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.

Cass Midgley and Dr. Bob Pondillo interview Rebecca Fox. Rebecca is the artist and author of a new graphic novel titled "Murmurs of Doubt: Twelve Skeptical Graphic Novellas." She's British and was raised by apatheist parents but got caught up in the Wiccan religion in her teens. Rebecca is an impressive, sharp communicator with an interesting personal journey that we're delighted to bring you.

On her website about the book Rebecca writes, "I’m not the same person I was ten years ago. And neither are you. I wanted to write stories about those moments of epiphany when we begin to change, to see through superstition and dogma and get a glimpse of the really real world. But that’s impossible. The closer I looked for those moments the more slippery they became and as I wrote and drew I realised I was telling stories about doubt… bubbling under the surface in everyone's lives, ready to transform us. Murmurs of Doubt is a collection of twelve comics about people from diverse backgrounds and cultures experiencing doubt and becoming someone new.

At around the one hour mark of this conversation, Rebecca references Leo Igwe's Skeptical Manifesto for Africa, from which I'm about to read. I found this to be a very practical application for atheist activism in the world that pushes back against the toxic effects of non-critical thinking and superstition. It occurred to me as an opportunity for us to apply our heartfelt concerns for how religious thinking is literally arresting social development around the world. You can Google a Skeptic's Manifesto for Africa, which I've linked in the shownotes, and donate to this cause. The following excerpt from Igwe's post demonstrates a religious hegemonic stronghold even greater than that of the American South.

I found this interesting because, as much as we here in America have felt the negative repercussions of religion, it's destructive swath reaches well past our Western borders, with far worse ramifications. I hope you caught the phrase, "skeptical spring." This notion inspired me to keep putting out episodes of this podcast. To keep speaking out about the integrity of critical thinking. Christians have a scripture that propels them out of complacency in Romans 1:16, "I am not ashamed of the gospel." Well, they should be ashamed, and we, with the truth and morality and human progress on our side should not be ashamed. Obviously I'm not endorsing that we become assholes like them, but that we not shrink back from opportunities to inform the curious, educate the confused, and embolden the cowardly.  

We taped this conversation on July 15th, 2017. 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. 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 on this episode was created by the Barry Orchestra found at https://barryorchestra.bandcamp.com/

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

http://doubtcomic.com/

"Murmurs of Doubt" on Amazon

How to contact Rebecca Fox

Rebecca's website

Leo Igwe's Skeptical Manifesto for Africa

So that’s our talk with Rebecca Fox calling from England. I love her. Her personality, her way of communicating…it doesn’t hurt that she’s got a lovely British accent. We learned a little about the Wiccan belief system and its geographical variations. You know, we all love Bob. We love his naïve perspective. And we can see, in a very innocent way, how a lack of understanding can be the source of judgment. Bob was not at all judgmental of Rebecca, but you can see his impatience or intolerance, if you will, of woo-woo beliefs. One of David Richo’s declarations of healthy adulthood is “Until I see another’s behavior with compassion, I have not understood it.” All fear and judgment of another human being are only afforded to those who have not experienced that person’s life, they’ve not walked a mile in their shoes, if they had—and I mean this of Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer,etc.—they would have a much better understanding of why they did what they did. We might even be able to say we would’ve done the same thing under the same circumstances. And by circumstances I mean their mental health, their brain, their childhood, their history, their entire context. So I just want to keep erecting this beautiful standard of connectedness and seeing yourself in everyone else. This is will naturally and with little effort make you a better person—wiser and smarter and kinder.

Our friend and former guest of this podcast, Chris Nelson (Ep 101) posted on FB this week, “Every encounter with another human being is like being able to read a half a page from the middle of a novel and then someone grabs the book away.” This both tags onto the connectedness we’re talking about and describes how I feel about every guest we have on. Getting this little glimpse of Rebecca Fox, for example, let’s us peer into someone else’s novel that’s been written and is still being written every day that we’re alive.

This human experience is rather amazing, wouldn’t you say? Just consciousness itself. Before we were born we couldn’t engage with each other, we couldn’t see, smell, feel, orgasm, eat, create some kind of art, listen to music, dance, or play with friends. Someday all this will end for each of us. And while some us like Rebeccca and myself (not Bob) tried to find extra meaning and magic and supernatural imaginations, we’re finding that even as those things prove to be false, the truth of our existence, our reality, our relationships are more than enough awe-striking and magic and wonderful without needing to delude ourselves or lie to ourselves. In fact, we’re learning to jump in rather than escape. We’re learning to say yes to what is. 

Direct download: Ep_160_Rebecca_Fox.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:10pm CDT
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Cass Midgley and Dr. Bob Pondillo interview Dr. Karen Garst. She blogs at faithlessfeminist.com, she is the author of "Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion." In 2014, the U. S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. She was incensed and thought, “Since when did a ‘corporation’ get to use its religious beliefs to dictate what health care a woman could receive?" She decided to write a book on atheism and the harm religion has done to women. It is an anthology of personal essays from women of all ages who have left religion. It's published by Pitchstone Publishing. Richard Dawkins, Peter Boghossian, and others wrote blurbs for the book. Karen invites you to find her blog, her Facebook page, her YouTube Channel, and follow her on Twitter @karen_garst. If you need help finding her, there's links to all her stuff in the show notes. So connect with her, she's really cool, as you soon shall see.  

