July 04 - July 17, 2005

Fr. Roy Cimagala

We need to study theology

THERE’S now a screaming need for all of us to study theology. This human concern has been so neglected for ages that we seem to be reaping its logical consequence of error, ignorance and confusion, so obvious these days.

We may meet a lot of people who are real giants in the fields of modern technologies and other sciences, but talk about faith or religion, and they become like babies or pygmies with clearly stunted growth.

The more horrible phenomenon is that hardly any significant voice is heard to protest about this anomaly. It seems many people are forgetting to develop their soul as they splurge on the pursuit of their material well being.

There’s even that fear a good number are not talking anymore in terms of soul, spirit, supernatural goal, religion, God’s will or commandments. They have lost their sense of the sacred, their taste for the spiritual and supernatural.

In their stead, there is an infatuation with the material and the sensibly pleasurable. They get hooked to earthly delights. Everything is reduced to the sensible, or at most, to what is intelligible or reasonable.

Most often, what matters seems only to be what is practical, convenient and popular. And thus human life gets trapped in the illusion that it is rich and well-endowed when in fact it is impoverished.

We see this sick phenomenon very clearly in the media. We have a good number of writers and opinion-makers whose idea of creativity and freedom is the debunking of anything related to religion.

They many times think that faith and religion are childish and irrelevant. They are quick to claim these intangible cultural values—yes, that’s how they consider faith now—hardly can grapple with the real issues of the world today.

Oozing with malice, they many times ridicule those who still practice their faith and are serious in their religion, not realizing that it is far funnier to depend on their brilliant ideas than to have faith in divine wisdom.

We also see the spiritual and moral corruption of many Filipinos, otherwise pious when still in their pristine Philippine environment, who become cynical and even agnostic if not atheistic when they go to places like the US.

This, I confess, is one of the most painful experiences I get—when I see otherwise good people get contaminated when they go look for greener pastures in places that are materially rich but spiritually poor or confused.

Worse is when they start rationalizing their so-called conversion or enlightenment or liberation from the clutches of religion. We here speak more of destruction rather than a mere loss of faith.

We need another generation to replace this present one, terribly ailing insofar as the faith is concerned. We need another generation where faith and religion are really mature and genuine, able to tackle all the demands of life.

That’s why this study of theology should be more seriously undertaken. We cannot afford anymore to be complacent about it. We need our faith to grow and mature. Enough with treating it simply as some kind of decoration, or a matter of memorizing basic Catechism points.

We have to realize that whether we like it or not, are aware of it or not, we are a religious being, a creature of faith, if not in God then in something, usually in oneself.

More than reasoning, we actually need to believe, simply because our reasoning can only go so far, no matter how bright we are, but our believing opens us to the infinite world and ultimately to God, its creator.

With believing or with faith, we allow ourselves to be taken up to a world we still do not know. We in fact can believe that this world will always remain a mystery to us, at least a greater part of it.

So we need to study theology more seriously. Theology is simply our human attempt to understand the mysteries of our faith. It is always a dynamic science, where settled and verified truths still lead us to the unknown world of the over-all reality that governs us.

It’s a science that will involve our whole life, our whole being. Thus, philosophers of old rightly considered it as the queen of all human sciences, the science of sciences, since it touches the very core of our being.

That’s why though I feel pained at what I consider to be the lamentable state of things where faith and religion are neglected, I get amused to see vain rationalizations of those faithless guys who think they know better than God.

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Copyright 2005 Ilocos Times. All rights reserved.

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