Saturday, February 26, 2011

Reproductive Health Bill: the Bible’s Viewpoint vs. the Catholic Church’s

“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”—Romans 14:10-13. New Revised Standard Version Bible (Catholic)

Christianity is as old as time. Early records pointed out to middle 1st century as the time when Christianity started out as a Jewish sect. History has it that beginning in what we now call today as the modern Israel and Palestine, the said religion quickly spread to regions in Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and Egypt like a resilient virus would. Then suddenly, by the 4th century, Christianity dominated the Roman Empire and thus, Christians—as its adherents are called—began to flourish.

The Wikipedia defined Christianity as a “religion . . . as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings” or what we know to coin, the Bible.

The gospels are among the highlights of a religious mass served in a Catholic Church. Church leaders such as the Priests, Bishops, and the Pope preach the Bible as the ultimate instrument from which all other teachings and principles are rooted. It supposedly professes morality, and prescribes life as sacred deserving of respect.

Now having said all these, it is likely odd that the Roman Catholic Church itself continues to violate its very own teachings. The most recent of which is the Reproductive Health Bill of the Philippines, which seeks to institutionalize the access to information and methods of birth control and healthcare— maternal care to be specific—but which is continuously thwarted by the Church to the extent of threatening to excommunicate the country’s head of state, His Excellency Benigno Aquino III should it be enacted.

The debate on the morality of the use of contraceptives is as ancient as Christianity itself. Since its recognition as an institution, it consistently rescinds any artificial birth control methods to be disrespectful and “morally unacceptable.”

It teaches to its adherents that any action designed to stymie procreation is “intrinsically evil.” Thence, to the Catholic Church, the sexual intercourses between marriage mates should remain open to pregnancy; period.

As a Christian, I do wonder where such teaching is founded as I have been mentally trained since childhood that God, the omniscient Supreme Being is interested in the welfare of mankind. He [God] does not command that which He [God] already knows would be detrimental to mankind’s health and spirituality such as abusing or overusing one’s body of its functions.

As a woman, I consider conception as among my inherent functions and the forbiddance levied upon the use of contraceptives compelled me to do [I haven’t opened the Bible in ages] a Bible research, after all, it is where the Catholic Church should base its teachings.

Surprisingly however, while the life of a child [and the unborn embryo] is excogitated as precious to God, nowhere can one find the commandment from the Bible that Christians should procreate as well. Consider what the book of Genesis 1:28 chants:

“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”—New King James Version

Or Genesis 9:1, which chimes:

“So God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: ‘Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.’ ”—New American Bible (Catholic)

Except for the Bible verses mentioned above, there are no more extant Bible verses that would cement the claim of the Catholic Church that sexual intercourses should gear towards propagation, or conception for that matter. The same commandment was not repeated to Christians. Thus, it is only politically correct to conclude that the holy Scriptures do not condemn birth control.

With such revelation, it is consequential to inquire how the Catholic Church formulated such teaching. In an Awake! magazine published on September 2007, a featured article entitled: “The Bible’s Viewpoint: Is Contraception Morally Wrong?” states:

“Catholic sources explain that it was in the second century C.E. that professed Christians first adopted a Stoic rule according to which the sole lawful purpose for marital intercourse was procreation.”

Therefore, the Catholic Church’s stand on contraception is rather philosophical than Biblical. That such teaching is instituted on human wisdom, instead of divine. That such age-old man-made tenet survived many centuries, and elaborated several times by Catholic theologians until 13th century, when Gregory IX legislated “the first universal legislation by a pope against contraception,” as what the New Catholic Encyclopedia says.

As opposed to the Catholic Church’s teaching of declaring sexual intercourse to be an instrument of propagation, the Bible stipulates cultivation of sense of responsibility in each individual. Consider again a Bible text found in 1Timothy 5:8, saying:

“But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”—Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (Catholic)

Being responsible entails more than being provident materially, though it is the principal task. In a separate article ‘Family Planning—The Christian Viewpoint’ from another publication of Awake! magazine, it reads:

“Responsible Christian couples, in planning the size of their families, take into consideration the mother’s physical well-being as well as her emotional, mental, and spiritual welfare.”

Simply put, as children are presents from God, along with such presents emerge tremendous responsibility. Caring for the child soaks up a lot of time that when a baby is closely followed by another, a mother sacrifices not just her time, but also her personal development, rest, recreation, and involvement in Christian activities as mandated by the Church.

