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Rizal's hidden letters
 


Background

Below are the Jose Rizal's letters the Catholic church hid from Filipinos for 100 years. Rizal was in exile in Dapitan when these letters were written. By then, he was already a Mason, a freethinker. Knowing this, the Jesuits, through Fr. Pastells, Rizals mentor during his formative years, attempted to bring him back into Catholicism. Their correspondence is like a treatise on Rizals religious beliefs.

It is believed and appears to be the documents they used to have Rizal executed. It essentially proves what Filipino nationalists have long believed, that Rizal was executed not just for fighting for the rights of Filipinos, but for heresy as well, that is, his non-belief in the Catholic church as the one true faith.

The Catholic church continues to deny this and maintains the retraction myth. In case you did not know, these letters and the document that Rizal allegedly signed retracting everything he wrote against the Catholic church were repeatedly asked for by Rizal's family for decades and the church liar.gif could not produce them.

RIZALS FIRST LETTER TO FATHER PASTELLS


Dapitan, September 1, 1892

My ever esteemed Father:

Although you have not honored me with a letter, the precious gift you deigned to send me through my beloved professor, Father Sanchez, and the few lines devoted to me in your letter to Father Obach, place me under obligation to write you as there is nobody in Manila I could ask to thank you for me.

For years I have been acquainted with Sarda, having read him in college. In my humble opinion, he is the most adroit polemist to diffuse in a certain class of society the ideas he sustains. You can thus readily see how important his works will be to me. This with regards to the works themselves. Now, with respect to their sender, had the volumes come blank, I still would have appreciated them, knowing that they came from Your Reverence. My only regret is that being a deportee in a poor town like Dapitan, I have nothing with which to reciprocate. I hope, however, that an opportunity will present itself some day; that is, if we are going to live that long; if not, I shall say with the Visayans, Dios Magbayad (God will pay you)!

I shall now turn to the lines Father Obach read to me. I consider them as interesting as your valuable gift, if not more. "Tell him," you enjoyed, "to stop being silly by wishing to see all his affairs through the prism of his own judgment and self-esteem: nemo judex in causa propia (no one ought to be a judge in his own case). Here my attention was powerfully drawn not to the word silly which I know I well deserved to be called, though it struck me as rather strong coming from a pen so refined as yours, and though for some time I have been inured to the most acrimonious criticisms and the most vitriolic accusations from friends and foes alike, from superiors and inferiors, but to the fact that Your Reverence should deem it silly for me to wish to see my affairs through the prism of my judgment and self-esteem. Frankly, I do not understand what you mean I must have misconstrued your meaning.

Though I do not have the least idea what acts of mine Your Reverence could be alluding to, the act of looking at ones business through the prism of ones reason and self-esteem does not seem to me censurable. For some purpose God must have given such qualities to man. Were we to see our personal affairs through the prism of others, we would find that it is not very practical, as there are many prisms as there are individuals. Besides, we would not know which to choose; and in choosing we would have to use out own criterion or judgment unless we chose indiscriminately. But in that case, the result would be that some of us would be wise in other peoples houses, so to speak and others in our own. They would be directing our acts and we theirs. Everything would be confusion unless we renounced our private judgment and self-respect. In my opinion, such an attitude would be offensive to God because it would mean that we were scorning His most precious gift to mankind. I say so on the assumption that God has endowed everybody with a mind of his own, knowing what is best for him. Surely, God does not wish that he who has less brain should think like the one who has more, and vice-versa. No one should digest with the stomach of another even if that were possible. Like perfect machines made differently and adapted to different purposes, each is designed to consume so much coal in its engine, to run so many miles an hour, and to move with so much speed. He who made them that way must know why.

To me, the mind is like the lamp that a father gives to each of his sons before they depart on a trip along rough and tortuous paths. He will not give a leaking oil lamp to the son who will pass through ravines and over precipices. If such son has to go through storms, the father will protect the light with strong glasses. If the light is of inflammable gas, he will shield it with a wire screen like a miners lamp. If the lamp-bearer suffers photophobia, he will provide him with smoked lenses. If, on the other hand, the son has cataracts, he will give him an electric light, especially if the son has to pass along very dark roads. Unfortunate that son would be who out of whim or madness exchanged his lamp for another while on the way. Everyone should try to keep and improve his light. Let no one envy or despise any of his brothers. Nor should anyone fail to take advantage of the rays from the other lights and of the sighs and warnings left behind by those who have gone before him.

With regard to self-esteem, I must confess that for some time I have been praying that God divest me of it. Knowing, however, what is best for us, He has preserved it. Now I understand why a man should never be without it, though he should never inflate it. My understanding is that self-esteem is the greatest good with which God has endowed man for his perfection and integrity. It saves him from many base and unworthy acts when he forgets the precepts which he has learned or have been inculcated upon him. Precisely, when not passionate, self-esteem is to me a worthy trait. It is like the sap that forces the tree to rear its head high in search of the sun. It is like the power that launches the steamship on its voyage. Reason, to be sure, should temper or moderate it. My belief is that man is the masterpiece of creation, perfect within his sphere. He cannot be deprived of any of his component parts physical or moral without disfiguring him and rendering him miserable.

I do not know how you will take these ideas of mine. Perhaps, they may strike you as bold and independent. But I am like that. I have been brought up that way, and I would be offending you if I did not write with all sincerity. I for one do not believe they spring from pride. For that matter, I do not know whether I am proud or not. Only God who is infallible can tell.

In Your Reverences letter, you continued: "The man who directed his conscience during far better times dares give him this advice without regard to anything except the present circumstances." Your Reverence should feel free to give me all the good advices that your good heart suggests; for it is the duty of men to help one another. You may be sure that I shall always listen to them with attention and gratitude, and will weigh each and everyone of them and will reflect long on their import. Everything that comes from Your Reverence I esteem highly not only for what you have been to me, but also for what you still are. It would not be nice if some day God should ask me to give an account of myself and inquire what heed I paid to your advices.

As to whether those times were better than the present, I can not say with absolute certainty. I consider myself happy for being able to suffer a little for a cause which I deem sacred. I can not accuse myself of any act which would abase me before my conscience. At the beginning, I confess I was distressed by the change of fortune; but later I consoled myself with the thought that juster and worthier men have suffered greater wrongs. I know it is not possible for anybody to make everything conform to his wishes. If this is fanaticism, then may God forgive me; for no matter how I look at it, I do not see it in that light.

Your Reverence added; "Which advices I hope he will now accept with pleasure since they are the only ones that will redeem him as they surely possess the efficacy of restoring to him the old tranquillity of the prefect of that congregation of interns of 1875, the tranquillity that he now lacks."

Whether or not they possess the power of saving or redeeming your advices will always be received by me with pleasure. I always appreciate everything that is offered with a good heart. Now, whether to follow them or not, that will depend entirely only own judgment, since every man is responsible for his acts. At heart, however, I will ever be grateful for them.

As regards tranquillity, I believe I have invariably been tranquil. Many, it is true, pity me and lament my fate. Others think I am a fallen tree. Perhaps my spirit is to many what the sky is to observers, if you will pardon me to comparison. The sky looks overcast. There is, they say, a tempest or storm in the sky. In reality, it is only the atmosphere that is overcast; it is only the atmosphere that is troubled. A few miles beyond, there is absolute calm.

I should like to clear the air and plains of my country. Is it strange that reptiles should hiss when they see themselves driven out of their lairs, that rocks should fly and crush me when they fall? Am I not doing right? Maybe, I am mistaken; but if I am, it is not because of egoism or interests.

Now, with regard to consulting you about my doubts, that is a different matter. I should be glad to clear up three or four of the many doubts that assail me, certain that Your Reverence would throw much light on them. But this letter is already too long. So I shall leave the thing for another occasion.

