Thom Krystofiak: Tempted to Believe

Agnosticism, Atheism, Authors, Book Review, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Naturalism, Philosophy, skepticism, Spirituality
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Stay skeptical? This week’s guest is Thom Krystofiak, the author of Tempted to Believe: The Seductive Power of Claims About “The Truth.”

Thom grew up Catholic but as an adult began practicing Transcendental Meditation. He followed gurus and groups for decades but was never quite convinced of the more spectacular claims of TM. 

Thom shares about his experiences in the TM movement and what pushed him out. He also discusses important questions people, regardless of their belief or skepticism, could ask themselves: What do I mean by truth? How do I find the truth? And how much does truth really matter? 

Quotes

I am, by nature, a skeptical man. My skepticism shows no signs of
mellowing, but grows sharper and deeper with time. And yet I have spent my life surrounded by believers.

[Is it] better to be fooled many times than to be a skeptical man[?]

Am I missing something?

“Why is that I’m not susceptible to any of the beliefs the people around me hold…”

“[Flying] wasn’t happening yet for us as individuals, but maybe if we put three thousand people together in one place…maybe that’ll be something!” 

“…the rise of fake news and alternative facts and the more bizarre conspiracy theories…all of these things are based on beliefs and they’re based on beliefs that do not have evidence…’”

“Some of our greatest societal challenges…resonate with these same principles: How much does the truth matter, what do you mean by the truth and how do you find the truth?”

“It’s not just a matter of, ‘Do you accept evidence at all as a valid way of finding out what’s true?’…it becomes a much more difficult task of sifting through competing versions of evidence.”

“Some people have given—either themselves or others—the license to make things up…”

Links

Thom’s personal site
https://krystofiak.com/

#AmazonPaidLinks

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
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Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Marla Taviano: Unbelieve

Authors, Autonomy, Book Review, Deconstruction, ExVangelical, Podcast, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Marla Taviano, author of Unbelieve: Poems on the Journey to Becoming a Heretic. Marla grew up in Middle America and moved across the globe and back, searching for God’s will for her life.

She grew up in a loving home and didn’t realize she was in a “white Christian bubble.” Her church was almost all-white, her hometown almost completely white, and then after high school, Marla attended an even smaller completely white, conservative Christian college. 

“I was all-in. [Faith] was all there was to life. That was the focus, the center. My faith was everything to me.”

Marla’s first inkling that something was missing came when she read the book, The Hole in Our Gospel. She had read the Bible many, many times over the years, and here was a new revelation—2,000+ verses about helping the poor?

four-letter words
if you’ve never lived inside / the bubble of
evangelical Christianity it / might surprise you
to find that l-o-v-e / and p-o-o-r were new
and controversial subjects for me / at age 35

From  Unbelieve: Poems on the Journey to Becoming a Heretic

Less than a decade later, while she and her family were part of a multiethnic church plant, Marla began to see more “holes” in Christianity, namely racism and white supremacy. Her eyes were slowly beginning to open.

“Once you start to uncover things, it really is a slippery slope or ‘the unraveling’…It’s all connected. You can’t stop.”

Since 2015, Marla has been back and forth to Cambodia, written a book of poetry, started an incredibly popular bookstagram, been through a painful divorce, connected tons of people to one another and is still sharing her knowledge and wisdom with her followers.

“I feel that there are so many Christians who just go along in their happy little lives and nothing really rattles them, and nothing really happens. So they’re not forced to question things or consider things…”

In her search for truth, Marla asks, “Is this loving to my neighbor?” She may not be certain what her beliefs are right now, but she does believe that love is what will change the world. 

Links

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/marlataviano/
https://www.instagram.com/whitegirllearning/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/marlataviano

Amazon Paid Links

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Patreon https://www.patreon.com/gracefulatheist
Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Book Review: Scout Mindset with Jimmy

Atheism, Book Review, Deconversion, Philosophy, Podcast, Secular Grace

Listen on Apple Podcasts

The tricky thing about motivated reasoning is that even though it’s easy to spot in other people, it doesn’t feel like motivated reasoning from the inside.

Julia Galef

My returning guest this week is Jimmy. Jimmy and I review Julia Galef’s book Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t. We explore the book from two lenses: Deconversion and Secular Grace. Jimmy brings an intense focus on humility, self-honesty and truth seeking to the conversation. The perfect complement to Julia’s book.

The best description of motivated reasoning I’ve ever seen comes from psychologist Tom Gilovich. When we want something to be true, he said, we ask ourselves, “Can I believe this?,” searching for an excuse to accept it. When we don’t want something to be true, we instead ask ourselves, “Must I believe this?,” searching for an excuse to reject it.

