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Interview with John Miles — Member, Humanist Alliance Philippines International

2022-12-16

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/08/11

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When it comes to the Filipino community at large, what seems like some of the more prominent cases of individuals abusing religion for personal gain?

John Miles: Abusing religion? No, using the religion at its full extent, yes. Because religion limits human thinking. The drift occurs when the person starts ignoring logic and his instincts. Separation from his instinctual nature inevitably plunges civilized man into conflict between conscious and unconscious, spirit and nature, knowledge and faith. It controls how people thinks and in the end those one’s on the top of it gains power.

I would like to share this message from Carl Sagan that got me in tears about his perspective of Earth, Space and Humanity as a whole: The Pale Blue Dot — https://youtu.be/wupToqz1e2g.

Jacobsen: How does the world see the Philippines from the outside under Duterte?

Miles: Working in an oil/gas industry and living abroad gives me a very narrow view of this subject. Frankly, I don’t give a fuck.

Jacobsen: How are atheists generally treated in the Philippines?

Miles: Like the lowest kind of human being — my family struggled for years accepting the fact that I do not believe in any deities. I’ve struggled 2 years before that, trying to accept that I have been fooled my whole life of a lie. They tried their best to convince me and when they realized they can’t. I was disowned for years. Just recently they started talking to me, and I am very happy for that.

People, not only in the Philippines see us as “Satan worshipers” not realizing we don’t believe in Satan too. That shows the idiocracy of an individual and right after that, they change how they interact with me, so I learned fast when to shut my mouth and when to speak up.

Jacobsen: How can the non-religious overcome religious privilege, e.g., building a coalition and a solidarity movement?

Miles: The only way non-religious can overcome religious privileges is to take it away from them. Away from our government, away from our kids and away from our school system. But not take away their freedom of what to believe as long as they don’t affect the factors that matters the most. When an individual believer is trying to change the law in line with his personal faith, that’s where it should stop.

The more we educate children and give them the knowledge and freedom to question everything is the more our future will be a bit brighter without religion.

Jacobsen: When in the Philippines, and looking at the political situation, how does religion influence politics? How did you find humanism and HAPI?

Miles: Politics in the Philippines is greatly influenced by religion. Roman Catholics has a great role in Philippine’s political agenda. And for this I am ashamed of my country. People that have ridiculous ideology should never have anything to do with government, or in real life in general.

Culture is important but it’s time that we have to weigh things between nonsense religious activities to a more productive and viable or realistic things in life.

Jacobsen: Why is religion such a large influence on the country? What are some of the main prejudices that the irreligious experience in the Philippines?

Miles: Religion has a large influence to each region around the world, whatever religion it is. Religion controls how people think and in Philippines —

1. When you have been told “There is a God.” all your life.

2. When religion has a big part on our culture. E.g. Television shows, celebrations, government decisions. Etc.

3. How people reacts and how they treat when they find out you’re a non-believer.

It’s pretty hard for people to think outside the box. Almost impossible, it’s even unthinkable for a person to even consider the possibility that there is no God. Despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence to such claims.

Jacobsen: Any final thoughts or feelings in conclusion?

Miles: I would like to share this quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson — “God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time moves on.”

I am a great believer of unity, love, values and truth. And we all should be. Although I validate my views of truth in accord with recent facts and evidence discovered by science; but until the claim of a deity or any other religious ideologies proven true: Religion has no say of how I live my life, no place in my family, not included of category how I choose my friends, and should NOT be welcomed in our society.

Thank you for this opportunity Scott.

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

License

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 www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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