[part of my series of thinking aloud on my recent podcast interview]
Going into the interview today, I had thought of several points I wanted to convey in our conversation. For one, I really wanted my tone and approach to be friendly, while also honest about my shifted (and sometimes negative) views of Christianity. I wanted to find points of commonality, but I also wanted to stress how different a Christian perspective can be from one like mine. I hope I succeeded? I guess time will tell — the podcast is out next Saturday (August 20th), and I’m already looking forward to the feedback it will generate, good and bad.
There are a few things I wish I could have emphasized more in the podcast. For one, I wish I could have made more of a point that deconversion stories like mine are more common than not.
Just in the last week, US Christian pollster George Barna released statistics that show a huge drop in the role of women’s involvement in the church. He summarized his findings by saying: “while the genders are far from a state of convergence, the frightening reality for churches is that the people they have relied upon as the backbone of the church can no longer be assumed to be available and willing when needed, as they were in days past.” This is one study among many that shows the growing number of people disengaging themselves from a religious culture. I can point to several more interesting studies/projections that show the growing secularization of the western world [see here, here, and here for starters].
So, I wish I could have emphasized that point a bit more — the point that there are more people (read: apostates) like me out there, so the sooner believers recognize this trend and start to adjust to it, the better. And by adjusting, I moreso mean accepting this fact and (hopefully) getting better at embracing the nonreligious people in their lives.
Another point I wish we could have talked about in the interview today is to have Justin and Sheridan explain to me why I (an atheist) need faith. We had some interesting discussion about the personhood of Christ, but I want to know reasons why they (and other believers) view a relationship with the supernatural as a necessary element. I can guess some of the reasons they could give (and some of these were discussed today): the need for an ultimate grounding of purpose and morality, the human need for ritual, the comfort of community, etc. If these are some of the reasons to believe, I can happily say I find a lot of them in my secular life already. If the main reason I should believe is due to divine judgement at the end of my life, well, I’d like to talk about that more.
Finally, I wish I could have talked more about the various smaller atheist communities I’m a member of — the Secular Family Network, Cafe Apostate, and Reasonable Women, for example. I wish I could have talked about how yes, I’m an atheist, but that description alone doesn’t define me completely — I’m also a parent who’s trying to raise a freethinking little girl, I’m an ex-believer who still enjoys talking about religion, and how I’m a motivated secular woman, looking to have my voice heard in a typically male-dominated movement.
I understand that there’s only so much time to talk, but these are just a few of the issues/thoughts I wish I could have been clearer about in the podcast this morning. That said, I think I’m fairly happy with how it did turn out — though I’m well aware that some of what I said today is bound to piss off some believers and atheists alike. (which, ironically enough, is something I’ve done before — and will most definitely do again)