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.

Cass Midgley converses with Arael Avinu founder of fullydeconverted.com. Fully Deconverted website
Fully Deconverted Facebook Group

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 August 26th, 2018. 
The intro music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me" 
The segue music on this episode is an instrumental version of "Heathen" by Stars from Steetlights
Thanks for listening, and be a yes-sayer to what is.

Arael Avinu is the founder of Fully DE/converted, a platform dedicated to disenfranchising dogma. Arael was involved in Christian ministry outreach for over 20 years as a "born-again" Evangelical. It was his exposure to academia and other cultures which caused him to begin critically analyzing what he believed and why.
Arael deconverted from Christianity after realizing that its supernatural claims weren't evidently true. The vision of Fully DE/converted is to draw awareness to claims of incontrovertible issues through discourse and storytelling to demonstrate that there are no authorities on truth except for truth itself.
Fully DE/converted adds value to the community by producing original content and hosting discussions on our most cherished values. Fully DE/converted and its team can be found on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and in podcast form.

Before we get into my talk with Arael...
Steve Birss, a regular listener of this podcast. is in a band called Stars From Streetlights and all three of the members of the band grew up in Christianity, and for different reasons and at different times, all walked away from Christianity. They write songs that explore their questions and doubts, and their latest release is called Heathen, which I'm going to feature here. The lyrics are:

“You’ll feel lost once you’ve lost your way”
But, they’re just afraid of what it means to be free
Of a hell that waits so... patiently
Of what it means to be free, when you don’t believe
What if we lived for today?
What if we stopped searching for “the only way”?
What if we lived?
A rich history on a man who was poor
Yet the wealthy folk use it as a way to make war
I used to hold onto the fact that the veil had been torn
Now I find peace in the fact that I fail to conform
I went from baptized to chastised
I kept it to myself, I couldn’t stand to see my dad cry
And when my friend needed treatment
I prayed to a god that I don’t believe in
I’m decent, but I never was a deacon
Communion bread and grape juice
Still I sunk my teeth in
It’s recent, I’ve been finally finding freedom
And if that makes me Heathen I guess I’m glad to be then
And if that makes me Heathen I guess I’m glad to be then
What if we lived for today?
(If this the life that I’m given, then you know I’m gonna live it, life life that I’m given, so you know I’m gonna live it)
What if we stopped searching for “the only way”?
(If this the life that I’m given then you know I’m gonna live it)
What if we lived?
Saved by the grace
That I’ve given to myself
I’ve come alive
Saved by the grace
That I’ve given to myself
I’ve come alive
What if we lived for today?
(If this the life that I’m given, then you know I’m gonna live it, life life that I’m given, so you know I’m gonna live it)
What if we lived for today?
**prayed to a god that I don’t believe in**
(If this the life that I’m given then you know I’m gonna live it)
What if we lived?
**and if that makes me Heathen then I guess I’m glad to be then**
That's the band, "Stars From Streetlights" with my friend Steve Birss. Another member of the band wrote about that song, “Heathen was born out of the freedom that resulted from admitting our unbelief. Its a song about being honest with yourself about the questions you have regarding your faith. We wanted to be focused on living for today instead of living for the afterlife; embracing the here and now instead of fearing hell.  Ultimately, It’s a song about hope, grace, life, and freedom...without God.” There's links to the song in the show notes.
Stars From Streetlights' song "Heathen"
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/album/heathen-feat-transit-22-single/1434009267
Spotify:  https://open.spotify.com/album/70f1tPgCWzeOg4JEpyUBMa

