Everyone's Agnostic Podcast
Cass Midgley interviews people you don't know about a subject no one wants to talk about: losing faith in the supernatural.

Welcome everyone to episode 212 of the Everyone’s Agnostic podcast. I’m Cass Midgley. I'm going to die. A big thanks to each and every one of our Patreon and Paypal supporters.  Today my guest is Pat LaFord Green. 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.comWe taped this conversation on July 21st, 2018. The intro and segue music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me."  Thanks for listening, and be a yes-sayer to what is.

Pat decided before coming on this podcast, because he's been featured on a few, that he was gonna be real. He was gonna relax and not pre-imagine what it was going to be, or plan out what or how he was going to present. He was going to be Pat. Not "just" Pat, or "just" Cass, because that intones "only or merely." And there's nothing mere about Pat or me or you. On the other hand, "merely" means only as specified and nothing more. So in this sense, Pat did show up as merely Pat and nothing more. No showboating or posturing or masquerading. Just Pat. Which sounds like something Mr. Rogers would say, "just you." And we're enough, aren't we? We're all a mixture. We're all confused. We all succeed and fail and we vary on what those words even mean. We avoid placing judgment on the art that is us, don't we? Hopefully we do, because if a painter or sculpture or poet or songwriter or woodcarver sets out to express themselves in ways that they don't even know where it's going to go when they put paint brush to canvas, then the Big Bang certainly didn't know either where this was going, did it? So everything is a big "OOPS" isn't it? How many of us are accidents where our Dads were in such ecstacy in climaxing balls deep inside our mom's that we're really just a big "oops?" When we see the reality of this chaotic mess we find ourselves in we lose entitlement and expectation and privilege, don't we? We're not privileged to be here. A privilege is a benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most, and when it comes to our biology, our cellular makeup, the fact that we're all animals and accidents at best, is the truth. Any narrative that lifts us above another is mythology, and a pernicious one at that. Scared people kick and scratch to elevate themselves above others. It's only true in their imagination. They love the elusion, don't bother them with the facts, their "enjoying" their superiority, their lie, their bedtime story that calms their fears of being stuck in an elevator with 10 other strangers for 24 hours where body odor and urine and feces and rage and panic would manifest, maybe even death. They might have to be in the same room with a corpse, which is basically 150 pounds of mud that was formerly animated by electronic synapses firing impulses and orders to the eyes and mouth and now is gone to who knows...Where was I. Oh yeah, Art. Isn't it lovely?

In art, especially in the medium of movies, we have the full gamut of "feel good" movies and horror. I've often wondered why some people find horror movies entertaining, because I personally find them ugly, repulsive, disturbing and vile. But I'm suspicious that my place of privilege far removed from the real horrors of life, raised white straight cis male upper middle class by parents who loved me and never fucked me. If my childhood had been a horror instead of the blissfully ignorant and naive pampered version of a super-loved, mono-ethnic, Christian rural upbringing, I might find some entertainment, even comfort, from horror films. It seems that the privileged don't want to be reminded of the horrors of reality, whereas those whose reality and childhood were already a horror, perhaps they find comfort and entertainment in the mockery and public display of the horrific. There's some fascinating scholarship out there studying the existential connections between the art-horror genre and humanities' attraction and avoidance of anxiety and repulsion.

I learned a word when researching this subject: intersticial. It has to do with a small or narrow space or interval between things or parts. In the Hegelian dialectic, its the synthesis, but in the case of horror, it's disrupting and/or disturbing.  On the question of what makes a monster horrifying, Noël Carroll, in his seminal work "The Philosophy of Horror," argues that monsters are ‘interstitial’ or ‘impure’. They are not entirely alien to us, but rather fall between familiar categories: for example, vampires, zombies, and Frankenstein’s monster are somewhere between living and dead, werewolves and the the Fly are both human and beast. The Exorcist and The Omen, even Christ demonstrate something part human and part supernatural entity.

These hybrids throw a wrench in modern western binary thinking. And some of us are ready for complexity, nuance and even outlandish, because perhaps we're bored with chocolate and vanilla. Maybe we're not afraid to be wrong or that life is beyond our understanding. We don't have to have it all figured out in order to have fun. In fact, quite the opposite.

