By Bart Campolo
Humanize MeMar 23, 2023
810: The implications of AI for humanists
It was only a matter of time before we got drawn into the burgeoning conversation about recent advances in artificial intelligence. A listener called Steve asks: "What do you think are the implications of AI for those of us devoted to the human experience?" Although he doesn't have a clear answer, and admits a catastrophist's bias, Bart shares some initial thoughts in response and argues that, even if the rise of AI is a very bad thing for the world, it can nevertheless reaffirm our existing humanist values and amplify the reasons to create supportive communities.
Featuring a 'cold open' by an artificial Bart-like interloper. Were you fooled?
809: Morality for the rest of us, with Todd May
You’re probably never going to be a saint. Even so, let’s face it: you could be a better person. We all could. Todd May is a philosopher whose work brings high-minded philosophical concepts - like how to live a decent life - down to earth in attainable, realistic ways. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Todd talks about aspiring to be decent, moral gracefulness, reasons for morality, intentions, honesty and truthfulness, happiness versus flourishing, altruism, the concept of evil, 'normal' selfishness, stoicism and Todd's work on The Good Place.
808: Consciousness and liberal Christian friends
Two questions are posed to Bart, the first of which he declines to answer! Iain McGilchrist is one of several prominent thinkers who seem to suggest that consciousness is a fundamental of the universe, and that reality may not be entirely physical in nature. What does Bart think of these ideas? The second involves a listener whose liberal Christian friend can't understand her atheism. How can she articulate her disinterest to her friend?
807: Strange Customs, with Sasha Sagan
Sasha Sagan is an author and now a podcaster who is intensely curious about the rituals, traditions, norms and practices which help define communities of people. When we had her on the podcast in 2020, it was because Sasha had released a book on the subject, For Small Creatures Such As We. The recent launch of her podcast, Strange Customs, inspired us to reach back out and ask her how rituals might find their place in today's world.
806: How surprised would you be by an afterlife?
After Bart's deconversion from Christianity, he has been a 'naturalist', lacking belief in any of the proposed deities and supernatural ideas. But how satisfied is he that he's right about this? How surprised would he be to suddenly emerge into an afterlife of some kind? Bart and producer John discuss.
805: How God becomes real, with TM Luhrmann
We've recently been wondering about the movement in Kentucky that has become known as the 'Asbury revival', and the mass religious experiences that have been reported there in the last couple of months. We could think of nobody better to help us think about it than TM Luhrmann, a highly esteemed psychological anthropologist currently based at Stanford University. Tanya is known partly for her study of religious groups, including evangelical and charismatic Christians. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, she talks about the 'inner sense' of believers that their beliefs are true, how religions allow these experiences to form the heart of their narratives, religious shame, authority, imagination and self-reinforcement, and more.
804: How to think about Effective Altruism
“Hey Bart, I came across an article on Vox talking about the movement known as Effective Altruism, and the fall of one of its star advocates, cryptocurrency exchange owner Sam Bankman-Fried. The guy had lost at least a billion dollars of his clients’ money after he secretly transferred it to a hedge fund he owned, he’s now been arrested for it. But what’s confusing is that his stated goal in life was to do good: he said wanted to make a lot of money in finance so he could give most of it away to good causes, specifically causes identified using Effective Altruism. Paraphrasing from the Vox article: 'Effective altruism is a social movement that’s all about using reason and evidence to do the most good for the most people. … Yet it looks like Bankman-Fried has done a lot of BAD to a lot of people.' On top of this, Bart, I know there have been other criticisms of Effective Altruism, and I was just wondering if you have any thoughts on whether a good humanist - and maybe especially a Humanize Me listener - should be involved in Effective Altruism or whether it’s a dubious proposition these days. Thanks!”
803: How the Bible shapes society, with Bart Ehrman
We're joined by leading bible scholar Bart Ehrman, who has written many New York Times best-selling books on the Bible and related topics. This conversation is, in Ehrman's own summation, a blend of the intellect and the heart, touching on many things including belief and disbelief, the way people misinterpret Scripture, the message of Jesus compared to that of Paul or the book of Revelation, how to relate to people who throw bible verses around, and many other things. Stay tuned at the end for a piece of the conversation that almost ended up on the cutting room floor.
802: Bart is sick, but here's a hopeful thought
In lieu of a full episode this time, here's a short, hopeful thought from a sick-sounding Bart Campolo.
801: The ingredients of a good media diet, with Vanessa Otero
Awash in a sea of information and misinformation, most of us don't know how to navigate today's media landscape, especially when it comes to news. How do we know what sources we can trust? And as we enter a new year, if we approached it like a diet, what are the best and healthiest ingredients and recipes?
Our guest Vanessa Otero has thought about this more than most people. A former lawyer, she invented the Ad Fontes Media Chart, which places just about every news outlet you know (and many you don't) on an axis of political bias and reliability. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, she talks about the problems people face when trying to get reliable news and gives optimistic, practical advice on how to solve them. In the process she recommends the 1440 newsletter and other resources.
Bonus Episode 6: Here's to 2023!
Every month we release a bonus episode to supporters of the podcast on Patreon. These episodes are more personal and relaxed, with 'meta' reflections on recent guests and listener feedback, and fresh installments in the saga of Bart's ongoing effort to engineer a replicable church-like community for... uh... well, for people like Bart!
This month, as a holiday gift to all Humanize Me listeners, we're sharing that Patreon-exclusive episode in the main podcast feed. Join us as we reflect on 2022, share our favorite movies, TV shows, books, songs, and people of the year, and serenade you into the new year!
720: I wasn't with my grandfather at the end
Bart and John respond to a question from a listener who, despite knowing her grandfather was going to die, missed his final moments and feels deep regret about it. Bart suggests she look at it as a gift from her grandfather which could serve her well for a lifetime: and a valuable reminder to all of us about the virtue of being present.
719: The re-conversion of The Voice winner Josh Kaufman
Josh Kaufman won NBC’s The Voice in 2014 after wowing the talent show’s judges and audience with his soulful vocals and charisma. After getting an email from him recently, Bart invited Josh on the podcast to ask about his story of deconversion from Christianity in college and subsequent re-conversion in recent years, and wonders what it’s like to step back into a worldview he had rejected.