The New Testament, in a book called Hebrews, there's a definition of faith. It's in chapter 11 verse 1. Which is interesting, isn't it? One one one. Three in one? I'm just kidding. It's random. It goes like this, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Honestly, I think this is a powerful concept--faith. Not in god, of course, but in things we know to be true, even when we can't see it at the moment. I say this because sometimes our brain plays tricks on us. Especially those of us who have episodes of depression or anxiety or panic or delusion. Imagine being overwhelmed with fears and/or a barrage of negative thoughts about one's self and/or one's circumstance. "You're a failure," says the voice in our head. "This mess is unsolvable." "You're really bad at staying on top of your game." "You kinda suck at figuring this out; here you are again in this funk. What about this do you not understand?" or "Everyone thinks you're annoying." "All your friends are starting to lose respect for you." "Or do you really have friends at all?" "Secretly, they think you're ______." When we're coming from a place of fear, self-pity, resentment, victimhood or insecurity, we're going to misconstrue our interactions with people. We're going to think they're saying _______ when, in fact, they're saying something very different, maybe even the opposite of what you think they're thinking. After a while, it's like they're speaking German and you're speaking Spanish and no amount of raising your voices or repeating yourselves is going to break through the communication barrier; in fact, it makes it worse, escalates everyone's emotions and someone invariably storms out of the room, when any calm, civilized, mature audience would've seen that you were both saying very similar things, maybe even in full agreement with each other but because defensiveness and fear closed you up, their lips are moving but you can't hear what they're saying.  

This is where I think Faith comes in handy. "Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see." For whatever reason--either you're guarded and feeling inferior or they're scared and feeling small, or both at the same time--you don't see them as your loving friend, spouse, or child, and vice versa. You no longer believe in them--that they love you, that they only want good for you, that they would take a bullet for you. Right now, in this moment...of intensity, and high blood pressure, and strong words, and loud voices, NO...they are not to be trusted.

Part of saying yes to what is is saying no to what isn't. If it isn't true, don't believe it. If it is, believe it even if you can't see it right now. We're humans! We're complicated. We're NEVER our "best" selves--that mother fucker doesn't exist. The sooner you put him/her to rest, the sooner you get on with your life. So when we gather, shit happens, things are said, if not in words, its passive aggressive body language, smirks, facial expressions. IF WE HAVE AN IDEA IN OUR HEAD ABOUT WHAT ANOTHER PERSON IS THINKING, WE'RE GOING TO SEE EVERYTHING THEY DO AS A CONFIRMATION OF THAT PRE-EXISTING BIAS. But if it's not true, then there's nothing that they or you can do to get the truth to each other, and you run away mad, hurt, confused and embarrassed. Have faith in each other, goddammit! You know they're good people!?! Hell, 99% of the people on this planet are good and that's just because that bad 1% have something wrong with their brains. They'd be good too if something was rubbing up against that part of their brain that makes them want to fuck children or whatever. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Doubt? What doubt? THE DOUBT THAT THEY'RE A BAD PERSON! or that they're against you in this moment. Doubt it! and the and you will benefit from listening to that doubt. You're brain is fucking with you. Your fears are fucking with you. Doubt them and believe what you can't see right now because your enveloped in the fog of the destructive form of doubt--that they love you and area  good person. Don't build a wall of protection between you. You're only building a prison for yourself and you'll find yourself alone. The very thing you feared most is now upon you and fear itself led you there. We truly have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Conversely, we can have true conversations, REAL, where we actually listen and thus learn. I mean it. Learn. I'm not always good at what I'm about to prescribe, but don't come to the conversation to teach, come to learn. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt--the doubt that you've got this figured out. Doubt your certainty and actually listen. (I'm self-talking right now).  

Who's more powerful? the person who is unafraid to be wrong and/or corrected? or the one knows they're right? on the other hand, who's more powerful? the person who is confident in their hard-earned knowledge on the subject and thus doesn't have to yell or get excited or interrupt, or that other guy who yells, gets excited and interrupts.  (not to be confused with certainty, mind you) Hopefully you've seen the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary. As one who debates and argues for a living, she learned early on to never raise her voice or belittle her opponents, because it only reveals the weakness of her argument. Contrast that with Trump. Can you see how scared he is? How insecure? How fragile? His narcissism is a defense mechanism for his small self-image. Now, let's acknowledge that his narcissism did what narcissism does--it elevated him to high places. The highest place on earth, in fact. That's how profound his narcissism is. But he lacks true power because his insecurities feed back into his narcissism and thus he learns nothing, knows nothing, hears nothing, acknowledges nothing. ZERO humility. ZERO ability to doubt himself. Which is what makes him so dangerous. The lights are on but no one's home.

