Knowledge and church doctrine, a kindly debate

Painting of the First Vatican Council (1868-1870) at which Papal Infallibility was Made Official Catholic Doctrine. From Charles Sowerwine, “The Social and Cultural Bases of Republicanism” in France since 1870: Culture, Politics, and Society

By Joe America

I made a remark in a recent discussion thread taking the Philippine Catholic Church to task for failing to speak out against extra judicial killings (EJKs). It was one of those ‘off the top of my head’ remarks that lacked context, and therefore was considered cavalier (showing arrogant or offhand disregard; dismissive) by one loyal reader whose views I greatly respect.

Well, I didn’t intend for it to be cavalier, so – as the reader suggested – we can discuss it separately, here. I’ll add some context and then let readers join in.

Before doing that, let me set some rules, because any discussion of faith tends to bring out the hardliners who are interested in laying down their version of the law, whether it be faith or atheism or some other point of view, with the aim of insulting or bringing down those of a different view.

So the first rule for participating in the discussion is that you must arrive, first and foremost, to listen. And then, having listened and considered that others may have a different vantage point, wholly legitimate to them, you may speak. Or type.

So here was my remark, referring to leaders of the Catholic Church:

Yes, one sometimes thinks they don’t think straight at all, and even knowledge falls on the deaf ears of doctrine.

What I meant is that the Catholic Church does not change much, even though knowledge does. By knowledge, I mean the study of medicine or sociology or economics or other fields that improve our understanding of the way people relate to each other and live. I consider gender equality to be knowledge-based, for instance, and for sure compassionate, yet the Catholic Church is still resisting the concept.

Pope Francis is certainly aware of the conflicts between knowledge and doctrine, and is nudging doctrine toward a more liberal – or modern – interpretation of the rules. But doctrine is pretty much a rock, it seems to me.

We have seen angry resentment from bishops and priests expressed toward reproductive health legislation in the Philippines, laws aimed at improving the health and choices of individual Filipinos who might otherwise be locked by poverty or ignorance or convention or faith into having kids they really don’t want. Well, a kid knows when he is not wanted, so psychological knowledge comes into play here, too. Not to mention economics for the nation or individual families.

We have seen little resentment expressed toward the death penalty or EJKs from any church, not just the Catholic Church. And yet our study of laws and fairness would say that shooting poor people is perhaps even a harsher sin than putting on a condom. I don’t understand that, and my cynicism is what brought forward my remark.

I’d (arrogantly?) recommend adoption of a new doctrinal point that says “mankind learns, and new knowledge will further shape Church doctrine.” Otherwise the Church is perpetually caught in conflict as modern man pushes back against rules from the 1800s and earlier.

So now that you understand the context, I will leave it to you to add your views of the matter, simply reiterating my request that you consider that others have not lived your life and are entitled to have acquired a whole different set of knowledge and beliefs than you hold. You don’t own the discourse, nor do they.

You are all welcome to engage in it, kindly.


123 Responses to “Knowledge and church doctrine, a kindly debate”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    To start the discussion, hereis the pastoral letter of CBCP regarding EJKs

    “Pastoral Statement on the extra-judicial killings

    Salesians of Don Bosco — Philippine Northern Province

    In his visit to the Philippines in 2015, Pope Francis challenged Filipino families to be “sanctuaries of respect for life.” In the past weeks, even up to the time of writing, the call to respect life has apparently been left unheeded in our country. There have been extra-judicial killings of hundreds of suspected drug pushers and other people allegedly connected to illegal drug trafficking. In the face of this, we, the Salesian priests and brothers, hereby make the following statement:

    As citizens dedicated to the education and professional formation of youth, especially the poorest and most neglected ones,

    We support President Duterte’s drive against all forms of illegal drug trafficking, and especially against drug lords and drug pushers.
    We share his perception that many law enforcers and our present judicial systems have often failed to bring to justice the perpetrators of such heinous crimes which, in an ever-greater degree, have been victimizing millions of our young people and their families.
    We likewise share his perception that the law enforcer agencies and our justice system have failed to stop the spread of the use of illegal drugs, especially among the young, thereby allowing the deterioration of an alarming situation.
    We appreciate his determination, already repeatedly expressed and forcefully underlined in his Inaugural Speech, to tackle this very serious problem in our country.

    We are alarmed by the recent wave of extrajudicial killings that have taken place at the hands of police officers, and especially of vigilantes roaming our streets unchecked and un-apprehended. Such violent procedure in tackling the situation mentioned above has caused justified apprehension among the majority of our citizen who are against any form of drug trafficking but expect justice to be rendered according to law.
    We believe that any attitude and course of action that disregards the basic principles of modern jurisprudence that any person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that justice has to be rendered by following due process, has to be avoided.
    We believe, likewise, that the disregard of such principles, even in the pursuance of a praiseworthy aim, such as the protection of families and of the youth, may inevitably lead to serious and irreparable injustices such as the killing of innocent people, and even simple drug users who are, actually, the direct victims of the drug traffickers/pushers.
    We firmly demand that all concerned government agencies actively pursue and apprehend all those involved in drug trafficking, but avoid and prevent all extrajudicial killings. They should likewise pursue and apprehend all anonymous vigilantes who carry out such illegal actions.
    We also exhort our legislators and Government agencies to urgently take steps that aim to ensure that our justice system acts speedily and effectively in apprehending, trying, and punishing according to law all those proven guilty of having been involved in drug trafficking and drug pushing.
    In the midst of this concern, we pray for the souls of those who have been killed and we also pray for the bereaved families. May our Blessed Mother protect our country from further violence and help us in our endeavor to prevent the spread of the culture of death.”

    • karlgarcia says:

      It was taken from the CBCP site,but it seems that the pastoral letter was from the Salesians of Don Bosco.

    • Thanks for the valuable info, Karl. It seems to me the endorsement of the war on drugs reveals the same disdain for knowledge that I cite. The Church sees police action as important, and does not look at it as a societal (poverty) or health issue. Knowledge would direct attention to the problem, a part of which is too many kids, and the part Church doctrine plays in causing the drug problem.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks Joe! NHerrera cites the diplomacy n the part of the bishops when it comes to Duterte and even saying that the Bishops are afraid of Duterte unlike their appoach toward ExPinoy regarding the RH bill.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Here is the one from CBCP.

        “Beloved People of God
        We, your bishops, are deeply concerned due to many deaths and killings in the campaign against prohibited drugs. This traffic in illegal drugs needs to be stopped and overcome. But the solution does not lie in the killing of suspected drug users and pushers. We are concerned not only for those who have been killed. The situation of the families of those killed is also cause for concern. Their lives have only become worse. An Additional cause of concern is the reign of terror in many places of the poor. Many are killed not because of drugs. Those who kill them are not brought to account. An even greater cause of concern is the indifference of many to this kind of wrong. It is considered as normal, and, even worse, something that (according to them) needs to be done.

        We are one with many of our countrymen who want change. But change must be guided by truth and justice.

        We stand for some basic teachings. These teachings are rooted in our being human, our being Filipino, and our being Christian.

        1. The life of every person comes from God. It is he who gives it, and it is he alone who can take it back. Not even the government has a right to kill life because it is only God’s steward and not the owner of life.

        2. The opportunity to change is never lost in every person. This is because God is merciful, as our Holy Father Pope Francis repeatedly teaches. We just finished celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy, and the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy. These events deepened our awareness that the Lord Jesus Christ offered his own life for sinners, to redeem them and give them a new future.

        3. To destroy one’s own life and the life of another, is a grave sin and does evil to society. The use of drugs is a sign that a person no longer values his own life, and endangers the lives of others. We must all work together to solve the drug problem and work for the rehabilitation of drug addicts.

        4. Every person has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Society has ways and processes to catch, prove guilty and punish perpetrators of crimes. This process must be followed, especially by agents of the law.

        5. Any action that harms another (seriously) is a grave sin. To push drugs is a grave sin as is killing (except in self-defense). We cannot correct a wrong by doing another wrong. A good purpose is not a justification for using evil means. It is good to remove the drug problem, but to kill in order to achieve this is also wrong.

        6. The deep root of the drug problem and criminality is the poverty of the majority, the destruction of the family and corruption in society. The step we have to take is to overcome poverty, especially through the giving of permanent work and sufficient wages to workers. Let us strengthen and carry forward the unity and love of the family members. Let us not allow any law that destroys the unity of families. We must also give priority to reforming rogue policemen and corrupt judges. The excessively slow adjudication of court cases is one big reason for the spread of criminality. Often it is the poor who suffer from this system. We also call upon elected politicians to serve the common good of the people and not their own interests.

        7. To consent and to keep silent in front of evil is to be an accomplice to it. If we neglect the drug addicts and pushers we have become part of the drug problem. If we consent or allow the killing of suspected drug addicts, we shall also be responsible for their deaths.

        We in the Church will continue to speak against evil even as we acknowledge and repent of our own shortcomings. We will do this even if it will bring persecution upon us because we are all brothers and sisters responsible for each other. We will help drug addicts so that they may be healed and start a new life. We will stand in solidarity and care for those left behind by those who have been killed and for the victims of drug addicts. Let us renew our efforts to strengthen families.

        Those of us who are leaders in the Church should strive to push forward or continue programs that will uplift the poor, like livelihood, education and health programs. Above all we will live up to — we all will live up to — becoming a Church of the Poor.

        Let us not allow fear to reign and keep us silent. Let us put into practice not only our native inner strength but the strength that comes from our Christian faith. Our Lord Jesus promised us: “You will have affliction in this world, but take courage, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).

        “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:35,37) Yes, indeed, “For the Spirit that is in you is more powerful than the spirit in those who belong in the world.” (1 Jn. 4:4)

        As we commemorate the 100th year of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, let us respond to her call for prayer and repentance for the peace of our communities and of our country shrouded in the darkness of vice and death.

        Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, Pray for us.

        For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
        Abp. Socrates B. Villegas, D.D.

        Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan

        President, CBCP

        January 30, 2017”

        • I respond with cynicism. “Those of us who are leaders . . . should strive to push forward or continue programs that will uplift the poor . . .”

          How about putting forward a program that stops the execution of the poor? These CBCP expositions are words, words, words. Wasted words that do nothing but pretend otherwise.

          • karlgarcia says:

            I wanted to cite one example of a caravan of protest in Ilo-ilo right after the pastoral letter.
            Unfortunately it is an example of our culture or our convenient excuse called ningas cogon ( good only or enthusiastic only in the start).
            The caravan of protest was done in February, after that what events made them stop? So it is down to a passive protest.
            I am a cafeteria catholic, but a cafeteria catholic who still wants to learn and be guided.

            On a lighter note, we discussed the undermining of the educated.
            The educated youth would ignore trolls and harassment to protest at the SONA.