For your prayers, I am very grateful to Your Reverence. I, too, pray from time to time; but when I do, it never occurs to me to ask for anything. I believe I have everything, and since whatever happens to me reflects Gods will, I am satisfied and resigned. Is this Oriental fatalism? I do not know, but I always tell to myself: I will do this and that. In the end, God will invariably have His own way. Hence I will go ahead ...



-- Edited by cesar at 02:23, 2008-06-21

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RE: Rizal's hidden letters - Intro & 1st letter
 


RIZALS SECOND LETTER TO FATHER PASTELLS

Dapitan, November 11,1892.

My Most Reverend Father:

Before replying to your valuable letter, I must thank you for Kempis* book which you kindly sent me. I had already browsed at it in French. I liked it so much that now that I have it and in Spanish, I deem it no small fortune. Some say the Latin original is still better. Gems of thought abound in its pages. Seldom do I come across a sentence that my little understanding does not grasp. Deservedly it has been translated into almost all the languages. There is even translation in Tagalog by Father Vicente Garcia, a canon of the Cathedral**.

I must thank you, too, for the works of Father Chirino and Father Delgado and for the Missionaries Letters. From father Sanchez I understand that you are giving them all to me. I had ordered them to be bought, otherwise I would not have dared to ask for them, as I do not believe I deserve so many tokens of kindness, nor do I have anything with which to reciprocate. but since Your Reverence is a noble soul, it will be said that you give solely for the sake of giving, that you give out of the goodness of your heart more than in consideration of the desert or gratitude of the recipient. You know that whatever is done with an ulterior motive turns odious because unavoidably it forges a bond or tie.

I shall not speak of the indulgence with which your Reverence received my remarks in my previous letter. Nor shall I say anything about the admiration with which your letter inspires me in every sense of the word. Your time is too precious for you to listen to the most deserved praises. So I shall limit myself to commenting with due respect on your preservations that have impressed me most.

You exclaim on the first page: "What a pity that so gifted a young man does not lavish his talents on the defense of better causes!" It is quite possible that there are better causes that the one I have espoused, but my cause is good and I am satisfied. Other causes, no doubt, will confer greater advantages, greater fame, greater honors, and greater glory. However, the bamboo that grows on our soil is designed to support nipa huts and not the massive materials for European edifices. I am not sorry for the humbleness of my cause nor for the poor reward it offers. I am only sorry that the talent God gave me is little. Instead of a frail bamboo, I had been a solid molave, I might have rendered better service. But He who ordained thus knows what the future holds in store. He does not make any mistake in His acts. Too well He knows what the tiniest things are for.

As to honors, fame or benefits that I might have reaped, I agree that they are all tempting, especially to a young man of flesh and blood like me with so many frailties like other human being. But since nobody can choose the race or nationality into which he will be born, and since when he is born the privileges and disadvantages inherent in both concepts already exist, I accept my countrys cause, confident that He who made me a Filipino will forgive whatever errors I may commit, considering our difficult situation and the defective education which we receive from the day of our birth.

At any rate, I do not aspire to eternal fame or renown. Neither do I aspire to equal others whose conditions, faculties, and circumstances could be and are, in fact, different from mine. My only wish is to do what is possible, what is within my power, what is most necessary. I have perceived a little light and I believe it is my duty to show it to my countrymen. Others who are more fortunate, like Sarda, etc., may soar to high heaven.

You did well, Your Reverence, in confining yourself in your letter to a philosophico-religious discussion, leaving aside politics for another occasion. I would ask that you hold the latter in abeyance ad kalendas graecas (indefinitely). The subject is a very delicate one, and, as Your Reverence will readily understand, it should not be discussed under the circumstances in which I find myself. Without freedom, it would be provocative to broach a rather independent idea; to broach a slavish one would appear low and fawning. I cannot be a provoker, neither can I be low or truckling. In my opinion, there must be a wide latitude of freedom in order to discuss political questions intelligently and obtain good results.

Commenting on the origin of my works and other writings, you suggest an idea that never occurred to me. You allude to certain resentments and to my hurt dignity. Such feelings I might have experienced with respect to my latest writings, but not with regard to my early ones. . . With all the sincerity and impartiality a man is capable of when examining his past, I have looked back to the tender years of my youth and asked myself if resentment could have ever prompted the pen that wrote the Noli Me Tangere. My memory has answered me in the negative.

If on various occasions I was treated with marked in justice; if my works were ignored with apparent contempt; if in spite of reason my complaints were unheeded; I was still very young, and I forgave more readily than I do now. However deep my wounds at the time, they were finally healed, thanks to the hard core with which nature has endowed me. There were thus no "rankling wounds," no "thorns that had sunk deeper." What there was a clear vision or reality in my country coupled with a vivid recollection of what was going on and a sufficient keenness to judge its etiology. As a result, I was able not only to portray the events, but also the foresee the future. In fact, even now I see what I then called a "novel" evolving with such fidelity that I can say I am witnessing the performance of my work and taking part in it.

As to my German, Protestant, and other "inspirations," I am quite surprised to see so intelligent a man as Your Reverence sharing on this score the confusion of the populace who believes everything it hears without investigating it first. True, I read German books; but that was when I already questioned the veracity and validity of the statements I read. To assume that Germans have inspired me is to betray lack of knowledge of the German people, of their character and their pursuits. One-half of the Noli Me Tangere was written in Madrid, one-fourth in Paris, and the rest in Germany. Witnesses were my countrymen who saw me at work.

When people are confronted with something unusual or startling and have neither patience nor calmness to investigate it, their first impulse is to attribute it to causes that perplex them most. If it is good, it is due to friendly spirits; if it is bad, to foes. In the Middle Ages, everything bad was the work of the devil; everything good, the work of God or His saints. Today, the French see everything in reverse and blame the Germans for it.

In the interest of truth, I will say that in correcting my manuscript in Germany, I retouched it a great deal and condensed it even more. But I also moderated its temper, toned down many expressions, and reduced a number of things to juster proportions as I came to acquire broader perspective of things seen from afar, and my imagination began to lose heat in the midst of the peculiar calm pervading that country. I will go further and affirm that no German had heard of my book before its publication, not even Blumentritt who always praised the Catholic religion in his letters, nor Virchow, nor Jagor, nor Joest, with all of whom I associated in our clubs. For that matter, Schulzer in whose clinic I worked for some time, knew nothing about it. Still, I will not deny that the atmosphere in which I live influenced me, above all on remembering my native land while I was in the midst of that free, full of confidence in its future and master of its destiny.

As to my being a Protestant, Your Reverence would not say such a thing if you only knew what I lost for not declaring myself in agreement with Protestant tenets. had I not always respected religious ideas; had I regarded religion as a science of conveniences or an art of enjoying life; I would now be a rich and free man crowned with honors, instead of being a poor deportee. Rizal, a Protestant! Something in me moves me to laughter, but I am restrained by my respect for all that you say.

Your Reverence should have heard my discussions with a Protestant minister during long winter twilights in those solitary places in Odenwald. There, enjoying complete freedom, we talk calmly and dispassionately about our respective beliefs on the morality of peoples and the influence of their respective creed on them. A healthy respect for the good faith ones opponent and for the most opposite ideas that inevitably result from diversity of race, divergence of education and age, led us almost always to the conclusion that religions, no matter what they are, should never make men enemies but good brothers. From these conversations which he held almost daily for a period of three months, there was only one conclusion I could draw, if I remember correctly, and that was to have a deep respect for every idea sincerely conceived and practised.

A Catholic priest from a small town by the Rhine came to visit the Protestant minister nearly every month. The priest, an intimate friend of the Protestant minister, gave me examples of the true Christian fraternity. They regarded themselves as two servants of the same Lord. Instead of passing the time fighting between themselves, each of them did his duty and left their Master to judge which of them had done His will.

