I only need to say four words and I’m automatically branded as dirty and less than a human being.
I was born of Catholic parents and was indoctrinated to the Catholic faith by the time I was two months old. I studied in a Catholic school from kindergarten through highschool and was taught to pray the rosary, the morning prayer, and all sorts of prayers. I was also taught to observe the Sabbath Day and the special First Friday Mass which happens every first friday of every month and we were required to wear our Gala uniform which was a white version of our blue jumper and white polo terno. On special occasions like The World Youth Day, we prayed the living rosary on the school pavillion which was always followed by a procession inside the school premises. I even had a subject called “Christian Living” which taught me about God, His Son – Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit, 1+1+1 = 1, The Ten Commandments, the virgin Mary, the Bible, the saints, the Pope and the many places of worship.
I’ve always thought that compared to the Muslims who aren’t so peace-loving, and to the Atheists who are so godless and immoral, that I was on the right track. It was something so pretty and so decadent that it must be the one true religion. If not for my mother’s protest, I would have become a nun when I was 18 years old because of the genuine love that I felt for my peace-loving, moral and holy Roman Catholic Church that was made to worship God and his son, Jesus Christ.
Christmas had always been my thing. I was always the person who decorated our house with the traditional Christmas Wreath, Christmas Tree, parols, missletoe, bells, garlands and the works. I even used to make red and green scented candles for our house to look and feel extra cozy, and cakes and pastries for my family to enjoy. Come Christmas eve, me and my mum were always the ones in the kitchen laboring blood, sweat and tears (blame it on the onions) just to have a nice spread on the dinning table by 11:30 pm. We always heard mass as a family at my mum’s favorite parish church in Quezon City, on Christmas day and we always had a family “joy ride” to check out the light displays in CDO or Makati (no The Fort and MOA yet).
My life was like a routine on autoplay year after year. I welcomed the new year in December 31, felt like mold on Valentine’s Day, observed Ash Wednesday, observed and repented on Holy Week and endured the stench of blood of the penitents, which had always made me want to throw up, felt envious of the June brides, heard mass every Sunday, got paranoid on Halloween, felt like a prune for not being allowed to go out at parties and gimmicks, because they always happen at night and I had a curfew (I still do) which is at 10 – 11 pm, and after a long wait, Christmas! Oh joy! The birth of Christ the savior is here! Everything is pretty. Everything is all right. The ghosts that haunt us during Halloween are gone. People are generous and jolly.
I never questioned anything until the year 2003 and I was 22 years old.
Out of curiosity, I researched on my beloved holiday, Christmas and I was shocked. A lot of the traditions were derived from pagan origins. But despite that, I dismissed it and my life on autopilot continued on for another two years.
2005 was the year that I got introduced to Dan Brown’s novel entitled, The Da Vinci Code which made me even more curious and raised a lot of questions like; “How much of the history of the church is being hidden from the flock if it were true?”. . . “Who’s Dan Brown anyway?”. . . “He’s just another author of a fictitious story and I bet he just made all this stuff up to generate sales”. . . “BUT isn’t there a saying that if there’s smoke there’s fire?”. . . “WHAT IF it were true?”. . .” If it were, then all these that I came to know is big lie!”. . . “Didn’t my History 101 professor tell us that the RCC has done more evil than good?”. . . “Didn’t Sinead O’ Connor pull off a stunt where she tore a picture of the Pope while saying “kill the real enemy”?”. . . “Didn’t I hear somebody say that the RCC is a front for the Family?”. . . “Aren’t there priests who are jueteng payrollers?”. . . “Aren’t there priests who are sex abusers but aren’t put behind bars?”. . . “Doesn’t the Ten Commandments say that worshiping false idols is a sin? Why is the church decorated with such?”. . . “Why is my mother, the priests and all the other devotees kissing the statues?”. . . “Why is there such an event during Holy Week when the devotees are supposed to kneel toward the church altar and kiss the cross?”. . .
The “holy” trinity was a rip off from ancient Egypt’s holy trinity – Osiris the sun god, Isis, the virgin mortal and Horus, the man god.
