Sat, 4 August 2018
Welcome everyone to episode 213 of the Everyone’s Agnostic podcast. I’m Cass Midgley.Today, I'm going to feature a short piece by Mark Manson, author of "The Sacred Art of Not Giving a Fuck."
We interview people you don’t know, about a subject no one wants to talk about. 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, and leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, we offer these podcasts freely. And your support truly makes a difference. You can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge a monthly donation through Patreon. that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com.
I don't have a guest today. In fact, this is really just a filler episode that I figure is better than posting nothing. I've had a crazy week, I've got several shows in the can, in fact next week's show is a doozy and I just didn't have the time to do it justice, so I invite you to go listen to episode 35 of Ryan Bell's podcast Life After God with his guest Marcia Wickham to get some background on her story. She's my guest next week. My fellow ex-pastor Dave Warnock sits in as co-host as well. Marcia is a Phoenix that rose out of the ashes of incestuous sexual abuse that was exacerbated by Christianity. She is one impressive woman.
Today I'm going to play a couple of pieces by Mark Manson. I really like Manson and they way he thinks. I relate to it. Sometimes I listen to things that stretch me, and sometimes I listen to things that affirm my crazy thoughts and it helps me not think I'm crazy. Self-acceptance is a big deal. The world would be such a better place if more people accepted themselves. I used to say love themselves or like themselves but I prefer accept one's self because acceptance includes even those things that one doesn't like or love about one's self. Bob and I used to talk a lot on this podcast about seeing ourselves as connected. The bell tolls for thee type stuff. When I see you I see me. When I'm mean to you I'm mean to me. etc. Self-acceptance is the precursor to any of that even beginning to happen. Why? Because saying yes to what it means to be me is achieved by looking at myself eyes wide open, not hiding or denying or wishing anything were different. With that level of acceptance, I clap my hands, slap my face, jump up and down and enter the world. I bring it. I bring me. Unashamed. Unapologetic. I don't answer to anyone. The only person I have to be loyal to is me. The only person I need to impress is me, and I don't want to be impressed, so I'm off the hook from having to perform or wow. I don't need anything from anyone in the room. I'm not feeding off of them, or looking for affirmation or validation. I'm enough and I know it because I accepted my reality and said yes to what is.
On the other hand, if you doubt yourself, or reject yourself or deny who you are, you say no to it, then you don't REALLY ever bring yourself into the room. Well, you do, because you have to, but it's really scary for you because you don't really want to be seen because you know how weak you are, how bland, how not funny or not smart or not educated or not clever. Almost everywhere you go you feel out of your league, you're less than and you know if people really knew you and saw you for who you really are they would reject you like you've rejected yourself. So you put on a mask and a cloak and people's desire to connect with you is preempted by your costume because they think they're connecting with you but they're connecting with a fictional character you've created. I've been in relationship with these types for years, and eventually I got the nagging sense that I didn't really know them. If I thought about it or cared enough to think about I'd discover that there's no depth to our friendship, there's something missing. What's missing is THEM. They're not here. They've sent their avatar.
So this ideal of humans connecting and seeing their self in each other is hijacked because humans can't fully connect with ghosts, with hidden people, with guarded people, with fakers and posers.
As Christians we embraced this line of thinking because we were sinners in the hands of an angry God who could only look upon us if we were (and I kid you not) HIDDEN IN CHRIST! We put on the mask of Christ and not only thereby hid from God, but we hid from each other. That's why church always felt like a play. We were actors. Taking our cues from what we believed God wanted from us--in the way of behavior and vocabulary, values and priorities. We got our identity from outside of ourselves. So we were hollow. Shells. The lights were on but no one was home. And when we lost our faith and found ourselves in a godless world, some of us didn't know who to be. We didn't know who we were. We may have carried over some shame from being human, being sexual, being crass, being normal. We may have been tempted to hide. Old habits die hard. But the real world out there wanting to connect with us needs us defrocked, demasked, delivered from self-rejection and fear.
So come on in the water's warm. We're all fucked up. We're all cellular accidents with no owner's manuals. Join the human race. Join this insane, inane experiment of evolutionary biology. Fart if you want, we all do it. Sing if you want. Be angry, but hurt, and most of all be honest. We'll decide how much we like you and how much time we want to spend with you, but don't take it personal, you get to do the same with me. And that's not rejection, that's actually us ACCEPTING each other for who we are. That doesn't mean we'll be best friends, but at least we'll be making these kind of decisions based on the truth of who we are, not some facade.