Everyone's Agnostic Podcast
Cass & Bob interview people you don't know about a subject no one wants to talk about--God. What's not to like?
Episode 127 Erin Leigh

Cass Midgley and Dr. Bob Pondillo interview Erin Leigh. She’s another Minnesotan guest, she’s a math teacher a marathon runner, and she’s an ex-Christian. We interview people you don’t know on a subject no one wants to talk about, but we think it helps people to talk about it AND we are, in fact, about to get to know Erin Leigh.

Erin was raised Evangelical, went to church 3 days a week, thought she knew 100% 'truth.’ She left Christianity when the questions outnumbered the answers at age 25. She’s now 32. She blogs as A Math Person at amathperson.blogspot.com. One of her posts is a letter to my Christian friends. The following are exceprts from that blog:

“As many of you know I was once one of you.  From a young age, I was active in the church community I grew up in.  My mom and dad loved him, my grandparents loved him and so did most of the other people I knew, so it seemed like a pretty reasonable thing to do. We participated in AWANAS and I was a dedicated verse memorizer. When I was old enough I joined the youth group, and my life began to revolve around Christianity even more.  We had the best parties, amazing retreats, I got to sing in the band, and all my friends were there too.  It wasn't just about fun stuff though, I took my faith seriously.  I lead the campus bible study.  I questioned my faith and found solace in various apologetic resources.  I lost someone dear to cancer and was compelled by their story to believe ever more deeply that there was a God.

In college, I was equally involved in a campus ministry, but the questions I felt I had wrestled with in high school still remained and were in some cases were emboldened.  I struggled with the lack of intellectualism expected from anyone in ministry I was involved in.  I struggled a lot in college with 'fitting in' within Christian circles.  I felt like a strange anomaly in this group because I wanted to get a degree that was marketable outside of ministry, which seemed to mean a lot more homework and not enough time for leading a bible study (though I tried).  About the time I graduated from college I found faith again in my own terms.  I flirted with Catholicism, because I really enjoyed the ritual and reverence.  I joined a church where my questions were honored, or at least not completely laughed off and considered irreverent.  I met people who 'believed in Evolution' and God, who could have a cocktail and a Bible and who swore and said Amen who prayed and voted democrat.  At this time, I felt my faith was dynamic and honest.  I wanted nothing more than to stay true to that honesty and remain faithful for the rest of my life. And I did stay honest. And that in turn was the problem.

There were three main sticking points that led to me leaving the faith.  The efficacy of prayer (or lack thereof), the ubiquity of the messiah stories,  and evidence that existential experiences are not strictly divine. I had a strong, but complicated emotional connection to my faith and despite it's messiness I had no desire to leave.  I felt forced by the plain logic in front of me, and I was a somewhat unwilling deconvert.  I attempted to hang on in various ways.  I joined an emergent church, I read Anne Lamott, but it didn't really work. In the end, I found atheist is the best description I could give myself, though I'm still not a fan of labels in general.

Here's the thing I didn't expect from leaving religion.  I'm happy now.  I expected pain and heartache and suspected I would feel some sense of existential dread, but to be honest leaving Christianity has made me a much more fulfilled person.  I'm finally free to pursue the passions I always loved without guilt or shame, and that has made be very fortunate and fulfilled person.   Ultimately, leaving Christianity alleviated the pain I had always felt in my brain, and eventually alleviated the pain I didn't know was in my heart.”

We taped these conversations on November 5th, 2016. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Our show is available on most podcast platforms.  Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge one dollar per episode through Patreon; that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com. The smallest contribution is greatly appreciated.

Credits:
"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson
The segue music is by Sam Maher recorded on a handpan in the NY city subway.

Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.

Erin’s Blog: http://amathperson.blogspot.com/

 

Direct download: Ep_127_Erin_Leigh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:06pm CST
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Episode 126 Jen Senko

Cass Midgley and Dr. Bob Pondillo interview Jen Senko, who wrote and directed a documentary titled “The Brainwashing of My Dad.” Jen’s documentary and the effect that political pundits and talking heads have on the human psyche brings up a fascinating subject, especially relevant in view of the election of Donald J. Trump to the highest office in the world (or at least it was before he took it). This catastrophe has so stupefied people that we’re finally talking about the elephant in the room: “fake news.” and it’s ability to influence people  to vote against their own self-interest, their own conscience, or against whatever decency they have left after 30 years of right-wing propaganda.

This really is a fascinating conversation with a fascinating personality—Jen Senko. There are several nuggets of unique dialogue here and a few at my expense.  I love this episode and I hope you will too. 

We taped these conversations on October 30th, 2016. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Our show is available on most podcast platforms.  Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge one dollar per episode through Patreon; that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com. The smallest contribution is greatly appreciated. Our Indigogo fundraiser is over and as of this taping, we raised $530. We were trying to raise $1600 for 3 new microphones and 3 boom arm mic stands. We raised enough for the mic stands with a head start toward the mics. My thanks to everyone who donated. 

Credits:
"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson
The segue music is by Sam Maher recorded on a handpan in the NY city subway.

Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.

Official Website: www.thebrainwashingofmydad.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebrainwashingofmydadmovie?ref=hl
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq2PQ5pM-6oYAdAGSsreB4Q
Twitter: @brainwashingdad
Tumblr: http://thebrainwashingofmydad.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_brainwashing_of_my_dad/

 

Producer/Sales Contact: Adam Rackoff
CINCO DEDOS PELICULAS
(917) 207-5169
adam@cincodedospeliculas.com
https://vimeo.com/cincodedospeliculas

 

Maslow’s 5 hierarchies of needs start with the basic needs of food and shelter, then safety and security. The third is community. The fourth is esteem. The fifth, and top of the pyramid is self-actualization. But in light of today’s show and the premise of this podcast, I want to point out how falling for counterfeit means of meeting the 3rd and 4th level’s needs—community and self-esteem, keeps one from ever achieving self-actualization. This is where false ideologies come in and hijack personal growth and true agency. This where religion and Fox News come in. 

People can overlook a lot of nonsense associated with an organization IF they’ve made friends within it. Churches are full of people that don’t tow the party line of all 7 tenants of their church’s statement of faith, but they go back week to week because “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows you’re name, and they’re always glad you came. You want to be where you can see our troubles are all the same. You want to be where everybody knows you’re name.” That’s the 3rd tier—community. 

The fourth tier has to do with self-respect or self-esteem.  We all need a sense of contribution or value. This might include a felt need for strength, competence, independence, and/or freedom. These are true paths to the 5th need—self-actualization. But we can be tricked into thinking we have freedom when we’re yet a slave; we can think we’re thinking for ourselves when we’re being told what to think. We can be tricked into thinking we’re strong when in fact we’re weak.

The church does this by conveying that God loves you uniquely. He knows the number of hairs on your head. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. You are special. The music, the stain glass windows, the grand narrative from Creation to Apocalypse, the goose-bumps all make a person feel alive and a part of something bigger than themselves. All this was made with you in mind. But what if it’s not true? What if life is not the intent or creation of a being and we’re all just accidents; that the universe doesn’t know or care that we’re here? Wouldn’t it be important that we’re getting our needs met by things that are true? That are real? We don’t eat imaginary food? We don’t shelter ourselves under imaginary roofs. Our self-esteem must be based on facts or we’ve fallen for counterfeit girding of our existence.  The banner under which we rally our community must be real.

Fox News meets the esteem need by igniting the emotions—primarily fear and anger. When our brains light up with these emotions, they release dopamine and adrenaline and we feel alive, powerful, and most importantly: right. The need to be right cannot be underestimated. But it actually stunts our maturation, not fosters it. Yeah, you’re exerting your energy, flexing your muscles, fighting enemies, but they’re not real. Fake news keeps people on an imaginary playground with imaginary battles and thus in a perpetual state of infancy.

