Tuesday, July 24

Socially Constructed Faith

Originally posted October 12, 2011-from my tumblog. I'm posting this on blogger simply because this entry reflects my thoughts for this morning.

I’ve realized some things from last night’s ‘reco’. This post will be long, sensitive and personal, so I’ve decided to give you a choice whether to read it or not :) Highly opinionated and not edited.

I remember one Thursday afternoon, during Theo class, we were discussing about the Ten Commandments. For some odd reason, I asked our prof about spiritual dryness. Spiritual dryness is said to be the feeling of separation from God during prayer. In short, parang di ka kinakausap ng Diyos. She said that it was normal and even St. Catherine (of Siena) experienced the same thing. After our class, I approached her and asked her what should I do. Her words were “parang balon lang yan, pag walang tubig, you have to dig deep”. But I wonder, how do I dig deeper? Paano ko gagawin yun kung feeling ko di na ako kinakausap ng Diyos? That feeling when prayers and questions are both left unanswered, or simply asking for a message that never came. Was I talking too much that I did not hear Him? Why? It is believed that such condition would eventually lead to a greater love of God. A bit sketchy, if you ask me.

I’ve been asked once or twice whether I believe in God’s existence. Kaya daw siguro may so-called ‘spiritual dryness’, kasi wala naman talagang Diyos. I see their point, how would you feel something that isn’t there in the first place? Studying in the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo, The Catholic University of the Philippines DOES NOT, in any way, ensure a student’s faith (or belief) to God. Those who asked me that question were Thomasians, too. However, they argue that we are sociology majors. Meaning, we should look beyond what is given to us by society. It was Marx who said that “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”. According to this statement, we hold on to religion every time that we don’t know what to do. We use religion to escape the harsh reality, thinking that there is something greater beyond this world filled with suffering. Marx further explains “It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion”. Sociologically, we view religion as an institution established for social order. It dictates our norms and values, as well as what are moral and immoral. It defines our culture, the very fabric of our ‘individuality’ (if such thing truly exists). Whether you are a believer or not, you have to face the fact that the society is built upon them, upon the things you call conspiracy and blasphemy. Here’s the deal: I believe that there is no greater religion or faith or ideology over another. There’s simply no point of comparison! However, the moment we’re born, we automatically worship their God. We’re brought up to believe in a certain religion that was chosen for us. To pray to a God that was introduced to us. Some sociologists would say that we join a religion because of the ‘perks’ we get. It maybe intrinsic or extrinsic in nature. Christians are given the promise of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, Hindus have their Nirvana. In a way or two, you’ll always expect something in return. You’ll do good, or else you’ll go to hell (or if you believe in reincarnation, turn into a lower life form). It’s funny how we say that our religion should not affect our decisions because it will always have an effect on the way we look at things.

I would agree with you if you say that everything I believe in is socially constructed. I know for a fact that I am unique not because of my individuality but because of how the society ‘constructed’ me. Sure, the people around me chose for me to believe in this and in that. Sure, I could explain that religion and faith further using sociology. After what I’ve said, do I still believe in God’s existence? Yes. Why? It’s simply because I find God in the simplest wonders around me, especially in the morning when I wake up and live another day. I may experience spiritual dryness along the way, but I believe it simply means I need to trust Him a little more. I need to surrender everything.