Contrast that kind of narcissism with my guest today--Arael. This guy's belief in himself is very powerful. He deconverted a year ago and his internet presence through fullydeconverted.com has exploded and is already helping other deconverters. He's rubbing shoulders with some big names, he's building a community! Honestly, I was pretty sure he was going to be arrogant because of how alpha he is. BUT, I doubted that presumption enough to give him a chance, open myself up, be vulnerable, and you can hear both us kind of thaw out as the show progresses. once we get past walking around each other in a circle, smelling each other's asses. No, that didn't really happen, but you get the picture of two alpha males trying figure out who's cooler or smarter or whatever. Competition and comparison is the American way, you know. But fuck that. After we finished the taped portion, we talked for another 30 minutes about this type of work and by the tone set during the interview we were actually listening to each other and learning from each other. It was truly beautiful to me.  And I get the impression that Arael had some pretty difficult circumstances to overcome growing up, so the fact that he's ascended to where he is today is even more testimony to his belief in himself that is counter-balanced with a genuine humility and teachability that is truly admirable. Just like all human attributes, there's a spectrum, and I think a healthy does of narcissism (which is really small) can be that thing that pushes you out onto stages your insecurity kept you off of. Have faith in what is true--even if you can't see it at that moment.

We obviously don't have faith in invisible friends anymore, but I think it's powerful thing to have faith in your fellow human beings and... your self. That is, of course, until the evidence says they're not really trustworthy after all. Bill Cosby was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison this week as a serial rapist. Dr. Huckstable was hiding something to keep up the facade. Fake people can't be trusted and thus are not worthy of our faith. But I'm choosing to start and maintain my relationship with people through faith-- believing in their goodness, that they love me and themselves, that's its a safe-space to be with them even when they're being a dick; learning to know the difference in them having a bad day or when the pattern and consistency of their toxicity is truly something for which I have to throw up a boundary, and lose faith in them. Even then, they're not a bad person, they're just mentally ill and they need to own and get some help. I even feel that way about Trump. He's not a bad, even if he's the worst you've ever seen in your life--he's mentally ill and needs to own it, resign and get some help. But don't hold your breath. I want to be slow and reluctant to cast people as bad for me, especially if I'm coming from a place of inferiority, insecurity or resentment.  

So that's my talk with Arael.  Good guy. Doing good in the world. He's not idle or slothful, is he? He's up and adam and doing things. Powerful, actually. again his org can be found at fullydeconverted.com. My thanks to James Exline for introducing Arael to me. If you'd like to share your story on this podcast contact me at midgley.cass@gmail.com or if you're a faithful listener of this podcast and its made a difference in your life and would like to come to our weekend retreat in the Smokies of east TN west NC, then contact me

Direct download: Ep_221_Arael_Avinu.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:54pm CDT
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Cass Midgley talks with Casper Rigsby. I had Casper on back on episode 153 and being how he lives right here in Murfreesboro, I invited him over for a little chat about the state of the union and the subject of Identity.

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 August 19th, 2018. 
The intro music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me"
The segue music on this episode is "We Care A Lot" by Faith No More.
Thanks for listening, and be a yes-sayer to what is.

Casper is a prolific blogger and has personally published 7 books, including his best-selling title, "The Bible in a Nutshell." His work ranges from comedic blasphemy to philosophical inquiry and discourse. He was also nominated in 2015 for the Hitchens Prize which recognizes “an author or journalist whose work reflects a commitment to free expression and inquiry, ‭ ‬a range and depth of intellect, ‭ ‬and a willingness to pursue the truth without regard to personal or professional consequence.”

To me, he's a young man, probably around 30, with a strong mind, a big heart, and a feral determination to thrive. He and I have very different histories. I don't know much about this because he doesn't talk about it much, but he served time in prison and was involved in white supremacy. Perhaps that's why he's so vehement now against it. I love him and I think you'll gain something from being with him for 45 minutes.

