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An Interview with Marissa Torres Langseth, B.S.N., M.S.N. (Part Two)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/01/08


An Interview with Marissa Torres Langseth, B.S.N., M.S.N. She discusses: becoming a nurse practitioner, disallowance of freedom of conscience, freedom of belief, freedom of movement for women; religious and secular superstitions in medical decisions; assumptions in medical determinations; the God of the gaps; presumption of a family dynamic in declarations at death; evidence for prayer in the medical literature and in practice; complication in terminology for an atheist and an irreligious individual, and secular superstitions; two streams of atheism; other superstitions brought into the formal medical world; conspiratorial mindsets about the FDA; one of the most egregious examples of complementary medicine inundating proper medicine and causing real damage to people’s lives; fasting and health complications; symptoms of renal failure; other concernswith fasting, as a medical professional; and the ubiquitous belief in prayer.

Keywords: HAPI, humanism, Marissa Torres Langseth, PATAS, Philippines.

An Interview with Marissa Torres Langseth, B.S.N., M.S.N.: Founder, PATAS; Founder, HAPI (Part Two)[1],[2],[3],[4]

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, why did you become a nurse practitioner, to clarify?

Marissa Torres Langseth: To clarify, I became a nurse practitioner specializing in adult health because I wanted autonomy in my profession. I wanted to direct people in what to do. I’m confident I can do it and I did it. Of course, I retired two years ago as a nurse practitioner. I have never been sued.

No complaints with my diagnoses. So far, I did it all and the money was good. However, I need to rest.

2. Jacobsen: For women coming from cultures or subcultures, this can be North America too, of course, that disallow freedom of conscience, freedom of belief, freedom of movement as one would like, would you recommend becoming a nurse practitioner for that independence?

Langseth: Absolutely. In fact, I have recommended that all registered nurses become a nurse practitioner because it is different when you are already at that bracket. You function autonomously. You are like a doctor.

Not only that, but there is some form of respect that you don’t get from being a registered nurse. I was a registered nurse for a long time. It was different. Our training is different. Our pay scale is much higher and we are regarded by a lot of doctors, especially the general practitioners, as equals.

For example, when my patient goes to the emergency room, I call them and talk to them as an equal, not as a second-class citizen or a nurse. I’m a nurse practitioner and these doctors, some of them, are arrogant. I’ve met a lot of them.

I put them in their place. Modesty aside, I can say I was a successful nurse practitioner during my time. Really, I love my job. I have helped a lot of families make decisions for themselves because part of our job was to empower families and patients to make decisions for themselves. when you go to the hospital, the doctor will tell you.

No, it should be that they provide options and the patient should choose what they want, not the doctors. Some doctors are stupid. They’re arrogant, in fact, they don’t want to be corrected and they don’t want you to let them know that medicine.

Personally speaking, when I go to the doctor, I tell them, doctor, I’m a nurse practitioner, right away they treat you differently. They treat you like you’re an equal.

3. Jacobsen: In regards to the nursing profession in the medical world, does religious or even secular superstition ever play a part in medical decisions?

Langseth: It’s always a part of that because some of these religious people say, “I’ll pray for you. I hope you become better. We’ll pray for you.” They always have that phrase about praying. For me, that’s nonsense.

I always say, “How could prayers work? You’re in the hospital.” And again, I’m objective. I’m straightforward. If it were my patent, I don’t tell them, “I’ll pray for you.” I always say, “I hope the drugs, the medications, the medical interventions, surgical interventions will work for you.”

I’ve never said pray. However, I’ve heard a lot of doctors, especially the Muslim doctors, they always say, “Okay, we’ll pray for you. We’ll say good graces to you, to Allah.” I still see some of them.

In fact, recently, there’s a doctor who told a patient. I was right in from of him. He said, “I’m sorry but your mother was taken by God already.” I said, “Doctor can’t you say the patient did not make or died because of this?”

