I don’t care which sect or religion you belong. as long as it makes you a better person, then there is no problem with that….Nordie Diploma
With the proliferation of various faiths, danger lurks on their memberships. Being a dyed-in-the-wool or practicing Sunni or Shiite or Hindi or fundamentalist Christian or Mormon in the mould of Mitt Romney or plain Esperikitik is dangerous to one’s health. To most Republicans, Mike Huckabee’s or Romney’s faith is simply unacceptable.
Being religious is a health hazard. One’s life expectancy, by new reckoning, is determined by religious faith. The idea of being in the midst of a hundred virgins in the after life is too irresistible to some. Who’s got the best, magnanimous, Almighty?
Instead of prefacing one’s prayer as “Oh Dios ko….” it is now politically correct to address one’s Intelligent Architect as “Oh Dios Mo….” That way you skirt the peril of intifadah or fatwa or excommunication or being stranded in the infinite cosmos unable to download to some physical body in the process of reincarnation. There is high probability of reincarnation given the upward trajectory of world population. Being a Chinese or an Indian in the next life has some certitude in it. This early, brush up on your Mandarin or Hindi.
Not belonging to one denomination spells eternal damnation. The Iglesia ni Cristo is steep on professional pessimism. They tell you without fail that human life is too frail and you need salvation. All you have to do is sign up with them. Outside of Manalo, you’re a certified Natalo, a loser.
Its founder nonetheless had all what it took: he knew the psyche of the Filipino politician. His block-voting made this religion a by-word by every candidate. With its influence from the Presidency to the Courts up to the barangays, its members are assured of heaven on earth. They practically don’t lose in any election or litigation. Every aspirant who enters the inner sanctum of the Over-all Administrator (Tagapamahala) is photographed and videotaped. The letter request for support is archived and plucked out for future reference once the candidate got what he wanted. Their backing has the psychological effect of being there.
Once the political bet gets INC’s support, its ministers give him the thumbs up with the assurance, “panalo ka na!” Those who failed to muster their support get the salving statement, “mangampanya ka pa, hindi ka matatalo.”
Doctors tell you that you need immediate surgery to remove what looks like a magnetic resonance or ctscan’s mass inside you or else metastasis comes in. Being labelled a walking time bomb gets home the message that you’re a candidate for surgical intervention. Lawyers believe that a class suit or an injunction is the best remedy pronto or you forever keep your peace and you lose your liberty, property or in case of those destined in the death row, your life. Lawyers and doctors are certified pessimists. Yet, one American super lawyer, by adding in the list an insurance underwriter, said:
I heard the preachers every Sunday: “If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will know the unspeakable bliss of eternal salvation.? If you don’t, hell awaits.”? The insurance salesmen argued the same: “Buy our insurance and you will enjoy security.? Fail to buy it – well, can you see your family huddled under a bridge someplace?? We’re here to provide peace of mind, ma’am, Blessed security.”? It’s easy to sell salvation and insurance.? Were it otherwise, the insurance industry and the churches wouldn’t control the major wealth of the world.
Years later as a lawyer. I viewed the insurance companies with their pay-on-death policies and the carnival crooks with their shell games and the Mafia chiefs with their protection scams as all kindred under the skin.? They all peddled the same thing – the placation of fear.? All understand the dominant motivations of the species – fear and greed.? In the end, fear wins out. (Gerry Spence, THE MAKING OF A COUNTRY LAWYER p. 12)
It’s hell or nothing. How does it feel to be grilled in some hot coal deep in the bowels of the earth? Since death is certain as taxes, keeping the health of your soul becomes a tithe of your earthly time. Hammering on fear means big business. Each religion has its own glossary of mental guillotine. Blasphemy and heresy mean certain death to some faiths. Excommunication or itiniwalag has some cultural and social signification equivalent to ostracism.
Being out of the Faith Means a Meltdown in Hades.
Ely Soriano’s Ang Dating Daan tells us his brand of evangelism has the imprimatur of heaven. His mastery of the Bible is testament to his appointment. His second in command prays deliverance from the oppressive shadow of his boss. Alzheimer’s won’t visit Ely. He jogs his mind daily on the rhythms of the Psalms.
