Religious instinct

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Thursday, July 31, 2014


SCIENTISTS who have studied paleontology have discovered that the so-called Homo sapiens, the pre-historic man or ape-man had an instinct for religion.

To me, this is very interesting because it proves that God the Creator has given man before he had evolved into a real man a natural inclination towards religion. That means that millions of years ago God had made Himself known already as the Almighty God, the Creator of everything that is. It only shows that what we don’t know about ourselves is much greater than we do know about ourselves. We must admit how much we cannot know and we should turn that into an opportunity to get to know more about ourselves and our relationship to God our Creator and also to our fellowmen.

Before, we thought that only animals have an instinct and man has an intellect and self-awareness. Originally we were like animals. That is clearly not true. Our ancestors were more dignified than we think. Long before God sent his Son into the world in order to redeem us, even long before the time of the Old Testament, the time of the patriarchs and prophets, God had already planted in man a sense of the eternal, a sense of having a relationship with the divine.

We thought that people were only head hunters and predators. That is clearly a wrong impression about our ancestors. They were not just savages. Is this also the reason why we sometimes display a sense of superiority towards our native people?

There are also those ancient rituals about fertility which we so easily consider as superstition but in fact they are miraculous. Recently I witnessed how one of my relatives who was pregnant and about to deliver a baby.

When she was in labor, one of our friends applied a native method of rubbing snake oil on her. Immediately she had a very smooth delivery. I found it miraculous, though at first I was rather skeptical.

Another example is the use of herbal medicines. Doctors are usually skeptical about these herbals. That is why they require putting label on them saying that they are not curative. My reaction to this is: if they do not help, they do not harm either. My experience with medicines is that they often harm you more than heal you. One time a doctor tried to cure me from a certain ailment by prescribing plenty of expensive antibiotics. It really made me dizzy. I stopped taking these antibiotics because I felt that I was cured already from my ailment. Trees and plants contain a healing power, isn’t that amazing?

Clearly, the Creator has placed this power in animals and in plants and trees in order to serve mankind. Our relationship with nature, with all the living things that are in there, animals, plants and trees should be a friendly relationship. They are all our friends, intended to be so by God the Creator. That is why St. Francis of Assissi was such a great animal lover. That is why also we must love our native brothers and sisters. They are all creatures of God like ourselves.

[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 31, 2014.

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