Monday, March 1, 2010

How to Deconvert through iTunes and YouTube

(or “Cool Resources You Should Check Out”)

I was raised in a fairly liberal Christian household—RLDS (nee Community of Christ) denomination, and while I had Book of Mormon stories in Sunday School pretty much everything you’ve ever heard about “Mormon theology” is just as strange to me as it probably is to you. My parents encouraged my love of science and evolution from an early age, and pretty much from age 6 to age 14 I avowed that I wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up.

I left the “Christianity” label behind when I went off to college, got acquainted with Christian Fundamentalism through the campus IVCF chapter, and after two weeks I decided that I would never again label myself with anything that would make me a fellow traveler with those people. I spent the next ten years or so drifting from New-Age theology, to pantheism, to a fairly nondescript brand of “imaginary friend” theism.

Fast forward to 2008, when I moved to Bloomington and found that my co-worker in the cube next to me was a committed god-botherer, to the point where he went to a non-denominational church because the Baptists were too backslidden, and homeschools his four kids "so that they don’t get indoctrinated in the public schools with liberal ideas, like evolution." Yes, that’s a quote.

So, what could I do but start buying Richard Dawkins and Carl Zimmer books, leaving them out on my desk for all to see? I do a lot of what can humorously be called "iPod work" and so I naturally searched iTunes for anything science-related.

What still takes up a good chunk of my iPod is my favorite all-time podcast, The Skeptic’s Guide To The Universe. Not only was there ample science, but I didn’t know anything about the Skeptical movement and its emphasis on critical thinking, evidence, and the need to combat pseudoscience. This was amazing to me, and I quickly started following Skepticality, Skeptoid, and Point of Inquiry.

Many of these podcasts made frequent references to YouTube videos, and it wasn’t long before YouTube’s preferences steered me towards Thunderf00t’s video series, Why Do People Laugh At Creationists, which I think is ripe for follow-up with a new series called "Thunderf00t Reads the Telephone Directory."

Needless to say, you see where this is going. All this pro-critical thinking, pro-science, anti-religion media was building to something. My theism was melting away like a chip of ice in the palm of my hand, and I credit a Tim Minchin song with finally prodding me to discard it.
But what’s this other show that keeps cropping up in relation to Thunderf00t and AronRa evolution videos? The Atheist Experience? Oh wait, this show is on every week? And they podcast it? Excellent!

I’ve since broadened my catalog with podcasts such as the Non-Prophets (the other atheist-aimed podcast done by the Atheist Experience crew), the excellent For Good Reason, Irreligiosophy, and just for fun, Coverville.

I know I’ve just posted a blizzard of links, bear with me for one more. This is one of my favorite clips from the Atheist Experience, and I'm basically putting my cards on the table as to the shameless plagiarism that I've indulged in every time I've ever gotten loquacious at the Freethinkers meetings.

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