4. Jacobsen: Why assume?

Langseth: Yes, they use God to maybe finish the statement, so that they don’t have to explain further. God took your family.

5. Jacobsen: In philosophy, they have the idea of God of the gaps.

Langseth: Yes.

Jacobsen: When you can’t explain something in an argument with a premise or formalized argumentation structure, you say, “God did it,” in essence. 

Langseth: Exactly.

Jacobsen: I feel as though in that context it’s another form of it, but for grief. So, in place of grief, you say, “God took him or her.”

Langseth: I have no objection to that. In fact, it brings comfort to a lot of people, especially again we cannot explain so many things. Even with how much you like to in medicine and technology, we cannot explain. You’re right. God of the gaps. We cannot explain. That’s why they mention it.

And again, I don’t know. I cannot say God took your mother. I cannot say that.

6. Jacobsen: It seems presumptuous because you don’t know the full family dynamic, where everyone’s at in regards to their faith. In some context, I could see an appropriateness for it, not only as a filler for grief but also based on shared religious doctrine and belief. 

But often, even statistically, you should not expect that or use it as a phrase in that a context.

Langseth: It should not be. It’s a little bit unprofessional when they say that. Like, “We’ll pray for your mother.” We’ll pray for your mother? If you were to ask me, you should go to the hospital when you’re sick; otherwise, don’t go there.

It’s the worst place you can be. We have bacteria resistance. Bacteria that will not respond to medications. It’s the worst place you could be, really.

7. Jacobsen: To clarify even further on the prayer example, what is the evidence for prayer or against it in the medical literature and in practice?

Langseth: There was a study. It was in Columbia Presbyterian, about praying. It was specifically for patients who have had open heart surgery if I’m not mistaken. I read the article a long time ago. According to the article or to the study, it did not help.

In fact, it made the patient’s conditions worse. Especially when they told the patient that they’re praying for them, they became anxious and even got worse instead of getting better. Of course, I have this notion that prayers don’t work.

They don’t work. That study not only confirmed my understanding. And this is true that praying for somebody and you’re being prayed for, it makes them uncomfortable and worse in their condition. Although, there was no other study that I have read.

It was only one. But again, tested and proven, it won’t work. For example, patients in the Philippines. They’re poor. My classmates until now, would you believe that? Until now, my classmates in high school still go to quack doctors.

We call them abulerios. Doctors and them will recommend tea leaves or some drink from somewhere. Maybe, they will put charcoal in their wound. Of course, the wound becomes infected. So, I get upset and bothered by these classmates of mine.

That’s why I always get into fights with them. Because I cannot help it. As a medical practitioner, I say, “Why are you going to people who don’t know what medicine is? You will die or it will become worse.”

In fact, one of my colleagues. He’s one of my friends in the Philippines. He recently died. He posted on Facebook that he is sick. I said, “You are sick. Your blood sugar is high. Your blood level: you’re high risk. You need to go to the hospital right now.”

So, after a few days, I don’t know if he listened to me. He was bed bound for a while. He said he was in an out of a doctor. I said, “You don’t need to go to a doctor. You need to go to a hospital because it looks like you have the following.”

Of course, I mentioned my diagnosis according to his symptoms. True enough he had undergone some form of surgery and he died. Even if he believed, he was also an atheist. But even if he believed in science, if he has all these complications, medicine will not work.

8. Jacobsen: There’s a complication there in terms of terminology for an atheist or someone who is irreligious. So, someone could be labeled as having no religious affiliation. That doesn’t leave them unsusceptible to other forms of irrational belief about the world, especially medicine.

Langseth: Even if some people are atheists, some of them still are stubborn. They don’t want to see a doctor. They don’t want to go to a hospital right away. It doesn’t follow that if they’re atheists, they believe in hardcore science or medicine.

Especially in the Philippines, they could be atheist but still because they don’t have money and the means, they still go to these quack doctors for their fever. Unfortunately, in the Philippines, it’s because of poverty. A lot of atheists, members in HAPI, they’re poor.

