Four Years of the Graceful Atheist Podcast

Deconversion, Movie Review, Podcast, Secular Grace
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week we are celebrating the fourth anniversary of the Graceful Atheist Podcast!

In this episode, you’ll meet everyone who works alongside David on the podcast, the website or the online community. Joining David are Arline, Mike T, Jimmy, Colin and Daniel.

They discuss some of their favorite movies, shows and books highlighting deconversion or secular grace.  It’s a great conversation that you won’t want to miss!



  • Avengers: EndGame
  • Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Wizard of Oz 



  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • To the Forest of Firefly Lights
  • Somebody Feed Phil

Mike T

  • Vikings 
  • Yesterday


  • Lars & the Real Girl
  • Kumaré
  • Pushing Daisies
  • Wolfwalkers
  • Oblivion
  • Equilibrium




“Seems like one of the things that people often fail to recognize about community is that everybody is different…dysfunctional in their own way.”


“This is just about life and learning to respect other people for who they are. We don’t have to stick to these traditions that we’ve been told about all our lives.”

Mike T

“Sci-fi is never about the future; it’s about right now.”


“Love does involve pain. Love is difficult. Relationships are hard, and yet they are still worth it, even if you know it’s going to end.”


“…you actually can’t have something forever, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful or any less meaningful or any less special.”


“Because life in general—or love—is finite and has an ending, it makes it so much the sweeter while we have it.”


“You’re doing a lot of it…There is a credit and a pride that you deserve to feel…”


“Seeing the kids in Harbor Me, and the way they come around one another, it’s incredibly moving and wonderful…things I didn’t have.”


“The questions I ask – she doesn’t, the things I wonder about – she won’t.”

Jack Harper in Oblivion


Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!


Secular Grace

Support the podcast

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast


“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats


NOTE: This transcript is AI produced ( and likely has many mistakes. It is provided as rough guide to the audio conversation.

David Ames  0:11  
This is the graceful atheist podcast. A part of the Atheist United studios podcast. Welcome, welcome. Welcome to the graceful atheist podcast. My name is David and I am trying to be the graceful atheist. I want to thank my latest reviewers on the Apple podcast store thank you to EC free and mm oh five. Appreciate you reviewing the podcast you too can rate and review the podcast on the Apple podcast store. You can rate the podcast on Spotify, and subscribe to the podcast wherever you are listening. If you are in the middle of questioning, doubting, deconstructing, or even deconversion you don't have to do that alone. Join us in our private Facebook group deconversion anonymous, you can find us at Special thanks to Mike T for editing today's show. On today's show. Today we are celebrating the four year anniversary of the podcast officially March 14 2019 We started the podcast. And every year I like to do a bit of a state of the podcast address. Every year we try to innovate in one way or another this year. We began by joining the atheist United studios Podcast Network, which has given us really good exposure outside of say my social media reach. We have continued to do the deconversion anonymous Facebook group, which Arline is the community manager of Arline continues to do Tuesday evening Hangouts that review the previous week's episode, and that is thriving and doing really well. As of this morning, there are about 722 members in the deconversion anonymous Facebook group, which is amazing. We only started that about a year and a half ago. And it's been incredible to watch as people join and participate. We've started to do more social media outreach. Thank you to Ray for creating all the beautiful memes that are quotes from the guests that you see on both Facebook and Instagram. We're hoping to expand to tic toc at some point. All of these things help the podcast grow and reach a broader audience. In about a week and a half, we're going to cross the 250,000 Download barrier. As I've said before, downloads are not a particularly good metric, but it's one that is at least consistent. And we have definitely been growing. And we have a consistent audience somewhere in the range of 1500 to 2000 people every week. This year, we also started out Patreon. Because of joining the atheist United studios podcast network we have ads for people who want an ad free experience they can become a patron at any level. But I want to thank all those people who have jumped in immediately. I want to thank Joseph John Ruby Sharon Joel, Lars Raymond, Rob, Peter Tracy, Jimmy, Jason, and Nathan. Thank you all for being patrons. It makes a huge difference. With that Patreon money this year, we have started to do transcripts. Now the show notes have a full transcript that is AI generated. And we hope to continue innovating in one way or another if you have any interest in participating in the podcast, whether that is the community, the podcast itself, social media, everything from web design, to graphic artwork, to audio work, anything that you are interested in doing. We would love to have you be a part of this community and participate. Reach out to me at graceful My guests today are the people who have participated throughout the years who have been my support who have made the podcast possible are Leanne who is our community manager or copy editor, co host and Outreach Coordinator, Mike T who does the editing again, something that I just would not have the time to do in both cases. Jimmy and Colin have been people I've been able to talk through ideas and what's working and what's not working and really help on the mental health support side of things. And Daniel is a new friend who brings the social sciences and psychology background and some actual hard science to the table. And we've been able to talk through several things look forward to having a future conversation with Daniel to share with you as well. Today we are talking about our favorite movies, books, YouTube podcasts, what have you anything that inspires us? That has to do with either The topic of deconversion or secular grace. Now, of course, most of these things are overtly about these things, but under the hood, they very much are. And you're about to find that out. One word of warning, spoiler alert, we spoil a number of movies, books, stories. Each of us takes a moment as we introduce the new topic. If you are interested in going and seeing that or reading that, then you need to stop there because it will be spoiled. In the show notes, there's a list of everything that we're going to talk about, you might want to go take a look at the show notes first, before listening to the episode. Otherwise, celebrate with us for years of the podcast. Thank you, the audience so much for being with us. Here our lien Mike, Jimmy, Colin and Daniel.

I have with me the brain trust of the graceful atheists podcasts are lean, Jimmy, Mike T. Daniel and Colin are with me. We are celebrating the four year anniversary of the podcast. It started in 2019 in March, and we're here to celebrate and ostensibly, we will be talking about our favorite movies, television programs, podcasts, YouTube's videos that have inspired us. For in the topic of secular grace, or deconversion. I want to start with just a quick hello from everyone. And I'm gonna start with our lead.

Arline  6:33  
Hi, I am Arline, I am the community manager for the Facebook group. And I get to work with David and all these wonderful people. And yeah, if you're interested in being in the Facebook group, please DM me, all my information will be in the show notes.

David Ames  6:50  
And co host and interviewer and guests liaison and blog, copyright editor, all the things Arline does all the things. And I'll go with Colin next.

Colin  7:05  
Yes, my name is Colin, I was on the podcast a couple of years ago, thanks to Jimmy connected me to David was an incredible experience to get to share my my story since I porn a lot of people in my life who asked me about it. And so was honored to share and to stay involved and to listen to other people's stories. And something I talk to David a lot about is movies and how they are these parallels and ways of getting at our experience. So I'm, I'm I'm quite excited to be here today and honored to be part of the anniversary.

David Ames  7:43  
Thank you. Yeah, and Colin is a master storyteller. So that is a lot of a lot of what he made that

Colin  7:49  
I made that title up of

David Ames  7:54  
let's go with Mike T.

Mike T  7:57  
Hello, everyone. So I am Mike T. or Mike can I'm always behind the scenes editing all the episodes and I get to hear I guess firsthand. Everybody's story. And it's it's kind of a privilege to really dig into these stories and, and just be able to, and just enjoy what people have been through. And Dan, I just I enjoy myself. So that's what I do.

David Ames  8:29  
Yeah, and then obviously the podcast would not happen with without my tea. There's just no way the amount of time that you spend an hour in the editing booth, so to speak. Very, incredibly valuable to the podcast. Thank you. Let's go with Daniel.

Daniel  8:46  
Hi, everybody. My name is Daniel. I was on the podcast, just this past year in the episode entitled The Office of the skeptic found the podcast last year, I think I think the exact Google search I did was humanist podcasts that aren't angry.

David Ames  9:06  
Found this one, which is the sweet spot.

Daniel  9:09  
This has got to thread that thread that needle and yeah spent, I don't know, almost about 10 years deconstructing. And then deconversion the beginning of the pandemic, officially, I guess acknowledged the inner reality that had been there for a while and this podcast was really great throughout that process of leaving the leaving the anger and the hurt behind.

