Duterte: I’m not agnostic, not atheist

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MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte said that he was neither agnostic nor atheist but wanted further proof from the Catholic church of God’s existence such as a selfie.

“I never said I do not believe in God. I’m not an agnostic and I’m not an atheist. I just happen to be a human being believing in that there’s a universal mind somewhere which controls the universe,” Duterte said in a speech at the National Science and Technology Week celebration in Davao City on Friday.

Duterte said that he was even willing to resign if Church leaders could show proof that they had been to heaven and had talked with God personally.

“And if there is anyone of you there, the noisy ones, who would say that you have been to heaven, talked to God, saw him personally, and that He exists, the God that is yours, and if He does is true, I will step down the presidency tonight,” Dutete said.

“Kung magdala kayo dito ng one, only one, kailangan ko isa lang. Sabihin niya, ‘Mayor, utos kasi ng mga ugok diyan sa simbahan na pumunta ako ng langit kausapin ko ang Diyos. Meron talaga po. Ito may picture kami, nagdala ako ng selfie’ (If you bring me one, I need just one. He would say, ‘Mayor, someone from the church ordered me to go to heaven and speak to God. He really exists. Here, we have a photo, I brought a selfie),’” he added.

Duterte stressed that the God he believed in is a “universal mind” and that he believe in “one supreme God.”

“Yes of course, there’s God. There are billions and millions and billions and trillions of stars. If there is nobody that has really the technology in his mind, we will just be colliding with each other most of the time and nothing would be left for humans even to exist,” he said.

The President, however, questioned the logic of the creation story involving Adam and Eve.

“So where is the logic of God there? You create a perfect then you spoil it through the snake and an apple. And you give us the sin that we never even agreed to commit and that is the original sin,” Duterte said.

Duterte has made negative comments about the Catholic church in the past but Palace officials including Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the President was entitled to his “personal belief.”

“Iyan po ay personal na paninindigan ng Pangulo. Alam ninyo iyong ating kalayaan ng malayang pananampalataya, kasama po iyan yun sa wala kang paniniwalaan na pananampalataya (This is the personal belief of the President. You know, the freedom of religion includes the freedom not to believe in religion),” Roque said an earlier radio interview.

Roque also pointed out that Duterte’s remarks were deeply rooted in his unpleasant experience, being allegedly molested by a priest when he was studying at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU).

Meanwhile, Duterte formed a four-man panel with the Catholic church and other religious leaders to push for “healing” amid their public spat.

Duterte is set to meet with Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Romulo Valles on Monday (July 9) at Malacañang Palace.

Duterte and Valles are natives of Davao with the latter serving as its archbishop prior to his election as CBCP president in July 2017. -PNA

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