    • Thea says:

      I hope, Karl, you are not singling out the Roman Catholic Church, after all in Islam they have a doctrine not to kill (Qur’an 6:151) “..and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct…”
      I have to hear them say they are against EJKs.

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Now on Death Penalty

    “Statement on Death Penalty

    (Photo by CBCPNews)
    The Gospel of the Lord Jesus is the Gospel of Life. It is this Gospel we must preach. It is this Gospel that we must uphold. We therefore unequivocally oppose proposals and moves to return the death penalty into the Philippine legal system. We took a considerable stride in the defense of life when we repealed the Heinous Crimes Act that provided for the death penalty in what were considered “heinous crimes”. We regret that there are strident efforts to restore the death penalty. Though the crime be heinous, no person is ever beyond redemption, and we have no right ever giving up on any person. When we condemn violence, we cannot ourselves be its perpetrators, and when we decry murder, we cannot ourselves participate in murder, no matter that it may be accompanied by the trappings of judicial and legal process. Throughout the world, the trend against the death penalty is unmistakable, and international covenants, one of which the Philippines is party to, obligate us not to impose the death penalty. We urge the government to champion life for all!

    For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

    Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
    President CBCP
    January 30, 2017”

  3. Bill In Oz says:

    Joe, a thought : perhaps we should start from first principles. What is knowledge ? What is ‘doctrine’?

    In my opinion knowledge is what has been learned from experience and thought about that experience. It is thus constantly being tweeked as experience continues all the time.

    It is also constantly being lost as those who know this knowledge, forget or die. And so often the young are taught to help prevent this natural forgetting process. But there lies the path often, to simply rote learning..( .A sort of doctrine ? )

    Doctrine in a religious sense, church sense, is based on ‘Revelation’ . And that can be problematic. One man or woman’s revelation, is another persons mental illness or imaginings or even fabrication ( An interesting example of this being the views about Mormon doctrines. )

    The Catholic Church over the two millennia has accumulated an extraordinary range of doctrines. And many of them have been displaced by knowledge based on experience coming along later. An example being the church’s condemnation on doctrinal grounds of Copernicus and Gallilleo for proposing a round earth progressing around the sun. It was considered heresy and their writing condemned, even suppressed.

    Another example is papal infallibility. t may have been accepted by some folks in 1870’s. But anyone who has studied the history of the papacy & the popes, knows this is ‘false doctrine’ – doctrine which can be shown to be false & absurd. Human fallibility is universal.

    Now that the developed world has largely accepted a scientific knowledge based approach such doctrines set the church up for being discredited & disregarded. A current live example in the Philippines is contraception.

    The papal encyclical ‘Humanea Vitae’ back in 1968 was a doctrinally based stuff up. The Church still officially holds to it. But Catholics around the world have said “Get thee out of our bedrooms clergy.” And ignored them.

    • edgar lores says:

      Bill in Oz,

      A distinction between dogma and doctrine should also be made.

      From Catholic Answers: “In general, doctrine is all Church teaching in matters of faith and morals. Dogma is more narrowly defined as that part of doctrine which has been divinely revealed and which the Church has formally defined and declared to be believed as revealed.”

      Dogmas are infallible, irrevocable, unchangeable. Not all teachings are dogmas. Doctrines may be changed.

      • NHerrera says:

        My interpretation from your note, edgar, is that Dogma is a set within the set of Doctrine; and that Doctrine may be changed. It follows then that the whole set of dogmas and doctrines may change over time.

        Perhaps the problem is the rather rigid pyramidic structure of the Church, so that in such a big organization it runs like a turtle where we need a hare in these times of quantum jumps in knowledge?

        • edgar lores says:

          NHerrera, per my understanding, dogma is irrevocable because it has been “divinely revealed.”

          • NHerrera says:

            Being a Catholic, I am must confess to lack of relative knowledge of these nuances — compared to my knowledge of arithmetic — so I will not comment further. Thanks.

        • edgar lores says:

          Re structure: the Church wants it to appear that she is monolithic.

          In truth, her structure is like McDonald’s, a franchise, with the dioceses financially independent from the mother Church.

          She has taken advantage of this structure in the matter of clerical abuse to shield the Vatican from responsibility and the payment of compensation.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        The doctrine of papal infallibility was established as dogma at Vatican 1 in the 1870’s – despite considerable opposition which lead to a breakaway church called the “Old catholic Church”. It actually had support in some countries but withered over the decades.

        The papacy during the 19th century, became more isolated & powerless in Independent united Italy -especially after the Italians Kings took over the papal territories in Italy in the 1860’s, and then Rome in 1871.

        It is said by some that the move to promote the pope as infallible was an attempt to bolster his prestige and authority in response to the popes becoming irrelevant in united secular Italy.

        A very bizarre move establishing as doctrine and dogma something so easily disproved.

    • Good points, all. The revelation popped into my mind that the Church is a very political organization. It is more that than of God, or the pushback against EJKs would be ferocious.

      • NHerrera says:

        Viewed from a certain angle and perhaps cynically aren’t all religion political? Of course, couched creatively to refer to some divine force as those religions paint them. I have in mind Mike Velarde’s political “branch” of the Catholic religion, among others. Whatever happened to that group? We used to hear a lot of their rituals in Rizak Park.

        • edgar lores says:

          In Oz, I do not feel that the religions are that active in the political arena. There are the debates on same-sex marriage and euthanasia that are going on, and I do not see the churches weighing in heavily. Perhaps, the Catholic Church here is paralyzed because of the clerical abuse scandal.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            Yes in part. But also the last time it made a huge attempt to control the faithful was in 1968 with Humanae Vitae. The overwhelming response was to stop attending mass and confession as a regular thing.

            In 1966 I think the census reported Catholics as 27% of the population in Australia and I remember talk of a gradual Catholic takeover of Australia. That never happened. It has been gradually declining ever since as a proportion of the population.

            In this context attempting to muster opposition to things such as same sex marriage and euthanasia is seen as trespassing on the proper secular role of government to make law for all and not at the behest of religious groups..

        • Yes, any of the arguments here could just as well be made of INC, or other organizations.

      • edgar lores says:

        The timid response — as well as the noted difference in the Church’s activism between the Aquino and Duterte administrations — would indicate to me that the princes of the Church operate in the realm of power rather than in the realm of spirituality.

        But, then, the Church always has.

        From my viewpoint, the Church as an institution should not really have to push back because of the separation doctrine.

        Her followers, if rightly imbued by her teachings, should. And her followers majorly occupy positions in all branches of government.

        Ultimately, it is the institutions of government, adhering to the Constitution, and civil society, aspiring for a normal life and cognizant of morality, that should push back against the excesses of power.

        • NHerrera says:

          ! ! !

          • I second that ! ! !, NH.

            I totally agree with this, edgar. Just some minor definition house-keeping here, some say Church=the clergy; others Church=the lay-folk, ie. the community that surrounds the clergy is the Church. So here Church=the clergy.

            The point of the clergy is to be the mouth-piece of God, ie.

            as the mouth-piece of God, you’re suppose to go thru a gauntlet of sorts, ie. living in poverty, having less, giving freely, receiving freely, be open to serendipity, surrendering to the the will of God (however God presents himself), and serve people as God,

            all this suffering that the clergy are suppose to put themselves thru is all designed to bring them closer to God, it’s not supposed to be comfortable, and that’s why many don’t become clergy,

            Those who aren’t clergy, the lay-people are suppose to support the clergy, not just for sustenance (food, water, shelter, etc.) but to ensure a safe space from which the clergy can minister and experience suffering, if bullets are flying around, that’s not very safe (but then again it is suffering, but that’s another tangent). Lay-folk do this by living Jesus’ words, ie. turn the other cheek, give to the needy, etc. (exactly what edgar prescribed above,

            the lay-folks are suppose to take action for the clergy, because the clergy are supposed to be busy, doing other-worldly stuff, so they can instruct the lay-folk better in how to be better people, ie. bring the lay-folk God’s word)

            At least that’s the ideal, how it’s suppose to be, and why Jesus specifically outlined how those he’s commissioned (or those who have taken the mantle) are suppose to go into the world with His message.

            When the clergy’s more comfy and richer than the lay-folk, there will be a dissonance, ex. 11th century and the Philippines.

            So at heart here is still Jesus’ commissioning instructions , and the clergy has to be less comfortable , with less materials than its lay-folk, not only will they be more spiritually attuned (to be better spokesmen of God), but be able to feel the

            lives of the community that surround them, the clergy. So the onus is for the lay-folk to take action, because the clergy are taking action too, but in a different realm—- p.s. they are not in that different realm with they are gorging on lechon and Tanduay 😉 (the lay-folk should demand more from their clergy as did Jesus, when he commissioned them, but that’s another tangent).

        • That makes sense, but it does then project a failing in the teaching of moral judgment and conviction.

          • Edgar Lores says:

            The failure essentially is because, as Josephivo and Rizal noted before, the clergy do not — did not — walk the talk.

      • Sid Bañez says:

        Oh yes, the Catholic church is a political organization, favoring or criticizing the government based on perceived threats to church influence and comfort zones. For example, church opposition to RH bill was not entirely about population and health issues per se, but on concerns the debate on the bill (later a law) would expose that a significant number of Catholic women were on contraceptives all along.
        On EJK it’s still guarded pronouncements still defer, not only to Duterte, but more particularly to it’s members who still fail to recognize EJKs as contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

  4. NHerrera says:

    Thanks for the “introductory or explanatory” note to the previous blog, Joe. And thanks, karl, for the Salesians statement on EJK taken from the CBCP site; and Archbishop Villegas statement on Death Penalty. Clearly then, there is no lack of well-worded statement of the Catholic Church against EJKs and the Death Penalty Bill.

    The prolonged and intensity of the campaign against the Reproductive Health Bill — worded with no effort at diplomatish as used in the case of EJKs; in fact with some rather foul-mouthed words of some elders of the Catholic Church on the RHB — is then the issue that perhaps Joe has noted and certainly quite a few of us here at TSH. WHY IS THAT SO?

    Is it, among others, because the elders of the Church is not afraid of Aquino, but they are afraid of Duterte?

    • karlgarcia says:

      It is true that exPnoy got hammered by the CBCP regarding the RH Bill.
      Before the elections there was this team patay and team streamer in one diocese.
      If exPnoy as hammered, Duterte is being pillow fighted?
      About being afraid of Duterte, I have been thinking that the survey results was based on fear of bring heard by Duterte supporters when the survey people ask people in one street corner or anywhere. But that is just me.
      Are the Bishops afraid of Duterte? Will the new CBCP head show full cooperation and diplomacy?

      Let us see.

    • edgar lores says:

      I believe artificial birth control is dogma.

