Jul 15, 2016
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.
"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.