No two freethinkers are exactly alike; a group of freethinkers contains a great diversity of perspectives, so there is no one, official perspective shared among all of them. This makes the freethought community a truly vibrant source of ideas and opinions!
In this light, Meet a Freethinker is our series featuring freethinkers of all backgrounds and perspectives. We want to introduce you guys to the people who make up the proverbial melting pot of this growing movement.
Our next freethinker is Keisi Cascon, a 23-year-old LGBT rights advocate, a humanist, and an aspiring vegan who became a part of the Filipino Freethinkers in 2011. Keisi enjoys singing and walking–sometimes together! Take THAT, Eponine!
A freethinker is a person who does not hold that an idea or belief is right without analyzing the reason or evidence for it, and is willing to change his/her mind when an idea or belief he/she subscribes to is proven wrong.
What belief system do you subscribe to?
Like most Filipinos, I am of a Catholic background. I was baptized a Catholic, and went to Catholic schools all my life. But while I had identified as a Catholic–it’s what I used to write down on forms and stuff because that’s what my parents taught me to do–my religiosity went only as far as attending the required masses in school.
I was not the religious type at all. I took communion when I felt like it, doing so just for the heck of it, without believing that the host was literally the body of Christ. I didn’t like the idea of confessing my “sins” to a priest, and I opted out of confirmation. I would say I was an agnostic theist or an apatheist. So, it was very easy for me to abandon religion.
I now identify as an agnostic atheist and a humanist. In terms of belief, I just go with whatever makes sense. I act according to what I think is best for humanity.
What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told him or her that you were a freethinker?
A friend jokingly asked: “Naniniwala ka ba sa love?” (Do you believe in love?)
In what way has being part of a freethinking community benefited you?
I have gained many friends in FF. Being part of the community gives me the opportunity to meet people of different backgrounds, personalities, interests, persuasions, etc. with whom I can openly discuss any topic, including those considered taboo in other circles.
With these people, I feel totally accepted and free to express myself without fear of discrimination or rejection. Everyone is welcome in FF, except jerks. Nobody likes jerks.
Which did you find more challenging: coming out freethinker-wise, or coming out gender-wise?
There wasn’t an occasion when I came out either as a freethinker or as queer because I never really claimed to be otherwise. Whether being out as one is more challenging than the other depends on the context, so it’s difficult to say.
You are an advocate for LGBT rights. What is the greatest obstacle you’ve faced so far during your efforts?
Apathy. Not just from straight people, but from people who are LGBT themselves.
Any particular lifestyle changes you’ve made since adopting freethought?
As a freethinker, I don’t just do what most people do. I think about the consequences of my actions, weighing them based on how they will affect me, my fellow humans, other sentient beings, and the environment.
In 2007, I started making efforts to reduce my carbon footprint–my impact on the environment. The most significant part of it is lessening my consumption of meat and other animal products, which are not easy to avoid when you’re surrounded by producers and consumers of these things.
I am currently a flexitarian–a pesce-pollotarian, to be specific–but I will become a vegan someday.