718: How do I deal with difficult holiday conversations?
Bart answers a question from a listener who is nervous going into a fraught holiday gathering. In the process we talk about some tools that may be prepared for use beforehand.
406: Pro-semitism, with the hosts of Unorthodox
After a recent rise in talk of antisemitism, we couldn't help but think about this classic episode of Humanize Me featuring the hosts of the Unorthodox podcast, Mark Oppenheimer, Stephanie Butnick and Liel Leibovitz. They're some of our favorite people, and it's a fun conversation about Jewishness in America, Jewish culture, and how to be a good gentile. Featuring a new intro by Bart.
717: My Big Fat Recovery, with Molly Robbins
Our bodies are tied up with so much - beauty standards, phobias, obsessions and stigmas - and we think there are more and less humanizing ways to talk and think about them. Molly Robbins was the perfect guest to help us; she's the host of the My Big Fat Recovery podcast, and has lots of helpful things to say about the experience of having a big body in a diet-obsessed culture. Bart asks Molly about the principles of 'intuitive eating' and other topics.
716: My bad habits while alone make me feel bad about myself!
Bart answers a question from a listener whose habits while living alone make her feel bad about herself. Bart thinks he may have some solid humanist advice as a first step.
715: A listener's abortion story
Cian is a listener of Humanize Me. He and his wife Krista got in touch to talk about the very tangible and personal way the U.S. Supreme Court’s strike-down of Roe v Wade hit them after they ended a pregnancy due to fetal abnormality. Bart decided to invite them to tell their story on the podcast and in the process, Krista and Cian relate in a warm, compelling way the complex reality of the issue in a real couple's lives.
714: Five questions and a tree
What’s wrong with Rotary? Does religion comfort people in hard times? Is it wrong to want my wife to stop pleasuring herself? How do you find a good media diet? Should I support my friend as she explores religion? Bart and John take not 1 but 5 listener questions, and share thoughts on each.
713: Childish Things, with Dave Warnock
Bart welcomes back Dave Warnock, who had a memorable first appearance in 2019 (Episode 419). They talk about his recently released memoir, his deconversion from Christianity and later diagnosis of ALS, relationships with family after deconverting, navigating the end of life, and avoiding the word 'just'.
712: Thoughtful meandering with William Deresiewicz
Bart enjoys a wide-ranging conversation with Bill Deresiewicz that touches on solitude, moral goodness, the value of the arts, the interplay of power, rituals and practices, fundamentalisms and friendship. Bill is a world-class literary critic and a former professor of English at Yale University whose latest book of essays - The End of Solitude - is available now.
711: How to create meaning this weekend
Fine, a listener says, you've sold me on the concept that life can be meaningful even if there isn't a grand design involved. But how do we actually do it? Bart and John discuss.
710: What can play teach us about our fellow humans?
Game designer Logan Dean talks with Bart about the nature of play, storytelling, community, competitiveness and how playing games can help us understand others.
421: 'Leaving the Witness', with Amber Scorah
A classic episode! Amber Scorah was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. She tells the story of her 'deconversion' in her book, 'Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life'. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Amber talks about what it was like to believe fully, what it's like to disbelieve now, how her relationships were affected, the death of her young son Karl on his first day in childcare, her views on life now, and much more.
709: Should I marry my Christian girlfriend?
Bart and John respond to a question from a listener who worries that, having started a journey out of his faith, he is now becoming incompatible with his Christian girlfriend. Bart thinks their difference in worldview is a reason for lots of caution and reflection, while John wishes romance could rule the day. Along the way, they land on some ancient advice: ‘Know thyself!’
708: Disentangling from purity culture
The evangelical culture of sexual purity has left many who grew up in it hurt and sometimes even traumatized. In this episode, Bart and our guest, counselor Jenny McGrath, discuss purity culture, dynamics between evangelical men and women, power structures of race and gender, sex before marriage, the mechanics of desire, and much more.
You can discover more about Jenny here: indwellmovement.com
707: How can I judge someone's character?
John and Bart are back in the studio together on this week’s episode to discuss the nature of character and how to evaluate the character of others.
706: Bart gets his tarot read by a witch
Bart and chaos witch Vanessa Walilko discuss her playful approach to belief, and to helping others through witchcraft. Bart, a witchcraft sceptic, even gets his tarot read! Find out more about Vanessa and her work at https://linktr.ee/kalibutterfly
705: A listener who has less tolerance for social interaction now
Bart responds to a question from a listener who says they have less tolerance for social interaction since society 'opened back up' after the pandemic lockdowns.
704: On open relationships
Bart muses an experience he's heard recently: a former Christian who, in the process of re-evaluating their lives, begins to consider opening their relationship. Is it a good idea? Bart has seen it work, but has lots of words of caution.
703: Should I let news about the war stress me out?
After a podcast hiatus, Bart and John attempt to answer a question from a listener about being stressed out about the war in Ukraine. They don't want to just avoid the news, because that doesn't feel healthy, but are seeking a good balance of being informed and enjoying their life.
702: Reflecting on the state of the evangelical movement
Bart reflects on the state of the evangelical movement he was once a part of, particularly by taking a moment to see it through his father Tony's lens. Mentioned in the episode: Leaving My Father's Faith, the documentary by John Wright, now available to watch in its entirety on YouTube.
701: Talking to Crazy, with Dr. Mark Goulston
How should we deal with irrational or difficult people? And what are some good strategies for establishing healthy boundaries with such people in our lives? As a very pro-social podcast, we realized this may be our weakness after we talked to Chrissy Stroop in Episode 618. Chrissy, a trans woman, told us she did not feel it her responsibility to keep toxic or unsupportive people in her life, and Bart pushed back because he feels building bridges across such divides is so important. Where should the healthy limits of our empathy, tolerance and relationship-building be set?
620: Some people are hard to feel empathy for
Let's be honest: some people just don't inspire our empathy! In this last episode of 2021, Bart responds to a post on the Humanize Me Facebook Group, in which a woman feels unempathetic about consequences suffered by her sister due to the sister's own bad decisions. She feels like a bad person, she says, but should she? And how should we feel about our own lack of empathy in such situations?
