On January 21, 2018, atheists, secularists and humanists from all over the world protested against early and involuntary indoctrination of religions. International Day of Protest Against Hereditary Religion is observed yearly through an online forum by non-religious individuals and representatives of secular organizations. This year was hosted by a Google Hangouts session by Damien Marie Athope, an axiological atheist and a Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) ally from the get-go. Joining Damien in a series of discussions was McJarwin Cayacap, HAPI National Events Officer-in-Charge, Social Media and Web Content Editor, and Metro Manila Chapter volunteer.

Topics were scheduled as follows:

  • 10 AM EST (2 hours)
    Religion Freedom Rights vs. Child Rights
  • 1 PM EST (2 hours)
    Child Religion Freedom Rights Violations
  • 4 PM EST (2 hours)
    Religion’s Harm and Ways to Stop its Rights Violations
  • 7 PM EST (2 hours)
    Changing the Current Value of Religion Freedom Rights over Child Rights

As a sole humanist representative of HAPI and the Filipinos to the discussions, McJarwin was prompt to highlight how the Philippines can most credibly talk about “hereditary religion” among all religious nations given its deep Catholic roots and the very fine line its government has drawn against political intervention. Also, as someone who was sent to three Catholic universities — of Dominican, Benedictine and Marian founding — for his expensive education, McJarwin presented himself as a notable example of religious upbringing who has successfully crossed to the humanistic way of life since some 5 years ago.

“There is more harm to religion than we could ever imagine,
and it is going to build up if we do or say nothing about it”,
said McJarwin during one of the discussions.

To boot, a graduate of AB Psychology from Ashford University in California, United States, Damien is a writer, an artist, a philosopher and an activist. He wrote the self-help poetry book ‘Taste Your Emotions’ and the soon to be published atheist book ‘The Tree of Lies and its Hidden Roots’. As an artist, he is the owner of At Hope Wicked Designs. He follows Axiological Atheism, a form of atheism that favors humanity as the absolute source of ethics and values, and permits individuals to solve moral problems without resorting to a god. Such argument was also used by Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Jean-Paul Sartre to convey messages of liberation, full-development, and unfettered happiness.

“A general expression of what I see as ‘hereditary religion’ is a parent telling a child their
religion is ABC-whatever and forcing this unchosen belief on the child until they, too,
say they believe as told… Said religion is pushed on the magical thinking minds of
children under 7 who tend to appeal to animist thinking, hypothesis, and conclusions
when they are unsure or being creative”, said Damien as he capped off the series of

Oppose the force of “hereditary religion” — this has been the clarion call of HAPI since its inception. As true humanists, HAPI volunteers openly question and expose the inequalities of religious ideologies that continue to needlessly divide humankind. Be that as it may, HAPI works in harmony with religious institutions for the betterment of the world.

Watch the summary of discussions here:

McJarwin Cayacap

Article Author
HAPI Metro Manila Member
HAPI Facebook Page Editor
HAPI Event’s Page Manager

He’s currently in between careers, so he busies himself with anything that works for the good of humanity. Other than being a humanist, he is a realist, a grammar Nazi, an art aficionado, a frugal foodie and a wanderer.