Nobody beats PACQ. His initials almost made it? That’s Davao’s Pastor Apollo C. Quibuloy for you all in caps. He says he is the appointed Son of God. He is short on Bible quotes. But he has a shotgun blast of being outside his flock means, again, professional pessimism tactic; you are an incubator of the serpent’s seed, or whatever that means. And a fantastic choir which members have no Immigration working permits. His multi-media empire is the Sonshine World TV. His favourite guest is his equally queer Man in the Center of the Universe Davao City Mayor Rody “Deep in your guts, you know he’s nuts” Duterte. His constituent couldn’t get his name right as Rudy as in Giuliani, so he issued a local decree that henceforth his nickname is Rody. PACQ has an unbelievable following all in white. He tells us that if you can’t make heads or tails his kinship with God then Houston you have a problem. Not only Duterte is PACQ’s habitué. You get big political names kowtowing to the prophet.
And we have the religious cults interspersed in Surigao where the Ecleos are lording them over. A law was shepherded in Congress, without any opposition, creating a new political territory exclusively for the Ecleos carved from the Barbers country. Now their Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association runs undisturbed. Herbie Gomez, Correspondent of The Manila Times recounted:
The PBMA claims Ecleo started his “mission” as early as 1941 when the PBMA founder was still a boy. At eight, it said the boy Ruben had “reached far places on mission” and that he had received “dictations from the spiritual realm” in the mountains of northern Leyte at the age of 11.
He began his “full mission” a year later, when he was already 12.
The “dictations,” according to the PBMA, came in the form of a voice from Devachan while Ecleo was meditating, surrounded by “pythons, deadly insects, venomous vipers and reptiles.”
Devachan, in Indian, is the equivalent of the word “paradise” to Christians, a second heaven for the soul and a place of rest to Buddhists.
The PBMA also claims Ecleo was guided by the Arhat and taught by the Avatar.
Arhat is a Buddhist term for “worthy one” or “destroyer of the foe (ignorance),” a title given to those who have achieved “Nirvana” which is the state wherein a man is believed to have been freed from suffering or from the cycle of birth and death. In Hindu usage, Avatar refers to any incarnation of the god Vishnu. Used generally, it refers to any descent of a god into the world in human form (June 9, 2002)
In March 1997, people found dead bodies in a house in Canada. The house belonged to a ‘New Age’ religious cult, the Order of the Solar Temple. Like this group had done before, it was both suicide by cult members, and murder of people unwilling to join them in death.
However, on 26 March, news about a bigger collective suicide replaced this item in the media. In a luxurious mansion at Rancho Santa Fe near San Diego in California in the United States, police found 39 bodies of members of the Heaven’s Gate religious organization. Their age varied from teenager to elderly. They included an ex-Miss Rodeo, a former cowboy movie actor, and the brother of an actress in the TV series Star Trek. Some of them were castrated. This was an extreme case of negative ideas about sex, which one may find also elsewhere in occultism, like in the novel The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. They wore uniform clothes. After their deaths, purple shrouds covered them.
Heaven’s Gate had started in the 1970’s. Applewhite, a music teacher then, landed in a psychiatric asylum. Bonnie Nettles was his nurse there. Nettles was a prominent member of the Theosophical Society in Houston, Texas and wrote the astrology column for the local newspaper. Together, Applewhite and Nettles read The Secret Doctrine by Madame Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy. When Heaven’s Gate started, Nettles called herself Shakti Devi. Later, Nettles and Applewhite called themselves Ti and Do. Though they were able to impress small numbers of people with their ideas, they were not good at managing large numbers. So, Heaven’s Gate stayed small. They also stayed small because the leaders kept announcing that a UFO would come to take them to heaven very soon. Some followers started to wonder why this was postponed many times. Jonestown was the short-lived settlement made in northwestern Guyana by the Peoples Temple, a cult from California.
Jonestown became lastingly and internationally notorious in 1978, when nearly its whole population died in a mass murder-suicide orchestrated by their leader, Jim Jones. The name of the settlement thus became, also, a term for that incident. The site is now an abandoned ruin.
Named after Jones, Jonestown was founded on his initiative in the mid-1970s, as an agricultural commune. It stood amidst jungle, about seven miles (11 km) southwesterly from Port Kaituma. Jonestown’s population was about one thousand, once it was fully established and the bulk of Jones’ followers had moved to it, but most of them lived there for under a year.
