Does Anti-theism Imply Bigotry Against Religion?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer:

giphy

The fact that someone would even think you can reduce “theism” to a monolith (“all religions are harmful”, “all gods are the same”) and say one is opposed to everyone and everything under that imagined umbrella is bigotry. You don’t have to be an anti-theist to be an atheist—lots of atheists do fine without the vile bigotry that comes with anti-theism.

I honestly don’t get why so many anti-theists (often and unsurprisingly the ones new to atheism straight from evangelical religion) can’t see it? Blinded by the same fanatical faith they thought they left, maybe? Old habits die hard, I guess?

I mean, I’m an open critic of many Christian doctrines that I find harmful, but you don’t see me calling myself “Anti-Christian”. Because you can’t intelligently oppose 2.2 billion people with vastly different beliefs and backgrounds without bigotry.

Now imagine 7 billion.

Advertisements

The Resurgence of ‘Philippine Paganism’

Lately, there has been a surge of interest in ‘Philippine mythology’ (“Paganism, gasp!”) on the innernets and it warms my heart as both a polytheist and a Filipino. The art, especially, is amazing. I honest to Gods hope the interest picks up and continues to be a genuine desire to reconnect with our rich pre-colonial heritage.

However, I find that a true appreciation of Philippine mythologies (in the plural) goes hand in hand with a profound respect for indigenous religion from which myth proceeds. Our myths are the sacred stories of our ancestral gods, heroes, and monsters, intelligently woven and passed on, bearing our ancestral fears, hopes, and dreams. These stories are closer to our hearts than the instilled doctrines of 17th century Spanish friars.

And we can never fully appreciate the wealth of Philippine myth as long as we treat it as a monolith. There is no single, unified national pantheon and our indigenous myths come in a variety of versions in different languages and worldviews. Neither are our native myths the crude delusions of uncouth people. These are our ancestral stories—as diverse and beautiful as our islands—and they are a window to the brilliant minds of our pre-colonial ancestors. Let no one tell you otherwise.

Unfortunately, not a lot of these pre-colonial myths have survived, and many of the ones that have, come through us from the mouths of our former occupiers.

That being said, we can thank those pesky missionaries for being so hatefully obsessed in wanting to eliminate indigenous religion that they wrote so much about it in detail. ¡Gracias, padres!

May the worship of our Gods be restored across our beloved archipelago and may their sacred stories be remembered and told once more with pride and dignity.

Mayari, Goddess of the Moon among the pre-colonial Tagalog people [Art by D.J. Reynaldo]

PS: I speak only as one Filipino polytheist, a descendant of colonised natives. This is not to forget our sisters and brothers whose ancestors resisted and survived colonisation—the Lumad, Mangyan, Aeta, Batak, Igorot peoples, et cetera—who have kept their ancestral myths alive through their unbroken traditions. Let’s hear their stories, too.

Happy International Day of Indigenous Peoples!

Surprise

Monotheism: “It is done. All paganism and devilish heathenry have been eradicated from God’s green earth.”

Polytheism:

surprise bitch

The Gift of the Cross?

They cut down our sacred trees.

Defiled our holy wells.

Tore down the houses we built for our beloved gods.

Banned the very mention of their names.

Raped our women, broke our men, and defamed our priestesses.

But hey, let’s focus on the bright side—at least, we’re the only Christian nation in Asia.

FI-Spanish-Colonization

‘The first baptism in the Philippines’ by Fernando Amorsolo

It is heartbreaking that so many Filipinos still parrot the centuries-old colonial propaganda that we were somehow “civilised” by European colonisation and that Christianity was its most precious gift. Neither the Cross nor western clothes made us better.

She would definitely disagree.

Women-in-the-Precolonial-Philippines

A painting by Botong Francisco of a babaylan or priestess