About this sample
About this sample
Words: 674 |
4 min read
Published: Aug 4, 2023
Words: 674|Page: 1|4 min read
The Philippines is one of the most religious countries in Asia, and my personal experience with God has been shaped by this prevailing religiosity. The figures may vary from different sources, but the percentage of religious people comes around 90%; 81% being Roman Catholics, 6% are Muslims, and 3% belong to other Christian denominations. That being said, one can easily imagine what it's like being a Filipino atheist: you always have to prepare yourself to come under fire.
I am a Roman Catholic by default. That means I didn’t get to choose what faith to follow. I was born and then baptised as a Roman Catholic without my approval, as most of us were. Although a Roman Catholic, I was raised in a family where I wasn’t forced to put on my Sunday dress and go to church mechanically. Both my parents are not devout Catholics. We only went on special occasions like birthdays and Christmas, to say our thanks to Jesus. I also remember reciting the holy rosary with my mum before going to bed, but I never learned the process by heart.
In high school, my friends and I attended the Wednesday mass after school hours (I forgot what it’s called). And in college and sometime after graduating, I only went to church because the guy I was enamored with did too. To put it simply, my religiosity was superficial. It never occurred to me, that touching moment with god that most believers say they experience; not the close, personal relationship with him. And it also never occurred to me to question myself about his existence. I just believed…blindly.
When I started reading books by Kurt Vonnegut, Albert Camus, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche and other nontraditional writers, I began asking questions. Their books are what radicalised my relationship with god and Roman Catholicism. Apart from these books, all the other ones I’ve read radicalised my perspective of the world. I started choosing what kind of people I allow in my life, what hobbies to spend my time on, whose opinion I should value. I started conversing with open-minded people from different parts of the world. Most of the people I talk with on a regular basis are either agnostics, atheists or deists.
I began to value reason over faith. I began to doubt claims that don’t have any proof. I simply started asking questions. I started to feel responsible for myself. Now, I choose what I will to do and oblige myself to embrace whatever the consequences are. I do not beseech any divine intervention. I do what I can and either thank or blame myself for the result. So, unlike some atheists, I don’t have any traumatic experience to account for my non-belief. Many of you will probably say that my world shrank from the time I lost my delicate faith. Yes, it did. And it is one of the most liberating moments of my life. My cup runneth over.
It came to me almost naturally to let my family know that I am a non-believer. Perhaps it was partly because of the less strict religiosity in the family, and partly because of my stubbornness. They knew they couldn’t dictate or alter my volition, so they simply let me be. It’s not a serious domestic issue. It never was. Although my mum would lightly convince me from time to time to still believe in god by reminding me of the good things that have been coming to my life. I insist to give the credit to myself and the people who help me achieve them. However lax my family is about my spiritual makeover, it is not by any means the result of my upbringing. This radical change is all on me, and not a consequence of any lack of guidance on the part of my parents, as some people might think.
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