Jump to content

How Do I Come Out In A Country Like The Philippines?


Recommended Posts

I’m at a really low point in my life and I don’t know what to do anymore. I am clinically depressed. I have been dismissed by my college. I have no job. I have no friends. I am also now an ex-Christian since last year. I remember the very second when I no longer believed.

 

I was always a devout Christian for my entire life. For me the Bible God was a real friend. In my effort to love the Bible God better I tried to get to know him better. I went to mass every Sunday. Sometimes, I would go to mass more than once a week. I read apologetics. But after many, many years of doing just that it suddenly clicked to me – Christianity was a big lie. I was in denial for months.

 

I was a typical devout Filipino Christian. I don’t want to go into the details of what made me leave. That’s another story. But for me I felt so betrayed and lied to. I was in denial. I was afraid and I was also very angry. I did not believe in Biblical stories which I knew were lacking in scientific evidence and were clearly not in touch with reality – stories like Noah’s Ark. I had always been extremely skeptical about the methods used by the Church whenever they had proclaimed something to be the work of God – when there was a lack of explanation for an event, God did it. But a lack of explanation is not an explanation. That was a logical fallacy and I knew it.

But what really hurt me the most was reading the Bible itself. Bible God, my best friend, was not a good loving God that I had been taught. He is an immoral, bloodthirsty, evil monster. (Here’s some examples). The God I worshipped was guilty of infanticide, slavery, mass murder, condoned violence and ill treatment of women, genocide, death to people of other faiths among so many crimes.

 

I was taught in a Catholic school that Abraham deserved praise just for agreeing to sacrifice his son Isaac as a test of love to God. I was once taught that I cannot believe how I once agreed with this type of thinking when I was young. I was taught that God was right in making David’s baby son suffer for a week and die for David’s actions. Stories like this from the Bible among many others poisoned my mind and really distorted my sense of morality, justice and love.

 

I am not a Christian anymore. I am so afraid to come out in a country like the Philippines where the percent of people with no religion is 0.1% (http://tagaloglang.com/Filipino-Culture/Religion/religion-in-the-philippines.html). People here also very active and devout.

 

 

Just to give all of you people an idea of HOW religious the Philippines is it’s nearly impossible for any visitor to ride around the metropolitan capital, Manila, without seeing churches. They are everywhere on every corner. Every Sunday churches here are so jam packed people will even stand outside the churches and in the streets and parking lots just to hear mass. Religious parades are part of the culture and you will see big crowds. Almost everyone you see here is part of a religion of some kind and is also active. The Catholic Church still has great political influence in the Philippines. Recently a congressman in the Philippines filed a bill called the “The Religious Freedom in Government Offices Act” aka the Palatino Bill. The Bill bans government offices from sponsoring mass and promoting any religion in a government office (ie. religious images). There was nothing unconstitutional about this. The Philippines is constitutionally neutral on religion and does not support any official religion. But the Catholic Church was so enraged by the bill. Catholic government officials and bishops were so strongly opposed to it. It was shot down immediately.

 

I have nothing against people having a religion. It’s just that in a country like this where the number of people who don’t have a religion is so negligibly small, it makes coming out extremely difficult.

 

I still go to mass. And I still do everything I can to make myself look like I still believe. But I don’t know how long I can keep up this act. It’s taking such a big toll on my sanity. I don’t believe anymore and I find my former religion based on ridiculous myths and more importantly I find it immoral and hypocritical.

 

If I come out, I will surely be hated and scorned by my family and everyone who has met me until the day I die. People without a religion in the Philippines are viewed so condescendingly as evil, cruel, immoral people. I am pretty sure I could be turned down from jobs if I declare on my passport or any official documents I have no religion. If I get married I can imagine in-laws will treat me as the Devil and will work to ruin me. My entire family will surely disown me and hate me until the day I die.

 

If I don’t come out I will live my entire life as a lie. I will have to keep up the act forever. If I have children what on earth should I tell them if they ask me if God was right to kill the firstborn of Egypt or sentence a man to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath? What if someone finds out?

 

I really don’t know what to do anymore.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to ex-c!