We taped this conversation on June 25th, 2017. 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. 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 on this episode was created by the Barry Orchestra found at https://barryorchestra.bandcamp.com/

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

Sarah Silverman is visited by Jesus Christ

www.faithlessfeminist.com

https://www.facebook.com/faithlessfeminist/?ref=bookmarks

Karen Garst's YouTube Channel

Wendy Marsman's Podcast: Women Beyond Belief http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

 


Direct download: Ep_159_Karen_Garst.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:09pm CDT
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Cass Midgley and Bob Pondillo interview Josh Hupp. Josh has spent the last ten years trying to rebuild his life and identity after escaping the grip of a Christian Cult he was in for 10 years. As per the cult leader's demands, he broke off ties with his family, physically abused fellow cult members, and was himself beat up by other cult members, while his wife at the time watched--a wife that the cult leaders picked for him to marry.

Before we get into our talk with Josh, I want to plug the book "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life" by Mark Manson. I got it on audiobook and the first chapter is the best summary of what it means to be a yes-sayer that I've ever heard.  Just like all self-help material, I don't agree with all of it, but overall, this book posits my philosophy of life as close as anything I've ever heard. I truly believe it will change your life for the better by leaps and bounds.

Also, I received an email from a listener and supporter of this podcast, John Rexrode from Akron, Ohio, that is really well written and rich in thought. He writes,

Hi Cass, I do want to thank you and Bob for the podcast. I have just recently started listening and find myself enjoying it very much.

One of the things I like most about your podcast is how willing you are to share the stories of everyone, including those with whom you don't entirely agree. I just finished listening to the conversation with Cheri Jamison. She seems like a good person and what a shame it would have been to have excluded her ideas and thoughts for a broader perspective. You should be commended for being willingly inclusive.

It would not be inaccurate to call me an atheist, but I dislike the term specifically because too many atheists are as dogmatic in their unbelief as christians are in their belief. I understand well the anger, hurt, intellectual distrust, and historical perspective for this dogmatic response. I have had the same reactionary responses myself for many years, and I continue to do so under certain conditions. However, now that I am older, retired, and hopefully a little more insightful about life and myself, (or is it actually early dementia?) I find I am no longer as sure or as smart as I once thought myself. Or maybe I am just worn out and tired of all the bickering. I want to find a way to care, accept, and mutually tolerate others.

My life and work is based in science. Science and math are great constructs as constructs go, but they still only expose the very tip of what may actually exist. The quantum enigma exposes this vulnerability quite well despite the protestations or denial of scientists saying otherwise.

Can any of us really be so convinced that our own opinions are representative of “objective reality”? Can any of us even know what “objective reality” is, being the primitive little primates that we are? I am not talking about our collective objective reality as humans. I think we can speculate on that just fine and my opinions are as good as anyone's. I am talking about actual “objective reality” which I believe will always be beyond our reach.

I am as intolerant of intolerance as one can be, but should it matter to me if people believe things I find ludicrous or silly if it makes life easier or happier for them and they are good people. Many of the things I think and believe are actually emotionally based and not actually true. There are some fairly recent neurological studies that actually support the idea that all our opinions and conscious thoughts originate as emotions. Our thoughts may all be rationalizations for our emotions.

I enjoyed Frank Schaeffer (that's way back on episode 21) on your program and read his book. You tuned me into Mike McHargue (aka Science Mike) and I read his book. I found his “wave” experience too much for me, but since his wife threatened to leave him and his mother was pressuring him, to speak nothing of his life being turned upside down, is it really any wonder that his mind gave him something to bridge the gap? At least his religion is now apparently loving and less toxic.

I am going to write something that will sound arrogant but I don't mean for it to be. I just think that while some people like us, may be perfectly capable of devising our own moral system and fiber, many people are not. They are not as intense or intuitive because they have no interest in being so. They need some sort of moral structure and religions offer that in prepackaged form. Unfortunately, these religions are often toxic, hateful and hurtful.

So I am drawn in my later years to try and make peace with people and my past. I am attempting to find some kind of connection beyond, or in spite of, our disparate dogmas. It is a real struggle for me since like you, I have many emotions and past conflicts to deal with. I find your program very timely and helpful with that.

Take care and may you be at ease,
John Rexrode

My thanks to John for articulating his desire to "care, accept, and mutually tolerate others." You can hear the humility that comes with age and the self-confidence it takes to admit that we don't know everything. He also understands that some people aren't as interested in the truth as others, or spelunking the caves of philosophy and critical thinking or need a pre-fab moral framework to guide their lives. They're comfortable in their beliefs and really don't want to be bothered with disrupting those comforts. And as long as they're not assholes about it or are making the world a worse place, leave 'em be. Of course, some could argue that they are passively extending the life of toxic religions on a macro level, but I think we all have friends and family that we have to keep the peace with on a micro level and John's wisdom here is giving us permission to pick our battles wisely.  

And can I just say that I have really impressive listeners. Every week I get emails and messages from listeners that without exception are well thought out, well articulated, and full of integrity, compassion, and virtue-seeking people. The communities that have been built around this podcast--some online and some in person--are full of the most impressive people I've ever seen assembled. And I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I take great encouragement from the quality of people this show attracts.  And John's email reminds me that while we atheists are truly taking the moral high road, we would do well to not do so while looking down on religionists from our high horse.

We taped this conversation on June 24th, 2017. 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. 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 on this episode was created by our guest today, Josh Hupp, and we feature an original number by Josh at the end.

 

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


Direct download: ep_158_Josh_Hupp.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33pm CDT
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