I am most grateful for your immense charity shown when you said, " If with my blood I could wipe out those premises, etc." True, my situation is not very pleasant. I have been accustomed to live in other climates, to enjoy liberty which is essential to man if he is to be responsible for his acts. It is no less true that I have had to deprive myself of many things, going to the extent of repressing myself occasionally. The loss of a family, the destruction of a future for which I prepared myself in my youth, my seclusion from the social world all of these constitute a great punishment. But who has no sorrows, no disappointment, in this life? A little philosophy, a little resignation, will enable me to bear my small cross. What is my misfortune compared with that of many others? Too well I know that there are better trees that afford the ampler shades; but amid the darkness that shrouds my country, I seek no shade, but light.

"And how dark and threatening appear the future!" concludes the paragraph in which you display the goodness of your heart. What can we do? The storm will pass and the worst that can happen is that I shall pass away with it. There you have Kempis beautiful passages which say that "there can be no perfect security in this world nor complete peace," and that "mans life on earth is miserable," etc. Life is so short and the happiest is so full of bitterness that in truth it is not worth while sacrificing ones convictions for round pieces of metal be they in a form of a cross. Besides, it is all a matter of temperament. Some seek happiness in riches and honors; other, in humbling themselves and bending their knees before their fellow-men; some, in leading others to believe what they themselves do not believe, or in believing what nobody else believe; others content themselves with their opinions of what they are, and with self-mastery, etc. As some doctors would insist, of the nervous system; or, as philosophers would affirm, of egoism.

And who knows if the storm Your Reverence foresees will not only uproot me, a weak plant, but will also blow down secular trees or at least shake them and tear off their branches? Who knows if that storm will purify the air charged as it is with miasma which the stagnation of so many centuries has been exhaling in ominous silence? Who knows? Who can foresee all the consequences of an act? A welcome storm it will be if it will produce the good, the progress, of my country; if with it Mother Spain will be roused to act in favor of the eight million subjects who have reposed their future in her.

Beautiful and accurate are the comparisons you draw concerning the origin and conception of truth by the human mind. I will not dent the possibility that truth may have been polarized while passing through my understanding. Polarization is a process which crystals offer when in their manufacture they are pressed and compressed. Besides, how can I deny such possibility when I am a man burdened with my fallibility?

Our intelligence, I agree, cannot embrace all knowledge or all the truths, particularly when such truth require time and a series of experiments to discover them. Furthermore, I believe that with the exception of mathematical truths, the few that we possess are more or less absolute, more or less imperfect. On social, moral, and political matters, we are so much in the dark at least, I am that often we confuse the truth with what suits our purposes, if we do not muzzle it to suit our passions.

Nor do I deny that our judgment is subject to deception; our reason, to error. But Your Reverence will also agree that reason alone can correct its errors, reason alone can rise after each fall, such falls being unavoidable in its long pilgrimage on earth. In its worst madness, humanity has not been able to extinguish this lamp which God has given to man. Time and again, its light has flickered, man has lost his way; but such condition vanishes or is overcome. After that the light of reason shines more brightly and steadily. but its rays the mistakes of the past are recognized and the pitfalls of the future are marked.

To be sure, I admit that super-natural or divine light is much more perfect than human reason. Who will doubt the superiority of that Torch when we see here on earth the effects of its tiny spark vouchsafed to humanity? What reason can there be that is not the Creators when the very reasoning of that inhabitant of a small world He launched into the space like a snail amidst sea monsters is so astonishing? But who on earth can justly claim that he is the reflector of that Light?

All the religions pretend to possess the truth. Nay, not only religions but every man, even the most ignorant, the most stupid, thinks he is in the right. Seeing so many tenets and opinions; hearing the scorn with which each sectarian treats the beliefs of others; noticing the wonders, miracles, and the testimonies resorted to by every religion to prove its divinity or at least its divine origin; seeing intelligent, honest, and studious men, born in the same climate, in the same society, with the same customs, with the same desire to perfect and save themselves, yet professing in matters of religion divergent views, I am reminded of a simile which I shall take the liberty of reproducing here so that Your Reverence may understand my way of thinking better.

In the study of truth, men are to me like students of drawing who copy a statue while they are seated around it. Some of them are close to it, others are farther away. Some are seated higher, others are at the models feet. They see the statue, each from a different angle. The more they try to be faithful in their drawings, the more their drawings will differ from one another. Those who copy the original directly are the thinkers. They are the founders of schools and doctrines. They differ from one another because they start from different points of view. A great number, either because they are far from the model or cannot see very well, or because they are not so adept or because they are lazy, or because of something else, are content a draw from a copy made by a person who is near the statue. If they are favorably disposed, they may draw from the copy which they consider the best or is regarded as the best. Such copyists are the followers, the active sectarians of an idea. Others still lazier, who dare not trace a line for fear of committing a mistake, buy a ready-made copy, perhaps a photograph or a lithographic reproduction. Not only are they satisfied with it, but are proud of it. They are the passive sectarians, who believe everything because they dont want to do any thinking themselves.

Who, then, taking his own as the standard, can properly judge the drawings of others? To be fair, he would have to move to the same place occupied by each and other student and judge according to the viewpoint of each. What is more, he would have to place his eyes at the same height and distance as every other student did. The curves of his retina would have to be adjusted in such a manner that they would be the same as those of every other. He would have the same conditions of refraction, and the same artistic taste.

Your Reverence cannot say that, see from all angles, truth will present the same form. That would be true only to Him who is everywhere. To us, mathematical truths are the only ones that present themselves in one way because they are like plane figures. But religious, moral and political truths are figures with extension and depth. They are complex truths, and human intelligence has to study them separately.

From the way I look at it, nobody can judge the beliefs of others, using his own as the only criterion. Before discussing such beliefs, he should consider his point of departure in order to determine whether he has chosen the dark side (pessimism) or the bright side (optimism) or an adequate combination of both to create a beautiful chiaroscuro.

And if it is very hard to put oneself on the same point of view as that of another in the material world, how much harder when one has to deal with the hidden and complicated moral world?

This is neither the time nor the occasion to tell you why my point of view is different from yours. What mine is I could explain if I thought you were interested in it. However, this letter is now getting too long. I shall therefore leave the matter until you ask for it.

But before I close, I should like to register my astonishment at your conclusion, attributing to me more than I deserve. "I would have liked to go further on certain points," you say, "especially to refute your ideas of separatism, for the triumph of which you believe you are heaven-sent."

Frankly, I would not wish to suppose that Your Reverence has the propensity to jump to rash conclusions. Nor would I wish to believe that you are somewhat influenced by the common habit in the Philippines of resorting to the stratagem of charging an opponent with filibusterismo, separatism, patriotism, etc. I would rather believe that I failed to express myself clearly, only that Your Reverence quoted the paragraphs from which you drew your conclusion. I have re-read them and found nothing at all to justify your assertion.

Does he who believes that he is God-sent or God-chosen doubt as I doubt? Do those who think they are predestined hesitate and err? Does not Your Reverence believe in conscience that the most humble creature has an end to serve on earth? Were there useless beings, beings whose existence was absolutely a matter of complete indifference, would it not be cruel to create them, knowing that the sum-total of suffering on this side of creation far exceeds that of joy or pleasure?

I could very well be a partisan to an idea in point of fact, I am but from being a partisan to being heaven-sent to make that idea triumph, there is a world of difference. Between the buck private who carries the gun and the general who directs the campaign there are many ranks to hurdle. Between the vanguard platoon and the army that makes the last charge and reaps the fruit of victory there is an entire battle.

And who says that my countrys welfare, which is all that I seek, can be attained only through separation?

