Beyond Good and Evil

What is done out of love is beyond good and evil. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Everyone in my network knows that I’m getting married in a couple of months, but only a few know our story. We are just a normal couple, struggling to get through every *stressful* day. What’s different about us is that we never let religion (or the lack thereof) dictate our morals — that’s probably the last thing we would like.

He was never the traditional sweep-me-off-my-feet kind of guy, but he would always make sure that I am taken care of. He didn’t have the normal hot guy physique, but his intelligence and thirst for knowledge always impresses me. He’s not the traditional man who always wants his way done, no matter what happens. He gave me a voice in the relationship. He let me assert myself despite of him being the man and me being the woman (and for a lot of people, in this day and age, that is still taboo).

His love for me is limitless. I cannot emphasize this enough — in spite of all the objections from his family, my family, and several other issues that we cannot discuss online — our love for each other gets stronger. I believe this is because we are both aware that morality in itself cannot categorize love.

Honestly, a lot of people surrounding us think that we made the worst decision when we decided to get married. Here are some of the more popular reasons:

1. We weren’t together long enough to actually get to know each other.

2. I am too *domineering* for a woman

3. He is too *soft* for a man

Not that we owe anyone any explanation, but I feel like gender roles and other extraditions shouldn’t be a problem for people who want to have a harmonious relationship. Love is too grand, too complex, for us to have it classified. Not by religion, not by gender, definitely not by roles.

And definitely not by someone else’s twisted view of morality.

Saint Paul and gender inferiority

A lot of Christians dignify Saint Paul the Apostle as the first charismatic preacher after Jesus’ resurrection. He did, after all, speak in front of Jewish and Roman people about God. There is one thing, though, that Bible readers of today fail to recognize — Paul is a misogynist.

Paul spoke about women being inferior to men. In his letter to the Corinthians, he emphasized the position of God and Christ in a marriage. He/they rule men, and men rule women (I Cor. 11:3). Shortly after that, he wrote that man was “neither created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (I Cor. 11:8-9). While we’re at it, Paul wants to keep women silent especially in churches, but they do have the chance to talk to their husbands about religion at home (I Cor. 14:34-35).

His outlook on women was also reflected on his letters to Timothy:

“Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11-14)

There are Bible scholars, on the other hand, who argue that Paul pushes for egalitarianism–the concept that men and women are equal. In Galatians 3:28, he declared that race or gender do not matter in God’s eyes. Meanwhile, according to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, while there is equality on both genders, man is still superior because of his responsibility to protect, provide and lead his family. This should leave the woman no other choice but to submit to her husband’s authority.

This view on marriage, relationship and women still hasn’t changed. We still live in a society where men are expected to be the breadwinner and women are obliged to bear children. While my peers are already shifting towards a rather different view, I am still skeptical about women’s roles in the household. On a personal note, I am very thankful that my fiancee does not subscribe to this custom.

RANT+RAVE: Why I don’t like superstitions

Last Tuesday night, local news program Bandila (Filipino word for “Flag”) reported a “mysterious flesh-eating disease” that has spread in a large area in the province of Pangasinan, Philippines. Apparently it was some sort of a prophecy from Vincent Selvakumar of the Voice of Jesus Ministries, South India. Not long after that, #PrayforPangasinan started trending on Twitter. The result of inaccurate reporting and lack of fact-checking has caused unnecessary hysteria and panic in the Philippines and all over the world.

The country’s Department of Health then issued a statement saying the report is a hoax, citing that the “mysterious flesh-eating disease” may be two things: psoriasis and leprosy. The agency also called foul on the report and reiterated the journalists’ moral and ethical responsibility in delivering news to the public.

I’m pissed. Of course I’m angry. The network has indeed been lousy in doing what should have been done, and in turn, people who only rely on TV information are left with premature data that does not even make sense. Since the network has channels that reach other countries via The Filipino Channel, I worry about overseas workers whose families live in Pangasinan–they might get scared/hysterical over something that science may have a solution for, or that this may cause more worry and bigger health problems to them, too.

This, my friends, is why I do not subscribe to superstition of any kind. The credulous conviction on prophecies and other supernatural beings hinder us from finding out what’s really out there. Since superstition provides explanation, erroneous as they may sound, to things we cannot easily rationalize or understand, we stick to what we think is right. Superstitions hold us back from educating ourselves, impedes our progress on science and critical thinking, and it adds pointless burden like the worry that the prophecy we discussed has caused.

I suddenly remembered the conversation I had with this theist from several years ago. We were on our way to an event when she saw a black cat pass us by. She thought about it for a second, but later on, she backed out from the event and told me to do the same. She told me that black cats are a sign of bad luck, and she would rather not risk it. A few days later, I talked to her about what happened, and she said, “Wala namang mawawala kung maniniwala ka sa pamahiin (There’s nothing to lose if you believe in superstitions).”

This is the kind of mentality that needs changing, in my opinion.

Here we go again

Here comes another round of pretentious gift-giving, mandatory smiles and what-have-yous. I personally don’t enjoy the holidays because of people who force me to set my atheism aside.

It’s been just weeks after the supertyphoon Haiyan destroyed homes, lives and livelihoods. My boyfriend and I made a joint effort to make sure we and our family and friends are able to send medicines and other basic necessities (round two of those will come up soon, we’re still waiting for a friend to confirm his flight details and other necessary details). I’m quite happy that our company decided to cancel its extravagant Yearend Party and just donate the rest of its budget to the typhoon victims. I’m not done helping.

