“But he is in his own hell child, and quite unreachable…he is in his own hell just as you are in yours…” – Pinhead, HELLRAISER 2
Much has been said about Manny Pacquiao’s religious outlook the past week. LGBT groups are fuming and practically demanding his head over statements he said about homosexuality and the rest of the animal kingdom. Given his ‘Christian’ inclination, the statement was hardly surprising.
The thing about the fundamentalist view of the Christian religion and the way it presents the gory consequences of breaking the rules is that it presents a rather simplistic version of eternal agony and damnation. Do something bad, spend the rest of eternity backflipping in some magma-filled cavern with the rest of the damned under the supervision of horned sentries that look a lot like that lead character off Fantasia’s ‘Night On Bald Mountain’. On that same note, the promise of paradise is equally simplistic: A place resembling a Botticelli painting in the clouds, complete with cherubims and harps.
Always physical places with physical forms of torture and pain or that of pleasure and peace. The kind of simplistic explanations that’s reserved for a time when advancement in human progress was still in its infancy stage. Back when the only exaplanation to things in the absence of science and technology were the “mysterious” ways on how the creator moved about and did his business. You’d think, in this day and age, most people of faith would have at least moved with the rest of the world in terms of interpreting and upgrading their perception on the concept of death and the afterlife (assuming a person believes in an afterlife in the first place).
In a more modern perspective, progressive members of the clergy have adopted psychology in the concept of eternal peace and damnation. Whereas the former archaic perspective reinforced a jail-like scenario with a warden overlooking the entire proceedings and being the sole decision-maker on whether a person deserves suffering or not, the latter view removed any third-party meddling and puts the responsibility solely on the person being responsible for his own fate.
Suddenly the Bible and the ten commandments are no longer viewed as rule books meant to deter potential hooligans into doing something dastardly for fear of being punished, but as guidelines on how to live a peaceful existence. Which is, as an agnostic, I find more agreeable and sensible compared to the kind of sucking up to a deity most “Christians” and some other forms of religion that’s focused on a central figure suffering from very human attributes like narcissism and megalomania.
Religion, as much as militant atheists would like to say otherwise, aims to ennoble man. Just like politics, its purpose is inherently good. It’s only when certain characters use these concepts to less than altruistic motives that the debate goes into high gear. Even Jesus Christ, speaking more like a Buddhist in a sense that tries to remove any kind of worship to himself said that loving your fellow man is the only way to love/worship me and, subsequently, achieve “life everlasting”. So it’s a head-scratching phenomenon seeing people declare their ‘love for Christ’ while excluding—even being hostile to—others who do not belong to their immediate clique. And how can someone ‘love’ someone he did not even personally interact with? Grateful for the sacrifice, maybe. But loving is a bit of a stretch.
Whereas the original message was to embrace ALL people unconditionally as a way to honor him, it was perverted into a suck-up game where the biggest ass-kissers go about life in a smug way excluding others as a way of worship.
The day the “pious” members of society stop acting like yes men to some big boss in the sky and start taking responsibilities for their own personal peace according to the very simple teachings of their messiah is the day we improve as people.