So that Your Reverence may see for yourself that I have ever been a plain and simple man ready to bow to circumstances, I will let you know that I am now devoting my time to agriculture. To what else can one devote oneself in Dapitan? Imagine an envoy of Heaven planting coffee and cocoa! Risum teneatis (can you restrain your laughter)? I have bought several parcels of abandoned land from their owners. I am now constructing a small house on one of them. Since my lots are somewhat far, I am planning to request His Excellency to allow me to live in the midst of my plants so that I can cultivate them better. My lots are full of woods and stones and contain some fruit-bearing trees which prove beneficial to the monkeys in the neighboring forests. From the town the distance is about 25 minutes hike. One can reach the place better by using a baroto. That is how many used to go there. I t is difficult to use a banca. I intend to register the entire property once all the transactions are completed . . ."

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RIZAL'S THIRD LETTER TO FATHER PASTELLS

Dapitan, January 9, 1893

My Most Reverend Father:

With great pleasure I have read your esteemed and profound the letter of December 8th. I am most grateful to you for your continued interest in me.

For some time now I have been examining my beliefs and the foundations on which they rest. I have reviewed what little is left of what my dear professor, Father Sanchez has aptly called "shipwreck of faith," or the solid bases that have withstood so many storms. In the definition and exposition of my ideas I should like to be a sincere and accurate as possible as I value Your Reverence so much only for what you are, or for what you were to me in my adolescent years, the recollection of which is always dear and sacred to me, but also for your being still one of the few persons who, far from forgetting me in my adversity, have so benevolently lent me a helping hand.

Gladly, therefore, I shall answer your questions in all candor so that you may see for yourself whether all is lost or there is yet something left which may be made use of.

More than by faith, I firmly believe by reasoning and by necessity that a Creator exists. Who is He? What human sounds, what words of any language, can enclose or envelop such Being whose wonders stagger the imagination that pictures them? Who can give Him an adequate name when a petty human being here on earth with an ephemeral power has two or three names, three or four surnames, and the many titles?

Dios we call Him in Spanish, but that merely recalls the Latin deus and the Greek Zeus. What is He? If fear of my ignorance did not deter me, I should ascribe to Him to an infinite degree all the beautiful and holy qualities that my mind can conceive. Somebody has said that each man makes his God in his own image. If I remember right, Anacreon said that if the bull could imagine a god, it would imagine him to be like itself with horns and a superlative bellowing power.

Nevertheless, I believe God to be infinitely wise, perfect, and good. But then, my idea of the infinite is imperfect and confused, considering the wonders of His works; the order that governs them, their overwhelming magnificence and extent, and the goodness that shines through all of them. The lucubrations of a poor worm, the least of all creatures on this tiny ball of earth, can never offend His inconceivable majesty however crazy they may be. The very thought of Him overpowers me, makes my mind reel, and every time my reason tries to lift up its eyes to that Being, it falls dazzled, bewildered , overwhelmed. Fear seizes me and I resolve to keep silent rather than be like Anacreons bull.

With this vague but irresistible feeling pervading whole being before the inconceivable, the superhuman, the infinite, I leave its study to clearer minds . In suspense I listen to what the different religions say, and unable to pass judgment on what lies beyond my comprehension, I content myself with studying Him through His creatures, my fellow-beings. In my mysterious voice I hear within me, the purity of which I endeavor to preserve above all things so as to enable me to act in accordance with it, I try to read, to guess, His will in all that surrounds me.

Many religions claim to have that written in condensed form in their books and dogmas, but apart from the numerous contradictions, the varied interpretations of words, the many obscure points . . ."

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Salin sa Tagalog:

Higit sa pananampalataya, sa pagkukuru-kuro at sa pangangailangan ay buong katibayang-loob na naniniwala akong may isang Makapangyarihang lumalang sa lahat. Sino Siya? Anong tinig ng tao, anong mga pantig ng salita ang bumubuo ng pangalan ng Makapangyarihang iyan na ang mga gawa'y nakalilito sa dili-diling umiisip sa mga ito? Sino ang makapagbibigay sa Kanya ng angkop na pangalan, gayong ang isang hamak na nilikha sa lupang ito, na sasandali lamang ang kapangyarihan, ay may dalawa o tatlong pangalan, tatlo o apat na apelyido at maraming titulo't apelyido?

Tinatawag natin siyang DIYOS nguni't ito'y nagpapaalala lamang sa DEUS ng mga Latino, o kaya'y sa ZEUS ng mga Griyego. Anu-ano ang Kanyang mga katangian? Iuukol ko sa Kanya ang lahat ng magaganda't banal na katangiang maaaring ibunga ng aking isip, sa isang antas na walang-hanggan, kung hindi ako pipigilin ng takot ng aking kamangmangan. May isang nagsabi na bawa't tao'y gumugunita sa isang diyos na kaparis at kamukha niya, at kung hindi ako namamali, si Anacreonte ay nagsabing kung ang isang toro'y makapag-iisip ng gaya ng isang diyos, ay iisip siya ng isang sungayan at uunga ng gayon na lamang kalakas.

Gayunma'y pinangangahasan kong paniwalaang labis-labis ang Kanyang karunungan, kapangyarihan at kabutihan; ang aking isipan tungkol sa kawalang hanggan ay hindi ganap at malabo sa pagkakamalas sa mga kahanga-hangang gawa Niya, ang kaayusang naghahari, ang kagandahan at kalawakang nakalilito at ang kabutihang nagniningning sa lahat. Ang mga paghuhulu-hulo ng isang hamak na uod, na siyang kahuli-hulihan sa lupang ito, ay hindi makasisira kailanman, magpakabaliw-baliw man, sa di-matingkalang kadakilaan Niya. Isipin lamang ay nanliliit na ako, ako'y nalulula at di-miminsang tinangka ng aking isip na itingala ang mga mata sa Makapangyarihang iyan, nguni't sa tuwing gagawin ay litong napapatungo, nasisilaw at nadaraganan. Pinanghihilakbutan ako sa takot, at minamabuti kong huwag kumibo kaysa maging toro ni Anacreonte.

Taglay ang malabo nguni't di-mapaglabanang damdaming ito sa harap ng di-sukat malirip, ng higit sa kakayahan ng tao, ng kawalang-hanggan, ay ipinauubaya ko ang pagsusuri sa lalong maniningning na kaisipan, walang kibong pinakikinggan ko ang mga sinasabi ng mga relihiyon, at sa kawalang-kayang humatol sa nasa kabila ng aking kakayahan, ay magkakasya na lamang ako sa pagsusuri sa mga nilikha Niya, na aking mga kapatid, at sa tinig ng aking budhi na sa Kanya lamang maaaring manggaling. Tinatangka kong basahin at hulaan ang Kanyang kalooban, sa pamamagitan ng nakapaligid sa akin at sa mahiwagang damdaming nararamdaman kong nasa kalooban ko, na sa ibabaw ng lahat ng bagay ay sinisikap kong maging malinis, upang makagawa ng naaayon sa Kanya.

