OMG, Philippines!


The headline says it all: “Philippines leads world in belief in God.” According to the “Belief About God Across Time and Countries” report of the General Social Survey of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) of the University of Chicago, “The country with the strongest belief is the Philippines, where 94 percent of those surveyed said they always had believed in God. [Chile came in second with 88 percent.] In the United States, that response came from 81 percent of the people surveyed.” (Source: http://www.norc.org/) The NROC surveyed 30 countries since 1991 “to determine people’s range of beliefs, from atheism to strong belief in God; their changing beliefs over their lifetime; and their attitude toward the notion that God is concerned with individuals.” (Ibid) Also, 82 percent of Filipinos believe that “God is concerned with people in a personal way.” (Ibid) No doubt, we are a very religious country. After all, we are the only Christian nation in Asia.

However, sadly, we are also one of the most corrupt countries in the region.According to the 2011 Corruption Perception Index released late last year by Transparency International Philippines (TI-Phil), we “ranked 129th this year out of 183 most corrupt countries.” (www.manilatimes.net) To be fair, our ranking improved already. We ranked 134 before. According to Atty. Araceli Villanueva of TI-Phil, “Some say it is not insignificant but for us there is a movement, and the movement is not going down, there is still movement… this is a good indication that the government is doing something to fight corruption.” (Ibid) Yes, that’s a significant movement. And, I praise God for that. But, we still have a long way to go to bridge the gap between our belief in a personal God and our everyday lives. Still, we need to really work to deal with the disconnect between our creed and conduct. The command in Matthew 28:18-20 to “make disciples of all nations” is not just for the transformation of the soul but also of the society “from the grassroots to the grass tops” (as Darrow Miller, author of the book "LifeWork," loves to put it). If God is really concerned with us in a personal way, then our day-to-day decisions matter such as paying our taxes correctly, obeying traffic laws consistently and not throwing litter conscientiously. We are to be personally concerned about God also. “When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, CEV)

Brethren, “Christian” and corrupt” are not synonymous.

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