Yes, Filipinos are religious, but are we spiritual?

Still wondering why the Filipino people is such a paradocical mix of Catholic fervor and debilitating corruption and moral aimlessness? Ask yourself this simple question:

Are Filipinos a religious or a spiritual people?

Stumped? Chances are, the average Filipino can describe how religious he or she is at a drop of a hat; in most cases, using a simple measure like how many times he/she goes to mass in a year. But measuring his/her own spirituality? For that matter, does the average Filipino know what it means to be spiritual?

Look around you. How much influence does the Catholic Church exert on Filipino lives outside of the spiritual arena? Of course, we're not a "Christianic" State, but we're by no means a "Knowledge" State either, much less a spiritual people. If you dig deep enough, you will observe these subtle influences on the very psyche of our people: our veneration of political leaders (rather than the attitude of expecting service from them, them being public servants), our attitudes towards sex and women in general, our penchant for self-righteousness, etc. In fact, our Edsa "revolutions" can be considered the modern versions of Crusades and jihads. They are blatant exercises in the use of methods to incite religious (as opposed to spiritual) fervor (which results in the alienation of other Filipino Christian sects) to create a mob psychology to move people to do "wonderous" miracles collectively.

Note that after Edsa I, Cardinal Sin was quick to stamp the seal of our Blessed Mother on the whole affair (to the point of building a huge icon in the middle of that historical site), in the process alienating other Filipinos of other faiths. An example of how the Church continues to assert its dogmatic domination of the Philippine nation.

A large part of the Church's efforts in the last several centuries has been focused on cultivating this control mechanism in our hearts across generations and centuries. More importantly, that same effort entailed the suppression of our natural thirst for knowledge rather than encouraging us to seek fundamental truths. The methods used to establish this domination ranged from the sublime -- fear of excommunication -- to administrative -- censorship (one would be surprised to learn the amount of censorship and editing the Bible itself had undergone over the last millenium) and witholding of "heretical" information from ordinary Christians -- to extremist -- the Crusades and the Inquisition.

We should be reminded that the whole foundation of our religious beliefs whether we are Christian or Muslim is based on texts and teachings of human spiritual leaders and teachers. We as a people still have a long way to go in the direction of re-focusing on the spiritual aspect of our faith rather than its canonical, catechetical, or, at worst, political aspects.

In the meantime, study the layers of qualities that make up the shell of our people's character. At the same time, appreciate the hollowness of this shell:

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