Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Folly of CFI-Philippines

As I travel this lonely road from plain skepticism to a more rational meaning of life…well…I sometimes stepped on crap. Here’s what I mean.

Recently CFI (Center For Inquiry) have created a Philippine branch and on my surprise it seem they gave all the responsibility to a 17-year old boy. This boy then claimed presidency on the said organization and called it CFI-Philippines (with the blessing of course of CFI in Washington…that is what he claim). Unfortunately, it looks as if this boy is using the name of CFI for his own agenda.

I find his philosophy quite different from that of CFI and Mr. Paul Kurtz. Different in the sense that he promotes church-bashing, religion hating, smear campaigns and fault-finding. This is quite removed from the principles of free inquiry and humanist ethics that CFI promote.

Because of this, a lot of Filipino non-theists and potential members were turned-off. I myself have decided to leave CFI-Philippines. I was disgusted by the outcome.


It seems CFI-Philippines do not have any slightest idea what a freethinker is. Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero and Mr. Poch Suzara’s idol have stated that God was the final arbiter of truth (Rizal-Pastells III,11) yet being a rationalist (Rizal was not an atheist as what other “Filipino atheist” want us to believe) he believe in religious indifferentism. In fact, Rizal was not even a non-theist (he believe in a personal God). Joseph McCabe still included Rizal in a list of past free-thinkers. Therefore, free thought is not synonymous with atheism.

A freethinker is a person who arrives at conclusions, especially in religious matters, by reason and not by authority (p. 474 Atheism: A Philosophical Justification Michael Martin, Temple University Press)

And what kind of reason is he talking about? According to Mr. Arthur San Pedro (founder of The Enlightenment League and Moral Society, Inc. - ELMS) Reason that is principled by ‘critical thought’ and ‘ideals of objective verification’.

Hate based reasoning is not a freethinkers method. I even say that hate based reasoning is base in authority - The authority of pre-conditioned biases and judgments. If you cannot write a simple objective observation then you don’t have any right to call yourself a freethinker!


Humanism is simply put as an outcome of a rejection of the belief in supernatural revelation. But rejection of supernatural revelation doesn’t mean contempt. Humanists criticized religious claims base on reason not insults.

Humanism doesn’t mean contempt to god-believers. John Dewey suggested that God can be redefined in a naturalistic terms. That is humanism. According to Archibald MacLeish, “God was the manifestation of the human capacity for empathy and altruism. Human love, created God.” If that’s the case, then humanism create the very thing that CFI-Philippines despise – Human love.

Promoting Humanism in the Philippines

To promote humanism here in the Philippines, a genuine humanist group must focus on problems base on the issues that were tackled by the Humanist Manifesto of 1973, 1980 and 1988 not on church-bashing. Its aims are for the ethical, scientific and philosophical improvement of the Philippines.

Here are the important issues:

  1. Education and Literacy
  2. Population Growth
  3. Unemployment
  4. Poverty
  5. Corruption
  6. Pollution and the natural resources

Speaking of religious concern, instead of religion hating and church bashing, Filipino humanist must focus on issues regarding the unrealistic spiritual attitude brought by religious fundamentalism which only encourage an unrealistic and escapist approach in dealing with social problems. There is also the problem of the separation of church and state and the problem in the issue of birth control and responsible parenthood.

In matters of philosophy, there is the threat of ideologies that attack the objectivity of science and belittle human rights and democracy. These philosophies are counter-productive and promote defeatism.

These problems are not just as easy as a two year plan…a child’s play full of unrealistic dreams of a 17-year old boy and a band of disgruntled anti-theists. But if legitimate and competent Filipino humanists will converge and work side by side, then Secular Humanism in the Philippines will be successful with or without CFI.


Blogger rick b said...

So did the beast finally die, meet the God He claimed did not exist and go to the hell he denied?

6:27 am  

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