I have been reading a lot of books, articles, and blog posts about The Great Debate — the debate between the Atheists and the Christians. No subject has ever sparked my interest better than the subject of The Truth. In life, there are moments that are just so powerful that they remain in the banks of our memories. When I was in Grade 6 (I think I was 11 or 12 years old at the time), I remember asking some of my classmates questions about the origin of the world. “Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the universe didn’t exist? If the universe didn’t exist, then what? If God didn’t exist, will there still be a universe? Did humans really evolve from apes?” Some said they never have; some told me not to ask such silly questions.
I considered asking my Mom and Dad the same questions that night. They both smiled and told me with gentle Catholic conviction and piety that we are all God’s children. “But if we are all God’s children, then who is God’s parents? Does that mean that we are brothers and sisters? But you are my parents. Does that make Jesus Christ also our brother, and Grandpa and Grandma? It doesn’t make sense.” My parents chuckled. They told me they’d answer all my questions the next day and kissed me good night. I tossed and turned through the ungodly hours of the night. until I exhausted my mind to sleep. The next day, I decided to just be a normal teenage boy and just forget the whole thing.
When I was in second year high school, I was part of an elite group of students who belonged to our school’s debate team. That year, the school held a debate contest where the entire student body was asked to join where students from the same year competed against each other: freshmen against freshmen, sophomores against sophomores, juniors against juniors, seniors against seniors. Among the 24 who joined the contest from all year, four of us were chosen to participate in the UP Bannuar Regional Debate Championships. Three were from us the second year students, and only one from the seniors made it. For three consecutive years since my second year, our team and I joined the Oregon-Oxford-format debate competition sponsored by the University of the Philippines. Schools from the entire Region I, from Tarlac, La Union, Baguio, Pangasinan, and Pampanga, participated in the event. And for three consecutive years, we secured a place in the finals–and won.
I think my training and stint as a debater taught me how to think logically and critically. Later in college and all throughout my adult life until now, I would find myself asking the very same questions that I asked when I was in grade school. The university I went to for the first two years of college was the University of Asia and the Pacific, a college run by some of the laity and a group of Catholic Opus Dei priests whose curriculum included Theology. I remember when, during one of the classes, Father Santos, our professor, talked about the Trinity and the definition of faith. Until now, I still could not understand the concept of God the Father being both God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, too. I never dared ask my father’s priest brother, Father Geoffrey, too, for fear of being labeled a heretic, or worse a skeptic. But I suppose all Catholics will never really fully understand the concept of the Trinity. Perhaps, only the clergy, scholars, and philosophers could really grasp its unfathomable concept. But certainly, to all of us the Great Unwashed, it shall remain a mystery–esoteric and abstract in every sense.
Christianity, especially Catholicism, is founded on faith–blind faith–which leads my to point: “Faith,” according to Father Santos, “is believing in God even without having seen Him. Because if we see Him, then faith is no longer required.” It makes sense from a philosophical and religious vantage point.
From that day since, I never questioned my faith… until the day I came to terms with my sexuality.
To be continued…