By Alex P. Vidal
“Man’s enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself.” – Lao Tzu
I BELIEVE in God, but I had three friends in the Philippines who had been “arguing” with me against the existence of the Divine Providence.
And they have all died. No one was buried in the cemetery.
“If I die, I want to be burned,” Lucifer, who was 95 when he passed away at 11 o’clock in the evening on June 29, 2022 in Iloilo, told me many years ago in Amigo Terrace Hotel.
His wish was granted. Lucifer, a musician during the World War II, was cremated the following day (June 30). His family had requested Lucifer’s death “shouldn’t be made public—especially in the social media.”
My two other atheist friends, The Devil and Socrates “went to hell” ahead of Lucifer.
The Devil, 58, died in 2020 while Socrates, 85, went to the kingdom come in 2019.
They, too, were burned as they had wished.
Of the three, Socrates, like the ancient Greek philosopher, was the moderate.
“God, I think, is only an imagination,” he once told me. “But I was intrigued when Voltaire exclaimed that ‘if God didn’t exist, it was necessary to invent Him.’”
But The Devil, who died of diabetes, was the worst agnostic.
“God is sonnovitch,” he hollered in the sidewalk of Jaro Plaza without any apparent provocation from any religious group or individual. “The priests, bishops, nuns, and all the clergy in general are b_llshits.”
One night at around past 11 o’clock sometime in 1998, The Devil missed a trip to the Jaro PNP jail by the skin of the teeth when cooler heads pulled him away from the vicinity of the Jaro Archdiocese just in time before the cops arrived.
The Devil, heavily intoxicated, had thrown an empty beer bottle at the gates of the Jaro Archdiocese while shouting and demanding from Jaro Archbishop Amado Lagdameo to “open you goddam refrigerators and let the poor and the street children get inside to eat the abundant food.”
“If God exists, there would be no suffering,” insisted The Devil, whose favorite book is The American Caesar written by William Manchester. “The street children would not die of hunger and neglect.”
Lucifer, who played piano for Hitler’s generals, admitted he never believed in God “ever since.”
“God is a joke,” Lucifer sighed while holding a goblet full of Dansk Klapojster Mjod, his favorite red wine. “I laughed when I saw that several churches in Europe were now empty. People were now beginning to realize that God is a big joke.”
At one time, I managed to gather the three: The Devil, Socrates, Lucifer.
It was difficult to arrange the “satanic” meeting since The Devil slept in the morning, while Socrates needed to be in Guimbal, Iloilo before six o’clock in the evening.
Lucifer was easy to summon since he lived in a subdivision in La Paz district, City Proper.
The three freethinkers finally met in a coffee shop inside a big mall in the corner of Mabini and Ledesma Streets, City Proper one afternoon sometime in 2001.
As expected, the session was a blockbuster, raucous, explosive!
They started the “demonic” assembly each pretending as nerds.
It was the timid-looking but sharp-minded Socrates who broke the ice when he blurted, “It’s good that all of Alex’s friends are freethinkers (laugh).”
“Let’s put it this way,” volunteered Lucifer. “He believes in God while some of us don’t probably. But it’s okay because he is our host (laugh).”
The Devil maintained his silence and listened while Socrates and Lucifer began slandering and lambasting the ecclesiastical hierarchy like Russian bombs wreaking havoc on the Ukraine cities.
“Epicurus (a Greek philosopher who founded Epicureanism) was an early philosopher to dispute many religious beliefs, including the existence of an afterlife or a personal deity,” blasted Socrates.
Lucifer postdated his spiel: “That’s ancient. Let’s go to Spinoza. I forgot his first name. He had this provocative idea that God is not the creator of the world, but that the world is part of God.”
“Baruch…Baruch Spinoza,” Socrates interrupted.
After emptying three bottles of beer, The Devil joined the fray.
And in a rowdy manner and loud voice, he brought the House down—and sent everyone scampering by yelling, as usual, and cursing (in expletives) Lagdameo, the priests, the nuns, and all religious groups.
“It’s time to go home,” Socrates, who doesn’t drink, suggested.
“This man (The Devil) has no manners,” boomed Lucifer who turned his back and walked away.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)