Religion in the Philippines

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Religion in the Philippines is marked by a majority of people being adherents of the Christian faith.[1] At least 92% of the population is Christian; about 81% belong to the Catholic Church while about 11% belong to Protestantism, Orthodoxy, Restorationist and Independent Catholicism and other denominations such as Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Iglesia ni Cristo, Seventh-day Adventist Church, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Members Church of God International (MCGI) and Evangelicals.[1] Officially, the Philippines is a secular nation, with the Constitution guaranteeing separation of church and state, and requiring the government to respect all religious beliefs equally.

According to national religious surveys, about 5.6% of the population of the Philippines is Muslim, making Islam the second largest religion in the country. However, A 2012 estimate by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) stated that there were 10.7 million Muslims, or approximately 11 percent of the total population.[2] Most Muslims live in parts of Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu Archipelago – an area known as Bangsamoro or the Moro region.[3] Some have migrated into urban and rural areas in different parts of the country. Most Muslim Filipinos practice Sunni Islam according to the Shafi'i school.[4] There are some Ahmadiyya Muslims in the country.[5]

Anitism, the traditional religion of Filipinos which predates Philippine Christianity and Islam, is practiced by an estimated 2% of the population,[6][7] made up of many indigenous peoples, tribal groups, and people who have reverted into traditional religions from Catholic/Christian or Islamic religions. These religions are often syncretized with Christianity and Islam. Buddhism is practiced by 2% of the populations by the Japanese-Filipino community,[8][6][7][9] and together with Taoism and Chinese folk religion is also dominant in Chinese communities. There are also smaller number of followers of Sikhs, Hinduism,[6][7][9] as well.[10][11] More than 10% of the population is non-religious, with the percentage of non-religious people overlapping with various faiths, as the vast majority of the non-religious select a religion in the Census for nominal purposes.[6][7][12]

According to the 2010 census, Evangelicals comprised 2% of the population, however 2010 surveys and data such Joshua Project and Operation World estimated the evangelical population to be around 11–13% of the population.[13] It is particularly strong among American and Korean communities, Northern Luzon especially in Cordillera Administrative Region, Southern Mindanao[14] and many other tribal groups in the Philippines.[15] Protestants both mainline and evangelical have gained significant annual growth rate up to 10% since 1910 to 2015.[16]

Demographics[edit]

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported in October 2015 that, based on the 2010 census, 80.58% of the total Filipino population were Catholics, 10.8% were Protestant and 5.57% were Muslims.[17]

Population by religious affiliation (2010)
Affiliation Number
Catholic Church 80.58 80.58
 
74,211,896
Islam 5.57 5.57
 
5,127,084
Evangelicals (PCEC) 2.68 2.68
 
2,469,957
Iglesia Ni Cristo 2.45 2.45
 
2,251,941
Other Religious Affiliations 1.58 1.58
 
1,452,093
Non-Catholic and Protestant (NCCP) 1.16 1.16
 
1,071,686
Aglipayan 1.00 1
 
916,639
Seventh-day Adventist 0.74 0.74
 
681,216
Bible Baptist Church 0.52 0.52
 
480,409
United Church of Christ in the Philippines 0.49 0.49
 
449,028
Jehovah's Witnesses 0.45 0.45
 
410,957
Other Protestants 0.31 0.31
 
287,734
Church of Christ 0.28 0.28
 
258,176
Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide 0.23 0.23
 
207,246
Tribal Religions 0.19 0.19
 
177,147
United Pentecostal Church (Philippines) Inc. 0.18 0.18
 
169,956
Other Baptists 0.17 0.17
 
154,686
Philippine Independent Catholic Church 0.15 0.15
 
138,364
Unión Espiritista Cristiana de Filipinas, Inc. 0.15 0.15
 
137,885
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 0.15 0.15
 
133,814
Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches in the Philippines 0.12 0.12
 