  5. josephivo says:

    1- …can’t find anymore the article where I read about “humility”. Truth always should be accompanied by this basic feeling of humility, if not, if it comes with arrogance as in “I am important thus I know”, then the truth statement looses a lot of its significance. The current Pope seems to understand this, with statements as “who am I to judge?”, the result is that he enlarges his audience, even non-Catholics listening. So far the essence of the article as I remember.

    True science has this humility at its foundation. “This is the current rule/truth until new facts will contradict the current rule”, underneath the thinking of “I hope other scientist will search for the facts.” That is why science conquered such an influence.

    2- As I said before, intuitive individual faith/beliefs and explicit Church teachings/doctrines are two different matters (although parts might overlap and both need/exploit each other). Basically mothers/females develop and transmit beliefs, male theologians develop and transmit doctrines. The Church in most western societies loses influence, the exact relationship in the Holy Trinity or details of the immaculate conception of Jesus thus less relevant. Beliefs of Catholics vary very much, superstition was frowned upon by my parents, it was thought as a sin, here superstition is accepted, even promoted, touching the Black Nazarene giving extra powers.

    But also in the Philippines the Church as institution, guardian of the doctrine, is losing influence. The individual beliefs more influenced by telenovelas than by lectures from the culprit. The individual beliefs are that killing criminals as weeding the unwanted is a good thing, even more it has a sacrificial aspect too, “appeasing the powerful”.

    The Church does adapt to changing values. Just as an example the current non-acceptance of slavery, in the first centuries it was still normal. The Church does adapt to local beliefs, many of the Saints replacing pre-Christian local gods or spirits or look at the Christmas tree. The problem is the delay in adapting, “if everything else fails, then adapt” and partly because of the top-down highway and the little bottom-up trickle.

    3- So what? Do not expect too much from the Church, many dignitaries still lack the humility to be effective in influencing people. To change beliefs its influencers have to be addressed, the numerous killing in telenovelas, the arrogance of authority… you name them.

    • Pablo says:

      Joseph, As you said, the church is losing influence. But, has the church not always been a braking force and never been at the forefront of developments? Their (often excellent) schools were designed to keep people in-line. Their ceremonies designed to dull the senses and smother initiatives? The repetitive nature of all happenings in religions give people a column to hide behind, to prevent them from having to engage their own brain, to dull the moral compass. For some people that might be a good thing because it prevents them from derailing. But it certainly stops activism. Although, in the catholic church, we found some activist priests who campaigned against dictators. They were highly motivated individuals. Very rare and their superiors invariably tried to stop them. The masses are still hiding behind their believes. Look at the Trump masses in the US, where his supported will ignore all evidence and continue supporting him in spite of all his lies and manipulations. Maybe we should not be so harsh on the religions, they are just a mirror of the feelings of the masses.. Sure, talking about morality raises hopes that the churches would speak out loud and clear. Instead, they hide behind a few pieces of paper. But, so does everyone else who was fed up of the deterioration of society caused by the drug culture and supports the EJK’s.
      Let’s be fair, the churches also did not take the lead to stop drugs before Duterte, so why should we now expect them to campaign against the EJK’s?
      Letting a population realize that they are responsible for their society and that they cannot hide behind believes (be it religious or political) will take time and above all, a educational and judicial system which supports the people who lack power. And as the systems here are very basic and won’t help powerless people, we hide behind religions. Gives us the comfort we need in this harsh life.
      Otherwise, we all would be activists and that certainly does not tally with Philippines.
      Yes, we might be disappointed with the religions, but they certainly fulfill a function to comfort big masses who do not see another way out and in that sense, they probably are needed in this society, with all their faults and shortcomings.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks for the note, Pablo. But I am bothered by this —

        Let’s be fair, the churches also did not take the lead to stop drugs before Duterte, so why should we now expect them to campaign against the EJK’s?

        — because of the implied equality of

        the concern to stop drugs pre-Duterte = the concern for EJKs during Duterte’s time

        Meaning, concern for drugs is one; but EJK? My mathematical mind balks at the implied equality.

        • Pablo says:

          1. As a mathematician myself, I count bodies. A dead body from drugs causes the same sorrow to the families as a dead body from a bullet. It might be a harsh comparison, but pushing drugs is similar to murder. Not a poor person selling drugs to come by, but the pushers who do it to earn money.,,,
          2. If the drug culture would have been stopped a few years ago, we would not have been in a situation where we are now. As a trained accident investigator, we look for the root causes. Often the root causes are ignored and the final results are seen, but in my opinion, the person accepting the root causes is to blame, not the end effect.
          3. Many (if not most) of the EJK’s are not done with official permissions, they are done by criminals (“officials?”) who have loads to hide and the chase for the criminals causes them to act to prevent exposure. It is easy to say that because these murders (probaly the majority of the EJK’s) are not effectively investigated, the officials condone them. I beg to differ, most murders here in my area are not resolved even though we all know who are the culprits. It is sheer incompetence and unwillingness of the PNP to take their responsibilities serious.

          So, yes, if you do not speak out before the shit hits the fan, you are guilty of the results.
          Maybe a harsh reaction, but I am fed up of all these wasted lives, be it dead people or braindead people (druguse) or people who are poor unnecessarily for the establishment to have a comfortable life….

          Still the sun rises every morning for the survivors, so there is hope. For the ones not hiding, there is a lot of work to be done.

          • NHerrera says:

            Fair enough. But these “numbers” game can be carried to some uncomfortable or ridiculous area, i.e. speaking out against the poor maintenance of vehicles because of the numerous deaths from use of vehicles, etc. Some morality issues here, I suppose, beyond the numbers.

            But I agree with your

            Still the sun rises every morning for the survivors, so there is hope. For the ones not hiding, there is a lot of work to be done.

          • Miela says:

            Drug problem is very complex. The problem in the Philippines is below thwe world average and one study I read said that many drug users use drugs not recreationally but to keep them awake so they can work more hours.

            I think alcoholism is a bigger problem in the Philippines. Drives people mad, causes liver damage and makes people do stupid and dangerous stuff. Years ago, one drunkard killed a stramger for not knowing the song ‘Nobody’. Many have raped because of alcohol influence yet those pro EJK aren’t calling for the killings of people who drink alcohol. Just shabu users who are usually poor.

    • “Do not expect too much from the church . . .” In time of crisis for thousands, we should not expect the Church to stand up and be counted? Then it deserves to be an irrelevant or decorative component of people’s lives, and I suppose that is exactly what it has become, in the Philippines, in 2017.

      • josephivo says:

        Religion used to be an integral part of our everyday life, providing basic education, solving health problems or protecting from famine and violence, this by the correct prayers and sacrifices… Today it is a standalone endeavor, most often an individual activity based on individual beliefs and all other spheres of life are taken over by economic entities or the state. The Church as social institution getting slowly irrelevant.

        The Church also used to have very strong levers in society, via schools, the pulpits as most went to church on Sundays, social works, political interconnections… and the power to excommunicate, totally isolating you. All they have today are weak communication channels and weak authority (due to lack of humility?)

        So don’t expect too much. Do we still need ethical guidance? By all means, Facebook does not have all the answers.

        • Ha, yes, Facebook is not an authoritative source at all. 🙂 Still, if I were a higher-up in an organization such as a church, I don’t think I would accept irrelevancy, and relevancy would be found in truly helping people cope with the pressures they are under. A part of that would be to insist on ‘prosperity’ as a cure for poverty, as a cure for excessive drug usage. Not killing. But, yes, I agree with you in the main.

      • josephivo says:

        Filipinos are still Catholics in their beliefs, the One God, afterlife, the Saints… and feeling less as belonging to the institution of the One Roman Apostolic and Universal/Catholic Church with strict moral values and precise dogmas.

  6. Gemino H. Abad says:

    Thanks, Joe America! Just read the entire exchange so far: terrific! The quest for truth — in all faiths or religions — is the same quest for inner peace, for one’s own true self. As the poet John Keats says, what we call “our world” is “the vale of soul-making.” Where there are no questions, the quest ceases.

  7. Jose Raoul Dizon says:

    Dear Joe,

    In a mass at the Manila Cathedral that coincided with the first SONA of Pres Duterte, the celebrant, presumably speaking for the Catholic Church in the Philippines, condemned extrajudicial killing as a device that robs the victims both of their right to due process and the opportunity to change their lives. Every now and then, I also hear individual priests in the different churches I go to for mass decry EJKs on the same vein. With these, I believe the church has not been amiss in its duty to raise its voice against EJKs. But I can feel the church’s difficulty in doing so, mainly because the people in general seemingly are not outraged by the killings. On the contrary, they seem to understand.

    The drug menace has become so widespread, infecting many areas and levels of society, that to control it, let alone eradicate it, ordinary means of law enforcement and appeals to reason no longer seem to work. The drug menace has simply become an odious cancer that needed radical surgery to extirpate. Pity our church leaders and politicians of conscience as they struggle with their dilemma. To save lives is the object of the church’s condemnation of EJKs. But this is also the object of the drug war – to save lives in the future from getting ruined, from getting lost, from getting law enforcement agencies irretrievably corrupted, and to prevent indecent fortunes from being built for the few at the expense of society and most of all the poor.

    If doctors could be permitted to have their way towards very invasive intervention once to they determine a limb or a mother’s life is beyond saving by ordinary medical means and procedures, church leaders and politicians of conscience should also be able to say, “go ahead with the forceful remedy; to save society is our intention; to exterminate those who currently feed the menace so that later it will be gone is something forced on us at the moment.” The so-called doctrine of the lesser evil is not the one applicable in this situation but more of the doctrine of double effect, one effect intended and the other unintended.

    But to my mind the proper application of the principle should always be time-bound, with strict monitoring of on-going results, or the matter will deteriorate into even more lawlessness. Most of all, for a campaign to make this country drug-and-crime-free to succeed, all of society must work together, on a realistic and sustained basis, to bring about a more just distribution of wealth among Filipinos, and, all of us learning to cooperate with one another, mutually help eradicate invidious poverty for the many, the source of almost all of the scourges that bedevil our land. God Bless our country and guide our leaders in their difficult tasks.

    -Jose Raoul Dizon, aka Mr Nobody

    • NHerrera says:

      Jose Raoul Dizon,

      I appreciate the way you phrased your note, in a similar way I appreciated Pablo’s note above.

      The “surgical” remedy you wrote has great shades of utilitarianism in it — a concept which had its adherents in the past and still do to this day. But carried through its logical implication the concept is be very discomforting, at least to a geriatric like me — who probably should not care anymore since I am in my twilight years.

      That aside, the atmosphere or consequences that such “surgical” procedure leaves in its wake has a lot of negatives compared perhaps to the milder treatment required. We are still reeling from the wake of the let-me-assume well-intentioned surgical procedure Marcos undertook.

