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The Use and Abuse of Faith

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on June 22, 2018 03:41

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In many parts of the world, faith has been used and abused by people who destroy families and communities so they could perpetuate themselves in power. They should be held accountable.

Religion has been around for thousands of years. It played a significant role in history and shaped cultures and societies across the globe. We cannot dismiss it as suitable only for the weak as some evangelists of atheism preach. 

We do not know for certain what lies ahead, and most of us fear the unknown but are also fascinated with the mysterious. This is one of the reasons why we create a belief system, a faith that ushers us on our journey in this world.

Faith has helped us understand who we are; it serves as our guide in navigating through the complexities of life. In a way, religion provides us with a safe and fertile ground to plant our roots deeper and blossom.

It is unfortunate though that some politicians, governments and terrorists have used and abused religion for their self-interests. Some of them use the sacred scriptures to gain votes and stay in power. There are those who use faith to destroy families and communities. And some governments persecute groups because of their faith and cultural identity.

The word “Islam” has been associated with “terrorism” since 9/11; conservative Evangelicalism in the United States, Donald Trump. In China, religion is a refuge of the oppressed from the brutality of the atheistic state, providing the Uyghurs and Tibetans resolve amidst persecution.

In the Philippines, they killed Catholic priests.

Christianity arrived in the Philippines in the 16th century through the Spaniards. But two hundred years earlier, Islam had taken its roots in the archipelago. Most Filipinos are religious; faith is their way of life. You can see it in the thousands of religious groups scattered across the nation.

Many Filipino politicians seek the support of various religious groups and cults that could guarantee them votes. Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), a local religious group, is notorious for their block voting that could make or break a politician. And Rodrigo Duterte enjoyed the support of INC, some conservative Evangelicals, and other local cults. He is also friends with a conman who claimed to be the appointed son of God, Apollo Quiboloy.

When the Roman Catholic hierarchy started to speak up in behalf of the victims of extrajudicial killings and criticized his human rights record, Duterte countered with verbal assaults against the Church. He was known to have cursed the pope during a political campaign. He mocked the teachings of the Church and accused the priests of womanizing. Many believed that the president’s tirades against the clergy culminated into the killing of three priests in six months.

The problem lies not so much in religion but on the people using faith for evil purposes. This use and abuse of faith have held democracy under attack by the powers that be. I have not lost my faith in politics and in religion; they are vital institutions of our society. But we should hold accountable those who see religion as a threat, a tool for violence, and a means to perpetuate in power.

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on June 22, 2018 03:41

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