They cannot afford medicine, so they still go to these quack doctors and boy do they get worse. They get worse, unfortunately.

9. Jacobsen: Also, there are at least 2 streams of atheism. One is “this is the only life I have so I will do the best I can for others and myself. I’m embedded in a social network, so I best take care of my health.”

For instance, “If I have children, I want to be there for them, and my grandchildren.” Another stream is “this is the only life I have and nothing matters and the world is valueless and,” therefore, they fall into some form of nihilism.

They don’t care. They may not have even expressed this explicit belief. So, they don’t go to the doctor. They don’t care about their health. They don’t care about decent behaviour either.  Those are two streams that follow from some atheism.

Langseth: Yes, I agree because I have met both types. I’m sad for the second type of atheism because they think life is only a delusion. They think life is unreal. This is why they don’t care about others. They say they’re atheist.

They pretend to be nice, but inside them and I’ve seen it also, but they don’t care. Because they think life has no purpose and their values, their ethical values are bad also. And some people like that and I’m sad for them.

10. Jacobsen: What about some of the other less known superstitious beliefs in medicine? Such as crystals, homeopathy, and so on, are these ever brought into the formal medical world as far from your experience?

Langseth: We call them alternative treatment or complementary treatment to make it sound better. Like, for example, aromatherapy, massage, and touch therapy, I saw a lot of ads saying alternative medicine or complementary medicine.

Meaning you go there, you have this therapy. Yet, you still believe in taking medications. There is nothing wrong with that. But if you believe in that, like touch therapy and massage, then there’s a problem. They can go together with a massage. You can relax. It’s also relaxation techniques and aromatherapy makes your body relax.

I practice, not aromatherapy, but I like the smell of these types of plants and the massage technique. I love those because it also makes your body feel better afterward, so you can function better. But of course, if you’re sick you go to a doctor, you go to the hospital.

Like Chinese medicine, acupuncture they say it works. Maybe to others, but I don’t know, I haven’t tried it. Homeopathy, maybe, it works to others, but I don’t know. Of course, it isn’t proven that it doesn’t work.

It’s even more expensive. But in a hospital or a nursing home where I work, we don’t apply them. But we do ask our patients if they have that. For example, the plants and the additional things that they do at home or especially using like r ginger plants or other herbs, we ask them.

We try to request them to stop while they are in the hospital. Although, we educate them because education helps a lot. We say that some of these plants are not good, or herbal capsules are not good because they do not undergo FDA experimentation.

They don’t go through the FDA, so some could be lethal in a few drops because I’ve heard a lot of horror stories especially from the Philippines. They try to use, comfrey. It’s a form of plant.

It’s used and some of them have a lot of liver failure because of that plant. Again, it’s difficult when we don’t have regulations like FDA regulations. So, we try to educate our patients not to use them.

11. Jacobsen: What are some responses that come from complementary medical practitioners, if I can call them that, who might have, for instance, a conspiratorial mindset about the FDA?

Langseth: Would you believe it? We have a few nurse practitioners who believe in that. Who are still promoting alternative medicine and, of course, homeopathy; in fact, it’s good you mentioned that. I have a close friend, he moved to Asheville, North Carolina.

He’s a nurse practitioner, but he’s also promoting homeopathy. So, I said, “My goodness, this guy is a wonderful guy, but he believes it works for his patients.” So, I could not even talk to him about it, to be honest with you. With due respect to him, he’s a nurse practitioner. He’s a graduate of Colombia University. He’s promoting homeopathy.

12. Jacobsen: What do you consider one of the most egregious examples of complementary medicine inundating proper medicine and causing real damage to people’s lives?

Langseth: It’s some form of manipulation in the neck instead of going to a real orthopaedic doctor. They go to these types of doctors. Chiropractor! Some of them they go to the chiropractor and I have heard of some people being paralyzed because of that.

