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Tag: Podcasts

“You Know,” And Why I Sometimes Say It in Interviews

podcasting

Smart is a person who does not read social media comments. Alas, I am not too smart, it seems. I have given numerous interviews over the past two years. You can watch one or more of them here. Lots of people comment on these videos. Many of the comments are complimentary. Others are personal attacks. On occasion, viewers will complain about me hesitating too often or saying “You know.” They suggest I am either a terrible speaker or that my interviews are unwatchable.

Video Link

Do I pause too often or say “you know” too much? Yep, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I am sixty-seven years old. I have osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative spine diseases, gastroparesis, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency — all incurable and debilitating. Last Friday, I had yet another MRI, this time on my lower back. Currently, I am in so much pain in my neck and spine that I am unable to walk longer than short distances (“short” meaning walking from the living room to the bathroom). I suspect that my latest MRI will show more disc and spine damage. I live every day with excruciating pain, so much so that there are days I want to kill myself. I don’t have pain-free days; only bad days, less bad days, and fucking I-want-to-stab-myself-in-the-head-with-an-ice-pick days. Before judging and condemning me, I wish people would walk in my shoes or at the very least consider what a challenge it is to live with pain from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. I am not whining or complaining. I have accepted that this is the way it is for me; that this is my new normal. I went to granddaughter number two’s graduation on Sunday. Two days before, I had my MRI in Auburn, Indiana, and then we drove to Attica Raceway Park to watch 410 sprints, 305 sprints, and late models dirt track race. I knew that doing these things would extract a heavy price from me. At the graduation, someone said she was surprised I was there. Polly laughed and said, “He wouldn’t miss this for the world.” And I wouldn’t, even if I had to crawl up the steps to the stands. If that were the last thing I did in life, so be it.

Chronic, unrelenting pain has affected every aspect of my life. And I mean EVERY. Thus, when it comes to giving interviews, I don’t, all of a sudden, become pain-free. Typically, when I sit for an interview, I take extra narcotic pain meds and muscle relaxers. I don’t take cannabis because it negatively affects my thinking abilities. I only take cannabis after I am done writing for the day.

When I talk during an interview, pain affects my ability to speak. So, I often pause or say “you know” to manage my pain. I am well aware that my interviews would be better without this glitch, but there’s nothing I can do about it. Most viewers don’t have a problem with this. Those who do might be better served if they don’t listen to my interviews. I am doing all I can do to give thoughtful, engaging interviews. That hundreds of thousands of people have listened to them suggests that they resonate with people — speech impediments and all.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Questions: Have Atheist Content Creators Won the Day Over Christian Apologists?

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Every year or two, I ask readers to submit questions they want me to answer. That time has arrived once again. Any question. Any subject. Please leave your questions in the comment section or send them to me via email. I will try to answer them in the order received.

I look forward to reading and answering your questions.

Long-time reader Geoff asked:

How do you feel the ‘argument from reason’ is going? YouTube is awash with atheist presenters, much of it pretty poor, but there’s a core of really convincing channels, very moderate in approach, and with ever-increasing subscribers. I’m thinking especially of the likes of Genetically Modified Skeptik, Alex O’Connor Cosmic Skeptik, and Rationality Rules. Previously Matt Dillahunty and Atheist Experience was perhaps the main source, but Dillahunty’s abrasive style and the awful quality of the phone-ins surely put many people off, and there was certainly little in the way of developing nuanced arguments.

Anyhow, I feel that the argument from reason is now so overwhelmingly in favour of the atheist case that I feel apologetics is almost dead in the water, but perhaps it’s simply that I’m immersed at ‘the wrong end of the pool’. What do you think?

Go to YouTube these days and you will find a plethora of atheist creators putting out content that challenges Christianity, using philosophical and scientific arguments to do so. YouTubers such as Alex O’Connor, Steven Woodford, Drew McCoy, Matt Dillahunty, and others are well-schooled in philosophy and the various arguments for the existence of God and other arguments used to justify Christian belief. I thoroughly enjoy their videos, although I have reached a similar point to Geoff, that there are no more new arguments to be made; that much like Samson slaying 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, these defenders of rationality, skepticism, and reason have slayed virtually every argument used by Evangelical and Catholic apologists to defend the existence of God and the claims of Christianity.