The most honest path to true self-esteem is thinking for one’s self, doing the work yourself to build your beliefs, but this is hard work. Part of the difficulty is facing harsh realities like the chaotic, absurd meaninglessness of life. Part of it is acknowledging that we all die a permanent death and will be forgotten in a few generations—as if we never existed. If a person cannot or will not exert the effort needed to face reality, it can actually lower their self-esteem. Life is SO complex, and navigating human problems is such an intricate labyrinth, that it’s very attractive when someone offers to do your thinking for you and feed you what to think and believe.  Religious leaders and political pundits are eager to feed us. There is great wealth to be gained by creating followers. 

We all can get overwhelmed with our realities and the temptation to bury our heads in the sand is powerful. But this is saying no to what is.  There are many popular ideologies, including religion and partisan politics, that when adopted can trick you into falsely maintaining your self-esteem, self-respect, and self-righteousness in spite of your cowardice, incompetence and sloth.  I’m saying that Maslo’s needs are real; we all want to feel alive and part of a community. I’m pointing out that there are people who understand that humans can be stupid and lazy and are eager to exploit us for personal gain by introducing deceitful pitfalls that can derail our heroic journey toward genuine self-esteem and authentic community. Don’t fall for it. Smell it out. Follow the greed. Discern the liars. Say yes to reality and no to falsehood, not the other way around. Jesus may have been right when he said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

 

Direct download: Ep_126_Jen_Senko.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:58pm CST
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Episode 125 Tim Flynn

Cass and Bob converse with Tim Flynn of right here in Nashville. He was raised Southern Baptist in west Tennessee but unlike some of us, was not good at the fake-it-til-you-make-it gambit to maintain faith. Once he got his driver’s license and some autonomy, he stopped going to church and never looked back. 

Tim realized relatively early in life that no matter how hard he tried to establish a personal relationship with Jesus it just never took, and in so doing he avoided years or even decades of tension and confusion and wrestling with doubts and trying to make the Christian narrative hold water; which, once conceded, is followed by shame and embarrassment for taking so long to get honest. So Tim models a less painful way that one leaves their childhood faith, and we witness a snapshot of how many millennials are reacting to their inherited religion. His ability to trust his own common sense and be less prone to need something to be true when you know deep down that it’s not saved him a lot of heartache and we hear that in his calm, pleasant disposition. 

We taped these conversations on October 23, 2016. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Our show is available on most podcast platforms.  Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge one dollar per episode through Patreon; that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com. The smallest contribution is greatly appreciated. Our Indigogo fundraiser is here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ea-podcast-equipment-upgrade#/

Credits:

"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson
The segue music is by Sam Maher recorded on a handpan in the NY city subway.

Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.

 

 

Direct download: Ep_125_Tim_Flynn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53pm CST
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On Trump

Just Cass sharing his thoughts on the Trump election

Direct download: on_Trump_election.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:48pm CST
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Episode 124 Kile B. Jones

Cass and Bob converse with Kile B. Jones. Kile gets around in post-Christian circles and is very much a bridge-builder. He plays well with Christians, Muslims, other faiths and inter-faith functions. He actively engages with churches in helping them understand that atheists are human too and helps integrate Darwinism into their faith.

Kile is a Bible scholar with a Masters in Sacred Theology and another Masters in Theological Studies, both from Boston University.  He’s the Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Claremont Journal of Religion. He’s the Founder of Interview an Atheist at Church Day (and I play a clip as an example of what happens there). Kile is also the founder of the Take Darwin to Church Project, which we discuss. He’s been published in many scholarly periodicals and has presented at Conferences across the U.K. and U.S.A. on Religion and Philosophy.

This is good talk with Kile. We talk about current events, which can be problematic because I usually give myself 2 to 3 weeks to edit each show, sometimes 4 here at the end of the year, but at as a result, for example, the election of President had not happened when we taped this, and, in fact, has not happened yet as I’m taping this, so some of that is a little dated, but I think it’s still interesting, maybe even as we reflect back on how we were feeling in the weeks approaching it, etc.

We taped these conversations on October 22, 2016. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Our show is available on most podcast platforms.  Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge one dollar per episode through Patreon; that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com. The smallest contribution is greatly appreciated. Our Indigogo fundraiser is here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ea-podcast-equipment-upgrade#/

Credits:
"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson
The segue music is by Sam Maher recorded on a handpan in the NY city subway.

Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.

Kile’s interview w/ Ryan Bell on the Life After God podcast

The Youtube interview w/ Pastor Phil Wyman and Jonas Green

https://interviewatheists.wordpress.com/about/

https://www.facebook.com/kilebjones?fref=ts

So here are the most commonly used words on the EA Podcast according to the Facebook thread:

  1. Hegemony
  2. Credulity
  3. Ontological
  4. Certainty
  5. Agency
  6. Inerrancy
  7. Secular
  8. Woowoo
  9. Epistemology
  10. Volitional
  11. Community
  12. Humanist
  13. Difference
  14. Transcendent
  15. Epiphany
  16. WooWoo
  17. Nuanced
  18. Wow
  19. Narrative
  20. Fuck
  21. Cognitive Dissonance
  22. Mental Gymnastics
  23. Meaning making, story-telling, pattern seeking creatures
  24. Drank the Kool-Aid
  25. Apologist
  26. Firebrand –
  27. Fundamental –
  28. Reason –
  29. Zeitgeist –
  30. Apostate

 

 

Direct download: Ep_124_Kile_Jones.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:22pm CST
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Episode 123 Rev. George Cunningham

Cass Midgley interviews Rev. George Cunningham, a local pastor of a Disciples of Christ church who is openly gay with a partner of 12 years. Their church is called open table because all our welcome. I present these Christians every now and then to model a version of Christianity that is non-toxic and even beneficial for society, in my opinion. I think honestly that Christianity is not going away any time soon. (Never soon enough.) So since we have to share society with it for at least a few more generations, I find it worthwhile to elevate and highlight those that are doing it right, if there is such a thing. George is that guy, as is Stan Mitchell 118, David Dark 90, Becky Garrison 65, Geoff Little 41, Roger Wolsey 13, Patsy Moore 8, and many others. Also to show that these are human beings doing the best they can with what they’ve got. They are NOT delusional about the negatives in scripture and in how others apply their Christianity, and they seek to show a better way, and I applaud them.  They are reforming from within and that’s no easy task, trust me. 

Something I want to highlight about this conversation with George is his work in his work helping mentally challenged people. He talks about his funding from United Way and city and county support (which is tax dollars) and with that comes a lot of government regulations. Also that it’s difficult to find good help at $9.50 an hour. Call me crazy but I honestly would love to live in a country upside down from the one I currently live in, where people who help people—from people like George and his care-givers, to police and firefighters, to teachers—would make a minimum of $80,000/year.  When the 30 wealthiest Americans have the same net worth as half of Americans, and the 60 wealthiest human’s net worths equal have of the earths population’s net worth, then we have a problem and we could do much better in sharing the planet, sharing resources, and creating the best possible life for the most people possible. And yes, I’m talking about wealth distribution and yes, I’m a socialist.  I despise money because it enslaves all of us. If we all cared about noble moral things rather accumulation of stuff, life could be a much better experience for more people, if not all. 

 

We taped these conversations on October 15th, 2016. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Our show is available on most podcast platforms.  Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge one dollar per episode through Patreon; that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com. The smallest contribution is greatly appreciated. Our Indigogo fundraiser is here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ea-podcast-equipment-upgrade#/

 

Credits:
"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson
The segue music is by Sam Maher recorded on a handpan in the NY city subway.

Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.

 

Direct download: Ep_123_Rev_George_Cunningham.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:45pm CST
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Episode 122

Cass and Dr. Bob interview a man who we’ll call Casey, to protect his true identity and so that he can be more candid in telling his story. Casey kept a deep dark secret from age 10 to 30, and today, at age 38, he shares in publicly for the first time. The deconstruction of his Christian faith happened relatively quickly, in less than a year, but not until he was 36. He is surrounded by believers, including his wife, parents and siblings, but he does a good job of keeping the peace and maintaining those relationships. 

