How I Identified Myself As a Humanist
by Madelyne Gauna
Oct 10, 2019, 9:03 PM
Growing up, I’ve always been that black sheep. I’m not a rebel child, I was a consistent honor student. I was valedictorian in Elementary, I graduated with High Honors in my Senior Years of High School… I never failed to give my mother a medal or at least a certificate every time a school year ends… Still, I am the black sheep. I was a victim of smart-shaming by my own family. Well aside from the fact that I am literally the darkest among the siblings, I also am the one to always oppose what my religious mother would always tell me to do. I was even told that I am too smart to survive the rapture.
I don’t hate her or any of them who taught me about how to believe in God, none of them were abusive enough physically nor force me to go for as they do, emotionally. They helped build who I am today. They fed me, gave me education, provide all my necessary needs and love me they way they think it’s right. I don’t blame them for being who they are. People grow up to follow what they were taught, some are just advance enough to identify which is right and wrong.
I found it hard to reveal myself…
I grew up in Metro Manila, my family was diverse in terms of belief… I had eight siblings I was born second to the last, others that were older than me were mostly not-actively-participating Catholics, when I was younger, some are Born Again Christians. My Mom and Dad used to not follow any religion, this is because of how poverty ate our family away from what they think is the “Glory of God”.
But when I reached 6th Grade, my family decided to move to Laguna, there, my mom started to go back to her old religion (what she used to believe when she was a maiden). And so, me and my younger sister, being not old enough to decide on our own, were obligated to be under her “protection”. My mother got baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness, but my father remained Agnostic. I had a lot of adjustments to do, many traditions that I used to do before were suddenly not allowed and said to be sinful. Yet, my father would say differently and total opposite. From simply celebrating Christmas up to singing the National Anthem, I suddenly became very different from the rest/ most of my school’s population. Time passed, I was taught that this religion and their ways is the best among other religions, I was pretty convinced, for they fed me up with a bunch of literature providing what they call is the “proof” of everything they believe. Aside from the Bible, they gave me books published by the Watchtower… I was okay with it until they told me other literature which were not worth reading… nor other recent Bible translations offered and used by other religions… There, I started to doubt, still I convinced myself that it’s right because that’s what I’m taught, I should not question the power of Jehovah. I still followed everything my mom said… Until one day, I got the courage to stand up and point what I think is wrong about what they are teaching me… A cycle of questions and answers regarding the bible was discussed between me and my family. They never gave me a logical answer that is enough to satisfy my curiousity without them questioning my faith. I ended up finding a solution, I told my mother I wanted to research things on my own, with not just their biased literatures, but everything I could possibly find. She did not like it, but I forced what I want, this is when they defined me a rebel… So I did, I read three Bible Versions. It’s sickening. I studied other literatures, I asked my friends and classmates to tell me about their religions, to bring me to their churches. I wanted to know which made sense and who can answer my questions… None did. They all questioned my “Faith”… Well sorry, I think it’s stuffed in my butt, might as well been flushed in the toilet… They started shaming the hell out of me being incompetent with faith… So I tried reasoning out with science… It reached the point when my mom felt hopeless and asked the elders of the congregation and even the CO (Circuit Officer of JWs in our area) to talk to me. Even them cannot convince me with the cycle of what they call is the “truth”. I hated how they told me to stop questioning.
From then on, I researched and researched and researched. I discovered how awful the world and the country I was born in. I feel shame with the fact that everyone else are believing a piece of shit made up by scared and delusional men from before. I want to find a solution… So I kept feeding my mind of facts, history, new discoveries etc… Did it the same time I’m studying in Laguna Science NHS until I went to Senior High where everyone thinks I’m delusional to be an atheist. Smart shamed and all even by the teachers… I don’t care anymore…
I found this organization, from an international Atheists Facebook group where I once posted about the stress I’m getting from school and all Christians there… There I found Ms. M and she introduced me to this group. I wasn’t brave enough to start formally being a member back then so kept silent and observing the same time I do more researches about everything we are living for, things on how to cope up with people’s judgements to people like me… I still do it until now, I can never get enough with so much urge to gain more and more knowledge. It was hard, mentally draining, especially with how treatments has changed with people and all… And I want to change that. I want others to be human enough by setting myself as an example… And this is the first move where I can vision myself doing that…
Right now I’m 18 years old. I just graduated from senior high school. Sadly, I had to move to South Korea so I can help my sister with her kids, so she can work and we can provide to our now aging parents…. I gave up studying… But I don’t want that to be the reason why I should stop being a human.