- Religion and Philosophy
Bro. Eli Soriano -- Ang Dating Daan
Itanong mo Kay Soriano
There are times when I stay over at my house over at Laguna, the one near my school. The thing is, I don't have cable or internet there and so sometimes I am stuck with nothing but the local channels that can be received by my small TV's crappy antenna. I don't really sleep that early and so there are times when it's already so late and I have nothing left to do but to watch TV. When it's really late, way past midnight, only one channel remains and it's UNTV channel 37. I remember this channel because this is where I used to watch Strange Brew (the very funny and unique documentaries that include Ramon Bautista, Tado, and Angel Rivero).
Bro Eli Soriano is a televangelist, which means he does most of his preachings or bible expositions as he would call it over the airwaves through television, radio, and now even tapping the new and modern social media like Twitter or Facebook (shows that even religions understands the power of these new mediums of communication).
The name of Eli Soriano's church is Members of the Church of God International or locally it is called Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path). It is interesting because he claims that all his teachings are strictly from the bible. During his TV show "itanong mo kay Soriano" (ask eli soriano), people, including those from other religions, are allowed to ask Bro Eli Soriano any question they want about religion or spirituality or how to be "saved" and Bro Eli Soriano will instantly be able to answer using verser from the Bible. It's either he's really memorized the bible word for word or the questions and askers have been prearranged already (of course there's the skeptic inside me that think it's all scripted).
I don't really mean to offend anyone, to each his own, you know? I just find some of the answers that come from the bible a bit ridiculous and most of the time very backward. It's just my own opinion. Plus, I do believe that there are so many issues that are outside the context or realm of the bible being that it was written during a time so different from ours. I mean, does the bible say anything about intellectual property rights, government economic planning, net neutrality, trade tariffs and embargo, and so many others that I think are very morally relevant to our time. Not everything can be answered by the bible, yeah?
For more on issues like the ones I mentioned and the correct policies regarding those issues, check out my blog on politics and economics over at HarryLeaks.
Bro Eli Soriano
One thing that is really interesting about the shows of Bro. Eli Soriano is that they criticize every other church in the world except theirs. This gives me a perspective of how other many christian sectors actually contradict many teachings in the bible. There are also times when he even cites examples from history.
I also find it interesting that there is some sort of feud between him and other locally founded Christian religions here in the Philippines like the Iglesia ni Cristo or the Church of Christ. They're really so frustrated with each other and at times debate their differences in teachings and doctrines. It is quite entertaining for me
The last time I watched actually, I saw how different politicians and bureaucrats were greeting Bro. Eli Soriano and their shows for the 30th anniversary. Shows how this religion has really been here for a long time and is still growing. Also, it shows how religion can really be a very powerful lobbying sector that may dictate or influence government policies. The opponent of Bro. Eli Soriano, the members of INC or Iglesia ni Cristo even have block voting where it is considered a sin if you do not vote for the candidates they have chosen and they compose a great deal of the electorate.
Bro Eli Soriano Bible Exposition Video
Here's an example of one of the television bible expositions of Bro Eli Soriano. There are others on YouTube that are in English or have English subtitles for the readers who don't understand our local language here in the Philippines. It's really so interesting how he's seemingly memorized the whole bible and how he has an answer to different moral issues and concerns from family, spirituality, and how to be "saved". He does claim that if you do not join his religion you will be going to Hell during judgement day for the rest of eternity. That would suck, I guess, because a lot of the innovators and heroes in our history are in hell like Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Ludwig Von Mises, Milton Friedman, Ghandi, and many others. If it is true that they'll be all in hell then that's going to be one very interesting place with a lot of eccentric and brilliant individuals.
I don't really mind what he's doing. He's merely persuading people, not coercing (unlike the State). He's just giving people a choice to join and is not forcing anyone. So I respect him and his advocacies and respect the decisions of those who choose to follow and join in his church. We must all remember that we all have a choice. We all have the liberty. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, etc. Maybe that's the greatest value of all and that's what we should all be concerned about and take away red tapes, taxes, and regulations so we can finally alleviate the poverty of many individuals.
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