      There are others here in TSH more equipped to essay on utilitarianism versus other ways, than I can; and so proceed no further.

    • This is the same line of thinking presented by the trolls of Duterte/Marcos, and what they neglect to recite is the failure of programs that try to end drugs by playing nasty with the users and small-time dealers, ESPECIALLY whilst granting latitudes and freedom to the suppliers, and making friendly with the nation supplying much of the product (China). This makes no sense whatsoever, and to align the Catholic Church, or any church, with this frame of thought, means they have all lost their moral compass. Drugs are a life and health issue, not an issue of criminality. Do drugged people need money and do crime, yes. So why demolish the economy with Martial Law or send investors fleeing by presenting the Philippines as a place of turmoil and drugs. It was a rising star last year, and drugs were a problem then, as they are for many nations. But not a show stopping problem that means we should throw out any moral compassions whatsoever. And the economy along with them.

    • popoy says:

      To me, needless to say this piece and the comments so far written reflect faithfully TSOH excellence and integrity for its being. Comments for sure seek to adhere to the paramountcy of what is right, what is ultimately good for the human race.

      Regardless of the potency of reasons advanced and defended, I hold indomitable the majesty of the law, national or international; determined and prescribed by the people themselves to rule and prevail over temporal and spatial dimensions of life.

      Soldiers and Police persons, Dictators, Presidents , and Generals, the Pope, his Cardinals and Bishops and Priests, EVEN Doctors (doing mercy killings) and Faith healers MUST ALL be obedient of the LAW. Laws determined, prescribed and enforced by the people themselves transcends the Ten Commandments and defined and refined what is Caesar’s and what belongs to God.

      All else of discourse becomes mere eche bucheche of the wise.

    • Thea says:

      Sir JR Dizon

      “For a campaign to make this country drug-and-crime free to succeed, all of the society must work together, on a realistic and sustained basis,to bring about a more just distribution of wealth among Filipinos,and, all of us learning to cooperate with one another,mutually help eradicate invidious poverty for the many, the source of almost all of the scourges that bedevil our land.”

      1. Do you think killing people(or declaring ML) is a realistic and sustainable campaign?
      2. Will this(EJK) bring just distribution of wealth?
      3. Tell me a country where wealth is justly distributed among their citizens. That is not realistic,that is plain imagination. Not even China nor Switzerland has achieved this. I should say, only in heaven, there is no poor nor rich.
      4. To eradicate poverty is to educate and lead the people to think critically so in their decisions they would include not to have more children.

      Modern medicine is now less invasive or completely non-invasive. As much as possible, the surgeon will focus only on the sick tissue and save the healthy tissues by using laser (nuclear medicine). IMO, our government officials must grow as science grow, not attached to the old and proven ineffective and invasive procedures that would make the sick convalescence.

      I join NHerrera not to proceed further.

    • Miela says:

      Drug use in the Philippines is lower thsn the world average. I think alcohol problem is a bigger issue and more abused.

      Why are we not talking about alcohol abuse? Is it because itnis “fashionable” by cultural standards? Andami na rin napatay at narape dahil sa alcohol.

  8. popoy says:

    From the unknowns to molecules to DNAs to neurons to ideas to notions and conjectures, from hypotheses to theories, to practice, to laws, to science to mortal life to infinitum to unknowns. From eche bucheche to Martial Law to EDSA I;

    From Day One of Martial Law to the End Day of EDSA I is a capsule of dynamic history INSTRUCTIVE of what to EXPECT from a repeat of lessons of history now evolving. So numerous hypothetical If A then B to be explored relentlessly to avoid the direct and collateral costs of extra legal governance; lest like nature, water remains in motion until it reached its own level.
    THE POINT? It is there in the bones, muscles and flesh; the sinews, the M Law life cycle of TRANSGRESSED laws–is what TSOHers are (or should be?) talking about. The church and the government as gladiators? Cardinal Sin and President Marcos? Combative collaboration? Water found its own level and was at rest for a while. Disturbed it is on the move again.

  9. ivyemaye says:

    Yes, the men in frocks. Most major religions seem to have a problem with women, but this is especially the case with the RC church. Ever since the creation of the RC church (more or less an extension of the Roman Empire) at around the 4th century AD, The role of women was suppressed or projected into extremes, the virgin Mary and the whore Mary Magdalene. Both from what I have read were co founders of the original judo christian faith. Many Gnostic gospels were ignored or destroyed, ( a few were found hidden in Egypt) Gospel of Mary Gospel of Thomas and many more.)
    So what do we have now with the RC church. Ireland was pretty much the same as the Philippines, but the RC Church has imploded there, because of the revelations about priests and child abuse, plus much else.
    As for Philippines, Aquino fought long and hard to get the RH bill through against very strong RC opposition.
    This report says it all:
    So what has happened to the RH Bill under Duterte? Will it be rolled out in schools? Will contraceptives be made available and heaven forbid (so to speak).a proper abortion law?
    It is this and the lamentable infrastructure that holds the Philippines back and produces the poverty with poor families with far too many children.
    Yes the Philippines scores very high (11th if I remember world wide) in gender equality, when women are given the chance. War on drugs, Durterte’s personality etc etc…but this is one of the things I try and keep an eye on.

    Thanks Mr Joe

    • Thank you, ivyemaye, for recognizing the punitive nature of doctrine gone wrong.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        “Doctrine gone wrong ” or dogma Joe ?

        The doctrine can sort of be moved around. The dogma cannot be..Or so we are told.

        If this is so then the Filipino people need to de-catholicise themselves to allow themselves to use contraceptives.

        I find it bizarre that the Catholic church thinks contraception is a bigger issue to campaign on, than extra judicial killins in the thousands.

        Or is it simply responding to fear of the Dutertistas, whereas with Aquino it had no such fear ?

        • NHerrera says:

          When the Church knows that many in the middle class (Catholics?) and up use contraceptives.

        • Rigid adherence to rules, disregarding knowledge, by whatever term you use.

          Agree on contraception.

          The distinction is more the need for self-fulfillment by ‘bringing the bastards down’ along with ‘my powerful star leader who gives me macho chops’. Not fear. The bastards are people who think they are smart (because they are smart). It’s a wonderful pattern for self destruction.

  10. edgar lores says:


    1. On one hand, the Church is accepting of scientific knowledge. Pope Francis has declared that evolution and the Big Bang theory are real. In fact, the Big Bang theory was originally posited by the Jesuit priest Georges Lemaître.

    2. On the other hand, Pope Francis has said that “yoga, Zen, and all these things” do not lead to God. The physical practice of yoga and meditation are not rejected outright, just the non-Christian spiritual aspects that are associated with the Eastern religions.

    2.1. The opposition was expressed by Ratzinger in 1989: Christian prayer… “flees from impersonal techniques or from concentrating on oneself, which can create a kind of rut, imprisoning the person praying in a spiritual privatism which is incapable of a free openness to the transcendental God.”

    3. The inflexibility, indeed the inability, of the Church to update its teachings arises from the fact that its dogmas and doctrines are, more than less, cast in stone in the Magisterium.

    3.1. Unlike the Eastern religions which focused on methods (yoga, meditation, the Middle Path) to attain spirituality, Christianity in general and Catholicism, in particular, focused on imperatives. Thou shalt not. It invited the believer to obey rather than to inquire and explore.

    3.2. Again, here we see the denial of interiority and the reliance purely on exteriority. There was no need to seek Truth because the Truth was already found in tradition and divine revelations as encoded in dogma and doctrine.

    3.3. In short, the Church claimed she was in possession of the Truth. And having thus claimed, for her to admit any need for change was to be fallible and in error and to invite destruction.

    3.4. In addition to her natural survivalist nature, the refusal of the Church to change is partly mercenary in nature. The Church is a mercenary enterprise with untold wealth.

    3.5. And yet the Church was able to change its views on externals such as Galileo, on slavery, on evolution, and on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. She has not been able to change on internals such as celibacy, the ordination of women, and the DEATH issues (divorce, euthanasia, abortion, total contraception, and homosexuality).

    3.6. There have been great transitions in the human landscape – the overpopulation of some countries, the tide of consumerism, the emancipation of women, the turn to secularism, the resurgence of Islam – that the Church has been unable to respond to in an adequate manner.

    3.7. In the Philippines, the past and current administration – especially the current one — are pushing the Church to irrelevancy. The epithets hurled against the Church and the clergy from the President and in soc-med could not be spoken or heard a generation ago. Nor tolerated.

    4. Clearly, the Church must change, and Pope Francis is partly cognizant of this urgency.

    4.1. I think the Church misapprehends its mission with her focus on the poor in possessions. The focus should be to spread her vision on the meaning of human life as enunciated by Christ. And to be relevant, she should seek to reinterpret this mission within the ever-changing human landscape.

    • NHerrera says:

      Nice. If I may suggest the reading sequence:
      – Read Joe’s current blog
      – Read the above note/opinion of edgar
      – Read the rest of the comments; then
      – Read the previous blog topic and comments

    • Great post, edgar!

      Can you just clarify,

      3.4. In addition to her natural survivalist nature, the refusal of the Church to change is partly mercenary in nature. The Church is a mercenary enterprise with untold wealth.

      I remember the knights in the Crusades were described as such, but it seems you’re hinting at something organizational here, is your description of mercenary and franchise related? Thanks.


      Re structure: the Church wants it to appear that she is monolithic.

      In truth, her structure is like McDonald’s, a franchise, with the dioceses financially independent from the mother Church.

      Which begs the question, around 80% of McDonald’s restaurants are independently owned, the other 20% are labeled affiliate (don’t know what that is) and company owned.

      But you’ll never be able to tell the difference because all products come from one place and are consciously inspected to ensure consistent quality as well as uniformity.

      What processes are keeping the Church uniform and consistent? Or is the lack of uniformity and consistency what’s undermining the product/message, hence the Church?

      Since they’re not really selling anything (sacraments notwithstanding 😉 ), except maybe for a message, then the Church is de facto in the service industry, which means the priests need to somehow undergo some sort of consistent/uniformity training (personnel focused) to ensure consistent, uniform, quality messaging across the Church.