Well my guest today, Pat Green vomited the fruit from the knowledge of good and evil and decided that he didn't need such shallow knowledge, nor did he need to know or place judgment on things as either good or evil. He chose neither. Pat is a former minister of 16 years who left ministry and entered the secular life around the time his son came out transgender.
After attending Christian Life College with an undergrad in Pastoral Studies he was a youth pastor in a smattering of Assemblies of God and non denominational churches. By the time he started pastoring his own church, LifeBridge Church in Lockport Il (near Chicago), he had jumped ship and went into liberal land.

Between 2012 and 2013 his life entered an upheaval and he found himself divorced, driving a taxi, and loving his LGBTQIA+ son for all he was worth. Together, they rode the storm and Pat was left with no faith in a god, but a lot of love.
Today, as a photographer, writer, and a storyteller, he is trying to navigate his way through this new existence in a free market capitalist world he does not fully grasp.
His professional writing has been seen in various publications both online and in print for over the last 12 years. He was a regular contributor to 22nd Century Media, Aquarius News, and also in the Secular Spectrum on Patheos with his blog Tranparent Expedition.
Pat also wrote a book in 2015 titled, “Night Moves: An Ex Preachers Journey to Hell in a Taxi“, which is available online on Amazon. His professional photography has been featured in various newspapers, websites, and other formats since 1985. Most recently, Pat is a proud member of The Artist Guild Of Lockport and the international group RAW Artists where he volunteers as an ambassador helping new artists showcase their work in shows.
With Pat’s passion for his son, his new life is told as honestly and as openly as he can be. He misses Disney World, financial solvency and having a back yard to mow.

 

 

Direct download: Ep_212_Pat_Green.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:49am CDT
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Welcome everyone to episode 211 of the Everyone’s Agnostic podcast. I’m Cass Midgley. I'm going to die. A big thanks to each and every one of our Patreon and Paypal supporters.  Today my guest is Peter Montoya. This is the 3rd time I've had Peter on the show. You can get his full story back on episode 130. He was also featured briefly in episode 163, on Dr. Marlene Winell's second appearance. Peter is all about living a fulfilled life and he sees community as an integral part of achieving that goal. For us ex-Christians, church used to be the main place we connected with a community. Some of us had bad experiences but it's likely that even those were the exception and not the rule. I know I used to look forward to seeing everyone and feeling that energy of people gathering every Sunday morning. But what now? How do we find community after faith is gone? Peter has some tips on how to do just that.

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.

We taped this conversation on June 25th, 2018.

The intro music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me"

Featuring "People" by Barbara Streisand. 

The outro song: You've Got A Friend In Me (From "Toy Story"/ Soundtrack) by Lyle Lovett & Randy Newman.

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

Perhaps it's not about finding community but creating one. If we wait to be found or to find our people, we could possibly die waiting. Some of us have the means to CREATE a community. As you'll hear in this conversation with Peter Montoya, there are steps one can take to create a recurring meetup with friends. One way that you can calm yourself around this audacious and ominus undertaking is that even if you just meet once a month, at the end of a year you can look back and see 12 meetings that changed lives. It doesn't have to be a big deal or life changing each meeting. It's the 30,000 foot view that says, "we make the path by walking it." One foot in front of the other and before you know it, deep relationships are formed, and enriching exchanges are had. For those who find themselves in remote locations, there is the internet. Charles, a long-time friend and supporter of the show, started a virtual community that meets every other week on a platform called Zoom that functions like Skype where you can see and hear the other participants. We have listeners all over the English speaking world and many don't have community in their geographical proximity, so Facebook and groups like Charles' EA Virtual Small Group can help serve such people with a means to connect to others. It's SO important. .

Dr. Mark Hyman said, "The power of community to create health is far greater than any physician, clinic or hospital." If you're interested in being a part of the communities that have formed around this podcast, you can message me on Facebook or email me at midgley.cass@gmail.com and I'll help you get connected to virtual communities and support groups specifically designed to encourage people who no longer believe in the supernatural, are opening their eyes and ears and saying yes to reality and they're feeling the void of lost community.

Relationships are a two way street. They will be dynamic in direct relation to how honest both parties are. If you've done the deep, hard work of accepting yourself, you bring that unhidden person to the gathering. If you encounter someone who has also done the deep, hard work of accepting their self, you will be able to assess the real potential of that relationship. A natural byproduct of accepting one's self--flaws and all--is a greater capacity to accept others--flaws and all. The joy and depth of a community is directly correlated to how honest the participants have been able to get. A Christian author, Catholic actually, who I respected when I was a Christian and still do, is Henri Nouwen. He said this, "Solitude is very different from just a 'time-out' from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows. Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially opened for a deeper intimacy with each other."

