SONGSOPTOK: «Belief is simple acceptance that a proposition is true, without regard to reason(s) while faith is the acceptance of a proposition rather than an epistemological (evidence-based) reason.” Does this reflect your understanding of the two words? If so, why? If not, then how would you distinguish between the two?

ELIZABETH: I believe that “Belief” is what one is made to conform and practice to by his/her familial connections and/or of society’s norms while “Faith” can be developed overtime as the person grows older and wiser and may choose not to let other’s opinions or views of things affect his/her decision to hold on to it no matter what the circumstances are.

SONGSOPTOK: Each person can inherit, adopt or construct her own set of beliefs and faiths, or it is a combination of the two. How would you qualify your own personal set? Were your faiths and beliefs handed down to you by someone? Who? Or were they acquired? If so, how?

ELIZABETH: Most of my beliefs and faith are influenced greatly by my parents and elders, mainly religious beliefs since I was a child. There are certain superstitious beliefs handed down from generation to generation by society but I prefer to conform to modern living and often find myself questioning what would be the “scientific explanation” to such old beliefs which are just made up by man.

SONGSOPTOK: In your own personal sphere, do you consider worship as a religious act involving rites, rituals or other types of practices? Or is it related to something that transcends religion? Can you explain your position with some examples?

ELIZABETH: Worshipping is considered as a religious act in my religion which is Catholicism. Various rites, rituals, and ceremonies are observed and practiced on certain occasions and are also deemed as holy handed down from generation to generation which were brought by our Spanish descendants, the Philippines being under Spanish rule for hundred years.

SONGSOPTOK:  “Faith takes over where reason leaves off” – do you agree? Can you explain your point of view?

ELIZABETH: Yes, I do believe in this quote for having faith in something sometimes defy logical reasoning which leaves us into confusion – of whether to continuously follow what we believe in after we have made some realization over something or simply throw away or disregard what we have always made to believe in or choose to follow all our lives.

SONGSOPTOK: Did you ever face a conflict between your beliefs, reason and knowledge? How do you react to such situations?

ELIZABETH: There would be instances that conflicts between my beliefs and knowledge which I have learned in school and in life experiences arise. During these certain times, I get to be more open-minded and try to embrace the differences between the two opposing sides.  Being a writer, my mind is set to embrace any perception which enables me to think reasonably and logically not easily blinded by varied forces.

SONGSOPTOK: Are you a believer? What do you believe in?

ELIZABETH: Yes, I am a believer of God. I do believe that there is a Supreme Holy Being who is the Great Creator of the Universe and beyond.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that it is essential to convince and convert others to your own system of beliefs and faiths? Why? Can you please describe the reasons for your answer?

ELIZABETH: I believe that it is not vital and proper to persuade or force others to follow and practice what we believe in and even of our faith or religion for that matter. Each one of us has human rights and these include our freedom to choose what we want to believe in. Each person possesses the right to choose among the many options available for him and he can even change his mind if he also chooses at any given time.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that each individual has some form of faith or belief, whether related to religion or not? If yes, then what do you think are the main reasons?

ELIZABETH: Yes, I definitely do believe that each person has his own set of beliefs or some form of faith he chooses whether about religious stuff or others. Man cannot live not following some certain norms and traditions whether they be inherently influenced by their familial connections or adapted from the society they were born in. Having a set of beliefs and faith in something or someone is likened to following a set of rules which give humans the direction in life and helps them discover and/or develop their personalities and relationships with other people.

SONGSOPTOK: “A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.” said C.S. Lewis. Do you agree with this view? Or do you think that some form of worship is indispensable for humans? Why?

ELIZABETH:: I believe that  some form of worship or belief in some Powerful Most High is truly indispensable for us humans since this can be the foundation wherein we can follow not just some universal law but natural law that Someone more superior over us reigns over the earth. If we are not believers and just choose to follow and do our own set of rules, we have no fear of doing evil things and of being hopeful and not easily trampled down by adversities in life. Some form of belief also acts as a strong element to discover our real purpose here on earth.

SONGSOPTOK: You may or may not choose to answer this – but nevertheless we would like to know who do you worship? Why do you worship? How do you worship? And above all, in what way does it help you in your everyday life?

ELIZABETH: I am a believer and I was born to a religious family having Spanish ancestors for my great grandparents. I am a devout Catholic and I worship only God. I need to worship Him for He is the Mighty Creator of all things and I believe that I should give back to Him by praising Him while singing songs in church when I attend mass not just every Sunday but any ordinary day of the week.

Having a personal relationship with God makes me a better person and gives direction to my life. I discovered my True Calling through God’s words and listening intently to what He wants me to do in my life. I owe to God what ever achievements I am reaping in my writing career right now as well as in other areas of my life.

ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO is a multi-awarded contemporary and modern poet and author of two published international books, “Seasons of Emotions” (UK), and “Inner Reflections of the Muse” ( USA) and a co-author to more than 60 international anthologies in the USA, Canada, UK, India, Romania, and Africa and a widely-published author/poet in different international literary magazines. She is a member of the American Authors Association (AAA) and PEN International.

We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


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