Marami sa mga relihiyon ang nagpapalagay na sa kanilang mga aklat at mga aral ay nalilimi at nasasaad ang kaloobang iyan, nguni't bukod sa maraming pagkakasalungatan, ng iba't ibang pagpapakahulugan sa mga salita, sa maraming bagay na malabo at hindi mapaninindigan, ang aking budhi, ang aking isip ay hindi makapayag kung paanong Siya, na sa Kanyang karunungan at pagka-Ama'y nagbigay sa Kanyang mga nilalang ng lahat ng kailangan sa buhay na ito ay maglilibing ng kinakailangan para sa buhay na walang-hanggan sa mga ulap ng isang wikang hindi kilala ng ibang bahagi ng daigdig, na pinadidilim ng mga talinhaga at pangyayaring nalalabag sa mga batas na Siya rin ang nagtakda. Siya, na nagpapasikat ng Kanyang araw para sa lahat at nagpapalibo't ng hangin sa lahat ng dako, upang buhayin ang dugo, Siya na naggawad ng katalinuhan at katwiran sa lahat upang mabuhay sa buhay na ito, Siya ba ang magtatago ng lalong kailangan sa buhay na walang-hanggan? Ano ang masasabi natin sa isang amang ang kanyang anak ay pinupuno ng kakanin at laruan, nguni't isa lamang sa kanila ang pinakakain, iisa ang pinapag-aaral at tinatangkilik? At kung ang mangyari, pagkatapos, ay tanggihan ng itinatanging ito ang pagkain, samantalang ang iba'y nangamamatay halos sa paghanap ng pagkaing iyan?

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RIZAL'S FOURTH LETTER TO FATHER PASTELLS

Dapitan, April 4, 1893

My Most Reverend Father:

In time I received your gift, Monsignor Bougauds work*, which I am reading with the liveliest interest. It is one of the best works of its kind that I have seen, not only by its exposition, but also by its eminently Christian and conciliatory spirit, by the clarity with which the author writes and the strength of his convictions. If Sardas work is that of a champion or a polemist, Monsignor Bougauds is that of a prelate in the most beautiful sense of the word.

Let us see if by reading it, I shall change my faith or the faith that you miss in me will be restored; if not, we shall have to content ourselves with what God has given to each of us.

Do not be surprised that I am quite late in answering your esteemed letter of last February 2nd. For such delay, I am very sorry. Were it possible. I should prefer to be charged with discourtesy rather than be accused of wounding your convictions directly in this discussion.

With Your Reverence it would have been much pleasanter for me to confine myself to defending my views rather than taking the offensive. However, you challenge me, and so, much against my will, I accept the challenge but with manu nuda (naked hand) as I do not like to use arms for that matter, I do not have any, not even books with which to prove my citations.

We are in accord that God exists. How can I doubt His existence when I am convinced on my own? To recognize the effect is to admit the cause. To doubt the existence of God is to doubt ones conscience; and to doubt ones conscience is to doubt everything. In such a case, what would be the purpose of life?

Now, if the result of reasoning may be called faith, my faith on God is blind, blind in the sense that it knows nothing. I neither believe nor disbelieve the qualities that many people ascribe to Him. I smile at the definitions and lucubrations of theologians and philosophers about that ineffable and inscrutable Being. Convinced that I stand before that supreme Problem which confused voices wish to explain to me, I cannot but answer: "Perhaps, you are right; but the God I am aware of is far greater and far better. Plus supra!" (far beyond)!

I do not believe the Revelation impossible. Rather, I believe in it. Not, however, in the revelations which each and every religion claims to possess. If we examine, compare, and scrutinize such revelations impartially, we shall detect in all of them human claws and the stamp of the age in which they were written. No; mans makes his God in his own image and then ascribes to Him his own works in the same manner that the Polish magnates used to choose their king and then impose their will on him. All of us do the same: Your Reverence does it when you say, "He who made eyes, will he not see? He who shaped ears, will he not hear?" Pardon me, but since we have already spoken about the bull of Anacreon,, let us hear it below: "He who made the horns, will he not know how to gore?" No; what is perfection with us may be imperfection with God.

Poor inhabitants that we are of a small planet lost in at the infinite space, let us not make God in our own image. However brilliant and sublime our intellect may be, it is at best a tiny spark that glows and is extinguished in a moment. But it alone can give us an idea of that blaze of fire, that conflagration, that vast sea of light.

I believe in revelation, but in that living revelation of Nature which surrounds us everywhere; in that powerful, eternal, incessant, incorruptible, clear, distinct, and universal voice like the one from whom it emanates; that revelation which speaks to us and pervades our being from birth to death. What books can reveal to us better Gods goodness, love, providence, eternity, glory, and wisdom? Coeli enarrant gloriam Domini, et opera manum ejus enunciat firmamentum (The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork). What more Bible, what more gospel, does humanity wish? Ah, does not Your Reverence believe that men did wrong in seeking the divine will in palimpsests or parchments and temples, instead of searching for it in the works of Nature and under the august dome of the heavens? Instead of interpreting obscure passages or phrases designed to provoked hatred, wars, and dissensions, would it not have been better to interpret the works of Nature to enable us to adapt our lives more readily to its inviolable laws and utilize its forces for our perfection? When did men begin to act as brothers? Was it not only when they found the first pages of the work of God? Like the prodigal son who, blind to the joys of his parents home, left in search of other homes, mankind has for centuries wandered, miserable and full of hate.

I do not deny that there are precepts of absolute necessity and usefulness clearly enunciated in Nature, but God has lodged them in the human heart, in man's conscience, His best temple. Hence, I adore more this good and provident God. He has endowed each of us with all that is necessary to save ourselves and has continuously opened to us the book of His revelation with His priest unceasingly speaking to us through the voice of our conscience.

Consequently, the best religions are the simplest ones, the most natural, the ones most in harmony with the needs and aspirations of man. Herein lies the principal excellence of the doctrine of Christ.

When I say that the voice of my conscience can come only from God, I do not prejudge; I merely deduce. God could not have created me for my misfortune; for what wrong could I have done to Him before I was born, that He should decree my perdition? Nor could He have created me for no purpose or for an indifferent one; for then, why my sufferings why the slow torture of my unceasing longing? For a good purpose He must have created me, and for that I have no better guide than my conscience, my conscience alone, which judges and appraises my acts. He would be inconsistent if after having created me, He did not provide me with the means to attain that purpose. He would be like the blacksmith who wanted to make a knife, but did not sharpen any of the edges.

All Your Reverences brilliant and subtle arguments, which I shall not try to refute because it would require a whole dissertation, can not convince me that the Catholic Church is endowed with infallibility. In it the human claws are no less apparent. It is a more perfect institution than the others, but human nevertheless, with all the defects, errors, and vicissitudes inherent in the work of man. As the direct heir of the political sciences, the religions, and the arts, of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, it is more wisely and ably managed. Its foundation lies in the heart of the people, in the imagination of the multitude, in the attachment of women; but like all other religions, it has its dark points, which veils under the name mysteries; it has its puerilities, which it sanctifies as miracles; it has its divisions or dissensions, which it calls sects or heresies.

Nor can I believe that before the advent of Jesus Christ, all the peoples were in the abyss you speak of. Precisely, there is Socrates who dies for proclaiming the existence of only one God. There is divine Plato. There are the virtuous Aristides, Phocion, and Miltiades. There is Zarathustra, founder of the religion of force; and there is Kung Sien, founder of the religion of reason and Chinas lawmaker.

Neither can I believe that after Christ everything has been light, peace, and happiness; that the majority of men have become just. To confute all such assertions, you have the battlefields, the stakes, the destructive fires, the prisons, the crimes committed, the tortures of the Inquisition, the hates that Christian nations engender against one another on account of flimsy differences; the slavery that for eighteen centuries was tolerated, if not sanctioned. Prostitution is still rampant. There is, finally, a great portion of society that is still hostile to its own religion.

Your Reverence will tell me that all this exists because they left the church. But did not these evils exist when the church was dominant? Did they not exist in the Middle Ages, and when the whole of Europe was a battlefield? Did they not exist when in the first three centuries the church was in the catacombs, in distress, and without power? If there was a peace then and there was no peace it could not have been due to the church because the church was not in power.