We're learning that this tension that we all feel between introvert and extrovert is not black and white. We're all both. We get energy from time alone and from time with others. As the steward of your own happiness and health, only you know what you need and your needs are unique to you. We're learning that the "one size fits all" mentality of conformity religions is not honest nor real. Thus, we are free to navigate our relationships and free to let others navigate theirs. Some of us are uncomfortable with the thought of Sunday Assembly or Oasis or any kind of forced intimacy, other's love being in these gatherings, engaging with others, meeting new people. However, most of us are both--sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. And that's my point. As in most things I say, I almost always end up saying "you do you."

The acceptance of what is, the acceptance ourselves, each other, the form the moment is taking, empower us to navigate this tumultuous, unpredictable world that we could be yanked from at any moment, give us the smile we need to calm down, to pick our battles and our fucks better, to get excited about the right things, to give ourselves permission to take in this magical moment, with these beautiful disgusting people, eating this food that we'll only shit out later, drinking these drinks that we may regret in the morning, acknowledging the unavoidable awkwardness that occurs when any two people try to walk up to each other and make something happen.

This is the dance. This is our lives. May we find each other, accept each other and benefit somehow from the shared experience that is the human condition.

http://thriveunion.org/

 

 

Direct download: Ep_211_Peter_Montoya_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:15pm CDT
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Cass Midgley's guest is Kai (anonymous). Kai left home when she was 19 moving to Australia to study art. She counts this as a pivotal time in her life that created the space to begin examining her upbringing in the Seventh-Day Adventist church.  

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.

We taped this conversation on June 30th, 2018. 
The intro music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me"
The segue music is "I'm Coming Up" the 1980 hit by Dianna Ross
Thanks for listening, and be a yes-sayer to what is.

Having grown up in an almost cult-like Adventist community, Kai struggled for many years with the knowledge that she was gay and what this meant for her salvation according to the church doctrine. Ultimately, this caused her to leave the Seventh-Day Adventist church, and by leave I mean she kinda went out with a bang, didn't just slink away, which is fine too, but that's not Kai. Kai, despite her small frame, is a force to be reckoned with. Rugged and tenacious. Today Kai is an ER and ICU nurse, published author and photographer, as well as an officer in the United States Navy, having served in Afghanistan and aboard a ship in the South Pacific. She insist that above all else, she is an artist.     

I really enjoyed this conversation. One theme came up that I've said for years and that is that atheism is the best practice of theism. I think at one point Kai identifies as a Idon'tcareist or apatheist. People think that by buying into a religion they're hedging their bets, but I think the best way to be ready for there to be a possible God in an afterlife is to make him proud by weaning one's self of him. Maybe 2 ounces of my 190 pound frame believes gods exist, but I just can't because it smacks SO loud of human concoction (and there's no evidence).

Think about 2 really deep human conditions: the fear of loneliness and abandonment. From the time we're babies, we think that when mama leaves the room, we don't exist. As toddlers, we scream when they leave us with a babysitter or at school. As children we are taking in everything and how the people in our lives and, especially our parents behave and we simply mimic it. Our identity is informed and shaped by what we see and hear. It comes from the outside. As we lose our naive innocence and realize the world is a scary place, we take comfort in the fact that there's a roof over our head and mom and dad are in the next room, AND they've got a plan. They make our lives work. I don't have to worry about a thing.  Yet. The older I get the more I start to develop my own agency--my own ability to develop my OWN identity that is not merely a reflection of my parents and siblings. I form my own values, tastes, and priorities. Some don't develop agency. The more devout a Christian one is, the less one will learn to listen to and trust their own heart and body. If the parents or friends or boyfriends are controlling, this to might stunt their personal maturation. Then when they move out of their childhood home, they're comforted by having God, their portable parent who will never leave or abandon them as they embark into the real world. And in some ways, the don't get to grow up. I'm one of them. I like to think that my inner self, gagged and bound in the dungeon of my soul escaped, came bursting out of the basement and went on his own heroes journey, which he is still on, of course. To our surprise some of us found the scary, chaotic, parentless world was scary at all. We were more scared in the bosom our parents than we are in this godless snake-infested jungle.  Irony!

Kai mentions the movie, the Village, in which a small cult-like community lives cut off from the outside world by the woods, in which they believe dangerous creatures exist. They have an uneasy truce with the creatures - if they stay out of the woods, they are left unharmed. So they are fenced in by a scary forest.