 

Wow... I wish I had some good advice for you. Maybe you can search for some kind of support group in your area. I know the amount of non-religious in your country is small, but there might still be a support group. If you get in with them you may be able to get some community and support behind you before you come out to your family. It's the best I can think of anyway.

 

Also, feel free to vent here about any problems that arise. The people here are great, and will not judge you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Filipino5, welcome to ExC.

 

I have never been to the Phillipines, but I have met a number of Filipinos. My strong impression was that the country is strongly religious, and primarily Catholic. Just doing a quick Google search revealed that what you say is correct - something like 90% of the people there are Christians and the vast, vast majority of those Christians are Catholic. I can only imagine the societal and, most importantly, the familial pressure there is to conform and be a part of the religion. It must be overwhelmingly strong.

 

I, of course, have no easy answers for you. That leaves you to make your own decisions. But I do have some friendly advice for you to consider. Based on the two quotes below, you are facing a number of difficulties in your life, clinical depression, out of school, jobless, friendless, and an ex-Christian who faces a dilemma of wanting to be true to himself but realizing the problems that coming out will have in your family and culture.

 

I’m at a really low point in my life and I don’t know what to do anymore. I am clinically depressed. I have been dismissed by my college. I have no job. I have no friends. I am also now an ex-Christian since last year.

 

If I come out, I will surely be hated and scorned by my family and everyone who has met me until the day I die. People without a religion in the Philippines are viewed so condescendingly as evil, cruel, immoral people. I am pretty sure I could be turned down from jobs if I declare on my passport or any official documents I have no religion. If I get married I can imagine in-laws will treat me as the Devil and will work to ruin me. My entire family will surely disown me and hate me until the day I die.

 

If I don’t come out I will live my entire life as a lie. I will have to keep up the act forever. If I have children what on earth should I tell them if they ask me if God was right to kill the firstborn of Egypt or sentence a man to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath? What if someone finds out?

 

I really don’t know what to do anymore.

 

My advice is that you take these one step at a time and not be in a hurry to come out as an ExChristian. I think you should do something about your depression. Go to counselling, get on anti-depressants (if prescribed), and follow through with that. If you now come out as an ExChristian, I think it will add to your depression, joblessness, and friendlessness, and make matters even worse for you. Once you have your depression under control then work on your social life and your employment issues. It seems to me that coming out as an ExChristian should be at the bottom of the list for you.

 

Once you improve these other areas of your life, I think you will be in a better state of mind to decide if, how, and when you come out as an ExChristian.

 

Best wishes from a fellow ExChristian half way around the world from you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you live in a small town? Is it your close friends and family you are trying to keep from finding out? What happens to you if they do find out? I've never been to the Philippines, but have met quite a few when traveling in Thailand and Malaysia and they didn't seem overly concerned about religion. Are people in general really going to worry that you don't go to mass? Do they keep track of such things?

 

Sorry, lots of questions. smile.png

 

Oh, and welcome to the forum. Here you can say whatever you want/think about religion and you'll find a lot of support for it. I'm personally really happy to see we are starting to get a few members from your part of the world here. It really adds to the experience of the forum for everyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest wester

Try not to take it so seriously... I know that is difficult given the powerful cultural influence of religion in the Philippines, but try to stand outside and look at things objectively. Be a sociologist or a psychologist. Use the material for your future doctoral dissertation. Look for any valid weak points and if you see them, don't be shy to criticize them ruthlessly. Remember the logical fallacies and use them to dissect misleading rhetoric. And don't forget to lie and make up wild, absurd stories in confessional - just for fun.

 

Talk with any friend you might find about your problems. Express your valid concerns and anxieties about specific things you see to anybody who will give you a sympathetic ear. Talking helps a lot. And if you don't have any close friends, expand your social circle until you can find one. Sign up for intellectual groups, like computer clubs, acting clubs, music groups or chess clubs. You'll be much more likely to find deep thinkers in these settings. If you can, just talk. Tell your family that you are getting anxiety and need a change..not because you are "unfaithful" but because specific people or situations are making you uncomfortable.