619: We're creating meaning as we speak!
Bart with a solo episode on how we create meaning in our lives, and get access to meaning as we live in connection to the universe.
618: Should we form friendships with people who don't share our values? with Chrissy Stroop
Chrissy Stroop is a writer and scholar who, despite being an 'exvangelical', remains interested in, and critical of, evangelical culture. When she recently mentioned Bart Campolo in an article, we reached out to ask her if she wanted to have a conversation about how evangelicals think and talk about those who leave the faith. But the conversation took a different turn, becoming a friendly disagreement over whether or not we should try to form friendships with people who don't share our core values, or when there's a big ideological divide. Chrissy, a trans woman, thinks not, because she doesn't believe that friendships should involve attempts to change other people, while Bart thinks influencing others is a key part of relationships.
617: Re-evaluating time in Christian urban ministry
Bart responds to a question from a listener who wants to know why he doesn't talk more about his time as a Christian minister in poor urban neighborhoods, and what his experiences make him think about the possibility of future change.
616: Using emotional intelligence like a hostage negotiator, with Derek Gaunt
Derek Gaunt in an educator and author with 20 years of experience as a hostage negotiator for law enforcement agencies in the Washington DC metro area. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Derek talks about 'tactical empathy', emotional intelligence, controlling how someone feels about you, building trust, truly listening to someone's story, understanding motivation, looking for hidden messages and meaning, how to respect the person even if you don't respect their decisions or actions, and how to focus on what's important in the time you have with someone.
615: Recorded live at the Wild Goose Festival
Bart tells his story at the progressive Christian Wild Goose Festival.
614: Mental blocks
Bart talks about a 'combo platter' leading to a big mental block recently, and asks whether we can learn to overcome them more effectively when they happen.
613: Mental Immunity, with Andy Norman
Does the mind have an immune system? It turns out it does, according to Andy Norman, who applies the emerging science of cognitive immunology to our divided, post-truth culture. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Andy is pushed to explain how the concepts in his book 'Mental Immunity' can help people navigate our chaos of disinformation, propaganda, hate, and division.
612: Life after lockdown
Bart and John talk about the current status of life in a waning pandemic, including: the psychology of lockdown, the permanency or otherwise of the changes, appetite for social life, impact on infants and high school seniors, the prospect of a rebounding economy and whether or not we took advantage of the 'magic' of the pause.
611: Israel and Palestine, with Salwa Duaibis and Gerard Horton
Before recent events in Israel and Palestine, Bart Campolo had this conversation with Salwa and Gerard of an organization called Military Court Watch in Jerusalem. In it, we hear about Salwa's experiences growing up in the region, and what drew Gerard to working there as an attorney. There are no easy answers about the conflict there, and we don't offer any in this episode. But human rights, humanist ideas and a focus on children are highlighted in a very insightful way.
610: Do you believe in miracles?
Bart and John discuss the a question from a listener called Paolo about believing in miracles. Even though he has many issues with the rational case for Christianity, Paolo's own experiences make him inclined to hold onto his faith. And let's be honest, we live in a world where weird things sometimes happen. Do you believe in miracles?
609: Lost Connections, with Johann Hari
Johann Hari is an international best-selling author, journalist and thinker who has written two books we especially love: Chasing the Scream (about drugs and addiction) and Lost Connections (about what produces depression). So he may be one of the most fitting guests we've had. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Johann talks about the purpose of pain, the value of community, understanding despair, how people learn social skills and friendship, why our intuitions on addiction may bewrong and our intuitions on depression may be right, the psychological poisons in our culture, releasing shame as an antidepressant, and much more. All things Johann can be found at JohannHari.com.
608: Transgender listener calls us out...
...in the nicest possible way. On a recent episode, Bart Campolo casually referred to a bar full of people you might like to strike up a conversation with, saying, 'There's a woman, there's a man, there's a woman who used to be a man.' A trans woman called Rya wrote us an email, in the process giving us the perfect model for how to address someone you disagree with. It was so perfect we thought we'd share it. Also on this episode, the music of New Tycoon (a song called Ancient from the album Wholiness).
607: Political Junkies, with Claire Potter
How do we recapture political nuance, thoughtfulness and open-mindedness at a time when alternative media has hooked us on politics and broke our democracy? Claire Potter is a Professor of History and co-Executive Editor of Public Seminar at The New School for Social Research in Greenwich Village, New York City. In this conversation, she and Bart Campolo talk about the state of our political discourse and the attitudes that can promote the change we all want to see.
606: Secular communities survey, with Joe Blankholm
Bart talks to Joe Blankholm, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who with his colleagues is conducting a survey of secular communities across the United States. Take the survey at http://secularcommunities.com/scs
605: Connection after deconstruction
A question from a former church pastor about finding connections and community with other people on the other side of faith. Bart thinks it's harder as an adult than when you were in high school or college, but has some thoughts that may inspire some practical moves. Things we mention during the episode:
604: Constructive disagreements, with David C. Smalley
How can we learn to have our disagreements across ideological divides more constructively and respectfully? David C. Smalley may be something of an expert at this point, having conducted hundreds of long-form conversations - many of them with Christians - on his podcast for the last 11 years. In this episode with Bart Campolo, David talks about how he approaches these on-air disagreements, and what allows him to stay friends with many of his guests after they hang up the phone.
603: Thoughts on the Inauguration
Bart and John share thoughts about the Inauguration of President Biden, the emotions it raises, what is entailed in turning the page as a nation, how to begin to bring Trump's most fervent supporters back into conversation, the importance of rituals like this, the Inauguration as a civic religious ceremony, and the actual religion in the ceremony - including the biggest bible we've ever seen.
