José Rizal Religious Philosophy

Jose Rizal was a deist.

“Were I to believe in miracles, I should not believe in God. I should believe in a deified man, I should believe that man had really created a god in his own image and likeness,” –  Noli Me Tangere By José Rizal Chapter XXIII

“for me nature is the only divine book of unquestionable legitimacy, the sole manifestation of the Creator that we have here in this life clear, perennial, living, powerful, capable of overcoming our blunders and errors, incorruptible, one that cannot play false in spite of human caprice, with its laws constant and unchangeable in all places and for all times.

(Deism is a natural religion.)

..And I come to the conclusion from my humble reasoning that the Creator desires man to perfect himself by growing in knowledge.

(Deism  claims God gave humans the ability to reason)

These are the fundamental principles of my religious ideas…. …But these principles have the advantage of being open to all, of constituting legitimate divine revelation, and of being able to unite one day all consciences, without resorting to quarrels, anathemas and bloodshed. There are no anathemas and prohibitions, but a free forum for discussion; no miracles as proofs, but facts and experience give their verdict. There is no fear of apocryphal accounts or forged manuscripts: death is the fate of everything that does not conform to nature.”  Rizal, Dapitan, 9 January 1893 || To Fr. Pablo Pastells

“No, let us not make a god in our image,..

… Instead of interpreting obscure passages or obscure phrases that provoke hatred, wars, and dissensions, was it not better to interpret the facts of Nature to adjust better our life to its inviolable laws, to utilize its forces in perfecting ourselves?

(Deism is rejection of religions based on books that claim to contain the revealed word of God.)

…the best religions are the simplest, the most natural, the most harmonious with the necessities and aspirations of man.

I have no better thing to guide me but my conscience, my conscience alone, that judges and authorizes my acts.

All the brilliant and subtle arguments of Your Reverence — that I shall not try to refute because I would have to write a compendious treatise — cannot convince me that the Catholic Church is endowed with infallibility. In that also is the human fang [imprint – Bonoan]. It is a more perfect institution than the rest, but human in the end, with the defects, the errors, and the vicissitudes proper to the works of men. It is wiser, more skillfully conducted than many other religions as the direct heir of the political sciences, religions, and arts of Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

(Deism is rejection of religious dogma and demagogy.)

It has its foundation in the heart of the people, in the imagination of the multitude, and in the affection of woman; but like all religions it has its obscure points that are clothed with the name of mysteries, puerilities [childishness – rly] that are sanctified in miracles, divisions or dissensions that are called sects or heresies.

(Deism has skepticism of reports of miracles, prophecies and religious “mysteries”.)

What I am going to raise is something more transcendental. Who died on the cross? Was it God or was it the roan? If it was God, I do not understand how a God conscious of his mission can die, how a God can exclaim in the garden: “eater, si possibile transeat a me calix iste! [03]

Again he exclaimed on the cross: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” [Mark 15:34 – rly] This cry is absolutely human; it is the cry of a man who has faith in justice and in the goodness of his cause; except the Hodie me cum eris, [04] the cry of Christ on Calvary. All announce a man in torment and in agony, but what a man! And for me Christ man is greater than Christ God. If the one who had said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing” [Luke 23:34 – rly, see paragraph above] had been God, those who had laid hands on him ought to have been forgiven unless we say that God resembles certain men who say one thing and then do something else.

Another Objection I have to Christ’s miracles is the apostasy of his disciples and their incredulity of his resurrection. Had they been witnesses of so many marvels and his resurrection, they would not have abandoned him so cowardly and they would not have doubted his resurrection. Who returns life to others can very well do it unto himself. Concerning the explanation of the miracles that Your Reverence gives that He who has dictated laws does not contradict himself suspending them for specified epochs in order to attain certain purposes. It occurs to me that if He may not contradict himself nevertheless he is inferior to him who can attain the same purposes without suspending anything or altering anything. Only a mediocre administrator goes out of his way suspending the effectiveness of laws; a good one administers in peace without altering or disturbing anything.

…What is rational never seemed to me foolish and pride is always manifested in the idea of superiority.” – Rizal, Dapitan, 4 April 1893 To Fr. Pablo Pastells

“….or perhaps by the pity which my religious situation, viewed from your vantage point, arouses in you.

[03] Your Reverence says 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 matter seems to me to be beyond our natural capabilities.

…I deeply appreciate your desire to enlighten me and illumine my path.  But I fear it is a useless task.  Lest I make you waste your time, I rather tell you now: let us leave to God the things that are God’s and to men the things that are men’s.  As Your Reverence says, the return to the faith is God’s work.” – Rizal, June (?) 1893 || To Fr. Pablo Pastells


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