The article continues: “The State of the World’s Population 1991 says: ‘Children born into large, closely-spaced families have to compete with brothers and sisters for food, clothing, and parental affection. If these children survived their vulnerable childhood years, their growth is more likely to be stunted and their intellectual development impaired. . as their prospects in adult life are greatly diminished.”

I hate to infer that majority of Filipinos’ mediocre mental capacity might also be alluded to the nation’s ballooning population.

The Reproductive Health Bill stanchions among others, the employment of contraceptives such as condoms, birth control pills, IntraUterine Device, Vasectomy, Diaphragm, and Sponges, and legalizes the reproductive health education among the age-appropriate students.

The Catholic Church believes that birth control pills are abortifacient. How preposterous and prejudicial such teaching is when birth control pills work by interfering with a woman’s normal hormone levels in such a way that the egg prevents from maturing and being released, although there are indeed pills designed to cause abortion and not to prevent conception like the Mifepristone and Misoprostol!

A similar mechanics work for other contraception methods encompassed within the RH bill.

In the website, abortifacient is defined as “a drug [and or device] that kills a newly formed human being, whether by directly killing the baby or by preventing implantation.”

On the other hand, the same website defines conception as “when a sperm fertilizes an oocyte.” Meanwhile, the Pharmacists For Life International organization says conception “does not refer to the process of implantation of the newly created human embryo” that happens 7 to 8 days after conception.

Contraception is defined by Dictionary as "deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation by any of various drugs, techniques, or device; birth control,” while contraceptive refers to a drug or device that prevents conception, which begins in fertilization.

Thus, contraception prevents the fertilization of the egg and consequently, the woman's conception.

The keyword is prevention. Contraception is designed to prevent the conception of an embryo when fertilization occurs. Abortion happens if there is conception or after conception occurs.

At times, the Catholic Church fails to understand a simple statement as that. Despite being written in elementary English, the Bishops and the Pope after many years of burning their brows about theology are a disappointment to humanity. They erroneously lay claims to righteousness.

As the American Standard Version Bible puts it: “Who art thou that judgest the servant of another? to his own lord he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand.”-Romans 14:4

As an institution of faith, it does not belong to the Catholic Church's leaders who are themselves imperfect human beings the right to render judgment against their followers merely because the latter chooses to heed what the Bible really teaches.

Mankind does not exist to propagate only. If couples choose not to include pregnancy in constituting a family by employing any of the contraception methods, that is their decision to make, and no one reserves the right to judge them.


Update: Also from the magazine Awake!, a list of popular contraception methods that are readily available in the market and how each works is provided and which is also listed below:

Sterilization. This contraception is done in men and women involving surgical procedure. In men, a small incision is made in the scrotum and the tubes carrying the sperm are cut. In women, the fallopian tubes are tied or cut for prevention of egg from passing through the uterus, where it can be fertilized.

Advantages: It is the most effective of all birth-control methods.

Drawback: It is permanent.

Birth Control Pills. These pills including the progestin-only minipill work to interfere with a woman's normal hormone levels to prevent the eggs from maturing and being released.

Advantages. Highly effective.

Drawback. Some physical side-effects but have nothing to do with abortion.

IntraUterine Device. Now, this is a device made of metal or plastic which is inserted in the uterus. Doctors say it works by preventing the fertilized egg from clinging itself onto the wall of the womb.

Advantages: Reliable

Drawback: May result sometimes in bleeding or pain, and could be abortive.

Diaphragm and Spermicide. While this may be unheard of, the diaphragm is a dome-shaped rubber cup stretched over a flexible rim. It goes hand in hand with spermicide, a sperm-killing jelly or cream that is applied onto the cup before it is inserted into the vagina.

Advantages: Safe and reliable.

Drawback: Should be used each time the couple engages in sexual intercourse. It requires skill and diligence in inserting before the intercourse. It must be left within for the next 8 hours after the intercourse.

Condoms. A condom is a sheath made of rubber and fits over the penis to prevent semen from entering the vagina.

Advantages: Safe and effective not only for controlling birth. Condoms also serve as protection against the contagion of STD, particularly the AIDS, which is slowly afflicting many Filipinos.

Drawback. Unfavorable among many because of the interruption of sexual intercourse.

