My mother will kill me for declaring this but I’ve been an atheist for much of my adult life. I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe that religion serves me any purpose. If anything, I believe that religion is a curse to mankind. Every major war and every major upheaval in history was caused by the clash of different faiths or, perhaps to be more precise, the interpretation of different faiths.

Being an atheist in the Philippines is not nearly as controversial as being a sexual predator in the Vatican or some other house of faith. In fact, being a Filipino atheist these days is a lot cooler than in the time of the Spaniards, and that is because, in the centuries that the Roman Catholic religion gripped Filipinos by the neck, it has not done us any good. If anything, religion has cursed us as a people. We are eternally suffering, never able to free ourselves from the shackles of a faith so oppressive it boggles the mind why we even bother with it.

As in the time of the Spanish friars, the Roman Catholic faith of today, at least in the Philippines, is so repressive Filipinos even feel guilty about questioning this repression. This is true in the case of Filipino women, many of whom use contraceptives and undergo abortion but somehow decided that they should retain a semblance of faith lest, perhaps, they be cast away or, worse, suffer the fire and brimstone of hell. It is not hypocrisy, mind you. It is what happens when an institution like the Roman Catholic Church misuses its power and condemns those who dare not just to question but to challenge its domination of a people.

The Church’s offensive against the Reproductive Health Bill pending in Congress and those who support or endorse it is just the latest display of this abuse of power by the Roman Catholic Church.

Instead of arresting its  slide to irrelevance, the Roman Catholic Church has waged a nasty war against the RH bill that is reminiscent of the Crusades. Only this time, the vituperation is as lethal as the swords and arrows of old, directed not just against those who push the measure but even to those who, before this, did not even consider using contraceptives. Don’t even think about any of that RH bullshit or you will suffer a curse worse than the plague, the Church is telling its faithful.

Listening to them “defend the womb” makes one think that the Church has thrown everything, even its very own survival, behind this campaign. Like the Crusaders, the present moral crusaders of the Philippine Catholic Church are not shy about using immoral or unethical ways to attain their objective. The Crusaders killed innocent people; the Church today even resorts to a mortal sin – lying – to mislead the faithful about the RH bill.

(The bill doesn’t endorse or promote abortion but the Church insists it does – but presents no proof except its say-so. And it bothers me that even President Aquino is fearful of the Church. Last week, instead of declaring that the RH bill does not promote abortion, the president announced that he is not in favor of abortion, thus accepting the erroneous premise of the Church about this debate.)

Why would anybody want to follow a religion that lies? Then again, aren’t all religion based on a lie?