My guest this week is Ray Gilford. Ray grew up more of a cultural Christian. His family believed but did not push him. In college, without community and looking for friendship predatory evangelism took advantage of him. Ray worked hard at being a Christian but wanted something deeper. He learned Hebrew and Greek in an effort to find “True Christianity.” He remained a Christian for 32 years.
I was always looking for more. That’s nice but what is beyond that?
Eventually, he deconverted realizing that Christianity did not live up to its promise. Ray now says he practices Pagan, metaphysics and spiritualism. Though this is a different path than most of my guests what is interesting about Ray’s metaphysics is that id does not preclude miracles and yet Ray still found Christianity wanting.
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.
On today’s episode, my guest is Matt Cook from Toronto Canada. Matt was a former evangelical missionary to Pakistan and a preacher who lost his faith about six years ago. Matt is not your typical deconvert. He calls himself religious but not spiritual. Several years after deconversion, Matt chose to live a year “Christianly.” During that year he prayed, he read the bible daily, he went to church and practiced other spiritual disciplines. Although, it did not change his mind he has found continued value in these disciplines and practices some of them to this day.
In the show we discuss the possibility of becoming a humanist chaplain (or celebrant or officiant), if you are interested in exploring that role or if you are looking for a humanist celebrant to officiate a wedding, dedication or funeral find the humanist organization for your country. In the US, it is the American Humanist Society. In Canada, it is Humanist Canada. Wikipedia lists more organizations.