Like a prayer

No, not Madonna. Although, it has been forever since I’ve listened to The Immaculate Collection.) I’m selectively jumping on the Friday Five bandwagon. I’m sure most of you bloggers are familiar with it, but if not: the Friday Five is a weekly set of questions for bloggers to answer and post on their websites. To me the origins are murky, but I think, like many things on the Internet, it started with one person with a neat idea, and it grew exponentially into the thing to do. So here goes:

1. Were you raised in a particular religious faith?
Yes, like most Filipinos: Catholic.

2. Do you still practice that faith? Why or why not?
Kind of. I hardly ever go to Mass these days. Unfortunately the act of going to Mass has diminished relevance in my life. But when I do, I have to say, I enjoy it, namely the sense of community. I believe in many of the teachings ascribed to Jesus, but not so much in the Catholic Church as an organized religious institution.

3. What do you think happens after death?
I waver on questions of afterlife. Sometimes I think death is the very end of all being. Other times I think the soul enters into a different form of consciousness.

4. What is your favorite religious ritual (participating in or just observing)?
I enjoy the music and singing (not a ritual per se), and generally the historical, ritualistic sweep of the Mass. On some level, it’s theater. I don’t mean to say it’s artificial, but rather it’s high drama, and participatory at that: the re-enactment of the Last Supper, where we are not just observers, but active participants.

5. Do you believe people are basically good?
No. Don’t get me wrong, most people are good, sensible people. (I won’t open another can of worms by asking, what is good.) But strictly speaking, I don’t believe people are basically good (or evil). Though people may have general temperaments, I don’t believe we are born with an instinctive morality. Throughout our lives (but most formatively in our youth), we are continually shaped by a multitude of self-interests and societal conventions, good and bad and in-between. Hm. I’ll have to think more about this.

Whew, my mind is tired. Good night.

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