Is Suffering a Virtue?

While many tend to glorify suffering, people who experience it will surely disagree. Having tasted the worst in life, so far, I can attest to this.

Yet, the belief in the virtue of suffering has been embedded in our psyche for centuries. More so, that there are also efforts to perpetuate such conviction for reasons only known to perpetrators. Some take suffering as a pass to heaven. Others look at sufferings as trademark of the followers of Christ. There are religious denominations that associate or even expect their clergy to undergo the process inevitably. Church members of our Baptist group, for example, fondly call their pastors manugpangabudlay. This local dialect in the Philippines connotes hardship and difficulties.

Countries with colonial past, where religion is used in conquest are most vulnerable to this fate. Like the case of the Philippines. Historians note how colonizers integrate religion into their subjugation scheme. From feudalistic to capitalist systems, religion plays a big role in domestication of the subjects. In the context of the Philippine, as pointed out by nationalist historians, while the sword was used in conquest, the cross pacified resistance. The blessedness of poverty, mourning, oppression and persecution as taught in the church make people accept their fate, with relief, expectant of the future reward.

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One response to “Is Suffering a Virtue?

  1. hello edwin: you are right. government and religion at some time in our history sleep in one bed together. government used religion to subdue people and in their misery they all look up to heaven. You wrote: “The blessedness of poverty, mourning, oppression and persecution as taught in the church make people accept their fate, with relief, expectant of the future reward.” There is no blessedness in the area you mentioned. But there can be dignity: I maybe poor, but dignified. I maybe mourning but out of reverance to a beloved who passed. I maybe oppressed but in spirit, I am not. And I maybe persecuted, but they cannot tear my spirit anad my soul. All because Jesus gave the example with his life. The kind of mindset religion and the govenrment of conquest planted in the occupied people’s mind is one of resignation. We are not because our Jesus is alive in our hearts. Madamu guid nga salamat.

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