Being born and raised in Cebu, I was taught early on about the stories of Sto. Nino and how Christanity was brought to our nation.
I’d stand in that hall leading to the image of the Sto. Niño, as my mother and I waited in queue together with hundreds of devotees standing in line for hours just to have a closer look at the holy image.
I remembered that hall was filled with paintings all depicting the origins of Christianity not only in Cebu, but also to the entire Philippines. They all portray passing down Christianity as a gift, that it was a gift given to us by grace.
I have given up on Catholicism for many years now. Most of it just didn’t make sense to me anymore.
The first story in the bible was used to oppress women for ages. So much of what is written in the book that was supposed to “guide” how I was going to live my life is lost in translation.
Add to this the fact that several people who read the bible and preach it don’t read it based on its context and historical value, which leads to a lot of it getting misinterpreted.
They said Christianity is a gift and to an extent, I’d like to believe that’s true.
Especially for a geographically broken nation, where an amalgamation of cultures and different languages exists, Christianity has brought us together and I think that is very beautiful. But it has also led to many people using it as a tool to ostracize, persecute and discriminate.
A lot of the things I believe in are straight up taboo in the Roman Catholic Church. I am pro-choice, I believe sex work is work and LGBTQs should have the right to be in non-heteronormative relationships.
If this were the 1500’s I would have been stoned to death just by voicing out the idea of these beliefs.
I may no longer believe in the teachings of the bible or go to Church every Sunday. However, there is but one thing I have to acknowledge about the religion. It is through this seemingly messed-up religion, I was taught the basics of compassion, forgiveness, and selfless-love. Maybe it was indeed a gift after all!
Christianity isn’t perfect and so are all of us. Despite its inconsistencies and mistakes throughout the years, it has given billions of people a sense of community and most especially, hope. But it shouldn’t be the only basis on how we are going to live our lives.
Marcus Aurelius said “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”