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Why I don’t preach

Once, I witnessed an extraordinary display of stupidity, below sea level.

I was having my usual lunch with friends and you know lunch is a sacred time for anyone. A lot of wars have been fought because of interrupted lunch. You can piss me off anytime of the day but not during lunch, because I will fucking high five you, in the face, with a chair, if you do.

So there I was, enjoying my chicken, when a friend uttered, “uy diba follower naman kayo ni satan dahil agnostic ka?”

I gave him the level A -if-looks-could-kill- look. Maybe he has joking, I thought. Isn’t it obvious that when you doubt the existence of a supreme being, you doubt the existence of other characters too, like Batman and Joker?

He wasn’t joking.

So I suspended him as a friend, pending investigation.

Disclaimer

I should by now make a disclaimer that I’m not a bad person, I think my morality is stronger than ever (although it’s naturally more liberal than before). It’s frustrating though that I have to make this disclaimer every time I talk about my beliefs in public. It’s as frustrating as watching Kris Aquino talk about her sexlife, now you get it?

Second disclaimer is that atheism, agnosticism, pantheism and other forms out there are different from each other and no, I’m not gonna tell you. Go, google it.

I’m an agnostic. I’m not religious (nor spiritual as some hipsters like to label themselves). I stopped going to church, praying, and basically stop doing all things “religious”, except maybe Christmas which I think is cool. 

No Morality

The common misconception with agnosticism is that they have little or no morality at all. To this I say a couple of things:

1. Morality is a human invention. The belief that you must do good should stem from the knowledge that the value of a human being is inherent and not from some dude in the sky.

2. Morality continues to exist because it makes sense. Different cultures have fairly varied moral standards but at it’s core, it’s pretty much the same. For instance, violence and murder are frowned upon. Consider for a moment why this is true: Is it because they found ancient scrolls? Or is it because it makes sense not to punch someone because he can punch you back? I don’t kill you because killing would create lots of problems for me (jailtime, retribution etc.).

3. Religion has no monopoly over morality. If the only thing that makes you NOT do evil is some piece of ancient paper and a threat of hellish retribution then that’s scary. To think that the only thing that separates Dr. Banner and Hulk is a sheet of paper and a futuristic threat of perpetual torture.

4. Hitler was a Christian, GMA was supported by CBCP during her reign, Janet Napoles was a Black Nazarene devotee. Need I say more?

Moreover, it was found out in a research that people with no religious affiliations are more likely to give out of genuine feeling of charity than religious people. Google it, bro.

So the simple answer is yes. Agnostics are as moral as your average church goer. Sometimes, even more moral but that’s me being biased. 

Why I don’t preach

I don’t preach for the simple reason that I think everyone has the right to espouse their own beliefs. You can believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn or Flying Spaghetti Monster or that Raymart and Claudine can be together again, I don’t give a shit. Whatever makes you sleep at night.

Let me just say though that while the right to belief is absolute, the right to practice that belief is not, especially when you practice that belief and sabotage the RH Law. Can’t move on pa din sa RH Law?

I don’t preach because when you doubt, it becomes a personal journey of understanding. Unlike most religious, we do not claim monopoly over ultimate truths. So you won’t see me preaching nor convincing anyone to change religion or beliefs. 

The important thing to remember is that whether or not a supreme being exist, a person must live his life in a moral way.

Besides. it takes certain level of intelligence to be an agnostic. But that’s another discussion in itself.

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New Year Shiz, why believe?

Firecraker isn’t the only good business this holiday. Nor is it the most noisy. It’s the time of the year again when people would pay up just to be told of disasters waiting to happen, celebrity break-ups and ways to achieve consistent sexlife. (Higher tip if you tell them that 2014 is their year because their year-animal and the wooden horse are friends/frenemies in some cosmic place where animals party and decide worldy events. No explanation needed.)

Just give an unclear prediction - the graver the better- wait for 365 days/chances. If it does not happen, people will forget. If it does happen, call your friends at magpa-press conference. Small investment, high return. Since media has nothing to report much, you are assured of an airtime and talent fee. It’s the best time to be a psychic!

A Feng Shui expert was asked for his prediction for 2014, with a serious face he predicted that another disaster would hit the country. (Wow ha! Bagong bago ang prediction)

To be fair to the feng shui master, Philippines is situated on the ring of fire, gets visited by at least 20 typhoons a year, throw in some yearly earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis and … you get the idea.

Another psychic predicted that Maja and Gerald would fall out of love on 2014. And that a marriage would end up in divorce.

I’m sure the Kim Chuisters or whatever her fans call themselves are happy with this development but what do I and the rest of the country care? I’m sure Kim fans have better use of their day-offs too? Divorse rates are on the rise and since showbiz isn’t exactly marriage-friendly, there’s bound to be a break up along the 365-day limit.

I would suggest that we hold pyschics accountable with their predictions and jail them if they are wrong but who am I kidding? That would mean force migration of the believers too, say somewhere in Spratlys? Let them create a new country with Madame Auring as their appointed goddess.

It would be a real new year for the country indeed.