I stopped going to church. I felt so deceived and disgusted. I kept on praying and asking for guidance but nothing came. I was afraid with all the prophesies that people filled my head with. I thought that the Roman Catholic Church was the true church of Satan because of introducing a lot of the pagan rituals and traditions to the pagan-hating Christians. I kept thinking; Didn’t Jesus say that the Church is in us and that it’s not made of stone, wood or metal? I thought darn it. I’d like to be a born-again Christian.
I almost became a born-again Christian, the same year that my father’s sister, aunt Andrea, became one, if not for my family’s vocal protest against her conversion. They talked about her whenever she wasn’t around and branded her as a “born-against” Christian. Now that I’ve thought about it, it was an advantage on my part, because that gave me time to think about things.
I had a lot of questions that needed answers that I kept searching for. I asked myself, if I really believe that a mere mortal can become a god. Because if so, what difference does Jesus Christ have with his modern day versions such as Quiboloy, Soriano, Velarde, et al? And what difference does Jesus have with all the other men who claimed to be the son of “G”od, who existed thousands of years before he came to be? And why do we now consider them as ancient history?
I kept thinking about “G”od, heaven and hell. I was so afraid that if I joined the wrong religion, that I might end up being punished by eternal hellfire. It was then that I considered converting to Islam. I thought, since they only believe in one “G”od and they only consider Mohammad as a prophet, that maybe, this is the one true religion.
I could have digged a deeper hole for myself, which would have made it impossible for me to get out of, had I become a Muslim. I discovered that Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism and Islam have one thing in common, which is, the Bronze Age Abrahamic god. They all have the same hatred towards women and the same mysteries that were answered by another mystery. It was a realization for me. These things were all made up to explain the unknown. People back in the day, didn’t know what caused diseases, and so they assumed that a deity, got mad and punished them. People didn’t know what the wind was, and since they cannot explain it, they assumed that a supernatural being was the one causing it. Religion, was most probably made to control people and it most probably, was early man’s government. If all that I came to know was made up, then there’s probably no god.
The ultimate realization for me, was the question that if Atheists reject the belief in “G”od, then “where do they get their morals from”? Well, people say that the bible was made by “G”od, who inspired people to write it. I now know, that it was made up by selfish and greedy men who took advantage of people’s gullibillity to get things done their way. Who else would endorse, rape, incest, slavery and the beating of slaves, baby killings, massacres, stealing, and a lot of evil? If “G”od is a merciful “G”od, then why would “H”e allow rape to be corrected by marriage? If “H”e is so perfect, then why would “H”e allow homosexuals and lesbians to exist in this world, only to hate them after? The Abrahamic deity was a fraud. It turns out, the bible isn’t a good source of morals either, and if we’d take out all the nonsense in there, there’d be very little left. We don’t need a sky daddy to motivate us to do good and we all have the capacity to know what’s right from what’s wrong. Doing good deeds and expecting something in return, is plain old-fashioned hypocrisy. Telling people that doing something would make an invisible deity displeased and punish them by eternal hellfilre isn’t promoting faith, but fear. Religion doesn’t hold the monopoly to morality and ethics, and, as far as I can see, the only thing they’re promoting is blind obedience.
I can confidently say, that those who claim to be really religious and god-fearing are those that are immoral. They can even wish people, like me, an Atheist, to die just for having a different opinion. I’ve been insulted and called out my name countless times, but never had I stooped down to their level to wish ill things to befall on them. Religion doesn’t guarrantee that their devotees would get an express ticket to their imaginary heaven after death. Religion is bullshit and it makes people think they’re so special, that they have the god-given right to shove their beliefs on other people. If there’s a pest in our society that has done so much evil, and needs immediate extermination, that’s religion.
Author’s note: this blog post was published Thursday, 10 February 2011 at 15:22 on my facebook profile and on a former group I was a founder of (TAFW).
Just to clear things up, I didn’t base my leaving religion and the belief in “G”od on Dan Brown’s novel. I know it’s fiction. This essay is art. If I put everything in here it won’t be art anymore. It’ll become a boring pile of mess that nobody would want to finish cuz it’s too long. 🙂