Last Sunday’s homily in our church (All Nations Christian Fellowship) was about the need for Christians to be different in the world. Camouflage animals, creatures that have the defensive ability to blend with the texture and color of a forest floor or a trunk of a big tree were shown, to prove a point that Christians have blended so well in the world that unbelievers hardly notice anything different in them. That should not be the case because Christians are called to be salt and light on earth.
Filipinos see spirituality as distinct and separate from practical life. The two are unknowingly regarded as mutually exclusive. An article by a Jesuit priest of the same topic proposed a solution – to find ways to intertwine this dichotomy. The sacred and the secular must be merged to truly reflect faith. I find this rather weak. It does not do away with dichotomy - the purported solution assumes its existence.
Just recently, a survey was conducted about faith in God and the Philippines came out on top gathering around 94% of us saying we believe in God. In this survey, Chile came second with 88% of its citizens saying yes they believe in God, followed by the United States of America with 81%. Writing on this, Conrado de Quiros (http://opinion.inquirer.net/27427/beliefs) laments that despite this notorious percentage, we are still the most corrupt and crime ridden country, not to mention that the Philippines has the most laws on almost everything under the sun.
Describing the Filipino religiosity, De Quiros said “Less facetiously, what we have is a religion that encourages ritual, obligatory gestures, extrinsic displays of fervor. At the very least, it makes belief superficial”. He says that this is also the way we treat the laws in this country “For the same reason, law functions the same way. It is ritualistic, extrinsic, and in Miriam’s case, ballistic”.
De Quiros maintains that spirituality and the laws in the Philippines are simply not internalized, “Neither religion nor law is internalized. We are deeply religious without being deeply spiritual. We are deeply pious without being deeply moral”. I think that is an accurate analysis of the problem. What is needed is simply an internalization of our faith into everyday life to do away with the problem of dichotomy.