Everyone's Agnostic Podcast
Cass & Bob interview people you don't know about a subject no one wants to talk about--losing faith in the supernatural.
Episode 109 Ben Hicks & the polemic divide

Cass and Bob have a conversation with former guest Benjamin Hicks. He was our first guest on episode 3, after Bob and Cass interviewed each other on episodes 1 and 2.  Ben is one of those guys that is just a sweetheart. He’s humble, he’s a beta, he’s got a big heart, he wants the best for everyone. He’s got a conservative brain and a brilliant brain. He’s a career computer guy nerd genius, and we love him. You can hear his deconverstion story there, and today we’re discussing estrangement, animosity, and othering that is so prevalent in today’s western zeitgeist. We saw it in the Brexit, we’re seeing it in the public appeal of Trump’s racist rhetoric. In what universe would someone so incompetent and with such lack of self-awareness rise to popularity like he has? And the tension between the Hillary supporters and the Sanders supporters within the democratic party. The estrangement and distrust between black and brown people with police officers. The widening chasm between the rich and the poor in class warfare. The amassing of guns because we’re so scared. The success of terrorists to truly infect the world with terror. It’s working! When people are out in public, in traffic, out shopping, we don’t feel the brotherhood of man, we don’t feel the warmth of community—unless we’ve quarantined ourselves in gated communities with only people of our own ethnicity.

These are subjects that scholars have tried to understand for millenia. Scholars that look at the brutality of the world and human depravity and instead of just accepting it as the norm they’ve asked questions like why do we act this way? What narratives are framing our paradigms that put as at such odds? I personally expected that once I got out of elementary school, this childish behavior would finally stop. It didn’t. So I thought, well, after high school, that’s when people will be mature enough not to act this way. Nope. College? The workforce? Adulthood? Nope. Maturity has not happened to us yet. And today, we discuss the works of two scholars who’ve come up with some theories, supported by research, that prescribe some insights. This talk is far from a comprehensive view of their work, so I want to prescribe the work of two scholars for those that are truly interested in some possible solutions to our current social discord:

One is Jonathan Haidt. He’s a social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business. His academic specialization is the psychology of morality and the moral emotions. Haidt is the author of two books: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (2006) and The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012), which became a New York Times bestseller. He was named one of the "top global thinkers" by Foreign Policy magazine, and one of the "top world thinkers" by Prospect magazine. 

The second is Ernest Becker was a cultural anthropology who earned his PhD from Syracuse University and became a professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. In 1973 he published The Denial of Death for which he earned a Pulitzer Prize. A year later he died of cancer at age 49.  Also, the book, The Worm at the Core, by doctors Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski, is about the research done to support Becker’s theories.

 

We taped this episode on July 29th, 2016. If you’re liking our show, please subscribe to it, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.  Also, you can support us monetarily on a per episode basis through our Patreon page. 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

 

Ben’s talk at Unitarian Universalist Church in Murfreesboro

The full text of Ernest Becker’s “The Denial of Death” including the intro by Sam Keen which Cass reads on this episode

Episode 52 of Everyone’s Agnostic podcast featuring Ernest Becker’s book and a lecture by Sheldon Solomon

The Ernest Becker Foundation

Jonathan Haidt’s Ted Talk titled “The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives.”

Haidt’s 6 moral foundations

Newt Gingrich changed it to a 3 day work week so that politicians spent much less time together. 

Imposter syndrome and the Dunning Kruger effect

NY Times article by Frank Bruni, “How Facebook Warps Our World.”

“But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past” by Chuck Klosterman

THE BIG SORT, BY BILL BISHOP with Robert G. Cushing

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Adam Ruins Everything - Why the Electoral College Ruins Democracy

Adam describes how political parties are able to predetermine election winners through a process called gerrymandering.

Haidt at the Museum of Sex: How disgust shapes our morality. 

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2015/12/22/why-polarization-matters/

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/02/17/the-seven-habits-of-highly-depolarizing-people/

 

Direct download: Ep_109_Ben_Hicks.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 1:05pm CST
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Episode 108 Marie LePage

Cass and Bob interview Marie LePage.

Early in the interview, Marie confesses that as she was graduating from high school, she seriously doubted her own intellect, so between that and her obsession with kingdom things, she decided against college and instead entered the mission field with YWAM. She also admitted that just 2 years ago she wouldn’t have had the confidence to come on a podcast like this, but the Marie we witness here today is really bright, really courageous, and is all out fucks for the cultural standards that oppressed as a woman for the first 30 years of her life—and she expressly says so in this episode. She drops more f-bombs than any guest in our history, even more than me. 

