Only One Kind of Sound Matters Most

IMG_0514Digital music: It’s the next best news after the cassette tapes and the Walkman. Its spread through the internet and through pirated CDs has been the subject of much fanfare. And many litigations. You must be happy downloading thousands of music that you could play on your digital music player— free to copy at the click of a mouse. Someone or some group on the Net, in their excitement and desire to make the world happy, makes these songs available to all while riding roughshod over the rights of the copyright owners, and could cough up millions to pay if the litigants win their battle in courts. It ain’t nice to hear anymore— free music ain’t that free, really.

Digital music players have also been the subject of concerns by those who are victims of hearing loss, and this time the design of the music players and their earphones has been the target of lawsuits. It is now proven that while music could cause us to dance for joy, long-term exposure to it at a high volume could cause hearing impairment. In a sense, too much hearing results to inability to hear.

This is a world of noises— noises designed to promote and sell, plead and seduce, propagandize and deceive, push an idea and plug an advocacy. You hear it every day: Glutathione that used to be marketed aggressively now the subject of a pull-out from market shelves by the Bureau of Food and Drug (BFAD).

A business group has marketed a new technique of discovering your body’s illnesses by looking at your iris (“The window of the body is the eye”), and in the process you cough up thousands of pesos for consultation alone; what happened to their TV ads now? you would ask, for you never see the iris that used to drape your TV screen. Has man learned his lesson about being duped by noisy publicity?

The noisiest religious groups on air these days are those that expose each other’s religious anomalies—Eli Soriano’s “Dating Daan” and Felix Manalo’s “Iglesia ni Cristo”; you thought you would know the truth by listening to them castigate each other on Channel 13; my judgment is it’s just one kettle calling another kettle black.

That’s not all: One religious cult, Ruben Ecleo’s Philippine Benevolent Missionary Association, refrains from converting the educated and the intelligent; in the mountains and in secluded villages (“the more secluded the place and the more ignorant the people, the better”) they could enchant you with their sales talks on how a ring that sells at a fortune not only could pull a tooth “painlessly” but could reserve you a mansion in the heavenly places.

These are noises, sounds with their accompanying propaganda and advocacy that have been subject to many caveats, if one cares to listen well and listen good to these caveats. Don’t say we never warned you. “Let the buyer beware!”

But in the midst of this cacophony of variant, sometimes discordant sounds, we need to listen to one sound that matters most.

Adam listened to the sound of his wife’s voice. Result: they both had to hide themselves behind fig leaves! Samson listened to the bedroom pleadings of Delilah, and look what it got him! It is really difficult not to listen to the earnest pleadings of a woman of beauty, for which reason your best option is not to be found in her presence. I feel amused remembering that after my debate with an Iglesia ni Cristo minister in Bacolod City, someone from the group asked for my address; it must be he who sent a very pretty woman, a member of their sect, to my home in an effort to persuade me not to continue with my next debate with their minister. Instead, I skinned their sect and that woman went out so disgusted. But I heard she’s not with Iglesia ni Cristo anymore. Now, would you listen to a Delilah whom the Philistines among these sects would send to your home, the better to enthrall you, enchant you, and dissuade you from your noble purpose? Theirs are the sounds that do not matter most.

Abraham however was advised to listen to his wife and not to the customs of the people around him. It was a sound that mattered most: God told him Sarah his wife’s advice would work best under the circumstances.

Elijah listened to Jezebel’s threats and became cowed by his own fears, for which reason he hid in a cave. In the cave, however, an overwhelmingly noisy wind confronted him, with its accompanying earthquake and its fire, and when the noises died down, he heard a still small voice. It was the only sound he should hear, the only sound that mattered.

Video clips of Iran’s missile tests picked up by world’s television have jacked up the prices of crude oil. Picture America and Israel with their hands on the scabbard, ready to draw that sword in retaliation, if not in defense of national interests. It’s a metaphor nobody likes to hear these days. Pentecostals picture this as the last Armageddon. I say I don’t know. But if I listen to the sound of the threats that Iran could close the Strait of Hormuz, then I would be listening to the sound of human fears. That Strait, which straddles the Persian Gulf, is where much business traffic happens every waking and non-waking day. Closing it could indeed stop businesses and machineries from running, and could paralyze lives. Should you listen to the sound of your fears?

If you hear God speaking to your hearts through His word, then nothing can cow you, nothing can make you afraid. We need to pull away from the noise of the missile threats. They could be an empty boast. Or Iran could make good its threats. So what?

Remember that your God is greater than all. Evil in the world will triumph for a day, but it will not triumph for long. You could always hear of wars and rumors of wars. If you listen to Iran’s threats, you are saying, in a manner of speaking, that your God is small and less powerful than the missiles of evil. Many families survived during the Japanese occupation of this country, albeit in much hardship. Forces of evil may come, but yours too may survive, and that would be by the grace of Him who allows wars to equalize the powerful and the not so powerful, and tilt the balance of good against evil. Good will be victorious over bad, but of course at the cause of many lives.

Only one kind of sound matters most, and that is the sound of His voice that speaks within the covers of His book. Only one will matters most and that is the will of Him displayed in the world. Only one faith matters most and that is the faith of Him who died on the cross. Both Mohammedanism and Catholicism may have rejected Him, but one fact still remains: Jesus is still the one with whom all of us—Muslims, Catholics and Christians— have to do. He says: “He who rejects me, and does not accept my words, has one to condemn him. The word that I have spoken will condemn him on the last day” (John 12:48, New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible).

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