In November of 1978, United States Congressman Leo Ryan, accompanied by reporters and a delegation of concerned relatives of Peoples Temple members, visited Jonestown to investigate allegations of abuses there. The visit ended in the murders of Ryan and four others by members of the Peoples Temple, shot at the Port Kaituma airstrip as they were about to fly out. That evening, November 18, Jones led his followers in their mass murder-suicide. Somewhat over nine hundred men, women and children perished, Jones among them.
Jonestown was shortly abandoned by the collapsing remnant of the Peoples Temple. Afterward, it was at first tended by the Guyanese government, which allowed its re-occupation by Hmong refugees from Laos, for a few years in the early 1980s, but it has since been altogether deserted. It was looted but otherwise avoided by the local Guyanese, mostly destroyed by a fire in the mid-1980s, and its remains were left to decay and be reclaimed by the jungle.
On February 28, 1993, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a property located nine miles (14 km) east-northeast of Waco, Texas. An exchange of gunfire resulted in the deaths of four agents and six Davidians. A subsequent 51-day siege by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ended on April 19 when fire destroyed the complex. Seventy-six people, including 21 children and two pregnant women, along with Davidian leader David Koresh, died in the incident. This has come to be known as the Waco Siege or the Waco Massacre.
Does the Divine Architect Play Favorite?
In the movie The Kingdom, a grieving father confronted a Saudi cop, who is obviously a Muslim, and asked the latter if his Allah loves Islamic children more than Christian children. This was in the face of a fictional triple suicide bombing that happened in succession killing hundreds of Americans inside an American residential high security enclave. The cop was dumbfounded and failed to respond. It looks like he is a moderate Muslim who doesn’t buy the fanaticism of a fundamentalist.
Who’s Got God’s Attention?
Talking to God or His equivalent is the most normal thing to do. Spiritual thirst comes naturally. It is Zen, relaxing, and one easy way out from depression. But we are confronted with religious crackpots who lay claim to having talked to God on a regular basis. Does religion really make one an addict to its rituals? A hundred years ago, Karl Marx, upset the religious world with his dicta “religion is the opiate of the people.” Central to Marx’s theory as historian and political scientist is the inevitable class struggle fuelled by the economic inequity. Sooner the elite and the bourgeoisie would melt and get vaporized by the inexorable march of the proletariat. Religion basically is the structural pillar of the Establishment despised by the working class. To a communist, the idea of God is a superfluity. Religion exaggerates the idea of God. In effect, Religion is the first and last successful Ponzi. Someone said history is the best laboratory to any ideology. The best way to test any ideological deduction is by passing it thru the wringer of history. After 80 years of trying, hard core Communists the likes of Mikhail Gorbachev bowed to the demagoguery of the likes of Boris Yeltsin. The Communists retreated in disappointment.
Marx theory is a figment of his wild imagination. Man has not overcome his spiritual thirst. The idea of God is man’s invisible crutch in his dark journey from birth to death. Just as there are thousands of tongues, there are equal number of divine perspectives. That’s where the trouble is. Who’s got His singular attention? The Jews say that they are it. They have the Old Testament as testament to that. Mel Gibson in drunken stupor accused the Jews as Christ killers. Being sober, he made and directed his version of the life of Christ.
No Messiah for the Jews
Nowhere near is Jesus Christ the messiah the Jews expect. They are still in the preparation of welcoming their own. While Christ is one of them, the Good Book records the derision they inflicted on the son of the carpenter. “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?” Crucifying him the Jews gave him the moniker IESVS·NAZARENVS·REX·IVDÆORVM, which translates to English as: “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.” For the Jews, they look at Jesus as some kind of a wise man. They marvelled at his intellect, a first of its kind in that epoch. Was he a messiah, a rebel, or a prophet?
A Gifted Child
It looks like the Jews are in awe with Jesus not for anything but a gifted child. The kid manifested a sharp intellect way above the rest. He has an IQ that of a genius. Certainly if we have gifted children now, there are gifted children then. If we have kids gifted with super IQ now, there is nothing spectacular if there are kids born with those same gifts two millenniums ago. Only now we are told that gifted children are easily bored and exhibited behavioural problems. They seem to explode with inactivity.