David Ames  9:35  
Yes And then Daniel you like do a lot of writing and your your background is is it psychology or social science? I always get it wrong.

Daniel  9:45  
It's it's a college I have a bachelor's in social science and a master's in

David Ames  9:48  
psychology. So it's all the things there we go.

Daniel  9:52  
All of those very specific thing that's very specific. I can't help you like rewire your house. If you want to up.

David Ames  10:01  
But Daniel is the the erudite voice amongst the group, the educated ones. And last but definitely not least, Jimmy is Jimmy, just let us know who you are.

Jimmy  10:14  
Oh, yeah, Jimmy. I was on the podcast in 2020. Pretty shortly after I had left the church. So you may not have heard the episode unless you have gone back through the entire back catalogue. But that's no problem. I have started writing blog posts for the blog. And I'm mostly a lurker on the Facebook group. But yeah, glad to be here.

David Ames  10:43  
Yeah. And Jimmy has been kind of a sounding board for me, along with Colin as well over really a couple of years now. So a lot of me working through some of the things that we do on the podcast are we have been helped along because of Jimmy and Colin. And now Jimmy is writing blog posts, and has comes a lot from the perspective of the stoics. So again, very deep reader, I think, Jimmy YOU ARE and you're bringing a lot of, of philosophy to those those blog posts. Alright, guys, so yeah, we made it through the introductions. So what we want to talk about today are media of any kind, but specifically movies and television programs that have some element of the deconversion or secular grace that have inspired us. And we're going to do what I call a snake draft. So we're gonna go through the list, we're gonna go through the same list we just did. And I'll be last and then we will reverse that order if we still have time, and we'll keep going for as much time as we have. So we're going to lead off with Arline.

Arline  12:00  
Oh, all right. Okay. So when you told me about this idea for talking about movies, I was like, that's awesome. This will be so fun. I love all these guys. I don't watch a lot of movies. Oh, God, no idea what I'm doing. But I was able to come up my favorite that I think, movie wise. That is secular grace, not deconversion. But secular grace is possibly a lot of superhero movies, but in game. Now, I'm going to assume people have already seen it if they haven't.

David Ames  12:35  
I'm gonna, at the beginning of the show, like intro I'm gonna say spoiler alert for everything that we mentioned. Because for sure, I'm gonna ruin some things.

Arline  12:45  
So yes, Marvel movie. I don't know if y'all just heard that my husband just like through things. I have no idea what just happened. In game, the Marvel movie, it's the the Avengers. And basically, like, half of humanity, half of the universe has been snapped away by the bad guy. And the Avengers realize, especially Tony Stark, they, they have to change this, even if it's going to change and alter their own lives. It's going to take away things from Tony Stark's lives. He's had a little girl, he's gotten married, like all these wonderful things, but they can't in good conscious conscience, not fix everything if they can figure out how to fix it. And so the whole movie is them figuring out how to fix it, and being willing to sacrifice some to the death for the universe for half of the population of the universe to be able to bring them back. And they didn't have to do that. And I was like, this is secular grace. To me this is selflessness without being like sappy because I have a hard time with sappy characters who just saying, I say too unrealistic. These are superheroes so but yeah, that was the that was the first movie that came into my mind was in game.

David Ames  14:01  
That's great. I say all the time that you know, it's unclear to me whether the, the story of of sacrificing yourself for the people that you love is but just Western prior to Christianity or, or because of Christianity. But there are a ton of movies where the the person the hero gives themselves up for the sacrifice of others. And this is just deep, especially in Western societies, deep, deep, deep in our culture, and inescapable. Like it's everywhere. And superheroes are a classic example of that. Anyone else want to respond to endgame?

Colin  14:42  
This might be a deep cut. I was gonna give snaps in this context, that's quite that's an evil. Yeah, it doesn't work.

David Ames  14:51  
That's bad taste bad. Word choice. Too soon. Daniel.

Daniel  14:59  
I think It's a great pick Arline. I've always wanted to be, you know, in the theater for a moment like Darth Vader telling Luke He was his father, you know? And because I remember my father telling me about that moment in the theater and and how people were like jumping out of their seats, like, oh my god, like everyone's having this huge reaction. So I got to go opening weekend with some friends to end game and, and they were just so many moments like, you know, Steve picking up the hammer and the the arrival their way through the portals and like all these, these things, and Tony's final snap, there were all these things that just were just like that moment that you had people like jumping up in their seats in the in the theater and going nuts. And I was just very, very grateful to be a part of that kind of moment. So I'm really glad that somebody brought it up.

Arline  15:53  
Yes, we, we are Marvel people. And I am a crier, when it comes to movies, like I will just weep and sob. And we, we were in the movie theater for Infinity War. And I just, I mean, I just bawled the whole time. It was just it was so sad. And then at the end, this woman just turned it turned to me and she was like, It's okay. Black Panther had one movie, if they're coming back, they're totally coming back. And I was like, Okay. And so yes. And being in there in, in game because yes, we were in the theater for opening weekend, and it was just, oh, it just gives me chills. It's such a and we've seen it multiple times. And I still cry and it's still fabulous. Oh, I just love it so much.

David Ames  16:36  
That's awesome.

Jimmy  16:41  
We're pretty bad at watching Marvel movies in my family. I think we started and game before watching whatever movie came before it. Know what order they were. I love movies. Yes, let's pick one. Pretty quickly.

Arline  16:59  
Yeah, we've been watching them since Iron Man, the first one. And it's kind of it's kind of ridiculous. Maybe?

David Ames  17:07  
Yeah, if you have Disney Plus, you've got to watch him like in chronological order.

Colin  17:12  
Exactly. Although, to be fair to Jimmy, it's sort of like recommending the wire now because it's like 100 hours of entertainment. There's that element of like, I really should but who? Yeah, and I love that idea. You just jumped in. You're like, Okay, so who is who is everyone?

Jimmy  17:31  
Almost like in the middle of a scene? Not quite. Yes. Yeah. Almost in the middle of a scene. So yeah, we got to realize that we had no clue. We did it right. Yeah, that was better.

David Ames  17:43  
All right. I'm gonna tap Colin for your first choice.

Colin  17:47  
I mean, basically the same example as Avengers, endgame. Lars and the real girl from 2007

David Ames  17:54  
are really comparable. Exactly.

Colin  17:56  
Same budget. I don't know if people know this. And I do want to echo David, I have to spoil it to talk about it. So you can like jump ahead. So if you want, but what I'll say is Ryan Gosling before he was hot, weird. Really interesting. Indie movies. I mean, I've been a fan of him way before he got jacked and did Crazy, Stupid Love. And the notebook. Lars and the real girl is a story about a man and his wife and their, the man's brother who's living in the garage who is very disturbed in some way. He's a hermit. He is. He can't make eye contact. He's he can't be touched by people. This is Lars. And he one day he buys a real doll, which is a sex doll. It's like a $2,000 anatomically correct size and weight woman and it is the I mean, everybody is just like, What? What do we say? Like he treats her like a real person. He brings her on dates. He asks his sister in law for clothes for her because she lost her luggage on the trip. I mean, it's a complete, you know, break from reality. So they take him to a psychologist who says he's working something out and he's in a very fragile place. And you need to go along with him until he reaches the end of whatever this is. And they're like, people are gonna make fun of us. And she says, yes, they are. And it's the first instance of people acting on large behalf even to their own cost and what ends up happening is first off he creates a lot of confidence by doing these by simulating life he takes her to a party he, they go on dates, they go bowling. I mean, they go bowling. I mean, it's really strange, but it's very, it's very funny in that I think it's played mostly straight, he starts making eye contact, he starts to talk to a woman at work who he has a crush on a real,

David Ames  20:23  
a real human

Colin  20:26  
capital girl, a woman. And what I would say is secular gay grace to a tee is that essentially, this whole town of people go along with him. And they take Bianca out. And Bianca is the name of the doll, she starts volunteering, and they cut her hair and they and they support him as he eventually reaches a complete tragedy of she's, she's died. And it's him emerging from this episode. And along the way, discovering that all the people in this town love him and will do whatever he needs. And I talked about chills, Arline, I get chills thinking about it. And it's, you know, there's no mention of there's a little bit of a mention of religion, but it's, it's a pretty clear example of someone in our community needs us. Yeah. And I highly even though I sort of spoil it, it's really fun. Really fun to watch. And, you know, to watch people kind of at first, especially, like, what are we do, what are we? Not, you know, and, but But playing along, and it's, it's a great one,

David Ames  21:45  
I love this movie and call it thank you for being brave enough to bring it up. It really is. You know, the premise sounds so odd and strange. And yet, you absolutely love Lars who absolutely love and you love the community by the end of the movie, and it is about the community loving someone and caring for them, where they are at. Right not asking this large character to to, you know, do you know, be normal, right? They're not asking him to do that. They're letting him go through what he's going through, and ultimately leads to healing in his life.