602: Coping with insecurity, with songwriter Ali Tamposi
What does it take to cope in a high-pressure, competitive environment... without falling into harmful behavior? Ali Tamposi is a grammy-nominated songwriter who has written for some of the biggest names in pop music: Kelly Clarkson, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, John Legend, Ozzy Osbourne and many others. She's also Bart Campolo's daughter-in-law-to-be. Bart and Ali talk about what it's like to be in a songwriting session, how high-pressure, competitive environments can bring out everyone's insecurities, the better of her two coping strategies, how gender plays a role, how a good key relationship can make all the difference, and how you can't always change the room but rather what you bring to it.
601: Progressive Christians ALWAYS become atheists, with Konrad Benjamin
Bart joins Konrad Benjamin, host of the Australian podcast Ideas Digest, to talk about why he isn't a progressive Christian but rather a secular humanist, and to assert that they ALWAYS become atheists.
530: A very COVID Christmas
A coronavirus story, Bart’s contention that Christmas should be once every 4 years, and a reminder that life isn’t ‘supposed to’ be perfect.
529: Better conversations II, with David Fleischer
The second of two classic installments of this podcast that we’re posting on the topic of better conversations. Last week, we heard about the method called 'street epistemology'. This time, we're hearing about 'deep canvassing', used by our guest David Fleischer of the Los Angeles LGBT Center to change votes. We hope it’ll help you think about how to engage with people more productively, and enable some good interpersonal outcomes! Note: This is an edit comprised of TWO separate conversations with David, which originally appeared in episodes 423 and 429.
528: Better conversations, with Anthony Magnabosco
In a reprise of this classic conversation with Anthony Magnabosco, we talk about a conversational tool which can change the course - and productivity - of those most difficult exchanges, the ones between people who disagree on fundamental things in life. Anthony is an advocate of 'street epistemology', and it could be a very useful idea in these divided times. This is the first of two 'classic' episodes we're posting on the topic of better conversations. We hope it'll help you think about how to engage with people more productively, and enable some good interpersonal outcomes.
527: Stream of consciousness
Bart gives a stream-of-consciousness update from under his rock, including stark thoughts about the recent attempted suicide of a close friend, an unexpected gift from another, and an attempt to recenter around gratefulness. The classic article on chess Bart mentions (circa 1992) can be found at https://vault.si.com/vault/1992/03/02/the-child-is-the-master-playing-a-young-chess-prodigy-rekindled-the-authors-love-for-the-game
526: Re-Enchantment, with Daniel Shkolnik
This week we air Bart's interview on the podcast Re-Enchantment with host Daniel Shkolnik. We don't do this often, but we liked this interview a lot, and Daniel is a guy committed to the ideas we share so passionately.
525: Similar values, but contentious under the hood
524: Lessons from Haiti, with John Engle
John Engle, known for his work with Haiti Partners, joins Bart to answer the question, 'What have you learned from your work in Haiti that may be relevant to the tough times we're going through here in the United States this year?'
523: The Death of the Artist, with Bill Deresiewicz
Bill Deresiewicz is an award-winning essayist and critic who has written a new book. The book warns that the art we all love - music, books, films and much more - is in jeopardy. Based on his own deep research and interviews with artists and content creators, Bill is worried that the digital economy isn't supporting that art that sustains our souls, and that we are in the middle of a big transformation.
522: How should a humanist respond to the Falwell scandal?
A scandal for the ages has emerged about of one of the most prominent evangelical Christian leaders of the Trump era. In this episode, Bart and John attempt to answer the question, 'What would make a humanistic response to the situation with the Falwells?'
521: Christian culture, authenticity and Mega, with Holly Laurent and Greg Hess
Mega is an improvised satire from the staff of a fictional mega church, hosted by Holly Laurent and Greg Hess. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Holly and Greg talk about satirizing American Christianity, what makes it funny, and the mental gymnastics it takes to twist Jesus into a capitalist. But it doesn't take long before they're also talking - very personally - about being haunted by the evangelicalism of childhood, how to live authentically, recovery from trauma, undoing some of the Christian cultural lessons about sexuality after you're married, marriage itself and more.
520: Speech, tolerance and open debates, with Mark Oppenheimer (Part 2)
In this Part 2 with Mark Oppenheimer, recorded later after both had listened back to their first conversation, Mark and Bart return to take the earlier convo in a practical direction. Including: Facebook versus Letter to the Editor, steel-manning, don’t act in ways you wouldn’t let your kids act, diversity including identity and ideology, features of the 'new puritanism', the importance of hearing from the young and old, keeping kids off social media, how we may be living in the most humorless time in American history, and the importance of being committed to something.
519: 'Tragic optimism' by Esther Perel, unauthorized edit by Bart Campolo
A recent blog post by Esther Perel caught Bart Campolo's eye. In this brief, bonus episode, Bart reads his unauthorized edit of Perel's piece, which is about what we've lost in the pandemic, and how to cultivate collective resilience and 'tragic optimism'. Perel's original essay can be found at: https://estherperel.com/blog/anticipatory-grief?fbclid=IwAR3rD-qfdtNrUdQPgehl2f6156YJOEMTNooRjgZIaOcNtrUw1D5mnXuXxPM
518: Speech, tolerance and open debates, with Mark Oppenheimer (Part 1)
Mark Oppenheimer is a friend of this podcast who is a signatory to a recent open letter published by Harper's Magazine, in praise of open debate and tolerance for differing opinions, and against some aspects of 'cancel culture', dogmatism and censoriousness. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Mark chats about why he signed the letter, the limits and boundaries of free speech, the likeliest paths to progress, the effects of added scrutiny on writers at present and some of the reasons he thinks liberals have gotten less 'liberal'.
Read the letter at:
Read Ross Douthat's 10 theses on cancel culture at:
517: Is intimacy possible between people who have different worldviews?
'Hi Bart, I know in your podcast you talk a lot about people in 'suddenly interfaith' marriages, where one is a believer and the other has since left, and obviously there are obstacles, but what I want to know is: Does anything work? Is intimacy possible between people of radically different worldviews?' Bart's perspective: Sometimes. And there are some things that make it harder and other things that make it easier.