Photo Credits:


Awake! publications issues September 2007, 2003


Websites as mentioned in the article

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Suicide—A Culture Of Death

"The man who, in a fit of melancholy, kills himself today, would have wished to live had he waited a week." –Voltaire

"Each way to suicide is its own: intensely private, unknowable, and terrible."—Kay Redfield Jamison

All too commonly, when suicide, known as the act of voluntarily taking one’s own life becomes a news item, the populace would suppose the root cause to two posits: either the victim was in despair or he was trying to redeem his honor—or what was left of it.

Regardless, today’s people who suffered from depression or suddenly bombarded with a critical situation prefaced the suicide with notes expressing their deepest desires to conclude life’s harsh realities. And as one expert puts it, a suicide is similar to “treating a cold with a nuclear bomb.”

Emile Durkheim, a famous French sociologist cited during his glorious years the four basic types of suicide.

Fatalistic suicide—this refers to the consequence of inflicting too much emphasis on “societal regulation” constitutionally restricting one’s freedom. Victims of fatalistic suicide felt they had no conceivable life as it was often characterized by “pervasive oppression.”

Egoistic suicide—this scenario occurs when an individual lacks integration into society or when there is too much individualism. People who committed egoistic suicide were loners maintaining neither dependency on nor connection with their community during their lifetime.

Anomic suicide—the term anomie was borrowed from Jean-Marie Guyau, a French philosopher, and Emile used it to mean a “condition where social and or moral norms are confused, unclear, or simply not present,” which could result to deviant behavior like suicide.

Altruistic suicide—from the word altruism, Emile accentuated suicide with value orientation and social behavior or altruistic regard for others. It is a suicide done in honor; in taking account of the interests and welfare of other individuals or members of community or groups.

A perfect example of altruistic suicide was manifest in World War II when Japanese Kamikaze pilots along with religious extremists blew themselves up, resulting in death of their enemies as well.

In a world divided by cultural differences, suicide is understood from different perceptions with varied motivations. It is a term even people of ancient times were not estranged from.

A news article from The Harvard Mental Health Letter adumbrated culture to “influence the likelihood of suicide.”

Many view suicide as a crime, like in Christendom, especially by the 6th and 7th centuries when Roman Catholic Church issued excommunication order against those who committed suicide, thereby, denying them of funeral rites.

The same notion holds true even at the present.

There was also a time in history when attempted suicide reaped death penalty, as was the case in the 19th century England, when a certain Englishman was hanged for attempting to cut his throat, and thus, had the authorities to complete what the man failed to do.

Some perceive suicide as a coward’s escape such as in Hungary where the locals resort to suicide as easily as changing underwear for virtually any reason, all too often leads to ending a predicament.

In Asia, in the south, specifically in India, where Sutee—a religious custom in which a widow throws herself into the funeral pyre of her husband—which is supposedly abolished by the government, is still not extinct by itself. Such is betokened in how Indians in modern era react whenever a widow practices the culture:glorifying the tragedy.

In East Asia, particularly in Japan, suicide has an extremely different point of view; it never condemns suicide. In fact, its culture is marked by “highly ritualized and institutionalized form of self-disembowelment.”

Known by its term seppuku (or hara—kiri in referring to suicide in a speech and is performed by civilians), it had its roots in feudal Japan from 1192 to 1868. To its citizens, seppuku or technically cutting one’s belly was a suicidal art. An artful act in which the person felt honored in its commission.

Banzai is the term applied to members of Samurai as part of its military tradition and which is governed by code of conduct, upholding particularly virtues such as loyalty, honor, obedience, duty, filial piety, and self sacrifice.

In the book Bushido—The Soul of Japan, the author, Inazo Nitobe wrote:

An invention of the middle ages, [seppuku] was a process by which warriors could expiate their crimes, apologise for errors, escape from disgrace, redeem their friends, or prove their sincerity.”

It has a similar connotation to the time of Silla (one of the three ancient kingdoms of the modern Korea) where, the Hwarangs—an elite military organization— would wear makeup and perform a massive ceremonial banzai with a dagger expressing protest and withdrawal of support from the ruling monarch.

A similar concept still remains true until today.

The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine says “suicide is a result from a person’s reaction to a perceived overwhelming problem.”

In an Awake! magazine, there’s an article entitled “Why People Give Up on Life,” where a psychiatry professor of John Hopkins University of School Medicine, Kay Redfield Jamison was quoted saying: “much of the decision to die is in the construing of events.”

