“The faith that stands on authority is not faith.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Instead of cursing God for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, most Ilonggos are praying the ongoing health crisis of epic proportion worldwide will soon disappear and spare humanity from more cases and deaths.
As of August 11, some 20,244,944 people have been infected all over the globe while 738,623 people have died.
As long as there is no vaccine against the virus, health officials predict more people to suffer from the pandemic until 2021.
Even during typhoons and other natural catastrophes, Ilonggos, known for their resilience and spirituality, commune with the Lord and hope for miracle to come to save them since time immemorial.
The Ilonggo faithful parade and converge in big churches when they have a gigantic petition to the Lord.
So far, God Almighty hasn’t abandoned them.
Some Filipinos don’t believe in miracle because of the strong influence of modern technology and the “atheist church,” which aims to offer some features of a religious congregation (fellowship, collective enjoyment, a stimulus to moral behavior) while eschewing any belief in a deity or the supernatural.
But most of the Ilonggos rely heavily on the holy ghosts from heaven when they feel they have nobody to turn to during extreme moments of sorrow and tribulation.
Like what is happening in the world today.
We have the most number of Spanish colonization-era churches that purportedly perform miracles and other supernatural events.
We pray the rosary and light candles in solemn ceremonies.
While we relentlessly express a strong faith in God and ask Him to “do the rest” after “we have done our best,” other national leaders like Teodoro Locsin Jr., the country’s foreign affairs secretary, don’t take the Divine Province seriously.
In Locsin’s recent Tweet, he blared: “Let’s blame God for it. He created the virus in the bat and made sure it was transmissible to humans. Why did He even make bats? Do you know bats smell awful because, hanging upside down, they pee on themselves? Who makes stuff like that? God hasn’t explained. God talaga.”
Was he serious? Probably not.
Locsin still probably believes wholeheartedly in the sovereignty of God. When he elevated this attribute over others, he ended up blaming God for what He does in people’s lives in the world.
Blaming God is both wrong and a sin.
Blaming God is a common response when life doesn’t go our way.
Since God is supposedly in control of everything, the thinking goes, He could have stopped what happened.
He could have changed the situation to benefit us; He could have averted the calamity.
Since He did not, He is to blame if we interpret Secretary Locsin’s words.
Resolving anger at God is not a lot different from smoothing the feelings of a ruffled spouse, observed a noted psychologist.
“I don’t have the solution for anger at God,” psychologist Julie Exline of Case Western Reserve University said. “But it’s clear that people get angry at God and at other people for the same types of reasons.”
They didn’t get what they wanted, and it’s the other guy’s fault. She describes that kind of anger as “like a little wave that comes and passes,” so we get on with our lives.
If the wave doesn’t pass, anger is best dealt with by reflecting on the situation, looking for some good in the relationship, and concluding that fault may lie on both sides.
That’s whether it’s with a spouse or with God, she insists. It may be a little harder, of course, for folks who believe God never errs.
Alex P. Vidal, who is based in New York City, used to be the editor for two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