Thursday, November 16, 2006

Philippine Religions

While drinking with two friends last night, and for lack of topic to entertain ourselves while drinking,we talked about religions in the Philippines.

Below are the point of view I shared last night.

1,000 years ago, the people living in the 7100 island composed of Ilongos, Bicolanos, Tausugs, Maranao, Tagalogs, Igorots, Visayans and other tribes probably shared one religion, and they called their God – Bathala.

1. In 1380, Makhdum Karim, the first Islamic missionary to the Philippines brought Islam to the Archipelago.
2. In 1521, Magellan arrived in the Philippines, and Spanish colonial rule which brought the Catholic religion, began in 1565 and lasted for about three centuries until the Philippine Revolution of 1896.
3. Other religions were organized (Aglipayan, Iglesia ni Kristo) and recently, Ang Dating Daan , El Shaddai, Villanuevas group, and 999 others such as Mormons, Sabadista, Rizalista, Protestants, Adventists; and a hosts of cults (2,000+).

Recently, I watch on TV the Iglesia ni Kristo hitting Dating Daan as fraud, etc. and when I switch the channel, I saw Ang Dating Daan hitting the Iglesias. Both shows were entertaining and bordering to being funny. They were like our politicians, squablling, fighting, and mudslunging. The good thing is that, neither of these groups are using guns, or are exploding themselves.

In my community in the Visayas, we have all sorts of religions, and the Muslims here are not fighting as much as their counterparts in Mindanao. Peaceful co-existence, and respect of each others religions persists. For example, in one of our main highways here…. the Iglesia ni Kristo constructed a big church right in front (across the street) of the big church of Mormons, while a stone throw away, is the big Catholic Church. Not a single fight has been reported to the police among the church goers of these religions. I do hope a big Muslim Mosque is also constructed nearby…to create a good market of beliefs, and the people would clearly have a choice were to go to meet their spiritual needs.

Why are Muslims not belligerent here? ….my friend told me that, it is because the % of Muslims to the population is less than 1%. If there memberships reach a critical mass of, I don’t know, maybe 5% to the population?, it is probable that they would get violent, i.e. organized bombings, kidnappings, Jihads, Abu Sayyaf, MNLF or MILF.

I told him….I do not believe him. I told him all religions are suppose to respect life. Besides, Catholics has followers that are kidnappers, bank hold uppers etc. Not a single religion has the monopoly of rotten eggs.

Also, I told him not to generalize Tausugs or Maranaos as Muslims; because in both tribes there are several Catholics that are Tausugs or Maranaos. Some are maybe members of Mormons, Iglesia etc.

Why I am posting this?

Because I believe Muslim is a religion of peace. So are the Catholics, the Aglipayan, the Iglesia ni Kristo, Ang Dating Daan , El Shaddai, Villanuevas group, the Mormons, the Sabadista, the Rizalista, the Protestants, the Adventists etc.

PS: Why some Muslims are exploding themselves? My answer is, some Koreans are burning themselves in protest, but not as frequently as Muslims exploding themselves. Honestly, I don’t know the answer…. I am not sure whether it says in the Koran, “explode yourselves” or not; as I haven’t read one.

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