This is why it pisses me off that a lot of so-called “helping” Christians could go back to their normal lives — and by normal lives, I meant forcing people like me to attend their parties — and as soon as I refuse, they’ll refute with “Don’t look at it as a Christmas party. Look at it as a year-end thing.” Sure. And then I’ll have to buy the compulsary present for the annual exchange gift, then I’ll have to blurt out the non-atheist holiday greeting, and you’ll think of it as hypocritical–yes, you’re right, it is hypocritical, and you are forcing me to do it.

This is a yearly torture I have to go through because they will use it against me (not participating in team- and office- activities if I refused to join). But once I speak out about my atheism, they would find it “offensive to their faith” as if people before me have murdered thousands because of power and territorial domination.

I hate Christmas. Most of all, I hate hypocritical Christians.

Bad influence

It’s not new for an outspoken atheist like me to be accused of being a bad influence. I’ve heard people call me “angry,” “foul-mouthed,” and apparently, the “devil incarnate” — the first two being close to the truth, and the third one being bullshit since I really don’t believe in its existence. It’s a bit hard, however, when I hear things like that from those who I expected to be kinder individuals.

I was talking to my pal (let’s call him Dick) about this the other day. Since most of the people we interact with are almost ignorant about atheism and philosophy, the initial reaction whenever we tell them that we are atheists, are that

(1) I influenced him to be an atheist (since I am, in the academic sense, more educated about philosophy), and

(2) I am a bad influence because I teach him to “turn away from god”

I usually take these reactions lightly since they really have no basis and logic, but it finally came to a point when these people start reaching out to our other friends to tell them how much of a “bad person” I was and that others should stay away from me. It was a good thing that Dick knew better, but they were able to poison my brother into thinking that I will never be considered good because I have no god.

I had to explain to my brother that there are believers, like Hitler and Bin Laden, who killed so many people in the name of religion. I also had to reiterate that there are atheists who can’t be considered kind-hearted either, as they were murderers and dictators like Stalin. I made sure my brother understood that categorizing individuals based on their belief- or nonbelief- of a deity is not at all a substantial and significant method of determining the goodness as a person. I also told him that he should have known better, since he has known me all his life. I’m not necessarily saying that I am the more benevolent person compared to those who think otherwise, but I told him he should have been the better judge of my character, with or without god.

“You’re right,” he said. “You’re not the bad influence in that regard–they are.” (originally said in Filipino, translated in English)

The Pursuit

What is done out of love always occurs beyond good and evil. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Image

(image courtesy of FilipinoFreeThinkers.org)

I am currently in a relationship with one of the most intelligent and caring people I know. He is wonderful, beyond words. The best thing about him is that he always looks past those gender and society-dictated issues that are petty and, quite frankly, idiotic.

The screenshot incorporated in this blog entry is a Facebook post of a Filipino pastor, who believes that women are to be “pursued” by men. I would like to enumerate the reasons why I am offended by this post.

  1. Based on personal experience: I would not be ashamed to admit that I was the one who made the first move in the relationship with my boyfriend. Yes, people. I was the one who asked him out, I was the one who first admitted that I like him, and I am the one who initiates the PDA. I do not see anything wrong with it because I am that comfortable with him–because I am sure he will not hurt me. Isn’t that what relationships are all about?
  2. “Pursue” is a verb that is defined as an act of following (someone or something) with the intention of catching and attacking. I was not pursued nor did I pursue my boyfriend–because neither one of us ought to be “caught” nor “attacked.” I am offended that this word would be used for and/or against me and my relationship.
  3. It does not make me less of a woman or a person that I made the first move. And I do not need an imaginary being to justify the reasoning that I am, like other women, a “prize” that men have to win over. Besides, why should I wait to be pursued if I know I already have something really good in front of me? Hence, the first move.

Grow some brains, pastor. And make more sense next time.

Why I Broadcast My Atheism

It’s no secret among my close friends that I’m repulsed by most people. I’m allergic to crowds, and I stay away from trends. I shy away from small talk and would much rather spend my free time alone. I’m not a big fan of having lunch with big groups and road trips with teams. As much as possible, I would like to have a really small trust circle because I want to be limitless and filter-free all the time.

I dislike being judged. People pass their assumptions as if the trivial stuff matter—where I graduated, what my job is, who my friends are, and how I talk. Yes, I’m quite different compared to other women—I cannot stand reality shows that focus on superficial families who destroy the lives of people who want to get close to them. I never really understood the fondness of idolizing a female “country artist” (or so she claims) who thinks being all goody-goody could get her everywhere, including getting away with writing songs about her sexcapades/flings while acting innocent as fuck. Up to now, I hate shopping. I would rather chill at home and watch a basketball game than catch the biggest sale in town. I am different. I’ve accepted that. This was why I have repeatedly broadcasted how I embraced atheism.

It was almost like I want people to stay away from me. That’s the beauty of being odd—only the ones who really want to understand, will understand. I didn’t and will never feel the need to explain myself to people I don’t like, and to those who don’t like me. I never have to join some sort of congregation to feel welcome. This may sound really angst-y, but I do not think it is necessary to belong in a religion to feel saved—because I don’t need saving. We all don’t need saving. We’re fine.

So. I am an atheist. Every single day I will be proud to be one. I wouldn’t have to pretend that I’m nice, that I pray for people and crap like that. Atheism gave me the freedom to become a good person without posing for attention and praise. I won’t need to scare people about going to hell. I won’t have to limit the information I want to know or discourse, just because a deity would someday punish me.

With these principles, I am happy to take on the judgments and opinions of people who don’t understand what I hold to be true. While it is understood that this lifestyle would definitely drive some folks away, I’m happy that those who really love and understand me, talk to me (and even challenge my convictions) about it.