicolano. I wonder what his beliefs are, religious or non-religious, if any. Then he will know better that the problems lie not with his beliefs, but with him.


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