516: Should we deconvert people on the brink? with Leah Helbling
Leah Helbling is a close friend of Humanize Me and a member of the team at the humanist community Cincinnati Caravan with Bart Campolo. In this episode, the two chat about Leah's instinct to attempt to 'deconvert' those who are questioning their faith, and Bart's belief that many people are better off staying where they are. The friendly disagreement started when Bart answered a question in Episode 504 from a listener called Craig who found himself in that position.
515: Facing up to collective trauma
In this solo episode, Bart talks about seeing the current wave of protest and uprising - the most significant moment ever for the Black Lives Matter movement - in the context of collective trauma.
514: What are we to make of anti-natalism?
After talking a bit about insomnia, shaking hands with a local dog owner and dating in the pandemic, we turn to a voicemail asking Bart's opinion of anti-natalism, the philosophical position that ascribes a negative value to having babies.
513: Heaven and hell, with Bart Ehrman
Where did our popular ideas of heaven and hell come from? Did Jesus teach a doctrine of eternal torture? How did our ideas of the afterlife evolve? Bart Ehrman is the author of over 30 books, including six New York Times bestselling books explaining critical biblical scholarship to a popular audience. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Ehrman talks about the difference between agnosticism and atheism and why he considers himself both, why the words translated 'hell' don't mean what we think they do, how Jesus talked of 'eternal life', the early church theology of heaven and hell, how Jews of the 1st century understood bodily resurrection, the origin of the devil, our ideas of the afterlife and cosmic justice, whether we should try to deconvert people who are wavering in their faith, and more.
512: Missing Jesus in the pandemic
Two questions about missing prayer and church during the COVID-19 pandemic. Includes an update on life during lockdown.
511: Aftermath of Roman, and relationships in lockdown
Bart reflects on two recent episodes that have generated the most mail ever for this podcast, and offers some thoughts on how to improve relationships during this extended lockdown.
510: "You're out to ******* lunch, dad," with Roman Campolo
It's been a hard week for Bart! Episode 509 of this podcast featured his conversation with Michael Dowd, a fellow 'apocalyoptimist' who shares Bart's belief that a great societal collapse is inevitable, and that the current pandemic represents the beginning of a difficult time for humanity. Bart's son Roman Campolo listened, and hated the episode. Not only did Roman have strong criticisms of Dowd, collapse-thinking, and the tone and content of the conversation itself, but he feels that Bart is wasting his unique skill set and intellect on apocalyptic thinking at a time when he could be applying himself to this moment more effectively.
509: Post doom, with Michael Dowd
Three years ago to the week, Michael Dowd talked with Bart on this podcast about our modern way of life, sustainability and the future of civilization. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Bart could think of nobody he wanted to talk to about it more than Michael, so he's back! In this conversation, Bart and Michael talk about their shared sense that the pandemic will be followed by an economic recession or even depression, and that it signals the beginning of the end of our current way of life.
508: Connecting from afar
Bart and John are socially distancing, like most of America. What does that mean for our all-important human connections? In this episode, Bart talks about his humanist community, Caravan in Cincinnati, and how they're handling the crisis. Bart emphasizes the importance of listening to each other, reaching out, asking how people are doing and genuinely hearing the answer, and more.
507: Initial thoughts on an emerging global crisis
It was a bad week to be away. But while Bart Campolo was gone on a family trip, the world changed. After coming back, Bart shares his thoughts about the emerging global crisis being caused by COVID-19. Quick note: We briefly talk about our worst fears for our modern way of life, including Bart's long-held belief that the economy is unsustainable and could collapse into an economic depression. If you don't want to hear negative thoughts right now, and want to go straight to the more hopeful and practical stuff, skip at 9:42 and resume at 14:35.
506: When to tell people you've deconverted, and 2 other questions
On this Q&A episode of the podcast, we take 3 questions in a row! Question 1 is about why Bart decided to tell his parents he wasn't a Christian anymore at the time he did, and how the calculation would have been different if he wasn't a 'professional Christian'. Questions 2 is about starting humanist communities like Caravan in Cincinnati. Bart talks about Caravan and how one may go about using it as a template for new communities. Question 3 is about the impulse to avoid hanging with old friends one doesn't see much anymore, who you suspect may want to change your mind and get you back into your old life.
505: A journey in human rights, with Greg Asbed
Greg Asbed is a human rights strategist developing a new model—worker-driven social responsibility (WSR) for improving conditions for low-wage workers within the twenty-first-century labor market.
504: In the pew but questioning
Bart takes a call from a questioning Christian looking for advice on who and what to listen to. It's a reminder that our listeners aren't all in the same place on their religious journey, and Bart shares some thoughts on the many paths ahead.
503: Rituals and our nature, with Sasha Sagan
In previous episodes of this podcast, we've established that rituals are important. But why? And how is it connected to our own nature, and the nature around us? Sasha Sagan has written a book all about the subject. It would be hard to imagine a more 'Humanize Me' book, and by such a gifted communicator! In this conversation, Bart Campolo talks with Sasha about the kinds of rituals we have, how they operate for secular people, encouraging deeper thinking about why we mark the occasions we do, and how to create good conversations around them. Sasha Sagan is a writer and speaker living in Boston. She shares another feature with Bart: a famous dad. Carl Sagan, the popular cosmologist and science communicator, was a huge influence in Sasha's life, and they talk about him near the end of their conversation. Her book, 'For Small Creatures Such as We', can be found on Amazon.
502: On answering your questions
Bart Campolo has been a counselor in one context or another for many decades. As listeners to this podcast, we invite you to submit your questions! Are you looking for advice about a relationship in your life? Got a friend in a predicament? Want to know how to handle a situation? Call us at the number on our site - HumanizeMePodcast.com - or write your message at BartCampolo.org/Contact.
501: 'A Cripple's Dance', with Gabriel "Freaque" Rodreick
'How are you not freaking out?' is the question Gabe asks in one of the two songs we play in this inaugural episode of 2020. Gabe is an artist, musician, poet and more. His C5 spinal injury, incurred when he was 15 years old, left him paralyzed from the armpits down. What more could there be to freak out about? In this conversation, Bart talks with Gabe about finding a room of one's own in a hostile world, his art including an electronic rock opera telling the story of his life, sexuality and intimacy as a disabled person, music as therapy, Gabe's agnosticism about God and more. Gabe's music can be found on Spotify under his stage name Freaque. He's also on YouTube.
