“Created after the Image of God”: A Political Theology on Equal Rights & Freedom for All

by Nestor Ravilas

It is a little mistake to say that human rights was born in 17th century during the beginning of the enlightenment period. Contrary to this, humans from the beginning of civilizations, from hunter-gatherer to agricultural period, have been asserting, utilizing, and imposing their rights and liberties in this planet over and against other beings, living and non-living. What is accomplished, or rather wished to accomplish, by the course of enlightenment movement is to liberally confer freedom and rights to all human beings. Although it might be correct to say that human rights and freedom were exercised prior to modernity, it is, however, confined among the civilized, the educated, the nobles, and the land owners of Europe. This is to say the savage, the ill-mannered, the proletariat, the destitute, the beggars, those belong to Nietzsche’s herd, have neither freedom nor rights. The enlightenment vision is to democratize human rights and freedom by simply acknowledging the basic humanity of everyone, including the aforementioned group of scumbags.

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Criminal Society

by Nestor Ravilas

In the recent general assembly of still amorphous group of concerned Evangelicals called, Christians for Life and Dignity, the question was broached up in a supposedly festive night as to why Evangelicals are seemingly acquiescing, if not applauding, with the killing of those suspected addicts. This is actually an expression of disgust and bafflement than a question. Considering that the “image of God” doctrine of Evangelicals is a more robust basis of human rights and dignity than of the constitutional elements of the secular liberalism, you will really wonder why suddenly Evangelicals cast a blind eye and a deaf ear to the cry of the families of those executed and therefore deprived of the rights to prove their guilt or innocence in a court of law.

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Fake News, Fake Life, Fake Existence

by Nestor Ravilas

Is fake news an emerging normal? Or our society is actually built on a web of propaganda?
What is somewhat redressing in last week’s forum on fake news is that the virus does not only inflict this country. That is to say that we are not the only home for millions of idiot in this vast galaxy. What is distressful, however, is the report that the phenomenal rise of fake news, or misinformation, is worldwide in scale, and its continuing proliferation is beyond imagination. The only possible explanation for this is the ubiquitous presence of a market that patronizes and consumes all these lies and propagandas. This sheer assertion, however, is not one of the misinformation circulating around. I see good people myself, pastors and church leaders included, sharing and disseminating this falsehood. Even after calling their attention, they will just ignore you, and share and post again in social media another fake news. As it shows, therefore, they are not victims of misinformation; they did it on purpose to misinform people. And here’s the rub, propaganda intends to exclude and damage people.

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The Gift of Death: A Reflection on Death and Dying

by Nestor Ravilas

Humans do not fear death, it is the suffering that comes before death that scares them. This, however, is not true. The prospect of ending this life is what frightened us most. Apostle Paul intones this ingrained fear of death when he said, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death!” From Paul thereon, Christianity has been generally viewed as a religion that is completely insane with the problem of death. As a threat to life, it is actually impossible not to agree with Paul, and the subsequent history of vilification of death in Christian tradition. Gilgamesh on his part provides us the ghastly picture that is lacking from Paul. “No one sees death, no one sees the face of death, no one hears the voice of death, yet savage death is the one that hacks man down,” he said. Mythical stories humanity was able to preserve were marred in one way or another with the presence of death in their story plots. Death is so formidable that most of our cultural wisdom, medicine and religions, are all pursued in search of the meaning, if not solutions, of the problem of death. Philosophy included, on its emphasis on moral life, must not be construed as passive or unaffected of the threat of death. Rather, its stress on justified existence is its best way of making sense of one’s death.

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God Dies with Us (Matthew 21)

by Nestor Ravilas

He is from Galilee, the city located exactly at the other end of the political and economic center of Judea which is Jerusalem. From the time newspapers and prime time news programs beginning to cover his activities, spies and state agents were sent out to monitor his activities. Sifted from the reports of all four gospels, the power house of the elite and political class were dispatched to sleuth on him – Pharisees, scribes, experts of the law, and even Herodians in the account of Mark, take interest on him and went down to Galilee, the city that produces most of the activists and bandits in the late second temple Judea. Galilee is the worst place to live in having situated at the dry end of the economic funnel that sloshes down starting from the prime city of Jerusalem, but a conducive den for the enemies of the state like brigands, bandits, and activists for they could safely slide to Macedonia once the state would whimsically budge in to run them down, or wickedly spray them to test its newly acquired bullets from China.

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Romans 13 as a Pharisaic Political Strategy: Approaching the Tension from Historical Perspective

by Nestor Ravilas

How much of his Pharisaic formation stayed? And how does this residue of his former religious upbringing correlate with his new found faith? Catherine Mills doubts that anyone is capable of breaking out from one’s identity formation. Although Judith Butler, out probably of her Hegelian training, casts a positive stance on this issue of identity shifting. She winces a bit, however, telling us that the task is next to impossible. Was Paul then a converted Christian with his Pharisaic foundation remains intact, lurking beneath and indirectly assisting him all the way in reading and interpreting things happening around him, including his new religious persuasion? Was his feisty stand against those “trouble makers” in the churches of Galatia bespeaks of Pharisaic symptoms who are known for intolerance of competition as demonstrated earlier by the Pharisees who bothered and interrogated Jesus throughout his life for his non-Pharicsaic reading of the Torah?

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I am Kian: The Blood of the Innocent is the Fire of Revolution

by Nestor Ravilas

It was commonly argued that the shift of execution of criminals from open public square into a secluded chamber bespeaks of a moral progress of every civilized society. This was even touted as the rationalization of once primitive way of dealing with wayward members of any given society. The public has to be spared from the horror and trauma of public executions. The justification that public display of execution was being done in order to warn the public that crime does not pay does no longer hold water, they said. It traumatizes more the public than affecting the criminal-would-be. Thus, punishments and executions for felony are now being exercised in private.

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