 

And if you are stuck in the church scene, you can look to some very liberal American Catholics for a different kind

of perspective on the Church of Rome:

 

Phillip Berrigan http://en.wikipedia....Philip_Berrigan

Dorothy Day http://en.wikipedia....iki/Dorothy_Day

Father Roy Bourgueois http://en.wikipedia....i/Roy_Bourgeois

Father John Dear http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dear

Ammon Hennacy http://en.wikipedia....i/Ammon_Hennacy

Thomas Merton http://en.wikipedia....i/Thomas_Merton

 

These people are much more open minded and as equally righteous as any of the fascist pedophile and opus dei types running around the catholic church today. You could easily use any of the above people's arguments and ideas to skewer the most grandstanding power tripping church people.

 

And if things get worse and worse, go find another less pressure filled situation. Then you should tell your family you are interested in checking out other churches - like protestant or whatever - and just split off on Sunday and go do something else. Or get a job that requires you work on Sunday.

 

If all else fails, you can go teach English in Thailand.

 

Cheers.

 

 

PS - remember that Catholicism was externally forced upon The Philippines at gunpoint by Spanish and American colonizers and should not be considered as part of your indigenous heritage.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still go to mass. And I still do everything I can to make myself look like I still believe. But I don’t know how long I can keep up this act. It’s taking such a big toll on my sanity. I don’t believe anymore and I find my former religion based on ridiculous myths and more importantly I find it immoral and hypocritical.

 

If I come out, I will surely be hated and scorned by my family and everyone who has met me until the day I die. People without a religion in the Philippines are viewed so condescendingly as evil, cruel, immoral people. I am pretty sure I could be turned down from jobs if I declare on my passport or any official documents I have no religion. If I get married I can imagine in-laws will treat me as the Devil and will work to ruin me. My entire family will surely disown me and hate me until the day I die.

 

If I don’t come out I will live my entire life as a lie. I will have to keep up the act forever. If I have children what on earth should I tell them if they ask me if God was right to kill the firstborn of Egypt or sentence a man to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath? What if someone finds out?

 

I would recommend that you not come out while you are in the Philippines. If you have to lie then you do so because of the evil in Christianity. It's not your fault. Do not feel guilty. If you start to feel guilty remember that feeling is what the Church did to you. I do understand about not wanting to attend service. Until recently I attended service too and it was driving me crazy. Is it possible for you to attend church less without coming out? It helped me to remind myself that it isn't my job to correct anybody's stupidity. So I hear Christians sharing nonsense all the time but I have no interest in debating them or educating them. My only response is to try very hard to not laugh. Sometimes it can be very hard to not laugh. It helps to have a half full cup of coffee or tea and pretend to take a drink when you can't help but smile at them.

 

If possible try to become an overseas worker. Try to get to a country where there are more unbelievers and it is possible for you to become a citizen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

I don't know much about the area. Are the people batshit religious or is it mostly just a cultural thing? Over here, being surrounded by religious Catholics would be unbearable, but most Catholics mind their own business and just go through the motions of the religion because it's tradition. In any event, I wish you well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Filipino5,

 

I am deeply touched by your testimony. I know the Philippines pretty well, I once spent 3 weeks in your country. I visited Manila, Cebu, Ormoc City, and the Camotes Islands. I met a Filipina girl and married her. Two of my kids are half filipino. OK enough about me.

 

I wonder how old your are? Do you still live with your parents? Are you financially independent?

 

It's great that you have a computer and access to the internet. You are connected to the world and you can "travel" without leaving your home.

 

Catholicism is built into your culture, so try to accept this, you don't need to fight it. And from what I have seen, it has more to do with appearances than hardcore belief in the Bible. You can use the church to your advantage (make friends, find employment, etc.) nothing wrong with that. People are not as pious as they look.

 

You can find freedom in your mind. This is where true freedom is anyway. Stick around, you can find incredible support and resources in the ex-Christian community.

