Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Faith, Hope And Charity

Growing up I had no choice regarding my faith. It was thrust upon me the day I was born, when I was baptized a Catholic and raised as one. I was taught that nightly prayers would keep me safe, the number of rice that fell on the floor would equal the number of years I would spend in Purgatory for wasting food, and that any wound gotten during Holy Week would never heal until after Easter Sunday. It was a faith fueled by fear of punishment and a promise of future everlasting happiness.

As I grew older, the simple lessons of black and white gave way to the grays of moral complexity. Theology and Philosophy made the Catholic faith less clear-cut, though it remained rigid. Ironic? Some of my Jesuit priests and teachers taught me to question the very faith that was ingrained in me.

But the turning point was when I realized that I was gay. As a kid I was deathly afraid to be gay. Gays were mocked and laughed at; gays led sad lives; gays lived on the edge of society. Realizing that I might be who I feared to be was a shock; but eventually it forced me to face it. Accepting it required courage and a certain degree of self-deprecating humor. And if I can question myself, I can question everything taught to me, including religion.

The more I questioned, the more I found hope. Perhaps what I was taught wasn’t true. Perhaps the Church can change its stand. Perhaps the God I choose to believe in is a more embracing, accepting God.

Eventually I also was exposed to other forms of faith. And seeing how different folks had different strokes, it became clear to me that the Church and its faithful had no monopoly on the truth. What is the truth? Who knows? Faith requires a leap from logic; with that, all bets are off. So who’s right or wrong? Or who’s more right or more wrong? Such questions become irrelevant.

What is more relevant is living together peacefully despite the differences. It calls for mature tolerance and a live-and-let-live acceptance of our differences. It requires us to not just be open-minded but also to throw our hearts wide open to others. It’s an unlimited loving kindness to all others; in Christian theology, that’s called charity.

So I say, let’s be charitable to those who insist on calling Pro-RH Bill supporters as “Satan” and deserving of abortion. Perhaps they’re still reeling from the shock of the Pope’s recent pronouncements regarding condoms. To question long-standing faith is a painful process. Let’s hope they make it.


ʎonqʎʇıɔ said...

i complerely understand. i think i started to find peace when i quit making my religion fit with my personality.

as for the rh bill, ewan ko ba why some people insist on being so backwards all of the time. nakakapagod!

Fickle Cattle said...

The problem is when the basis of your faith (most of the time, this would be religion, but it could come from other things) promotes intolerance. What happens then?

That's why I always put a premium on rationality over faith. It's easier to deal with rational people compared to faithful ones. In my experience, the more faithful equals the more rabid, the more intolerant.

And it's one thing to be charitable, another to be naive. At this point, I'm still thinking if being "charitable" to those who call me Satan would not actually be naivety really. Don't Christians want to destroy Satan? I'd really rather not be destroyed. I like myself.