      Over here, the opposite structure to McDonald’s is In-n-Out, it’s not a franchise it’s family owned, and every In-n-Out worker all go thru their In-n-Out University, where they not only learn to push their product/food, but to learn consistent customer service (arguably the reason by people go here, it doesn’t feel impersonal like McDonalds)

      Also, and this might come in handy here, unlike McDonald’s , In-n-Out has a secret menu, which makes some feel special ordering from the secret stuff. 😉

      • Edgar Lores says:

        3.4. There are several instances of the mercenary character of the Church. Apart from historic simony, I will just mention three:

        o Celibacy. Apart from spiritual reasons, celibacy was promulgated and maintained as a way of keeping inheritable wealth within the Church.

        o Divorce. Again apart from spiritual reasons, the objection to divorce may stem from costly annulment — costly, that is, to the applicant. In the Philippines, the procedure is only availed of by the rich, movie stars, and such.

        o Matrimony. I understand that a guideline for donations is a percentage of the wedding budget. As I have suggested, there should be a tiered fixed list for this sacrament depending on “extras” or options. In economics, the price of a good, whether it is a finished product or a service, is largely based on the costs to produce it. To price a good on the capacity of the buyer rather than on the costs to the seller is, to my mind, dishonest and a source of corruption. Imagine the disparity between wedding budgets of $5K, $10K, $100K, and $1M. If one assumes a donation of 10%, the difference between the first and the last is $99.5K! Why the differential when the product, the service, is basically the same?

        Structure. The observation on the flat structure was made in TSH sometime ago in a discussion between Manuel Buencamino and JoeAm as I recall. I was trying to find the comment but couldn’t.

        o The Big Mac of the Church is the Magisterium (burger) wrapped in the Rites (bun) of the Mass, the Sacraments, and other ceremonies and celebrations (death rites, processions, and fiestas).

        o The consistency lies in the dogma and doctrines.

        o The clergy consists of professionals with a spiritual vocation. Seminaries provide training for the clergy in multiple-year courses. In the US, applicants “priests must have a four-year university degree in philosophy.”

        • popoy says:

          If I may add what I heard while still in high school: the unsurpassed and greatest invention of all time is the original sin demolished only by BAPTISM to any faith. In College, I read and cogitated too: “Religion is the opium of the masses,” may be said in another way, believe to live by, by more than a quarter of the world’s people. Ain’t that so wrong if re-stated by history: Religion is the High of the Haves and Mighty, and the fate and the Low of Have Nots.

          • edgar lores says:

            I agree: the invention of the doctrine of original sin is a source of unnecessary misery.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Edgar we are discussing death in all it’s manifestations. So may I add a question here re Christianity ? A question always overlooked because the answer is deeply embedded in Christian theology.

              The question : Why did Jesus, the son of God, die on the cross ?

              The answer given almost universally : “He died to save us from our sins.”

              Ok, humans do wrongs = sins in the theological context

              “Save us” – From what ?

              Doctrine says “God’s condemnation of sinning humans to eternal hell after death.”

              But this is decidedly queer logic – but not gay. Why cannot God forgive and forget the sins of sinning humans ? Why the need for somebody to be killed rather awfully, savagely, to ‘prompt’ God’s forgiveness ?

              Why the hell, does God require a savage death by anybody ( never mind the claim to being God’s son ) to forestall God deciding to consign sinning humans to hell post death ?

              Let’s think about that for a moment please………
              …….N…………………………………………………G………… !

              And now an important question : who can/could love or even respect such a God ?

              I long ago gave up on Christianity ( not just Catholicism ) as I decided that even if it is fundamental to Christianity ( and Catholicism ) it was still an extraordinarily dumb doctrine and teaching….

              End of theological presentation.


              • chemrock says:

                May I offer my dumb explanation.

                We as a living thing, is a mystery. From where did we come from and where do we go. Is it from dust to dust? There is definitely something physical and spiritual about man. God mad us in his image. On death man returns to oneness with God. But the original sin of Adam and Even condemns man to die the physical and spiritual death, but the spirit cannot return to God. Having condemned man to suffer death physically and sipritually, he cannot then undo his will. You see, God is not Duterte, he said, he meant it.

                God declared that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22),So the original sin could not be forgiven. According to Edgar Cayce, Jesus was reincarnated several times. The last as the Jesus who died on the Cross. It’s as if Jesus tried to undo Adam and Eve’s sin but could not understand they way, until the shedding of his blood on the cross.

                That shedding of blood saved man’s soul because original sin is forgiven and on physical death, the spirit can return to God.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Bill in Oz,

                I share your… puzzlement.

                On “Save us from what?” and “Why the hell does God require a savage death by anybody…?”, allow me to quote myself:

                “8. I am not satisfied with the answer that salvation is a legitimate human need for two reasons. One, people all around the world, particularly in affluent countries, are leaving the haven of religion and do not see salvation as a basic human need. Two, I personally do not attach to any notion of salvation.

                8.1. I will concede that the paradigm of salvation has been essential in man’s ascendance. It has quelled his native existential terror and allowed him to survive and to function. But the paradigm is no longer a necessity, not since Nietzsche announced the death of God and Sartre pronounced that existence precedes essence. For most, the paradigm will be necessary for some time, perhaps a long time, perhaps for as long as man lives, but many have gone beyond the need and see the paradigm as a problem rather than as a solution.” [Bolding mine.]


                I would add, the Abrahamic religions have taken advantage of the paradigm to shackle men and to enrich their coffers. The Eastern religions also speak of salvation but in their conception salvation is an individual path to self-enlightenment.

                And it is indeed a puzzle, from our secular viewpoint, why many continue to adore a God who is so weak that He requires adoration and praise from His creations.

                I will concede that there may be dimensions to the Abrahamic religious experience to which we are oblivious.

                The paradigm is archetypal and one sees it replayed in various forms in popular narratives, in movies and in politics. One sees it in the strongmen-and-minions phenomenon — in Marcos, Duterte, and Trump. One will note that these strongmen also require scapegoats.

                We, you and I and many others, have shed the shackles and know… freedom.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Chemrock you wrote “God declared that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness”” from Paul epistle to the Hebrews.

                This was written about 30 years after the crucifixion ..

                Ummm .. And Paul never met Jesus.either..Jesus died long before Paul found Christianity…So in what sense is Paul’s letter ‘evidence’ about God’s capacity to forgive and forget.?

                Paul had a ‘revelation’ I guess just like some other messiah type figures.

                Frankly I think Paul was wrong. His answer makes no sense & is bizarre.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Chemrock, there is much more in your reply which is very disturbing to me. So here are some more thoughts by way of reply.
                1 “We as living beings, are a mystery. From where did we come from and whence do we go ? Is it from dust to dust?”
                I completely agree with your sentiments here. This is a huge mystery. The various major religions all attempt to provide answers. But any answers which makes sense must also fit in with the newer scientific based knowledge of the last 4-500 years. Christianity’s answer does not easily fit in with any of this scientific knowledge.
                An example is the creation myth of the Bible. It is poetic and mythical. But accurate ? Hardly.
                In recent decades the Church has responded by giving ground on this aspect of the Bible story. It has been reinterpreted as a myth rather than factually accurate.

                2 With death “we return to the oneness with God”. This is indeed a hopeful thought. But the evidence for it is nil. Other religions like Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, and in some strands of Hinduism, provide more satisfactory answers on this question.

                3 You write “the original sin of Adam and Even condemns man to die the physical and spiritual death ” Yes that’s what Christianity teaches. But it is also among the most bizarre, extraordinary and stupid theological thinking that I have ever heard.

                Did Adam & Eve ever exist ? No one can prove it. What actions did they do ( assuming they existed ) that upset ‘God’. Eat some fruit and gain knowledge & self awareness ? And God really got pissed off about such stuff ? Really Chemrock, how can anyone really think this is a true story.

                We all agree that the Divine is kind and infinitely compassionate. That’s universal in all the major religions. So what’s thus stuff about some “Original sin” which God cannot forgive Adam & Eve or any of their supposed desendents for ever ?

                4 ” Having condemned man to suffer death physically and sipritually, he cannot then undo his will. ” We human adults are rightly praised if we are capable of learning, & changing our minds and especially forgiving. If God cannot do ‘forgiving’ far better then the worshiped being at the heart of Christianity, he is no worthy praiseworthy being, nor is he God.

                Sorry to be so blunt Chemrock. But this is important stuff.

                This is really a tale for children. Not for adults.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                I notice that there is no reply to the comments of Edgar & I here…

                I am reminded of another famous comment by Winston Churchill

                ” Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”

              • Or maybe people are busy or (like me) have no electricity. There is no need for personal slights aimed at people who don’t line up with your expectations.

              • chemrock says:

                Bill it’s OK to be blunt and direct. Your questions are valid. I’m not in a position to counter you. My knowledge here is shallow.

                My view is that what makes me think I am intelligent. If I am, where did it come from. The sum of my knowledge is it because I’m so great I figure it out? Or is there something beyond our level of comprehension. Is time linear. There are theories of time warps and black holes. Nothing proven, but points to the direction we may not be smart Aleck’s, there are things beyond our comprehension. Does science means ultimate truth? Quantum physics have brought us new knowledge which we didn’t know that we didn’t know. So we never feel nor see God means no God according to Science. We don’t see electricity, electro magnetism, but we believe its there.

                As long as we have no answer to the question what are we, whence we came from, where we go next, there has to be a spiritual explanation.

                I used to share your views, which are critical thinking based. Getting older, I’m more skewed to a spiritual interpretation. Is the catholic narrative the right one? I think pursuing an answer from our scientific brain is using a wrong tool. It’s in the realm of spirituality that the answer can be found. I know it sounds blah blah blah. Edgar Cayce’s readings reinforces my belief in an explanation on a plane beyond our present scientific knowledge. Before knowledge, there was darkness, before darkness there was void. We are talking of nothingness, then physical, then presence. The Christian narrative seems to piece a story together. Unfortunately due to contamination, info gaps, personal agendas, it is fragmented and open to attacks. As it is, science has served to prove some stuff in the bible.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                The unfortunate truth Joe, is that Churchill was right in this comment.

                Thanks Chemrock for replying.. It is late here and I am tired. I will think about your comment and then reply.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Chemrock, good morning !
                I have read again your comments on the spiritual dimension to life…I sense and share your confusion…We are in deep waters…

                I agree with all you have said here … Science fundamentally can only explain the ‘what’ of things.. The ‘why’ is not answerable in scientific terms..An example :
                I read science blogs and mags like New Scientist and Cosmos.. I can find descriptions ( mostly mathematical ) of the Big Bang going back to the start of the Universe…When there was nothing but a ‘void’ – total emptiness !

                But the simple question “Where did all the energy come from that actually drives the start of the Big Bang and the evolution of the Universe ? ” cannot be answered…In fact I suspect it cannot even be examined…

                Another key query is ‘consciousness’. We tend to assume that it is something special to us as a species….But we are discovering that this assumption is false. Individuals of other species are aware of their own existence…And looking deeper it seems that ‘consciousness’ is inherent in existence itself – even ‘dead inanimate rocks. And as complexity increases so too does this inherent quality…

                It is this deeper thinking which leads me to dismiss the Bible stories as mythical…Useful at one time.. But not very useful now for most of humanity…

                And so I give no credence to Paul’s letters as a guide to life for me now. Nor to much of the Old Testament…Nor to the Catholic Church.. Nor to the various Protestant faiths…

                In fact it seems to me that there is far more awareness of these aspects of existence, in the Taoist thinking of old China or early Buddhism thinking…

    • Well stated, in my opinion. Superb.