Message from listener: "Hi Cass, I really loved and appreciated the episode with David Hayward. My deconstruction began almost two years ago when I lost my 21-year-old daughter in a tragic UTV accident in which she was a passenger. She was home for the weekend from her Air Force duty station in SC. I lost a husband at 24 that was very difficult, but losing my daughter has destroyed my foundation and all that I knew. I was a student pastor at the time and had been an active devout christian for 3 years. A short time, but I was all in. I went from being a believer to a disciple very quickly. I had grown up "knowing" there was a god and I was supposed to get right with him one day. And so I finally did. Joined the church and served with all that I had to give...three years later on a Sunday, my best friend, part of my everything, was taken from me. The night we lost Morgan, my faith began to collapse. Where was god when I prayed for my child to survive. Where was he when I was lying on the floor day in and day out in agony wishing for my breath to escape my body and never return? Where was he when all the people abandoned me and my family?  Where was he in all of my questions and pleadings? Nowhere, I learned. I learned the night of the accident that prayer doesn't work. It's nothing but mere words to a sky. Soon after, within weeks, the pastor informed me "I needed to be at church, so people could love me." I guess meeting me in my brokenness at my home was too much. I needed to be in their comfort zone. I couldn't comply. The church, the people were soon gone...before the casseroles could get cold actually. It was then that I learned that the holy spirit was a lie. People aren't changed by anything. They are the same selfish people they've always been. That was step two in my deconstruction. Step three was realizing that when I stopped brainwashing myself with singing, bible reading and teaching, and Sunday services suddenly god was gone. I never felt him after I lost my child. Not one time in my pleading, begging, and praying for something, anything, did I get a reassurance that my child was in Heaven, he didn't do this, he was good...or any of the stuff I needed. I learned it was because he was never there. It was all in my head.....Step four was when I enrolled at university to pursue the undergraduate degree my daughter was in the process of getting. I had my children young so I put off getting my degree to raise them and work. I wanted to do this to honor her. As I began taking classes, at a christian university of all things, I began to learn about the early church and its beginnings in a western civilization class.....this added to my newly formed belief that the church and religion were nothing more than man-created ways to handle the existential issues of life. Well, that and a way to rob men of their money and time. I also began exploring on the internet and in books all the things I had closed my mind to to keep from being of the world when I was a believer. Books, articles, websites, etc that were filled with rational information helped me see that what I was learning and feeling was legitimate. I soon left the christian university and transferred to the university my daughter attended before joining the air force. I'm in my sophomore year there now. I say all this just to give some background as to why I related to this episode with David so much. In addition to my husband and I losing our daughter, we lost our faith. Our complete beings were attacked and therefore so was our marriage. It has definitely been hard with both of those combined weights attacking it from all angles. We are fighting though. We have 16 years together and we both believe its worth the uphill climb. Some days are really hard. Neither of us is the same person, and we are having to relearn each other, grieve, help the other grieve, help our surviving daughter (who was at the accident that took her sister) deal with PTSD, and create new meaning, all while doing the necessary tasks that life demands. I have related to many of your guests and I'm thankful for the echo chamber and think tank that you provide with this podcast. Validation is a very important thing for humans in order to not feel alone and isolated, which is very easy to do in a situation such as ours. I need it in the loss of my child and grief, and I need it in the loss of god and the grief that that brings. Thank you for your wisdom and for sharing your own journey, as well as those of your guests. What a great way to create meaning in your life, helping us who are new on this journey. Much love to you Cass.  (I added her to the private support group on FB - ep207 death, ep216 Grief)