In contrast to directionally motivated reasoning, which evaluates ideas through the lenses of “Can I believe it?” and “Must I believe it?,” accuracy motivated reasoning evaluates ideas through the lens of “Is it true?”

Julia Galef

Links

Jimmy’s first appearance on the podcast
https://gracefulatheist.com/2020/09/20/jimmy-deconversion-anonymous/

Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t
https://amzn.to/3nFCKd9

Why Buddhism is True
https://amzn.to/3nGnXyM

Humanist Ten Commitments
https://americanhumanistcenterforeducation.org/ten-commitments

Daryl Davis, who attends KKK rallies and has helped many leave:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daryl_Davis

Books mentioned in the podcast

Interact

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Patreon https://www.patreon.com/gracefulatheist
Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Geoffrey Wallis: A Voice From Inside

Adverse Religious Experiences, Authors, Book Review, Captive Organization, Deconstruction, Deconversion, High Demand Religious Group, Jehovah's Witnesses, Podcast, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma, The Bubble
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My guest this week is Geoffrey Wallis, author of A Voice From Inside: Notes on Religious Trauma in a Captive Organization. Geoffrey is Physically In but Mentally Out (PIMO) of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. After recognizing the religious trauma and the cognitive dissonance he was experiencing he found help through therapy. He remains within the Watchtower organization because it is a “captive organization” which enforces shunning by family members and friends.

Geoffrey’s book, A Voice From Inside: Notes on Religious Trauma in a Captive Organization, is an evenhanded look at life inside a High Demand Religious Group. Geoffrey shows Secular Grace in his documenting his personal experience. It is incredibly well written and interesting to read.

Links

A Voice From Inside: Notes on Religious Trauma in a Captive Organization
https://amzn.to/3BRvmjv

Website
https://www.wallisbooks.com/

I Got Out
http://www.igotout.org/

Interact

Nominate and Vote for the Graceful Atheist Podcast on the Podcast Awards
https://www.podcastawards.com/app/nominations

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Patreon https://www.patreon.com/gracefulatheist
Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Alice Greczyn: Wayward – Spiritual Warfare & Sexual Purity

Adverse Religious Experiences, Authors, Bloggers, Book Review, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Humanism, Podcast, Purity Culture, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My returning guest this week is Alice Greczyn. Alice has written a new memoir called Wayward: Spiritual Warfare & Sexual Purity. In it, Alice tells the harrowing story of growing up in an Evangelical family that attempted to live by faith. They moved from place to place believing the “Lord would provide.” Alice describes it as being “homeless.”

Alice came of age under the oppressive sexual and purity mores of the “Kiss Dating Goodbye” era. She tells the story of being shamed while on a YWAM mission trip to India for being “flirty.”

And that’s I think the greatest mind f*** of Christianity as a whole: these awful feelings are called love. They’re done in the name of love. My wires of love and shame and fear and guilt and self hatred were so crossed and it took me years to even see that wiring.

As an adult in her 20s, in a desperate but final act of faith, Alice tests God. God fails. And Alice begins the difficult process of letting go of faith. This is a dark time of panic attacks, depression and self-harm.

When we’re told God is love, and love feels like this horrible, self-hating guilt complex, what is love, how can we recognize good love?

With the help of secular therapy and the discovery of the term, Religious Trauma Syndrome, Alice began her recovery process. She studied the science of faith, neurotheology, and began to understand herself and those around her who still believed. In this new freedom, she rebuilt her life reclaiming her autonomy and discovering what real love feels like.

And again it [understanding neurotheology] alleviated the pressure. God wasn’t ignoring me. There was nothing wrong with me. I wasn’t broken. I wasn’t this chronic sinner who was just born defective and unable to feel the love of God because I didn’t have enough faith. It’s simply to be a matter of science and that’s how most things are to me.

On top of being an author, Alice is an advocate for those questioning their faith. Her organization, Dare to Doubt, is a resource for those who are no longer satisfied with their faith tradition’s explanations and demands.

Yet this demographic [millennial “Nones”] is also resilient. We are as brave as the martyrs we were raised to be. We are battling the spiritual war we were trained to fight. We’re just not on the side of religion, and believe us—no one is more surprised by this than ourselves. We are condemned, prayed for, and loathed as much as we are feared. But persecution was once our fuel. Our skin is thick with the courage to fight for truth as we see it, and where we once saw through dogma-colored glasses, we now see through the lenses of relativity, reason, and the validity of our own experiences. It is easy to dismiss us as bitter. It is understandable to write off our deconversions as desperate attempts at individuation and rebellion. It is compassionate to ask us why we left, instead of praying for us to rejoin.