Colin  22:21  
Hmm. Yeah, absolutely. It's really, it's really something to watch.

Jimmy  22:26  
Seems like one of I mean, we talked about community a whole lot. And it seems like one of the things that people often fail to recognize about community is that everybody is different, you know, to sort of adapt Tolstoy everybody's dysfunctional in their own special way.

David Ames  22:47  
Yeah, just to summarize them. Yeah.

Jimmy  22:51  
Well, it's, it's the intro to anacreon. Pretty sure

Colin  22:56  
was first line.

Jimmy  22:58  
Right, exactly. But, you know, it's one of those reality checks that once you kind of come to terms with it, it's fine. It's, it's good. You accept it, you move on. You, everybody sort of starts adapting to the reality of the situation. Like, like the community adapted to to Lars, his sort of oddball situation. That's it is beautiful. Yeah. That's awesome. Sure. Yeah.

Arline  23:26  
Yeah. Haven't seen the movie already down to there. So we can see it. But I'm sure the community like he brought his own uniqueness to the community. And that added value to their lives, that they probably wouldn't have expected. Yeah, that's cool.

Colin  23:40  
He's a wonderful person. I mean, there's a really funny moment at a party, when the women have sort of sat with him. And this, would Bianca. And he's sort of whispering to her. I mean, they're clearly in love. And he, if tiempo he gets up and they go, like, I'd love to find a man like that, you know, so even though we've departed reality there's, you start to see large, good qualities. And I think it's heroic, I think it's heroic in a less flashy way. I have a friend who struggles with mental health stuff and is up and is down and we've been friends for years and I am deeply invested in the outcome of him reaching the person he wants to be and he is in me and so I'm like, that's, that's also the model. If you're not Tony Stark, you can still do heroic things.

David Ames  24:36  
Awesome. Mighty you're out man.

Mike T  24:41  
Oh, boy. So so far, I haven't seen either these movies that we talked about, but now I know I have to go back and watch him. So I think the first thing that kind of came to my mind it wasn't a movie. It was a series of hidden it was Vikings. and like it's on Netflix, you can see it all. And it's it's it's violent, but it's there's good storylines with the characters. And I guess just the overview is the main character Ragnar Lothbrok. He, he finds a way that he can travel to the east. You know, they're known for their looting and plundering, so they want to go to new lands. So he finds this, I think it's basically a way to mount the, you know, the, by the stars and everything and how to make sure they're traveling east to these new lands they hear about so they get to, you know, England area and, and they come across, I think the first place that come across is where a bunch of monks are staying. And they ended up kidnapping one of the monks. And they're Christians. So you have the Christian gods and then you have all the Norse gods, you know, Odin and everything. So that kid that just one month taking back and he ends up kind of assimilating into their community. And him and Ragnar become almost like best friends, mutual respect for each other. And it's really interesting, how they, how they interact in by the, I guess not to make a spoiler, but I guess it's hard not say stuff.

David Ames  26:35  

Mike T  26:37  
You know, it's deep into the series, they almost come to the place where, you know, we talk about these gods and things in, there's really no evidence for your gods or my gods, we're just in this thing of like, trying to survive in what's the use of all this fighting over your gods being, you know, submissive to my gods, and Nate, and they kind of take in how their people are reacting to all this. And, in course, there's lots of tragedies and things throughout the story. And eventually, Ragnar, he meets his death, and he has a son that takes over kind of where he's from, and he does terrible things, and, but it all comes back together in the end that what he learned from his dad and stuff is, is is true that, you know, this is just about life and about learning to respect other people for who they are in that we don't have to stick stick to these traditions that we've been told our whole lives. And so that's, that's kind of what came to my mind.

David Ames  27:53  
That's awesome. Yeah, yeah. I would say like, you know, having comparative religion in say, school or something like that, it would be a really, really good thing. Because once you start to see the similarities and the differences, it's harder to say, Ah, but my group has the, the absolute truth when you just start to share notes

Daniel  28:21  
I think that's a really great show, Mike. And I think the history that comes out of that whole time period with the Vikings and, and Ragnar like his, his family settled a northern part of France, which became known as Normandy later, right. And Normandy became, like, the cultural center of Europe for a time, like being very, very highbrow and fancy. And then eventually, the Norman invasion of England kind of brought all that culture to the, to the United Kingdom. And it's so interesting to think how it all came from, like, essentially one guy who was just like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna read better than we did before. I'm gonna be better at attacking people. And, and now we have, like, all the stuff that came out of normal. It's it's such a fascinating part of history.

Mike T  29:18  
It is yes, yeah.

David Ames  29:23  
All right, Daniel.

Daniel  29:26  
Well, I'm kind of surprised. Nobody said it yet. But Star Trek, the next generation, especially, but for me, has been a really big part of my life and the deconstruction deconversion is no different. Growing up, the next generation was very important to me. I had, you know, I had I had a good childhood. But there were some parts that were really, really hard and painful. One of them was, you know, I, I had ADHD and was not diagnosed and so i i struggled with a lot of the things that came from that like rejection sensitivity, dysphoria, and so on. And also that there was a time where I was bullied quite badly for many years. And I know when you say you were bullied as a kid, people think like, Okay, you got beat up on the bleachers and took your lunch money kind of thing. At its worst, I got put in the hospital with a broken arm. It was quite, quite uncomfortable. And it was always very thankful for my father who, you know, he he took it seriously. And he, you know, threatened legal action, and the school division finally took it seriously, too. It was a different time. Nobody, you know, nobody really paid that close attention. Boys will be boys kind of BS. But there was a lot of Star Trek in my life. My parents loved watching, and I loved watching it. And the incredible thing for me was that I believed the things that they told me about the world over my own experience. Oh, wow. I could have thought like, this is like the the world is awful. You know? Like, yeah, I've got a good family and all this stuff. But the world is the world is awful. Like I'm being treated badly. And I know people who internalize that. And sure, there were some some things I carried with me for a while. But when, when you had moments in the next generation, where Captain Picard says, He quotes Hamlet, and he says, what Hamlet says What irony, or I say with conviction, what a piece of work is man and how noble and reason how infinite and faculty informed moving how express an admirable and action how like an angel in apprehension, how like a God. And he says that I can see us one day becoming like this as a species. And I believe that, wow, over my own experience, set me on a on a path was one of many different things that made me want to be a people helper when I got older. And after my long deconstruction, you know, leaving ministry in 2010, and then arriving at the start of the pandemic, and realizing I don't like I'm not a, I'm not a bully. I haven't believed in God in years, like, what am I doing? And getting sent to work from home? At my, my job, I sat on my couch with my laptop. And, you know, I was mostly doing writing and editing documents and put into their PowerPoint presentations for people. And I put my television on. And what do you know, the next generation is available on Netflix in Canada, and I rewatched the entire series while I was working, because I could do that I was a script for the odd zoom call, I was essentially by myself. And I was amazed how consistently the message of secular humanism, of hope of helping people of what humanity could be was just woven throughout. And so then I started, you know, I started Deep Space Nine, again, I started Voyager again. And I, I watched through all of this stuff that was so integral to me growing up and rediscovering it, you know, at almost 40 and realizing this is containing messages that that really cast a great hope for humanity. And there's a quote from Gene Roddenberry about the first Star Trek series where he said that Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and different life forms. And I just it, it helped bring me back and I, I was, for a large part of the pandemic and my early deconversion, I was very angry, and I was very bitter. And it really sunk into my my soul. And among the many things that helped bring me out of it, like this podcast, and like my wife and her patients and love and my, my family. Star Trek was another piece of that puzzle, and I'm very thankful for it.