106,509
Evangelical Christian Outreach Foundation 0.10 0.1
 
96,102
None 0.08 0.08
 
73,248
Convention of the Philippine Baptist Church 0.07 0.07
 
65,008
Crusaders of the Divine Church of Christ Inc. 0.06 0.06
 
53,146
Buddhist 0.05 0.05
 
46,558
Lutheran Church in the Philippines 0.05 0.05
 
46,558
Iglesia sa Dios Espiritu Santo Inc. 0.05 0.05
 
45,000
Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association 0.05 0.05
 
42,796
Faith Tabernacle Church (Living Rock Ministries) 0.04 0.04
 
36,230
Others 0.33 0.33
 
299,399
TOTAL 92,097,978
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[17]

Christianity[edit]

San Fernando Metropolitan Cathedral in Pampanga

Christianity arrived in the Philippines with the landing of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. In the late 16th century, the archipelago was claimed for Spain and named it after its king. Missionary activity during the country's colonial rule by Spain and the United States led the transformation of the Philippines into the first and then, along with East Timor, one of two predominantly Catholic nations in East Asia, with approximately 92.5% of the population belonging to the Christian faith.[6][18]

Catholicism[edit]

The Catholic Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, built on the site of the Church of St. Vitales, the first church built in the Philippines

Catholicism (Filipino: Katolismo; Spanish: Catolicismo) is the predominant religion and the largest Christian denomination, with estimates of approximately 80.6% of the population belonging to this faith in the Philippines.[19] The country has a significant Spanish Catholic tradition, and Spanish style Catholicism is embedded in the culture, which was acquired from priests or friars.

The Catholic Church has great influence on Philippine society and politics. One typical event is the role of the Catholic hierarchy during the bloodless People Power Revolution of 1986. Then-Archbishop of Manila and de facto Primate of the Philippines, Jaime Cardinal Sin appealed to the public via radio to congregate along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in support of rebel forces. Some seven million people responded to the call between 22–25 February, and the non-violent protests successfully forced President Ferdinand E. Marcos out of power and into exile in Hawaii.

Several Catholic holidays are culturally important as family occasions, and are observed in the civil calendar. Chief among these are Christmas, which includes celebrations of the civil New Year, and the more solemn Holy Week, which may occur in March or April. Every November, Filipino families celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day as a single holiday in honour of the saints and the dead, visiting and cleaning ancestral graves, offering prayers, and feasting. As of 2018, Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 was added as a special non-working holiday.[20]

Papal visits[edit]

  • Pope Paul VI was the target of an assassination attempt at Manila International Airport in the Philippines in 1970. The assailant, a Bolivian Surrealist painter named Benjamín Mendoza y Amor Flores, lunged toward Pope Paul with a kris, but was subdued.
  • Pope John Paul II visited the country twice, 1981 and 1995. The final Mass of the event was recorded to have been attended by 4 million people, and was at the time the largest papal crowd in history.
  • Pope Benedict XVI declined the invitation of Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales and CBCP President Ángel Lagdameo to visit because of a hectic schedule.
  • Pope Francis visited the country in January 2015, and the concluding Mass at the Quirino Grandstand had almost 6 million attendees, breaking the record at Pope John Paul's Mass at the same site twenty years prior.

Philippine Independent Church[edit]

Iglesia Filipina Independiente Parish of the Virgin of the Assumption in Maragondon, Cavite.

The Philippine Independent Church (officially Spanish: Iglesia Filipina Independiente, IFI; colloquially known as the Aglipayan Church) is an independent Christian denomination in the form of a national church in the Philippines. Its schism from the Catholic Church was proclaimed in 1902 by the members of the Unión Obrera Democrática Filipina due to the mistreatment of Filipinos by Spanish priests and the execution of nationalist José Rizal under Spanish colonial rule.

Isabelo de los Reyes was one of the initiators of the separation, and suggested that former Catholic priest Gregorio Aglipay be the head of the church. It is also known as the Aglipayan Church after its first Obispo Maximo, Gregorio Aglipay.