  11. Joe mentioned in one of his post that the tug of good and evil in Filipinos comes from genetics. This reminds me of a school of thought that interprets Genesis 3 in human terms because it claims that the biblical sense of it is all symbolism. This interpretation states that the apple is symbolism for carnal knowledge, in plain language, “SEX”. It explains that Lucifer, an angel, got lustful from Eve’s nakedness and seduced her to intimacy or “physical love.” Eve in turn, goaded Adam to have sex with her to the consternation of the Maker. It argues that the reason why Adam and Eve covered their private parts is to hide the parts that led to their fall and shame. It posits that all mankind are part good and part evil. Therefore, a man either have dominant paternal genes from Lucifer making him/her evil or dominant maternal genes from Eve making him/her good. It also explains that we are all born sinners necessitating baptism to neutralize the sins of our father, Lucifer but our life cycle is a constant pull/push from good and evil because God gifted mankind with free will.

    I would love to hear what you think about the above theory and share your own interpretation of Genesis 3.

    Full Disclosure: I am a spiritual person. I am not a religious fanatic. In the truest sense, I am a cafeteria Catholic.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        Very interesting, LCpl_X. Lilith as Adam’s first wife, the assertive devil woman. Lilith as the demon in Paradise. Lilith as a folklore to shame the Jews. And so on…

        Which of the Lilith school of thoughts do you subscribe to?

        • Lilith as Adam’s 1st wife is the most interesting, ie. Adam couldn’t tame a wild woman so he replaces her/or has God replace her, Eve=Lilith 2.0. The pre-Biblical stuff re Lilith is also interesting. Or you can also say Lilith=Lucifer , since she’s related to serpents in pre-Biblical stories.

          But when I read the Adam and Eve story i’ve always been more interested not so much on the personalities involved (read drama), but the nature of the two trees in the Garden,

          1). The tree of knowledge

          2). The tree of life (How Lilith is connected to the Tree of Knowledge is what I’m trying to figure out, or maybe no connection at all).

          read entirety here,

          Genesis 3: 1-24 King James Version (KJV)

          1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

          2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

          3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

          4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

          5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

          6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

          7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

          8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

          9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

          10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

          11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

          12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

          13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

          14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

          15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

          16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

          17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

          18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

          19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

          20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

          21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

          22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

          23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

          24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

          • popoy says:

            If I may in a lighter vein, A young handsome army colonel from the North we invited to lecture for a course for irrigation engineers told this joke to the sleepy engineers: Do you know that Adam and Eve are Ilocanos, that the Garden of Eden was may be in the Ilocos region?

            In glorious, sensuous nakedness Eve looking at Adams hanging, dangling pistol exclaimed in the dialect : Ad dann! meaning in Tagalog mayroon. Adam disturbed and puzzled looked down at Eve’s gate to original sin, shaking his head said: Ebva meaning different. Since then during orgasmic joy, they started calling each other Adan and Eva. Heh, heh, ang corny talaga eh. Heard it many times before? Please correct the mistakes in the retelling of the joke.

            Joeam should hear the joke when three nuns about to enter the Pearly Gates were being interviewed by St. Peter. I know, I know, TSOH isn’t the place for these kind of jokes. Pinoy Humour Kasi Eh.

            • popoy says:

              The above post is an attempt to give humour a religious fervor, este flavor. Here’s one that’s not but appeared in a book of poems.

              Pinoy Humour

              Worse than lethal injection
              That’s Pinoy humour.

              Mightier than
              “the pen is mightier than the sword”
              that’s Pinoy humour

              When Humour is the armor of anger
              against tyrants
              when humour is the dove of hawks
              who fear the legal criminals?
              when humour is a masked desire to kill
              the hydra of the anti christ
              when humour is the only recourse of the

              humour can be worst than a curse to the
              legion of thieves.
              October 27, 2005

          • The proliferation of different religions is based on the ambiguity of documentation available about God. What is His “real” narrative? Is the tree of knowledge the “Tower of Babel” of knowledge about God? Is the tree of life similar to the fountain of youth?

    • edgar lores says:

      1. To say that the Church is obsessed with sexuality would be an understatement.

      2. One will note that four of the five D.E.A.T.H issues are associated with sex. Euthanasia is the exception.

      3. To his credit, Pope Francis has taken small steps to liberalize the Church.

      o On homosexuality, he has asked, “Who am I to judge?”
      o On divorce, he has okayed the offering of communion to the divorced and the remarried. He has also streamlined the annulment process.
      o On contraception, he has stressed the dominance of a couple’s individual conscience above dogma. He has said it is better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic.
      o On abortion, he has extended to all priests the power to forgive. This was a right previously reserved to bishops and special confessors.
      o But on euthanasia, he has not given ground.

      4. The Pope can take further steps:

      o On homosexuality, redefine marriage as one between loving couples and not just between a man and a woman. Strike out the notion that the purpose of matrimony is the reproduction of the human species. Remove objections to same-sex marriage. Recognize that homosexuality is a natural condition.

      o On divorce. Allow for divorce in the Philippines. Recognize the legality of civil courts’ divorce proceedings. Recognize that there are valid grounds for divorce such as domestic violence and spiritual incompatibility. Recognize that remarriage is not adultery.

      o On contraception. Allow for the greater use of condoms and not only in the use to combat Aids and the Zika virus.

      o On abortion. Allow abortion and the use of abortifacients in cases of rape and incest.

      o On euthanasia. Perhaps recognize, but not necessarily approve, the option that men can choose to die with dignity.

      To progress, the Church must be progressive.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Regarding Euthanasia.
        The pope called it selfishness, false compassion and sin against God.
        It is hard to lose a loved one, or watch them suffer.
        How can it be selfish, because you are worried that you can not pay the hospital bills?
        Euthanasia means or used to mean quick death without suffering until it became mercy killing.
        Like suicide, it is not just about selfishness( hat tip to LCX for the life lesson) and the easy way out.
        Regarding progressiveness-Agree one hundred one percent.
        At least we no longer hear not to take pain relievers if you have a headache, because suffering is good.

        • edgar lores says:

          Karl, thanks.

          The arguments for and against euthanasia are certainly complex. The issue is a moral and legal minefield.

          The countries that allow it are The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Canada. Ironically, these are largely Catholic countries. Taiwan has a limited Patient Autonomy Act. Some US states allow assisted suicide in one form or another for terminally ill patients — Washington, Oregon, Vermont, California, and Colorado.

          Oz is debating the issue. The leading proponent for the Pro case is Andrew Denton, a known media personality.

          For me, I cautiously tend towards the view that voluntary euthanasia should be a matter of free choice for the suffering aged and the terminally ill. The case for involuntary euthanasia is more complex and situational. It relies a great deal on the objectivity of the assessors (either doctors or fellow soldiers in the battlefield). However, involuntary euthanasia is performed on ICU patients and beloved pets (in civilized countries) and is considered a compassionate norm; this shows there is a moral dimension that should be explored. (“They shoot horses, don’t they?”)

          But going back to the topic, it is definite that EJKs are not euthanasia; they are murder.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            Edgar I have read your comments here with interest & agreement. Little need for me to ad anything except cheer from the side. 🙂

            But one thought for you : I am of the opinion that life is a ‘gift’ to each of us. And that deciding to return the ‘gift’ is sometimes appropriate; as for example the suffering aged or terminally ill.

            Talk of this being a “sin against God” is utter specious nonsense. Has any one ever heard & ‘witnessed’ God complaining about ‘sinners’ ?

          • josephivo says:

            There are good reasons to take somebody else’s life, but none to take your own life?

            Shouldn’t we spent some more time and energy in analyzing when killing others human beings is permitted? And killing yourself or risking your life in battle?

            • edgar lores says:

              To take one’s life:

              o Honor (in seppuku)
              o Martyrdom for a cause
              o Self-sacrifice to save another
              o Voluntary euthanasia (due to excessive suffering or terminal illness)

              o Suicide (no reason to live, depression, madness)

              Killing others:

              o Self-defense
              o War
              o Involuntary euthanasia (mercy killing)
              o Capital punishment?
              o Justifiable homicide

              o Accidental homicide
              o Murder (for gain or pleasure)
              o Revenge
              o Psychopathy

              I am sure there are many more.

        • edgar lores says:

          I would add, seppuku, in the traditional Japanese way, is an honorable way to die — and live.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Again, Edgar, you cover all bases, I often wonder why there is still some questions left for LCX to ask. (joke)

            • Ahahahaha! Made my day!

            • LOL!

              I was quietly cheering for edgar, like Bill,
              so blame karl here, edgar. LOL! Here goes…

              edgar: 4. The Pope can take further steps:

              o On homosexuality, redefine marriage as one between loving couples and not just between a man and a woman. Strike out the notion that the purpose of matrimony is the reproduction of the human species. Remove objections to same-sex marriage. Recognize that homosexuality is a natural condition.

              ======== It is not a “natural condition”, edgar. Homosexuality is a human construct, the closest to a homosexual act in the animal kingdom is mounting, in which one male, mounts another male, to show dominance.

              Female Bonobo chimps do rub each others vaginas to pleasure each other, but this act has more similarities to grooming (ie. picking insects from their hair, like Filipinas in the boonies also do), than it is an actual homosexual sex, male Bonobo chimps have never been observed performing anal intercourse , though like their regular chimp cousins regularly mount to show dominance.

              How do you recognize something as “natural”, if only humans do it, and for as long as humans have existed they have taken extra care to label such act as a sin or something shameful—- ie. the fact that it is shameful is why male prisoners regularly sodomize lesser prisoners to screw with their minds, and own them (again related to mounting among other apes).

              You don’t have to be in prison, your movie industry there is where our movie industry was in the 50s, with movie execs calling the shots, most are homosexuals, every famous actor there has performed homosexual acts (like here, or 99%), because the ones dominating the industry are homosexuals.

              o On divorce. Allow for divorce in the Philippines. Recognize the legality of civil courts’ divorce proceedings. Recognize that there are valid grounds for divorce such as domestic violence and spiritual incompatibility. Recognize that remarriage is not adultery.

              ========= If Filipinos plan to divorce shortly after marriage, like over here, why not just get married civilly , or common law live together. Marriage under the church is sacrosanct, you guys don’t recognize sacrosanct, get married somewhere else. But it’s not for the Church to stoop with the times & societal norms current, just because divorce is the new norm, doesn’t necessarily mean the Church must follow suit.

              If the Church buckles on this, they might was well be promoting divorce. It’s not for the Church to change , its for the people to take marriage seriously, and sacred— marriage is permanent.

              o On contraception. Allow for the greater use of condoms and not only in the use to combat Aids and the Zika virus.