If I have one point of criticism of these atheists it is this: when it comes to theology and the Biblical text itself, they often display a shallow or Fundamentalist understanding of what the Bible says and what Christians really believe. Some of them just regurgitate what they have heard other atheists say, while others lack sufficient education to have complex, informed discussions about the Biblical text and Christianity. Sometimes, I will email them when they make glaring errors, hoping to educate them on the subject in question. Unfortunately, I have yet to have one of them respond to me. If you are going to make content deconstructing what it is that Christians believe, it would be helpful if you actually KNOW what they believe. And Christians are just as bad. They can be woefully ignorant about the Bible and its teachings, and when it comes to church history, ignorance is the norm.

There indeed is a lot of atheist-created content on YouTube and TikTok. Juvenile, elementary-level critiques — long on rhetoric and ridicule — can be found everywhere on social media. I used to challenge such things, but I gave up. Some of the creators are in the “angry atheist” phase of life, so I know that no amount of calm, rational criticism will change their minds. It takes time for wounds to heal.

Have atheists won the day? Perhaps, but there’s still a place for well-spoken, thoughtful atheists to produce content for public consumption. As I have pondered starting a podcast (I know, I know, I have been pondering for so long we are in a new decade) I ask myself, “What can I add to the discussions that atheists and Christians might find helpful?” My thought as of today — subject to change — is to start a podcast that specifically focuses on the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement. There’s very little content on this subject, and since my expertise lies here, I thought the IFB might be a worthy subject of a new podcast. While I can intelligently discuss the existence of God and I have a rudimentary understanding of science, a philosopher and scientist (in an educated sense) I am not. I know what I know, and I certainly know what I don’t.

I watch or listen to The Atheist Experience, Talk Heathen, Pangburn, Truth Wanted, SciManDan, MythVision, Dan McClellan, Bart Ehrman, Belief It or Not, Data Over Dogma, Digital Hammurabi, Gutsick Gibbon, James Tabor, Jon Perry, Kip Davis, and several programs on The Line Network featuring Matt Dillahunty as host. (I also listen to some political, science, and sports podcasts.) I agree that Dillahunty has become increasingly angry and argumentative over the years, but I do love his content, especially his debates or table discussions with various atheists and Christians. (The Christians who call in to atheist talk shows are generally dreadful, lacking in solid theological training and understanding of church history.) I really enjoyed his recent debate with Than Christopoulos on the resurrection of Jesus. Wonderful discussion. Both men were thoughtful and polite.

Video Link

I deconverted sixteen years ago. Since then, I have interacted with countless Christians, especially Evangelicals. It has been years since I have heard a new or original argument for the existence of God and the nature of the Biblical text. I am far less patient these days due to having to answer the same questions, arguments, and challenges over and over and over again. It does get old after a while. I suspect some of the creators mentioned above will one day reach a similar place. Contrary to what Evangelical apologists say, the Bible is not an inexhaustive book. Eventually, there’s nothing more to say on the matter.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

What Secular, Atheist, and Humanist Podcasts do You Recommend?

podcasting

Hopefully, I will finally get my podcast up and running soon; “soon” meaning before Jesus returns to earth. I have taken to listening to secular, atheist, and humanist podcasts hoping to learn how best to put together a podcast. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to some podcasts. Great production value and content. I have also been appalled by some of the podcasts. Awful quality, shallow, rambling, at times, incoherent content, and hosts who think they are doing stand-up comedy at a late-night gig in front of two people. Such is the nature of the internet, I suppose, but I have always been of the opinion that if I am going do something, I am going take the requisite time, effort and money the necessary to do a good job. Whether it’s writing for this blog, giving interviews (I have two this month) or producing a podcast/video, I want my work to be well received, even by Evangelicals who generally disagree with every word I say or write.

With these things in mind, what secular, atheist, or humanist podcasts do you recommend? Please leave your suggestions in the comment section. Links are appreciated. I am especially interested in podcasts of storytellers; men and women who have stories to tell.

Thank You!

Bruce

Bruce Gerencser