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 Levi Ong. Levi works as a designer at a company he founded with his friends, where they make cool stuff. He was born at a very young age, and smells like teen spirit, even if he’s 24. He also likes long walks on the beach, and he may or may not be a serious guy. But you can never really can tell, if do you know what I mean. He joined the Filipino Freethinkers in 2012.
Hello, ladies. Look at your man. Now look at me. Is he a freethinker? I am. Look down. Back up. Where are you? You’re on a boat. No you’re not? Congratulations. You just free-thought. Did I make an outlandish claim? Yes. Did I try to impose an unfounded belief on you? Yes. Did you challenge it? Yes. Excellent. Because not everything is possible when you really think about it. Unless you’re an optimist. I’m on a horse.
What belief system do you subscribe to?
I consider myself an agnostic-atheist, though I sometimes describe myself as ignostic. Ignosticism is the belief that the whole argument about the existence of a god is pointless and moot, because there is no real valid definition of what exactly a god is. And even then, I hold the belief the existence of a god should not change how we live our lives.
What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told him or her that you were a freethinker?
“Ano yun? Parang freemason ba yun?”
In what way has being part of a freethinking community benefited you?
Let me count the ways.
I meet people who challenge my current views,
to help me find out what is truly true.
I get the opportunity,
to help support a cause that’s dear to me.
I make new friends, and go on dates,
with people who have similar mental states.
And I get to ruin poetry
for an article just about me.
Did your religious friends react to your lack of a religion when you were younger?
Not really. Despite coming from a religious school, my irreligiousness never really influenced how I was treated. I’m forever thankful for that.
Did you go to sectarian schools? What did the nuns/priests/teachers/classmates say when they found out you weren’t exactly raised with a religion?
I went to Xavier School. It’s a private school run by Jesuits, and they’re actually pretty cool. Nobody in my family thought it was a big deal, so we’d just state it as a matter of fact when it was relevant. The priest or teacher would just acknowledge it, and exempt me from whatever religious activity. (Confession, communion, confirmation, etc. …So many c’s…) I still had to do reflection papers though, which was great, because the religion teachers loved it when an atheist always arrived at the desired (read: dogmatically consistent) conclusion without using the usual christian bullshit.
Why do you have a mohawk?
I have a receding hairline, and I thought the shape was perfect for a mohawk. That, and I wanted to have a bit of fun before I lose all my hair. It’s been great, actually: I’m easier to remember, and it’s very good branding.
Why are your eyes so smaaaall?
What gives your life value or meaning?
On a smaller, more practical scale, it’s my life’s goal to help make the Philippines the country it should be, in every way I can. (Yes, this is the smaller more practical scale.)On a grander scale, I believe that humanity can become so much more than it is now. It has to be, if our children are to survive the next few milennia. I dream of humanity overcoming its immaturity and petty quarrels, and spreading across the stars and galaxies.When I say grand, I mean grand. This is the kind of future I want to be a part of, and the kind I will work for. Of course, I’m not immortal, nor am I a particularly powerful or influential individual, so I’ll have to settle with doing what I can. Hence, the aforementioned smaller, more practical scale.