Highly gifted children tend to be those who demonstrate asynchronous development. Due to their high cognitive abilities and high intensities they experience and relate to the world in unique ways. These children are often found as a result of extremely high scores on an individually scored IQ tests, generally above the 140 IQ range. Others may be prodigies in areas such as math, science, language and/or the arts. Profoundly gifted children can score in excess of 170 IQ.
Highly gifted children demonstrate characteristics such as the extreme need to:
1. Learn at a much faster pace.
2. Process material to a much greater depth.
3. Show incredible intensity in energy, imagination, intellectual prowess, sensitivity, and emotion which are not typical in the general population.
The child of 160+ is as different from the child of 130 IQ as that child is different from the child of average ability. Current research suggests that there may be higher incidence of children in this high range than previously thought. Due to their unique characteristics, these children are particularly vulnerable. Highly gifted children need a specialized advocacy because very little has been done to develop appropriate curriculum and non-traditional options for these children (From the Hollingworth Center for Highly Gifted Children)
But Jesus was not a contemporary of the great scientists like Einstein or Newton or Curie and the rest. The latter had a vast of recorded knowledge before them. Gifted children now are blessed with the vast libraries or technological institutes or the internet. Geniuses now are afforded with laboratories and physical equipment to test their hypotheses. A man trapped in a gifted brain seeks an exhaust valve or they wither. Jesus suffered torment on the regurgitations in his brain.
I was continuing to shrink. To become, what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being, or was I the man of the future?… So close, the infinitesimal and the infinite, but suddenly I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet, like the closing of a gigantic circle. I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God’s silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man’s own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends is man’s conception, not nature’s, and I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away and in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation-it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest-I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist (Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921-1990), Swiss dramatist, novelist, essayist)
But since Jesus has no Mensa Workout during his time much less Mensa International to join its ranks for interaction, what is there for this kid to do? He devoured all imaginable religious manuscripts. Remember that there were no scientific manuals then or equivalent books. Maybe he had the manuals of carpentry dating back from his ancestors. Since his medium was wood, it’s a pity that nothing was found of his earliest woodworks, pieces of arts by all measures. All he had was the Talmud or the Mosaic with the Old Testament and Roman laws. Perhaps on the side somebody gave him the books on Isis, Orisis, and Horus of Egyptian mythologies. A genius with a burning mind, Jesus synthesized all these works and came up with an original one. His sermons and parables are first of its kind during his time. People were simply awed. The carpenter’s son can deliver.
9/11 and the war on terror are the aftermath of religions gone wrong. Even George W. Bush puts some religious flair in his call to arms speeches. From that fateful day of September 11, 2001, how many lives were lost? In the continuing saga of the Palestinian people, who indeed own the Holy Land? In the name of religion, these two peoples are into each other’s neck. This conflict has spread in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. London and Barcelona have their share of grief. Bali mourns the hundreds who died there. In Southern Philippines, how many perished in the name religion. Remember the Juramentados? The US Army was asked to invent the .45 calibre pistol that could stop a charging amok.
The end is still nowhere in sight. President Bush ordered his ‘military surge’ and found it effective. Osama bin Ladin, although on the run, sends religious death orders from the vastness of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Just like the starfish, the Muslim fanatics manage to re-emerge and regenerate with fresh call to war after their religious leaders get killed or erased.
Remember Lennonism? Right after their disbandment, John Lennon wrote his philosophy. Perhaps his friends from the Beatles found the lyrics too radical or too uncommercial as it would block off the conservatives or the Establishment. A slash in the market is not the wise thing to do. Besides, John was too ahead of his time. Yet John Lennon went ahead with his creation, or he go nuts. The boy was another gifted child with so many musical notes and ideas in his mind. Not only did he advocate abolition of manmade institutions that proved banes to human existence, but he teaches us human thought out of the box. For him, and the others before him, human life is a continuing gift and miracle. In the vast unfathomable universe, human life, no matter how lowly, deserves respect.
Hummed it he did, and the song became a masterpiece. Watch the New Year’s countdown in Time Square New York, and 5 minutes before the ball goes down one gets goose bumps when John Lennon’s Imagine dominates the air. The crowd fall silent and instantaneously sing along with the great master.
Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
lmagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one