Because some chiropractors, they’re not careful. Some are good. I went to one or two, but there were instances when they missed a part and these people become paralyzed and that is dangerous.

So far with the herbal treatments, there are some that work like Warfarin. So, if these people are taking it, warfarin, or aspirin, they can also bleed to death. That is dangerous when you mix that. But I have not heard of a lot of instances like that case anyway.

13. Jacobsen: What about things such as fasting – which for many of the faithful, of the formal religious – is an important part of their life, it is a part of an ascetic, religious life. You mentioned before that it didn’t make sense to you because you preferred to eat.

What are some health complications that can possibly show up with fasting?

Langseth: That’s ridiculous in a way because fasting, especially fasting for three days, you can have GERD. You can have ulcers. You can have be dehydrated within 72 hours and it can cause kidney failure.

So, fasting is nonsense, stupid and ridiculous. Although, in Saudi Arabia, their fasting is different. They eat when the sun goes down. When the sun comes up, they fast. So, it’s different. In the Roman Catholic faith, at the death of their Jesus Christ, they don’t eat.

Because they think it’s like some form of penitence. They’re like showing respect to their Jesus Christ, which is bad. Imagine not eating for 3 days? Again, during my time, I don’t observe that. I go to my room and eat and do what I want. T

There’s so many health issues after fasting. In the Philippines I cannot understand, this is the 21st century and these people still fast. That is plain stupid. And then they complain when they have ulcers, when they have to go into the hospital for renal failure and dehydration.

14. Jacobsen: What are some symptoms of renal failure?

Langseth: Fasting can cause renal failure, GERD, and ulcers. One symptom is anuria. “A” means without and “nuria” is to pee. If you cannot urinate for 24 hours, that means you could have some renal failure. Of course, that stems from being dehydrated.

If you don’t drink from 72 hours, your kidney cannot produce urine and there’s no urine so you have anuria. You can be dizzy, weak and will collapse. Dizzy spells, you could collapse. Some people could die from that. And of course, there are so many medications that can cause renal failure too.

15. Jacobsen: When you look at religious practices in general, what are some other ones that are of concern to you regarding health as a professional?

Langseth: Number 1, when they don’t follow or when they don’t go to the doctor or hospital when they are sick, they think God or prayers will save them. That is dangerous. Number 2, they go to a quack doctor. Of course, they cannot afford.

That’s also one reason why they don’t go to the doctor, because they cannot afford it. There is a lot of poverty in the Philippines, so they don’t go. Of course, they think that Jesus will help them or their God will help them.

Especially if they have incurable forms of diseases like cancer, they think their God will help them. That’s dangerous. Instead of getting different viewpoints from medical practitioners, they go to their relatives and friends and they would say, “Okay, let us all pray for you, so you’ll get better.”

That is dangerous. Would you believe that it’s still being practiced in the Philippines?

16. Jacobsen: I would because belief in prayer is everywhere. What about these televangelists who appear to be so popular in the United States? These people who go to televangelists are people who throw their diabetes medication up on the stage or their eyeglasses and they say, “Jesus cured my glaucoma and diabetes. Not only that, he took the tumor out of my gut.”

Langseth: These are clowns. They pretend so much; it’s so obvious to me. I could not believe why people would find them useful. I find them nauseating every time I hear that, “Throw away your medication.” Believe me, I’ve seen it.

I’ve seen real people say that. When I was in the Philippines, I saw people from the Church. They go to the pastor and this pastor will pray for them when they’re sick. They’ll think they’re cured. I could not believe why they have spread.

In the USA, we have a lot of educated people. Why do they believe in that? It stems from ignorance about medicine; God of the gaps; people being lazy. They don’t read. They don’t read about new technology and science – being ignorant about so many things.

Then when you talk to them, they think that you are like my God, what are you talking about. But when you show them your credentials, they would believe you. I met a few during my tour in Switzerland. I met a few ignorant teachers.