David Ames  34:09  
That's so awesome. Oh, wow. Yeah.

Jimmy  34:13  
Yeah, I've been thinking a lot about optimism lately. And how someone said that being a pessimist is like smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. It'll take 10 years off your life. And you look at you look at the world around you. And if you pay too much attention to the way it's presented to us, then you end up in the plane alanda pessimism. So optimistic sci fi is, is definitely special giving a sort of a vision, you know, casting a vision for for this is what we could be. And this is what we are at our best. Because sci fi is never about the future. It's about right now. typically great Daniel. Yeah,

David Ames  35:05  
even the framing Daniel of the quotes, the difference between the irony and, and sincerity, we're Gen X. And you know, we've taken, you know, irony to the to the next level and then the generations following us have just exploded that so that it's almost uncool to be sincere and Star Trek is just heartbreaking lessons here. And I love that. First of all I you know, kind of my early 20s was next generation and it was huge for me. And I realized now how much of my humanism is informed by my the next generation actually. And then just last thing is a plug. I'm right now working out to discuss with the podcast hosts of humanist trek, Sara Ray and Ella alley, let me get her name right. Allie Ashmead are the hosts and they are going through the right now through the original series and pulling out all the humanism that Gene Roddenberry had within it. And we're really looking forward to that conversation with them. So

Arline  36:14  
who that'll be a lot of fun. I grew up on T and D. And then I grew up on the movies because my mom grew up on the original series and she would do like trick dramas with her grandma like they would watch all night long. And so I grew up on tng in the movies. And I think it was Lars that's in the group not Lars on the movie, an emerging group. One day mentioned how his humanism his worldview had been very much influenced by next generation. And I was like, I haven't thought about it. So Daniel, this makes me want to go back. And yeah, watch, because I haven't seen these movies or the shows and movies since I was. Well, when we first got married, we went back through next generation and watch them, but since I've D converted, I haven't even gone back and watched any of them. So this makes me want to do it. Yeah.

David Ames  37:06  
Me too. One last bit of irony is that I was watching tng while going to Bible college. Yeah, well, but yeah, but also like, you know, my whole thing was about grace and, and that, you know that the Christians around me didn't get it. Anyway, we'll drop that. Jimmy, you are up, sir.

Jimmy  37:30  
So speaking of sci fi, optimistic sci fi. Arrival is one of my favorite movies. Yes, it's it's based on a short story called The story of your life. And the short story is very different in style. It's sort of a very short story, a short story, if that makes any sense. But the movie, it there's a lot of themes that really stand out to me for the movie, but one of them is that of acceptance. And, of course, obligatory spoiler, spoiler alert, the linchpin of the movie is that she can see past present and future because she's learning this special alien language. I'm going to pull out a couple of quotes. If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things, if you are omniscient about your life, or then and then that's sort of near the middle of the movie. And then at the end, despite knowing the journey and where it leads, I embrace it, and I welcome every moment of it. And if you've watched the movie, you know that there's some hard stuff that's going on, it's, you know, second watching, it's pretty clear what's being foreshadowed. It's pretty muddy the first time through, I think, intentionally. But, you know, whether we like it or not the life we have is the life we have. It's the one that we are currently living. And the you know, acceptance is such a major part of living at well. I'm kind of obsessed with not dwelling on the past. And this is it's just such a powerful like, you know, regret I find problematic. Guilt I find problematic. Number all these dynamics to sort of have us looking back at the past and beating ourselves, our present selves up about it. I almost hate it. I'm not willing to dismiss all of it. I'm not willing to throw it all away, but but I just keep finding reasons to try to avoid regret altogether. Just, you know, just let it go and look forward. And on a related note, Alan Watts did a he had a little spiel, you know, you hear recordings of Alan Watts every solid Unlike in video games and stuff, it's the weirdest thing. He's really recordable, I guess. But he he asked us to imagine dreaming a dream where we could live a 75 year life over and over again. And the first time through, you're like, it's the perfect life totally comfortable. You love it. It's just total, all pleasure, no pain. And then at the end, you're like, oh, let's change things up. Let's do it again. This time, we'll throw a little uncertainty in there just to make things interesting. And then you sort of iterate on that over and over again, and eventually you land on your life right now. Which I thought was a pretty powerful framing of just how uncertain life can be and just how rough it can be and how it's the life we have it can be if that makes any sense. So yeah, arrival wonderful movie, and now completely spoiled.

David Ames  40:56  
I'm gonna spoil it further that was on my list. The one of the main ideas, you've just, you've just suggested is would you live the life knowing ahead of time, and one of the main storylines is a very rough relationship with the main character and her daughter. It's very difficult. And, and then ultimately tragic. The daughter dies at the age of 25. And so she is still making the choices that lead to that her daughter existing and, and loving her and experiencing all of that pain and tragedy. And I just think that's just utterly beautiful that that you know that the humanism there of you know, love does involve pain, love is difficult. Relationships are hard. And yet they are still worth it. Even if you know it's going to end even if you know, tragedy is looming. It's still worth it. And I think that's just a beautiful part of that that story.

Arline  41:59  
Yeah, yeah.

Jimmy  42:01  
That's one of the rare movies that I could watch. I don't know. Twice a year. Yeah. Very, very, very few movies like that. That even watched twice at all.

Colin  42:14  
Not spoiled Jimmy. Everyone should watch it. Yeah. Incredibly constructed and filmed. And yeah, the vote the language, the way they represent the language is yeah, it's, it's wonderful.

Jimmy  42:29  
And I'm partial to linguistics myself to begin with. So the whole idea of Zeno, linguistics is different topic.

David Ames  42:40  
And I'll say a plug for Ted Chang short story is amazing. And the book, stories plural of your life is an anthology of his short stories. It's just absolutely amazing. I talk I've actually got a blog post about one called Hell is the absence of God, very relevant, really, very, very relevant. So

Jimmy  42:59  
yeah. And his second volume, exhalation stories is also he deals a lot with religious themes, spiritual themes, to being being two different sets of themes. Very, definitely worth reading.

David Ames  43:14  
Fantastic. I'm going to reorder mine because everyone did secular grace. So I've got I've got a deconversion one to talk about next round. But the one I want to talk about is somebody related to and I was actually going to almost pair them with the rival so this was perfect. Jimmy, thank you for planning it this way. Is Interstellar. Interstellar is a Christopher Nolan movie who I'm just like, he's like crack cocaine. For me. I also love Tennant and inception and basically everything he's ever done, but the premise of Interstellar is the relativity and the way that time works. And so, the the main character of the father is an astronaut, he goes out into deep space towards a black hole. Time and relativity, time and relativity take place and so his daughter is aging back at home. But the the heart of the story is that he is like almost communicating with her throughout this and they keep touching base over time. And I the the analogy that I love in this is that that love is fifth dimensional, right? Ultimately he gets to directly communicate with her in real time. And again, spoilers. And then at the very end of the film, he meets her in her old age, he is still young, and he meets her in her old age and it's just this incredibly touching and loving moments. But for me the analogy of love as fifth dimensional also springs to mind why religious thoughts? takes place right? Like If I kept I repeat to myself all the time, love is fifth dimensional. And it has this deep and profound meaning for me. But of course, I don't mean it literally. And I can see how easy it would be for. If I were passing that in for that, that story along with someone else to begin to take it literally, you know, like, let's say three generations later to begin to take that literally. So you can see that impulse to do that. And yet, I still think that this is an amazing analogy and that, and that love transcends space and time, metaphorically, and connects us as human beings.

