(Image from Rappler)

I’ve been contemplating whether to respond to Juno Reyes, a fourth-year communication student at Ateneo de Manila University and a LifeStyle and Entertainment intern at Rappler, about her article, [New School]. Studying in a Catholic school made me resent religion

I believe a part of me just wants to disregard it, given that I am a devoted follower of Stoic philosophy. However, a part of me questioned the article’s relevance to the younger generation and how much deception it infers about religion and God.

First and foremost, Juno’s piece fails to distinguish between what she believes about God and what she believes about religion. As a result, the entire thing is an attack on God and religion, with no mention of the vast differences between the two.

Second, Juno explains how the church is robbing women of their rights by opposing divorce and abortion because “because they apparently contradict the sanctity of marriage and encourage murder.” She added: The scriptures insisted that the LGBTQ+ community was a disgrace to society.

The third is the concept of doing good as an obligation, which indicates that not doing so makes one an indecent person.

“Do good, get rewarded; do the opposite, suffer consequences; repeat.” she says.

Juno added, “All I ask is that Catholic schools prioritize aiding their students in establishing an authentic and fond relationship with God in transformative and liberating ways.”

What caught my attention to her post and motivated me to write about it is that I identify with a lot of what she wrote, and I believe that I understand where she’s coming from.

The significant distinction is that I discovered my God and my religion.

Concerning the difference between God and religion.

Religion, according to Merriam-Webster,

a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
2a(1)the service and worship of God or the supernatural
(2)commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2bthe state of a religious a nun in her 20th year of religion
3a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
4archaic scrupulous conformity CONSCIENTIOUSNESS

According to Merriam-Webster God is,
1. God the supreme or ultimate reality: such as

athe Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped (as in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism) as creator and ruler of the universe
Throughout the patristic and medieval periods, Christian theologians taught that God created the universe …— Jame Schaefer
the Supreme Being or God, the personal form of the Ultimate Reality, is conceived by Hindus as having various aspects.— Sunita Pant Bansal
b: Christian Science the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit infinite Mind
2. or less commonly God a being or object that is worshipped as having more than natural attributes and powers
specifically one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality
Greek gods of love and war
3a person or thing of supreme value had photos of baseball’s gods pinned to his bedroom wall
4a powerful ruler Hollywood gods that control our movies’ fates

In retrospect, it is possible to pursue religion without ever believing in God based on the above definitions.

Juno’s essay, on the other hand, focuses on the God of Christians as worshipped and revered in Roman Catholicism and its traditions.

I can connect with the difficulties she expressed, but my curiosity has led me to a lifetime of questions about why Roman Catholics believe what they believe and whether it is even rational to think such things.

My curiosity also prompted me to inquire about God and the logic of believing in one, as well as which God made the most sense of all the world’s religions.

My path took me through hundreds of hours of reading and investigation into the existence of God, and the Christian God discovered in the person of Jesus Christ was the most convincing of them.

I was able to grasp the concept of the Trinity (one God with three persons) and that the Bible is reliable and cannot be false.

All of this may take up a lot of space in this post, but to summarize, the Kalam Cosmological Argument and Jesus Christ’s Resurrection convinced me that God exists and Jesus is God.

Which takes me to Juno’s second point: the LGBTQ+ community, divorce, and abortion.

Roman Catholics believe that the Bible is God’s genuine word (however, the Roman Catholic church added the apocrypha to justify some of their beliefs and differentiate their doctrines from classical Christianity, but I digress).

Furthermore, the Roman Catholic church added more traditions and promulgated more traditions from their previous Popes over the years (which I also disagree with and is one of the reasons I left the Roman Catholic religion); and while there is biblical proof that the LGBTQ+ are not encouraged by God and the Bible, Christians are also commissioned to love people God considers to be living in sin.

So it all comes down to this dilemma.

Does it make sense to obey what God says if God exists, and if he made himself known via his son, Jesus Christ, and if it is true that Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead and will return to judge the living and the dead?

But, once again, people are granted free will. They have the option of not loving God or following his instructions. As a result, if one is a Christian, one must remind others to do God’s will. Unfortunately, people see this as an attack rather than a reminder.

And, while I agree that some Christians tend to alienate LGBTQ+ people rather than love them, this is not a cause to generalize all acts of love by other Christians negatively.

It also goes without saying that there are numerous examples of LGBTQ+ people changing their life as a result of following and giving their lives to Jesus Christ.

If God can create the cosmos, it makes perfect sense that he can change even the most hardened souls. However, this begins with the individual’s choice.

Concerning divorce, I am presenting an in-depth examination of the biblical view of divorce here.

I chose this video because, aside from William Lane Craig and John Lennox, pastor Mike Winger has been the most objective and easy to comprehend Bible scholar I’ve encountered.

Unless the Vatican announces differently, the parallelisms of their reasoning would remain biblically rooted.

Concerning abortion, there is simply too much to unpack that I don’t know where to begin, but here’s another video for you to view that shows clearly the pro-life stance of Christians.

As for Juno’s statement: “Do good, and you will be rewarded; do bad, and you will suffer the consequences; repeat.”

It’s either because she doesn’t want to do good or because she believes that doing good should not be forced on someone.

Juno’s statement makes perfect sense, but again, it only means that what she understands about doing good falls under a conditional form of doing good and not doing good for its own sake, i.e., altruism.

This practice by the Roman Catholic Church is because of its emphasis on good works instead of faith. This is one of the most important things that led to Protestantism and made Martin Luther write his famous 95 Theses.

It would be best if Juno stepped out of the Roman Catholic box and studied why Roman Catholics believe what they believe before passing any judgment on God and religion otherwise she’d be guilty of hasty generalization.

Finally, my take on Juno’s words: “All I ask is that Catholic schools prioritize aiding their students in establishing an authentic and fond relationship with God in transformative and liberating ways. “

I’m not sure if Juno’s advise should be taken at face value, because having a relationship with God does not require the Roman Catholic Church’s assistance, nor is it a prerequisite for knowing God.

Finally, I hope Juno discovers in her heart the true Christian God found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.