Leisha: Thank you for adding me to the group and for sharing those episodes. I will most definitely be listening. I am grateful for this community. Damn this is a lonely place. Especially where I live: Rural, bible-loving, preacher-growing, conservative sweet home Alabama. Ugh... I love the place but finding like minded people is extremely difficult. Online communities and support are all I have with the exception of my support group for bereaved parents, which is full of people who believe they will see their child in heaven.
My daughter lived life fully and on the edge, never scared of anything... I was always fearful of losing her and then I did. And the Christian's wanted me to believe it was god's plan. Well the hell with that and their god... what an asshole. I'd rather accept that hes not there than think he chose, caused, or planned this for her or I. 🙂
Cass: Yep. THAT god can't exist and even if he did, I'd never bow the knee to him. I've believed for some time now that atheism is the best practice of theism, bc by ignoring him/her/it, I find myself looking at my fellow humans instead of heavenward. I find I care more, feel more, trust more, live more and that's what a good god would be pleased with. Besides, he/she/it has to be ineffable, unfathomable, and unimaginable, so the fool says "I know God. What He likes, dislikes, approves, disapproves, etc." I know immediately, I'm dealing with an arrogant, power-loving, insecure, scared, delusional person, and I turn tail and run. 🙂  Agnostic atheism produces the best human being, morally and ethically. In my opinion. 🙂
Leisha: And I agree. I find myself more caring and compassionate without religion. I'm a good person and I want to do good and be altruistic in nature because I know other humans love/suffer/hurt as I do. I dont need a crutch or a moral law-giving god to make me do or be good and I have realized that I haven't turned into a new person so much but really just rediscovered who I was the whole time. I am my own agent, my own judge and forgiver, my own support, and my own means creator. It's very freeing. I've had a couple of people see a few tweets I've shared that had atheistic ideas or views reply with, "this makes me sad." I reply back with, "dont be sad, if there is any area of my life that I actually feel good about, it's this one. I'm good there." Yes it's been a process and a difficult one but one that's grown and stretched me so much. Sometimes my brain is just like, holy shit, stop with the information." And my husband and daughter probably say the same thing 🤣 I just wish I could have discovered it all without losing my daughter. 😞 I am alot like you, I think,  in the fact that my wheels are always turning, my mind is always inquiring, digging, grasping, pondering, contemplating,  and philosophizing. Its exhausting but I think I would go crazy if I never got any of it out.

I've been fascinated with identity recently, in a dialectic way. On one hand, the search for "who am I" type identity crisis is often over-played. Friend and former guest on this podcast, Tony Woodall writes, "99% of becoming who you really are...is turning loose of who you think you are supposed to be." Mark Manson, the author of "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck“ writes, "My recommendation: don’t be special; don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways. Choose to measure yourself not as a rising star or an undiscovered genius. Choose to measure yourself not as some horrible victim or dismal failure. Instead, measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator. The narrower and rarer the identity you choose for yourself, the more everything will seem to threaten you. For that reason, define yourself in the simplest and most ordinary ways possible.This often means giving up some grandiose ideas about yourself: that you’re uniquely intelligent, or spectacularly talented, or intimidatingly attractive, or especially victimized in ways other people could never imagine. This means giving up your sense of entitlement and your belief that you’re somehow owed something by this world.”

But what if you're Hispanic in America. What if you're Arab-American or African-American. What if your gay or trans? why does the culture simultaneously hold those identities in contempt while claiming to not see them? People have claimed to be colorblind when it comes to race, but what if people of color don't want to be invisible?

Here's some James Baldwin quotes on the subject: "An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience. If you're treated a certain way, you become a certain kind of person." I'm a firm believer in like breeds like when it comes to treatment of others. If a teacher conveys respect to his/her students, the students are more likely to return that respect. When parent's confer love to their children, those children are more likely to be loving to their peers. And the opposite is true of hateful or judgmental parents--the children will turn out hateful and judgmental. Again, James Baldwin, "I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain." And the sneaky thing about bigotry, judgment, racism, or hatred is that often the people that wield these attitudes don't think of themselves as such. Baldwin says, "We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours."
All this to say that, in this world, we're all trying to find our place. Where do we contribute? Where do my gifts shine and help others? How do I contribute to the betterment of things? But if those very things which make me ME are stigmatized negatively, how will I ever be given a chance to prove myself virtuous? Pigeon-holing people as such-and-such because of something about them is SO goddamn presumptuous, narrow and ignorant of how complicated we are as humans. Atheists must be immoral, polyamorists must be slutty, Christians must be judgmental, blacks must be lazy free-loaders of welfare, rednecks must be stupid, Arabs must be anti-freedom, women must be over-sensitive, etc. How fucking lazy is it for someone to assume because someone is "blank" they must be "blank?" We might have to think, we might have to give each person we meet a clean slate, we might have to honor the identity of their ethnicity, orientation, religion, or occupation while stopping before broad-brushing all people who share those identities. Goddamnit, we're complicated. NOTHING about this is simple! Nothing about sharing space with other human beings is easy, even if you're family.