Commonly shared beliefs in the Aglipayan Church are the rejection of the Apostolic Succession solely to the Petrine Papacy, the acceptance of priestly ordination of women, the free option of clerical celibacy, the tolerance to join Freemasonry groups, non-committal in belief regarding transubstantiation and Real Presence of the Eucharist, and the advocacy of contraception and same-sex civil rights among its members. Many saints canonised by Rome after the schism are also not officially recognised by the Aglipayan church and its members.

Today, Aglipayans in the Philippines claim to number at least 6 to 8 million members, with most from the northern part of Luzon, especially in the Ilocos Region and in the parts of Visayas like Antique, Iloilo and Guimaras provinces. Congregations are also found throughout the Philippine diaspora in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia. The church is the second-largest single Christian denomination in the country after the Catholic Church (some 80.2% of the population), comprising about 6.7% of the total population of the Philippines. By contrast, the 2010 Philippine census recorded only 916,639 members in the country, or about 1% of the population. It has 47 dioceses including the dioceses outside the Philippines such the Diocese of Tampa (USA) and the Diocese Western USA and Canada. It has Fellowship congregations in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Hongkong and Singapore. IFI is in full communion with the Anglican Churches and the Episcopal Church.[citation needed]

Iglesia ni Cristo[edit]

Iglesia ni Cristo's central temple in Quezon City

Iglesia ni Cristo (English: Church of Christ; Spanish: Iglesia de Cristo) is the largest entirely indigenous-initiated religious organisation in the Philippines comprising roughly 1.5% of religious affiliation in the Philippines.[21][22][23][24][25] Felix Y. Manalo officially registered the church with the Philippine Government on July 27, 1914[26] and because of this, most publications refer to him as the founder of the church. Felix Manalo claimed that he was restoring the church of Christ that was lost for 2,000 years. He died on April 12, 1963, aged 76.

The Philippine Arena was constructed by the Iglesia ni Cristo for its Centennial Anniversary and large gatherings.

The Iglesia ni Cristo is known for its large evangelical missions. The largest of which was the Grand Evangelical Mission (GEM) which also occurred simultaneously on 19 sites across the country. In Manila site alone, more than 600,000 people attended the event.[27] Other programs includes the Lingap sa Mamamayan (Aid to Humanity),[28] The Kabayan Ko Kapatid Ko (My Countrymen, My Brethren) and various resettlement projects for affected individuals.[29]

Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry[edit]

The Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry (JMCIM) is an apostolic Pentecostal religious group from the Philippines which believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ with signs, wonders, miracles and faith in God for healing. JMCIM was founded by evangelist Wilde E. Almeda on February 14, 1975.

Members Church of God International[edit]

Members Church of God International (Filipino: Mga Kasapi Iglesia ng Dios Internasyonal) is a religious organization popularly known through its Filipino television program, Ang Dating Daan (English Program "The Old Path", in Spanish "El Camino Antiguo", in Portuguese "O Caminho Antigo")

The church is known for their "Bible Expositions", where guests and members are given a chance to ask any biblical question to the "Overall Servant" Eliseo Soriano. He and his associates refute teachings of asked religions which are, according to Soriano, "not biblical" and discuss controversial passages. Besides general preaching, they also established charity works. Among these humanitarian services are the charity homes for the senior citizens and orphaned children and teenagers; transient homes; medical missions; full college scholarship; start-up capital for livelihood projects; vocational training for the differently-abled; free legal assistance; free bus, jeepney, and train rides for commuters and senior citizens, and; free Bibles for everyone. MCGI is now one of the major blood donor in the Philippines, as acknowledged by the Philippine National Red Cross.[30]

Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus[edit]

The Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus (Filipino: Kabanalbanalang Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus),[31][32] is an independent Christian denomination officially registered in the Philippines by Teofilo D. Ora in May 1922. The Church claims to restore the visible Church founded in Jerusalem by Christ Jesus. It has spread to areas including California, USA; Calgary, Canada, Dubai, UAE and other Asian countries. The Church will be celebrating its centennial anniversary in May 2022.