They’re from the Bible Belt and when they talk about that. I tell them, “No, that’s not true!” And they look at me like I’m crazy and when I tell them my credentials, “Ah!” So, again, I’m straightforward.

In the 21st century, we should not have these televangelists. Why are they allowed to preach when there is hardcore science to prove that science can cure ailments? Or we have palliative measures if it cannot be cured? I could not understand people throwing money at these types of human beings.

That’s why they’re getting rich, rich. Jehovah’s Witness is one of them. I’ve heard of a cult in Texas. There’s the one that came to my mind are Jehovah’s Witness. These are poor people trying to survive in their community.

I feel bad because they come knocking on our door. I would shoo them away. and I tell them, “I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in your bullshit.” One time they even said, “Good morning, ma’am!” I’m honest, I say, “Good morning.” They say, “We would like to bless you.”

I say, “Excuse me? You cannot bless me. You’re only a human being. I’m an atheist, get out of here” [Laughing].

To be honest with you, since I came out and was vocal about my atheism, a lot of people came out. Some of them said, “You inspired us to come out. Now because of you, we would not be able to come out.”

It’s because somebody has to stand up; somebody has to break that barrier and be called an atheist. There’s nothing wrong with being an atheist. There is nothing wrong. When I created PATAS, I had the bragging rights to make PATAS because I founded that.

But as soon as I came out, I posted the picture of Richard Dawkins. That picture with Richard Dawkins launched PATAS. People were shocked that there’s this Philippina on Facebook with Richard Dawkins.

There’s nothing wrong with coming out! And this is the reason why being vocal and showing how good you are as a human being and an atheist will promote not only PATAS in the Philippines, but it will show to the world that we are good people. That has a lot of comments.

Of course, I got some bashing also, but that’s fine. That’s expected [Laughing]. As expected, the jealous people bashed me, but that’s fine. What I’m saying is it’s because of Facebook that I was able to create something that has not been created in the Philippines.

If not because of Facebook and social media, we will still be in the dark. We won’t have these non-religious societies in the Philippines. I’m still stupid with computers, believe me. I’m not at all a computer guru.

But I taught myself to do Facebook and to help out on the website because I need to, as the founder. You’re right that religion is eroding. We are the silent majority. Why? When I went to the Philippines for 2 months, the people I spoke to said that they went to church.

It’s like for convenience. But as per my conversations with them, they don’t believe in a God that will help them. It’s no longer like that. Although the older population, the 80-years-olds, the 90-years-olds, they still go to church and ask for help.

But the younger generations, they have done better: Millennials. Millennials are the ones who will save us because they know now there is no supernatural being that will help us.

She will help us promote Humanism. Not atheism, but humanism; humanism is a positive word for atheism. This is why if you go to our website, I mention Humanism is the best gift of atheism. I got like 500 likes when that was posted in the Atheist Republic.

That means that a lot of people will agree with me. Humanism is better utilized than atheism. Atheism is an empty shell. It’s a lack of belief. We don’t believe, fine. Humanism is the action word. We do something. That’s Humanism, like educating people and promoting equal rights.

It’s not positive, but it’s like you’re doing something when you’re a humanist. Like how I explained to these youngsters that I met when they had a party in my house, these elementary school or high school students.

I said, “Humanism means human and ism. Human means in you, in me, in humanity.” That’s all I told them. I didn’t tell them there’s no God. I didn’t say that because some of them are still religious. But they are appreciative.

They believe because when they believe in humans, then they will try to help you. That’s all I said. That was positive. We will continue that type of education. In fact, I was chatting recently to that lady in Bacolod, who launched her project about HAPI SHADE (Secular, Humanist, Advocacy, Development, Education).

She is launching that, but hers is different. She’s getting the young. The young people, they’re not in high school. They are 5- to 7-years-old. I met all of them because I was there when she launched that event.

In fact, I cried because I was so happy with what I saw. This is what you call “catch them while they’re young.” When you catch them young, you teach them these things. Yes, so catch them young, there are 70 of them.