Agent Smith is an artificial intelligence character in the Matrix films who is the primary antagonist. He hates humans. He reminds me of the Biblical mindset that hates humanity and wants something better. It's not the only biblical mindset, but it is the primary in my opinion. It also resembles racism or any other bigotry that elevates itself to superiority over reality. These are no-sayers, mind you, wishing that things were different. (play clip)

In this next clip, Agent Smith is fighting Neo, the protagonist in the series, and does not understand why he cares. Like my guest today, and myself, and many of you, if not all, we care. You wouldn't be listening to this if you didn't. You get out of bed everyday because you HAVE found meaning and purpose in a godless world. You haven't let naturalism infect you with complete nihilism. Why? Well that's the question Agent Smith poses. (play clip)

 

My interview today is political in nature. You may wonder how that fits into the deconversion theme of this podcast. Well it doesn't, really. But I'm concerned about the future of this country because I know that all empires eventually fall. And they've fallen for the very reasons that are happening today. And you know, what the fuck, why not try to stop that? why not resist? and this is my small way of resisting. I'm going to play a clip from the 1970 movie, "Catch 22." The history of that phrase comes from the military. The novel looks into the experiences of airmen who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home. While most crews are rotated out after twenty-five missions, the minimum number of missions for this base is eventually raised to an unobtainable eighty missions. Compliance with this insane number invokes regulation 22 for which there is a catch: An airman would have to be crazy to fly more missions, and if he were crazy he would be unfit to fly and he get sent home. Yet, if an airman would refuse to fly more missions, this would indicate that he is sane, which would mean that he would be fit to fly the missions. Hence the name, Catch-22. In this scene, an American soldier gets into a talk with an old Italian owner of a whorehouse about the future of America. (play clip)

Here's the rub: by wanting America to be great again, we have to believe that we're superior. We know Trump believes in eugenics, which is the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Developed largely by Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, it fell into disfavor only after the perversion of its doctrines by the Nazis.But it sounds like something Agent Smith would endorse, does it not?

The catch is, wishing things were better is a trap. In some ways, those of us who are opposing Trump and this racist agenda toward "greatness," we are espousing normalness, humaness, reality. Saying yes to what is. What Casper and I talk about today is not wishing things were different, but the opposite. It's calling down those who do wish things were different. Christians wish it. Nazis wish it. Trump wishes it. Uber-wealthy one-percenters wish they had more stuff. People want to live forever. People want life with no pain. They want a skinnier waist, a sharper nose, for things out of their control to be different. Contrast that with people who want to stop unnecessary shit, like cancer, or starvation, or climate change. They've said, "yes, cancer is upon us, AND we can stop it, or die trying."

If you want to make the world a better place while embracing the realities of our complexities as a species, namely our different skin colors, our different cultures, beliefs and religions, then you are simultaneiously a yes-sayer and a world-changer. If you want to make things better by denying reality and the complexities of being human, then you're a lazy, fearful coward in the line of Agent Smith and Donald Trump.

 

Direct download: Ep_220_Casper__Cass.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:46pm CDT
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Cass Midgley interviews David Hayward. 
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.

David Hayward was baptized Anglican as a baby, came to faith in a Baptist church when he was a teenager, changed to Pentecostal in his late teens, married another Pentecostal named Lisa, was ordained Presbyterian, pastored a Vineyard church, and planted others. He has a Masters in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, as well as a Masters in Religious Studies and Ministry from McGill University in Montreal. But in 2010 David left the professional paid clergy. He is still passionate about how people can find and follow their own spiritual path with courage and joy, as well as in how people can freely gather and form community in healthy ways. David started a blog called nakedpastor in 2006, and initiated his public analysis of religion, religious community and spirituality through his writings, art and cartoons. Thousands of people are challenged and entertained by nakedpastor every day. His art, cartoons, writings and book have found their way all around the world. David lives with his wife Lisa on the beautiful Kennebecasis River near Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. They have 3 grown children close by.