439: Faith and the post-believer
It's an end-of-the-year podcast from Bart Campolo, who answers a question from a listener called John. John wants to know whether faith (of a sort) can still be useful for a post-Christian, whether believing something without evidence can sometimes have its benefits. Bart answers with a riff on the difference between optimism and hope, and thinks about its applicability to the new decade we're going into this week.
438: Christian climate skeptics and why rhetoric matters, with Emma Bloomfield
Emma Bloomfield researches the intersection of science and religious rhetoric, particularly around issues of climate change, human origins and the body. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Emma talks about how Christians tend to think differently about science and the environment, the three ‘types’ of religious climate skeptic (separators, bargainers and harmonizers), the similarities and differences between creationists and climate change skeptics, how language matters, how ideological 'purity' and orthodoxy can push people away from contributing to positive change, the importance of storytelling, and why she feels hopeful after her conversations with the groups she wrote about.
437: Three questions about navigating the holidays after faith
Thanksgiving has been and gone, and now we're into a whole month of Christmas in America. How does one navigate a time that can be very tricky for those who have deconverted from faith? In this Q&A episode of our podcast, Bart Campolo tries to answer three questions related to being post-faith at the holidays.
436: A Christian with 'Zero Theology', with John Tucker
John Tucker used to be a literalist Christian, but says he has now rejected the 'belief paradigm' to move beyond either accepting or rejecting the claims of religion. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, John lays out how he sees truth now, and says that he thinks religious claims should be expressed only as catch-22s. An example of a catch-22: 'The only acceptable evidence for religious belief is evidence that is unacceptable.' Confused by this, Bart explores what John means by it.
435: Thought-provoking science fiction
Bart and John answer a question about the sci-fi that humanists might love.
434: Unveiled, with Yasmine Mohammed
Yasmine Mohammed wore the hijab from the age of 9, but never felt comfortable as a Muslim. Now, having been out of the faith for many years, she's able to reflect on her remarkable life, on the Islamic world and on religious indoctrination in general. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Yasmine talks about the differences between Islam and Christianity, the powerful, debilitating effect she felt of being covered from head to toe, how easy it is to indoctrinate children, how western governments protect subjugation out of cultural sensitivity, how western liberals protect abusive behavior, how corporations are demonetizing her and others like her, and how humanist values should pertain to Islam.
433: Should it worry me that the government is demonizing secular people?
The question being asked this week: 'Hey Bart, I listened to a speech by Attorney General William Barr at Notre Dame University, in which he denounced ‘militant secularists’ and said they were trying to destroy the ‘traditional moral order’. Does this worry you as much as it does me?' Bart Campolo sits down with John Wright to answer this question, and - spoiler - it's a resounding 'Yes.'
432: The meaning of cartoons, with Josh 'Phantom' Strider
Josh 'Phantom' Strider is an Australian YouTuber known for his commentary on cartoons. He's also an avid listener of the Humanize Me podcast and one of our supporters on Patreon! In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Josh talks about the secularism of Disney, the messages of VeggieTales, the importance of cartoons for those like him on the autism spectrum, the business model of YouTube, Hank Green and the online content ecosystem.
A solo podcast by Bart Campolo with poetry, songs and nepotism.
430: What It Means to Be Moral, with Phil Zuckerman
How do we decide whether it's good or bad to intervene in global warming or growing inequality? Or how to treat our dog? Phil Zuckerman has written a new book giving a foundational framework for secular - nonreligious - morality. In this conversation Phil talks with Bart Campolo about the four reasons you can't get morality from God, and the ways to build a secular ethic that, he thinks, is a better one. They discuss the problems with a God-based morality, the Euthyphro Dilemma and the nature of morality itself. They get into a debate about how objective morality is, and talk about how to get an 'ought' from an 'is'. And, hopefully, they'll leave you with the idea that the basis for how unbelievers act in the world is not grounded on nothing.
429: Changing Minds Part II, with David Fleischer
In Episode 423 of this podcast, David Fleischer talked with Bart Campolo about changing minds with the methodology of 'deep canvassing.' In this episode, David returns! He and Bart talk about the next election, Trump as the opposite of loving and humanist, how to encourage people to vote without shaming them about not voting last time, how the lessons of deep canvassing relate to the conversations people are having about faith in God, and more.
428: High profile deconversions and secular 'churches'
Joshua Harris's well-known 1997 Christian book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, shaped the relationships and sexual ethics of many of the young people who read it. In recent years, Harris has apologized for the impact of his book, which he now regards as largely negative. Earlier this summer, it emerged that Harris has separated from his wife and no longer considers himself a Christian. Marty Sampson was a worship leader and singer-songwriter with Hillsong United, a band born at Hillsong church in Sydney that routinely topped the Christian charts worldwide. He recently wrote an Instagram post announcing the deconstruction of his faith. Bart and John discuss both.
427: Recovering from Religion, with Gayle Jordan
Gayle Jordan is the Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Recovering from Religion, which connects people with support on their journeys out of religious faith. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Gayle talks about her own deconversion story, the work of her organization, the helpline it operates, the common issues people face after losing or leaving faith, and encouraging people to get involved.
426: Most meaningful episodes of other podcasts
In this episode, Bart Campolo talks about the most meaningful or humanizing episodes of other podcasts. It's 20 minutes of thoughtful recommendations! Here are the individual episodes we recommend most highly. To hear why they're recommended, listen to the episode! Enjoy.
Hidden Brain: Creating God and The Vegetable Lamb
RadioLab: From Tree to Shining Tree
WTF with Marc Maron: Irwin Winkler
The Daily: The Legacy of Rachel Held Evans
On Being: Rebecca Solnit and Alain de Botton
The Moth: Leaping Forward
Making Sense with Sam Harris: Conscious
This American Life: Tell Me I'm Fat
Song Exploder: St. Vincent - New York
TED Radio Hour: How We Love
Malcolm Gladwell: The Hug Heard Round the World
425: Fathers and their sons, with Roman Campolo
Not every family allows you to listen in on their personal conversations. But in this episode, Bart Campolo sits down with his son Roman where they talk about fathers and sons, Bart's relationship with his dad Tony, competitiveness, choosing diplomacy over conflict, Bart's self-identity as a guy who doesn't put his best effort into succeeding, and the question of whether changing situations is easier than changing your resilience to them. Part 2 of this conversation can be found on Patreon.com/HumanizeMe.
