I have written several blogs about my beliefs, and you could see some of them if you actually search through this blog site. I am writing this blog now as a milestone to where I stand now religion wise, so that years from now, I can look back and see how I have evolved from this point on.
To start, let me first give a quick background so that readers would know where I’m coming from.
Yeah, where are you coming from?
I was born in the Philippines into a Catholic family, and was raised in Catholic schools until highschool. I went to a government-run secular university in Metro Manila, and after graduation, I flew to Japan for work, where I still work for about fifteen years now.
As such, I was a devout Catholic for most of my early years until I went to university, where I was transformed into an atheist and stayed that way for more than a decade. I have experienced being a Catholic, defending my religion against non-Catholics. I have also experienced being an Atheist, defending my belief against non-Atheists. As many of you know, religious debates usually lead nowhere as seldom would participants back down in these kind of debates, and in the best case scenario, would just end up agreeing to disagree.
In the past few years though, I was seeing a refreshing evolution in my personal philosophy. Some people would describe it as “Buddhism”, others would call it “New Age”, and still others might call it “Spiritualism”. I would rather not give it a label, as doing so would only evoke pre-conceived biases among different groups of people.
What I do find interesting is that now, I see no need to defend this newfound philosophy.
No need to defend this philosophy?
Based on what I believe now, there is no right or wrong. Everything is as it should be. Of course, this is not an original idea as many other philosophers, including Buddhists, have been talking about this for the longest time.
For emphasis, there is no need to defend this philosophy against Catholics as Catholics are neither right nor wrong. They are as they should be. There is also no need to defend this philosophy against Atheists as Atheists, like Catholics, are neither right nor wrong. As you can guess by now, they are as they should be.
They are but different ways of experiencing life, and neither is better or worse than the other.
I am having a hard time digesting this!
I would have thought the same had I looked at this philosophy from the perspective of my former Catholic or Atheist self. However, looking at it from my current perspective, it all makes sense.
By default, reality is neutral and all positivity/negativity in this reality are just subjectively assigned by man, based on their particular history or culture. What is positive relative to a particular group, can be negative relative to another, and vice versa.
While you might think eating dogs is the most horrible thing in the world, it is a perfectly acceptable practice in some parts of the world. While you might think eating beef is perfectly normal, it is the most horrible thing in some parts of the world, where cows are considered sacred.
The more we understand and accept these differences, the more everything becomes neutral, without any associated positivity or negativity assigned by man.
Are you becoming the enlightened one?
I am not saying that I have reached full enlightenment and I have gotten rid of all my earthly biases and desires — far from it. Neither am I saying I am better or worse than everybody else — I am not. Like everybody else in their unique situations, I am currently experiencing this philosophy, hoping I can learn something from the experience.
This is no different from how I experienced Catholicism, and Atheism before it. I have learned many things from those experiences.
So, do you believe in God?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question largely depends on the definition of “God”, and whether my definition is exactly the same as yours.
“God” is a term used by many religions, and many cultures to refer to a certain Being, as in the case of monotheistic religions, or beings, as in the case of polytheistic religions. Some religions believe God is a perfect being residing in heaven watching over us. Others believe gods are imperfect beings like us living their own lives working on their own problems, but have supernatural powers that make them superior to us. Still others believe god is everything around us including us, so we are God and God is us.
In the end, the existence of God, however “God” may be defined, does not depend on whether I believe Him/Her/them or not.
How do you define God then?
In religious discussions, I prefer not to use the term “God” because different people have different definitions, and using such terms would inevitably only cause confusion and disagreement.
I will leave that to another future blog entry.