PHILOSOPHY is the objective study of the meaning of life as it exists. As man grows in wisdom so does his/her understanding of life. Hence, philosophers never claim to have the ultimate explanation of life. Instead they are open to contrary philosophies of colleagues.

Not so ideology. It is a subjective vision of an ideal social order that it tries to attain with a set of unchanging beliefs and methods. Ideologues, unlike philosophers, resist contrary visions and beliefs.

With this, Roman Catholicism qualifies as an ideology. (So do fundamentalist sects of any religion.) Its fixed ideal is a kingdom of God on earth for the attainment of which it imposes absolute dogmas and rigid laws because “outside the Church there is no salvation.”

In the past, members who held contrary beliefs were burned as heretics at the stake. Today, they are excommunicated from the Church as the Catholic Bishop of Tagum just recently did to 26 of his priests. Yes, 26.

This is contrary to the spirit of Christ who did not exclude anybody from his invitation to follow him. Yes, he invited and did not force anybody to follow him. As an invitation Christianity will live on. It is ideologies arising from it, Catholicism, fundamentalism, etc. that will eventually die as people grow in wisdom.

If the Catholic Church is dogmatic, the Communist Party of the Philippines is even more dogmatic and in a most inhuman way. The Communist Party claims that its fixed vision of a proletarian dictatorship can be attained only by the one absolute method of an armed revolution that party ideologues kill for.

That is why, much as I want it, I cannot believe the Communist Party of the Philippines will talk peace with the government. Peace talks contradict something central in their ideology. If Joma agrees to the resumption of peace talks, it would only be for some temporary tactical advantage as it is also core in their ideology that anything that serves the revolution (murder, deceit, pretense at peace talks and alliances) is a moral good.

There is no place for ideologues (religious or political) in a constantly changing and essentially incomprehensible life on earth. Granted that religions have divinely revealed truths, who’s to say which human religious group’s interpretation of a divine revelation is the correct one?

Our failure to unite in this country for the common good stems from the fact that religious and political ideologues claim to possess the right interpretation of our social reality. The rest of us need to unite to make them come together to create a whole out of those facets. Otherwise, the Communist Party could just violently unite us into submission to their ideology.