Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Nobody put a gun to her head and ordered her not to eat during the fasting season of Ramadan. It was our son’s nanny’s choice to eat less than nothing after sunset and before sunrise. Maybe she felt compelled to because her religion tells her to. Maybe she believed that her God told her too.

But how is that MY problem?

Abandoning common knowledge of daily dietary needs, she ventured to this so-called spiritual endeavour knowing the risks of getting gastro-intestinal problems that one may get from digesting nothing for a period of time. There is a fridge of uncooked food and a cupboard snacks at home. She could have easily cooked something or taken some snack and ate some to avoid getting into the scenario that her digestive organs digest nothing – and makes her sick. (I know she does treat it as a hotel bar and eat off from my own stash of snacks because my chocolate bars are fewer than they were.) You know, sneak one in. Chug a mug of Milo when the other helper is not looking.

But she chose not to because of religious reasons. Her religious reasons.

This morning she’s wearing this jacket she always wears when she claims to be sick of something and this pained look on her face that could land her a job asking for loose change in the streets of Dago. She didn’t take care of my three-year old son and the other helper had to fill in for her. She excused herself in the afternoon to see some doctor. And now she comes back here today after a trip to some clinic, holding an enveloped note in Bahasa that she should rest for two days along with a bill that she implies I should pay.

How is this MY problem again?

What if I practiced a certain religion, a Filipinized Roman Catholic religion, where I believe that I should flagellate myself and get myself crucified on Good Friday? Should I charge medical bills for these self-inflicted injuries on my employers because I got hurt on a spiritual Jackass-like stunt? I have nothing against puasa. You wanna fast? Go ahead. But if you get gas, hyperacidity, stomachilitis or whatever fasting-related diseases, don’t put in on my account – because I didn’t put a gun on your head. Some guys in a desert hundreds of years ago did.

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 Jesus is known as a well-mannered individual as a whole. He insisted on turning the other cheek, encouraged his snobbish disciples to allow children to come and listen to him and preached about sitting on the humblest seat when invited to a dinner. He is also known as a great motivational speaker who electrified the crowd without resorting to foul language. Or may he did…

There was a time he was pissed in the bible. He sees some entrepreneurial action going on in his temple. He thrashes the place. He overturns tables and flings animal products, but over all he kept his tongue in check. In Jesus Christ Superstar he just sings in falsetto “My temple should be a house of prayer/ But you have made it to a den of thieves/ Get out!/ Get out!”

 

Another instance that one would think he may have used a not-so-wholesome language would be that one of the last seven words where an exasperated Jesus asked in a mildly questioning manner, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” It would sound like he doesn’t want to be crucified anymore and he questions God’s will. It may sound defiant and he seems to be doubting God’s love there. But still it is nothing you would consider as something to bleeped. Given all the things he had to endure in the movie in Passion of the Christ, that sentence would rather sound very polite as opposed to what most of us will say when we bump our head on a table while picking up a fork we dropped on the floor.  

 

While it can be inferred that Jesus chose his words well and used a kind of language most of our parents would applaud since he is the Son of God, who would have thought that at some time he sounded just like a regular construction worker? 

Jesus was preaching about the cost of being a disciple. He talks about how much commitment is needed to become one. He illustrates this idea by saying that a man who plans to construct a building should estimate first and check whether he has enough materials to complete it.

It can be sensed though that Jesus is might have gotten up from the wrong side of the bed that day when he proceeds to use war to explain his idea further. He tells them that those who go to war need to estimate if they have enough soldiers against their enemies. He may be hinting on sending a scout on a quick horse. Normally, he would use grapes and lost coins in his parables, but he seems to border on something violent that day.

Then he resorts to foul language to hammer the idea on disciples-to-be who happen to be in the area. Bear in mind that when this was said at their time the more popular word we use for this bodily waste was not yet in use.

 34“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
      “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” -Luke 14:34-35

If we translate it to modern lingo it would sound something like this:

34“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for a pile of shit; it is thrown out.

It is neither fit for the soil nor for pile of a crap!

“Yeah, the commitment you are showing now is greatly appreciated, but what good would it be once it fades and it is gone? It’s so useless it is worth less than a pile of shit,”  Jesus Christ.

Why did Jesus use ‘pile of shit’ or ‘pile of crap’ instead of ‘pile of garbage’? It still means the same thing -a pile of useless things. I don’t know maybe it’s because was stressed out at that time because he had a long day. In that same chapter he had debated with some pharisees and talked of a parable of a great banquet. The parable may have been an improv and it took its toll on him.  

Or maybe this is where his carpenter roots come in. Remember he grew up with a carpenter foster father and maybe that’s the way Joseph talks to his kid at home.

 “Why can’t I worship the Lord my way, like praying like hell in my deathbed?” Homer to Marge while entering the church late in The Simpsons Movie.

Homer may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but this is one instant that I would say he is a genius. You see, he just stumbled upon the biggest loophole in the Christian religion. And he does so without outside help. This is what an epiphany is and not that one induced by some Inuit throat singing.

If you’ll believe what priests and pastors tell you, then attaining salvation would mean doing things their way -dressing up in clothes you would not normally wear and attending boring masses, Sunday schools, bible studies, enduring boring and phony people at fellowship, actually reading the thick bible —and giving donations you wish you’d spend buying pirated DVDs. 

While reading the bible can be fun, there’s one passage you might wish to highlight with a yellow marker. 

I’ll tell you who the smartest man in the bible is. Roman Catholic tradition refers to him as Dimas. You know, that criminal guy at the right side of Christ in his crucifixion.

From left to right: Dimas (he’s at Jesus’s right), Jesus and Hestas.

This is how it is described in Luke 23:39-43:

39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

 40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[a]

 43Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

Smooooth, Dimas. Here you are with no way out. You’re nailed on the cross with two others. You’re certain that you’ll die, right? There’s no escaping crucifixion on your own. What hurt would it do you if you at least pretend to care, to revere the other guy, who you’re not so sure if he’s the messiah or just another wannabe Willem Defoe built crosses for in The Last Temptation of the Christ? Nothing, right? So, why don’t you throw in your apples in that basket and hope that he was actually the on prophesied for centuries?  

If Dimas was the smartest, the dumbest one in the bible would be (yup it’s open to debate, actually)  the one on Jesus’s left, Hestas.  

How stupid was that guy when he challenged the ‘messiah’ and told him, “Aren’t you the messiah? Why don’t you save yourself and us?” For him to say that, he could’ve meant either of the two:

1. He was insulting the man because he didn’t actually believed that he was one.

Now, what good would that do him? What purpose would it have served to insult a man on the cross who, however remote the possibility was, could have been the messiah? What, to make himself feel like some bully or something? What was he thinking?

“Oh maybe the Romans will laugh and they’ll let me off because I’m cool?” Was he trying to win their hearts with that put down? Did he consider that maybe the Roman soldiers didn’t speak Jew.

Jesus must be saying, “Let’s see how you enjoy hell, bitch.”

2. Or, maybe, he did believe he was the messiah.

But, is that the kind of tone you’d use to a ‘messiah’? Especially on that occasion? If that wasn’t stupid, you’d have invent a new word. You see a man who you think might be the messiah. You see that he’s lost buckets of blood. He’s been egged on by King Herod to perform magic tricks. He wanted to turn him into a toad or at least give him the finger, but that doesn’t go well with his  savior thing. It’s against the objectives of his mission. And here you are criminal nailed on the cross because you deserved every second of it and you demand things from him that he wouldn’t do to a king?

Jesus in front of Herpd in Jesus Christ Superstar

Now, let’s go back to Dimas. Dimas has just showed us the way, people. We can actually live the same life we have now. He actually led a more rotten life that you have. He’s a criminal, so I guess he had led a life of booze, women, stealing stuff, lying here and there, cheating, etc. Yo9u know life modern day rappers, without a record label and album.

What I’m saying is, if a criminal who sucked up to Jesus in the last minute can actually be told that at that moment he is in paradise with Jesus, real paradise mind you, not the one you get when you smoke a joint with a friend, what more if you’ll pray like hell in your deathbed? That’s sure entry to heaven, I’m telling you.

I’m sure, your priests and pastors will tell you that attaining salvation is not easy. It’s because they don’t want to lose revenues. Do you actually believe that they cared for your soul even before they have met you? You’re just a faceless human being who at one point of his life he may have wished dead because you were ahead of him in line when he was getting his driver’s license at the Land Transportation Office.

 

What I offer you is this church. A church built, not on fear, guilt and donations, but on a solid bible verse (no, not John 3:16)–The Church of Dimas. Live your life the way you want. Watch basketball and cartoons. Then, pray like hell in your deathbed when the times comes.