Casey’s story brings up a touchy subject—victimhood, and how to handle it. Many people are reluctant to call themselves a victim out of a disdain for being aligned with those who seem to capitalize or gain some much needed attention from dwelling on it or wallowing in it.  Sometimes victims are offended when they’re unfairly accused of this. I made the mistake of doing this on episode 6 of this podcast when I accused a dear, life-long friend named Sam of playing that card. He hasn’t spoken to me since, and won’t, and he lives right here in Nashville.  In this age of political correctness and the strong arguments on both sides, there is much for us to learn on this nuanced subject. One side is trying to enlighten people too privileged to understand how words can hurt someone traumatized by decades and even generations of abuse and discrimination. The other side is trying protect 1st Amendment rights to say what you want and let societies toughen up. As a vocal, opinionated person, I have said hundreds of times to people offended by my words, “if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.” But the question remains, who made me the shoe cobbler of other people’s feet? I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with both sides of this quandary. And here we find ourselves.

Casey took the tough-guy route and suppressed his victimhood for 2 decades but found that no matter how hard he suppressed it, it was determined to resurface and demand a reckoning. Casey models how, as humans, we are fragile and vulnerable, AND YEt strong and resilient. This should come as no epiphany. After, we all—literally all—are fighting our own battles, and it is never the place for anyone—stranger or friend—to give unsolicited critique of how that person is working through their own unique circumstance. So in case you’re listening, Sam, I apologize for my callous, presumptuous accusations and although you are in no way obliged to restore our friendship or even forgive me, I confess that I would like that whenever you’re ready.  Ooh, did you catch that? “Whenever you’re ready” implies a weakness on his part. There I go again. Like I said, this shit is nuanced. That said, Sam, I hope that you can see my heart and know my intent and separate my inept choice of words from my actual character and core.  Knowing that Sam could say, “Oh I see your character, and you are not capable of empathy and thus not safe to be around.” And that would be his prerogative, of course.     

In the area of friendships, Casey has had great success, maintaining lifelong friendships and making new ones in the present. As a tip, he offers a practice that reminded me of Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.” This sound like common sense, and it is, but I appreciated Casey’s emphasis on it, and that is that a true friend is able to celebrate other people’s successes and not be jealous or envious, but truly happy for them. Some of what we gleamed from scripture when we were Christians turned out to be common sense, good advice, and unlike much of scripture, remains relevant today. This is part of what drew us to it in the first place. Perhaps we mistook it as the sole source of morality for humanity back then, but for those of us unanchored to insisting that it’s God’s word, we can retain some of what we learned and be the better for it. 

So today I’m introducing a new segment of the show that we’ll feature every now and then, not every week, but I am a huge proponent of talk therapy (for the world) and love to think about why do what we do as humans, and I have a few friend who are psychologists or therapists who I’ve asked to give their two cents every now and then regarding things that come up on a particular episode or just something interesting the relevant in the culture, so after Bob and I do our post-interview commentary, I’ve tacked on a 15 minute conversation with Dr. Brynda Quinn, a former guest of the show, episode 77.

We taped these conversations on October 8th, 2016. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Our show is available on most podcast platforms.  Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge one dollar per episode through Patreon; that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com. The smallest contribution is greatly appreciated. Our Indigogo fundraiser is here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ea-podcast-equipment-upgrade#/

 

Credits:
"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson
The segue music is by Sam Maher recorded on a handpan in the NY city subway.

Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.

 

Direct download: Ep_122_Casey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44pm CST
Comments[0]

Episode 121 Mark Stephens

Cass Midgley and Dr. Bob Pondillo interview an ex-Christian, and now police officer, Mark Stephens.  Mark’s story has a lot to do with him noticing that much of his Christian way of thinking—the  “logic” whereby Christians made choices, for spouse, for President, for where to live, what college to go to, just life choices in general, were flawed.  When he ventured outside reliance on scripture or prayer for making decisions and trusted his own skills of deduction and reason, he found that he made wiser choices and reaped better outcomes. 

We taped these conversations on October 1st, 2016. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Our show is available on most podcast platforms.  Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge one dollar per episode through Patreon; that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com. The smallest contribution is greatly appreciated. Our Indigogo fundraiser is here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ea-podcast-equipment-upgrade#/

Credits:
"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson
The segue music is by Sam Maher recorded on a handpan in the NY city subway.

Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

DarkMatter2525 video about why Christians take our Atheism personally

 

The insert I put in the middle of the interview:

I’m stopping the tape here to enter a footnote regarding this issue of the Christian notion of the Fall or what Mark is calling here Sin. I didn’t fully understand the gravitas of Bob’s question in real time, but after listening back to it, I realized that there is something here to elucidate.  We’re talking about the problem of evil and how the fact that an alleged good, all-powerful god doesn’t heal amputees or intervene in any measure of suffering is a big problem. It’s important to understand how Christians get around this and maintain their allegiance to and a loving image of a good god, despite this evidence. To most Christians, God created everything perfect. And there are actually several Falls that ruined God’s perfect world—the two main one’s being the Fall of Satan from Heaven as he questioned God’s authority and wanted be like God, and second, the Fall of Adam of Eve, which was prompted by Satan as the serpent to do the same—question God and desire to be like God. Now being like God, in this context, would mean being knowlegable—knowing stuff—the knowledge of good and evil for example, but also being free. The rebellion to want to eat from any tree I want to. The desire to think for one’s self, etc. It’s important that we understand that to the Christian, God is the only source of goodness. In the Biblical narrative, humans have always messed things up and God is constantly disappointed and frustrated with our ineptitude.  This is pounded into us over and over. Eden was only the first time we fucked things up. The flood was God giving his creation a do-over because our disobedience and rebellion led to debauchery and ruin. The same with Sodom and Gomorrah, the same with the Tower of Babel. This is what is drilled into the Christian mind—humans always ruin things when they ignore God. These narratives keep God’s reputation squeaky clean and human’s reputation hopeless. This is why they are so quick to assume malice when we misbehave, this is why’s it’s easy for them to demonize humans, and have ZERO reservoir of hope for humanity. They already walk around with a presupposition that humans are evil, hopeless, and incapable of turning things around. “Only God can save us” is there goto answer for everything. In fact, when they hear some of us saying that we trust our own ability to think and reason our way out of problems and don’t need God to fix this, THEY HEAR SATAN. They hear the voice of the Serpent. They hear Adam and Eve. They hear the stomping footsteps of a wrathful God approaching. Atheists, naturalists, secularists, scientists scare them and anger them just like their blind ignorance and allegiance to their non-existent savior angers us. We both think the other’s ideology leads to more suffering. Eden represents the perfection of God’s world before humans got prideful and disobedient and rebellious. To the Christian, restoring the Kingdom of God, represented here by pre-Fall Eden, is their main agenda. Why, because they hate suffering too. They want to end racism, poverty, famine, and war. They too want social justice, equality, civil liberties, but many of them only see it possible by way of humbling ourselves before God and crowning him King of the World. But I think it’s helpful to keep in mind that we both want the same things (at least for the earth). Now the after-life is really another layer of this altogether, but I think all humans, especially as were born into this world as children, pre-tainted by fears and prejudice, want the same good things—food, water, and shelter for everyone, peaceful relations, joy and laughter, fun and freedom, etc. We just see two very different means to those ends. They believe that the invisible third-party Maker of everything is the only hope of that coming to fruition. In fact, God will thwart the efforts of humans who have not called on His help first. This is what would lead Newt Gingerich or Mike Huckabee to say things like whoever’s president should be first and foremost a man of prayer. Christians want the good life too, but they frame it as wanting to get back to Eden. They want the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven which will only happen when every nation, tribe and tongue bows the knee to Jesus. This is why they do missions around the world. And they’ve added a loophole just in case that’s impossible here on earth (and they fear it is), and that is that God will create a new heaven and earth populated only by Christians and that’s when they’ll get their Eden back. And then God will have his way. Because finally, He’s got a bunch of obedient people around him.  They see me and my atheism as rebellion and disobedience to the God who wants to bring it about. I see their fictional narrative as a brainwashing that impedes us solving these problems ourselves.  And here we find ourselves. 

