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 Chris Carandang.
- Can you briefly introduce yourself (one short paragraph/bio)?
I am Chris Carandang. I am a practicing Clinical Psychologist who is also into Music and Expressive Arts Therapy. I handle clients of all ages who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. I graduated with a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of the Philippines, Diliman after finishing my dissertation entitled, “Journeying Through Music, Art, and Letter-Writing: A Group Therapy Intervention for Youth in Conflict with the Law.” I sing and play guitar for a rock band called Dirty Kitchen. I am happily married to Olive, who is also a psychologist; and I am a proud father to a very spirited and energetic 5 year old daughter named Harana.
- How would you define a freethinker?
Freethinkers are people who are open-minded and curious about the world around them. They have the courage to question things (nothing is taboo) and pave their own meaningful path in life. At the same time, they are accepting and respectful of the differences of the people around them and are receptive to hearing constructive criticisms about themselves. Life is a continuous journey of learning and developing one’s self for them.
- What belief system do you subscribe to?
I prefer to not limit myself to just one belief system and I feel like at my age I’ve kind of accepted that there are some questions that we really have no answers for when it comes to a God and faith. But in both my personal and professional life I value and I believe in the capacity of a human being to strive, grow, and overcome challenges as long as they are in an environment that is loving, accepting, and kind. In that way I feel like I’m very much a humanist. I also believe that no matter what faith or belief you have what matters is how you treat others with kindness.
- What’s your freethinker story? What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told them that you were a freethinker/atheist/non-religious?
I can’t think of a funny reaction especially since I don’t usually declare to others my personal beliefs. But I do have a sad and disappointing experience when my wife and I got covid and someone told us that it’s a sign that we should “go back to the Lord” since we didn’t attend mass. It’s just sad that faith and your relationship to a higher power can be equated to something as narrow as just going to mass.
- How did you get to know Filipino Freethinkers?
I first found out about Filipino Freethinkers through my friend and colleague Elda, who in turn introduced me to Kristine.
- What are some of your initiatives in the realm of human rights or the betterment of society?
Aside from doing my best to help my clients through therapy, the institute that I am a part of, MLAC Institute for Psychosocial Services, Inc, also focuses on Nation-building by giving free workshops on Parenting to underprivileged and marginalized sectors of society. It is our belief that through sharing ways of parenting that are anchored in having mutual respect for the child and the parents we can make the world a better place to live in.
- Is there anything people can do to help these initiatives?
If they know of a community that they feel will benefit from a parenting workshop or workshops on mental health they can sponsor and organize the workshop for that community.