424: Making the most of life, with Hemant Mehta
This classic conversation with The Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta, is one of the most shared episodes we've ever done. Hemant talks with Bart Campolo about squeezing more life out of our awareness of death, and making the most of the precious opportunity we have in our moments of consciousness.
423: How to change someone's mind, with David Fleischer
Want to change someone's mind? David Fleischer, of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, has discovered more reliably than perhaps anybody else how to do it. As he puts it: 'We’re the first to reduce any form of prejudice in a measurable, long-lasting way with a relatively simple intervention: a 10 minute one-on-one conversation that we call deep canvassing.' In this episode of Humanize Me, David joins Bart Campolo for a conversation about his background story, how he started experimenting with different ways to talk to the people who voted against them on California's Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in 2008, his view that progressive people especially have an irrational confidence in rationality', how human rapport, common ground and stories are the basis of changing minds, and how listening is at the heart of it all.
422: What if I find other people boring?
On Episode 420, we answered a question from a listener about gaining confidence in social situations. Bart Campolo's advice centered around showing curiosity in others, and making the interactions about the other people. But what if you don't find other people interesting? What if you're not curious at all about the people in these social settings? How should one cultivate such curiosity? In this episode, Bart has lots of thoughts in a row.
421: 'Leaving the Witness', with Amber Scorah
Amber Scorah was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. She tells the story of her 'deconversion' in her book, 'Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life'. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Amber talks about what it was like to believe fully, what it's like to disbelieve now, how her relationships were affected, the death of her young son Karl on his first day in childcare, her views on life now, and much more.
420: How to be confident in social situations
This question is one about confidence: 'I love the stuff you guys are doing about friendship, but I think it assumes a level of confidence in social situations that I don’t feel. How do I generate the kind of confidence that will enable me to initiate conversations or hold my own in social settings?' Bart has no fast-track to universal confidence to offer, but in this episode he shares a multi-point strategy that will give you a solid footing in social situations and lead to higher confidence.
419: Restoration after tragedy, with Dr. Kate Wiebe
When a tragedy happens, people tend to run from the pain. Dr. Kate Wiebe runs toward it. Kate is the founder and director of the Institute for Trauma and Growth, which started with a focus on faith communities and has since expanded. When a mass shooting, disaster or other tragedy strikes, Kate and her team deploy to teach leaders restorative strategies for personal and group growth. In this episode, Bart Campolo talks with Kate about what she's learned about trauma and crises, why people don’t go to counseling, collective trauma, the bond of survivors, healing, the role of faith and (even secular) spirituality, being heard, resiliency and more.
417: Dave Warnock is dying out loud
'I’m in no hurry to exit this world. I love this world, I love life, I love people, I love community, I love humanity, I love conversations, I love sex, I love all the things that make life good. I love a good cigar, I love to have my bourbon, I love a good meal, I love seeing a sunset at the ocean.' - Dave Warnock on Humanize Me. Dave is a former pastor turned humanist who earlier this year was diagnosed with ALS. In response to his diagnosis, a community of secular people rallied around Dave, and they believe his story and attitude is an inspiration. We agree!
416: Why do we hurt those we love?
Why are we meanest to those we're closest to? 'Facebook Bob' asks whether we're monsters for this tendency, or whether we simply don't think there'll be any significant consequences for lashing out. Bart Campolo and John Wright talk about it, and the need for greater self-awareness.
415: The social impact of the internet, with Hank Green
Way back in April 2017, Hank Green joined us on the podcast. But chances are, many of you who listen in 2019 have never heard it! On this week's episode, Bart Campolo introduces that classic conversation, in which he and Hank talk about individuals versus groups, how to get on the same page with people in your life, how to make the most of your talents and opportunities, and how to humanize the internet. Hank Green is a web content producer, vlogger, and now author. His new book, out now, is called An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.
414: Where was Bart last week? Grief and the Platinum Rule
Where was Bart last week, why didn't he answer anyone's emails or calls, and why didn't we release a new episode of the podcast? That's what producer John Wright demands to know at the start of this week's Q&A episode. In response, Bart lets us in on a week of private grief, and some of the thoughts that accompany it. We finish the episode with a 10-minute guided meditation / thought exercise with the aim of helping us love others more effectively.
413: Help! My daughter is interested in a boy!
A listener question prompts Bart Campolo to give some advice about how to open up good conversations with your children about sex and relationships. Our listener is the mother of a 12 year-old girl, who, it is discovered, is interested in a boy at school. The girl's father is panicking and concerned while the mother simply wants to ask how to keep her daughter out of trouble.
412: Don't panic about porn! with Dr. Marty Klein
Sex expert and therapist Dr. Marty Klein has a lot to say about pornography. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Marty talks about porn and relationships, how people are ultimately responsible for the narrative they're telling themselves, the importance of novelty in human sexuality, the 'contracts' people have in relationships, how people respond to the aging process, and how to take the first step in addressing conflict over pornography. Marty has been a certified sex therapist for over 35 years and is a popular media figure and speaker. His book on the subject, His Porn, Her Pain, is so good that Bart has read it twice.
411: Why don't you become a Unitarian Universalist?
A listener named Benjamin calls to ask why Bart feels the need to 'reinvent the wheel' with secular community-building, rather than simply join a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Benjamin says that he himself has found what he's looking for at a UU church. Bart responds to Ben's question, saying that he loves the UU movement but it didn’t feel like a fit for him personally. Bart goes on to talk about some of the potential differences between communities.