She also got 70 volunteers, so it’s like 1-to-1. Then we feed them. Her style is different. We were chatting, so I have this in my brain. Monday to Thursday, they do remedial classes. Remedial meaning “on top of”: these children are poor.

They don’t know how to read. They don’t know how to do much. They are 5- or 7-years-old. So, they do remedial classes and on Friday feed them. So, it’s one form of saying, “Hey, let’s go to that class Monday to Thursday and then they give us goodies on Fridays.”

She said she’s going to do that for years, and do some assessments and evaluate whether it’s working after a couple or a few years. So, I told her we need to find a lot of donors. I donated a hundred dollars. That’s nothing to me.

We need to sustain that. In order to sustain that, we need an article to immortalize that on our website, so we get more donors who can understand what we’re doing. A lot of the donors would like to see children talk science, technology, and philosophy rather than wasting their time praying, going to church.

I have met a lot of humanist types. Real humanism is a denial of any deity or any supernatural being; that’s real Humanism to me. I’m a humanist. I don’t believe in those bullshit deities or supernatural entities.

Some humanists, I’ve met a few of them. One, I was chatting with her. She said she still believes in something. I said that’s fine. She’s a freethinker. She’s a humanist because she does this for human beings, to advance humanity. In fact, I have met a person in AHA when I attended that convention in 2011, when I asked if she believed in God.

Humanism does not mean you don’t believe in God. That’s what he said. So, I learned from him and not only that but from experience that when you’re a humanist, then you’re not an atheist. Some of them still believe in something.

Not necessarily Jesus or Allah, but they still believe in something. It’s because they’re not 100% convinced out of fear. Some of them out of respect for their tradition. Like the Filipinos, some of them they think they’re Catholic humanists.

Okay, that’s fine. The reason being that we have a huge umbrella of humanists in HAPI. Some of them are pure atheists and hardcore militant atheists like me and some of them are quite religious. However, some religious people have become agnostic or freethinkers because of what they’ve read in our forum.

One example is Jamie. Jamie was religious before and now she doesn’t go. She always thinks, at this time, that she’s agnostic. For us, that is a success already. We are successful and some of these people coming to us. They were religious at first.

Now, since they’ve joined us, they realize there’s no use for praying. There’s no use of going to Church, being a good person. And that is already a success for me. I can brag that I have converted a lot of people. Jamie is one of them.

A few people in Bacolod who were religious are freethinkers. So, in HAPI, we welcome all of them. We welcome anyone, as long as they don’t have a bomb in their belt, that’s fine. Some humanists, I don’t know if they can still be called humanists.

Duterte is killing these drug addicts and drug lords. You are aware of that. Some these humanists in HAPI are giving them the go signal. I don’t know. That’s selective Humanism.

Jacobsen: Can you clarify?

Langseth: There are humanists in HAPI who believe that Duterte is doing a good thing and killing those drug addicts is fine. They would give a thumbs up to them. I don’t know if you can still call them humanists.

But in euthanasia also, we have a right to die. For example, one of my specialties is palliative nursing, palliative care nursing. For example, if a patient is having pain every day and is bedbound, cannot move anymore and wasting, they have the right to go comfortably or to choose when and where to die.

For example, I have advised a lot of my patients’ families that “why would we go through a lot of medical interventions when it’s futile?” Why would you go through that? And that’s also good humanism because on the positive note, it will stop the misery of the human being.

I hate to say this, but it will save Medicare dollars. But this is not economics, my job. When I was still working, it was to empower my patients, to empower the families. If their loved one is in constant pain, of course, we treat them with maximum treatments with opioids or other things like that, but some of them would rather die than go forward, than be like that forever.

And of course, the families, most of them, believe me, would agree. That is humane. Remember if you see a horse in the street and they are in pain, you want to kill them right? You want to shoot them, so they will be put out of their misery. Why can’t we do that with human beings?

In a palliative and comfortable and respectful way, of course, if I was sick and in pain every day, I don’t want to live like that: please, kill me. When I had a car accident, I was on leave, on medical leave for 2 months.

I told my husband, “Honey, kill me. I’m in pain every day, bury me in the backyard.” I told him that. How much more with those people in the nursing home who are always in pain and bedridden and suffering? There’s pain and suffering every day for years and years. How much more?

I could not imagine how they feel. People would rather die than be in pain. I read a survey. People would rather die than be in pain. This is why we have high incidents of drug addiction in America. Nobody wants to be in pain!

Yes, nobody wants to be in pain. Look at these doctors, I’ve overheard a lot of doctors mention, “What? We’re like drug pushers over here. We treat patients with opioids right away and they come back and they’re drug addicts.”

Of course! Duh. When my husband had a fracture, I was keen on his medication because I don’t want him to be addicted. The doctors would say, “How come you don’t like this medication?” He said, “My wife is a nurse practitioner. I would rather listen to her than you.”

Because they don’t care, they prescribe Tylenol number 3, Vicodin, Percocet, or opioids generally.  The whole time the patient is in the hospital. When they come out, they want to refill their opioids and then after a month or two they’re drug addicts. I’m not surprised. I wrote an article about that.

Because nobody wants to be in pain. I’m in pain right now, I have some tendonitis from my vacation because I was carrying my bags, heavy bags. I have tendonitis in my right shoulder. It’s little pain, but I cannot take it. How much more with people who are in severe pain?

I have seen my patients who do otherwise. Like they’d rather be in pain because that’s what Jesus Christ wants them to have and be pain free when they die. So, when they’re alive, I had a patient. My God, I could not forget her. She’s a Jehovah’s witness.

She was in severe pain. She had gangrene in both feet. That means, she’s dying. I told her I was going to give her a patch to alleviate her pain. She said, “No, I want to be in pain because I want to experience what Jesus did during his life.”

I said, “My lord, I cannot take this. What I did? I called her family. Her niece was open-minded.” I said, “We need to treat your grandmother. She is in pain.” So, she came and she saw the pain and suffering. I said, “Yes, okay, do whatever is good for her. She cannot decide anyway.”

She’s not only demented. She was in pain. Her religious belief is getting into me and into my practice. I ordered this. After a few days, she died comfortably, having a religious belief will make you suffer.

It will make people suffer. They believe that is part of life; that is part of the penance or their route to go to heaven, to be in pain. That’s bullshit. I’m talking about religious attendance. My husband and I, we still go to Church.

The last time we were there. There were like 12 people. My husband told me when I was in the Philippines that he went to Church. There were only 9 of them and even the pastor was not there [Laughing]. It’s sad. I said, “My goodness, what’s wrong with this?” It’s so sad.

Yes, we have a few of them. But you’re right, it’s changing. The landscape of religiosity is changing and that is a good thing for us.


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  5. French, M. (2017, March 5). The New Atheists of the Philippines. Retrieved from
  6. Langseth, M.T. (2011, June 1). Atheism in the Philippines: A Personal Story. Retrieved from
  8. Langseth, M.T. (2013, March 20). Kwentong Kapuso: Registered nurses and the alphabet soup of nursing. Retrieved from
  9. Meyer, E. (2017, March 7). Atheist missionaries are spreading humanist ideals in the Philippines. Retrieved from
  10. Universal Life Church Monstery. (2017, March 27). Filipino Atheists Pulling from the Christian Missionary Playbook. Retrieved from

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, PATAS; Founder, HAPI.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 8, 2018 at; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2018 at

[3] Post-Master’s degree, Certificate for Adult Nurse Practitioner with prescriptive privileges – College of Mount Saint Vincent, NY, USA; M.S.N., Adult Health, CUNY, NYC, USA; B.S.N., University of San Carlos, Cebu, Philippines.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Marissa Torres Langseth.


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


© 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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