My stand can be described as agnostic atheism; my personal view—apatheism. I shall only discuss the former for I see no urgent use of discussing the latter. As an agnostic atheist, I hold that the existence of any god is improbable, but its existence is under the realm of possibility. After all, the ancient philosophical question “Is there a god?” is a sound philosophical inquiry. Karen Armstrong stated that human beings are, by nature, god seeking beings—homo religious was the term she used. This echoes the idea of Dostoyevsky in his novel The Brothers Karamazov: “If there is no god, it is necessary to invent one.” We can deduce that it is natural for a sentient being to wonder if there is a creator for everything. This brings us to the argument of etiology and literary studies. During the outset of civilization, people had no way of explaining natural phenomena so they created stories, myths, and legends that would explain natural events. An explanation for a natural phenomenon through a narrative is called etiology (Kaltner et al., 2009). This has been the process by which people from different countries use in order to have a cohesive interpretation of the world. Stories of creation have been told fantastically by Greek Mythology, the Rig Veda, the Bible; the Qur’an. And even in pre-colonial times, our ancestors had stories of creation, too. Furthermore, the gods under such ancient writings seem to be anthropomorphic entities—they bear human attributes similar to that of the people who described their characteristics. If there is a god, it must not bear the traits of men; it must not be tribal. Such has been addressed in F. Sionil Jose’s novel Po-on wherein the protagonist—Eustaquio Salvador, a ladino fugitive—starts to ask (through a prayer) why God is white just like the Spanish invaders while his people’s skin is brown. He then prays (or hopes) that God is not white. For love must not recognize color, he adds. This shows how a certain god is idealized according to time and sociocultural setting. We should consider the notion that the gods believed by many are idealized entities, crafted in accordance to different sociocultural contexts. Thus, Gods could be considered as metaphysical constructs that are recognized as powerful entities (omnipotent and omniscient to some) governing life and fate. It is worth noting that the Judeo Christian God was utilized by the Spaniards as a tool of submission and coercion. It goes without saying that the Christian faith is built upon colonial hegemony spearheaded by the Spaniards and strengthened by the Americans through the service of the Thomasites (Lumbera & Lumbera, 2005).
I wonder what our faith-based system would be if we were not colonized by the Spaniards. Perhaps we would be influenced by the Muslims or perhaps our pagan beliefs and practices would thrive because most of our written lores would be preserved. It is hard to speculate.
One more thing to note: the ancient scriptures that are followed by the devout are not actually or entirely detrimental to human progress like some other atheists point out. In point of fact, on an affective level, they are highly significant. Setting aside the fundamentalists and fanatics who take these writings at face value, some believers know how to see the good in these writings, and as a result they become good people. These scriptures—say, the bible—have aphorisms that could still be valued and applied at this day and age. Through selective reading, we could rescue some useful ideas in the bible, the Qu’ran; the Rig Veda and apply them in the here and now. Loving one’s neighbor and living in simplicity are some of the good examples. Of course, I do not need to be a believer to appreciate these.