Monday, May 25, 2015

Faith as a Virtue?

Next year will be election time again and this time we’re going to elect candidates that will represent our Nation. Funny that most of these aspiring candidates include Bible verses or the name of God on their campaign slogans and printed materials as if belief in God is a plus. It was not surprising that when Mrs. Aquino died on August 1, 2009, many reporters and articles (on newspapers, magazines, TV talk shows and the Internet) have pointed out her being faithful. The former President in known to her devotion to the rosary and the Roman Catholic Church.

I won't criticize her on her personal devotion to God. That's her business. What I'm after is how the common masses assume that when a person is devoted to God that makes him/her a good leader. As if faith is a positive virtue.

Believers assume everyone (even atheists and agnostics) have this er…faith. They say that non-believer have faith in the books that they read. They also say that we used faith daily in our lives. When we ride a taxi or a plane, we have faith that the driver or the pilot knew what he or she is doing. And so on.

So is this the same faith we used when talking about religious belief?

If you try looking in the dictionary, we see that faith is sometimes expressed to be synonymous with the word ‘trust’. Maybe that’s what some believers meant when they assume that even non-believers have faith. But we’re talking about faith in a religious sense. Trust or confidences about a high degree of belief are used for some certain claims or products. Well…your trust may be ill-based or inadequate. Your confidence from something or someone might be reasonable or unreasonable – but this is not the faith we are talking about. Trust or confidence doesn’t make a worldview. The faith that we are talking about doesn’t require any empirical evidences unlike any advertisements that show us the data or statistics perhaps… Nope. This type of faith creates gods.

When our leaders rely in this kind of faith it means we as a nation are wishing for a Divine Providence to fix our problems by using His divine will for us…as if we can’t do it without the aid of a supernatural wishy-washy!

Hey! Believers will still insist that faith can strengthen our will.

Really huh? Remember that the will to survive is stronger that the will of God. If those miners surrendered their fate to the will of our Lord, I don’t think there will be any survivors left. Those Bibles and prayers just served as an inspiration to their will to live and even without those religious paraphernalia, the love with family and friends (plus the nature of the cave-in, air pockets, etc.) will also serve the same effect.

But was it an act of faith?

If we will define a faith base on how religious believers define it, then the answer is no. Even if those miners believed that God will save them, they still acted together to ensure their survival. The will to live is to cling on worldly matters, not on spiritual salvation.

Going back to the Philippine scenario. To believe that God will work a miracle to save your country is a different matter. When people start to believe that religious faith is a very important factor in selecting their leaders that spells trouble. Since God cannot (and doesn’t) speak certain people will claim to do the speaking for Him.

Bishops, priests, pastors and Ayatollah will impose their doctrines and dogmas, their opinions based on their sacred writings to the rule of the land. Faith is now replaced by a theocracy run by these “holy men.” Sacred books and divine knowledge will replace textbooks and science. Prayers will replace medicine and divine revelation will replace experiments.

The problems of this kind of faith are more than just believing, for this type of faith requires obedience and total control of someone’s life. Since this so-called “Supreme Being” is invisible, men will rely to the visible so-called self-appointed spokespersons of God, giving these “men of God” total power to control his life.

So this is what this faith can offer. It is an invisible shackle that some people are willing to place on themselves. It is a blindfold that believers willingly cover their eyes – a voluntary rejection of knowledge. A nation whose sovereignty wrapped by a thick veil of this faith is trap - it will never prosper and its people will remain ignorant. It will be ensnared in the doctrines of a few Ecclesiastical authorities.

Being a lifetime religious stooge is not a virtue.

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