Sex and Religion

Finding Religion and Spirituality in Population, Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health Advocacy in the Philippines.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A tale of two religions

Here's an interesting article on two religions. It does not really talk about differing views on sex and sexuality but rather a story of how one person breezed through a life of diverse religious practices and eventually coming out with a firm and solid grasp of truth and reality.

An article RGS trainees would appreciate. Read on...
A tale of two religions

By Pam Pastor
Last updated 10:13am (Mla time) 10/04/2007

MANILA, Philippines—I was 10 years old when R.E.M. released the song “Losing My Religion.”

And because this was before I discovered the magic of reading between the lines and the horrors of people not saying what they actually mean, I found the song amusing. Here was this guy whining about losing his religion while I had one too many. I remember thinking about giving him one of mine to make both our lives easier.

Yes, I grew up with two religions. My dad’s side of the family is Catholic while my maternal grandparents head a Born Again Christian church.

Confusing religious path

Here is the very brief summary of my confusing religious path—Catholic baptism as a baby, Born Again baptism officiated by my grandfather when I was around 8 years old, then my Catholic confirmation in sixth grade.

Growing up, some Sundays meant going to Mass, lining up for communion and afterwards visiting the toy store across the church. Some Sundays meant singing in the church band and listening to my grandfather talk about God and the wondrous things He’s done.

On Sundays, my Religion class required me to reflect on the priest’s homily but there were times when I had to rely on the newspaper to tell me what the Gospel was; during those weeks I went to the other church.

For eleven years—from prep to high school— I also went to an all-girls Catholic school. After that I attended a Catholic university.

The Bible I used in school was different from the post-it covered pink Bible I used at home and in my grandparents’ church. The things I was taught in school religion-wise were different from what I would hear from my grandparents. These became the things I had to learn and unlearn at the snap of a finger.

A double life

In many ways, it was a double life.

The elements of my Catholic life included the sign of the cross, the rosary, the Stations of the Cross, the saints, praying to Mother Mary.

My Born Again life involved speaking in tongues, getting slain, attending Bible study nights and long praise and worship sessions.

One set of cousins had to recite memorized passages from the Bible while the other set had to stop playing at around 8 in the evening every night to pray the rosary with their mom. Some days I was one of the kids quoting the Bible; other days I would sit on my aunt’s bed, my thumb and forefinger moving from one rosary bead to the next.

When I was in high school, I missed World Youth Day and the Pope’s visit because I was attending a faith convention in Singapore with my grandparents, my mom and my brother. When I went back to class, my classmates had a lot of stories to tell about the Pope mobile, about the people they met and how they stood in the heat for hours. But I had a story of my own. At the faith convention, a speaker from the US asked me to stand up in front of the packed auditorium because he had a prophecy about me. I stood there, a mere girl in a pink suit and watched as he declared my future as a woman of God.

Fervent beliefs

In reality, I should have grown up really confused. But my family’s two different sets of beliefs only helped strengthen my faith in the existence and power of God. My family taught me to believe. Not just that, their fervent belief in their own religions taught me the importance of being open-minded and respecting the principles other people live by.

And while they might not realize it, their beliefs are alike. The truth is, Born Again or Catholic, the people I love believe in the same things. The ideas are the same—love and respect God, love and respect the people around you, live a good life, forgive, do not hurt the people around you.

And while it might have been simpler to grow up with just one religion, with just one kind of Sunday, without having to switch from mode A to B in a split second, my double life taught me a lot about faith and respect.

I wouldn’t trade those lessons for anything in the world.


Blogger Taoismo said...

Magandang artikulo.ako naman mula nang maging bukas sa aking sekswalidad ay naging bukas na rin sa ibang paniniwala kaya't ako'y naging ekyumeniko. ito na nga ang naing pamatayan ko sa aking sarili:

Manatili sa relihiyon;
ito'y mainam.
Hwa'g lamang papatali dito;
hwa'g papasakal.

5:03 PM  

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