Saturday, April 05, 2008

ON AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANITY: Bible Warns on Hypocrisy, Concerning Prayer and Charity


"Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others.." - (Matthew 6:1-2, New Revised Standard Version/NRSV)

"And whever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. but whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (Matthew 6:5, NRSV)

"Beware of the yeast of Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops." (Luke 12, NRSV)

"When you are praying, do not heap up empty praises as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him..." (Matthew 6:7, NRSV)

"Many Filipinos are what I call Sunday-religious, that is they go to church every Sunday, take in confession and communion, but the rest of the week they bribe and do corrupt deeds..." - Dr. Pura Santillan-Castrence (As I See It: Filipinos in the Philippines & Abroad, 2006, Australia)

Below brief which I wrote in 1981, now updated and posted as part of a larger essay on our Filipino culture/society: Filipino beliefs, customs, attitudes, behaviors, etc. in my blog, click or copy/paste:

We as Filipino Christians are not Christian enough. We brag about our being the only Christian country in the Asia. We brag about our crowded churches on Sundays. We brag about the length of our religious processions. We brag about the colorfulness of our barrio fiestas. We brag about the numerical strength of our Catholic majority. But until when are we going to remain Christians in name and number only? We Filipino Christians have not attained religious maturity. We are supertitious, we participate in such nonsense as the "spirit of the glass," chain letters, Good Friday penitencias, amulets, magic incantations/prayers, nauseam.

We as Filipino Christians practice "split-level" christianity. We have not integrated or internalized christian or humanist values in our whole being. We have not gone beyond "externalities," as happens in the Black Nazarene fame at Quiapo or the wiping of San Roque's dog. We go to church on Sundays due to compulsion, not out of conviction. We drift lazily to church, dangle and loiter at the back, walk in and walk out for a chat or smoke. We come to church because it is Sunday and we love the Sunday crowd; or if we do not like the Sunday crowd, we still go lest we be looked at differently.

Our norm of moral behaviour is based on the external such as shame or "hiya," "don't get caught attitude," "everyone does it," "ako ay tao lamang," and other convenient rationalizations. Because of our failure to internalize Christian ideals (AND the failure of the Church to nurture) to become, at least partly, the basis of our actual behaviour, we as so-called Christian politicians, bureaucrats or plain Juan dela Cruz feel little, if any at all, guilt upon loss of integrity. We feel neither inconsistencies nor hypocrisy.

(see: and )

We as Filipino Christians are intellectually unexciting christians. We never went beyond our small cathechism book. We never heard or read about developments in the church such as the Papal Encyclicals, Vatican II, Liberation Theology; we are unaware of the history of christianity, of the writings of Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Teilhard de Chardin, Neihbuhr, Hans Kung and other brilliant minds who wrestled with the rational aspects of our christian faith. We know nothing about the studies made about "Filipino-style" Christianity by Filipino priests.

We are so ignorant, thus still childish and immature in our religious beliefs and sentiments, and out of touch with what constitute a truly Christian message. We therefore continue to practice an escapist religion --an opiate of the people, and an economic boon to vendors and other opportunists; and conceive of the church as limited to what happens inside the church building (these are 16th century concepts).


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