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Interview with Paterson Galupe — Member, Humanist Alliance Philippines International

2022-12-17

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/10/23

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If you reflect on early life and upbringing, what was the pivot point into a non-religious worldview? What about a humanist view of the world?

Paterson Galupe: Although I was born, raised and indoctrinated into evangelical Christianity as a child, my parents were neglectful in their duty to nurture us and left us stumbling about and bought their accompaniment with money, i felt that there was truly no external guiding force that led me to my eventual disenchantment from religion it was a slow process of denial, acknowledgement and acceptance and took 30 odd years! Humanism is the expression of my empathy and love for fellow humans as I see my firebrand atheism was not enough to change the minds of my facebook friends.

Jacobsen: How did you come to find the HAPI community?

Galupe: After learning about secular humanism, I wanted to somehow organize with likeminded atheists. Gladly, I met HAPI. I found HAPI through Facebook search as I felt the need to connect with humanist groups closest to me.

Jacobsen: What do you consider some of the better moments of the HAPI communal development, as it has grown more over the years?

Galupe: I am just new to HAPI, just over 4 months. The website provides a list of their activities that focused mainly on charity events and information outreach about humanism and very little about positive atheism in general. In my view, positive atheism is needed to become a true humanist.

Jacobsen: What does secular community look like to you? How can the non-religious communities flourish better?

Galupe: A secular community is where both the religious and atheists live together in harmony bereft of the enforcement of religious dogma in state affairs. As far as I know, there are no atheist alliances or groups in the nation today. Non-religious communities can flourish better by being able to support one another. HAPI would be an excellent group to establish the first nationwide humanist atheist alliance.

Jacobsen: What have been the benefits of being in the HAPI community for you?

Galupe: A clear line of communication with other HAPI members who are interested in promoting atheism and humanism.

Jacobsen: What are some of the main catalysts for the development of a humanist community? Is it encroachment of the religious into secular affairs? Is it the lack of community in some facets of the atheist population? And so on.

Galupe: It is both. Being the 4th most religious nation in the world, the average population has now degraded to engage in tribalism. As of today, there is no non-religious community in the country as organized as HAPI which is still in a barebones stage.

Jacobsen: How can people become involved with the HAPI community?

Galupe: I have always been enamoured by the methods of Mr. David Silverman, former head of American Atheists, and how he had always espoused Firebrand atheism. So, if I were to actually have the time or effort to lead, I would model HAPI to his methodology. I would promote an information drive using local regional dialects and the main language, in Filipino, on social media to espouse atheism and humanism that question religion as the sole worldview in the Philippines today. So, as long as we stay in social media, we will remain an anonymous group which what I call, “the social media trap”, from which I believe is where HAPI is at now. With thousands of fake accounts trolling it’s “likers” and “followers” list.

To move forward, we need to establish the Filipino language (with the option to switch to local dialects) based online forum or website with regional hosts or moderators for the said website that contains current events from international humanist groups to let them know that this local humanist group has worldwide support.

Sadly, the lack of intelligence and the huge population of the religious masses means we definitely need to promote counter-apologetics, logical reasoning and centralize all the information revolving around philosophical or metaphysical naturalism and/or scientific materialism as the ideal worldview that promotes better wellbeing. This, in turn, will promote humanist values as an exit to religious dogma with a call for action as the central message to spread enlightenment to the masses. And if possible, provide legal services to victims of abuses committed by clergymen.

This website must also contain Firebrand atheism and street epistemology so closeted and open atheists will also be able to enlighten close friends and family who are moderate or even fundamental theists with concise and precise fact-based answers and links to promote positive atheism. Theists are also happily welcome to the said website to enlighten them as well with a Q&A introduction to the most common questions about atheism and humanism without any political biases yet promote nationalism and the need for a secular government.

Next step is media exposure. A figurehead/s is necessary for people to look up to.

The final step should be student secular humanist groups in secular universities. Forget about the universities controlled by the religious groups, they will automatically revoke the formation of such groups as they see it as a real threat to their supremacy.

In order to truly be able to increase the number of Filipino humanists, we should then focus on the younger generation who are empathic than their elder siblings as this society prioritizes in respecting elders and promotes ancestral worship and are forced into quasi-slavery conditions especially with children who suffer from elder members of the family who have sociopathic or narcissistic tendencies. This, in turn, will serve as the entry point of atheism and humanism in every single religious Filipino household.

Based on my personal experience, the moderate population of the religious remain to be in a highly non-combative stance. But, it will be able to build stronger relationships with open humanists and invite other atheists into the fold who need to act to create change and be able to play an active part for humanism.

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

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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