Category Archives: Atheism

My effort, blood, sweat and tears have come to fruition

                              https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive        /2017/03/new-atheists-philippines/518175/

 

In the heavily Christian society of the Philippines, nonbelievers meet with little respect, and they sometimes become targets of open hostility—as the founder of HAPI knows first-hand. Marissa Torres Langseth, known as “Miss M” among volunteers, now lives in the United States. But she is a stalwart of the Philippines’ fledgling atheist movement, having previously set up the Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society (PATAS) before leaving to start HAPI.

When Langseth first started this work, she received torrents of abuse online, including being called “a whore” and the “Bride of Satan,” she told me. “That’s how Filipinos think. They view atheists as Satanists: somebody who believes in demons and evil, who has no moral values and who doesn’t have any meaning in life.”

Undeterred, Langseth said she wants to fight the prevailing attitude among many poor Filipinos that their fate is in God’s hands. “My mother would go to church to ask for food and clothing and money,” she recounted. “Most Filipinos think that God provides. It will give a lot of people common sense when we let them know that there really is no God.”

(Copy-pasted from The  Atlantic article above)

With bittersweet memories: Our very first international exposure.. in April 28, 2011 :http://freethinker.co.uk/2011/04/28/the-pope%E2%80%99s-gonna-have-a-cow-catholic-philippines-gains-its-first-atheist-society/
ALL original members are gone,
some lost in the wilderness.

But we have gained traction :

Humanists are starting to gain a foothold in the Philippines

My heartfelt gratitude to Michael French, journalist of The Atlantic and Barry Duke of  The Freethinker.

Another site picked us up, this time from World Religion News :

Atheist Missionaries Are Spreading Humanist Ideals in the Philippines

As you know, we are not religious, because, we have been there, done that.

A Medical Mistake Cured by Faith in a god

I went to church yesterday with my husband. We do this at least once or twice  every few months, to give our donations. I am the atheist, but my husband remains a WASP, but really, he is the one who gets bored with the church rituals and singing, and gets annoyed with soprano voice and children’s out of tune singing.

After church, we went to the basement for some food  and baked goodies. Of course, for camaraderie and conversation.

The Pastor told us a story about the young boy who went to Sloan Hospital for some “belly tumor”. They operated on him  after an ultrasound and found nothing. They attributed the cure of that tumor  to  their faith  without ado.

I said, that must be a medical mistake.. the boy had nothing to begin with. But since, these old  church attendees are very devout,  I just said, I believe in science and there are a lot of medical mistakes, that I know  of when I was still actively practicing as an Adult Nurse Practitioner, reason being , a second and third opinion is needed when one is given a diagnosis, especially cancer. A biopsy is the gold standard to determine if  one has cancer or not, not an ultrasound or a cat scan. His story has some loopholes anyway.

However, there is not much to talk about. I leave it at that. We cannot teach old dogs new tricks, nor give medicine to a dead man.

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A HAPI book: From Superstition to Reason: A journey towards HUMANISM

 

14803097_1686773998302733_1272893114_oA book that depicts stories of  how we became atheists or humanists is finally at the printing press.

It was a very   long journey for me, imagining this book as the only secular book in the Philippines made for Filipinos and printed in my own country of natal day since 2011.

It started as my vision in 2011, when I started PATAS, but was derailed due to some unscrupulous people and “short-lived enthusiasm” attitude  of some pinoys. Long story short, it was canned and put aside.

Came HAPI founding in 2013, we have to start all over again. But another unfavorable  set back, the person  (Aljohn L.  de Leon) assigned to the compiling in 2014, turned out to be a very shady person and a scammer. He was terminated from HAPI for fraud. He  is now being investigated by NBI for online estafa by deceit. I hope I am his last victim.

In 2015,  Alex Wisner took over the compiling and editing of the book,  very carefully due to some stories being edited, removed and updated.  We do not want plagiarized stories, you know.

Finally,  a HAPI book came out from the leadership page  in November, 2016. Thanks to a new leader, Bryan Valentino. His tenacity and tactfulness paid off. All my frustrations and negative outlook have been lifted off,  that finally a HAPI book is already at the printing press.

Needless to say, I financed this vision , some funds were mishandled in the process. This time it is clear as crystal. We will have the very first and only secular book in the Philippines, made by HAPI and its leaders.

Indeed, kindness begets kindness!

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I have arrived: I am in control of my destiny

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Finally, the curtain has been  closed:

The snakes and termites have failed to bring me down: their lies debunked and their words shoved in someone’s ass. They left in a rush with their tails between  their legs.

Nothing destroyed me. No one brought me down. My legacy will continue.

One stalker sent 100 USD, as donation, which we returned.  I  do not need money. Books  were accepted to heal your bitterness.

One sent a donation of 1500 pesos : I take that as a public apology.

Some people do not know what they have, until they lose it.

I am in control,  my destiny is mine. Assholes cannot hurt me anymore.

The final curtain is closed.  Adieu to all ,but, my history will prevail. My legacy will continue.

I am vindicated: I am a victor !

You need to create two nonreligious  societies to debunk my claim.

No one can do that!

 

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Share your life story

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I like sharing my life story, so that people can learn lessons from me vicariously.
We cannot learn all lessons in this lifetime. Life is too short.
Story untold is not a good idea.
Most people assume things and make it worse.
Truth is good. Share what is true.
Those people who do not learn from their pasts, are bound to repeat the same thing.
I have learned my lessons well. Never again.
I have freed myself from dysfunctional people.
I am very fortunate to have an awesome and very generous husband, who loves me just the way  I am.
I am FREE. I found the ultimate freedom.
Freedom from religion and of religion.
I am an atheist humanist.
I am not afraid.