I just want to relax. on wishing anything were different. I am most healthy when I release and accept...that which I have no control over. We don't really realize how destructive expectations are, do we? Imagine someone your sideways with comes to you, humbles themselves and tries to repair the breach and because you were expecting it, the beauty and miracle of it is lost on you. It may not have measured up to your expectation and thus lost on you. The degree in which I wish things in my life, over which I have no control, were different has a direct and immediate effect on my satisfaction with my life. Release and accept. Say yes to what is. Because, unlike my Christian life, where I was compelled to carpe diem, to keep pressing in. One scripture that I memorized and quoted almost everyday in my quiet times was Philipians 3:7-13. And it demonstrates a disdain for satisfaction. Even now, that machosim, that rigor appeals to something in me, but I now consider it to be something life-draining, and that is...never let a guy relax, be content for a goddamn minute. It's saying no to what is and constantly trying to get better, be better, be more pleasing, be more spiritual, and just reciting that again sounds exhausting and reminds me of the debilitating effect that had on my fatigue and frustration. Today I want to be satisfied, I want to relax. I want to say yes to what is. To quote Nietzsche (and I'm paraphrasing), "“I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful that which is out of my control; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati--the love of fate: 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. The only thing I will say no to is looking away. I will not look away. I will not bury my head in the sand and deny that shit is happening. I will look at my life with eyes wide open. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer. It's my formula for human greatness: amor fati: that I want nothing to be different, not in the future, not in the past. Not only that I would endure what is necessary, much less to hide it from myself, such idealism is wishful thinking and a lie, in the face of reality— , but instead to love it...to embrace it as mine to learn from, within which to find truth. Amor fati: this is the very core of my being—And as to my hardships, failures and mistakes, do I not owe much more to these than I owe to my successes? To these I owe a higher kind of health, a sort of health which grows stronger under everything that does not actually kill me!—To these, I owe even my philosophy, which is great suffering is the only and ultimate emancipator of spirit, for it teaches one that living fearfully and suspiciously is constantly making mountains out of molehills. Only great suffering; that great suffering, under which we seem to be over a fire of greenwood, the suffering that takes its time—forces us philosophers to descend into our nethermost depths, and to let go of all that which we formerly staked our humanity which was a trust that everything happened for a reason, that life was good and fair. No, acknowledging that chaos runs the universe, not order; that absurdity is the norm, not meaning or purpose. Suffering. Beauty in it all. Not hating it; loving it. By saying saying yes to it. Release and accept."

In this talk with David Hayward, we discover that he and I were both muscians in the Lort's service. Writing Christian songs. Well, just to show how truly shameless I am, I'm going to play a song I wrote and recorded in 1983 as a 17 year old, and it's the opposite of the philosophy I just prescribed from Nietzsche, and directly taken from Paul. It's about never being satisfied. Contrast that with today when all I want in these last two or three decades of my life is satisfaction. Relax, release and accept.  

We taped this conversation on August 19th, 2018. 
The intro music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me"
The segue music on this episode is "If You Could Read My Mind" by Gordon Lightfoot. 
Thanks for listening, and be a yes-sayer to what is.

 

Direct download: Ep_219_David_Hayward.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:09pm CDT
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Cass Midgley interviews Tanya Harrison. Tanya is 44 years old, totally blind since birth. She explored a variety of Christian denominations for most of her life in an earnest quest to find God. Today she's convinced that God's not anywhere! And now has more time to dedicate to her passions, which include her dog, Molly, her friends, music, reading, Star Trek and psychology. She writes, "It is a wonderful feeling to have a mind I can trust, not having to feel guilty about leaning on my own understanding." As you'll hear, she is quirky and eccentric. Tanya suspects she gets that from her mother and as Tanya is shunned by her mother and her sisters, she misses her mother dearly. Her life motto is "live life to love and laugh."

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 July 29th, 2018. The intro music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me" 
The segue music on this episode is a song that Tanya chose that she says picks her up when things are getting her down, "Since I Met You" by the Avalanches

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

 

Direct download: Ep_218_Tanya_Harrison.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39pm CDT
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