July 22, 2018, 11:56 pm
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A coward’s dare

BENEATH all his bravado - the curses and the profanity – President Duterte is really confused. He can’t even decide whether he believes in God or not.

At the opening of the National Science and Technology Week in Mindanao at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang, Davao City July 6, Duterte said, he actually believes in God even if two weeks ago he called God “stupid.”

Last Friday he said: “By the way, I believe in one Supreme God. I never said I do not believe in God. I am not agnostic. I am not an atheist. I just happen to be a human being believing there is a universal mind somewhere which controls the universe.”

In the next breath, however, Duterte said he needs someone with a selfie with God to prove the Higher Being’s existence.

“Bring me one person, just one, who would say, ‘Mayor, those silly guys from the Church told me to go to heaven and talk to God. There is really God. Here, we have a picture, I bought a selfie’,” he said.

He added: “You do that today, one single witness that there is a guy, a human being who was able to talk to see God. Of the so many billions who had been on here, I just need one. And if there is one, ladies and gentlemen, I will announce my resignation immediately.”

A religious scholar said, “The Lord is a mystery. If you are a believer, you do not need proof. It’s a matter of faith - the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).”

These tirades of Duterte against God impress me as a sign of panic. It’s an insecure man’s lame attempt to deal with a situation that has gone out of his control. His promise of eradicating illegal drugs in six months has become a deadly joke. He promised peace and order. Twenty thousand have been killed in the two years that he is in power and the killing continues. Priests and pastors are being killed. A mayor was killed in front of the city hall last week. The next day another mayor was killed while inspecting a project. Saturday, the vice mayor of Trese Martires in Quezon City was also killed together with his driver.

The most problematic for Duterte is the worsening economic situation in the country.

Duterte may think he is being smart and interesting with his challenge for anyone to bring him a selfie with God or else he will resign. That’s a coward’s dare because he knows he is in no danger of resignation.

He thinks God is a “safe” target, one whom he can insult and lambast and not fear of retaliation.

He might think that with his consolidation of power - a compliant Congress and friendly Supreme Court – he can do anything, even do away with God.

Duterte’s shallow bravado reminds me of the parable a rich man who had an abundant harvest and his problem was where to store his crops (Luke 12:16-21).

He felt good about himself, saying, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry’.”

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

Parables are stories with human characters with a spiritual meaning.

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