Nov 18, 2017
Cass Midgley and Dr. Bob Pondillo talk with Jeff Haley and Dale McGowan, authors of "SHARING REALITY: How to Bring Secularism and Science to an Evolving Religious World."
Jeff T. Haley is a scientist, lawyer, and
inventor. He has argued before the U.S Supreme Court, and founded
and directed the nonprofit that led Washington state's successful
initiative. He is currently the founder and CEO of OraHealth, which sells his patented healthcare products through 30,000 pharmacies worldwide. Dale McGowan is the author and editor of numerous books, including Parenting Beyond Belief, In Faith and In Doubt, and Atheism for Dummies. In 2008 he was named Harvard Humanist of the Year for his work in nonreligious parent education.
Religions are a natural outgrowth of the intuitive ways of knowing that evolved with human culture. Though many people continue to find value in religious identity and community, intuitive knowledge has been eclipsed by a more effective way of knowing-the scientific way. A better way of relating religion to politics called secularism is gradually replacing theocracy. Once you understand and accept the scientific way of knowing and this preferred relationship of church and state, you become agnostic and secular-even if you continue to identify with and participate in religion.As Jeff T. Haley and Dale McGowan argue in this volume, this isn't some abstract dream-it's happening right now. Religions are in a continuous state of evolution, changing beliefs, values, and practices over time. All religions, including
Christianity and Islam, can evolve to accept the scientific way of knowing and secularism, becoming agnostic and even atheistic without losing their essential value. Haley and McGowan explain how you can help this natural process, sharing reality with your friends and family in a way that encourages religions to embrace the best of humanity'S knowledge and values.
The only reason I celebrate ANYONE'S faith is if it is "light" and "loose" and full of doubt and uncertainty and love and connectedness and empathy. And I only do that because in this chapter of human history it's the best thing I can do to further the demise of all nonsense forged out of fear, childishness, death-anxiety, and the need for extant meaning, aka religions. See, even if there is a "god" or something of the sort, no human should ever bow the knee to it, nor would a good god want that. The best practice of ethics, morals, virtue, etc. is to ignore god and attend to reality--your neighbors, problem solving, conflict resolution--all the stuff that plagues us and makes life difficult. The day that we stop looking to the heavens to fix us or to save us or to create a new place for us to exit this mess, is the day that we put on our big-person pants, roll up our sleeves, and get busy living and loving the facts, what it means to be human, and the honest resolution of real problems. All notions that take our eyes off reality and onto untruths contribute to our problems, not solve them. And for those too imprinted with religion to embrace that, consider this: after we forsake god and actually love one another and fix things, any god worth her salt will still say, "well done good and faithful servant," because if his ego is too fragile to share the "glory" then fuck him!
Now I also want to say something about pedagogy. Pedagogy simply means the function or work of a teacher. Now, nobody likes a smarty pants. But lets ask ourselves why? It could be argued that often the reason people don't like people who know something they don't and want to pass it on is insecurity or jealousy, which are not virtues I feel it must be said. On the other hand, when the student is ready the teacher arrives. Which implies that, like what Jesus said, that trying to teach someone unsolicited advice can backfire. It also has the potential of cutting into their freedom to figure it out for themselves, which knowledge that's hard earned and self-determined always has a more indelible and lasting effect on the learner. It's odd isn't it? My therapist is a wise, old sage who is extremely skilled and self-disciplined in NOT giving me the answers to my problems. Because he knows the value of me figuring it out for myself. He's told me that client after client beg him to "TELL ME WHAT TO DO!" And in his wisdom, he won't. And yet our schools are filled with teachers telling kids what they don't want to hear. What's the balance? You know the phrase, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink?" Often, we focus on the "can't make them drink" part; but think about the first part: we CAN lead people to water and sometimes we should. It goes back to what Jesus said, doesn't it? We should assess the person we're engaged with whether they seem to be a candidate for the truth we could endow in that moment. Otherwise, we're being presumptuous, are we not? For those of us who love to set people free with truth, for those of us whose lives have benefitted SO greatly from truths we've discovered and we want to do is share this or that truth with them, for those of us who see our loved ones sabotaging their own lives by believing lies, we owe to ourselves and everyone in our lives to exercise some age-old wisdom and self-control and truly discern the moment whether it's pregnant with pedagogical possibility, or that person will only resent the impartation and experience it as condescending. It will be lost on them and it will backfire. Often they will double down on their self-deception just to spite you.
Similarly, our guests today, Jeff and Dale have taken a similar high road when it comes to the religious hegemonic stronghold Christianity has over America. Instead of the firebrand atheism, which has its place, they've chosen to play nice with their fellow Americans who identify as Christian. They, like the mission of the podcast, seek to oil the wheels of the natural evolution of religious culture and slow, gentle deconstruction that truth will inevitably have on untruths.
We taped this conversation on October 21st, 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. Also, you can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge one dollar per episode or more 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.
"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 on this episode is recorded by Sam Maher on a handpan in the NY City subway.
Thanks for listening and be a yes-sayer to what is.
If you would like to contact our guests directly, you can reach firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com