By the HAPI Scholars
Leaving your religion behind and looking at life purely from a secular perspective is a sometimes scary, but always humbling experience that a lot of secular humanists could tell you about. The truth is that there isn’t one big moment of clarity where you grasp everything that was ridiculous or irrational about your religion; it’s really more of a series of micro-realizations. Here are a few that the HAPI Scholars could recall:
“Bahala Na ‘yong Ginoo” and “Thoughts and Prayers” – Shane
- “Bahala na” is regarded as one of those infamous Filipino traits that you’re expected to outgrow in your schooling years; try using that attitude in the corporate world, and you won’t last very long. And yet, “Bahala na ‘yong Ginoo” (rough translation: “just let God handle it”) is an intrinsic aspect of religious faith.
Sure enough, when applied to one’s own life, it’s relatively harmless (even if it is a shockingly defeatist stance). It’s when you share the sentiment with others – through say, “thoughts and prayers” – that its impracticality is exposed. Now make no mistake: a friend’s “thoughts and prayers” will always be a lovely sentiment, but it’s utterly useless in the midst of a real-world calamity. I would bet that between choosing a thousand pesos in cash aid than a thousand prayers, most typhoon victims would opt for the cash.
And yet, even with that impracticality, Filipinos just kind of… tolerate the “bahala na yung Ginoo” attitude. What’s that about?
People are quick to doubt medical professionals because of religious preconceptions. – Junelie
- Everyone is familiar with this. When most people talk of medical professionals, doctors in particular, there are usually only two topics: how they make a lot of money or how they cheat out on their patients. The latter is usually a bridge to the former. For example, people usually don’t want to visit doctors regarding their illnesses, citing how elderly people who grew up in the old world survived with no doctors and only prayer, but blame both the doctor and the medication when their illness becomes severe or fatal later on. Related to this, some teachers actively discourage their students to take government-funded vaccines because of gossip about them planting chips or prohibiting reproduction—both allegedly going against the Bible.
People can get obnoxious when they find out you’re an atheist. – Johnny
- …and then they really, really want to push their religion onto you. I’ve found that people start to drop you bombs of foolish verses from the Bible out of nowhere and even take the fight into the core of your humanity. If you can’t respect your fellow man’s beliefs (or lack thereof), is that really the standard you want your religion to hold?
Perhaps due to its widespread normativization, religion emboldens certain people in their respective flocks to feel a sense of moral authority over others who simply do not hold the same beliefs. Often, those people (who might be our friends or family) don’t even realize that they’re talking down on us.
Have you had any experiences like these too? How did you respond to them?