I rejoice , my dear Father Pastells, when I see men like you, filled with faith and virtue, sustain a faith and lament the present troubles of humanity. This shows love of that faith. I rejoice, too, that generous spirits like Your Reverence watch over the future of that faith. But I rejoice more when I behold humanity in its immortal march, always moving forward, in spite of its failings and errors, in spite of its deviations, because all this proves me its glorious end, and that it has been created for a better purpose than to be devoured by flames. All this fills me with trust in God who will not allow His handiwork to be destroyed in spite of the devil and all our acts of madness.

As to contradictions in the canonical books and miracles I confess that the subject has been so thoroughly threshed out that it is a waste of time to go over it again. All can be explained when one is favorably inclined to hear, and all can be accepted when one is willing to believe. This will has an enormous power over the will. I shall not speak either of the contradictions in the genealogies or of the Cana miracle which Christ performed although he said His hour had not yet come. Nor shall I speak of the loaves of bread and fishes, or of the temptation, etc. All these things do not reduce the stature of the man who uttered the Sermon on the Mount and the famous, "Father, forgive them . . ." What I am after far transcends all that.

Who died on the Cross? Was it the God or the man? If it was the God, I do not understand how a God, conscious of his mission, could die. I do not understand how a God could exclaim in the garden, "Pater, Si possible transeat a me calix ista" (Father, if it possible, let this cup pass from me) and again exclaim on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken?" This cry is absolutely human. It was the cry of a man who had faith in the justice and goodness of his cause. Except the words, "Hodie mecum eris" (Today you will be with me), it is the cry of Christ on Calvary. All this shows a man in torment and agony, but what a man! To me, Christ the man is greater than Christ the God. Had it been God who said. "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," those who laid hands on him should have been forgiven, unless we say that God is like the certain men who say one thing and then do another.

I find another objection to the miracles of Christ in the apostasy of his disciples and their refusal to believe in his resurrection. had they really witnessed so many acts of wonder and resurrection, they would not have deserted him so cravenly nor doubted his resurrection. Whoever gives back life to others can very well recover his own.

As to Your Reverences explanation about the miracles that He has decreed the laws will not contradict himself by suspending them at certain times in order to attain certain objectives, it seems to me that though he may not contradict himself, yet he is inferior to him who can realize the same objectives without suspending the operation of laws. A good one governs in peace without changing or disturbing anything.

Your Reverence calls this the stupid pride of rationalists. But a question suggests itself: who is more stupidly proud, the man who is satisfied with following his own reason, or the man who tries to impose on others what reason does not prompt him to tell them, but just because he surmises it to be the truth? What has been reasoned out has never appeared stupid to me. Pride has always manifested itself in the idea of domination. . . .

I congratulate Your Reverence for the relative rest and leisure give you in reducing the load you used to carry.

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Salin sa Tagalog:

Lubos tayong nagkakaisa sa pag-aming may isang Diyos; bakit ko ito pag-aalinlanganan sa ako'y naniniwalang may buhay ako? Ang naniniwala sa bunga ay naniniwala sa nagbunga. Ang pag-aalinlangan sa Diyos ay katulad ng pag-aalinlangan sa sariling budhi, at dahil dito'y para na ring nag-alinlangan sa lahat; kung gayo'y ano ang kahulugan ng buhay?

Ngayon, ang pananampalataya ko sa Diyos, kung matatawag na pananampalataya ang bunga ng isang pagkukuro, ay bulag, bulag sa kahulugang walang nauunawa. Ni hindi ako naniniwala sa mga katangiang iniuukol sa Kanya ng marami: nangingiti ako sa harap ng mga pakahulugan at mga sali-salimuot na pagkukuro ng mga teologo at mga pilosopo sa di-masaysay at di-matarok na tinugang (ser) iyan. Sa harap ng aking matibay na pananalig na ako'y nasa harap ng pinakadakilang Suliranin, na ibig ipaliwanag sa akin ng mga tinig na nakalilito, ay hindi maaaring di ako sumagot: Maaari nga, nguni't ang Diyos na nararamdaman ko ay lalu't lalong dakila, lalu't lalong mabuti: Plus Supra!

Hindi ko ipinalalagay na hindi mangyayari ang pagpapahayag ng Diyos, bagkus pa ngang ito'y pinaniniwalaan ko; datapwa't hindi ang paghahayag o maraming paghahayag na inaangkin ng bawa't relihiyon o ng lahat ng relihiyon. Sa isang walang pagkiling na pagsusuri, pagpaparis-paris at pagsisiyasat sa mga iyon ay dili ang hindi mapagkilala ng sinuman sa kanilang lahat ANG KUKO NG TAO at ang tatak ng panahon ng sulatin ang mga iyon. Hindi; ginagawa ng tao ang kanyang Diyos na kalarawan niya at kawangis at pagkatapos ay ipinaangkin sa Diyos ang sarili niyang
ginagawa, katulad ng pagpili ng mga maharlikang Polako sa kanilang hari, upang pagkatapos, ay ipasunod dito ang kanilang kalooban. Ganyan din ang ginagawa nating lahat, gayundin ang Inyong Kamahalan ng sabihin ninyo sa aking: "Ang gumawa ng mga mata'y hindi ba makakakita? Ang yumari ng tainga'y hindi ba makakarinig?" Ipagpatawad sa akin ng Inyong Kamahalan, nguni't yamang napag-usapan na rin lamang natin ang toro ni Anacreonte, ay pakinggan natin ang kanyang pag-unga: Ang gumawa ng sungay ay hindi ba marunong manuwag? Hindi, ang ipinalalagay nating isang bagay na walang kasing buti ay maaaring isang kapintasan sa Diyos.

Huwag, huwag tayong gumawa ng isang Diyos na kalarawan natin, tayong mga kaawa-awang mamamayan sa isang munting planetang nawala sa
kalawakang walang-hanggan. Magpakaningning-ningning man at magpakagaling-galing ng ating isip ay ni hindi magiging isang munting kislap na magliliwanag at mamamatay sa isang sandali, at kung siya lamang mag- isa ay hindi makapagbibigay sa atin ng kahulugan ng sigang iyan, ng sunog na iyan, ng karagatang iyan ng liwanag.

Naniniwala ako sa pagpapahayag, nguni't sa pagpapahayag ng kalikasang nakaliligid sa atin sa lahat ng dako, sa malakas na tinig na iyan, walang-hanggan, walang tigil, hindi mapasasama, maliwanag, naiiba, pangkalahatang katulad ng dakilang tinugang (ser) kanyang pinanggalingan, sa pagpapahayag na iyang sa ati'y nagsasalita at naglalagos buhat sa ating pagsilang sa maliwanag hanggang sa ating kamatayan. Aling mga aklat ang lalong makapaghahayag sa atin ng kabutihan ng Diyos, ng Kanyang pag-ibig, ng Kanyang pagtatalaga, ng Kanyang kawalang-hanggan, ng Kanyang kaluwalhatian, ng Kanyang karunungan? Coeli enarrant gloriam Domini, et opera manum ejus anunciat firmamentum (Ang mga langit ay nagsasaysay sa kaluwalhatian ng Panginoon at ang mga bituin ay nagpapakilala sa mga gawa ng Kanyang mga kamay). Ano pang bibliya at ano pang mga ebanghelyo ang ibig ng sangkatauhan? Ah! Hindi ba inaakala ng Inyong Kamahalan na napakasama ang ginawa ng mga tao sa paghanap sa kalooban ng Diyos sa mga pergamino at mga templo, sa halip na hanapin ang kaloobang iyan sa mga likha ng Kalikasan at sa silong ng kagalang-galang na bubong ng mga langit? Sa halip na pakahuluganan ang mga gawa ng Kalikasan upang ang buhay nati'y maiangkop na lalo sa
di-malalabag na mga batas niya at gamitin ang kanyang lakas sa ganap na ikabubuti natin? Kailan nagsimulang maging magkakapatid sa gawa ang mga tao kundi ng kanilang matunghayan ang unang dahon ng akda ng Diyos? Katulad ng anak na bulagsak, na, sa kabulagan sa harap ng kaligayahang handog ng tahanan ng kanyang mga magulang ay humanap ng iba, ang sangkatauha'y parang isang kahabag-habag at puno ng sama ng loob na nagpagala-gala sa loob ng maraming daantaon.