Today, when a person faces humiliation or feels his dignity and honor had been stripped of him, a seppuku is the ultimate solution. And such is regardless of the presence or absence of the guilt.

To many, whether the situation is militaristic like the ancient samurai or non-political, suicide allows the person to redeem the honor he lost in trying to save others.

To most, it is deemed honorable to sacrifice one’s life in upholding the code of conduct, however that conduct is viewed.


Awake! publications

Bushido—The Soul of Japan

The Harvard Mental Health Letter


Sociology Index

And more from SE

Photo Credits:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Your stare glared at me with all the loathsomeness in the world.

As if my very existence is the genesis of every plague hurled.

The coldness in your silence burns the sensibility in me.

As if a dead river, all reasons fail to stream in serenity.

Photo credits:

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Valentine’s Day And The Rise In Teenage Pregnancy

Valentine’s Day is conceived to be a day of celebrating love. It is a day when people express how much they appreciate another person’s presence in their lives. To some, a Valentine ’s Day is spent by sending flowers, cards, and chocolates. Others greet the day with an I love You declaration to their beloved. Mostly though outline the occasion with sex. And that holds true even among teenagers.

In a brief conversation with a male friend, he said that most of them male species look forward to making out on this particular day, after all, sex, or lovemaking is the highest expression of love. Or is it actually?

In a news item from a mainstream newspaper, teenagers today are bombarded with formidable pressure from internet, media, and peers to engage in pre-marital sex than they were a decade ago. Each year, many of these teenagers look up with their partners to be one in flesh especially on Valentine’s.

“Some 16.5 million Filipinos belong to the 15-24 year old age group. We are forced with a glaring truth that at a very young age, a lot of young people today have children of their own. 30 % of all births belong to this age group; and by the age of 20, 25% of the youth are already mothers.”

Also in that survey, around 64,000 of teenagers incur abortions every year. In a separate report made by World Bank, the Philippines leads 10 countries having a soaring number of teenage mothers with a ratio of 7 pregnant women for every 10 teenagers that are younger than age 19. World Bank attributed teenage pregnancy to higher incidence of poverty, while the former news item argues that pregnancy is spearheaded by gratification of sexual urges.

The pressure to indulge in sexual gratifications forced upon these teenagers is further aggravated by media marketing hyping up the business niche, creating a necessity out of a senseless tradition. Most of the promotions spearheaded a month before Valentine’s insinuate or focus on one thing: sex.

By itself, sex is not a harmful activity. In fact, it is deemed as an instrument of procreation; a gift shared specifically by two individuals bound by mutual love, respect, and sense of responsibility. Nonetheless, when it is practiced by young ones such as teenagers, sexual activity poses a huge problem regardless of the presence of love and all traits.

Yes, in today’s age and technology, pre-marital sex is among the highlights of a teenage life. Youths of the present generation are more aggressive in their behavior and emotions toward the opposite sex than the youth of earlier years.

Whether teenage pregnancy is compelled by mere gratification of sexual urges or necessitated by poverty, both call for immediate solutions if we want to save the future of the next generation. But no, I am no advocate of a solution putting so much emphasis on technically stopping sexually-active teenagers from indulging in pre-marital sex as this could be hard, if not impossible, to achieve, especially if their sexual experiences are marked with favor (For lack of another term).

Education is a powerful tool. Personally, I don’t understand why sex education should not be integrated as a subject or lessons taught in school. I believe that if students are just aware of how puberty can change their body and their reactions to stimulants, and how naked sex (unprotected sex) can lead to unwanted pregnancy, then they would be careful in dealing with their romance.

Couples will not, for instance, do a trial and error sexual intercourse with one another. What if on their first attempt on a Valentine’s Day, the lady is fertile? But how can they know about the role of fertility if it is not taught inside the classroom? Of course, sex education must be coupled with other lessons such as presenting the consequences of unwanted commitments such as early motherhood and the economic benefits young adults could enjoy if they are careful in planning their engagements.

Church, however, despite the separation of powers, continues to mingle with political affairs of the state. Particularly, the Catholic Church remains to be reluctant in acknowledging the potential of sex education because it fears it might encourage young ones to participate in pre-marital sex.

Goodness! It is because of celibacy that taints the reputation of priests and church. It is because of its so-called advocacy of no condom for a contraceptive that compelled a few priests to knock-up women. What an irony for a church imposing a no pre-marital sex policy and no condom for contraceptives among its constituents or believers when the priests are the first to violate such implementation or become the victim of its stupidity!

