I was raised Christian, and I believed and pursued that faith very passionately and sincerely for the first 25 years of my life, but then I started to notice incongruities between what the Bible promised and what I had experienced. So then I started to look at my beliefs more critically, and what I personally found is that they simply could not hold up to scrutiny. I am now an atheist, and believe that this is a much more rational way to live.
However, I don’t consider that belief sacrosanct. When I look back at all the things I took for granted in those 25 years, all the things that I just assumed were true without really questioning them, I’m frankly embarrassed that I approached beliefs (which governed the way I lived my life), in such an uncritical fashion for so long. I don’t want to live that way again; I don’t want to say, “well, I’ve examined the evidence, I know what the facts are, I have all the right answers, and now I’m just set for life.” I want to be constantly reexamining my beliefs and holding whatever I currently believe up to the same scrutiny that caused me to find the explanations of Christianity unsatisfying.
Of course, self-examination is all well and good, but it’s no replacement for constructive criticism. If I construct an argument, and I look at it and think it’s compelling, it doesn’t really matter until I share it with someone who I know disagrees with me, so they can look at my argument and say, “I disagree with this… I think this is a false premise… I don’t understand how you drew this conclusion…” etc. I don’t think a person should ever be satisfied with a belief or conclusion until it’s tested by good, strong, dissenting opinion.
So, I started this podcast, with a debate/discussion format presenting both sides (or at least, single representatives of two sides), instead of a person or people on one side of the issue just preaching to the choir. I want my beliefs to be challenged, I want people to argue that what I believe doesn’t make sense (as long as they accept that I’ll do the same for them). I never want to just be comfortable in my beliefs or feel like I have all the right answers. I want to understand what other people believe and why, and whether it holds up to scrutiny (so far, I haven’t found many beliefs that do).
If someone else has a belief that makes more sense than my belief, I want to believe that instead.