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Conjuring propaganda

It was Thursday night when my friends decided to watch Conjuring which I have promised myself a millions times not watch. For two reasons: one, there’s no point in putting garbage inside your head (a friend told me this and it sounds nice so I’m using it) and most importantly, two, it’s uhm, err, scary. 

I took me a week before I could shower normally after watching “the scary movie” Insidious (I showered with my eyes open at all times for a week, I don’t know how I did it too.). Safe to say, I’m not looking forward to a repeat.

But since we are but a creature of habit and promises are meant to be broken, I watched Conjuring. We arrived almost 5 minutes late, Powerplant Cinema was jam-packed and it seems like most came with their families, like lolo/lola with tito/tita kind of family ha. I didn’t know Conjuring had an extended family appeal.

I’ve seen lots of horror movies and I have to say that the scary part comes after a brief silence. It usually goes like this: Baam!, then silence, then “insert scary scene”. So I prepare myself when the movie gets quiet, prepare meaning I close my eyes which lessens the scariness of the scene, at least for me. Can someone please change that sht-I-know-what’s-coming sequence!

The movie was all bluff but not much sense; what’s the point of the doll. Tell me! The actors were a bit bland, I know it’s a horror movie and I shouldn’t expect much but I felt the characters were just too expendable. Half the time I was rooting for the Asian/ the policeman/ the mom to die just so something can happen. No one died (spoiler alert!). The movie seems to be too catholic-centric, I’m starting to think that it is a church’s propaganda. 

For sure, the movie definitely scares but it fails to leave an imprint. The continued flashbacks that haunt you post-film watching which only original horror movies can do. 

So I went home by around 10pm and slept. 

With the lights on … just to be sure.

image

Whaddap!

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"Why do you smoke so damn fast?" I asked. She smiled with all the delight of a kid on Christmas morning and said,

"Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die" (Alaska Young).

[Looking for Alaska/John Green].

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Choosing the Life of Pi?

Let me first say that Pi Molitor Patel hates agnostics but I don’t mind. I bear no grudge against Pi. That is settled.

                              

Life of Pi (pronounced as the greek letter, I heard some people saying it wrong) is an arresting book full of wonders and allegories. It is exactly with the improbability and strangeness of the story, the omega bengal tiger, the carnivorous floating island, the docile meerkats, that the book dares you to examine your faith (or the lack thereof).

Given that all stories are valid; it asks: would you choose a life of amazement over a life of dry, yeastless factuality? The postmodern in me is happy.

Pi was introduced to us as this all-religion loving adolescent who can’t understand why he can’t be a Hindu, a Moslem and a Christian all at the same time. ‘There’s only one heaven, so why can’t we have multiple passports?’ he says. 

The sinking of the Tsintsum, a Japanese Cargo ship, and the subsequent difficulty of being stranded in a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a bengal tiger started the adventure of a lifetime for Pi. Able to survive 277 days adrift in the Pacific ocean with a bengal tiger (the rest got killed) whom he has a bipolar relationship, he wants to save it yet he’s mortally fearful of it, the novel offers a lot of allegories and wisdom.

Perhaps the most poignant moment was when having survived the ordeal, Pi the lone survivor, was interviewed by two Japanese maritime officers. When asked to offer his story, Pi reiterated what happened. They didn’t believe him. He then offered an alternative to which he removed the animals and put humans cannibalizing each other into the story. The sadistic nature of man exposed to all.

Pi then ask the two men which was a better story. They answered the former.

To which he replied, ‘And so it is with God’.

Behind all the theatrics, Life of Pi is simply recycled arguments pro-religion, masquerading as a story. It fell on the same trap as with all kinds of religious write-ups. It boldly asks us to accept the “divine reality” without offering any defense why it is more valid than the “objective reality” except with a simple “everything is a mystery” answer. How medieval. 

Moreover, Life of Pi is reminiscent of Pascal’s wager. It promises that life is more meaningful if we are under a religious tenet. While I don’t see a lot of gleeful atheists, I don’t see a lot of bubbling-with-joy religious either. So that assertion remains empty.

Life of Pi is a spiritual quest of finding and defining your belief. Go find yours. 

Come to think of it, dry yeastless factuality isn’t so bad.

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Voting prisoners

The European Court recently ruled that Britain’s blanket ban on prisoners voting breaches their human rights. Hence, UK must give voting rights to prisoners or face further action by the court, including the possibility of being ordered to pay compensation to criminals.

"The public will be rightly concerned at reports prisoners could get a vote. If true, thousands of those serving sentences for serious and violent crimes such as wounding, assault and domestic violence would be given a say in who runs the country." - Sadiq Khan, the shadow justice secretary.

(Full story here)

I for one think that prisoners gave up on that right when they committed a crime and broke the social contract. 

So, what do think? Should prisoners be given voting rights?

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Anonymous said: haha, nakakatawa talaga mga humor post mo, keep it up, saka nasa servathon ka pala last saturday, sang company ka?

Thank you unknown person. lol For Rockwell. Were you there too (which is obvious but I really wanna be polite and ask)?

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Tito Sen is safe. Do not worry.
(c) Dave Rivera.

Tito Sen is safe. Do not worry.

(c) Dave Rivera.

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