Jimmy  45:38  
The love of your past parents to your past self has meaningful impact in the future and being able to rely on just just just a specific example. Being able to rely on the love of someone else. Moving into the future. Yeah, I like it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Colin  45:56  
And that theme to that theme, that musical score, right. That was in the airport in Charlotte. Last week. And somebody the piano player was playing it.

David Ames  46:11  
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Jimmy  46:15  
So my, my son and I were watching the the movie on our previous TV, which was a hand me down of a hand me down or something like that. And all Christopher Nolan movies just basically start clipping on the speakers. So it was very hard to hear. Yeah. But anyway, we were watching this movie. And it's the scene where he's leaving his family, which is as a father of daughters is pretty rough on me. And so I was sitting there watching this, then my, my wife and two daughters come back in the room, or they come back from some event or something. And my daughter sits down next to us and starts watching with us. And then she left and said, I hate this movie.

David Ames  47:06  
Yeah. All right. So we're doing a snake draft. So it's back to Jimmy. So your number two choice.

Jimmy  47:13  
Alright, so authenticity. My movie for authenticity is Mrs. Harris goes to Paris. Which was a surprising, you know, it's, I tend to go very Wait, I weighed Rotten Tomatoes fairly heavily in my day, you know, whether I decide to watch a movie or not. And it was pretty high. And sometimes that just means it is what it is and doesn't pretend to be anything but more. And sometimes it means this is an AMAZING film. Well, this this was a good story. It was just a really good story. And it's hilarious because she's an English woman. She goes to France and she meets some people who are heavily into existentialist philosophy, like, just rattling off to each other all this these technical terms and stuff. And it occurred to me while watching this, she is like the ultimate existentialist when Mrs. Harris, she is a widow. She is middle aged, she's working class. She decides one day she's going to buy ay couture, handmade couture gown from whatever the the fancy brand was. doesn't stick. It was a It's a well known brand. Anyway, you've all heard of it.

David Ames  48:35  
High fashion. Yeah.

Jimmy  48:37  
So but she's just this regular lady. And she just decides she's going to save up the money to go to Paris and order this gown, which makes sense. You go to a store and you buy some stuff. Well, she arrives. Yes, Christian Dior? That's right. So she arrives in Paris and immediately she's just contact with people contact with people, all kinds of different people. She's showing kindness to everybody. She's just bringing people together, just making human connection, sort of overcoming all these boundaries. So the the people the staff at Christian do don't know what to make of her. But they're kinda like, this is kind of cool. They're, they're sort of like, we have no idea what to do with this lady, but we like it. And then she brings, you know, she brings the two existentialists together and blah, blah, blah, and, you know, whatever. Not not to spoil absolutely every detail of the movie, but it was it's hilarious because one of the dynamics of existential philosophy, existentialist philosophy is that of a facticity. So, we're born with different characteristics. You know, you're a man, you're a woman, male, female, whatever, you're white, you're black. You're An American, you're French, you're upper class, middle class, you're a nerd, you're a jock, you're whatever, all these things, and to live an authentic life is to sort of transcend, that that indeed involves transcending that and in, she just was in the process of doing that, just by living her life, she transcended the fact that she was middle class or working class by deciding to buy an upper class gown, even though she really didn't have anywhere to wear it. She transcended, like, all these different expectations of her. One major theme throughout was just her age and how you sort of become invisible when you're, the older you get. And so, but she didn't, she didn't stand for it, she, she took various actions to sort of overcome that. So I was, it was funny to me when it occurred to me, but it was also kind of delightful, just because here's this middle aged English lady. And she's like, way more actually existentialist than these. Talking about start, whatever at each other. That was pretty cool. It was a good movie.

David Ames  51:16  
I liked the message, too, of just, you know, being comfortable with yourself being comfortable with who you are, and, and not feeling out of place where maybe other people think you're out of place, like you're just comfortable with yourself, and you accept yourself and you're able to move about the world.

Jimmy  51:33  
And the point is, yeah, and I kind of went overboard on the existential side of things. But the point is that she was living an authentic life. Yeah, that's Yeah, exactly what you're saying. Yeah. Yeah.

Arline  51:44  
Yeah, I especially admire women who can do that. Because that is it does not come naturally to me. And for years being like, I grew up in a home where boys were more favored than girls, and then become a Christian. And they're like, that's true. And it's like, okay, so you just keep going and believing it. And then coming out of all that, it's like, oh, I can, you know, be my whole self. I can, my husband uses the phrase exert my presence, like, yeah, it's like, for me, it's hard to set the gym. Nobody's ever said anything unkind or been rude. But I see these women who can just go in there, and they just do it. And I'm like, I have to talk myself into it all the time to like, just exist and not be apologized all the time. So yeah, I want to see that, that that movie sounds really good.

Jimmy  52:31  
And if just to put a book plug in how to be authentic, is as a good introduction, especially to sort of feminist existentialism, because it's, it's very accessible introduction.

David Ames  52:47  
Awesome. Yes.

Arline  52:48  
my happy place.

Colin  52:51  
Well, I just want to say, Arline, thank you for sharing that. That's absolutely, that's, that's kind of the, the heroic thing I was talking about earlier. Is, is overcoming a story. And in your case, not an internal story a, a cultural programming. You know, just like, that's really, really interesting to hear. And it seems like there was progression over time. And I resonate with the mantra idea to like, I need to notice the thought and then provide a new thought that

Arline  53:29  
is really wallpaper in my mind's time and I was like, Oh, I like that. Take that. Yeah, I like it.

David Ames  53:36  
That's great. Daniel, you are up for your second choice.

Daniel  53:42  
Well, I think this one might be a little esoteric. Just because it's, it's not a it's not in Western media at all. There's a short Japanese animated film named Jota, Ruby, no, Moray II, which translates to in the forest of Firefly light. And I know one thing that was really hard for me when I was D, converting, when I was looking at what I was losing, I was losing the idea that, hey, what about the afterlife, like we all want to, you know, we all want to go on forever, I think is the kind of natural biological inclination and we, we have a survival drive. It does not like to be thwarted. I think even when I was talking through, like becoming agnostic and becoming a humanist with somebody, they said, Why don't you want to go to heaven when you die? And I was like, Well, I gotta think there is a heaven. Like, it's not like I do you want to go Disneyland someday? And I don't think I don't think it's real. And I was really distressed by it. And I think that one of the messages that we get, especially evangelical Christianity is that Your life is precious, because it's just going to go on forever and ever. And it's going to be this never ending thing. It's going to be amazing forever. You know, and, and that was a really hard thing to let go of. And early into it after I D converted, I watched this short film, which is about a girl who when she's, I think she's six years old, she goes into this, this forest and Japanese mythology, there's these spirits called yokai, that live in deep in the woods in the mountains and things like that. And they're, you know, there's sometimes tricky, there's sometimes mean, and it's sometimes pleasant, you don't really know what you're gonna get. And when she's there, she meets a young man. And the young man is a human, but he, he was abandoned there as a child and was going to die. And the yokai saved his life. But on a condition, he could grow up and grow up very, very slowly, he would live many, many lifetimes of a human being, but he would never be allowed to touch another human being if he touches them, he disappears forever. And so it's a little bit funny and sweet at the beginning, as this six year old is just like, I want to I want to play with you, I want to spend time with you. And he's like, don't touch me, like, this is the stairway kind of thing. And they slowly become friends. And she returns to the woods every summer because she's visiting the woods while she's staying with her grandparents and, and it's about her slowly growing up, and then slowly becoming closer. And as she reaches his, you know, age, and their equal age, they realize that they're falling in love. And, and he can never touch her, and she can never touch him. Because if he, if he doesn't, then he's gone forever. And it's it's about navigating this kind of really bittersweet beauty of this relationship, knowing that you actually can't have something forever. But it doesn't make it any less beautiful, or any less meaningful or any less special. And I actually am not going to, I'm not going to say the ending because I do think this is something that you all should watch, and that everybody listening to this should watch. And go into that little journey. It's it's a 42 minute film. So it's not like a big ask, that's what I'm saying. But it is a it is a theme of, you know, being authentic and being true and being loving. And understanding that something is not beautiful, because it lasts, something not precious, because it lasts, it can be beautiful and precious, just as it is. And nothing can ever take away that time that you had. And I think that watching that was in a weird way, kind of healing for me. As I realized that I didn't need to, you know, I didn't need to experience like the quote unquote loss of heaven as a as a loss anymore. Because the time that we have here that I have my children with my wife or my parents, with my friends with people like yourself, this is this is always going to have happened it's always going to have been a part of the the universe no matter how long it lasts. I think that this this story reminded me again of how of what makes us human. Humans elevate things, that's what makes us special we, we take normal things and we lift them up, we elevate things in ourselves and in the world above where they actually occur in nature. Like we look at chemical reactions in their brains, and we call it love. We look at the colors of a sunset, and we name it beauty. We look at life and decide that so wonderful. We told the story but it lasting forever and even though it won't last forever. No matter how long the universe is here. The time that we had. We had we will always have been here and that's what that movie did for me in a weird way this animated film

