Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Confusion Over Mideo

The Mideo controversy, I must admit, is a bit stale already. But I could not help from blogging about the subject for the seeming confusion it generated on everyone. From what I’ve read, the controversy appears to deal with issues on freedom of expression, artistic right, right of religion, decency, respect, etc. Each side of the argument also seems to carry some weight.

It is true, that if Mideo is honestly pursuing art, then in that sense, artistic freedom is the issue. He was out to provoke critical thinking and got it. Unfortunately, only Mideo himself knows exactly his real motives behind his artistic works. On the other hand, those who are offended by his works felt they’ve been disrespected, maligned, abused, etc. The latter do not see freedom of expression at work but a malicious hurling of insults to one’s belief. To this side of the spectrum, Mideo’s art is simply an immoral act.

Where do we draw the line between freedom of expression (artistic integrity) and morality (respect to others’ religious beliefs)? At what point do we not get offended morally by any piece of art?

Personally, I feel that no one is really interested in drawing the demarcations in these areas. Each side is more interested in venting its views and thoughts than finding out what truly makes sense. I guess this is the time where emotions rule. Today, we are interested in only one thing – expressing what we feel is right in our own eyes.

Looking at all this at a distance, I can only see clear confusion. We simply could not make up our minds what is the correct view or opinion over the matter. Others tried to strike a balanced view but end up, in my opinion, short. The “balanced” view appears weak and indecisive.

And yet, here’s the clincher. Does God even care about this whole thing? 

Note: For those who are confused who is Mideo, he is Mideo Cruz, a Filipino artist whose work of art includes, among other things, a picture of Christ with a phallus as a nose. His recent art exhibit in the Philippines provoked an outcry from all over the country.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Problem of Pain

I visited a lawyer friend last friday and we talked a good deal about our jobs. Soon, our conversation turned to God. My friend explained that he is not quite sure what to believe about God anymore although he is quick to say that He still believe there's God. He is not sure whether he could embrace the God of the bible considering the situation of the world today

"What about the situation of the world today?" I asked.
"Well there's a lot of killing, disaster, famine, etc., I mean how can someone like 'God' exist amidst all these?" he replied.

"That's a fair and legitimate observation. But that's not a new critique against Christianity or any religion for that matter. This has been asked many centuries ago. In fact, this question has been ably answered by noted Christian thinkers such as C.S. Lewis" I explained.

In essence this question is saying that the idea of a loving and powerful God cannot co-exist with a world full of suffering and pain. If God is the God of love, he would not allow his creatures to suffer. And if He is all powerful, He can eradicate all suffering. Since suffering still exist today, then God is neither loving nor all powerful. In other words, he does not exist.

"What would happen, if God would act on every whims of prayer every person makes on earth?" I asked him. 

We all make foolish prayer - "God please let me win this lotto game", "God please make him love me", "God please make him suffer", or "May you go to hell".

"If you want God to act on every prayer, why not ask God to make us all good persons and just simply obey all his commands. But in such case, that would make us all robotic". I explained.

"You see, freewill is a precious gift from God. He made us with a rational mind and a freewill to choose and act between good and evil. With a rational mind, we know the distinction between right and wrong. With a freewill, we have the power to choose and to do that which is right or wrong. In other words, we get to decide what to will. This is one of the reasons why there exist pain, suffering or evil in this world" I said.

I could see his face brightened. He seemed to see things in a different light now. But then, he seemed hesitant to rationally commit to anything. My watch says 3:30 p.m. and I still have a client to see. We exchanged cards and invited him to our little group discussion every saturday. He said he's not available this coming saturday. I told him I'll just visit him sometime. He said he'll be in his office most of the time.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Walking My Mind Off

I've been rummaging through my video files and came upon an old video that I made about a year ago. The video is about me taking an afternoon walk in our neighborhood. And while walking around, I sort of record what goes in my mind randomly. This is the beauty of walking. Your mind is so free to wander from the most mundane to the most spiritual thoughts your mind could grasp. It's fun.

For the video camera, I used a little Samsung camcoder and tinkered the outcome with Movie Maker. For the background music, I stole it somewhere on the net (hehe). I hesitated to load up the video here but some important people just encouraged me to upload it, arguing that its the best video they've ever seen in their entire existence - my wife and my daughter. No, of course not. I guarantee, they are not biased in their judgment on the substance and quality of the video. 

Without further ado, here's the madness.

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