Having Faith in Yourself :
A Review of Marissa Torres Langseth’s autobiography,
“No Outside Intelligence” by Rizalina Guilatco Carr, Vancouver, BC , Canada.
Many Filipinos will be shocked at the revelations contained in Marissa Torres Langseth’s fascinating autobiography, “No Outside Intelligence,” but its message is of critical importance, especially for Filipino youth. A very inspiring book, it vicariously vents our pent-up anger and fulfills our longing to be heard. Marissa is the first Filipina I have listened to who speaks with such honesty, strength and bravery. In relating her life’s journey, she exposes deeper issues that many of us conveniently ignore, for fear of being ostracized or even for receiving the threat of “eternal damnation.”
Religious tyranny exists in many forms, and perhaps the most heartbreaking is when your own family members distance themselves from you for not believing the dogma ascribed to the Bible – an ancient collection of stories passed down through word of mouth by uneducated peasants and goat herders, probably written hundreds of years after the events they purport to describe, copied and edited for political purposes and then translated and propagated by colonizers for social control and to justify stealing our cultural identities and material resources.
Pervasive racism and discrimination against Filipinas are real, and they come in many forms. How often are we seen as subservient and naïve? How often are we assumed to be mail-order brides, caregivers or nannies? Marissa’s sassy retort to one Caucasian woman’s assumption that she was a mail-order bride is hilarious! (But you will have to read the book to get that reward.)
As someone who appreciate the brilliant logic of Richard Dawkins, I admire Marissa’s resourcefulness to meet our shared idol. Dawkins has been a powerful voice in debunking the myths, superstitions and other non-sense of various religions, often through humorous rebuttal of dogmatic declarations. His writings have given intellectual and emotional support to both of us in our endless questioning of religious authority, and that growing awareness to have faith in ourselves becomes evident even in the title of Marissa’s autobiography.
Her intelligence, integrity, generosity, strength and passion are what the next generation must emulate. Humanism is about being ethical, rational and compassionate, and it is fundamental to any democracy incorporating human rights. Humanism is a response to widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion, and for living a belief system that requires “no outside intelligence.”