David Ames  59:14  
that's beautiful. And I think we're constantly fighting the you know the Christian conception that it it isn't worth it unless it's eternal. And and it actually turns out that it kind of is the opposite right like that. Because life in general or love or what have you. He is finite and has an ending. It makes it so much the sweeter while while we have it while we are here.

Daniel  59:40  
Exactly. Okay.

Colin  59:41  
Thank you if I can make a quick Oh, it's my turn. Yes. Your turn interjection to Daniel's beautiful description of that. The forest of the Fireflies. Two themes you mentioned the not being able to touch the person you love. There's a show called pushing daisies. Men have a similar dynamic. And it's so interesting and it's a really cool, totally different reasons. It's really really cool to watch these two characters in love who can never touch each other. And then there's also a movie from last year a couple years ago called wolf walkers, which is an animated movie. Yeah, that is also about she's told to never go into the forest. And when she does, she discovers the opposite, I guess into what she's been told the people who are dangerous, or the wolves, I guess, are not dangerous. So gosh, amazingly watched

Daniel  1:00:37  
wolf walkers with our kids and just like the whole family just kind of wept like it was such a beautiful family we do that did Song of the Sea and the Book of Kells I think it's an Irish studio and it's it's just fantastically beautiful films. The most unique animation style ever seen. I have yet to see Pushing Daisies but I've heard that it is another weird entry in Lee paces IMD page just he's such a diverse actor. So I've heard lots of

Colin  1:01:15  
good things. Yeah, it's it's really great canceled before it's canceled too soon. So I, I am writing down the movies that just themes you all are mentioning. And I just I just love one of my great loves in life is movie. So in an effort to stretch your knowledge or your what you are aware of, and maybe some of you've seen it. There's a documentary called Kumari from 2011. And it is a trip. A man named Vikram, who grew up in I think, New Jersey or Brooklyn or something is of Indian descent, but he's American. Goes to India and sort of observes the Swamis and the yogi's and the spiritual teeth, the gurus. And some off about it for him. He he sees hypocrisy, he sees inconsistency. And so he goes back to America, and he presents himself as a guru. And he speaks with a fake Indian accent. He's mimicking his his mom who was Indian born, and he grows his hair long and his beard, and he begins to attract followers. You have a sort of a unknown narration where he's talking about the process. And he is you know, he's wearing the orange robe, and he's got the staff. And he is saying nonsense, essentially, there's just nice things, and people are following him. And you start to watch these people evolve in really positive ways. They get more into yoga, they find levels of peace with broken relationships, a woman loses a significant amount of weight that she'd never been able to lose before. People start meditating. And throughout it, Vikram Kumar Ray is beginning to freak out, because his intentions were good. He was trying to poke fun at this idea of the guru. And these people believe him and he doesn't know how, where to go from here. Yeah. And he, I feel like it's important to share the end. But I'm suddenly debating on whether it's I feel like I've teed it up really nicely.

David Ames  1:03:44  
Yes, that's right. Yeah.

Colin  1:03:47  
So there's a scene at the end of the movie that is, I think, one of the great scenes in documentary, you know, the world documentaries, which is where he unveils himself to these people, and he does his best to soften it. But it is, it is ugly, it is a rupture for these people. And for himself. He's he's, you know, really regretted a worried about what this will do. And he says the message I want to share with you ultimately, is that the only guru you need is the one that is inside of you. And that's why I did this. And in a sense, all of the changes that you made you made you used me as a sort of a catalyst but you did it. And what's really cool is some people walk out and are there's sort of an end a title and credits where they tell you where people are. And one woman a couple have never spoken to him again. One went on to get her yoga certification. One said how can I help you in your next adventure Vikram because You're a special person, one is paying off her bills and still made it meditates every day, the woman who lost the weight has kept it off 10 of the 14 people who followed him have stayed in contact with him. And I guess agreed with the accidental premise thing, which is that you have so much power and magnificence within you, we all do. And you don't need a guru. Here's how I look at it. If there are people listening, who are still, within a specific religion, it's important, I like to try to be respectful and say you're doing a lot of it. That your your beliefs, I'm not challenging your beliefs at all. I'm just saying that there is a credit and a pride that you deserve to feel. And that is something that I learned in my journey through and then out of evangelical Christianity was I was doing so much of that the whole time, I was waking up early to read a book to edify myself, I was forgiving people, I was going deep with people I was, you know, doing all of these things, and you get to go like, that's a that's a good person. You know, a good heart. So, Kumar, Akuma are a it is, it's a trip, man. That's a great.

David Ames  1:06:34  
That sounds awesome. I've just got one comment that I want to move forward is that, you know, again, apologetics is always saying, you know, how could How could Christianity have spread so far, and like, these little examples of many religions that pop up, even in a scenario where it was, you know, under false pretenses as it were, like, just this is the human condition, we want to follow people, we want someone to say here, I have the answers. Do what I say? Like, that's so common that it you know, it's happened throughout all of history. So I just I think that that's a really interesting.

Colin  1:07:10  
And just to add to that, David, some religions have a replicable, scalable quality to them. There's a there's a way that they grow. And there are other ways of thinking that just don't have that fire. And one of those I think of as the the UU the Unite Unitarian Universalist Church, it's just not the imperative. Yeah. To grow into scale and to convert, it's it's meant to be a refuge to people who left that. Exactly. So it's just fascinating, right? Because then you have, you know, Mormonism or Christianity or something, where it's, it's, there's this imperative to go out and, and to grow it. So, yeah, it's, but yeah. Okay.

