[irrelig]And here we go … the talk with Leighton’s brother Sean ran a marathon 3+ hours, from which we have distilled the resulting two episodes. A quick summary: Sean repeatedly castigates us for not showing proper respect to ludicrous and patently untrue beliefs while simultaneously approving of his Church’s attempt to deprive homosexuals of basic human rights. He refuses to answer important, pertinent questions regarding his faith, blithely ignores reality, and even Godwins us at the end of the first episode. What I found most impressive is that he remained cheerfully impregnable to reason and logic all the way to the end.

Since we’ve missed a few weeks in the past, we figure it’s only fair to release both episodes at once. Have at them.

63 Responses to “54 & 55: Respecting Other People’s Beliefs”

  1. Hey guys,

    Thanks for delivering on this podcast. When listening I simultaneously thought Shaun was a good sport for agreeing to take part whilst also being frustrated with his seeming unwillingness to engage on topics that were clearly inconvenient for him to comment on.

    Do you think this is because he was afraid of saying something that would incriminate himself in the eyes of the church or because he has setup this little bubble reality of fiction for himself that he doesn’t want to pop? I suspect it was a bit of both but you know. When you (Chuck) pushed him on the issue of the Book of Abraham and he refused to acknowledge any of the truths you mentioned as if he were wearing a bulletproof shield. Christians (generally) don’t want to sacrifice their comfortable, bubble reality. If it means not looking into uncomfortable topics or lying to themselves about the state of their knowledge then so be it. This is the real thought crime of the religious virus.

  2. I just finished part two. That was an awesome Training Day Denzel Washington finish. Stay up late?

  3. Graeme McRae says:

    I noticed you rereleased Irreligiosophy 1, 2, 3, and 4 on iTunes. Any reason for that other than to remind me to listen to them again? Sorry about posting this question in an unrelated podcast, but I don’t see any place for general questions for you. Thanks.

  4. I’ve received a few comments about the eardrum-destroying sound levels of the intro and outtro on our early episodes, so I’m going through and decreasing those levels. Since I’m in there, I might as well re-save the lot as mp3s. The remaining episodes should be re-released sometime late tonight or tomorrow.

  5. But Apple Lossless is the one true codec! How dare you sin and fall into apostasy!

  6. Leighton says:

    How dare you question the decisions of this CHURCH!

  7. Wow, Chuck- you need to take that rant near the end of ep. 55 and put a video of it on Youtube. That’s powerful stuff. Very well done, very well said. I’m sure you speak for most of us with those words. Thank you.

    I’m not a psychiatrist, nor do I play one on TV, but it seemed painfully obvious to me that Sean is intelligent, reflective and knows that there are no good answers to the questions he refused to answer. It seems that he believes what he does only because he wants to believe it. The real question is, why does he want to believe it so strongly?

    When we lie to people, we usually know we’re lying. But when we lie to ourselves, we don’t always realize that’s what we’re doing. Sean recognizes that his whole social world is made of believers, and rejecting that would be social suicide, so he lies to himself that he really believes this stuff. Leighton doesn’t have this problem, because he’s a more independent personality. Leighton is not afraid of conflict (just ask his nose!) But most people are, and they need a firm connection to the community they were born into, even if it requires an intellectual lobotomy.

    So, what’s the solution? The grip of religion is like an ocean tide. It’s a mass of particles (people) all moving in unison, unable to stop or turn on itself even as they crash into the rocks of doom. To do so would be to reject where they came from, and that’s like a particle rejecting it’s own momentum to reverse direction and go the other way. In most cases, it can’t be done.

    We need a new tide, a wave of opposition to crash down on the status quo and knock the momentum out of those particles, out of those “followers” who know it’s nonsense, but simply don’t have a choice if they want to participate in the local community.

    We need to give them a reason to reject it, a new community — a new family — to belong to, and that will take numbers. A throng of people who can provide cultural support and a charismatic leader to provide structure and foundation (a father figure) for this new society.

    In other words, who will be the Jesus for the irreligious? Chuck? Are you there? Leighton, We’ll need a new Paul too….

    Seriously, put away the medicine and apartment management gigs. As noble as they are, they just don’t hold a candle to the kind of reward and raw cash you can make as a celebrity, a shining light to lead the way out of the intellectual darkness of superstition and blind faith.

    Am I making sense, or are these paint fumes getting to me again…
    ugh. need fresh air.

  8. gfunkusarelius says:

    wow, i think the core problem of the entire communication was that he said he wants you to “respect” others’ beliefs, but he really meant he wants you to be “polite” about others’ beliefs. which i can totally understand because if i believed a bunch of nonsense and held it dear and couldn’t defend it, I would want you to go easy on me, too.
    bravo for standing up for your approach.
    i haven’t read thru all the comments yet, so I apologize if someone else said this

  9. robert wilson says:

    A couple of very interesting episodes, at the end of it I can’t help feel sorry for Sean, he bravely walked into the lions den. But that’s not why I feel sorry for him, his refusal to engage in ‘difficult’ topics, was telling, and shows that he would rather ‘believe’ than follow the truth, and that’s kind of sad.

  10. Well, wow. Just wow. Thanks for putting these up and cudos to you two for doing so as well as some for Sean for actually being willing to even if he did keep dodging questions.
    That said, I’ve seen exactly what he’s doing before addressed to other minorities. It’s nothing but a “tone argument”. Essentially a minority is told by the majority “Oh now calm down sweetheart, no need to be so angry. If you’re very good we’re willing to listen to you, but only on our terms. So you wait your turn.” It’s a sickening strategy used to silence people with real grievances by preying on their desire to be nice people.
    Keep being loud, out, and proud you two!

  11. Hi both of you. throughout, there were several points where I wanted to scream things to Sean, and a couple of times when i did blurt out a response, shocking people.

    The one point where i was most enraged was when he called you a US specific phenomenon. Here I am, an Indian Doctor, working in Middle East, “religiously” listening to my favorite skeptics especially because of their brutal wit, and Sean has the gall to suggest that only Americans have the ability (or the deformity) to understand the wit of that kind.

    Also, I’m sure that was meant to be disrespectful towards Americans, as people who just love to mock authority, but to an iconoclast (like most atheists are) its something to be admired. So Sean, who exactly were you respecting there?

  12. Yes, it seemed so strange to me that Shaun wanted to come on the show to argue his point with you guys, and yet went with the “I choose not to respond to that question” on so many topics when he knew that his answer would expose him as.. well, he’s your family so how do I say this nicely?… a deliberately ignorant bigot.

    It just seemed to me that if you engage with someone to try to convince them of a point of view (and to try to convince their listeners of a point of view, as Shaun was trying to convince both yourselves and us that religion should be shown respect) then not answering questions that you find inconvenient is a very poor way to maintain any shred of credibility.

    There was one response that he made that, I felt left himself open to the perfect knock down, and I think you guys missed the oppotunity of the door he left wide open (understandable in the heat of debate)but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was now. I’ll listen again and get back to you.

    Well done both of you on this podcast. I’ve only just been introduced to it, but look forward to listening to more!



  13. Sean’s call for “respect” is disingenuous. He says he wants open discussion of these issues without people being “disrespectful.” But his refusal to engange the facts when they are placed before him is a demonstration of what theists do when presented with facts: ignore them.
    He’s treating you guys like idiotic children who are angrily acting out against Heavenly Daddy, even if he’s not saying it to your face.Sean has no intention of even bothering to acknowledge your questions, claims or ideas. Where’s the respect there?