imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

IN MY EYES: Duterte’s God

The issue on religion is one that’s very controversial, fellas.

Almost all the Christian religious sects today claim theirs is the one and only true Church and it’s only through theirs that one can be “saved.”

When I was still teaching Araling Panlipunan (AP), Kasaysayan ng Daigdig, there was a lesson part when the period of Reformation raged in Europe to protest many of the Catholic Church’s unpopular practices such as the selling of indulgence and simony. Protestantism came out and so, I localized it to include the many Christian denominations in our locality. One of the class activities we conducted was for the students with different sects to present their beliefs. After that, we had an open forum. It was fun and educational, but one religious sect representative always ended up mum in the middle of the arguments.

Most vocal were the students from the Pentecostal Church, Born Again, the Baptists and the Jehova’s Witnesses. One time, I came across a bright female student who professed to be an atheist and so she had very little participation because she didn’t believe in God.  A Muslim also joined the fray one time and as expected, he defended Allah as the one and only Supreme One. But all ended well as I remained neutral as the moderator. After all, this is a free country of people jailed or freed by their own beliefs.

While attending a regional seminar in Pangasinan one summer, I came across a fellow AP teacher who said he went a step further in treating the lesson.

“I invited their (the students) pastors and priests and we had a campus wide debate on certain issues as the Godhead, basic Christian beliefs, the ‘original sin,’ salvation, life after death, the reality of heaven and hell, the papacy etc. etc.. The debate dragged on until noon and nobody wanted to surrender. It ended up with no end. Nobody won and nobody lost,” he said.

And so the battle who is the real God rages on to date.

Now here comes President Rody who just tackled recently the identity of “his God”: “You know, God is personal. It is not formed by textbooks. You nurture God as your faith based on the values that you get from life early on from your parents.”

The he went on to utter those remarks which enraged the Catholic bishops and other Christian groups, saying “your God is stupid” as he spoke about the creation story in the Bible

“No, particularly in the—in my rift against the Catholic Church. I have no quarrel with the others but if they want to join the fray, it’s fine, I said. I’m here to just… Well, ‘yon ang bisyo ko eh. From time to time I shake the tree of society,” he said.

The President questioned why the Catholic God created “something perfect” only to “destroy” it later with the original sin committed by Adam and Eve.

Totoo naman (that’s true),” Duterte said of his controversial comment during the oath-taking of barangay captains in Cagayan de Oro.

Duterte went on to say that nobody has the right to “bind” him to a certain belief, and that it is up to him whether to believe in God or not.

“If I choose not to believe in any god, what’s the “f*****g thing about it? It’s about freedom to choose one,” he said.

He said he instead believes in a “universal being” who is “more supreme than the rest of the gods of men.”

During his speech, he again mocked the creation story in the Bible. He also questioned the veracity of the last supper, wherein Jesus had his last meal with the apostles before he was crucified.

Sabi ko, not everything in the bible is true. Sino nag-publish niyang Bible na iyan? Even itong last supper. Who are the idiots there? Basta nalang gi — ginawang santo kay tua man ngadto sa painting. (The people in the painting were suddenly made saints just because they were there),” he claimed.

“Tell me if it’s a perfect god, luluhod ako dito, I will kneel down. Tell me if it is a very poignant story of the history of mankind or it is really a stupid one,” he said.

And so, who is Duterte’s God, fellas?

The President, who was born and raised as a Catholic, claimed that he was not referring to his own god when he labelled God as stupid.

Wala akong sinabing torpe ang ginoo ko (I did not say my god was stupid),” he said. “Your god is not my god because your god is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense.”

The president’s “ill-feeling” against the Catholic Church can be traced to a boyhood experience when he was allegedly abused by somebody in the Catholic Church.

“The sad story of the Catholic way dito,” he said. “Kami sa Ateneo noon, and I will tell you the abuses committed against the minors during that time including me and I will tell you my story.”

Again, who is the president’s God?

Somebody who has a lot of common sense, a “universal being who is more supreme than the rest of the gods of men.”

I also strongly believe in the presence of God, fellas, somebody who is All-Seeing, kind and just like Leo Tolstoy’s God in “God Sees the Truth but Waits” (1872) although “The Sin of Jesus” (1955) by his fellow Russian Isaac Babel is critical and questioning.

God is love and I will always pray to Him no matter what people call him – whether “stupid” or has a lot of common sense.

I also see him as a “Universal Being who is more supreme than the rest of the gods of men.”

No need to join the fray, fellas

I am also jailed by my own belief. #