Chosen People? | Photo by Michael Coghlan via Flickr/Commons CC BY-SA 2.0
Part VI of an “EDEN America” series
I studied 12-years in Catholic schools — under secular priests, SVD fathers, Benedictine monks, and Jesuits. Some of my classmates and I often asked our theology professors and religious mentors how the Jewish people became the “Chosen People of God.” We were taught simply by reviewing the history of ancient Israel. We learned that the Jews chose merely to believe and declare that they are God’s “chosen people.” And they proclaimed to the world that they are the “chosen people.”
If one Googles today about “God’s chosen people,” the researcher will find that “In Judaism, chosenness is the belief that the Jews, via descent from the ancient Israelites, are the chosen people, i.e., chosen to be in a covenant with God.” In my humble opinion, as a layman, the Israelites started writing in their ancient scroll that they were the “chosen people” of Yahweh. And thus, the Jews were able to beat the other religions and their believers that they were the “chosen people.”
Therefore, I started to develop the idea that the Christian God could also choose the Philippines, Jewish Yahweh, other Filipino gods (lower case), and perhaps the Supreme Being of other religions like Allah of the Islamic faith and Eastern/Oriental deities. That is if and when — as I learned in the Jesuit-run College of Law — we can lay down the predicate to use a legal phrase.
The Philippines Is the Prototype of the “Melting Pot of Civilizations”
I discussed the Philippines as already a “melting pot” even before the Spanish-American War of 1898 happened in the article: Is the Philippines the Prototype of the “Clash of Civilizations?” (Part III)
Here are some of the data that I wrote: “Before the Americans came to the Philippine Islands (PI), they engaged the Spanish colonial authorities (AKA Hispanic civilization) in a continuing clash with the Moros over the control of Mindanao. The Moros belong to the Islamic civilization. The Spaniards, like Professor Huntington, found the enemy, and like what Mr. Rodriguez wrote, “they are arriving from the south.’ For more than 300 years, the Spaniards, together with their Mexican Creoles, could not subdue the Moros. The Spaniards, Mexicans, and their Indio minions had to defend themselves against infrequent raids by the Moro pirates.
“In my humble opinion as a layman, the Israelites started writing in their ancient scroll that they were the “chosen people” of Yahweh. And thus the Jews were able to beat the other religions and their believers that they are the “chosen people.”
“On the other hand, the Chinese had also established their presence before the arrival of the Spaniards. The Chinese residents and traders in the Philippines represented the Confucian civilization.
“Even after the Americans had established their control over most of the islands, the other civilizations continued their conflicts. They clashed not only in matters of trade and industry but also in politics. Immediately after the American colonizers legalized political parties, some Filipinos organized the “Federalista” Party that advocated their assimilation into the American mainstream. These pro-WASP Filipinos were the forerunners of the now-called “Brown Americans.” In the 1930s, the CoC found a compromise in politics. Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon was the pride of the Hispanic civilization. Vice President Sergio Osmeña, Sr., a Filipino Chinese, represented the Confucian civilization.
“The American colonizers did not realize that the Philippines they conquered was a virtual melting but boiling pot. The PI did not only have the three competing civilizations but also had so many other ethnic minorities. There were the Lumads, Mindanao’s non-Moro tribes. The Mangyans were in Mindoro Island. The Aetas (Agtas) in Zambales and Bicolandia. The Ifugaos, the Kalingas, the Igorots and other tribes in the Mountain Provinces. The Ivatans of the Batanes Islands are even related to the indigenous Taiwanese.”
The various representatives of different civilizations were universal in quantity than the civilizations found in ancient Israel. Thus, if the Jewish people had the right to declare themselves as the “God’s chosen people,” why can’t the Filipino do it? There are more than 120-million Filipinos and some 16-million Overseas Filipinos and Overseas-Filipino workers (OFWs) in about 100 countries. The “Filipino Melting Pot” was discussed in an earlier series.
The Philippines also served as a temporary home to thousands of White Russians after the 1918 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. And in contrast, the modern country that is Israel has a population of less than 9-million. I am not sure if the OFWs in Israel, composed of primarily medical workers and caregivers, are included in the population census.
“Thus, if the Jewish people had the right to declare themselves as the “God’s chosen people,” why can’t the Filipino do it?”
Consider this set of statistics about people of the Jewish faith. According to Global Religious Futures, “As of 2010, there were about 14 million Jews around the world, representing 0.2% of the global population. In 2050, the Jewish population is expected to number about 16 million. The share of the world’s population that is Jewish – 0.2% – is expected to remain about the same in 2050 as it was in 2010.”
The population of the Philippines worships God, Yahweh, Allah, Bathala of the Tagalogs, Kagurangnan of the Bicolanos, Gugurang of the Sorsoganons, and so-many local versions of god (lower case). Add to these are the Hindi deities of Filipinos of Indian descent. And those worshiped by Filipinos of Japanese, Chinese or Korean descent.
We will discuss more of a possible “Covenant with God” by the Filipino people by Sunday.