From Wayward

Links

Wayward: Spiritual Warfare & Sexual Purity

Limited supply of signed copies
https://www.alicegreczyn.com/wayward-limited-signed-copy

Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1632993546/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1632993546&linkCode=as2&tag=gracefula-20&linkId=cce5b264f1fe651344a691f03654a7f5

Twitter
https://twitter.com/alicefood
https://twitter.com/daretodoubt

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/alicegreczyn/
https://www.instagram.com/daretodoubt/

Dare To Doubt
https://www.daretodoubt.org/

Interact

Alice’s first appearance on the Graceful Atheist Podcast
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/alice-greczyn-dare-to-doubt/

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Send in a voice message

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Support the podcast
Patreon https://www.patreon.com/gracefulatheist
Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Barrett Evans: The Contemplative Skeptic

Atheism, Authors, Book Review, Critique of Apologetics, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Humanism, Naturalism, Philosophy, Podcast, Secular Grace, Spirituality
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

It is proper to doubt.

My guest this week is Barrett Evans, author of The Contemplative Skeptic. Barrett wrote the book for those who are skeptical but drawn to spirituality.  A former evangelical seminarian and ex-Roman Catholic, Barrett is an agnostic who has retained a fascination with contemplative spirituality.  Building on what he learned in his divinity, counseling, and historical studies, he draws on hundreds of religious and secular sources in an effort to combine honest doubt with the best of contemplative experience.

Perhaps ironically, dogmatic religions claims now seem to me to critically undercut two of the most valuable spiritual ideals for fallible people – humility in the face of complexity and honesty in the light of human limitations.

We discuss how honesty and humility lead to doubt. Barrett’s look at comparative religion reveals the reasons for doubt and the wisdom of a contemplative life. We ask what does it mean to be “spiritual.”

And as history of religions and other psychological phenomenon show, delusions can be passed from one person to another with some rapidity, especially if they are in close relationships and it is a time of stress or excitement.

The tremendous range of religious diversity is one of the greatest reasons for skepticism towards any particular religious belief.

Links

Barrett’s website
https://www.americannone.com/

Honest Doubt
https://www.americannone.com/post/doubt-and-the-good-life

Twitter
https://twitter.com/ContemplativeS4

Books

Interact

Secular Humanist Graces
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/secular-grace/

Steps to deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Critique of Apologetics
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/critique-of-apologetics/

Send in a voice message

Support the podcast
Patreon https://www.patreon.com/gracefulatheist
Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Dr. Anthony Pinn: Humanism and Race

Atheism, Authors, Book Review, Communities of Unbelief, Deconversion, Humanism, Podcast, Race, Secular Community, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest this week is Dr. Anthony Pinn. Dr. Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities, the Professor of Religious Studies. the Founding Director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning Rice University, and the Director of Research of the Institute for Humanist Studies. Dr. Pinn has written a number of books on the intersection of humanism and race. In this episode, we discuss his book, When Colorblindness Isn’t the Answer.

We spend so much of our time making fun of and belittling theists.
That’s not very productive.
You don’t transform the world that way.

I learned quite a lot from Dr. Pinn. Both about humanism and the experience of black humanists. Ultimately I was challenged to change my behavior, to “do my homework,” and to understand that it will take dismantling of white supremacy in humanist communities in order to gain the great benefits that diversity brings.

This sort of fundamental change this movement towards diversity and equity means giving up comfort.
You cannot request comfort and say you are interested in change.

Throughout his book(s) and in the interview Dr. Pinn calls on our humanist values to be less ignorant, to include black and other historically disparaged voices, and to develop our own vocabulary and ways of experiencing awe without calling on theistic traditions. “We can do better.”

[Our] goal should not be removing religion …
Religion is really simply a way of naming our effort to come to grips with who what when and why we are …
But it seems to me, the larger more compelling goal is decreasing the harm that we do in the world.

Links

Website
https://www.anthonypinn.com/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/anthony_pinn

Books
https://www.anthonypinn.com/books

Interact

Critique of Apologetics
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/critique-of-apologetics/

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/deconversion/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/secular-grace/

Send in a voice message

Support the podcast
Patreon https://www.patreon.com/gracefulatheist
Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Jessica Hagy: The Humanist Devotional

Atheism, Authors, Bloggers, Book Review, Humanism, Philosophy, Podcast, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest this week is Jessica Hagy. Jessica is the artistic and comedic genius behind the blog, Indexed. She has recently written a book titled, The Humanist Devotional. Jessica is an artist, an author, a comedian, a marketing and social media guru.

