What I wish I could have said

[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)

4 thoughts on “What I wish I could have said”

  1. Some good thoughts, Rebekah. I enjoyed our conversation very much yesterday. I’m in the midst of looming deadlines right now but will respond too with some of my own thoughts soon.

    Take care, and thanks again for the stimulating chat.

    Sheridan

  2. It’s really sad that your goal in life is just to tick people off when 50 million babies are aborted annually in the US and the African American race is on its way to extinction thanks to eugenics, which is what Margaret Sanger studied, which is also what Hitler studied. Did you know that? In addition, we’re on the verge of economic collapse, murder is on the rise along with suicide, and every 2 minutes a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation. Yeah, it’s really sad that you can’t contribute to society in a positive way rather than writing all of your negative thoughts about belief, mostly targeted at Christianity. In addition, I often hear the question, “If there’s a God, why is there so many hungry people in our world? Why don’t we have peace? Why this, why that? And every time, I answer with saying, “The answer is ‘us’. We are God’s answer for your questions. He’s made us His hands and feet. He’s given us the fruit of the Spirit and He’s given us spiritual gifts to make a difference in the lives of others. He’s enabled us to do what He’s called us to do, but so often we sit back and do nothing.” Well, let me ask you a question…if we lived in a perfect world with no famine, no disease, and everyone loved everyone well, can you honestly tell me that you would give God the glory? I don’t think so. I think you’d say that people are just good. I think you’d believe we definitely don’t need any “God” to come and fix anything b/c everything is just perfect. See…it works both ways, doesn’t it? Either way, God loses.

    To answer your question about why we need faith (I’d say, “Jesus”), I wouldn’t be where I am without Him. I wouldn’t be filled with joy (no matter the circumstances, not talking about happiness either), able to find peace in every area of my life, and able to make a difference in the lives of teens who have all turned their lives around b/c they entered our group home atheist/agnostic self-mutilators and/or addicts and theyr’e leaving FREE from their pain because Jesus took it from them. Yeah, ask any one of them and they’ll tell you they NEED Jesus. Are YOU making a difference in anyone’s life, Becky? Are YOU speaking life into any young hearts or are you just ranting about hopelessness and faithlessness? Why not try to make a difference for the good of society, rather than just spreading hate? And if you think you’re not spreading hate, I’d encourage you to take a second look. You spread it passively as you rant about how you believe there is no God and I’m not even sure you really believe this anyway. I have other atheist friends and none of them focus so intently on being so vocal about their absence of belief. No, they actually contribute to society by working with abused/neglected children. You, all you do is spread hate and dislike…what kind of contribution is that?

    I also find it very interesting that you say that being an atheist alone doesn’t define you, yet that’s the only part you put in bold print. If I had an amazing little girl, I’d definitely list that first AND put it in bold, italicized, and underlined print. And you’re not raising a “freethinker”. You’re raising a confused little one who has no guidance into the definition of “Truth” b/c you have removed the “being” from Truth. You see, the question isn’t “What is truth?” It’s “Who is Truth?” And the answer is “Jesus”. If we ask anything else, it’s the wrong question and therefore, confusion sets in and that is who you’re raising. She’s going to be very confused, if she isn’t already and the Bible is very clear about “who” the author of confusion is and it’s the enemy. Read Genesis 3. Satan didn’t force them to eat the fruit, he brought about confusion and they ate of their own free will.

  3. Hi Becky, I listened to your interview today (yeah, I’m WAY behind on my blog reading), and I thought you came across very well – definitely not as an “angry atheist”. It was really interesting to hear some more of your story. I’m sorry there were so many nasty comments about the podcast! Even if people hold different beliefs, I’ll never understand why some people think that insults will change others’ minds or make them look better…

    Take care!

    Kirsten

  4. yay, SkylarKD! I was happy to see your name again here. 🙂 Apparently the show I was on is still generating listener feedback. Last week someone called me “earnest and reasonable” and also “godless and wicked.” Quite the combo!

    Hope all’s well, and thanks for stopping by!

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