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Interview with Rizalina Guilatco Carr on Humanism


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/07/30

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When it comes to religion or irreligion, what was family background in it?

Rizalina Guilatco Carr: I grew up in a very religious family, just like many of us who are from the Philippines. I studied in private Catholic schools.

Jacobsen: How does personal background feed into this as well? That is, how has religion influenced you, personally?

Carr: My mother kept on having children (10 that lived, plus 2 miscarriages and 1 that died in the first few days). She would always get post-partum depression. The sisters of my mother, when presented with the option of her having an abortion to keep her sanity, could only say to my mother, “Fear God!” Only my father’s sister, who was a nurse, wanted my mother to have her “tubes tied” to stop having more children. My family’s constant fear of the church and the eternal condemnation of hell was the source of my angst. I struggled to get answers on my own, until I read the books of Richard Dawkins and then met my atheist husband.

Jacobsen: When did humanism become a practical reality for you?

Carr: Having gone through a traumatic period in my personal life, I managed to survive it without calling on a god. (“No outside intelligence!”) My husband and I didn’t mind going into personal debt to achieve what we thought was the right way of helping those for whom we cared the most and who had the ability to succeed in life, given a chance.

Jacobsen: How did you find the humanist community?

Carr: Through Facebook, I found the humanist community.

Jacobsen: What were some of your early involvements in the community? Also, how do people tend to come to the humanist community and become involved early on in their work with it?

Carr: My only contact with the humanist community is through HAPI in Facebook, although my husband and I share that perspective. From an early age, I was always part of “community building.” It started in my first year of college, through the Leadership Training Course sponsored by our local YMCA. Then I joined a “service-based” sorority, and it opened my eyes as to the many ways we can contribute in our community. My involvement with our Filipino and Canadian community has continued through my 38 years in Vancouver, Canada.

My husband and I were co-founders of GO-MED, a non-religious, apolitical medical mission group that provides free needed surgeries for the poor in the Philippines and Peru.

Jacobsen: How does HAPI provide for the needs of the community in the Philippines?

Carr: I admire HAPI’s commitment of service and Motherland needs everyone’s effort to nation building. After all, Philippines is a Third World country. On a personal note, we also have our own projects and other charitable work that we personally fund.

Jacobsen: What makes a good humanist — so to speak? Someone who adheres to and lives the humanist lifestyle.

Carr: A good humanist conducts his/her behavior in an ethical way. While some want their advocacy known, there are also those who contribute quietly. When you have many resources available to you, kindness comes naturally. It is more difficult for people to follow ethical behaviors if their stomachs are growling and their loved ones are suffering.

Jacobsen: How can people become involved in humanism?

Carr: We must try to be inclusive. Secular beliefs should be accompanied by good deeds, or people will continue to believe that atheists are godless devils. If we give opportunities through employment and volunteerism, and offer collaboration with local communities, we can open bridges in bringing many people together. Everyone has something to offer.

Jacobsen: Who are some exemplars of humanism to you, in the Filipino/Filipina traditions?

Carr: The people I grew up with, are examples of “taking care of one another.” I hope I honor these traditions through the work and help that I am still doing. Marissa Torres Langseth’s courage in having a loud voice to bring people together and to help one another in a common goal. Her message and commitment should be spread around!

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Rizalina.


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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