Religion a ‘dying dinosaur’
This is in reference to the commentary titled “Will we ever attain economic take-off?” by Meliton Juanico (Opinion, 1/25/17).
The Catholic Church and the religious values it espouses are the elephants in the room that Juanico failed to address. The conditions necessary to attain economic take-off are not being attained because the values being taught are contrary to the “modern values” he is talking about.
We have nothing comparable to the Confucian (secular) ethic that he says the “tiger” economies of Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong have. Our historical preoccupation with religion and the Church’s influence on our values have put us at a disadvantage. Obedience, subordination, subservience—hallmarks of oppressive organized religion—are the very antithesis of modern economic success.
It is no accident that we make good retail clerks, caregivers, domestic helpers, call center employees. These are good and needed workers, but they won’t create a Samsung, a Tesla or a PayPal if we are constantly being bombarded with sinning, fear-mongering, fire and brimstone. I have never understood to this day why “may takot sa Dios” (fear of the Lord) is a virtue. A child reared in this stifling environment becomes risk-averse, timid and ambiguous.
Further, absolutism and fixed religious ideology are a bane to creativity. Self-reliance and resourcefulness continue to erode as we constantly delude ourselves into “Hail Marying” through economic downturn and poverty. You would think that after 500 years of living, breathing and eating religion the way we do, it should have already brought us unprecedented wealth and First World status.
We can’t even claim the high moral stature of the most atheistic countries in the world (read: Scandinavia). My friend Joe says: But we go to heaven, and they go to hell. This is what 2,000 years of relentless conditioning have done to Joe’s brain. It’s irrational, bordering on mental illness.
Juanico talks about “value reorientation,” using readers of the 1950s to inculcate modern values. I don’t know where he is coming from, but my grandchildren won’t read any fairy tales anymore. It’s iPad or nothing. They are assertive and smarter than some of my teachers in the 1960s.
Good grief, Juanico, “Good Manners and Right Conduct?” What is good and what is right today? (You can say “bad” today and mean “good.”) Religion is a dying dinosaur, but like prehistoric creatures, it will evolve and continue for many more years.
The pulpit should be a source of education for the masses, and not for religious bullying. Stop all nonsense about medieval mythology. Talk about what it means to be a citizen of the world instead. Speak about Carl Sagan, Charles Darwin and Bill Gates. Let the faithful know what happened during the Inquisition, the significance of the Enlightenment and tell why Evolution is fact. If the Padre cannot handle these stuff, he should humble himself and outsource the homily.
At the current state of affairs in this country, will we attain economic take-off? Yes, “until the cows come home,” if we don’t reinvent ourselves.
EDWIN DE LEON, firstname.lastname@example.org
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