May sound strange to bring up religion but living in the Philippines its often mentioned its a “Catholic” country yet I often hear of people talking about Muslims in Mindanao and the conflict going on there for a Muslim nation. I remember my father bringing up the fact that people talk about religious nations when in reality its not important to most people and often can be a flair up of disputes. Ever hear of the million Christians in Iraq? Although majority population may be a specific religion it doesn’t exactly mean people are following it so in reality isn’t being a Catholic nation a bit like statistics that whoever writes them can fudge the figures?
What do I mean well here in the Philippines underage sex is rife and so is child birth. In provinces you can find children 13 years old already pregnant. Infidelity is a huge problem same as the sex trade, child abuse and many other things that would be “non catholic”. So how can things be Catholic without what seems the majority of the flock actually following any of the moral teachings?
Its partly why I believe religion is a personal choice and not something that should be preached to others because simply people these days just pick and choose what they want to do and hear. I can repent my sins on a Sunday! yet no thought about the fact they shouldn’t be committing them in the first place. Gay monks and child abusing priests seem to crop up too often here as well at the same time anything done about it? Sexuality is a choice thing like religion but child abuse I find unacceptable and when someone tells me their uncle is a local priest and likes “Boy love” as he puts it I have serious concerns about interpretations of religion.
For me I have no religion as I prefer to believe in science, life after death I believe let me find out when I get there rather than be told things that nobody can prove. You see its also putting your money where your mouth is or in religions case putting faith before oneself. The Spear Of Destiny is something I can respect someone for having a belief in something yet also proved that it wasn’t true as he burned to death in a baptism of fire.
On 10 June 1098, a poor monk by the name of Peter Bartholomew, the servant of a member of Count Raymond’s army, came before Raymond and Bishop Adhemar. He told of having received several visions over the preceding months from St. Andrew in which the saint told him that the Holy Lance–the spear that pierced Christ’s side as he hung on the Cross–lay buried in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Antioch. Raymond was convinced, but Adhemar was sceptical and there the matter sat.
But news of the vision spread, with everyone having his own opinion. That very evening, another Provencal, this one a priest, told of a vision he had had. Since he swore it was true, and as his reputation was good (Peter Bartholomew’s was not), Adhemar believed him.
On 14 June, a meteor was seen to fall into the Turkish camp, a very good omen. On the 15th, a group that included Raymond of Toulouse, the historian Raymond of Aguilers, and Peter Bartholomew went to the cathedral and began to dig. The digging went on for hours, with various people taking turns. Count Raymond gave up and left. Then Peter Bartholomew jumped into the hole to take a hand. He very soon cried out that he had found the lance. Raymond of Aguilers says he himself touched the iron while it was still embedded in the ground. The lance was taken to Count Raymond. Bishop Adhemar still thought the man was a fake and refused to accept it, but so great was the rejoicing that he kept quiet.
News that the Holy Lance had indeed been found raced through the city. Such a miracle surely portended victory, and plans were made on the spot to sally out to meet the Turks.
There were still skeptics, of course, but in the general enthusiasm, they remained silent. The Christians were planning an attack anyway. The Christians gathered their forces, set a day for the attack, and prepared. The Holy Lance was affixed to a pole. During the actual battle it was carried before the Christians as a sort of banner.
The Christians knew that there was serious dissension among various emirs in Kerbogha’s camp, and in any case they could not stay much longer in Antioch for the army was starving. They set the date for 28 June.
The Crusaders carried the Holy Lance on a standard at the head of the army. When Kerbogha saw the Crusaders in full array, he tried to send out for a truce, but the Crusaders advanced anyway. The Turks tried their usual tactics, but the Crusaders kept on in good formation. As he feared, emirs began deserting Kerbogha on the field of battle. When Dukak of Damascus left, the entire army collapsed. For once, the Christians resisted the temptation to loot the enemy camp, but instead pressed the Turks hard, killing many. The battle ruined Kerbogha and saved the Crusade. As much as anything, the victory confirmed Peter Bartholomew’s visions.
The march southward was difficult and took months more. Several towns fell to the crusaders, some requiring a formal siege to win. Peter Bartholomew began experiencing regular visits from the angel, who advised him on all manner of details regarding the advance. At one siege, Peter even began giving military advice.
This was too much for his skeptics. Peter’s visions were far too convenient and too martial, and he was openly accused of lying. Challenged, Peter offered to undergo ordeal by fire to prove that he was divinely guided. Being in Biblical lands, they chose a Biblical ordeal: Peter would pass through a fiery furnace and would be protected by an angel of God.
The crusaders constructed a path between walls of flame; Peter would walk down the path between the flames. He did so, and was horribly burned. He died after suffering in agony for twelve days. There was no more said about the Holy Lance, although one faction continued to hold that Peter was genuine and that this was indeed the true Lance.
I don’t mind religion and personally I don’t push my views on others and don’t expect them to bother me with theirs. Like this its written on my blog I am not asking people to change or accept a view of religion but simply how I see it “on my blog”. Its about choice and freedom of choice, when people demand you should follow something or do something I have to ask in who’s name? Did a god give them the right of passage and talk through them as a medium or is it for another reason that many things are done in a gods name?