Putting faith in the wrong place makes us unwell
Two religious holidays last December and January were tagged as COVID-19 superspreaders. Christmas drew many people to merry and solemn gatherings, and the Traslacion drew hundreds of thousands of devotees to the Black Nazarene.
Medical experts expected a sharp rise of new infections in the incubation wake of these holidays, but instead, we had our lowest rates of infection under lockdown around these two religious days of faith. Some will call it a miracle, but quantum physics may later explain how faith in the right place can make us well.
On the other hand, you just need to be sober (not drunk with idolatry, hate, or desperation) to know that faith in the wrong place makes us unwell. In one Facebook survey (by professor Antonio Contreras of De La Salle University) among President Duterte’s supporters, many see him as more infallible than God.
Amid our country’s unprecedented downward spiral (worsening corruption, incompetence, economic ruin, treason, impunity, mass killings, disasters, illiteracy, immorality), we must be so besotted by Dutertismo to have given Mr. Duterte a 91-percent trust rating. That’s a lot of misplaced faith in a now infamous leader who has delivered none of his pledges. Now Mr. Duterte is force-feeding us his dubious Chinese vaccines, which are shunned by 94 percent of Filipinos.
This forcing of people to accept what they don’t trust cripples their faith. And placing our already crippled faith in a charlatan renders it impotent. Thus, in the wake of Sinovac vaccinations touted by Mr. Duterte as being able to save us all, we are being deluged by this pandemic like never before. If Filipinos get the vaccines they trust and not what they shun, the faith factor is bolstered and will yield amazingly better outcomes. We are to blame, too, for this state of our nation. We believed Mr. Duterte’s word. I did—his jet ski pledge against China’s aggression gave me hope. We stood with him, laughed, cheered, and applauded even as he repeatedly mocked the God of Abraham, committed crimes against humanity, diminished our rights, fomented corruption, and betrayed our country to the most dangerous communist power in the world.
In 2017, he said “Ngayon, kung gusto nang matapos ang droga pero magpunta ako sa impyerno, sumabay kayo sa akin.” So we permitted him to have our own men, women, and children killed by the thousands to achieve peace, order, and progress. What we got instead is discord, not peace; chaos, not order; ruin, not progress. Hell-bound indeed. And Mr. Duterte wants CONTINUITY beyond his term.
This Lent, may we have seen the great difference between the shepherd who offered his life for his sheep and the mad king who culls the lives of his people at the altar of power. If again that king declares “I would be glad to die for the Filipino,” just look for the jet ski and examine your belief. Because belief is faith. And faith affects reality.
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