              ========= From an environmental point, contraceptives are just dirty (not dirrrty) but bad for the environment. Used condoms regularly get stuck in toilet drains (ask any short-time motel operator there), if not drained in the sewage where it affects other animals, it ends up in landfills. Pills have been known to show up in sea water readings after storms, so for women taking these birth control pills , yeah its successful for women, but its also preventing other animal life from reproducing as well, see the quandary there?

              God intended for sex to be enjoyed all natural. If you guys don’t want kids, either empty out your load before, so you’re shooting blanks; or shoot it inside another hole (we’ve already gone into detail with this last strategy, NH know’s it well 😉 ). So save the environment by going all natural; just be careful where you shoot your wad. But the church is correct, no contraceptives! Go natural.

              o On abortion. Allow abortion and the use of abortifacients in cases of rape and incest.

              ========= A woman’s egg is alive (all cells in your body is with life); a man’s sperm is alive, have you seen those things under a microscope, i mean, they are full of life! So when these two cells come together they are doubly alive. So tho shalt not kill!

              Give birth and if you don’t want the child, you can give it to the church which will care for it. There’s really no need to kill.

              o On euthanasia. Perhaps recognize, but not necessarily approve, the option that men can choose to die with dignity.

              ========= edgar, if you notice all 5 above are connected.

              Islam is the fastest growing religion, not because of new converts but because they are reproducing like mice. The whole point of the 5 and why the Church is not budging , is because that’s the only way to protect the Church, by populating it. You simply cannot populate the church if you’re giving a thumbs up to killing Catholics (or potential Catholics).

              The 5 are connected, and the bigger strategy is to populate the Church.

              To progress, the Church must be progressive.

              The Church is 2,000 years old, there’s been all sorts of “progressive” movements , they’ve come and gone, and the church still stands. Err on the side of caution here, by sticking to its guns—- and not killing Catholics seems very practical from where I stand. Populate the church! 😉

              1). homosexuality = not natural

              2). divorce = not marriage (and marriage = sacred )

              3). contraception = bad for the environment

              4). abortion = murder

              5). euthanasia = murder

              • karlgarcia says:

                LOL! See what I mean? 😉

              • Edgar Lores says:

                1. ”It is not a “natural condition”, edgar. Homosexuality is a human construct…

                1.1. Indeed, homosexuality is a human construct.

                1.2. But that is not entirely correct. What is correct is to say that the concept of homosexuality is a human construct. I do not know that a Bonobo chimp, or any other non-human species, has written a doctoral dissertation on homosexuality.

                1.3. And it is also correct to say that homosexual behavior is displayed by Bonobo chimps and many other non-human species. One can see a complete list here:


                1.4. Therefore, homosexual behavior is a natural condition for the human species and the non-human species. But the concept of homosexuality is purely human.

                2. ”…for as long as humans have existed they have taken extra care to label such act as a sin or something shameful…”

                2.1. Indeed, homosexuality has been labeled “as a sin or something shameful.”

                2.2. But, again, that is not entirely correct. Homosexuality was frequent in ancient Greece. In modern times, a global survey in 2016 shows that LGBTI is not a crime (that is, not necessarily a sin or something shameful) by more than 50% of the people in such countries as South Africa, Japan, India, Israel, Vietnam, and the Philippines. One can see the complete list here:


                3. In a previous blog, “Knowledge Rising in the Philippines,” I presented a simplistic taxonomy of Truth (objective, intersubjective, subjective) with its corresponding class of Morality (relative, group, personal).


                3.1. Religious morality, which is subsumed under group morality, is a human construct.

                3.2. Religions will claim their morality (read Ten Commandments for Christianity) is sourced from God. But (a) as the existence of God has not been proved and (b) there are different systems of morality and (c) insofar as science has not resolved the issue of the objectivity of morality, we must assume that morality is a human construct.

                3.3. From your initial reasoning, that homosexuality is a human construct and therefore not a natural condition, I do not know whether you mean to imply that all unnatural conditions are decidedly sinful and shameful. If you were to extend the argument then morality, being a human construct, is also sinful?

                3.2. Granting that morality is a human construct, morality can be changed – for the better or for worst – by intersubjective consensus. An example of “for worst” is the normalization of EJKs in the country. The changes I have outlined are naturally, from my point of view, for the better from the criteria of inclusivity (homosexuality) and compassion (divorce, euthanasia, abortion, contraception). I will leave it to the Church.

                4. I will not take up your detailed arguments on divorce, contraception, abortion, and euthanasia.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                My reply has been shanghaied. Too many links. Joeam, please release.

              • sonny says:

                🙂 LC, you’re at the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica.

              • LOL!

                sonny, at this rate if Joe keeps posting more Catholic blogs, I’ll be Opus Dei come the end of Summer. LOL! definitely not part of my Summer plans. 😉


                1). We have to make clear what constitutes “homosexual” behavior. A human child before the age puberty, can rub his genitals and experience pleasure in that, yet that behaviour is NOT “homosexual”. The intent has to be sexual, ie. orgasm, or some sort of mental sexual release (for those who cannot , like Stephen Hawking).

                Female on female is difficult to prove, since there are no outward manifestations of orgasm, ie. it just might feel good, hence my example of Filipinas in the boonies picking bugs from their heads, i’ve also seen in girlie bars there, Filipinas touching each others nipples, not a sexual act per se, but it was almost like a pat on the back, done when joking or gossiping.

                The male on male is the best proof of homosexual behaviour seen in humans, if found we can say conclusively non-humans do it, there it is …. it is natural. There’s the act itself, and the finish. Then it has to be consistent, either with the same male or another male, same behaviour to rule out an accidental insertion (which have happen, ie. Jennifer Laude, ooops you’re not female!!!)

                So i’m not talking about concepts or theories here, or similar behaviours (that can be interpreted if you’re one side or the other on this), the deed has to be done, edgar. Until then it’s not seen in nature (try to stick to mammals, when you go to other classes of animals that’s already too weird it throws a wrench in the comparisons, ie. more open to interpretations).

                2). I agree, homosexuality has been normalized in the past. It’s normalized in specific sectors in society, hence my prison and showbiz examples.

                But my point is it’s not suppose to be normal. It’s aberrant behaviour, blame transmutation or upbringing. My point is it is fringe behaviour now being sold by those in showbiz as perfectly normal. My label of unnatural also assumes abnormal, ie. not normal.

                St. Paul who promulgated this notion of homosexuality as something evil, was talking specifically of prison type homosexuality, ie. grabbing your servant and doing with him as you please. Jesus in the Gospels didn’t feel the need to address this issue, but for Hellenic Paul it was an important issue, whether or not Jesus thought homosexuals were okay or sinful, I don’t know, but the Jews during his time would have taken the stories of Sodom/Gamorah seriously, so going Greek would’ve been considered sinful during the time of Jesus (probably why he didn’t feel the need to address it).

                I’m sure there’s homosexuality of the loving kind, not like the Greek dominating and victimizing the type St. Paul attacked and warned against in his letters. And I’m sure these transmutations, or aberrant behaviour, in the past have been accepted by families, clans and peoples (if they didn’t cause harm). But the act of anal penetration, requires one to surrender, submit and the other to dominate—- because it’s an unnatural orifice to penetrate, ie. the plumbings all wrong, no lubrication etc.

                So that act right there of sticking where something don’t belong, from a mechanical engineering perspective (NH, help me out here 😉 ) is already sinful, ie. you’re causing unnecessary friction, and where there’s friction things will breakdown, ie. blood, gashes, cuts, etc.

                3). Morality is sinful if it goes against the grain, ie. unnatural. The point of the Church is not to play social experiments , edgar. You’re free to play social experiments, everyone is. But to demand or suggest an organization that stands for the natural order of things, to bend over back wards for the whims of current social norms is abnormal , ie. it goes beyond what the church stands for.

                The church can still extend the hand of inclusivity and compassion, without accepting something abnormal and unnatural, thus sinful. The church can profoundly disagree with these acts , but still accept you and love you, because its the act that’s considered a sin/shameful.

              • edgar lores says:

                1. I will take the dictionary definition of homosexuality. which is “sexual attraction to people of one’s own sex.” However, I would replace the term “people” with “members.”

                2. Thank you for the concession.

                To me and to many others, homophobia — rather than homosexuality — is prejudice and is aberrant.

                3. The notion of normality — and morality — is intersubjective. The Eastern religions are generally accepting of homosexuality. The Church has recanted on some of her doctrines. Pope Francis is leading the way to further recantation. May the Church evolve.

              • 4. I will not take up your detailed arguments on divorce, contraception, abortion, and euthanasia.

                Fair enough, edgar.

                But I ‘d just like to add (and this is related to all 5) that semen needs to be viewed as something of value (like mother’s milk, like coconut water), with all sorts of nutritious stuff in it:

                “A normal male ejaculation (about one teaspoon’s worth) contains between five and 25 calories and a minimal amount of protein. Semen is only one percent sperm; the rest is composed of over 200 separate proteins, as well as vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, calcium, chlorine, citric acid, fructose, lactic acid, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vitamin B12, and zinc “

                Fix this, and you’ll fix all 5 above, no need for Church permission. This is the gift that’ll keep on giving. It’s revolutionary.

              • Correction: A human child before the age puberty, can rub his genitals and experience pleasure in that, yet that behaviour is NOT *“sexual”

              • edgar,

                1). You’re conveniently leaving out the pertinent definition that’s at issue here, simply being attracted to another of the same sex isn’t really a sin, nor is it shameful unless you make it known and advertise it; the sin is in the commission of the act (making the attraction complete sort of speak), though simply coveting your neighbor’s ass (if that ass is of the same sex) might be enough for some, but here let’s simply limit ourselves to the act itself (the dirty deed), not mere imaginings of it, edgar. 😉

                2). How is it a phobia, edgar? I’ve explained it, so it’s not inexplicable; i’ve outlined the rationale behind the thought, both biologically and religiously, so it’s not illogical. and there’s no fear involved, ie. I’m simply explaining why it’s sinful and shameful in the eyes of the Church. So there’s no phobia here, but we have concluded that homosexual acts (act, not concepts) are aberrant, abnormal in the rest of the Kingdom Animalia , and specifically Class Mamalia, especially Apes. So my aberration stands, whilst yours is simply name calling, edgar.

                3). “Pope Francis is leading the way to further recantation.”

                On homosexuality? Where does he say that? If I’m not mistaken his stance is pretty much in line with my #3 above, ie. it’s still a sin (pretty clear on that), but despite the sin committed, the person can still be loved and forgiven. Read his communiqués on this, edgar, don’t put words into the Pope’s mouth please, to fit your own world view. 😉

              • Edgar Lores says:

                1. Your thesis that “simply being attracted to another of the same sex isn’t really a sin” is contrary to the Bible. Matthew 5:28 says: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Homosexuality, in the instance, is a case of a woman looking at another woman.

