Social Issues

Abortion, God, Gay Marriage, LGBT and the Church: A Year Later

Nothing much has changed in my views towards these three perpetually-controversial topics since one of my most viewed posts, “A Right to Kill”. They become clearer as time goes on though and my perspective widens.

Abortion and God: When something becomes “human” enough to have rights it doesn’t need to have a working conscience, like in newborns. Is there a difference when the baby is situated inside the mother’s womb? It’s a physical difference. If one could hypothetically put a mother’s small grown son inside her womb, does that give her the authority to kill him?

The concept of a newborn is different than a fetus but it’s superficial at best. Making a difference that small as the reason to give authority to a mother to abort that child is a bit small-minded. When a fetus has human genes, a beating heart, limbs, facial features, the capacity to move and be loved and the like, I can’t think what makes something more human on a general level than that. The working conscience part comes later, and it will come eventually just like newborns.

You also got issues if you think a zygote or a simple pile of flesh is human without knowledge of the Bible. If you know what is written and you believe in God, then you know what is the truth. I could say how science is flawed and much of it isn’t fully-developed or known or close to the ultimate truth that comes after all options are exhausted, but whatever potential is there is still unknown just like God.

All we can do now is trust what we have and that’s also true in the subject of God. The scientists might prove the evidence of Jesus’ existence and all documented miracles as fake and then someone invents a new tool that busts those theories. Or something in the Bible comes up that changes everything. It’s a very deep book. There are life lessons there that transcend beliefs, contradictions at each and every corner, yet taking away from the Word is a sin. And people look at a millennia-old book like it came out in 2016.

Gay Marriage, LGBT and the Church: Just like in the abortion topic, if it’s written in the Word, then it’s in there. God said it, God commanded it at that time. If it doesn’t go against his utmost commandments which I presume take priority, you do it. You can also choose not to but be aware that there might be consequences.

I’ve never read or heard anything that prohibits the LGBT community from being themselves or falling in love aside from having sex. I’m happy for them if I’m right and I feel confident it only says those because no one mentions anything from the Bible that points to the contrary.

For gay marriage, the church acting like an authoritarian figure to their members does the Bible a disservice. Same goes for other issues they raise. For once, act like Jesus would and be patient, understanding and accepting of sinners. He came to divide people, and see what he did with the sinners? They had more good in them than all the pretenders.

Stop dictating what people should do and believe in and start being guides and role models. Open your doors to the people Jesus took with him in heaven. They have no control over gay marriage, but they can offer their own equivalent where the couple prays for God’s guidance and presence in their relationship to avoid whatever is prohibited. But keep the churches open to anyone wanting to confess just like with murderers and corrupt politicians.

Current Events, Social Issues

To Elaborate More on the Bible and the Roman Catholic Faith

I’d previously posted about this in “A Right to Kill” as a second point after abortion. Recently I elaborated more on that on the feeling that I hadn’t presented my point fully and properly. As time went on I began to feel the same about my opinions on the Bible and Roman Catholicism in today’s world.

The article I described in “A Right to Kill” came from Yahoo, and cited how nonsensical it is to base one’s beliefs and facts on a book as old as multiple millennia. It also criticized the Roman Catholic church’s proclamation that one thing as simple as a zygote is already considered human.

While there is some truth to his statements, I couldn’t suppress my mind anymore from thinking how much my religion is misunderstood, by its followers and numerous outsiders alike. First of all, let me clear out any misconceptions you might have about me. I have come to learn from reading news outlets and interacting with those my age, and those younger and older that the church has evolved into a lumbering, mechanical beast desperately in need of some oiling and repairs. Safe to say, I reside in the middle ground between the idealistic youth and conservative elderly. I tend to see both perpectives; a perk of my age bracket and present environment. This has led me to see the deepening cracks in the foundations of my religion’s ivory tower.

