Religious Symbols Empower Social Activism: Reflection on Luke 3:10-18

By Nestor Ravilas

John Rawls’ second principle of justice says, in effect, that the increase in wealth of the rich is justified as long as there is a commensurate increase in the life of the poor. Commendable theoretical innovation, defective on many points, however. Firstly, it was an ugly admittance that equality for all is impossible to achieve. Secondly, it is a cowardly solution trying not to antagonize anyone, And lastly, wishing the poor to increase their economic condition, while keeping a status quo on the rich’s drive to accumulate more will only suck the earth down to its bottom of all its natural resources. John Rawls hopes through this he might inspire cooperation among humans, only to put everything in jeopardy by hastening environmental collapse.
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The Myth of an Apolitical Pulpit

By Nestor Ravilas

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

This is a confusing time for Evangelical Christians, as well with people who observe them. Romans 13 grants them to engage in politics, but only to acquiesce and approve all the government’s policies and undertakings, both evil and good. Ephesians 6 on the other hand forbids to whiff even of slightest amount of political nicotine. Christians have no business with politics. The pulpit must not be politicized.

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Sheep without a Shepherd

By Nestor Ravilas

When the visionary Daniel said that he sees someone like the son of man coming in the clouds, it marks that beginning of the new era in Israel’s eschatological hope. Once considered anomaly, apocalyptic literature that were produced during the last 300 years before the dawn of the Common Era now gaining recognition as source of revolutionary temperament of the people who just surfaced from long and traumatic exile.

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Are Robbers my Neighbors too?: Chasing Alterity in the Parable of the Good Samaritan

by Nestor Ravilas

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is radical and audacious in many ways. It was Jesus’ trump card in his struggle against the religious and political leaders of his time. It basically questions the prevailing religious and social norms that formed and shaped social relations and arrangements of first century Palestine. First, the parable points out the inadequacy of written laws to embody the demand for social responsibility. That every accomplishment of each moral code written will only give you this strange feeling of insecurity of not having done enough to satisfy the requirements of ethics. To declare, therefore, that you have already done all of them is only to say that you have finally reached the limit of language, and what you are facing now from that edge is the infinite abyss that separates you from the demand — love your neighbor. Thereafter, every act of goodness you make, in hope to reduce the abyss, will always count insufficient to make the two horizons kiss. The demand therefore has no satisfaction, only its iterable cycle of beginning, of doing good again and again.

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Poor Joseph: Another Horror of Christmas

by Nestor Ravilas

Whenever I read this part of nativity story (Matt. 1:18-24), I could not help but to sympathize with the plight of Joseph. Not that I claim Joseph suffered and sacrificed more than what Mary had given up just to realize the divine plan. Only that his credulity in some sense flays down the most endeared image of macho Filipino male. I am wondering up to now what moves Joseph to acquiesce to such abject role in that divine drama; whether for the love of Mary or for God, I am not really sure. Since the drama was already done and we are all aware how the story has ended, Joseph was redeemed into heroism or sainthood and the role he played is now recognized as an act of indomitable faith. Prior to that, of course, he was nothing but an idiot easy to fall to such dimwitted narrative of the divine visiting the earth. And there is nothing more enduring, more torturing, than the part of yourself mocking you, saying, “You’re shit, you’re so gullible to believe that Mary is carrying the savior in her womb!” I pity him for that!

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Thou shall not kill? A Socio-biblical Perspective on the Legitimation of Killing

by Nestor Ravilas

We live in a confusing time. People are getting killed. It is rising to about six thousand from the time killing season was officially inaugurated. And there is no sign of letting-up as the deadline given by the president is now approaching. There are about 30 dead people every night. And none of them was able to prove her innocence or guilt in the law of court. And in all these, we have in the congress the effort to revive the death penalty. That is where the farce comes in. What the hell is the purpose of the resuscitation of the death penalty when you can kill suspects in an instant, and hence circumventing the rigor of court battle and of subsequent imprisonment once the suspect is found guilty? The revival does not make any sense other than the two, the revival of death penalty and the spate of killings, are all about spilling of blood in which, seemingly, this government finds fetish with.

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Saving Cain: Theological Musing on Death Penalty

by Nestor Ravilas

Rumor has it that the intensified fight of the current administration against criminality would lead to the restoration of capital punishment. Debates on the efficacy of death penalty in curbing crimes immediately spark so as to pave the way for its revival. Some from Evangelical backyard were prompt enough to offer theological and biblical foundation for its acceptability. This does not surprise me at all since death penalty is not only a legal issue, but a moral one as well. Thus, religious pundits feel the need to swarm the public space and offer their best opinion to morally guide both the public and our law makers.

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