My Farewell Article

 

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The woman who lit the fire – Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society (PATAS)Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society (PATAS)

As Vince Lombardi puts it, the achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.

Lighting the fire has never been an easy task to accomplish. You have to endure the heat, before enjoying the light. You have to keep the fire aflame by having strong perseverance and continuing determination. How long the fire remains depends on how determined the one who protects it.

Same goes with how an organization works. If a leader doesn’t convey passion and intensity towards it, then there will be no passion and intensity within it.

In the Philippines, when atheism was not making a big boom, critical thought seemed to have been declining to below zero, logic was not a prevalent subject, and ignorance was taking the large step, nobody was taking action to dismantle illiteracy. Although books, Science classes, and academicians were in a large scale, still, the number of individuals walking the brave road is still in its low level.

Good thing, there is a woman whose great influential prowess dawned a now internationally recognized organization, the Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society (PATAS), named Marissa Torres Langseth. A woman who all her life has been fighting for the extirpation of an inescapable human gaffe and profound public ignorance hiding behind a cloak called atheism/humanism.

Who is she and why did she found such an organization?

 

Marissa Langseth, called by her acquaintances and colleagues as “Ms. M”, is a woman of bravery, compassion and intelligence. On top of that, she is a woman of humility who does not act as boss but as a leader. The line between a boss and a leader can be drawn bigger than expected. A leader could be a boss or a boss could be a leader or it could be the complete opposite where a leader is not a boss, nor is a boss a leader. While boss orders his followers to take the road, leader accompanies his followers on how to take the road. Often times, or always, Ms. M acts as the latter more than the former, which in turn became instrumental to making her organization prosperous and uncannily successful.

She established PATAS in February 14, 2011 which initially aimed to be an agent of social awareness and public understanding concerning non-belief. This organization has taken its wings too far by performing several activities through its international brand. The organization is committed to replacing traditional falsity with rational and secular explanations to social difficulties, grounded in the lack of belief in the supernatural.

Ms. M is an atheist and philanthropist who enjoys her married life in the United States of America. She works in one of the biggest companies in the USA,  same country as a consultant and a medical practitioner, happily married to a Protestant  since March 31, 1996. She envisions an organization that can make a difference one community at a time. By representing the PATAS organization in various Humanist associations, Ms. M has established multiple international bonds and given the society its global acknowledgment. These international bonds include the American Humanist Organization (AHA), International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), Atheist Alliance International (AAI), to cite a few more.

In addition, the construction of the local PATAS libraries and international offices is greatly attributable to her dedication of making her organization a success, a huge reality. She donated books and funded personally the establishment of the libraries, which now cater to the atheist minority bereft of resources to buy books.

Ms. M has been spending her personal funds for the activities and undertakings of the said organization. These activities include the humanistic endeavors, coming out  campaigns, be it as an atheist or a homosexual, and charity efforts, say, feeding programs, to help those who are in need. Also, activities for the introduction of atheism in the country are mostly personally funded by Ms. M, with the collaborative effort of the above mentioned international communities.

One of the many remarkable undertakings of her organization is the very first atheist/agnostic convention in the South East Asia, which was held in Manila, Philippines, in Bayview Plaza Hotel in United Nations Avenue under the ameliorative assistance of Ms. M herself, AAI through the kindness of its president, Tanya Smith, and IHEU through the benevolence of Roar Johnsen. Other major international societies were American Atheists Inc., and Institute for Science Human Values (ISHV). The convention was a huge accomplishment with 180 participants from all over the world, most of whom from Manila.  Some visitors came from Davao, Cebu and Iloilo while others, from Bicol region and Baguio took the bus for 8 to 12 hours just to attend the said convention. The convention came out as a revolutionary, radical crusade to do away with religion and dogma, something that the organization initially stood for.

The convention was covered by 2 major television news networks in the Philippines: ABS-CBN (Alto Broadcasting System, Chronicle Broadcasting Network) and GMA (Global Media Arts) news. ABS-CBN was there from 7 A.M. to 12 P.M., however unfortunately, none was aired since the owner is religious. The other news network, GMA, aired the convention for four times, featuring interview from John Paraiso, who then was the president of PATAS.

Another feather to its cap, and another first, is the Asia Humanism Conference, with its theme, Combating Injustice: Humanist Approach for Disadvantaged or Marginalized Youth in Asia , held at the DepEd Ecotech Center, Cebu City on June 21 to June 23, 2013, sponsored by Ms. Marissa Langseth herself, with her organization’s  international affiliate, International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organization (IHEYO). The conference was conducted to show that humanism is a positive ground for altruism and benevolence through different talks and experiences shared. Furthermore, it was conducted to showcase how learning about Humanism can be a more ethical choice rather than subscribing to any religious movement. The conference worked in trying to deliver the message that to believe in humans and their capability to do good things is a more logical stand than to look up to the heavens and pray for good things to happen. The conference focused on major issues including women’s rights, matters regarding the LGBTQIA’s, and the modern roadblocks to achieving Humanism.

But sometimes, you get tired protecting the fire because of too much disturbance, and you have to let someone protect it for you.

The woman who started it all is now vacating her post to give a bigger road for her health and her marriage.

Ms. M is scheduled to retire as the Founding Chairwoman of PATAS in 2015 but was moved in January 2014 due to health and personal issues.

However, she said she would still continue her philanthropy to support her scholars and focus more on her work as a medical practitioner and consultant in the US.

PATAS waits for her decision to come back again soon. It wishes her the best in life and it hopes she still continues to help those who need one. She may be leaving but her legacies won’t.

Thank you, Ms. M.

(Article made by Aljohn de Leon on Nov. 2013)