Filipino Syncretism in the face of a Jealous God

Thanks to the Holy Week break, I can finally have some time to write again ^_^ (warning: possible taglish content)The bottling plant being constructed beside our plant recently had an accident, and one person is in a 50-50 condition. Some people said that the accident happened because they did not conduct a “Padugo“, the ritual that involves the killing and bleeding of an animal prior to the construction or opening of a house or building to drive away either luck, evil spirits, or both. It was believed that taking the life of the sacrificed animal will prevent the evil forces from taking the life of anyone connected with the building that was soon to be used. No one has died in our plant yet, coincidentally, a padugo was said to have been done on our plant years ago. Eventually, the topic of conversation jumped to the time when we were given ‘lucky coins’ to keep in our wallets so that the plant will be prosperous (those same coins were buried on site – both underground and inside the cement slabs. Meanwhile, I threw mine away). Apart from that, I don’t know what else the Feng Shui expert did. On top if it all, we had an inaugural mass complete with candles and walk-around blessing ritual.

syn·cre·tism

–noun

the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion.

(from: http://dictionary.reference.com/)

Philippine folk spiritist tradition and superstition. Chinese luck experts. Christian blessing rituals. Can you smell syncretism?

In economics, the experts will always tell you to not put all your eggs in one basket. Filipinos have learned that lesson very well, especially when it comes to faith and religious beliefs.

In following superstition (like don’t do this or wear this on such and such a day) or indulging in horoscopes, or having all sorts of lucky charms and trinkets, people who identify themselves as followers of the Almighty God often say:

Wala namang mawawala eh. Saka kung tama, eh di panalo ka pa!”

Wala ba talagang mawawala? I beg to differ. The more we indulge in a lifestyle of syncretic inconsistencies, lalo tayong mawawalan ng pananampalataya. Lalong nagagalit ang Diyos. Bakit kamo?

Exodus 20:3-6

 3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

The God of Israel has often punished His chosen people, the nation of Israel, because they have served other Gods, and  ‘serving’ Him at the same time. Ang Diyos natin ay ayaw ng kaagaw sa attention. For one, it proves na hindi absolute ang pananampalataya natin sa Kanya. Na kulang ang Kanyang nagawa at mga ginagawa para sa atin kasi kumakapit pa tayo sa iba.

  1. Is God not sovereign over your finances for you to turn to the fat Buddha image, to the coins and the swerte-malas experts, and the lucky waving golden cats?
  2. Is God not sovereign over your future for you to trust in palm-reading, card-reading and other forms of future-prediction?
  3. Is God not sovereign over the evil spirits that we must turn to sacrificing animals to appease them? That we must make ‘tabi-tabi po’ to the defeated creatures of the underworld?
  4. Is God unable to save you that you trust in your own good works, penitence, and merit in hopes that you will be able to earn your way to His Kingdom?
  5. Given that this is lentent season, was the sinless life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the sole mediator between man and God, not enough that you must turn to his followers, either dead or alive, for the forgiveness of sins?
  6. Do we think ourselves better than God that we follow our own plans for our life (career, relationships, life mission, lifestyle) , instead of opening His word and following His commands?

Anything that we lean on to with such ‘kapit sa patalim’ fervor other than God is idolatry.

I also speak against myself, for upon introspection my life also has its fair share of subtle syncretic inconsistencies. Dear readers, believe me when I tell you that our God wants all our ‘eggs’ (faith) in one basket – His basket. Not to ourselves, nor to other human experts, nor to any evil powers or worldly systems. That He wants us to submit solely to the Lordship of His son Jesus – whose life, death, and resurrection we are commemorating. For his life, death, and resurrection is what allows us to be cleansed and forgiven from our sins – that we may be adopted as sons (and daughters) of the Living God.

If you want wellness, choose Nestle, but if you want life, Choose Christ (I’m tempted to add some more ice cream taglines pero pilit na eh =p)

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2 Responses to Filipino Syncretism in the face of a Jealous God

  1. Jacqueline Rosete says:

    kuya! me like this! 😀

    • Pen Tamayo says:

      Amen. I am a christian. At the start of ground breaking for our house construction instead of padugo, i wrote Bible verses in a paper that concerns safety, prosperity, unity and stronghold to Jesus and i placed it inside a bottle and buried it underneath the ground of our house. Have our pastor pray over and bless our place before the start of the construction. The process of the construction did well. Although some problems occured also but it was manageable and the contractor and i became even very good friend. There is only one minor wound that happened to a worker and also to me that Jesus had protected me. Instead of the grilles metal stabbed my leg it went thru my maong. As i read from Daily Bread – Christianity is not just Christ in you, but Christ living His life through you.

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