Carvajal: Reason unites

Orlando Carvajal

“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” — Thomas Paine

THAT is why it is useless to argue with anybody about religion. Some adherents of religion, Catholics more notoriously, abandon reason in defending and promoting their faith. Religious belief prods them to make unreasonable, unscientific demands and judgments of people.

When humans of whatever faith abandon reason the result is discord. If we survive on our reason and not so much on our faith there would be no wars, for instance. That’s because reason precedes faith in telling us we are all children of the earth or of Gaia or of God.

Faith, which is different for different peoples (some don’t even have one), separates us from one another. A wider separation happens when we start arguing, from premises of faith and not from the logic of reason, whose faith or religion is the right one or which Church is the true Church of Christ.

Reason, however, is one and the same for all humans, the same intellectual faculty that functions in the same logical way in all of us. Reason, therefore, unites us unless we renounce it and stop being rational (because of faith?)

Take the simple rational truth that all human beings are brothers and sisters. Black, white, yellow or brown, Jew or Gentile, pagan or Christian, we are all children of the God we worship but call by different names. Doesn’t that make war, oppression irrational?

Reason tells us millions of Filipinos of varying faiths are poor and ignorant, live ill-disciplined lives in filthy, unhygienic conditions (don’t ask for stats, just look around) while their leaders, also of varying faiths, live luxurious lives with stolen money in a systematic neglect of the welfare of people they are supposed to serve.

Yet what are the different faiths or religions in the Philippines doing to house and educate the poor and alleviate their poverty? And what are they doing to stop our politicians from neglecting people’s welfare, from living at people’s expense, from greedily pursuing more money, privilege, and power?

Nada. Zilch. Nothing remarkable. They simply try to get us to an otherworldly heaven in a convenient avoidance of their duty of liberating us from the hell of our earthly lives. Renouncing reason, they tell us with great faith to suffer our hell on earth for the reward of an eternity of heaven.

Religions should unite to promote justice, peace and prosperity instead of arguing which is the true way to salvation. This is an utterly useless exercise. The religion or faith that makes you a better human being and a better neighbor to your fellow human being is the right religion for you. Remember...

Faith separates. Reason unites.