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Shopping for Religion

June 12, 2008

Ever wondered whether your religion is the right one?

My father is a man of 68.  He was born a Roman Catholic and he’s still a Roman Catholic.  However, unlike most people, he’s never been “just a Catholic” all his life.

He is perhaps a doubting Thomas.  Maybe, he’s a skeptic.  Perhaps, he’s just a philosopher and believes that the unexamined life is not worth living.  So he examined his life as a Catholic, questioned Catholicism’s veracity as a religion and investigated other religions to find out whether he is missing his true calling.  My father started shopping for religion – or more accurately – shopping for the right Church.

First on the list was Seventh Day Adventist.  My father has a large family; he has a total of 14 siblings of which 3 have passed on to the next life. Some of his siblings are from the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  His cousins – at least those I knew of – are also from the same church.  It was therefore natural that he was drawn to it first.

He often met and sat with his cousin from Makati.  Whenever my father was in Metro Manila – which was as often as his wanderlust bit him – and whenever my uncle went to Bicol, the two would meet to dicuss the tenets of this particular denomination.  They’d sit and talk for hours, with the Bible open between them.  They’d argue and then they’d agree.  My father did not eat pork for months and tried to convince us to do the same.  But soon, he was restless again.

Next, he turned to the Protestant faith (I don’t know exactly which church he went to, though).  The same scene played out, with the religion’s advocate and my father meeting often to discuss religion.  My father also went and attended mass at the Protestant Church.

Then, my mother’s co-teachers who from Jehovah’s Witness visited our home.  They were selling religious booklets, magazines and pamphlets.  My mother bought the literature but left it unread on the center table.  My father saw it, started reading and was hooked on his next mission:  finding all about Jehovah and Jehovah’s Witness.  The next time my mother’s colleagues visited, my father spoke with them at length.  Anyone who was looking on would say he was in absolute agreement with what he was hearing.  He bought more magazines and newsletters and – he kept buying them.  He read them and the Bible until late at night and was apparently in the grip of religious fervour.  After a few weeks, however, my father was his old self – still curious and raring for more.

He then tried Iglesia ni Cristo.  I don’t know how he made contact with this particular denomination, but one day, a group of people from this Chruch visited.  My father was all smiles, was very cordial and listened intently to what was being said.  He also went to worship with them.  He would also talk to us about his activities – what he believed and what he did not believe.

His interest soon waned, however.  His associates visited our home three times to look for him.  Curiously, my father was always out and unavailable every time.

My father went back to the Catholic faith and started going to Sunday mass with us again.  However, his curious soul would not be stilled and he chose to go to another extreme.  He became a member of all sorts of groups within the Catholic Church.  He tried El Shaddai, Couples for Christ, Yahweh, etc.  He attended their meetings.  Three days a week, he was always in a religious meeting; every Sunday, he was always at mass.  He read the Bible every night and regularly said the Rosary. He exhorted us, his children, to do the same and preached us countless sermons about how we should be more devout than we are.  It was inevitable, really.  He soon tired of this new ocupation.  He dropped off his religious groups and stopped attending meetings.

My father remains a Catholic.  He goes to mass every Sunday and he regularly reads the Bible.  Perhaps, you will say he has just tired of religion shopping – and you may be right.  However, I believe that he has finally found his niche, and he no longer feels any need to wander and hop from faith to faith and from church to church.

Whatever the case, I admire my father for questioning his religious beliefs.  It’s not so often that a person is brave enough to ask if his belief is right.  It’s not often that a person has courage  enough to go out of his comfort zone and stretch his boundaries.  My father has been very brave and has displayed such courage.   At the end of the day, if I were asked to choose between my father and a person who has never dared to question his Catholic ubringing, I’d say my father is the better Catholic.  He opened his eyes and chose to believe, whereas this other person is just following blind.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2008 9:10 am

    Morris,

    I stand corrected. Thank you for visiting!🙂

    – Jinky

  2. Morris Hilton permalink
    August 26, 2008 9:54 pm

    Sorry my coment before this was wrong, it should have read:
    Couple of things. The Protestant chuch does not attend mass . Second the Seventh Day Adventist church is a Protestant church.

