Last week in my Sunday Curiosities series, I posted a fiery video in which Steve Shives explains why he thinks Sam Harris is a douchebag. Of all the interesting things I posted in that article, I was dismayed to see my item on Harris get the most attention. People on social media were aggrieved that I would post such an “unfair” portrayal of Harris.(more…)
In this episode of Sacred Tension, I talk to Corey Pigg, producer and host of the excellent Failed Missionary podcast. We discuss our post-Christian journeys, Buddhist spirituality, and his harrowing experience as a missionary in Youth With a Mission.(more…)
This week’s curiosities: Steve Shives calls out Sam Harris, Melissa Wilson writes powerfully about leaving the Evangelical World, and Hail, Satan? documents the rise of The Satanic Temple.
On Walking Away From Evangelicalism
My dear friend Melissa Wilson wrote a moving article on why she left the Evangelical Christian world. She writes of her conversion to Evangelicalism:
I was 16, growing up in the height of the nineties near Los Angeles, and someone presented the evangelical “gospel” to me, “Admit that I was not always right, believe that Jesus had a better way, and commit to living my life in a beautiful and pure way”. My teenage mind found the message intoxicatingly counter-cultural and I followed with reckless abandonment. I went to Christian camp, enrolled in Christian college, and found a new life across the country in the heart of Billy Graham’s hometown. My life became wholly devoted to two primary aims– loving God and loving others. I messed up daily and was caught in my “sins” by a community that I thought loved me. I married at 21 and went to Church every Sunday. Our life was not simple or easy and our prayers felt rarely answered, but we loved so deeply that place and community in the mountains of Montreat, North Carolina.
And then it all fell apart. I had the honor of watching some of Melissa’s process, and she carried herself with inspiring integrity and truthfulness. She recounts how, after being asked to sign an affirmation of “biblical truth” as a professor at Montreat College (my alma mater), she started to question what was true. She writes, with gut wrenching honesty,
I loved my gay friends and I longed to go to their weddings. I sometimes wished that abortion was legal, because I had worked with hundreds of sexually abused foster kids that were never adopted by the Church. I had watched a colleague make fun of hispanics, women, and environmental concerns with no reprimand. I watched my former pastor addicted to opioids and alcohol go on missions trips to purchase more pills. I watched the elders of my Church mock women, environmentalists, hispanics, and gay people openly on Facebook with hundreds of likes streaming in. I heard an administrator state that he would not accept my Harvard University credits because he did not know that Harvard had a credible hybrid program. I listened to my girlfriends proclaim that Trump was the only answer, because Hillary was the anti-Christ. I cried as my closest friends ridiculed me and my adopted daughter in the Women’s March, because Franklin Graham had led Trump to Christ and endorsed him.
Please read the rest of the article. It is convicting, inspiring, and should incite all of us working against theocracy to further action.
Waking up to Sam Harris Not Making Sense
Atheist YouTube Steve Shives released a diatribe about how Sam Harris is a dangerous douchebag.
I was once an adoring acolyte of Sam Harris. He was instrumental in my religious deconstruction, and he has helped me immensely in thinking about God, consciousness, and spirituality. But then, in 2017, Sam Harris had professional racist Charles Murray on his show to promote the fallacious and racist notion that black people are genetically predisposed to have lower IQs than white people.
Sam Harris was my gateway drug to the alt-right. Just when I was about to fall off the alt-right cliff, he defended Charles Murray, and I woke from my trance. I then understood that he is an arrogant, frequently unkind, and thoughtless “public intellectual” who takes his presumed magisterial intelligence for granted. Watch Steve Shives’ video for all the details, and it’s a good explanation for why I broke up with Sam Harris.
Last night I had an advance screening of the documentary Hail, Satan? which chronicles the meteoric rise of the Satanic Temple. I won’t spoil anything, and I plan on doing more shows and posts about the film, but for now I will simply say this: I was deeply and unexpectedly moved by the film. It is a beautiful, cleverly made film about societal underdogs asserting their rights. Stay tuned for more content about Hail, Satan? For now, my friend Jack Matirko over at For Infernal Use Only has written a review of the film:
I think for people in the larger secular and Atheist world who frequent the blogs here at Patheos there’s still a lot of misconceptions about what TST is and does that the film does a great job of clearing up. It also makes the point very clear that the organization isn’t going anywhere and that Satanism continues to be a growing component of the larger discussion on religious freedom, Church/State separation, and free-thought. It’s as in-depth as one can possibly pack into 90 minutes and gives TST the fair shake I think is long overdue.
Obligatory Cat Picture
Eli and Luna being adorable af:
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Ever since I’ve discovered and enthusiastically thrown myself into the Satanic fold, a fascinating contention has emerged in conversation with my non-infernal brethren: is Satanism a “real” religion? Is it satire? Is it trolling? Is it a lifestyle instead of a religion? A few people (usually religious) have gotten quite angry with me when I insist that Satanism is, in fact, an authentic religion. I though I would address this question once and for all in this post.
In this episode of Sacred Tension I talk to multi-faith activist Tahil Sharma about white supremacy, the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand, and overcoming oppression.(more…)
Welcome to Sunday Curiosities: the series where I bring you the bizarre and interesting tidbits I’ve collected through the week.
This week in Curiosities: ContraPoints on “Gender Critical” feminists, also known as TERFS; the Unplanned film; and Matt Dillahunty talking about a schism in his family caused by religious belief.(more…)
Welcome to Sunday Curiosities, the series where I bring you the strange and fascinating tidbits I’ve collected over the week.
This week, we explore climate change apocalypse, the nuances of humor within oppression, and losing faith.
Content warning: this post contains some upsetting material, including discussions of extreme climate change and transphobia.(more…)
In this episode of Sacred Tension, I talk to poet and activist J Mase III about white supremacy, black trans experience, and much more.(more…)
When I was deep in the Evangelical fold, doubt was sometimes discussed as a temporary and seasonal necessity. Doubt was talked about as a period of testing, in which we just had to lean in to prayer and trust, even in the face of an insurmountable void of evidence. Inevitably, they said, this season would come to an end, the winter would turn to spring, and you would know without a doubt that God is real. In other words, doubt was understood as a sort of spiritual flu — a seasonal disruption that builds our immune systems.(more…)
In this episode of Sacred Tension I talk to Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, PhD about the process of dismantling toxic power within our culture. We talk about my gradual journey of understanding what, exactly, racism and sexism are, and the process of overcoming them. Robyn ultimately advocates for radical courage and imagination, and I found this conversation deeply moving.(more…)