What this episode brings up for me is the power and maturation that BEGINS when one leaves an oppressive Christianity. There are Christianities that postpone one’s maturation. This has largely to do with the absence of personal responsibility, the surrendering of autonomy and decision making and problem solving to God. I get the sense that in the last 6 years, since I resolved there were no gods, that it’s just us here, and I joined the human race and reality, that for the first time in my life, at age 50, the wheels and gears of the natural maturation process, the wisdom that comes from truly being a student of life, that were suspended by Christianity, have begun turning again and I’m becoming something and emerging as a truly free, self-determining agent and a true steward of my life. It’s really exciting to see myself emerging and get to know myself and to garner this power to embrace my identity, which is intentionally surrendered in Christianity. “You are not your own, you’ve been bought with a price.” “your body belongs to god” “your mind belongs to god” Coming out from under voluntary serfdom and into free agency has been one of the biggest positives of deconverting. No, I do not think I’m god, no, this is not pride…this is just getting honest with reality and shedding the fairy tale narrative that there ever was a god who was in charge of everything.  The “how now shall I live” goes from horrifying to a most exciting thing to explore.  What Marie calls, “re-owning my brain.”

We taped this episode on June 18th, 2016. If you’re liking our show, please subscribe to it, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.  Also, you can support us monetarily on a per episode basis through our Patreon page. That’s 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

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

Video of Marie in YWAM skits

Episode 27 of Secular Sexuality featuring Marie as “April” Marie's story starts at the 30:20 mark

 

 

Direct download: Ep_108_Marie_LePage.mp3
Category:atheism -- posted at: 4:21pm CST
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Episode 107 Dave Warnock

Cass and Bob interview Dave Warnock, an ex-Christian pastor whom Cass met through The Clergy Project and lives here in middle Tennessee. Week after week on this podcast we talk with people about the two-fold hardships of deconverting—personal and relational or internal and external. Everything changes in our own hearts and minds and that is a difficult process. And outwardly, people react differently to our newfound loss of faith. Some family members and friends, while not agreeing with our changed worldview, are able to love us and maintain healthy relationships even though they may be disappointed in or confused by our changes.  Others, however, may react by dissociating from us; or shunning us. This oftentimes is a defense mechanism- as they don’t know what to make of our loss of faith, and “pull back” as a way of coping. Some see this as a punitive or corrective measure and believe that by withholding relationship, the apostate will repent and return to God. They don’t seem to have the capacity in their spiritual framework to understand that we aren’t running from God or mad at God…we just don’t think he is there anymore; and thus we have nothing to repent of; or anyone to return to. Thus, all we can do in those cases is try to manage the pain of broken familial relationships and wait for it to get better as we get on with our new lives.

This is what Dave has done. Even though the loss of relationship with his adult daughters and his grandchildren is a daily pain, he has found a way to forge a new path that has given him meaning; and he continues to look for ways to re-write the story of his life. His work in Central America in secular missions is one of the things that has helped him do that; as well as daily connections with others who have left the faith and need support and encouragement.

Some people realize the importance of love and keep their priorities straight; others choose their allegiance to their religious guidelines over their loyalty to their unbelieving friend or family-member. I’ve said on the show before that I don’t like tough love or shaming techniques to influence people. Here we have a case where believer’s treatment of the deconverted loved ones due to their pastor’s advice bears a resemblance to cultic behavior:  

Five attributes of cults ring true here:
1. Cult members typically swear total allegiance to an all-powerful leader to whom they cede too much power.
2. In a cult, rational thought is discouraged or forbidden.
3. A cult weakens its follower psychologically such that they look the group to solve their problems.
4. The cult leader makes life decision of the members.
5. Cult members are isolated from the outside world and any reality testing it could provide.

Dave agreed to come on this podcast partly because he hopes by talking openly about this kind of brainwashing, people’s skepticism regarding charismatic church leaders will increase and fewer people will fall into this trap.

We taped this episode on June 11th, 2016. If you’re liking our show, please subscribe to it, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.  Also, you can support us monetarily on a per episode basis through our Patreon page. That’s 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
Other bumper music is Sam Maher, New York Subway Hand Pan player

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

Dave’s blog called nevercertain

The Clergy Project

Dave’s appearance at Grace Point Church

 

 

 

Direct download: Ep_107_Dave_Warnock.mp3
Category:christianity -- posted at: 2:54pm CST
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Episode 106 Wm Paul Young author of "The Shack"

Cass interviews New York Times’ best-selling author William Paul Young. Young is the author of “The Shack,” “Cross Roads,” and “Eve”-- a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship—yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional beliefs. Afterward, Cass and former guest of the podcast, Tony Woodall (episode 29).

Paul’s life is filled with tragedy. Raised as a third culture kid in the jungles of New Guinea, his first identity was tribal, however that tribe had no respect or reverence for his personal or sexual autonomy as a boy.

We taped this episode on June 4th, 2016. If you’re liking our show, please subscribe to it, give it 5 stars, and/or leave a review on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.  Also, you can support us monetarily through our Patreon page. That’s patreon.com/eapodcast. 

Credits:
"Towering Mountain of Ignorance" intro by Hank Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3v3S82TuxU
Intro bumper "Never Know" by Jack Johnson

Wm Paul Young’s Amazon site

The IMDB site of The Shack movie

Direct download: Ep_106_Paul_Young.mp3
Category:spirituality -- posted at: 11:21pm CST
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