 

Welcome brother. You are not alone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thats intense, well i dont have that much advice but all i can say is, what kind of response do you think would come? Would you be shunned? Is your life in danger? i would do your best to look for other non-believers in the Philippines, im sure there must be some kind of organization out there for Philipino non-believers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Fillipino5,

 

Welcome to exC. I agree with the above posters that coming out may not be in your best interest, at least not all at once. I have actually never "come out" to most of my religious family but they very much know that my world view is extremely different than their own. I don't argue with them about it but I've let them know many times that I do not agree with their views and excuse myself from the discussion. There are way too many of them (these are my inlaws, and Catholic) to get into an argument about it with them.

 

My recommendation would be to find some kind of liberal religious group if you can't find a non-religious group to join with. Even if you just find one or two real-live people that you can connect with a few times, it might be helpful and will let your religious family see that you are not alone. Does that make any sense?

 

Also, keep connecting with places like exC and you might find some support here as well: http://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/forum/

 

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree about the wisdom of simply not coming out at all. Just go about the business of your life, and don't mention the subject of religion. If somebody asks you about your religion, just tell them that it is a private matter you prefer not to discuss. If you have children someday, simply allow each child to decide for him/her self. It is interesting to see how the matter of religion (or rather lack of participation in organized religion) is handled in many European countries and some parts of the USA (indeed even my home town). In these locations, only a small percentage of people are active in organized religion. But people don't go around talking about their non-participation. They just live normal lives and keep their thoughts on religion to themselves. Indeed, christians should do the same.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Filipino5,

 

Welcome to exC! I myself am new here but I have been reading a number of articles and testimonials for a few weeks now. This is a very good site, full of "thinkers", I should say. I like it here, you will too.

 

Anyways, I am a Filipina too but I am in India now and I know how religious Filipinos are. But I would really say that though at least 90% of the population is Christians I really don't think this much are very strong believers and has explored and understood the entirety of the Bible. Most people there believe because of early indoctrination, parents, relatives, friends and neighbors believe and so they think they must also. They just differ in which church to go. And only a few have gone through the Bible seriously enough to make it their life and bread, others are just satisfied hearing the Sunday passages that priests and pastors or any other church leaders read to them.

 

 

Now with your situation, I have two questions:

 

1. Why were you dismissed from your college? Was it something related to your not believing, anymore? If so, choose a college that is not really particular with religion, not particular with attending any religious activities. You can also say you are a Christian just to avoid so many questions. You don't need to do their things, you know!

 

2. What bother you a lot these days to make you depressed? Friends, family? Are your family members very religious that you got to attend mass with them every Sunday without fail or is it okay to skip once in a while? How about your friends? Is there at least one whom you can talk to about everything and anything? If none, well it's still fine. Being alone, without anyone is much better than being in a company but still feel alone. There are a lot of people here whom you can talk to. You can talk to me.

 

Anyways, I suggest you to take everything slowly. Don't think of marriage yet. It can wait and don't marry someone who doesn't share your beliefs, values and principles in life. Talk, discuss the many issues concerning life before marrying. I don't wanna talk about kids because I myself chose to be child-free so it's a different issue altogether.

 

Job? You can find many jobs there. You just need to go where the job is. But if you can finish college, do it...it's better to have a degree. You never know when you might need it the most.

 

Counselling? You can go for counselling, just make sure the counselor is not a religious fanatic. Read, read, and talk, talk, talk to many people around here and you'll be alright!

 

Don't stop being friendly. Who knows among the many people you meet there could be at least one or two who are like you...searching for answers and truth!

 

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a thought...and I am not making light of your situation but maybe you haven't even considered this:

You say you have no friends.

You say you have no job.

Your university career ended.

 

Fucking leave.

 

Seriously, I read your post and the thing that jumps out at me is that being in the phillipines is going to cause you all sorts of difficulty, but also that you really have nothing tying you down. Just leave. Find some kind of work abroad program and try a different place. If you like it figure out how to start immigration process. Bottom line- there's no reason you should stay in a country where you'll be forced to chose between systematic discrimination and hiding your identity.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a thought...and I am not making light of your situation but maybe you haven't even considered this:

You say you have no friends.

You say you have no job.

Your university career ended.

 

Fucking leave.

