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Chat with Rayd Espeja — Member, Humanist Alliance Philippines, International


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/02/27

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Did you have any family background in religion?

Espeja: I grew up in a religious environment. Two of my uncles are priest and an aunt which is a nun. My grandmother used to gather us every 6:00 PM to have our novena while every Sunday she would drag us to church and receive the Holy Communion. I used to be an active member of the Legion of Mary and later became the Youth Leader of our sect which is the “Rosa Mystica” The Mystical Rose.

Jacobsen: How did you find humanism?

Espeja: It started as a spiritual venture which allows me to enter various religious sects when I was younger. My eagerness to find some answers leads me to what I believe right now which is Humanism.

Jacobsen: How do others in the culture seem to leave religion?

Espeja: There are some corners in religion that will definitely leave you confuse and thirsty for answer. Those people who opted to leave are actually the people who fully understood the religion itself rather than those who questions without knowing. It is like, when light is casted the brightest, the shadow lies is in its darkest.

Jacobsen: What makes for the proper definition of humanism?

Espeja: Humanism is when you completely trust and respect your fellow and build confidant out of them.

Jacobsen: What is the main prejudice from the dominant faith against the faithless?

Espeja: Faithless are empty vessel. They are lost and never truly seen the mighty work of the creator. I often laugh it out whenever I encounter such prejudices from my acquaintances, friends and even my family. We can never change them thought about us if we counter them with words just to defend our belief, instead I would let them see it through the works I committed with.

Jacobsen: How can people with ties to family and culture through religion leave it without backlash? Is this even a mild possibility?

Espeja: My country is dominantly religious and I cannot imagine how other faithless people able to get away with it. Perhaps, if only we are open with our belief and able to let them understand how being faithless makes us a better version of ourselves. What I mean is that, we should act on it instead of indoctrinating them.

Jacobsen: Why do people seem to leave faith and embrace humanism? How can we expedite that process as a movement?

Espeja: Religious Faith oftentimes rough especially towards our LGBTQIA+ fellow. Some freethinkers, enlightened people embraces Humanism and stand otherwise with what faithful are believing in. Making ourselves visible might encourage other to step in and join the cause. As human, our main reason to live is to look after with one another.

Jacobsen: What is the general treatment of women in religion in the Philippines?

Espeja: Women in religion are treated as a second class citizen. Yes, they are free to practice the religion, but they still need to submit themselves with a male superior.

Jacobsen: How did you find and become involved with HAPI?

Espeja: We used to be part of a freethinking group in Facebook and we are fond of flaunting our ideas, bragging things we had done just to prove that we are part of the country’s thinking class. Later on, we got bored and found ourselves completely useless since we never initiate putting all our ideas in actions. So then, Marissa Torres Langseth came. She is one of the annoying people you’ll ever meet on web, but I must say this annoying lady knows her job so well. She told us to establish the local chapter of HAPI here in Bacolod City and like a wild fire all the ideas we have manifested into projects.

Jacobsen: What is the best reason for hope in the irreligious movements?

Espeja: Being in an irreligious movement allow you to become more selfless, and that is the main core of being a Humanist.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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