  3. Morris Hilton permalink
    August 26, 2008 9:51 pm

    Couple of things. The Protestant chuch does not attend mass and the the mass at the Protestant Church. Second the Seventh Day Adventist church is a Protestant church.

  4. Kyle&Kurt permalink
    July 27, 2008 5:58 am

    Hi Jinky! I hope you and your father are doing great.
    Here is my personal opinion in regards to your father shopping for religion:
    – he did not open his hearth and soul accepting the truth.
    – he did not souly compare one to another.
    – he did not seek for the truth.
    That’s why God never called him to the true church.
    Anyhow, someday, somehow God will call him to the true and right church if he will continue seeking for the truth. Even you, try to seek for the truth, don’t blindfold you eyes in your current religion.
    Being a member in the true church, he has been called by God.
    God Bless and good health to your father.
    KG_KJ

  5. Jesse Las Marias permalink
    July 16, 2008 3:44 am

    Jing,

    I would have loved to meet your dad (I suppose he is still around so we coud meet still) during his sojourn to many religions only to find himself back to his old faith, Catholism.

    I have several theories why he decided (is it final yet?) to ramain Catholic:
    1. He wasn’t really looking for the truth;
    2. He had preconceptions/biases he could not discard; and
    3. He did not really look hard enough.

    I was also a Catholic. I’ve read both the Noli and the Fili but Rizal’s Letter to the Young Women of Malolos opened my mind better than the first two because of its explicit reference to fallacies and errors in the Catholic dogma. Rizal was more intelligent and more discerning than most of us until today. He did not allow his biases to make his conclusions.

    Further examination shows that many of Catholic doctrines do not find support from the Bible, but worse these are contra-scriptural. Consider:

    1. Rosary – No apostle ever mentioned nor recommended it.
    2. Images – Pagan in origin; “Catholicized” by replacing
    the gods with church personalities.
    3. Primacy of the Pope – He declares who becomes a saint
    and be venerated. How could he have known
    that the person is already in heaven is still a
    mystery (the Bible mentions only 3 people).

    I wish I could write more because there are myriads of false doctrines Catholicism observes. Most are unbiblical and the rest are absurd. One needs only to open the “eyes” of their hearts.

    I’m sorry, I’m almost certain you will find my statements offensive and hurting but like a surgeon when he “hurts” his patient, his aim is merely to treat the ailment.

    Jesse

  6. Jinky Bagagñan permalink
    June 13, 2008 12:39 am

    Hi Jing,

    Did you have to be so explicit? Now I have to explain what this is – in the most inoffensive way possible – and I can’t.

    Anyway, everyone, what Jing mentioned in the above comment is just a euphemistic version of what actually happened to someone we know.😆 😆

  7. jinkydoodle permalink
    June 12, 2008 11:54 pm

    hahaha!

    she says, “i have sinned. punish me with your stick, father.”

    he says after “punishing” her with his stick, “go in peace, my child.”

    hihihi…

  8. Jinky Bagagñan permalink
    June 12, 2008 10:56 pm

    Jing,

    I know what you mean about the priests. Does “stick” come to mind? he he he😆

  9. jinkydoodle permalink
    June 12, 2008 10:52 pm

    hehehe. okay man si father mo. at least bako sya itong tipong nag-stick sa sarong religion…like catholic (!!!)…tapos santong kabayo palan. anyway, it’s really not in the religion you belong to but what kind of soul you have to make you a true child of God. hmmm…hararom…tungkol pa sa religion and coming from someone on the brink of becoming an atheist. damn priests na malilibog, makikwarta, and mga corrupt!!! 😀

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