 

Seriously, I read your post and the thing that jumps out at me is that being in the phillipines is going to cause you all sorts of difficulty, but also that you really have nothing tying you down. Just leave. Find some kind of work abroad program and try a different place. If you like it figure out how to start immigration process. Bottom line- there's no reason you should stay in a country where you'll be forced to chose between systematic discrimination and hiding your identity.

 

This.

 

As blunt as it may sound, this was the very first thing that came into my mind after I finished reading the opening post. Leave the country if you can, many have done it, and it sounds like you have what it take to succeed abroad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Filipino5 - protect yourself financially and emotionally. If you want to leave, plan an exit strategy. You will get plenty of support and advice here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd take church as like going to the movies - likely many others there do as well. Meditate, figure out your grocery list for the week, recite blasphemy, whatever it is that makes it entertaining, or tolerable. And support those rare politicians, judges, etc. who are trying to change things as much as you safely can. Just realize that numbers don't make people right - the Earth goes around the Sun, even when the majority doesn't believe it, diseases come from germs, even back in the dark ages when they thought it was demons, and thunder and lightning come from electrical charges in hot and cold air masses - even though during some times we thought those were gods too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

F5, I can't imagine being in that predicament, with all those downers going on at the same time. I've never been to the Phillipines, so I can't speak to how things really are there. However, I agree with the others that it's probably not in your best interest to come out as a nonbeliever there. That being said, I have to wonder about the 0.1% nonreligious statistic. I suspect that there are more who don't really believe, but just like you, they don't want to "out" themselves.

 

I also agree that you may want to consider moving. That may be difficult, but it sounds like you don't have much tying you down there, so it may be worth consideration.

 

I went through a bad enough time of depression when I came to realize that Christianity is mythology, but I can't imagine how bad it would've been if I'd lost my job at the same time. Whatever happens, I definitely hope things get better for you soon. I wish you well in your future endeavors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Filipino5,

 

I just found this...

 

 

What is PATAS?

Founded in February 14, 2011, the Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society is a trailblazer of critical thinking, free thought and scientific inquiry in the Philippines. With its monthly activities, the organization acts to make atheism and agnosticism known to Filipino society. We believe that every Filipino atheist and agnostic is a Promethean citizen, taking its social responsibility in line with secularism and public understanding of science.

PATAS is a social organization that provides social action for the promotion of atheism and agnosticism in the country. We stand for reason, science, and the secularization of our nation. We value the individuality of humanity, where human beings have the right to give meaning and shape to their own lives.

 

http://patas.co/

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Filipino5, and please know you are welcome and not alone. I don't know much about your country's social mores with respect to deconverts, but would say that when you have a population that rigidly religious, the first consideration in bucking the herdthink would be to ensure your own physical safety before anything else. Secondary concerns would be for any financial or familial repercussions, of course. Heading to another country might be a good idea if it's that harsh of an environment, but I say that not knowing how physically safe the area is for non-believers. It sounds brutal, which means that a coming-out must take into consideration things that I, in America, don't even think about. Just be safe and careful, okay? You're not alone at all, though it may feel that way. Our hearts are on your side.

 

The one thing I would say with certainty is this: please, please do not marry a woman who isn't fully aware of and completely tolerant of your disbelief. If you don't know where a potential partner is on that concept, don't get serious with her until you do know. If your culture is as intolerant of disbelievers as that post is making it sound, the person who should be your constant ally and best friend may end up destroying your life, betraying your confidence, or even taking your kids away from you (or alienating them from your love). Out of every other choice you could make, the choice of a spouse is going to make or break a lot of things about your later life quality. Don't compromise on the subject of faith here. Either make sure she's not religious, or make sure she neither cares in the least AND ALSO isn't likely to suddenly decide she cares.

 

Good luck, sweetie, really and truly hang in there, it will pan out at some point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Serendipity Rose! Many thanks for that link...haha. I always thought there should be somebody or at least a group of atheists in Philippines I just don't now where to find them.

 

Thanks a lot!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's some more links for you, Filipino5:

 

http://filipinofreethinkers.org/

 

http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/philippineatheist

 

The Philippines is a beautiful place I'd like to visit sometime. I hope you find the peace you long for.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.