Parishes close their doors on gays despite pretty much everyone they let in having sinned against God their whole lives. Premarital sex and abortion too are prohibited by the church, but in place of promoting confession or welcoming sinners just as God did, they rear their usual ignorant heads and reject such people. And then there’s the usual priests abusing children, which doesn’t quite need any further explanation. Roman Catholicism it seems, has fallen behind the times, and a revolutionary pope can’t singlehandedly fix a sinking ship without his crew, all ignorant and indifferent, following suit.

The church is centered on God, on spreading and living out His word, the Bible. But the church has grown too big throughout the centuries, with those in power forcing non-related opinions into homilies, corrupting its center in the Vatican, giving in to temptations that lead to child abuse…the list goes on and on, but the bottomline is the church’s future was butchered by the very people tasked with ensuring it. The for-the-people mentality has faded to the background, replaced by arrogance for the majority of priests and officials.

Unless Pope Francis turns his movement into a grassroots one, his reforms will remain superficial in the face of increasing controversies. The church must go back to basics if it is to continue growing and affecting its billion-strong following in a significant way. Key to this is clearing up what the Bible means for the average Catholic. The Bible is a guide; life lessons abound to those that will listen to homilies, attend study sessions, and read privately. The Bible is also a reminder; Jesus existed and there is proof. But even without it we should be grateful because with a faith this strong, lives have been saved and given purpose. It is also a tool for spiritual people. You don’t have to force yourself to believe in God; there’s a lot here to process for the spiritual person, or even just anyone trying to find a purpose in life or what to do because of a big problem they are facing.

Before we get to the main conversation, let’s address the elephant in the room first. Yes, God did “bad” things in the Old Testament. Yes, He might have said being gay is prohibited and a zygote is already human. Yet, that’s why there are two testaments, the new one for the new age of Jesus. Back then God’s actions were acceptable, the same thing being gay today is acceptable. The one thing that transcends time periods is His love and message, and to this day this holds true. Another thing, if God said something, it doesn’t mean it’s literally true. In the old times, would you imagine His followers cutting their limbs or gouging out their eyes when He said so? Or do you really think that amount of fish and bread could feed even a hundred people? The Catholic faith is focused on the meaning behind the text, and thankfully we have homilies, companion books and study sessions for that.

So a zygote isn’t scientifically human, but could God be hinting at something there? That could be a topic in another post, but to get to the last point: why base your faith in such an old book? Well, the answer is simple and obvious in that it’s already happened. It’s lasted this long and the content still remains relevant. It still uplifts spirits, gives purpose to lives, it still gives useful tips in dealing with everyday life and God is still ever-present in today’s technology-infused world. The fact that a mass exodus still hasn’t happened despite the power of the internet and freedom of speech is nothing short of amazing. It proves the staying power of God’s word and the Roman Catholic church just got lucky. If you need a better comparison, look at The Lord of the Rings and its lasting influence to this day, not only on art and media but its own fan following. Could you imagine a future without elements of LOTR seeping into the nooks and crannies of fantasy films, books, or games? I thought so.

Social Issues

The Light at the Other Side of the World

The Philippines is an irony. We prioritize family over our own selfishness yet when the time has come to split the inheritance, those that remain fight over it with such ferocity as if they’ve been waiting for it their whole lives. Our economy is in a huge upswing yet the number of the poor hasn’t budged a bit. But the most significant of all might be our tolerance of the LGBT community. You might not be surprised as much if I didn’t tell you over 80% of the population is completely, utterly, go-to-mass-every-Sunday Roman Catholic. Well, maybe not all of them go to mass regularly or pray before every meal, but most of us were raised and taught to live by these teachings and to this day we practice them.

No country is immune to discrimination especially to something as controversial as the LGBT community. Yet despite the safety social media brings to bullies and the loopholes of freedom of speech, nothing could stop the biggest male celebrity from embracing his sexuality as much as the Philippines’ own Vice Ganda. He’s flamboyant to a fault, unafraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, with a compelling and quite literal rags-to-riches story. But even with humble beginnings ripe for gaining the public’s affection, nothing can guarantee a mightily gay man to surpass an international celebrity, universally loved and praised for his work and ethics. Vice Ganda it seems, has millions of likes more than Manny Pacquiao, a sort of modern national hero of our country.

