Most humanists, I imagine, subscribe to the Carl Sagan principle that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” As a statement there seems no reason for viewing it as deeply insightful, being pretty much a common-sense observation. What can often make it less than straightforward, giving rise to lethal consequences, is the thorny matter of what constitutes evidence.
In my home library there sits a brace of books sharing a common theme: why people often have an unshakeable belief in things for which there is little or no evidence.
Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer and How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered The World in their own ways seek to identity the reasons humans are driven to believe that for which there is no evidence.
This is what makes the podcast Growing Up Fundie a fruitful exploration of lives interweaved with the evidence for no evidence!!
The host claims not to have been brought up Fundie at all, pointing out that hers was a Baptist household. Yet, with so much Baptist belief rooted in Calvinism, many in the humanist world might struggle to see the difference.
Growing Up Fundie bills itself as:
A podcast analyzing the true life experiences of everyday people who grew up fundamentalist, orthodox, or within any other strictly religious environment, and the impact (positive or negative) that this upbringing had on who they are today.
Running from December 2021 the project sets out to understand the impact that strict religions have on the lives of their adherents. It is not an endeavour that has as its mission the pouring of scorn on weird religious beliefs but seeks to explore why people hold them in the face of so much evidence to the contrary. The host Sydney Davis Jr, who also runs the YouTube channel Humorous Humanists, while being a standup comedian, is perhaps not the best ringmaster when it comes to excluding mockery from the gig. Many of her guests are from the world of comedy. Well worth a listen to for flavour is a July foray titled Godless Granny on Devoting Her Life To The Truth, Until she discovered she’d been living a lie.
Sydney Davis Jr, despite her laidback demeanour and occasional profanity serves up a very informative dish, where guests unpick topics including the double R – resurrection and rapture.
A podcast that attacks dogma and promotes the value of the answer ‘I don’t know,’ has left me knowing that I know a lot more courtesy of having listened to Growing Up Fundie.
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