Prose and poetry of my rollercoaster rides and bittersweet valentines. Plus--blogs, blues and bliss.
Monday, May 2, 2016
Religion, isms and stuff
AM not a religious person—although I was born in the Philippines,
Asia's only Christian country (besides tiny East Timor) and raised by
a conservative Catholic family that goes to church every Sunday
morning and say graces before and after meals. I spent summers in a
seminary, was an altar boy, and preached the Bible in high school.
Yet that time I never called myself a religious person.
I entered college, and Martial Law gripped the country, I slid past
the Faith and embraced Maoist-styled Communism—as I pursued a
journalism career. During those years, I also created many friends
who were Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists (not converted in a foreign
land but believers in their own countries of birth) as assignments
took me on the road. A Hindu factory worker in Madras taught me
meditation lessons and how to cook awesome curry dishes; I played
music and collaborated on community projects with Muslims in the
south of the Philippines; a Buddhist monk in Kashmir influenced most
of my ruminative writings and art etc etcetera.
hold on to our respective beliefs—non-denominational or apolitical,
something that we keep in us, something that makes us happier and
peaceful. Adherents to traditional faith (Christianity, Taoism, Islam
etc) also find peace and happiness in their church—in fact they've
been here for many, many years even before mass communication, market
economy, and “I am spiritual, not religious” was cool.
I wonder why some of us openly ridicule other people's gods in the
internet and elsewhere. Yes, every faith has their own bigots—as in
any ideology has its own fanatical hypocrites. This is the world
where we live in—it's messy, it's imperfect but we can at least try
to chill a bit and dance to the Bee Gees with our Christian neighbors
or play chess with a Mennonite or Cherokee. Dorito's bombards us with
annoying ads as well as Verizon and Nissan Sentra. Some Jesus Christ
followers irk us, as do our passive-aggressive BFFs and Charter
telemarketers. We ourselves can also be super-annoying. Best that we
can do is, IGNORE what we reject inside and leave them alone, let us
respect other people's “madnesses.” Unless they slap us in the
face without provocation, let them be. We can judge and irk and diss
them anyway we desire, I don't think it's that easy to pull them out of
their beliefs. So let's cool out and have some chai.