Friday, December 03, 2021

Carvajal: Culture of defamation

Break Point

THIS certainly bears repeating. Instead of searching for truth in a most rational and respectful manner, we argue as if we have a monopoly of truth and reject contrary truths by defaming their proponents. This culture of defamation is what bars us from reaching a consensus on problems and their solutions.

We have it on judicious people’s word that if there’s anything to be learned from Covid-19’s onslaught it is that we cannot just do better the same things we had been doing before it upended our world. We have to engage in a sober and rational search for alternative socio-economic and religious systems if we are to thrive in, and not just survive, the new normal.

Our economic system has resulted in extreme wealth for a few but an even more extreme poverty for many. For once in our nation’s life, we have to search rationally for new ways of managing the country’s abundant resources that will most likely give 30 million Filipinos a fair chance of enjoying a quality of life higher than what the old system afforded them.

Our political system has been a mockery of democracy and has failed miserably to develop politically mature and economically empowered Filipinos. As I write, crocodiles in the House of Representatives are tearing at each other for the spoils of government. Changing them during elections has not helped. We have to dispute rationally and with open minds what new political system will give proportionate representation in government to all sectors of society.

It is in the religious arena where a rational and open discussion is most critical on how the Catholic Church can become more relevant to people living in the margins of society. It cannot continue imposing its interpretation of religious truths and practices on a membership that is mainly ignorant of their faith for having been conditioned for centuries to simply do what their bishops and priests tell them. It has to be open to those who criticize its truths and practices instead of just defaming critics as heretics, renegades or worse.

Like, we need to involve all sectors of the faithful (not just clerics) in an open discussion of how to celebrate 500 years of Christianity. Offhand, it should include both a humble admission of Catholicism’s failure to bring justice to marginalized Filipinos and a preview of what nail-on-head reforms are forthcoming. More of the same will simply not cut it.

To paraphrase Einstein, it is insane to maintain the same socio-economic systems and expect better results. Yet we cannot agree on what new systems to install unless we abandon our culture of defamation and start disputing our national truth or common good, on a highly rational, respectful and open-minded level.


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