DAVAO CITY — In the latest of a number of controversial statements about the divine, and in venting his frustration with the Roman Catholic Church, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stated during a speech on Friday that if anyone can prove that they have talked to God personally or saw Him face-to-face, he will resign.
“I just need one witness who will say, ‘Mayor, those fools at the church ordered me to go to Heaven and talk to God. God really exists. We have a picture together and I brought a selfie,'” he said. “You do that today, one single witness that there is a guy, a human being, who’s able to talk and to see God. Of the so many billions that passed through Earth, I just need one. And if there is one, ladies and gentlemen, I will announce my resignation immediately.”
Duterte, 73, had raised controversy last month after expressing criticism of how God allowed sin to come into the world after creating it to be perfect.
“Adam ate it (the forbidden fruit), then malice was born. Who is this stupid God? That son of a [expletive] is stupid if that’s the case,” he said at the opening of the 2018 Information and Communications Technology Summit in Davao City. “You created something perfect and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work.”
The Philippine president said that he rejects the doctrine of original sin, which teaches that all men are born with a sinful nature.
“That was your mother and father’s deed—you weren’t born yet, but now you have original sin. What kind of religion is that? I can’t accept it. What a stupid proposition,” he stated.
Duterte’s remarks drew outrage in the predominantly Roman Catholic country, which prompted his administration to form a three-person committee to engage in talks with clergy in regard to his statements. He sought to clarify that he wasn’t insulting God in general, but the God of his critics in the Catholic Church. He took issue with practices of the Catholic Church during his speeches.
“Your God is not my God because your God is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense,” Duterte said in Cagayan de Oro City, according to GMA News. “Why do you have to talk about religion? If I choose not to believe in any God, what’s the [expletive] thing about it? It’s the freedom to choose.”
However, he also noted that he is not an atheist or agnostic, as he believes in a “universal mind.”
“I tend to talk a lot about things … I believe in one supreme God. … I never said I do not believe in God,” Duterte stated. “I’m not agnostic and I’m not an atheist. I just happen to be a human being believing that there’s a universal mind somewhere which controls the universe.”
He said that there must be a God that keeps the celestial bodies from colliding and threatening the existence of the human race.
On Saturday, Duterte went further and outlined that he turned away from his once Roman Catholic faith and created his own version of God after being sexually abused by a priest as a teenager.
“After graduation, I created my own god based on the values I have seen like justice—what is justice, fairness—I have always said in Davao, ‘My god is my service to the people.’ Period,” he stated.
The Philippine president has drawn controversy on numerous other occasions, including in December 2016 when he said that he wasn’t going to stop using profanity to appease people.
“If you have something against me, about my mouth, about my character, go to God and complain. He was the one who made me. He is the one to be blamed, not me,” Duterte claimed.
He had stated months earlier that God spoke to him during a flight and told him to stop swearing.
Despite his controversial statements, Duterte has declared each January “National Bible Month” in recognition of the “religious nature of the Filipino people and the elevating influence of religion in human society.”
Romans 5:12 teaches, “[B]y one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Ephesians 2:3 also outlines that all are “by nature the children of wrath,” and Jeremiah 17:9 notes that “[t]he heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”
It is why Jesus taught in John 3:6-7, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.” Titus 3:5 also outlines that men are not saved by their own works, but “by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
2 Corinthians 15 refers to Christ as the Last Adam, outlining in verse 22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
“The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from Heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the Heavenly, such are they also that are Heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the Heavenly,” verses 47-49 also explain of the earthen nature.
2 Corinthians 5:17 also says of the here and now, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 likewise teaches that those who have been regenerated are to put off the old man and put on the new.
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” it exhorts.