Direct download: Ep_121_Mark_Stephens.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:01pm CST
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Episode 120

Cass and Bob interview a woman using the pseudonym “Zoe.” She’s not entirely out to her family as an atheist, plus in her late teens she was lured into an affair with a married pastor, 12 years her senior so she would prefer to remain anonymous. 

Zoe’s story is a hard one. Not only did she endure the difficult work of deconstructing her faith, and the animosity that that creates with family and friends, but her faith involved falling in love with her pastor, and the pain of that church branding her with the Scarlet Letter. Then, as an adult, she found a man that loved her unconditionally. They’re happy, they have two children together, but her hardships were not entirely behind her. They endured a still-birth and a miscarriage in the process. Today she looks for beauty in our godless world through macro and conceptual photography and poetry which can find on her blog “Words to a Silent God." 

 

After the conversation with  Zoe, and Bob and I offer our post-show commentary, I tack on a section where I interact with an article posted in Psychology Today back in 2011 by psychotherapist Ken Page titled, “How To Love Yourself First: The least-honored and most powerful path to self-love.” Week after week, we talk with people who have not only done the difficult work of deconstructing their faith but invariably have had to discover how to love themselves after years, sometimes decades, of toxic religious self-debasement. Stories like Zoe’s embody the colossal achievement of raising one’s own chin to look one’s self in the mirror and affirm who you are…such that you can live out the remainder of your days looking people in the eye unashamed, unafraid, and free to bring your full human self—flaws and all--into the room.  This article prescribes some ways we can say yes to what is.

We taped these conversations on September 25th, 2016. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Our show is available on most podcast platforms.  Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge one dollar per episode through Patreon; that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com. The smallest contribution is greatly appreciated. Our Indigogo fundraiser is here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ea-podcast-equipment-upgrade#/

Credits:
"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson
The segue music is "The Riddle" by Five for Fighting 

Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.

Zoe’s blog site: https://wordstoasilentgod.wordpress.com/

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month October 15th: http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/national-pregnancy-and-infant-loss-remembrance-day-october-15/

http://www.october15th.com/

To raise awareness regarding Clergy Abuse of Power & Clergy Sexual Abuse: http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/resources/learn-the-basics/ce-faqs

How To Love Yourself First: The least-honored--and most powerful path to self-love By Ken Page L.C.S.W. Posted May 21, 2011, Psychology Today

 

Direct download: Ep_120_Zoe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:13am CST
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Episode 119 Gayle Jordan & Nina Jackel

Bob and Cass interview two guests: Gayle Jordan, formerly featured on episode 79 who’s now running for State Senate in Tennessee as an atheist, and our second guest, blogger/activist Nina Jackel of ladyfreethinker.org which has generated over a million views. 

In the post-Christian experience we go from believing in God to not believing in God and we can get stuck in that stage of pushing against what we no longer believe in. Perhaps after the grieving process, it might be healthy for us to redirect our energies to something that we DO believe in. Today our guests are both modeling that for us. They’ve put themselves out there in active, public forums to be agents of change in the world, working towards promoting the things that they’re FOR. Many of us got into Christianity because it was a vehicle through which we could express our core values—love, compassion, healing, improving people’s lives, and whatnot. Gayle is addressing issues that would improve the lives of Tennesseans like health care, education, and equal rights. Nina is working for animal rights and human rights. We’re not focusing on Nina’s religious deconversion, because she really didn’t have one, her mother being a moderate Episcopal and her dad a moderate Bronx Jew. Gayle is an ex-Christian and we covered her story in episode 79. So this episode is a bit of a detour from our regular subject.

We taped these conversations on September 18th and 24th, 2016. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Our show is available on most podcast platforms.  Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: on a per episode basis through Patreon; that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com.

Credits:
"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson
The segue music is by Sam Maher recorded on a handpan in the NY city subway.

Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.

http://gaylejordanforsenatetn14.com/

https://ladyfreethinker.org/

Our Indigogo campaign to upgrade our microphones and mic stands

 

 

Direct download: Ep_119_Gayle_Jordan__Nina_Jackel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm CST
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