The church was founded by Bishop Teofilo D. Ora in 1922. He, along with Avelino Santiago and Nicolas Perez, split off from the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in 1922. They initially called their church Iglesia Verdadera de Cristo Hesus (True Church of Christ Jesus). However, following a religious doctrine controversy, Nicolas Perez split off from the group and registered an offshoot called Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, the Pillar and Support of the Truth). Teofilo D. Ora was bishop until his death in 1969. He was officially succeeded by Bishop Salvador C. Payawal who led the church until 1989. Subsequent bishops were Bishop Gamaliel T. Payawal (1989 to 2003) and Bishop Isagani N. Capistrano (2003–present). It was during Gamaliel Payawal's tenure when the church was renamed as Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus.

Apostolic Catholic Church[edit]

The Apostolic Catholic Church (ACC) is an independent catholic denomination founded in the 1980s in Hermosa, Bataan. It formally separated in the Catholic Church in 1992 when Patriarch Dr. John Florentine Teruel registered it as a Protestant and Independent Catholic denomination. Today, it has more than 5 million members worldwide. The largest international congregations are in Japan, United States and Canada.

Orthodoxy[edit]

Orthodoxy has been continuously present in the Philippines for more than 200 years.[33] It is represented by two groups, by the Exarchate of the Philippines (a jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople governed by the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia), and by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Mission in the Philippines (a jurisdiction of the Antiochian Orthodox Church governed by the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and All Oceania). In 1999, it was asserted that there were about 560 Orthodox church members in the Philippines.[34]

Protestantism[edit]

Protestantism arrived in the Philippines with the take-over of the islands by Americans at the turn of the 20th century. Nowadays, they comprise about 10%–15% of the population with an annual growth rate of 10% since 1910[35] and constitute the largest Christian grouping after Catholicism. In 1898, Spain lost the Philippines to the United States. After a bitter fight for independence against its new occupiers, Filipinos surrendered and were again colonized. The arrival of Protestant American missionaries soon followed. Protestant church organizations established in the Philippines during the 20th century include the following:

Members Church of God in Jesus Christ Worldwide[edit]

Members Church of God in Jesus Christ Worldwide (also known as Miembro de la Iglesia de Dios en Todo el Mundo Inc.) is an independent Christian organization with headquarters in the Philippines led by Wilfredo "Bro. Willy" Santiago, a former Bible reader for Members Church of God International (MCGI). Willy Santiago was excommunicated from MCGI due to various violations. Santiago is currently building a new church headquarters in Malolos, Bulacan.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in the Philippines was founded during the Spanish–American War in 1898. Two men from Utah who were members of the United States artillery battery, and who were also set apart as missionaries by the Church before they left the United States, preached while stationed in the Philippines. Missionary work picked up after World War II, and in 1961 the Church was officially registered in the Philippines.[37] In 1969, the Church had spread to eight major islands and had the highest number of baptisms of any area in the Church. Membership was 710,764 in 2015.[38] A temple was built in 1984 which is located in Manila, and a second temple was completed in Cebu City in 2010. As of 2019, four more LDS temples have been announced, they are planned to be built in Urdaneta, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, as well as a second temple in the greater Manila area.[39]

Other Christians[edit]

Islam[edit]

Manila Golden Mosque

Islam reached the Philippines in the 14th century with the arrival of Muslim traders from the Persian Gulf, Southern India, and their followers from several sultanate governments in Maritime Southeast Asia. Islam's predominance reached all the way to the shores of Manila Bay, home to several Muslim kingdoms. During the Spanish conquest, Islam had a rapid decline as the predominant monotheistic faith in the Philippines as a result of the introduction of Roman Catholicism by Spanish missionaries and via the Spanish Inquisition.[45] The southern Filipino tribes were among the few indigenous Filipino communities that resisted Spanish rule and conversions to Roman Catholicism. The vast majority of Muslims in Philippines follow Sunni Islam of Shafi school of jurisprudence, with small Shiite and Ahmadiyya minorities.[5] Islam is the oldest recorded monotheistic religion in the Philippines.