Fences are a theme in this talk. There was a fence around her compound in Afghanistan, a fence that kept her from coming out gay for so many years, and the electric fence of the church. Just about the time she thought she was gaining freedom and agency, Saturday would roll around and a one hour sermon would crush her spirit, and throw her back down the very pit of confusion and despair from which she'd spent the week climbing out. This crazy-making cycle eventually forced her hand to take some really brave steps to climb the goddamn fence and begin her journey toward wholeness.

 

 

Direct download: Ep_210_Kai.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:25am CDT
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Welcome everyone to episode 209 of the Everyone’s Agnostic podcast. I’m Cass Midgley. I'm going to die. A big thanks to each and every one of our Patreon and Paypal supporters.  Today my guest is Devin Andre Woodard. Devin is a young professional living and working in Austin, TX. Devin is a passionate man, who, after being burnt out of spending years pouring his entire being into Christian fundamentalism, is attempting to discover the freedom that comes with embracing life as it is, and making the most of the time we're given.

We taped this conversation on June 9th, 2018. The intro music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me" The segue music is "Ghost II" by Corey Kilgannon, a favorite of my guest.
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.

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

You've probably received a pop-up warning on your computer or your phone saying you've been infected by a virus, click here to have it removed. But if you do click it, it will give you a virus. Just this week my son got a call from Apple Tech Support telling him his phone had been hacked and that all the phones in his family plan would soon be hacked accessing all their personal info, passwords and use their friend list to invade all their friends info. He naively fell for it and proceeded to do whatever the person on the phone told him to do, including download an app on daddy's desktop computer. Which almost completed the hack for which they were warning against. It reminded me of Trump's weak, lazy, cowardly, insecure tactic of warning people about fake news, when in fact every time he opens his mouth, its fake news. An accusation is made against someone that is not true of the accused, but IS true of the accuser. There's a quote attributed to Joseph Goebbels that says, "Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty" and although there's no proof that Goebbels ever said it, it is a common tactic throughout history. Sometimes in full knowledge of its genius; sometimes from stupidity and pure survival mode of insecure bullies. But as weak as the accuser is, this tactic is not; it is highly powerful in wreaking destruction and creates a vicious vortex that entraps any victims who fall prey to it. How does one fall prey to it? If the accused get defensive and say "no I'm not" it plays right into the hand of the accuser. As in this 10 year old scene from a SNL Weekend Update episode where Amy Poehler subtly accuses Seth Myers of having a small penis. Immediately after she jabs him with the joke she holds her hand up for a high five and says "up top." Listen to Seth's reaction.  

So it's a trap to fight against the accusation but it's also a trap to agree with the accuser. When we agree with their accuser, we can fall into a trap of shame and even look to our accuser for a solution, like my son did with the fraudulent Apple Tech support guy. Either way, too much attention is given to the accuser. The best thing is to just hang up. Because both the accuser and the accused can become what they hate.

You know the phrase, "it takes one to know one?" This is a phrase of empathy, which can be good. But even empathy has its pitfalls. Many say that compassion is better because, in the metaphor of someone falling in a pit, empathy gets down in the pit and both are now worse off, whereas compassion throws the fallen a rope. Now, in this age of Jordan Peterson mania, that sounds like something he would say (and I believe he does) and so I just threw up in mouth a little bit, but as with all truth, sometimes you find it in places that make it hard to swallow.  When we hate our enemies, we are apt to swing wide in the opposite direction and merely mirror the poor emotional health of our enemy. But consider a modification of that adage "it takes one to know one": It takes one to hate one. How much of my own intolerances are a result of my ‘dislike’ of my own weaknesses or past weaknesses in any particular area? Often my impatience manifests when I feel ignored or invisible. In traffic it appears. Often I see everyone as trying to block my progress or ignoring me or being insensitive or even thoughtless. At the same time, they're probably driving slow in the fast lane because they're compensating for years of having no power or voice or have been oppressed by others and this moment of power feels good to them, whether they know why or not. So our life-long developed pathologies are clashing on I-24. And if we hate or resent certain people its often because we either see their actions reflecting back to us what we don't like about ourselves OR the opposite: we're not like them at all and thus don't relate to their weaknesses and thus can feel superior and judge them, thereby hating them, and thereby becoming like them. Judgement of others and self keeps us in this fucking cyclical pit of stupidity and immorality.