Hindi ko itinatangging may mga kautusang lubhang kailangan at kapaki-pakinabang na hindi natatausang maliwanag sa kalikasan, nguni't ang mga kautusang iya'y inilagay ng Diyos sa puso, sa budhi ng tao, na siyang pinakamagaling na templo nila, at dahil diya'y lalo kong sinasamba ang Diyos na iyang napakabuti, maalalahanin, na nagkaloob sa bawa't isa sa atin ng kinakailangan upang tayo'y makaligtas, na lagi ng inilalaan sa ating bukas ang aklat ng Kanyang pagpapahayag at walang puknat na pinagsasalita ang Kanyang kinatawan sa tinig ng ating budhi.

Dahil dito'y ang mga relihiyong lalong mabubuti ay siyang pinaka-simple, siyang lalong naaangkop sa Kalikasan, siyang lalong katugma ng mga pangangailangan at mga hangarin ng tao, at narito ang
lalong pangunahing katangian ng aral ni Kristo.

Hindi ako nangungunang-bait sa pagsasabing sa Diyos lamang maaaring magbuhat ang tinig ng aking budhi: ito'y isang pasyang bunga lamang ng aking hinuha. Hindi maaaring ako'y lalangin ng Diyos upang pasamain, sapagka't ano ang ginagawa ko sa Kanya, bago Niya ako lalangin, upang nasain Niya ang aking kapahamakan? Ni hindi dapat na ako'y lalangin Niya upang mauwi lamang sa wala, o sa kawalang anuman, sapagka't ano ang katuturan ng aking mga pagtitiis; ano ang kahulugan ng banay-banay na paghihirap sa walang lagot kong pagnanasa? Nararapat akong lalangin para sa isang mabuting layon, at dahil dito'y walang pinakamabuting makaaakay sa akin kundi ang aking budhi, ang budhi ko lamang, na siyang humahatol at nagbibigay kahulugan sa aking mga ginagawa. Magiging isang kasaliwatan kung pagkatapos na ako'y lalangin para sa isang layon ay hindi ako bibigyan ng sangkap na ikatatamo ko noon, katulad ng isang panday na gumawa ng isang kutsilyo nguni't hindi ito nilagyan ng talim.

Lahat ng maniningning at magagaling na pangangatwiran ng Inyong Kamahalan na hindi ko sasagutin, sapagka't kung gagawin ko'y makakasulat ako ng isang makapal na aklat, ay hindi makapagpapaniwala sa akin na ang simbahang katoliko ay nag-aangkin ng di- pagkakaaring magkamali. Sa kanya ma'y naroroon ang kuko ng tao; siya nga'y isang
kapisanang lalong ganap kaysa iba, nguni't gayunma'y gawang-tao ring may mga kapintasan, may mga kamalian at may mga pagbabago-bagong sarili
ng mga gawa ng tao. Ang simbahang katoliko'y higit sa karunungan, ang pangangasiwa sa kanya'y lalong magaling kaysa ibang mga relihiyon bilang tuwirang tagapagmana ng mga karunungang pampulitika, ng mga relihiyon at sining sa Ehipto, Gresya at Roma: ang kanyang saliga'y nasa puso ng bayan, nasa dili-dili ng karamihan at nasa pagmamahal ng mga babae; datapwa't katulad din ng ibang relihiyon ay may mga bahaging malalabo at madidilim na binibihisan ng pangalan ng mga hiwaga, ng mga kamusmusang pinapagiging banal sa mga himala, pagkakapangkat-pangkat at pagbabagay- bagay na tinatawag na mga sekta o erehiya.

Hindi ako makapaniwalang bago dumating si Hesukristo'y nasa malalim na
impiyerno ang lahat ng mga bayan, gaya ng sinasabi ng Inyong
Kagalang-galang. Hindi nga; sa katotohana'y nariyan si Socrates, na
pinatay dahil sa pagsasabing may isa lamang Diyos, nariyan ang
maka-Diyos na si Platon, nariyan ang mga mababait na sina Aristides,
Focion Milciades; nariyan si Zarathustra, ang nagtatag ng relihiyon ng
lakas at nariyan si Kung Sien, ang nagtayo ng relihiyon ng katwiran,
ang tagapagbatas ng Tsina.

Ni hindi rin ako makapaniwalang matapos dumating si Kristo, ang lahat
ay naging liwanag, kapayapaan at mabuting kapalaran, na ang karamihan
sa mga tao'y nanumbalik sa pagkamapanghawak sa matuwid; hindi nga, at
upang masinungalingan ito'y nariyan ang mga larangan ng digmaan, ang
mga sunog, ang mga siga, ang mga bilangguan, ang mga panggagahasa, ang
mga pagpapahirap ng Ingkisisyon; nariyan ang pagkakaalitang tinataglay
ng isa sa isa ng mga bansang Kristiyano, sanhi sa baha-bahagya lamang
na di-pagkakaunawaan, nariyan ang pang-aaliping ipinagwawalang-bahala,
kung di man sinasang-ayunan, sa loob ng labingwalong daantaon; nariyan
ang pagbibili ng laman...; nariyan, sa wakas, ang malaking bahagi ng
lipunang kaalit o kalaban ng kanilang sariling relihiyon.

Sasabihin
ninyo sa aking ang lahat ng ito'y nangyayari sanhi sa sila'y
nagsitiwalag sa simbahan; nguni't ng ang simbahang ito ang
nakapaghahari, ay hindi ba nagkaroon din ng mga samang iyan? Hindi ba
nagkaroon niyan ng panahon ng Edad Media? Hindi ba nagkaroon ng ang
buong Europa ay maging isang larangan ni Agramente? Hindi ba? Hindi ba,
noong unang tatlong daantaon ng ang simbahan ay nasa mga libingan sa
ilalim ng lupa (catacumba), tumatangis na nakabilanggo at walang kapangyarihan? Noon, kung may kapayapaan, nguni't sadyang wala naman, ay hindi utang iyon sa simbahan, palibhasa'y hindi siya ang nakapangyayari.

Ah! Hindi, minamahal kong P. Pastells; ikinalulugod
kong mamalas ang mga taong tulad ng Inyong Kamahalan na puno ng
pananalig at ng kabaitan, na nagsasanggalang ng isang pananampalataya
at naghihimutok sa mga kasalukuyang kasawiang-palad ng sangkatauhan,
sapagka't ang ganya'y nagpapakilala ng pag-ibig sa kanya, at may
magagandang kaloobang nagmamalasakit at nagtatanod sa kanyang
hinaharap, gaya ng inyong tinataglay; nguni't lalo na akong nalulugod
kung minamalas ko ang sangkatauhan sa kanyang walang kamatayang
paglakad, laging umuunlad kahit na nagkaroon ng mga panlulupaypay at
pagkakarapa, kahit na nagkaroon ng mga pagkakamali, sapagka't ang
gayo'y nagpapakilala sa akin ng kanyang maluwalhating wakas,
nagpapakilala sa aking siya'y nilalang para sa lalong mabuting wakas
kaysa tupukin ng apoy, iya'y pumupuspos sa akin ng pagtitiwala sa Diyos
at hindi magtutulo't na mapariwara ang Kanyang nilikha, kahit na sa
harap ng diyablo at ng lahat nating mga kaululan.

