Thu, 27 October 2016
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#/
Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.