                2. The use of reason to support prejudice is still prejudice and prejudiced.

                “We” have NOT concluded; you have.

                I have said homophobia is prejudice and aberrant. It is also abhorrent and shameful.

                3. Before the Church viewed homosexuals with abhorrence; now she recognizes their innate dignity and humanity. Pope Francis clearly said, “Who am I to judge?” That is one small step towards recantation. Now he and the Church just have to take the full step.

              • 1. edgar, that’s why I quoted the 10 Commandments above, re coveting your neighbors ass (the act of coveting is already a sin), even before the Gospels came along.

                There’s sins that’s between you and God, ie. what’s in your heart and what’s in your mind; and there’s clear sins that affect people, like murder, etc. So both definitions of homosexuality 1 and 2 , are sins , but 1 you can’t really prove unless there’s some sort of outright exhibitionism involved, ie. dressing like one, flirting with one, talking like one, etc. etc. this exhibitionism proves 1 but not 2,

                though you are correct both definitions 1 and 2 are technically sins.

                2. We both concluded when we agreed there ‘s no clear evidence of homosexuality in nature, ie. penis to anus penetration , absent of that other behaviours are too subjective. Unless you have this documented, edgar?

                3. Here’s the clarification of that quote, edgar, i see no “recantation” there, maybe a softer, kinder approach, which is consistent with the Pope’s character :

              • Edgar Lores says:

                1. Thanks for conceding the point.

                2. No, I did not concede the point that there is no homosexuality in nature. Do you have documentation that there is no homosexuality in each non-human species listed in the link that I supplied? In the face of that overwhelming evidence, it would be pointless to rebut your claim. Here it is again:

                And here’s another:

                3. “And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love.”

                This clearly is against the treatment of homosexuals in the Bible who will not “inherit the kingdom of God:”

                “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Rom. 1:26–27).

                “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9–10).

                “Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, immoral persons, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:8–10).

                “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7).


                Let us be clear, I did not call names. It is interesting when I mentioned homophobia, you only supplied the definition of “phobia.” Here is the definition of homophobia: “dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people.”

                I will also note that you have confined discussion of homosexuality to the male of the species… in the same manner that you have confined artificial birth control to condoms. Why is that?


                No, please do not answer. Clearly, we are going around in circles. So I will stop here in accordance with the admonition in the blog’s title of a “kindly debate.” You may have the last say.

              • edgar,

                1). Yup, in your mind or down your pants, it’s a sin.

                2). You said homosexuality was natural; and I said it wasn’t citing studies; and you posted that wiki link of purported animal homosexual behaviours; which I looked thru (nothing definitive, high interpretive, they were) ,

                In that list are stuff like antelopes drinking each others urine, female birds both helping each other sit on eggs, and various examples of genital rubbing, etc. etc. so early on above i already gave you the best examples in the animal kingdom, that of female bono chimps (genital rubbing, very recognizable to humans) and mounting behaviour, but

                i also explained that all that stuff above was too open to interpretation, ie. is genital rubbing really sexual behaviour (why i gave the example of a human child rubbing his/her genitals, in short it is not). so there has to be a standard here, the best IMHO is actual penis to anus penetration—- this doesn’t happen in the wild , though i guess it can happen accidentally , i’d imagine, but very difficult mechanically speaking which means more than normal force would be used,

                if you look through your wiki list, nothing like that is documented , edgar (again lack of natural lubrication is one big issue). You presented that list, I’ve already gone thru it (i found nothing), so pick the most homosexual acts in your opinion and we’ll dissect it whether or not it is homosexual or just 2 birds helping each other out, or urine smelling (which dogs do) or just rubbing a part of your body cuz it feels good.

                You claimed it was natural, so prove it, simply dropping a link (which it seems you yourself haven’t read) means you’ve already conceded the point, ie. you’ve not defended it, it’s your evidence, prove it, edgar.

                3). “treatment”? What’s this treatment business you’re talking about , edgar? Homosexuality is the easiest to hide behaviour. It’s not like racism or discrimination, or prejudice-type judgments,

                because if you don’t announce it, you’re actually fine. It’s when homosexuality is combined with exhibitionism that becomes an overt issue. This prejudice you speak about only comes to light because someone is exhibiting their aberrant, unnatural behaviour to another who either doesn’t agree or thinks its a sin (based on their religious books).

                If you don’t say anything about what you do behind close doors, there will be no reaction. So all this prejudice you’re describing is self-generated, edgar, like i said it is the easiest to hide behaviour. Don’t even equate it to actual prejudice, where the victims are unable to hide their appearance.


                Let us be clear, I did not call names. It is interesting when I mentioned homophobia, you only supplied the definition of “phobia.” Here is the definition of homophobia: “dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people.”

                I will also note that you have confined discussion of homosexuality to the male of the species… in the same manner that you have confined artificial birth control to condoms. Why is that?


                That’s kind of a given , edgar,

                we were already talking about homosexuality, so no need really to define the homo- in -phobia, it’d be redundant, but since this is the go-to name calling for those who don’t necessarily agree with homosexual acts, I thought I’d explain -phobia in detail, and I showed how it wasn’t appropriate, ie. inexplicable (explained it); illogical (laid out the case perfectly) ; fear (no fear, just disagreement of homosexual acts). So labeling my disagreement as -phobia is wrong, edgar— it’s not dislike nor prejudice, it’s an objective opinion of the acts involved (would you label your dislike or prejudice for murderers a -phobia, edgar?)

                Did I not mention birth control pills, edgar? What are other contraceptives for female, the female condoms, c’mon, edgar—- they are essentially just larger condoms. As for confining it to the male of the species I explained why, because females rubbing each others genitals is more similar to them grooming or scratching each others backs, not necessarily homosexual, just feels good, so its too open to interpretation, hence i’ve confined it to penis to anus penetration, if you find that Holy Grail, edgar, then I’ll accept your homosexuality is natural premise (and include everything in that wiki list you provided), but until then, it just isn’t natural, edgar.

    • josephivo says:

      1- People want answers, we have an extreme bias for “understanding”, we are terrified for the unknown and thus unpredictable. Also the Bible and Genesis try to formulate answers on difficult questions, “Where do we come from?”, “Why do we suffer”, “What is knowledge?”…

      2- A story is just that a story. It can explain some aspects but not all. “Omnis comparatio claudicate” or every comparison limps, do not look for more than the obvious in a comparison. Stories are limited, they cannot give all the answers, describe all the details, “had Adam a bellybutton?”, “what rib did he use?”…
      (Just for the interested ones, most probably the Bible refers with rib to the bone most male animals have in their penis, as humans do not have it needed explanation)

      3- The Bible is a collection/adaption of many older stories/explanations, God’s message using known/understandable stories. It has a development history of centuries/millennia? E.g. in Genisis Adam is created twice, two different creation stories where used. (explain the myth that Eva was his second wife)

      4- The paradise story is an explanation for questions as “Where do we come from?” and “Why do “civilized” people have to work so hard and follow so many conventions (as clothing) and “primitive” people could live a carefree live. Happy people are people knowing less. Hard working early farmers still had contact with more easy going hunter gatheres. (see the smiles of children with Down syndrome too)

      5- In todays world we can wonder what is better, having more goods by working more hours and having more debts as the Americans do or having less and working less hours, having more vacation and less debts as Europeans do. And why is this American lifestyle winning internationally? Because it is more remote from paradise?

      • josephivo says:

        see for more information: van Schaik, C. P. and Michel, K. (2016) The Good Book of Human Nature: An Evolutionary Reading of the Bible

      • No, because it is rewarding to produce.

        • josephivo says:

          The question is not if it is rewarding to produce, the question is what to produce and how much of your available time spending on it.

          It is s rewarding too to read a good book, it is rewarding to cook a good meal for family and friends, it is rewarding to watch the sun set….

          What is the value of a third TV, a larger car, the newest I-phone, tools you never use…?

          (At the time of Genisis agriculture was still very inefficient, 10 hrs a day required just to produce enough to feed a family. Hunter-gatherers could do that in 6 hrs, but they needed large areas of “paradise”. In our current system it is not the lack of land that challenges the system but the need of growth. So the Bible story still stands, all our new knowledge creates more suffering and inequality – not between genders, but between castes. And Paradise remains a dream.)

          • But you asked the question, positing that it might be because it is farther from paradise, or more sinful. In my opinion, it is not a negative motive that makes Americans what they are, but rather that they have a sense of purpose as to where they are headed. The modern world has tossed some spanners into that motor, and, thus, we have Trump. If they like working hard, and playing hard, and are happy doing that . . . others are either jealous or want to emulate it. If consumption is not your cup of tea, so what?

            • I also take issue with the idea that there is ‘more suffering and inequality’. There has always been inequality, but civilization has moved a long way from the caves and almost every Filipino has a cell phone and a quick smile. Now the future may indeed be grim, with mass starvations, the planet becoming an oven, and nukes raking the globe, but that is a failure of knowledge, not the lack of it. And paradise would be found in not letting that happen, not in green gardens filled with well-fed angels. Paradise is the path we walk, as much as the destination.

              • The world would not be able to feed people at the subsistence level of before.

                Best example: Philippines which had about 650 thousand people at the time of Lapu-Lapu.

                Life was certainly simple if you were naturally healthy, you didn’t get kidnapped or beheaded by warriors of another barangay, or killed in an earthquake or typhoon – even if the huts of then were easily rebuilt, survival was more of timing and luck then for sure.

                What helped in a good life was to be part of a strong barangay – sometimes I think Filipino’s fear of being left out, of ostracism is from those simple times of yore.

                What changes would a time traveller from then see? More people, mayors above datus, a God-King called President in Manila, tricycles and jeepneys, and Manny Pacquiao. Also, most either wear rosaries or hijabs, like blue jeans and rubber shoes, and sing karaoke.

          • Joe, josephivo, et al.

            This all reminds me of a new Canada Dry (ginger ale) ad playing here,

            It’s got this schizophrenic feel at first, with people working, working out, playing sports, moving stuff, etc. WORK HARD, PLAY HARD; WORK HARD; PLAY HARD —- it’s not explicit that they’re making fun of Americans though, then in the end, everything calms down, music stops, serenity, a scene of a guy relaxing on a chair in his living room enjoying a book while picking up a can of Canada Dry, then it says RELAX HARDER.

            Hahahahahaaaa (it’s funny cuz it’s true, Canadians do know how to relax, a little too much for my taste though, LOL! but I do agree with josephivo re materialism, but hard work is just hard work, as German’s say “Arbeit macht frei”)… here’s the ad if you can watch it,

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