Religion, Christian Faith, and Immorality

Religion, Christian Faith, and Immorality

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

I am wondering whether those who profess religiosity based on what they practice really “understand” what they are doing. They claim that the bible contributes a lot to their spiritual development. The problem with these people though, is that, while some stick to just the New Testament, others devote their time more to the Old Testament, when the two sections of the bible are supposed to complement each other. So what happens is that, while some of them learn about the teachings of Jesus which are in the New Testament, they do not have a slight idea that the religion that they follow can be traced back to Abraham who is in the Old Testament, and whom they hear only as a name when mentioned in sermons. The ignorance came to light when I asked one Catholic Lay Minister if he has an idea on who the eldest son of Abraham is. I found out that all he knew was that Abraham has a son and that, he was Isaac. When I told him that Ishmael was his eldest son bore to him by Hagar, the handmaid of Sarah, he was surprised! He even asked, how can it be possible when the name Ishmael is a Muslim?

 

From the desert, the Abrahamaic faith, also called Mosaic faith that also hinges on the belief on the coming of a “redeemer” spread. When Jesus came, he followed a new path along which he spread his teachings that filled the pages of the New Testament. When he died on the cross, his followers insisted that he was the sacrificial lamb for the sins of mankind – the redeemer who have finally come and did the act of redemption. But many refused to accept this, as they even keep on questioning his identity if he, indeed, belongs to the House of David from where, the redeemer should come from, more so with the allegation of his being the son of God.

 

If Jesus was the result of a “virgin birth” that gives credence to the “annunciation” as one of the “mysteries”, then, he does not belong to the House of David, because Mary, herself, as his biological mother does not, but only Joseph, who is his “foster father”, therefore, not his “biological father”. In other words, he is not the prophesied “redeemer” as insisted by his followers. Such question is one of the so many asked since the medieval period when the pagan Romans were converted into Christianity, and overdid their religiosity by incorporating pagan practices into what was supposed to be a simplistic way of spirituality. Instead of giving enlightenment on the issue, the early church leaders added problems, one of which is the question on “Trinity” that even widened the “schism”. Is it not immoral to keep the truth from the people who thought they are following the right path?

 

The “extensions” of the Church of Rome distributed throughout Europe as the 15th century was ending, was purported to be the largest “landholders” during the time. That was also the time when Christianity was forced into the inhabitants of the islands that came to be known as Philippines, so named by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, in honor of the Spanish king, Philip II. But before the Spaniards came to the shores of the archipelagic islands, they had already sacked the long- thriving Inca and other highly developed cities that they converted into their colonies, and they called the natives “Indios”. For the Spaniards, the natives that they suppressed and made to kneel in front of the cross are called “Indios” who, for them are ignorant… this is how the natives of the Philippines and America were first called, and not by their real indigenous names.

 

The Spanish Christian missionaries who were also fond of shouting “punyeta”, “sin verguenza”, and “hijo de puta” to the natives, did the same hideous conduct of conversion they used in South America, when they came to the Philippines, as they went into the frenzy of burning cultural and intellectual treasures, because for them those were “demonic” and did not conform with “Christianity” which for them still, was the “righteous way”. They even went to the extent of executing “babaylans” or native priestesses.

 

During the closing of the 15th century, the Roman Church owned practically, almost half of France and Germany, and two-fifths of Sweden and England, not to mention Mexico and other South American colonies and the Philippines where, the early haciendas were located in Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Rizal, as well as, the islands of Negros, Panay and Cebu. While the colonies in Europe were not so productive, in the Philippines, the vast tracts of land that were literally grabbed from the natives were planted to sugar cane, rice, and coconut. Today, a few Filipino families who are also into politics are “hold-over owners” of these haciendas. And, they are so much devoted Roman Catholics!…and so, exploitation goes on!

 

Because of  her exploitation disguised by evangelization, Rome grew splendidly and gloriously. To maintain such splendor and glory, the papacy resorted to requiring all ecclesiastical appointees to remit their revenues to the “papal curia” in Vatican. A scandal that gave birth to the Reformation movement and also widened further the “schism” is about the pope’s selling of indulgences. Imagine the pope selling “tickets” to heaven! The large sum of money that flowed into the Vatican’s coffer led to more corruption, most prominent of which were committed by:

 

  • Sixtus IV (reign: 1471-84), who spent enormous sum of money in building the “chapel” that he named after himself, the “Sistine”, aside from causing the enrichment of his nephews and nieces;
  • Alexander VI, a.ka., Rodrigo Borgia (reign: 1492-1503) who allegedly, openly acknowledged and afforded financial opportunities to his illegitimate children;
  • Julius II (reign: 153-13), nephew of Sixtus IV, and who was said to be warlike, notorious politician, and who also spent lavishly on art, but failed in his duties as Head of the Roman Church.

 

During the time, the papacy did not monopolize immorality, as there was a popular adage then, that said, “if you want your son to be corrupted, make him decide to become a priest”.

It was alleged that confessors solicited sexual favors from female penitents, and thousands of priests were said to maintain concubines. Reformists were making a mockery of the church by saying that for Jesus’ ministers, it’s always money – from baptism, marriage, till death, with such greed and perversion spreading to Hispanic colonies.

 

Today, in the Philippines, so many Christian ministries have sprung up in almost every corner of big cities, sporting different names and congregate in inauspicious apartment units, former offices, multi-purpose halls of subdivisions, former movie theaters, and for the richy…Cultural Center of the Philippines and Folk Arts Theater which are the projects of Imelda Marcos within the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

 

There is a joke today about the unemployed, but with an oratorical gift to just put up a “ministry” in order to survive out of the tithes or “love offering” from members. These followers attend the gatherings and listen to the same never changing themes about love that they fail to put into practice, as they go back to their old “selfish” ways when they go home by keeping to themselves – within the security of their homes and company of select friends. Still, some enterprising bible-toting ministers even go to the extent of using the religious book in soliciting money from commuters by hopping on to buses and jeepneys to “share” the words from the bible in exchange for money to be put in envelops that they patiently distribute. As this kind of undertaking is some kind of a money-making enterprise, those who conduct such should be taxed!

 

The pope, himself, acknowledges the proliferation of immorality and corruption in the Roman Catholic Church that is why lately, an external auditing firm has been contracted to check on the Vatican records. He even apologized for the abuse committed by some members of the clergy. In other words, nobody among the members of the Vatican-based church is free from the stain of immorality. Still, in the Philippines, the Iglesia ni Cristo, biggest Christian church next to the Roman Catholic, is rocked with a scandal that is undergoing an investigation. There could still be other religious scandals going around, but just get to be contained due to their insignificance, compared to the cursing of Duterte who is running for presidency during the 2016 election.

 

The world today is full of “habitual” sinners – “immorals” in the eyes of the “moralists”, just because these people that they despise do not attend religious services or utter curses habitually, or just simply, polygamous. Can they be compared with those who attend these so-called religious services but got no slightest idea what compassion means? Can they be compared with husbands who fool their wives by playing around with their “queridas”, or wives who squander the wage hard- earned by their husband abroad, on their kept “lovers”?

 

Worst, these “moralists” are emboldened by the thought that it is alright for them to commit sin because they can go to confession, afterwards anyway! ….or worse, eat the host, bread or biscuit that symbolize the body of Christ, the better for them to get “cleansed” immediately! (I read stories about pagan tribes who eat the body of their brave opponents so that such character can be made part of them).

 

Some of these “good” people do not even know the name of their neighbors, so how can they say they love God that they cannot see, but cannot love their neighbors who are just a few steps away from them? Is it not sheer hypocrisy which is just another form of immorality?  Some of them still, who have become more financially stable than the rest, act like horses pulling indigenous “calesas”, that are allowed to look just straight ahead, which is a manifestation of selfishness.

 

By the way, I do not deny that I am a sinner through and through!…please pray for me!

Paanong Nagsimula ang Anting-anting na Bala at Iba pang anting-anting sa Pilipinas

Paanong Nagsimula ang Anting-anting na Bala

At iba pang anting-anting sa Pilipinas

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Ayaw ko sanang magsulat tungkol sa anting-anting, pero dahil sa isyu ng “tanim- bala” sa international airport, ay kailangang maglabas ako ng saloobin upang maisama na rin ang iba pang itinuturing na anting-anting sa Pilipinas. Makababanggit ako ng mga bagay na may kinalaman sa nakaraang awayan ng mga Muslim at Kristiyano sa Mindanao, kaya kaunting pang-unawa ang hinihingi ko.

Ang “anting-anting” na gawa sa bala ay nagsimula sa Mindanao noong dekada sitenta, kainitan ng away sa pagitan ng mga Blackshirt (Muslim) at Ilaga (Kristiyano). Ang gumagamit ng bala bilang anting-anting PERO WALANG LAMANG PULBURA ay ang mga Ilaga. Napupulot lang ang mga basyo ng bala sa mga encounter areas, pati na ang malalaking basyo ng kanyon. Nilalagyan ng maliit na papel na sinulatan ng orasyon ang basyo ng bala, at tinatakpan uli ng kung hindi man kahoy ay nilusaw na tingga o pilak.

Naging “fad” ang mga gamit na yari sa mga basyong bala, lalo na ang mga ginamit sa kanyon at ginawa bilang ash tray at flower base. Ang mga bala namang basyo subalit may orasyon ay pinapalawit sa kuwentas. Hindi ginagamit na anting-anting ang balang may lamang pulbura, dahil ipinagbawal ito ng mismong mga lider ng Ilaga. Ang kailangan sa basyong bala ay ang tansong nilagyan ng pulbura dahil ang material na ito talaga ang panlaban daw sa masamang espiritu, isang paniniwala na galing sa mga Intsik, maliban pa sa paniniwala nilang nakakagamot din kaya may mga bracelet na yari sa tanso. Naging popular na souvenir ang mga items na yari sa mga basyong bala kaya ang mga pumupunta sa Mindanao – naging malaking negosyo. Sa mga lugar kung saan may mga putukan, may mga bata ring nakaabang upang mamulot ng mga basyo pagkatapos. Yong ibang namumulot ay sako-sako ang naiipon. Yong hindi nalulusaw upang gawing agimat na medalyon ay ginagawing palawit na lang subalit may mga ukit na disenyo.

Ang isa pang ginamit na anting-anting ng mga Ilaga noon ay ang pabango na ang tatak ay “X-7”, na ang pinakamaliit na sisidlan ay kapareho ng sisidlang maliit ng “White Flower”, isang uri ng herbal oil na ginagamit laban sa baradong ilong at nananakit na kalamnan, at sakit ng tiyan. Palatandaan ang amoy ng “X-7” na ang isang tao ay kasapi ng Ilaga, kaya nagkakaalaman ang mga taong nagkakasalubong kahit saan. Ang kumpirmasyon ng kanilang pagiging magkasapi ay isa pang senyas.

May mga classmate ako noon na kasapi sa Ilaga subalit hindi na lang namin sila pinapansin kung nangangamoy “X-7” sila sa loob ng classroom. Maliban sa pabango na hinaluan ng dinasalang langis ng niyog, ang bote ay may laman ding orasyong nakasulat sa maliit na papel at binilot upang magkasya sa bote, o maliit na bahagi ng tenga ng napatay na Blackshirt. Kung may laban, nagpapahid ng maraming “X-7” ang mga Ilaga, at upang epektibo ang anting-anting, kung nakatayo man sila at sumugod, hindi patakbo o palakad ang kanilan ginagawa – nauuna ang kaliwang paa, kaya nakatagilid sila habang sumusugod at nagpapaputok.

Maraming namamasyal sa Mindanao noon na ang unang binibili ay mga palawit sa kuwentas na basyo ng balang binibenta sa palengke, pati na mga ash tray at flower vase na gawa rin sa bala. Lalong naging popular ang bala nang kumalat ito sa Manila dahil binenta na rin sa mga tindahan ng anting-anting sa gilid ng simbahan ng Quiapo. Isang taga-amin ang minsan ay natiyempuhan kong nagdeliver sa Quiapo ng mga ginawa niyang “souvenirs”, sinamahan ko pa siya sa puwesto ng matandang babae na taga-Baguio. Yan ang kuwento ng kawawang balang dapat ay basyo kung gamiting palawit dahil anting-anting lang, hindi pampatay, subalit ginamit na kasangkapan ng mga kawatan sa airport ng Manila upang makapangikil.

May nakilala ako noong matanda, si Ba Endo, na nakatira sa paanan ng Sierra Madre. Una siyang nakilala ng mga miyembro ng UP Mountaineers na nag-imbita naman sa aming mga taga-PAL Mountaineering Club upang mag-camping sa nasabing bundok. Dahil naging malapit ako sa matanda, naging kampante akong mag-camping sa tabi ng bahay niya o matulog mismo sa bahay niya kahit ako lang mag-isa. Kung minsan ay kasama ko ang isa pang miyembro ng PAL Mountaineering Club na si Fabie Espino.

Isang beses na sa bahay niya ako natulog, ginising niya ako bandang hatinggabi at sinenyasang huwag maingay, sabay turo sa labas ng bintana. Noong umpisa hindi ko maaninag ang itunuturo niya, subalit bandang huli ay malinaw kong nakita ang isang parang maliit na light bulb sa isang sanga ng puno. Gumalaw ito at nawala. Sabi niya, “karbungko” daw ang nakita ko, isang bato na inaalagaan ng mga ahas at ang nagdadala ay ang pinaka-lider nila. Bago namatay ang matanda, inamin niyang may kaalaman siya sa panggagamot at pangkukulam, kaya pala natataymingan ko kung minsan ang mga batang dinadala sa kanya upang mahilot at may mga bisita din siyang  binibigyan niya ng mga dahon at ugat. Binigyan niya ako ng buhok daw ng tikbalang na nakabalot sa balat ng usa. Nahalata niyang hindi ko ito sineryoso, kaya winisikan niya ng konting tubig, at nabigla ako nang biglang parang “nagkikisay” ang balahibo na parang nasaktang uod!

Bago dumating ang mga  Kastila, ang mga agimat na ginagamit ng ating mga ninuno ay mga bahagi ng halaman tulad ng balat at ugat, bato at korales. Ang paniniwala sa mga bato at korales ay galing naman sa mga Intsik na nakikipagkalakalan sa ating mga ninuno noon. Hanggang ngayon, marami pa rin ang naniniwala sa bisa ng “pulang korales” (red corral), “itim na korales (black corral), susong dagat, pinatuyong “kabayong dagat” (sea horse), balat ng “walo-walo) (sea snake), taklubo, tambuli (giant conch), at marami pang iba. Ang mga bato naman ay pinangagalingan din daw ng lakas at humihigop ng pera at suwerte, kaya ngayon ay popular pa rin ang mga kuwentas at bracelet na yari sa mga korales at bato, at nadagdagan pa ng mga kristal.

Ang iba pang tanyag na anting-anting daw ay buntot ng page na kinatatakutan ng mga mangkukulam at aswang. Ang mga naniniwala dito ay nagsasabit sa likod ng pintong nasa sala. Ang iba ay nagsasabit naman ng bote o garapong may langis ng niyog na binabaran ng mga ugat at bahagi ng hayop at dinasalan daw ng manggagamot.  Malalaman ng maybahay kung ang taong papasok sa bahay ay may masamang intensiyon kung ang aapaw ang langis sa bote o garapon.

Nang dumating ang mga Kastila, saka naglabasan ang mga agimat na yari sa tanso, may iba’t-ibang hugis at may nakaukit na orasyong hindi maintindihan, pero halata namang may pagka-Kastilang salita na binaluktot. Nakabatay sa Kristiyanismo ang mga sinasabing agimat. Ang impluwensiya ng relihiyon ay makikita sa hugis tatsulok ng ibang medalyon na may malaking mata sa gitna, at nagpapaalala sa Trinity at kapangyarihan ng Diyos. Ang ibang hugis ay kuwadrado naman o bilog at may mga mukha ng mga santo o ni Hesus mismo. Yong mga nagtitinda nito sa Quiapo, sinasabihan pa ang mga bumibili na “nabendesyunan” na daw ng pari  ang anting-anting. Yong ibang hindi kumbinsido, patagong nilulublob ang anting-anting sa lagayan ng sagradong tubig na pang-antada o sign of the cross sa loob ng simbahan.

Naging uso noong dekada otsenta ang bracelet na yari sa “agsam” isang uri ng baging na sa Surigao at ilang bahagi ng Mindanao lang matatagpuan. Ito ay nilala (woven), sa tantiyadong sukat na maisusuot lamang kung ibabad muna sa tubig upang lumambot. Kapag naisuot na at natuyo, bumabalik ito sa dating sukat na tamang-tama lang sa braso. Pantaboy daw ito ng masamang ispiritu, kaya naging popular din sa mga mapamahiing naniniwala sa agimat, kaya bumaha ng mga ito sa Maynila at in-export pa!

May tinatawag na batong “ipot ng bulalakaw”, kulay itim na sa totoo lang ay “tektite” o natirang bahagi ng bumagsak na meteorite. Karamihan sa maliit na batong ito na may iba’t ibang laki at hugis ay matatagpuan sa Mindoro at Batangas at binebenta rin s Quiapo. Mayroon pa ring sinasabing “puting bato balani” na nakita ko ngang dinidikitan ng bakal na bagay, at sa karagatan naman daw ng Infanta (Quezon) ito matatagpuan. Maliit lang ang sukat nito na parang holen pero irregular ang hugis, hindi bilog na bilog.

Ngayon, tinatangkilik ng mga Pilipino ang mga alahas na yari sa mga kristal na galing sa Tsina, dahil nakakagamot daw sila at humihigop pa ng swerte at pera. Dahil sa mga ganoong katangian, itinuring na rin silang mga anting-anting. Naglabasan na rin ang mga talagang bato pa lamang subalit ang laman ay mga kristal, lalo na ang quartz na iba’t iba ang kulay. Marami ang bumibili nito upang maipandispley sa bahay at tuloy makapagtaboy ng malas.

Ano pa nga ba’t at kahit na maituturing nang makabago ang pamumuhay sa panahon ngayon, marami pa rin ang naniniwala sa mga anting-anting. Ang Amerika na nirerespeto ng buong mundo ay merong Superman na ang lakas ay galing sa isang bato. Pero hindi patatalo ang Pilipinas, as usual, na mayroon namang Darna na may anting-anting din na bato!…dapat ito na lang ang lunukin ng mga ayaw paawat na nagbibitbit ng anting-anting…sigurado pang hindi sila mapapasama sa eroplanong babagsak dahil sa pagka-aberya sa ere!