Take the shanty call center of scam hackers calling my son. They're trying to get rich and they can justify it because they resent other rich people. They may never admit this but the thinking is "They’re crooked, so we’re justified in being crooked too." Victims often become victimizers. And this is all about people acting, behaving, thinking in RE-action to others, only mirroring their adversaries, as opposed to acting, behaving and thinking from one's own core. To stay above the fray of insecure bullies and accusers and jealousy and resentment. To avoid such traps and swirling eddies that pull us into that muck and mire. We can and should assess and evaluate our circumstances and relationships all day long without falling into the trap of judgement. Blame, no matter where it lands, helps the situation. Honestly, keep in mind that every fucking human being on this planet is fighting the same battles-- with their history, their abuse, their shortcomings and insufficiencies, and most will never have the wherewithal or self-awareness to understands what's happening to them in real time, but you can! Listeners of EA podcast have such a huge advantage over the rest of the unevolved world because those people are losers and we're winners and if they only knew as much or had as much knowledge as we do, they too could be as cool and healthy as us. They probably don't even read books or go to therapy. It must really suck to be them...oh wait. I've become what i hate. Ground me William Shakespeare. "Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind." What? Say that again. "Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind." So by seeing myself as guilty, as bad, as evil, I'm more prone to be suspicious of everyone else? "Something like that." And by lifting myself out of guilt, by giving myself a break, by giving myself the grace and forgiveness that I would give my own loved ones, I help alleviate the suspicious lens through which I see others? When I assume that people driving slow in the fast lane, or people that over groom their lawns, or people that scam little old ladies out of their money, or people that are ignorantly afraid of people different than them, when I assume that they are bad people, I'm letting suspicion stifle what might otherwise be curiosity. Hell even apathy would be healthier than suspicion. "I don't care why that person's being a dick" is no less moral than, "I wonder why that person's being a dick?" One is slightly more mature than the other, but requires more energy than I might have at the time. As long as I don't let myself feel too superior to their assholery, because I certainly display my share of it in other contexts. It's kinda "live and let live" with just a tad more care than that, but not much. At the end of the day, it's saying yes to what is. This place, this planet, this human race is MAJORLY fucked up, and we don't help it get well by responding in ways that are either the same type fucked up or the opposite type fucked up, we're still adding to the fucked upness of the planet when we react in kind. Nietzsche wrote, "My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati--a love of fate: that one wants nothing to be different, not in the future, not in the past. Not just to bear what is reality, much less hide myself from it, for all idealism is just dishonesty in the face of what is, but to love it. I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is the reality of things; then I will be one who helps make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be the only thing I say no to. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer."  Now Nietzsche was a white, straight European male in the early 20th century, so he may be afforded privileges that allow him to apply and practice that more thoroughly than others, but it is at least a virtue and value to which to aspire. Hatred is the easiest of emotions to invoke. Love requires self-awareness and intention. At minimal, we would do well to select our enemies carefully, for more often than not, we will become like them. Thus, if your enemies are people, those people will often define you. If you are not defined from without, you will be defined from within. My hunch is that we humans kinda need enemies and will create them if that role is vacant. I suspect the enemy is within all of us and thus can have the uniting effect of a common enemy, and yet, an enemy that we will not emulate. My tattoo defines my enemies as Fear, Pity, Resentment, Victimhood, and Insecurity. If we'd all resist these enemies within, without an ounce of shame for having them, we might be able to laugh and drink and eat and cry together with those we formerly identified as enemies. That's a tall order. But I've got a short life.

In summary, there are two paths of weakness, small creativity, and short-sightedness: 1) accuses others of the same behavior the accuser is doing, and the second judges others for the same behavior the judge ends up mirroring. Both are afraid, as we all are. The high road is refusing to let fear evoke a reaction we'll later regret. Just close the false virus pop-up, hang up on the scamming caller, journalists ignore our baby-president and keep reporting the news, stop judging yourself and thus others who reflect back to you what you either don't like about yourself or don't like about them, live with a clear conscience so you'll be less suspicious of others, and don't take yourself or the size of your penis too seriously.

Corey Kilgannon Ghost II video

http://www.thepaepae.com/self-hate-as-a-metric-of-intolerance/23098/

http://www.thepaepae.com/the-paradox-of-animosity/258/

https://www.fhu.com/articles/hate1.html

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/enemy



 

Direct download: Ep_209_Devin_Woodard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:17pm CDT
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