As far as I can actually remember, from the moment I gained my consciousness for the world, I belong and I was raised by both Roman Catholic parents. My mom and dad were religious believers of God and the Catholic Church . So being such, I was embeded qith several religious rituals. I remember how we always attend the mass every Sunday, wherein I have to look presentable because we will be inside the church, I was required to be in my most proper dequorum and at night before I go to sleep my mom would always tell me “oh, anak magpray kana” then I will obediently do as I am told, recite my Angel of God, Hail Mary and etc.
Before and after meal, we pray as well. My father will usually tell us bible stories and learn lessons from it. Later on I went to highschool at the Universidad De Sta. Isabel which happened to be a Catholic school. We also observed many religious practices such as praying the rosary every morning, praying before and after every subjects, vigils and so on. Having that kind of foundation still I cannot consider myself as a religoius believer because despite performing all the daily rituals, I am not actually wholehearted about it.
Somehow I just do it because it is asked of me, and not really because I wanted it. Nonetheless, my consciousness then was limited to only what they bestow on me. I have never encountered anyone who doesn’t belive, so my tendency was just to believe because everybody does. Until I entered college. Yes, there were still Theology classes which is I am very accustomed to, but there comes Philosophy specifically of Religion. From the very first meeting, I told myself “hala baka maconvert ako” because I know for myself that the foundation within was weak.
Here my mind was actually liberated, instead of being scared or what, I felt thrilled because for the first time, the other side of the coin became visible. With every lesson I always say to myself, “ay iyo ano? Makes sense”. My mind was actually triggered to think and weigh things on my own way, unlike before when I just absorb and absorb things. Especially in the topic of Atheism, well the topic on Anselm and Aquinas are quiet not new concepts for me because one way or another I have encountered them, but Atheism was really something new.
The only thing I knew about Atheism is hat it’s bad because it contradicts God, but then I was enlightened that it was actually not Pro-God, but it is Pro-human. It desires or aim to uplift humanity, to encourage us to step towards utilizing our potentials to its fullest and to detach from the weakness that the religion is imposing. As what Karl Marx said, “religion is the opium of the people, just an unhappy by-product of class struggles. Religion then, like an opium tend to serve as a form of get away from this materialistic world to an imaginary world where all sufferings disappears.
Therefore giving us the thought that It’s okay to be weak because later on we will be blessed, thus making ma to give up and just settle with what[‘s within reach, and not to strive for more. This one really strucked me, according to Nietzsche, “to be an individual is to be a creator of values beyond conformity”. For me this statemet was very liberating and challenging. It dares us to detach from the herd mentality which values the next world and degrades this world.
Also it asks us to hold away form the notion of absolute, to ba an individual who doesn’t conform to objective values and moral principles but to step up and have the will to power, exist in a certain way. Live by your own value and live you life on Earth to the fullest. Being very dependent to the reward of the after world, our actions are tend to be pre-instructed, like we have to do good, or else we won’t be included in the world beyond, therefore jeopardizing the real essence of doing good for the sake of good itself and not for the hope of a reward. We have ot be the masters of our choices and values.
For me, it’s not the Nietzsche is teaching us to be selfish and just whatever it is that we want, I think he only wants us to be independent, if we live our lives to fullest here on Earth, then it would be just fine even if, if ever there is no more after life; atleast we made the most out of it, ut if on the other hand it does really exist then it would be a very great bonus, so we get two benefits. So either ways, the point is, we have to make our life like an art, wherein we are the artist who doesn’t mind if the work will be conceived by others as an art.
Upon knowing all things, I actually felt like “Sh*t mauragon palan ako, kaya and pwede man palan maski ng Dyos. ” from then on, I resisted doing our rituals, praying listening to homilies and sometimes I questioned the priest and shared my thought with my mom and naturally she got pissed and said “yan na ba tinuturo sainyo sa ateneo? Gusto mo sualtan ko principal nyo?? ” and that’s the time I would stop murmuring. But then again, after all this liberation that I’ve been through, I don’t know but I still feel somewhat empty, or better yet, lost.
Because before, I do have a place to stand on, which is actually my religion, but upon knowing the other side and having too many concepts to weigh, I found myself floating, halfhearted, confused, perplexed and other things that wouold mean the same. Nevertheless, thanks to the discussion about faith, wherein I’ve learned that it’s not about proving God’s existence or aguing that He doesn’t. Being human and having the capacity to think at a higher level than animals, we need to undergo subjective reflection, look and search deep within ourselves on whether we will have faith or not.
I think it’s way better than just showing off “faith” by doing what others tell you to do because that will just be a compromise, eventually you’ll get tired of it because it lacks substance and foundation from within. So as I journey on, I will continuously search, reflect and think, and never stop for less just to be able to get by. Thank you Philosophy of religion for opening my consciousness, never again will I be one sided, I will reflect and think first before I accept new ideas from others. Thank you sir Vic! You are one of my most favorite teachers in the world!