Jordan Peterson, Satanic Factions, and Anti-trans Memes

Welcome to Sunday Curiosities: the blog series where I bring you the interesting, bizarre, and insightful tidbits I’ve collected over the week.

Jordan Peterson is Incomprehensible

A hilarious video of edited footage from the Joe Rogan show has Jordan Peterson arguing with himself. I was once enamored of Peterson, but I now understand him to be at best boring and at worst incomprehensible and an accessory to sexism, transphobia, and patriarchy. What amuses me about this video is how it is just slightly more indecipherable than his regular videos.

Continue reading “Jordan Peterson, Satanic Factions, and Anti-trans Memes”

The 4 Steps of Standing in Solidarity with LGBT People

I regularly find myself in conversation with people who feel deeply conflicted about how to love and respond to LGBT people: conservative minsters whose hearts have softened towards LGBT people, but whose theology has not; college chaplains who are suddenly finding themselves flummoxed by trans, queer, and gay students sitting in their office, struggling with faith and sexuality; parents, friends, siblings of gay people who see the damage done by the church and don’t know how to stop perpetuating that damage.

Continue reading “The 4 Steps of Standing in Solidarity with LGBT People”

Sacred Tension: When Maggie Met Molly

Despite the social taboo against certain psychedelic and psychoactive drugs, the medical world is now experimenting on previously forbidden drugs with promising results. In this episode of Sacred Tension, I speak with Maggie Eli about her clinical trial on MDMA, AKA Molly or Ecstasy.

Continue reading “Sacred Tension: When Maggie Met Molly”

On Not Believing in God But Experiencing Him Anyway

Last night before going to bed, I found myself praying the Evening Office from the Book of Common Prayer. I love the book of Common Prayer — I love the poetry and the guiding, inner choreography of the liturgy. As I prayed last night I felt that warmth, presence, and silent awe I’ve felt my whole life when I enter sacred spaces — many would call it the presence of God. Sometime, when praying, I find myself speaking in tongues, a torrent of syllables pouring from me unbidden. It feels warm in my mouth, and it feels like something outside of myself speaking through me. I also still attend church (when I can), and I experience the love and presence of an external, invisible force.

Continue reading “On Not Believing in God But Experiencing Him Anyway”

Demon Possession

When I was in college, I had a harrowing experience: a friend of mine became demon possessed, and subsequently went through an exorcism officiated by a local minister. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, and reinforced my lifelong Christian belief in the supernatural.

Now, many years later, I have questions. What actually happened to my friend? Supernaturalist explanations now seem overly simplistic – was she mentally ill instead? And what about the rest of us who believed that she was possessed? Were we helping her, or abusing her? And what purpose does possession serve in human societies?

Joseph Laycock, an expert in the experience of spirit possession, new religious movements, and fringe spirituality, sits down with me to explore the history and causes of demon possession.

Why I Still Call Myself a Christian

I’ve spent a great deal of time on this blog exploring the ways in which my faith has transformed from the reassuring, cozy, traditional Christianity of my childhood. I’ve wandered far from home into nontheism, flirted with blasphemy, and questioned the existence of the supernatural altogether.

Many would say I’m not a Christian at all, and they might be right. If one defines Christianity as taking the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds as literal truth, then I certainly don’t qualify. I think I stopped believing the creeds long before I ever accepted my crisis of faith. Perhaps post-Christian would be a more accurate descriptor: I’ve entered a terrain which is beyond traditional Christianity, but only accessible by way of Christianity.

And yet, I still hold on to the label Christian, and the reason is simple: I can’t give up my love affair with the myth of Christ. I can’t let go of the story about the God-man who came to earth, told stories, taught love and radical peace, and then modeled ego-death and resurrection — the path we are all meant to follow, day after day.

In the most simple, minimalistic way possible I am a Christian: a follower of Christ, someone who makes Christ the most central image of my inner guiding myth. I’m not sure I can help myself; religion is mapped onto my being like a language, from the earliest days of my life. No matter how much I may doubt, wander, and reject the unfalsifiable claims of religion, I can’t rid myself of religion, and I don’t think I need to.

If this minimalistic Christianity strikes other Christians as heretical, too little, cloying and pandering to worldly doubt, that’s fine. I accept that. But I welcome others into my minimalistic religion with me. Those who doubt, struggle, and yet still yearn for religious life: we don’t have to believe in God or the supernatural, we don’t even have to accept the stories about Christ as true — I think many of them are probably legend. We can embrace the myth of Christ, and the transcendent, self-sacrificing path that myth sets before us. And that, I think, makes us Christians.

Enjoy my work? Never miss an article or podcast episode by signing up for my mailing list here.

God and Gay Sex

In this episode of Sacred Tension, Donald and I sit down to answer questions from patrons of the show. We talk about why I went into yoga, what parts of my faith remain intact after going through deconstruction, how straight allies can better serve the LGBT community, what we wish someone had told us about gay sex, and much more.

Continue reading “God and Gay Sex”

A Few Questions You Might Have About Satanism

There’s a controversial part of my religious life that often makes for awkward conversation: I’m a member of the Satanic Temple. I’m not exactly shy about voicing my support, but my open approval of the Temple is often met with quiet awkwardness, which leads me to believe that people have questions. I asked friends and twitter what they thought of my membership. I got some fantastic questions, and I will write my responses to them below. An important caveat: I am not a spokesperson for the Temple, and these are my own interpretations and views.

Continue reading “A Few Questions You Might Have About Satanism”

Gamification and the Singularity

In this episode, I talk to Douglas Lain about his latest novel Bash Bash Revolution: a young adult novel that explores Marxism, revolution, artificial intelligence, and the gamification of human society. We discuss utopia, mental health, the consequences of digitization and gamification on the mind and spirituality, and much more.

Douglas Lain is the publisher of Zero Books, a novelist, a podcaster, and most recently a youtuber.
Lain’s previous novel After the Saucers Landed was nominated for the Philip K Dick Award. 
Douglas Lain is also the host of the Zero Books podcast. His first podcast, entitled Diet Soap, ran for over five years.

He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two boys. 

You can find Douglas Lain’s work at www.douglaslain.com