Hinggil sa mga pagkakasalungatan sa mga aklat ng bibliya na pinagtibay
ng kautusan ng simbahan, sa mga himala, ay ipinagtatapat kong ang bagay
na ito'y napakadalas ng mapag- usapan at nakamumuhing ulitin. Ang lahat
ay naipapaliwanag kung iniibig, at ang lahat ay natatanggap kung ibig
tanggapin. Ang kalooban ay may isang napakalaking lakas sa dili-dili at
ang dili-dili'y gayundin sa kalooban. Kaya't hindi ako tutukoy ni sa
pagkakasalungatan ng mga sunod-sunod na pinagmulan ng ilang taong
binabanggit sa kasulatan, ni sa himala sa Kanaa, na ginawa ni Kristo,
bagaman sinasabing hindi pa dumarating ang kanyang takdang kapanahunan,
ni tungkol sa mga tinapay at mga isda, ni sa panunukso at iba pa; ang
lahat ng bagay na ito'y hindi nakapagpabawas sa tindig ng bumigkas ng Sermon sa Kabundukan at nagsabi ng bantog na: "Ama ko, patawarin mo sila"...ang aking tutukuyin ay lalong mahalaga.

Sino ang namatay sa krus? Ang Diyos ba o ang tao? Kung ang Diyos, ay hindi ko maunawa kung paanong ang isang Diyos na nakakaalam ng Kanyang tungkulin ay maaaring mamatay, kung bakit ang isang Diyos ay nakapaghimutok sa halamanan ng: "Pater, si possibile transeat a me calix ista!" (Ama, kung maaari ay ilayo Mo sa akin ang kalis na ito) upang muling humiyaw sa krus ng "Diyos ko, Diyos ko, bakit Mo ako pinabayaan?" Ang sigaw ng isang taong nananalig sa katarungan at kabutihan ng kanyang
layunin; maliban sa Hodie mecum eris (Ngayon ay kakasamahin kita) na isinigaw ni Kristo sa kalbaryo, lahat-lahat ay nagpapakilala sa isang taong nasa paghihirap at naghihingalo, nguni't anong tao! At
sa ganang akin, si Kristong-tao ay lalong dakila kaysa kay Kristong-Diyos. Kung tunay ngang Diyos ang nagsabi ng "Ama ko, patawarin Mo sila, sapagka't hindi nila nalalaman ang kanilang ginagawa," disin sana'y pinatawad ang mga tumampalasan sa kanya, maliban na lamang kung sabihin nating ang Diyos ay nakakatulad na ilang taong nagsasabi ng isang bagay, nguni't pagkatapos ay iba ang ginagawa.

Isa pa sa aking puna sa mga himala ni Kristo ay ang pagtalikod sa
pananampalataya ng kanyang mga alagad at ang kanilang di-paniniwala sa
pagkabuhay na muli. Kung sila'y naging mga saksi ng napakaraming
kababalaghan at ng pagkabuhay na muli, ay di sana siya pinabayaang
mag-isa at hindi sana sila nag-alinlangan sa pagkabuhay na muli ni
Kristo. Ang nakapagsasauli ng buhay ng iba, ay maaaring makapagsauli ng
buhay niyang sarili.

Tungkol sa inyong paliwanag na ibinibigay hinggil sa mga himala, na,
Siyang naglagda ng mga batas ay hindi sumasalungat sa Kanyang sarili sa
pamamagitan ng pagpigil sa mga batas na iyan sa isang takdang panahon,
upang matamo ang binabalak Niyang kamtin, ay naisip kong kung bagaman
maaaring hindi nga sumalungat, gayunma'y lumalabas na Siya'y mababa
kaysa roon sa maaaring makapagtamo ng gayunding layon ng walang
pipigilin ni babaguhin kahit ano. Ang isang pangkaraniwang namamahala
lamang ang kung minsa'y pumipigil sa bisa ng mga batas; ang isang
mabuting tagapamahala ay mapayapang namamahala ng walang binabago ni
sinisirang anuman.

Tinatawag ng Inyong Kamahalan na ito'y hangal na pagmamalaki ng mga
mapagmatuwid. May naiisip pa akong isang katanungan: alin ang lalong
hangal na mapagmalaki: ang nasisiyahan sa pagsunod sa kanyang sariling
kuro, o ang ibig magpasunod sa iba ng hindi ipinapayo ng kanyang
sariling isip, kundi sapagka't ipinalalagay lamang niyang siyang
katotohanan? Ang nababatay sa matuwid ay hindi ko ipinalalagay
kailanmang isang kahangalan, at ang pagmamalaki ay lagi ng
napagkikilala sa palagay ng nakahihigit o nakapangyayari.

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Fr. Pastell's rebuttals and Rizal's 5th letter

Here are some of Fr. Pastells rebuttals.

Let us not be satisfied with studying God in his creatures. Let us listen with unswerving faith through the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, to the voice of God who spoke to man directly by means of revelation.

You need not pass judgment on what you do not understand. All that is required is that you admit and believe in the truth and existence of the mystery which the Church proposes as credible and revealed by the infallible teaching office of that divinely established guardian of revelation, the Catholic Church.

That we must respect the most contrary ideas conceived and practiced with conviction, that different religions should make men brothersall these are Protestant through and through for it sets a seal of approval on private judgment.

When Protestants interpret Gods will their interpretations can neither be good nor better, but can only be bad, some worse than others.

Sacred books are more than just the insights of entire generations put to writing. These are Gods revealed words and have God for its author.

* * * * *

Exasperated by Pastells insistence, Rizal ended their correspondence through his short fifth letter to which there was no reply from Pastells, or of there was one, that letter must have been lost forever. Rizal put a stop to the debate with these words.

You say that we ought to hope that God will restore the faith which I lack. Let us then hope that he will do so, for this seems to me beyond our natural capabilities. Bougaud [a writer on religion whose book Pastells sent to Rizal as a gift] no longer convinces me. I am no longer able to comprehend any of your arguments and appreciate their merits

I deeply appreciate your desire to enlighten me and illumine my path. But I fear it is a useless task


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RE: Rizal's hidden letters
 


Amazing!!!

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ANNOTATION TO THE HIDDEN LETTERS -

Rizal was a rationalist who believed in the supremacy of science above religion. So I think the passage where he talks about god being in nature has more to it than meets the eye. It is not just an affirmation of his belief in the existence of god in the abstract but is also a reference to Fili
pino history.

When Pastell questions him on his religious beliefs, Rizal essentially responds by saying that he is a Filipino. He identifies with the unknown Filipino immortalized in history books in what is often referred to as the first encounter between the Filipino and Christianity.

That unknown early Filipino, when asked what god it was that his people believed in, stretched his arms towards the sky, gazed at the heavens, and uttered the word “bathala.” And it seems as if Rizal, in his response to
Pastell, took his cue from that unknown Filipino.

Bathala is the abstract and generic god of the Filipino.
And Rizal's reference to nature worship, while somewhat ambiguous and oblique, is there. It is a homage to the Fili
pino and Filipino culture. To our indigenous religious belief system, anitismo. That is, nature and ancestral worship.

When you pray to your lolos, lolas and other family dead, that is ancestral worship. A modern version of it. And the ferocity of our environmentalists may have its roots in nature worship. Bathala, of course, is the the king of the diwatas - our nature spirits. And there is the ever popular goddess of the mountains, Maria Makiling and the other names she takes. She, too, is a nature spirit. The embodiment of the mountain itself.

Rizal was a deist, a man who believed in God. What he did not believe in was organized religion. He did not believe in the bibles of any existing organized religion because it was his conclusion from research that these were written by men (church elders and priests?), for self-aggrandizement, deifying themselves (refer to Rizals letter to the women of Malolos), to promote their ambitions and goals (designed to provoke hatred, wars, and dissensions).

You can believe in God without being a member of an organized religion or church or without being an active participant of one. There is no contradiction there.



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