Arline  1:07:54  
So my happy place is middle grade fiction, preferably with strong female lead character, not necessarily. But so there's so many great books, middle grade fiction is, like five stars highly recommend adult children there. It's just perfect. It's not vulgar, and has all the gross things that adult stuff can have that isn't for children, and then it, but it's not, not that picture books are dumbed down, because that's not a true statement. But it's not like little kid kind of books, it middle grade fiction tackles really hard stuff. So for authenticity and secular grace, harbor me by Jacqueline Woodson. So it starts with these six kids who are thrown together in this room, where once a week, they will meet in at their school, and there are no teachers, and they just talk and they're able to have conversations that they can't talk to anybody else about. They can't necessarily talk to their family, they can't talk to friends, because people will judge them. But they're sewn together for this. I can't remember if it's an experiment or a class or how they how they did it, but they call it the art room, a room to talk. So they're in the art room, and once a week, they hang out in it at the beginning. These kids there there's one kid whose family is like his dad maybe deported soon. One kid who's dealing with like, racism at school and racism, racial profiling just in his neighborhood. There there's just so much Oh, one little girl that's right. Her father is incarcerated, she doesn't get to see him so there's just all these different kids who normally would not have hung out would not have been friends. And they build this relationship this room becomes like a harbor for them one and they they become a harbor for one another. And oh, it's one of those just it's a tear jerker. Sweet, wonderful story, but also, like I said, it just tackles really hard things that these kids are dealing with that it's fiction, but are very real experience. It says that kids are having. And, and the way they come alongside one another the relationships that are built and one of the, towards the end the the main, the main character who's telling the story, she says Back then we still all believe she's talking about when they were kids when they were young when they were kids, you know, these, they're in middle school, but when when they were young, she's back then we still all believed and happy endings. None of us knew yet how many endings and beginnings one story could have. So like these kids have gone a year together. There has been, you know, family and prison and all these these crazy things happen in I can't remember. But I know, the immigration services come at one time, I can't remember if the dad is deported or not. But like, just they didn't realize they could be for one another, like a savior, a friend of champion, all these different things that they didn't need, they didn't need grownups for and then they didn't need like supernatural help for they were able to be it for one another. And it really is. It's a very short book. It's not very long. But it's, it's incredibly it's one of the most moving middle grade fictions that I've ever read. And it's, yeah, it's a beautiful, it's a beautiful story. And thinking about like me, personally, I did not have that when I was that age, like middle school. Like, I don't know if you've guys who have kids who've watched turning red, but like in turning red. She's like, all freaking out because she turns into the red panda. And our friends are like, Oh, we love you. And they just like, run and hook her. And I just again, because I cry on movies, I just burst into tears when we watch that into like, triggered Alyssa just burst into tears. Because I was like, I did not have that people were so Daniel, you talked about being bullied. That was me. Yes. And cruel. Like kids were so cruel to me. I had horrible middle grade experience. And so just seeing the kids in harbor me and the way they come around each other, it's it's incredibly moving in just wonderful. And, um, and like, the things I didn't have, I didn't have the parents to go to because they didn't take the bullying seriously. Kids are kids, they'll do what it you know, girls or maiming girls, you know, all that stuff. But But yeah, it's it's a fantastic book for any age, and it's on audio, which anytime there's a great narrator that can just make a book even. Even better. So, yeah, it's pretty good.

David Ames  1:12:28  
Awesome. Yeah, the secular grace for kids, you know, like, the, like, school is rough, you know, like, you know, for them to experience that, you know, understand their need for community with one another, and to protect one another that that's beautiful. Okay, so we are rapidly running out of time, I have a hard stop in 20 minutes. I want to do a quick speed round. So literally one minute 60 seconds. I'm sorry, we can't do it justice. But we're going to do our last pics in in a speed round. And we're starting with Arline.

Arline  1:13:05  
Alright. The Wizard of Oz. Nice. Yes. They're literally like, let's go see some supernatural guy. He will give us all the things we need. Just kidding. This guy's a complete try. Turns out it's we've had it the whole time. And we could totally do it. And I was like, wow, this is exactly this is deconversion and secular grace. They're like we will make sure you make it to AWS whether or not you know I get a heart or whether or not I get a brain and I was like, Yes, I love it. There you go. Wizard of Oz. I love it. Fabulous. Middle grade fiction.

Daniel  1:13:38  
Completely agree or lean? That's a great pick. I I've loved the story for a long time. And I think it completely fits with the theme

David Ames  1:13:45  
I call in Europe.

Colin  1:13:47  
Okay, I'm going to do two really fast. Perfect deconversion stories Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, an equilibrium starring Christian Bale. And I will not spoil these I'll say that Oblivion is a story about the sort of post apocalypse world where Tom Cruise is told not to love what's left of the world. But he feels this connection to it. And that takes him somewhere. There's a great quote up front, where he looks at his partner and he says with questions I asked she doesn't the things I wonder about, you won't. I think that's an incredible parallel for relationships where one goes a different direction. Equilibrium really quickly, is about a also a future world where people cannot feel human emotion. They've decided that all danger war, violence comes from emotion. So they take a tablet every day that cuts off all emotion. He's like the lead enforcer of this and then he stops taking his dose. Yeah, and you watch this guy have all of these firsts that I think people who have left an orthodoxy discover listening to music, physical touch, reading literature, looking at a sunrise. And it's like he's a baby. Like he's blown away by these things. It's very moving for a movie that has a lot of gunfights in it. That really spoke to me, right? Just being allowed to expand and experience more.

David Ames  1:15:24  
Both of those are awesome. Those are fantastic. Yeah.

Jimmy  1:15:27  
The sense of what I'm sorry, the sense of wonder, maybe being allowed to delight in stuff. David, you were talking about? Yeah. Daniel, David, we're talking about how cynics cynicism is sort of a default these days. Being jaded means being realistic and seeing people delight in things is just Yeah.

Arline  1:15:48  
Or then you had something. Yeah, just wanted to say like any dystopian fiction, like is deconversion like The Truman Show, The Giver quartet. All of those are like, there's this one person who realizes

Colin  1:16:03  
the matrix Yeah.

Daniel  1:16:07  
That the matrix and equilibrium taught us that you cannot D convert without engaging in a lot of martial arts battle. That's right.

Colin  1:16:15  
And I missed that. Personally. I never got to kick down a door and

Daniel  1:16:22  
yeah, let us make up for that by just getting into fights on Facebook.

David Ames  1:16:30  
Daniel, you're up for speed round.

Daniel  1:16:33  
Speed Round. All right. I am going to start a stopwatch. This is gonna be super dorky. But I can't I can't not go there. Somebody feed Phil. It's it's a it's a travel show. It's a food show. I know calling your apps. There it is. It is a good show. My wife grabbed me and said like, we got to watch this show. And I said I don't love, love, love, love reality television. I don't love food shows because all these snooty, like, except accepting Anthony Bourdain. You know, it's always snooty, people doing snooty things I just couldn't be bothered. And this is the opposite of that. It is a it is the lead writer and the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond. So he's a comedy writer, and he loves food, he loves people. And he goes to all these places, and he meets like fascinating people. He does like food trucks in Bangkok. And he does, you know, these little stalls in, in Israel that have been there for like 1000 years. And he does all kinds of things in in cities all around the world, and just loves every person he meets completely authentically. Rosenthal is is Jewish. He's a secular Jew. And he is just here for everybody's everything. Like he's going to Buddhist temples, he's going into churches, he's going into synagogues, he's going into restaurants, most importantly. But also he goes to people's homes like he, he meets chefs at restaurants, and they invite him home for a home cooked meal. And he's just in there with their kids and their families. And just the explosion of delight that he brings with him everywhere is just the that's the kind of humanity that I want to belong to. And I see everything he does as just being this just absolutely no holds barred joy in every kind of human interaction you could possibly have. And and a lot of people love it. It's got I think six seasons now. I think Season Seven is on the way. It's it's really, really delightful. Most people who are like food critics hate the show, because they say things like he doesn't criticize anybody. Yes. Yeah. And it's amazing.

David Ames  1:18:49  
And also, the the recognition that people are people then even dramatically different cultural experiences. We're just human beings and like we connect with each other and even just laughter in the human touch is a connection with one another and that binds us together regardless of where we came from. So

Colin  1:19:11  
Daniel, I think of how, Phil when he takes a bite, he smiles with his entire body. You know, like, yeah, he's like, whoa, and what you find is these like, Thai? Grandmas are like just feeding him food. Yeah,

David Ames  1:19:30  
just so it's so fun. Yeah,

Colin  1:19:33  
he's the ultimate you know? Guest Yeah, just

Daniel  1:19:37  
don't get it so skinny. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It looks like it weighs 100 pounds soaking wet, and he's like six feet tall.

David Ames  1:19:46  
Last comment really quick, you know the importance of, you know, breaking bread with one another to use a Christian term like I think there's value in doing communal meals to with one another intentionally And that that is such a meaningful thing as well. Mike, do you have anything?