As of 2015. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority,[17] the Muslim population of Philippines in 2015 was 5.57%. However, a 2012 estimate by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) stated that there were 10.7 million Muslims, or approximately 11 percent of the total population.[2][46]

History[edit]

Mosque in Isabela City.

In 1380 Karim ul' Makhdum the first Arabian trader reached the Sulu Archipelago and Jolo in the Philippines and through trade throughout the island established Islam in the country. In 1390 the Minangkabau's Prince Rajah Baguinda and his followers preached Islam on the islands.[47] The Sheik Karimal Makdum Mosque was the first mosque established in the Philippines on Simunul in Mindanao in the 14th century. Subsequent settlements by Arab missionaries traveling to Malaysia and Indonesia helped strengthen Islam in the Philippines and each settlement was governed by a Datu, Rajah and a Sultan.

By the next century conquests had reached the Sulu islands in the southern tip of the Philippines where the population was animistic and they took up the task of converting the animistic population to Islam with renewed zeal. By the 15th century, half of Luzon (Northern Philippines) and the islands of Mindanao in the south had become subject to the various Muslim sultanates of Borneo and much of the population in the South were converted to Islam. However, the Visayas was largely dominated by Hindu-Buddhist societies led by rajahs and datus who strongly resisted Islam. One reason could be due to the economic and political disasters prehispanic Muslim pirates from the Mindanao region bring during raids. These frequent attacks gave way to naming present-day Cebu as then-Sugbo or scorched earth which was a defensive technique implemented by the Visayans so the pirates have nothing much to loot.[48][49]

Moro (derived from the Spanish word meaning Moors) is the appellation inherited from the Spaniards, for Filipino Muslims and tribal groups of Mindanao. The Moros seek to establish an independent Islamic province in Mindanao to be named Bangsamoro. The term Bangsamoro is a combination of an Old Malay word meaning nation or state with the Spanish word Moro. A significant Moro rebellion occurred during the Philippine–American War. Conflicts and rebellion have continued in the Philippines from the pre-colonial period up to the present.

Muslim Mindanao[edit]

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) comprises the Philippines' predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan (except Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the Islamic City of Marawi. It is the only region with its own government. The regional capital is at Cotabato City, although this city is outside of its jurisdiction.

Judaism[edit]

In the 1590s some Jews fleeing from the Inquisition were recorded to have come to the Philippines.[50] In 2006, Metro Manila boasted the largest Jewish community in the Philippines, which consisted of roughly 100 families.[50] As of 2018, the Jewish population comprised between 100 and 300 individuals, depending on one's definition of Jew.[51]

The country's only synagogue, Beth Yaacov, is located in Makati.[50] There are other Jews elsewhere in the country,[50] but these are much fewer and almost all transients,[52] either diplomats or business envoys, and their existence is almost totally unknown in mainstream society. There are a few Israelis in Manila recruiting caregivers for Israel, some work in call centers, businessmen and a few other executives.

Hinduism[edit]

The Srivijaya Empire and Majapahit Empire on what is now Malaysia and Indonesia, introduced Hinduism and Buddhism to the islands.[53] Ancient statues of Hindu-Buddhist gods have been found in the Philippines dating as far back as 600 to 1600 years from present.[54]

The archipelagos of Southeast Asia were under the influence of Hindu Tamil people, Gujarati people and Indonesian traders through the ports of Malay-Indonesian islands. Indian religions, possibly an amalgamated version of Hindu-Buddhist arrived in Philippines archipelago in the 1st millennium, through the Indonesian kingdom of Srivijaya followed by Majapahit. Archeological evidence suggesting exchange of ancient spiritual ideas from India to the Philippines includes the 1.79 kilogram, 21 carat gold Hindu goddess Agusan (sometimes referred to as Golden Tara), found in Mindanao in 1917 after a storm and flood exposed its location.

Another gold artifact, from the Tabon caves in the island of Palawan, is an image of Garuda, the bird who is the mount of Vishnu. The discovery of sophisticated Hindu imagery and gold artifacts in Tabon caves has been linked to those found from Oc Eo, in the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam.[55] These archaeological evidence suggests an active trade of many specialized goods and gold between India and Philippines and coastal regions of Vietnam and China. Golden jewelry found so far include rings, some surmounted by images of Nandi – the sacred bull, linked chains, inscribed gold sheets, gold plaques decorated with repoussé images of Hindu deities.[56]

Today Hinduism is largely confined to the Indian Filipinos and the expatriate Indian community. There are temples also for Sikhism, also located in the provinces and in the cities, sometimes located near Hindu temples. The two Paco temples are well known, comprising a Hindu temple and a Sikh temple.

Anitism[edit]

Wooden images of ancestral spirits (anito) in a museum in Bontoc, Philippines
Mount Madia-as, the sacred mountain home of the Panay god of death, Sidapa. The mountain is where Sidapa measures mortal lives through an ancient sacred tree.[57]

Anitism[58][59], simply referred as Philippine mythology or indigenous Philippine ancestral religions, is a body of myths, tales, and superstitions held by Filipinos (composed of more than a hundred ethnic peoples in the Philippines), mostly originating from beliefs held during the pre-Hispanic era. Some of these beliefs stem from pre-Christian religions that were specially influenced by Hinduism and were regarded by the Spanish as "myths" and "superstitions" in an effort to de-legitimize legitimate precolonial beliefs by forcefully replacing those native beliefs with colonial Christian myths and superstitions. Today, some of these precolonial beliefs are still held by many Filipinos, both in urban and rural areas.

Philippine mythology is incorporated from various sources, having similarities with Indonesian and Malay myths, as well as Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, and Christian traditions, such as the notion of heaven (kaluwalhatian, kalangitan, kamurawayan, etc.), hell (kasamaan, sulad, etc.), and the human soul (kaluluwa, kaulolan, etc.). Philippine mythology attempts to explain the nature of the world through the lives and actions of deities (gods, goddesses), heroes, and mythological creatures. The majority of these myths were passed on through oral tradition, and preserved through the aid of community spiritual leaders or shamans (babaylan, katalonan, mumbaki, baglan, machanitu, walian, mangubat, bahasa, etc.) and community elders.

Philippine mythologies and indigenous religions have historically been referred as Anitism,[60] meaning "ancestral religion".[61][62] Today, many ethnic peoples continue to practice and conserve their unique indigenous religions, notably in ancestral domains, although foreign and foreign-inspired Hispanic and Arabic religions continue to interfere with their life-ways through conversions, land-grabbing, inter-marriage, and/or land-buying. Various scholarly works have been made regarding Anitism and its many topics, although much of its stories and traditions are still undocumented by the international anthropological and folkloristic community.[61][63][64][65] Unlike dead religions such as Norse mythology, living religions such as Anitism, Shintoism, and Hinduism continue to develop up to this day due to inevitable dynamics in belief systems in the modern century. Because of this natural phenomenon, folk literature or oral stories on a variety of Philippine mythologies concerning the deities, heroes, and creatures have sustainably been multiplying since the pre-colonial era up to the 21st century. Presently, around 2% of the population are Anitists, concentrating in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Palawan, Mindoro, Western Visayas, and Mindanao. Specific communities throughout the Philippines also adhere to Anitism, while more than 90% of the Philippine national population continue to believe in certain Anitist belief system, despite adhering to another religion.[66][57]

Bahá'í Faith[edit]

The Bahá'í Faith in the Philippines started in 1921 with the first Bahá'í first visiting the Philippines that year,[67] and by 1944 a Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly was established.[68] In the early 1960s, during a period of accelerated growth, the community grew from 200 in 1960 to 1000 by 1962 and 2000 by 1963. In 1964 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Philippines was elected and by 1980 there were 64,000 Bahá'ís and 45 local assemblies.[69] The Bahá'ís have been active in multi/inter-faith developments. The 2005 World Christian Encyclopedia estimates the Bahá'í population of the Philippines at about 247,500.[70]

Buddhism[edit]

No written record exists about the early Buddhism in the Philippines. However, archaeological discoveries and the few scant references in the other nations' historical records can tell about the existence of Buddhism from the 9th century onward in the islands. These records mention the independent states that comprise the Philippines and which show that they were not united as one country in the early days. Archaeological finds include Buddhist artifacts. The style are of Vajrayana influence.[citation needed]

Loanwords with Buddhist context appear in languages of the Philippines.[71][72] Archaeological finds include Buddhist artifacts.[73][74] The style are of Vajrayana influence.[75][76] The Philippines's early states must have become the tributary states of the powerful Buddhist Srivijaya empire that controlled the trade and its sea routes from the 6th century to the 13th century in Southeast Asia. The states's trade contacts with the empire long before or in the 9th century must have served as the conduit for introducing Vajrayana Buddhism to the islands.

Both Srivijaya empire in Sumatra and Majapahit empire in Java were unknown in history until 1918 when the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient's George Coedes postulated their existence because they had been mentioned in the records of the Chinese Tang and Sung imperial dynasties. Ji Ying, a Chinese monk and scholar, stayed in Sumatra from 687 to 689 on his way to India. He wrote on the Srivijaya's splendour, "Buddhism was flourishing throughout the islands of Southeast Asia. Many of the kings and the chieftains in the islands in the southern seas admire and believe in Buddhism, and their hearts are set on accumulating good action."

Both empires replaced their early Theravada Buddhist religion with Vajrayana Buddhism in the 7th century.[77]

Irreligion[edit]

Dentsu Communication Institute Inc., Research Centre for Japan said in 2006 that about 11% of the population are irreligious.[78] Other sources put the number at less than 0.1%.[79]

In February 2009, Filipino Freethinkers[80] was formed. Since 2011, the Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society has held its OUT Campaigns in Rizal Park and Quezon Memorial Circle. Also it held two feeding programs "Good without Religion" in Bacoor, Cavite.[81] The society also is a member affiliate and associate of various international atheist organizations such as the Atheist Alliance International, Institute for Science and Human Values, and the International Humanist and Ethical Union, as one among secular organizations that promotes free thought and scientific development in the Philippines.

Religion and politics[edit]

The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines declares: The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable. (Article II, Section 6), and, No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. (Article III, Section 5). Joaquin Bernas, a Filipino Jesuit specializing in constitutional law, acknowledges that there were complex issues that were brought to court and numerous attempts to use the separation of Church and State against the Catholic Church, but he defends the statement, saying that "the fact that he [Marcos] tried to do it does not deny the validity of the separation of church and state".[82]

On April 28, 2004, the Philippines Supreme Court reversed the ruling of a lower court ordering five religious leaders to refrain from endorsing a candidate for elective office.[83][84] Manila Judge Conception Alarcon-Vergara had ruled that the "head of a religious organization who influences or threatens to punish members could be held liable for coercion and violation of citizen's right to vote freely". The lawsuit filed by Social Justice Society party stated that "the Church's active participation in partisan politics, using the awesome voting strength of its faithful flock, will enable it to elect men to public office who will in turn be forever beholden to its leaders, enabling them to control the government".

They claimed that this violates the Philippine constitution's separation of Church and State clause. The named respondents were the Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, El Shaddai Movement Leader Mike Velarde, Iglesia ni Cristo Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo and Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide leader Eddie Villanueva. Manalo's Iglesia ni Cristo practices bloc voting. Former Catholic Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin had been instrumental in rallying support for the assumption to power of Corazon Aquino and Gloria Arroyo. Velarde supported Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III while Villanueva endorsed Fidel Ramos and Jose De Venecia. The papal nuncio agreed with the decision of the lower court[85] while the other respondents challenged the decision.[86][87]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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