Get as humble as you can.

Jessica grew up secular and calls herself a humanist. It is not that she rejected the bible, but rather that there was so much more for her to learn. In the episode she uses the analogy of a library card as granting access to the world’s knowledge. Access that she took advantage of.

Small talk can get big fast.

We walk through her 10 steps on how to be an interesting person and re-imagine them as how to find meaning and purpose as a humanist.

Do something!

Links

Blog
https://thisisindexed.com/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/jessicahagy

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/jessica_hagy/

 10 Steps on how to be interesting
https://inkandescentwomen.com/the-women/author-jessica-hagy/

Books

Interact

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/secular-grace/

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Why I am a humanist
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/why-i-am-a-humanist/

Send in a voice message

Support the podcast
Patreon https://www.patreon.com/gracefulatheist
Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Sasha Sagan: For Small Creatures Such As We

Authors, Book Review, Humanism, Naturalism, Podcast, Religious but not Spiritual, Secular Grace, Spirituality
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest this week is Sasha Sagan. Sasha has written a beautiful book called For Small Creatures Such As We: Rituals For Finding Meaning In Our Unlikely World. The book title comes from a quote in the book Contact:

For small creatures such as we,
the vastness is bearable only through love.

Ann Druyan and Carl Sagan from Contact

Sasha and the book she has written embodies Secular Grace and carries on the graceful life philosophies of her parents. Sasha has a galaxy spanning perspective on life that only the child of physicist can have. Sasha has an infectious joy about life. Listening to her or reading her work it is hard not to share in this joy.

In her book, Sasha argues that we as human beings need ritual in our lives to mark the passage of time, to celebrate the momentous moments in our lives and to mourn the loss of loved ones.

[Ritual] is really important to us.
Sometimes, when people are not religious or were religious,
there’s an urge to throw the baby [ritual] out with the bath water.
We still need these [rituals] even if we do them in a secular way.

We discuss secular grief in the face of the loss of her father, Carl Sagan, when she was 14 years old. Sasha shares the wise parting words he had for her and the ongoing impact he has had on her and the world.

Seeing life itself as worthy of celebration, For Small Creatures Such as We is part memoir, part guidebook, and part social history, a luminous exploration of all Earth’s marvels that require no faith in order to be believed.

From sashasagan.com

Links

Website
https://www.sashasagan.com/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/SashaSagan

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/sashasagan/

Interact

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/secular-grace/

Send in a voice message

Support the podcast
Patreon https://www.patreon.com/gracefulatheist
Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Jennifer Michael Hecht: Doubt A History

Atheism, Authors, Book Review, Deconversion, Humanism, Naturalism, Philosophy, Podcast, Secular Grace
Jennifer Michael Hecht: Doubt A History
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest today is Jennifer Michael Hecht. Jennifer is a poet, an author, an award winning academic and an intellectual historian. She has written numerous books from a secular perspective. I asked Jennifer to come on the show to discuss her book Doubt: A History and its profound effect on me post-deconversion. She is one of my intellectual heroes.

It is hard to express how much this book has influenced other secular writers and thinkers. This book has strongly influenced my other two favorite books Greg Epstein’s Good Without God and Katherine Ozment’s Grace Without God. Both of which quote Doubt throughout.

Jennifer proved to be as profound a thinker as her reputation makes her out to be. It was my privilege to attempt to keep up with her in this interview.

I am indebted to Jennifer for coining the term “graceful life philosophy.” My concept of Secular Grace is an attempt to live a graceful life philosophy.

Great believers and great doubters seem like opposites, but they are more similar to each other than to the mass of relatively disinterested or acquiescent men and women. This is because they are both awake to the fact that we live between two divergent realities: On one side, there is a world in our heads— and in our lives, so long as we are not contradicted by death and disaster— and that is a world of reason and plans, love, and purpose. On the other side, there is the world beyond our human life—an equally real world in which there is no sign of caring or value, planning or judgment, love, or joy. We live in a meaning-rupture because we are human and the universe is not.

Jennifer Michael Hecht

Links:

Jennifer Michael Hecht’s website:
http://www.jennifermichaelhecht.com/
http://www.jennifermichaelhecht.com/doubt

Books:

Review:

My review of Doubt: A History

Recommendation:

My story on the Deconversion Therapy Podcast
https://deconversiontherapypodcast.com/2019/05/09/15-remembering-the-humor-of-rachel-held-evans/

Attribution:

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Makaih_Beats

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/

Support the podcast
Patreon https://www.patreon.com/gracefulatheist
Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist