To put it simply, atheism is the belief (act of the person) that there is no supreme being or deities. Anent to this, while logic and correct reasoning plays a key role in shaping the minds, characters, and ways of life of those who chose to become atheists, it is a common ideology amongst members that human beings were created by means of evolution. Thus, given that an evolution involving life is not something that is done with a whisk of a hand, human beings had gone through a process of change millions of years until they have reached the state and form they are in today.
Atheism is not a religion, but a frame of mind (attitude). In fact, atheism includes the belief that human beings could live peacefully, amicably, morally, and lovingly with others even without any religion. Morality, in the same line, is dictated by the applicable laws an atheist adheres to wherever he may be. One’s set of values (morality or decency) is based on the behavioral patterns a human being is born with and applied through culture and tradition that he will learn or form as he progresses in life. Self-control is the summary and manifestation of the humanitarian assets. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If passion drives you, then let reason hold the reins.”
On the other hand, Catholicism/Christianity is a religion in which God (the god of Christianity) is recognized as the Supreme Being, and Jesus (the son of God) acts as the messiah or messenger of the Word of God. Theology or religious teachings include liturgy (Bible or as they say, Word of God), morality, and spirituality. Stewards of the Church are priests and nuns. The clergy chooses the most worthy among the deceased Christians/Catholics and recommends them to the Pope (head of the Catholic Church) for Canonization. They consider love and reason (“free-will”) as the key elements in a Christian/Catholic life, based on the 10 Commandments set forth in the olden times. The members of this religion are encouraged by the Church to act on faith that whatever their difficulty and wherever they may be, God will help them. They believe that God is in control.
In a country where majority of its inhabitants are Christians, atheism takes the back seat but still upholds ideologies that the majority would consider unpopular. Rational thinking, in this sense, is considered unpopular.
Focusing on COVID as the main predicament that befell humanity since the start of 2020, Christians have prayed on end to be spared from or to heal those who have been infected by the COVID virus. Yet, according to the World Health Organization website, 16,141 deaths are attributed to COVID. The numbers are still rising.
Islam and Hinduism are other deity-centric religions that thrive in the Philippines. Members of these religions seem silent during the pandemic; they are most likely practising their faith in private.
Atheists, with the lack of belief in a supreme being or deity, will compose himself, follow the health and safety precautions as well as laws prescribed with regard to the matter, rationalize on the best possibilities and results, and move on with life. Meditation/self-assessment is the quiet moment they give to themselves.
Christians have been praying since the olden times and yet, time and time again, apart from COVID, rape, murders, abductions, and any difficulty or strife that gives humans agony happen not only to their members but also to most humans. According to their Theology, humans had been given “free-will” to do whatever is right based on the commandments set forth by their prophet.
And yet, many don’t follow them. Crimes have repeatedly been committed against them up until this very day.
This is not a question whether Christianity is true or not, but whether it is effective enough for their members and if they are given the correct exercise of critical and rational thinking as well as true freedom and independence as a human being–based on logic and reason.
According to my readings, atheists are not theological thespians nor they are expected to know their opponent by heart, so much so that they can respond to any banter or argument thrown upon them. What propels and compels them is life itself–how to logically and rationally weave through its twists and turns with the aid of laws and regulations that life generally has to offer.
Overall, what’s important is that the level of awareness of a person is raised as he lives his life. With the exercise of critical and rational thinking as well as religiously (pun intended) following laws and regulations, he will soon find his place in the world.
Speak your mind. Practice self-control. Learn to meditate and assess yourself. It might give you the courage and strength that you need so much in your life.
*Currently working at the Philippine International Convention Center, where she began services 22 years ago, Kathryn Valladolid Ebrahim is an alumna of St. Scholastica’s College–Manila; she finished a degree in Bachelor of Arts, major in Sociology, at the University of Santó Tomás; drawing and writing are her primary avocations.