Mike T  1:20:05  
Yeah, I was thinking of something. You know, I'm a music lover. And I don't know how this ties into what we're talking about. But I thought it was a sweet movie A few years ago, a movie called yesterday. Fans. So this this guy is like a singer songwriter. He's kind of washed up, he can't really make it his songs are not very good. Some kind of event happens a blackout he has accident. He wakes up in the and there's no existence of the Beatles at all. Nobody knows them they slightly they've never existed, but he's a big fan. So he knows all their songs and stuff. He starts playing yesterday to his friends and they're just mesmerized by it. You know the words and the poetry and he's like, You got to know the song you know, and for he answered, he realizes it. Nobody knows about the Beatles. So he starts playing their songs board. And it's like, almost overnight, he becomes a the world's biggest music sensation, you know, playing Beatles stuff. And that's awesome. Anyway, kind of towards the end. I think there's a few people that that know about it, though. It's not just him. So they realized that the Beatles, you know who the Beatles were at one time. And anyway, they he, he's feeling awful about it. And they just tell him well, you know what, you know, it's okay. Keep singing the songs, you know, because this really, you know, it's speaking to people and I just, I just thought that was might be a good thing to bring up.

David Ames  1:21:45  
Yeah, for sure. And music is so deep. We've talked about that a lot to that, you know, that both manipulative Lee with worship, but also just inspirationally. I've been listening to a lot of more secular gospel music that, like Lawrence comes to mind, they've got a song called don't lose sight that just just inspires me every time I hear this song. So yeah, music is the Jimmy

Jimmy  1:22:13  
I'll go with Jaber Crow, by Wendell Berry. I may have mentioned that in my episode, but it's, it's a book about people, really, people in nature, in community, warts and all normal people, messed up people, all kinds of things. And I've been through it twice. It's the kind of book you finish, and then you just sort of stare at the wall for a while.

David Ames  1:22:44  
Yeah, yeah.

Jimmy  1:22:47  
Yeah. Highly recommended.

Arline  1:22:50  
Yeah, it's, it's on my TBR list. It's, it's been there for a long time, though. I keep having so now, I will definitely read it.

David Ames  1:22:58  
For my last one. And because we have, we're running out of time, I'm really just gonna do this as a recommendation. I'm gonna try not to spoil too much. But it is severance on apple plus, it is an amazing story incredibly well written incredibly real, well executed. The premise and I'm not giving away anything here is that the technology to split your consciousness so that the A version of yourself independent version of yourself goes to work every day. And the remaining part of yourself experiences the rest of life without having to go to work? This is deep philosophically about identity and consciousness and ask some incredibly deep questions. But beyond that, within the realm of work, is it and I'll just say, the obvious also, it is also a deep criticism of capitalism and office culture. But beyond that, is there's a religious aspect, very hinting of Mormonism and, and the Puritan work ethic. And that is interwoven throughout the whole thing. And as you can guess, there is the the, the work versions of themselves begin to you know, want to discover more about the real world and then without giving away too much, you know, the experience of being a fish out of water, that kind of thing. So highly recommended. I would love to do an entire episode with some or all of you on on seperates it is absolutely amazing. So with that, I just want to say thank you to this group of people the podcast, wouldn't be what it is, without each and every one of you. You've done incredible work, either behind the scenes or in front of the mic. You've supported me my mental health and my vision for the podcast. I just cannot say enough. How grateful I am for all of you guys. This is for whole years. It's just, it's amazing that we are here.

Arline  1:25:12  
Yes, it's exciting to be part of it.

Colin  1:25:16  
Love to see how it's become this bigger thing and just affect so many people and brought people together. And yeah, thank you, David for taking that little seed of an idea and just persisting. Yeah, it's gonna grow.

Daniel  1:25:31  
Awesome. Yes, yes. Thank you, David. Yeah.

Colin  1:25:35  
Actually, for Did you say four? Yeah, for you happy four years. Yeah. Amazing.

David Ames  1:25:47  
Final thoughts on the episode. It is hard for me to overstate how important the people you just listen to our to the podcast. I know I'm repeating myself so much. But Arline has done almost everything, including the community management and CO hosting, copy editing. But she is the engine that drives the podcast, she helps with a lot of coordination in the background, the podcast would not be where it is that today without our lien. Same goes for Mike T, the amount of editing time that Mike spends is amazing. And you guys get a weekly podcast instead of a monthly one. Because I couldn't do that at all. There's no way. As I said, Jimmy and Colin have been really helpful for my mental health, for supporting me for giving me ideas for letting me bounce ideas off of them, and actually providing a slightly critical view to tell me when I was wrong at times. And that is incredibly valuable. And I really appreciate it. And Daniel, for sure is going to be that type of person. Daniel, I have not spent quite as much time with each other. But we already can tell that there's a deep connection there. And I want to see what more Daniel can do within this community with the podcast and as a support for me as well. So thank you so very, very much to all of you for supporting the podcast and what we are trying to do here to spread secular grace to spread humanism, to provide a safe place to land for people in the middle of doubts, questioning deconstruction and deconversion. And lastly, I want to thank you the listener, obviously, none of this happens if you aren't there. I've tried very hard not to focus on numbers. I've said a number of times that we could double quadruple the numbers if I were more antagonistic, more debate oriented, and just bash Christians, that's pretty easy to do. But having a message of secular grace and caring about human beings is not terribly popular. As we talked about in the episode, being sincere is not going to go viral. I wanted to do that. Anyway, the mission of the podcast was to allow people to understand they can accept their own humanity and the humanity of others. And coming out of religion of various kinds, particularly very traditional particular, very high control. That is quite a challenge. That's difficult. And it is really hard to do that alone. Hopefully you haven't felt alone as you've listened along with other people's stories. Hopefully, you've heard your story, as someone else told their story. And that magic, that connection, is what will help us. That's what this podcast is all about. I want to put out one more time that participation in the community and the podcast is not about status, or lien, Mike, Jimmy, Colin, Daniel, there's nothing special about them. They just were willing to do work, they were willing to participate. So if there's any area of expertise that you have, or even just something you're interested in doing, please let us know. Reach out to our lien. Reach out to me and let us know. As I've said, social media, graphic design, even audio work, website design, marketing, there's just 1000 different ways that you could participate in the podcast. Please reach out to us if you're interested in doing that. And thank you so much for being a listener. That means a lot. Next week, our lien is talking to David Hayward, the naked pastor. That's going to be an amazing conversation. In early April, I'll be talking to Holly Laura, that's from the mega podcast, really excited about that. And many many community members in between. Until then, my name is David and I am trying to be the graceful atheist join me and be graceful human beings. The beat is called waves by Mackay beads. If you want to get in touch with me to be a guest on the show. Email me at graceful for blog posts, quotes, recommendations and full Episode transcripts head over to graceful This graceful atheist podcast, a part of the atheists United studios Podcast Network

Transcribed by

Movie Review: The Truman Show

Atheism, Comedy, Deconversion, Movie Review, Podcast, Purity Culture, Secular Grace, The Bubble
Listen on Apple Podcasts

“Good afternoon. Good evening. And good night.”

Truman Burbank

This week’s episode is a compelling discussion between David and past podcast guests Jimmy and Colin. They take a deep dive into how The Truman Show mirrors the long, painful journey of deconstruction—realizing the story you’ve been told isn’t quite what it seems, pushing back little by little, and then sometimes leaving completely, walking out the door and into the darkness.

“You never had a camera in my head.”

They consider it all:

  • The induced trauma and fears
  • Infantilization
  • The constant gaslighting
  • The creation and controlling of relationships
  • And the lies–a completely fabricated life.

All done to “love him, protect him.”

“He wanted what was real more than was presented to him.”


They each bring their own stories to the table, stories of courage and uncertainty and a desire for truth, stories that resonate with many people. Like Truman, we can lean in when what we’ve believed no longer lines up with what we’re experiencing. We can be curious, ask questions and see where that journey takes us.

“It is a painful process, and it is scary. But also there’s more on the other side that is very fulfilling.”


Where to stream The Truman Show



Secular Grace

Support the podcast

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“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats