Humanist Voices
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Humanist Voices

Conversation with Bede Daniel Garcia — Member, Humanist Alliance Philippines, International

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How did you become a humanist? I guess it was a very long process. I am, after all, a son of a devout Roman Catholic mother and an Ex-Priest… And I did live in a predominantly Christian country… I did not know anything about Atheism nor humanism when I was very young… I was, however, always curious. I would read on Philosophy and Epistemology during my math class. I would engage myself in topics where everyone else in my age group would not have done otherwise.

Bede Daniel Garcia: When I was in college, I met a girl who would “strengthen my faith in the Judeo-Christian Religion”… I remember going to church everyday of the week from 4pm — 8pm (Afternoon prayers, consecration of the blessed sacrament, Rosary, evening mass, and vespers)… I would also stay over up until 10pm on saturdays because I was the lead Bass for the church’s choir. I would come back sunday morning to attend mass and sing in the choir….

It went to a point where I was being invited by the priests to join the seminary….

I guess, it all started when my mother was diagnosed with Cancer… I suddenly questioned everything even more… I went through the very same questions that every agnostic or atheist would go through… i wont go into detail as the arguments become very repetitive….

I then started delving into humanism as a means for me to find an anchor/compass if you will… I was so used to being “guided” by doctrine that my psyche was not able to function without one…

humanism became my religion…however, i do not treat it as one… I treat it as a guiding principle..one that I would base my actions with..

….

Jacobsen: What is your own personal goal in the humanist movement?

Garcia: Sad to say, I have gone quiet… I have lied low…

My only goal is that I educate the people who I am surrounded with… those who have the interest to learn.. In my opinion, I will have started to act like the hypocritical religious folks who try to force you into believing what the believe in… If i force them into understanding and following what I think, then I would be no better than them…

Jacobsen: How did you stumble across HAPI? Who was your first contact? What was the interaction like?

Garcia: I was introduced to HAPI by Ms. Marissa Langseth….

I have know Ms. M during our previous conversations when I was still with another group called PATAS (Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society)… But in my personal opinion, once a group becomes too grounded, they start to become very political…and that is why I left and became inactive…

Jacobsen: Why is humanism the correct view to you?

Garcia: Well…because humanism is tangible… when it comes to support, solving problems, anthropological issues…everything becomes very attainable because everything is limited by the simple fact that we are human…

i find solace in knowing that my support comes from my family and friends… i find comfort in knowing that what i do creates the meaning in my life… that all the problems are man-made and therefore needs man-made solutions… that I am who I am and that this is the only life that I can live…and that makes it even more precious… that my goal in life is to be happy and to create an impact to those closest to me…

Jacobsen: What are your hopes for the humanist movement in the Philippines in the coming years?

Garcia: With all due respect, when I held atheistic views..I have always thought that religion was the enemy..however, being a humanist… I only hope that people are guided with one single principle that I have learned throughout the years and throughout all the religions that i have studied… To always be kind to others and to treat them the way you want to be treated… To love humankind as this is the only thing that is certain in life…

Religion is a personal thing… and so is humanism and any other world view… the wonderful thing about being a humanist is that we see the beauty and good in all manmade precepts… religion, opinions, politics, and whatever else there is in the world…everything has had its beginnings and its end… I just hope that people begin to open their eyes and to act accordingly and to aim in the betterment of humankind… that is it…simple and straightforward… i do not with ill on theists, agnostics, or atheists… i just hope that everyone will get along… everyone will find the common denominator that will bind us all together.. and that is being human… the finite nature of being human, to my mind, must be enough to bring us all together…

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