So the next time you feel like condemning the Roman Catholic church for closing its doors on gays and lesbians, or stare in shock at your computer screen at a headline that resembles, “Transsexual Commits Suicide After Being Bullied By Classmates”, keep a calm demeanor and remember that tiny speck of land at the other side of the world where, despite contradicting the teachings of their beloved faith, people whether straight or bisexual or anything in this colorful spectrum of sexual identities coexist with respect and understanding of each other.

Social Issues

The Real X-Men

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I guess many of you read my Facebook post a few years ago. It said about my first bout with this type of illness. I deleted it a long time ago, just because I felt it wasn’t necessary for people to see it, in its content and the way it was written. But now I have a blog I write in sometimes as well as a clear mind, I just want to tell a part of my story in this almost eight-year battle.

I’m part of what I call the next big issue society will have to discuss and act on, the mentally ill. No, I’m not ashamed and I don’t think being open about this will harm me. There are far worse cases than what I am experiencing. More and more kids are being diagnosed with mental illnesses such as ADHD. Maybe it’s because of all the radiation, I don’t know, and that’s not what I came here for.

Just a while ago my dad told me people don’t get ashamed when they have disorders in their kidneys, or heart. The brain is just another part of the body, so why treat it differently? That’s one way of looking at it, but he’s the kind of person who’s both outspoken AND well-informed. In my opinion, the world isn’t prepared yet to tolerate us at the same level as the LGBT community. It’s their time right now, same as females. Push a bit more every day, and someday I imagine they won’t be bullied or looked at as inferior. But when you look at a news item, say a shooting spree at a school and the suspect has bipolar disorder, you’re pretty sure he did it.

Before I went to college, my parents were considering putting me in this place where I’ll get to live and study with peers who also have mental problems. The guy pitching the place to me described the students as like the X-Men: a minority, people whose potential the world doesn’t understand yet. I didn’t end up staying there, but I understand the connection. We’re not part of the mainstream, at least not while the seeds are still growing.

Right now I’m being treated mainly for Bipolar symptoms and anxiety issues, plus a host of other more minor disorders. I’ve had anxiety since Grade 6, and people didn’t know until that Facebook post I mentioned. What many people don’t know is anxiety can destroy lives, it can be that awful. And sometimes what you don’t see in a person’s face, words or actions is the worst part.

My sickness led me to do very bad things to my family. But I know in my heart the real me didn’t mean any of those things. I regret doing those things, because I saw and felt them, even if it was like another person controlling me. I move on every time my mind clears, and I write whatever happened so I can tell my psychiatrist and improve my condition.

When I walk in the mall by myself, I remember the agony of the early days of my anxiety issues. When the day starts I’ll have minor fever and palpitations. When I’m in school I’ll have cold sweat all day and go to the restroom to puke at least once. And when I arrive home I’ll crash at my bed so tired because I didn’t have a rhythm in my walking (every step required great effort). No one knew what I was going through because even I didn’t.

So there’s always hope when everything’s pointing the other way. I honestly thought my situation was hopeless, and maybe I was too young to understand. Now I realize my condition’s taken a quantum leap for the better, and I can’t imagine how better life can be after the next one. Those kids who are having suicidal thoughts, they’re in the dark. They think their situation is hopeless, but it just needs a single person to light one match in their consciousness.

The key really is just two things: communication and the support system. I have those and they’re the two main reasons I’m much better now. When you’re always alone, dwelling on your problems, then you’re not opening yourself up for others to help you. I can even argue that because I opened myself up, my family’s been closer and more understanding than ever. Going to mass, reading the Bible, praying from the heart are part of our lives now. And trust me, God is one of those you can open up to.

So that’s all I wanted to say. Let’s all do our share in erasing the stigma associated with the mentally ill. We offer the same potential as those who are in the mainstream, we just take a little more time and a little bit of tweaking to reach our peak. Don’t judge us so quickly, because you never know, the people you idolize might be hiding the same things you despise. Like all people, we’re just a little broken inside, but we can do great things in spite of our flaws, amazing and inspiring things.