One of the main characteristics why most third world countries become poor is that their citizens are unproductive. Majority of the people do not manage their resources wisely, they stay away from hardwork as much as possible, and growth and innovation is not so much welcomed.
This is a sad reality for most of Filipinos in the past hundreds of years, and also for most of the third world nations. It is sad to note that many Filipinos engage themselves in fruitlessness and unproductivity in their whole life. In this country, there is so much potential, but there is a big gap. There is a loophole, and that loophole is in the heart of many of the people. So much unproductivity is one.
Look at the cockpit sabongeros who do nothing but waste their money and time, the gambling tables in those balconies, the mahjongeras, the useless TV watchings, the gossiping bantays, the doctrine of tambays, the drinking in the streets everynight, the computer game-addict DOTA gamers, and the list is endless. So much people waste their time, so much fruitless Facebook browsing and stalking, so much noise in those bayles and fiestas, but one word is sufficient to describe this- IDLENESS. And Idleness is equal to Ungodliness. To be idle is to be unbiblical. To be idle is not the design and command of the Creator to you as his creature. Look at what the Creator commanded to man:
Gen 1:27-28 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
You see in this verse, that God commands man to “be Fruitful.” This means that God wants man to be productive, to grow, to develop. We are to be developers, we are to be creative inventors that bring growth and development into this world. This does not only refer to making babies as many RH Bill supporters advocate for, but this command goes with the call towards responsibility and stewardship.
Also, one of the not so good things is that many Filipinos in TV whine about the poverty in our country, but when we look at their lives, they are filled with wastedness, unproductivity, unwise decisions, and actions that are not smart. Households and habits not founded upon Biblical principles, and this is the sad condition of most Filipinos.
I grew up in seeing countless people worship the god of idleness. That the goal of their life is to sit pretty and become the senorita of some sort, that to be hard-working is only of those peasants in haciendas. This is the system that was introduced to many of us. This is the mestisa mestiso syndrome, the elite race, the Spanish mindset. When I ride on a bus, I could not count the numerous idle sitters beside the road, doing nothing even while it is still 2PM but are now watching those who pass by and waiting for nothing and talking about nothing but gossips. I knew that in some countries, people usually shout to idle people “GET A JOB!”
You may say, “we do not have much job in this country.” Actually there is, as long as you are alive, as long there is a soil outside, you have some work to do. The statement to self is not so much about “I cannot,” where it is actually “I will not.”
I have been idle and unproductive in my life many times too, but I realized this is not what God designed us to be. This is not biblical. To be fruitless is nothing but a disobedience to the Creator who made us. It is also one of the recurring traits of the unsaved, of the unbelievers, those who do not obey the Biblical commands.
When we look at our land, we even have a rich soil. Agriculture is at its best in our lands since we are an agricultural society. But most of our lands are idle, no product yields, no fruit-bearing trees, no result. We are not yet industrial, we even have a lot of untilled grounds who sit there without development, growth, yield and creativity. When I had the privilege of visiting Thailand, what was remarkable to that place is that there are no lands that are idle. Every soil and area has something that has useful in it (at least this is only what I saw). The seas that we have are also rich since we are an archipelago. But when we look at our demographics, we see that we are even over-populated! So much people, so much resources, but still unproductive. Why? It’s in the mind.
The main problem is in the mind. The mindset that we have determines our actions and attiudes, our lifestyles. Our lifestyles then, determine our culture. If the mind is problematic, the society becomes problematic also. The mind then, needs to be transformed, to be reformed. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 To change the mind, also leads to a change of the culture. A changed thinking, leads to a changed way of life.
What culture do we have as Filipinos? Of course we are multi-cultural, we are interwoven with a variety of foreign influences who invaded us for hundreds of years. But the most prominent culture that is engraved within Filipino hearts is the Spanish culture.
What did the Spanish bring to this country? Culture, but most of all, religion. If you would look at the world today, and study it closely, you will find that some of the most corrupt countries were those who were influenced by Spanish conquestadors in the 14th and 15th centuries. Look at Latin America, look at Philippines, and see how the dominant religion affects the way people live their lives. Compare Japan and Philippines, and how much is the difference when it comes to economy? Guess what, half a century ago, or even before World War II, Philippines is even better than Japan. But now, where did the culture brought this country? Renew the mind.
Are the Spanish to be blamed? No. There’s a deeper reason than that. It is the culture that the Spanish brought. And that culture was predominantly shapen up by the Roman Catholic religion.
What then is the connection between religion and national economy?
First, what the Spanish brought here is an unbiblical culture which only sprung up from an unbiblical belief system. What they brought was not a religion that is based on the truth. Why? What is the truth? “Thy word is truth.” The Bible is the truth. And since it is an unbiblical religion, the Spanish culture is not based on the truth, and it also does not lead to the blessings of God, because obedience brings blessings. The belief system of a society leads whether to progression or regression; and where there is any unbiblical philosophy, it will always lead to regression, corruption and destruction of the society. If the gospel is not present, or corrupted, or adulterated, there is the absence of repentance in the people, no knowledge and conviction of sin, no knowledge of God, no Biblical ethics, no light, and everything leads to death. Disco bars emerge, night clubs prosper, gambling Lords grow, immorality rises, sin abounds and society goes to a downward spiral. It is even a practice that in order to honor the patron in their fiesta, they would go into big debts just to serve something for the strangers for many days.
Second, the gospel or the teachings that the Spanish brought was a gospel that has no power. It is a powerless teaching. They introduced idolatry, image-worship, mary-worship and having pictures in worship places which the Lord seriously abhors in His commandments (Exodus 20:1-3). However, the gospel that the Bible brings is the gospel that changes lives. It is “the power of God unto salvation.” Romans 1:16. The gospel of the Bible exposes man’s wickedness, exposes him to he holiness and wrath of God, convicts him of sin and judgement, leads him to the love of Christ, and transforms his whole life. A society is transformed only because the people’s heart are transformed.
In short, a transformed society can only be achieved because of the transformed minds and hearts and souls of the people. The Philippines needs transformation, and it starts with the transformation of Filipino hearts through the preaching and teaching of the gospel. If to use the computer language, there must be a reformatting of the corrupted mind, there must be reprogramming, an overhaul, a total regeneration, and it can only achieved by the pure Gospel preaching, and the power of the Spirit of God.
What makes the Roman religion unbiblical?
The teaching about salvation is unbiblical. Good works to salvation is not the way to salvation. These RC teachings are in fact, that works-system religion and the very teachings that Jesus condemned in the Gospels. It is the false religion of the Pharisees. Jesus even calls them “snakes and vipers and sons of the devil” Matthew 12:34, John 8:44. Salvation is by grace alone, by Christ alone, by faith alone, by Scripture alone, for the glory of God alone! (5 Solas of the Reformation).
Religion, then, shapes people’s minds, which leads to societies and cultures being shaped. Religion shapes culture, and culture shapes a nation. What that religion means is the passion and teachings of that society.
Communism is also a religion, since to be “religious” means to be passionate for something. I mean, you can eat ice cream with so much love and you are called as a religious ice cream eater. What your passion is, determines whats you heart, and that’s religion. Look at Russia now, and the Communism religion it had embraced in the past. As historians would say, since “everyone is equal, and will only receive according to their need,” the tendency was that people became lazy. People no longer strive to grow, and work, and achieve since no matter how they work, they will just receive the same. That led to the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1990s, and also vodkas and intoxicating drinks became rampant towards the uselessness of many.
But as economists would say, Protestant nations were most likely to be progressive. Why? It’s because of the system of the minds of the people. It’s because of their mindset, their core values, their ethics, their attitudes and their religion. Look at Australia, NewZealand, North America, South Africa, Japan, South Korea although not all of them are Christians/ Protestants, the citizens are under the “Protestant Work Ethic.” These nations are influenced by the Biblie, which brought so much transformation to their national development now.
You see, it is all because of the gospel. It is the gospel that brings transformation, most of all transformation to the heart, then it branches out to the family, then to the society, then to the nation. Take away the gospel in those societies, and we can predict that everything goes downward spiral. The principles, what we need are the principles, the ideas, the truths, the teachings of Jesus, the wisdom of God, the Biblical foundations, this is what we need. This is what the Philippines need. Filipinos and more Filipinos need to hear the gospel. We need more preachers, and let us pray the Lord of the harvest that He will send more, train more, call more and save more souls in this country, transforming lives, transforming a nation. And just like what the Puritan Preachers and Founders envisioned for the New World in the 16th century, that they would establish a city that is “set upon a hill” on which the world will see and glorify the God of the heavens.
Renew your mind.