The Church does not support the use of condom as it is a curtailment of life. Is that so? Isn’t using condoms an exercise of being responsible? Biblically speaking, nowhere can you find a verse excluding the use of condom as part of family planning.

In contrast, even the ancient Romans had their own version of a condom in the form of sheep guts. The Mosaic Law does not apply in our times. But the Reproductive Health Bill, forever pending in the hands of our politicians and which is thought to institutionalize sex education in schools and buttress the use of artificial contraceptives such as condoms is on the verge of being forgotten, if not dismissed.

Moving on, poverty indeed has a role in teenage pregnancy. Parents may not have the time to educate their young ones about sex because they are more concerned about earning for a living. Most often, these kids have become a prey of sexual maniacs in the neighborhood or have chosen to allow others to exploit their body for a meager amount of money.

Mostly, kids are not given guidance on their exposure to media that has itself been used by companies in hyping up their niche even to the point of suggesting and using explicit contents. Many of these kids, boys and girls mimic what they see on televisions and movies when it comes to expressing love through sex or foreplay without the knowledge of their parents.

Seriously, Valentine’s Day has been characterized by sexual activities among others. Today, many people fall victims of a wrong notion of love conveyed by companies and businesses through media and the teenagers in particular, are the helpless victims.

Nevertheless, this is not to say that the occasion itself is the sole culprit of today’s escalating number of teenage pregnancy as these individuals can always have sex on any given day. But many of our teenagers choose Valentine’s Day to lose their virginity. And they do so with strong resolve and without knowing anything on its consequences.

Photo credits:

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Tale Of The 300 Threads

Dear You:

I don’t know how to begin this letter without wasting your invaluable time because, of late, I’ve been a nobody’s fool at atrophying someone’s energy.

I’ve got half the mind to impulsively send you many replies I mentally phrased while I scrambled on my keyboard doing one of my everyday objectives: incorporating creativity and substance between sentences to constitute infrastructures that eventually become the pillars of essays, press releases, feature stories, e-books, reviews, and content articles for somebody’s or something’s credits.

And the other half to convince myself to stop liking you.

Many times did I find myself editing my works because my fingers were typing what my mind chimes in response to your message rather than what I ought to opine to complete the thought of my piece, from which I milk for a living.

I was honestly caught off-guard with your message not because I don’t receive messages on FaceBook too. But because your message came by surprise.

If there should be a person to apologize, that must be me. I am sorry that it took me this while to compose you an apology epistle. Abashment took over me. What you wrote on my declaration on AP’s wall was a wakeup call for me:

That wall proffers an avenue for AP crowd members, whether haters, lovers, or neutrals of its mission and purpose. It should not in any way be employed to express emotions, invidiousness or adulation. Even love.

My behavior could qualify for a nuisance.

I am uncertain you have read the more than 300 threads of comments that preceded my pronouncement, of which you were one of the tags. If not, please allow me to explicate how that happened.

It all began in you.

Previously there was a post on AP about the intellectuals in the country. You asserted there were only 209 to that date. I countered. But then your comment referring to the number of intellectuals lingers on my mind and when I saw another member added by EB, I refrained from keeping silent. My fingers then were very eager. And so was my mind. I wrote:

This makes 210 if I were to quote IP. ^^

What followed was totally unexpected. The contents of the threads were a blend of senseless and senseful opinions of ranging topics until you were the center of it. Believe me, I didn’t have the slightest notion that somebody would respond, much less prolongate it for after all, there was no proper precedent. I merely remarked having a new member.

But yes, I should not blame you. Well, I’m not blaming you. I am placing the blame on me. The thread must not be a ground for another statement. That was the mistake. It should stand alone until it dies a natural death.

Looking back, I realized two things from the 300 threads, nonetheless.

One, my post about you[r mind being beautiful and sexy] was not the first on AP’s wall. Another member, EB, had been writing on AP’s wall about you all along. And who knows maybe more members also did the same before I joined the crowd.

Two, personally, I would say any posts about you had been prolific. The 300 threads only betoken one thing:

Your name alone can launch stirrings among the crowd’s members, trolls and intellectuals alike.

Now having said all these, I really am at a loss for words on how to conclude my note without you hating me, especially if I would say:

I still like you.