410: Insights of an openly atheist minister, with Gretta Vosper
Gretta Vosper is an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada who, as a self-professed atheist, has survived an official review from her denomination and continues to serve as the pastor of her congregation. In this conversation, Bart Campolo talks with Gretta about the story of the last few years, why she stays in her church, what her congregation believes about a supernatural God (Gretta doesn't think it matters), whether the foundational narrative underlying the good morality Gretta is teaching is important or not, the differences between the United States and Canada and whether the social safety net has an effect on the amount of religiosity, and their shared mission.
409: Climate change - a redo!
In episode 407, Bart and John attempted to answer the question of a 15 year-old listener who wondered aloud why people aren't freaking out more, and doing more, about climate change. In the wake of that episode, Bart heard from many other listeners who didn't think we nailed it. So, this is our attempt at a redo! Let us know what you think.
408: Is the paranormal proof of transcendent consciousness? with Mark Gober
Bart Campolo is a materialist, which means that he thinks that the physical universe and its movements are the basis of all reality, and that human consciousness, morality, meaning and everything else comes from physical nature. So you may consider it odd that Bart would have Mark Gober on his podcast, whose book argues that science has proven the existence of consciousness beyond the human body. Gober says that there is evidence for the existence of phenomena like telepathy, precognition, remote viewing and psychokinesis, and that this evidence has convinced him that consciousness transcends the human brain. Needless to say, Bart disagrees with this, but these kinds of views are common in our society, especially among people who are not part of 'organized religion'. So, while this conversation is not a debate, it's a lively discussion of why Mark thinks these claims are valid, particularly as someone who was once a materialist like Bart.
407: How to cope with coming apocalypse
The earth is in trouble and nobody seems to care. That's the observation of Josie, 15, who called the podcast after hearing more and more about humanity's biggest challenges during science class.
406: Is pro-semitism a thing? with the hosts of Unorthodox
Is it even a word? Bart Campolo’s reaction to the anti-semitic shooting in Pittsburg was to reach out to his Jewish friends and ask how they were doing. It made him wonder if there is a way to be actively pro-semitic, and to support Jews more. To answer this, Bart reached out to the hosts of the most popular Jewish podcast in existence, Unorthodox. Mark Oppenheimer, Stephanie Butnick and Liel Leibovitz chatted with Bart in this fun conversation about philo-semitism, stereotypes of Jewish people, the places where people can get to know more Jews, how to be part of a group identity, tribalism and bagel-sniffing.
405: Bart has a new community idea
A letter this week from a listener who says he's hungry for community with like-minded secular people is just the latest one like it. But this one couldn't have come at a better time, or landed on more fertile soil. Two Sundays ago, Bart Campolo and a team of like-minded people held their first content-driven gathering at his new house in Cincinnati. The theme of the event was, 'Paying Attention.' They have decided to hold these meetings once every 2 weeks, with a different theme each week. Bart has a hunch that their material may be of interest to the wider Humanize Me community, and his team are excited to share their format.
404: A deep dive into pyrotheology, with Peter Rollins
You can be forgiven for not being familiar with 'pyrotheology', the lifelong philosophy project of Peter Rollins. In this episode of Humanize Me, Bart Campolo attempts a philosophical deep dive with Pete, a friend of the podcast for years. It’s a very lively, argumentative conversation on the differences between Bart and Pete on human drive and desire, humanism, religion, death, meaning and meaninglessness. Along the way, the pair touch on dialectics, human evolution, dual instincts, psychoanalysis, Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, ontological antagonism, fundamentalism and the death of God.
403: Can insignificance be liberating?
One of our listeners read an interview with Conan O'Brien in the New York Times last week, wherein Conan embraces the idea of his own coming irrelevance, and that of his work. Our listener finds it both 'liberating and depressing,' and Bart Campolo has lots to say about this, attempting to give an answer.
402: A humanist congregation, local issues, with James Croft
James Croft is the Outreach Director of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, a longstanding humanist congregation, and one of the largest in the world. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, James talks about what his congregation is doing to engage with the issues of St. Louis, a place which has made many headlines in the past number of years for racial strife. James subscribes to 'deed before creed', an interest less in what people believe and more in what they commit to doing. His congregation is creating safe places to ask questions that people are worried about asking, or which may be loaded, in areas like LGBTQ matters or on topics like white fragility. In addition, he and Bart get into a discussion on the usefulness of protests and revolutions versus better conversations (spoiler: they eventually agree that both are of use).
401: Reflections from a new grandfather
It's a new year! A time for fresh ideas and new beginnings, and so much has been happening in Bart Campolo's life that this episode serves as an update and a reflection on various themes, including: how helping a parent cross life's finish line can focus the mind and change your plans, how the birth of a first grandchild a few days later can turn the whole thing into a 'circle of life' motif, while turning attention on the kind of world they're being born into, how suddenly becoming aware of your own habits and behaviors can give you a desire to change them.
338: Ho ho ho!
A quick Christmas greeting from Bart Campolo, urging secular folks like himself to embrace the holiday for what it is, and be their best humanist selves during the season.
337: An old friend and a worldview challenged, with Matthew Rodreick
Bart Campolo's oldest and closest friend, Matthew Rodreick, is this week's guest on the podcast. Matthew's life has been shaped by his son Gabe's spinal cord injury, sustained around a decade ago when Gabe was 16.
336: Is there a truly selfless act?
Today's caller was in line at a drive-through coffee place, and decided to pay for the people behind her in line. But she realized that, in the course of doing so, the rewarding feeling she got from the act may have been the reason she did it in the first place. And that led to her question: 'Is there actually an unselfish act? And if there isn't, are we doing it for the right reasons? Can there even be an unselfish act and if there is, would that be good?'
335: Is spiritual language disappearing? with Jonathan Merritt
Language really shapes how we think about things. After Jonathan Merritt moved from the South to New York City, he discovered that the words he had always used to describe spiritual life didn’t resonate anymore! The more pluralistic and postmodern the society, he observed, the less language people seem to have for spiritual experience. Jonathan is so sure that this is a problem, he wrote a book about it - Learning to Speak God from Scratch - which he and Bart Campolo chat about in this episode. They talk about the resurgence of the religious right and the desire of many Christians to separate themselves from it, the importance of language to describe good and kind forms of spirituality, Jonathan’s own beliefs, the importance of good questions and our comfort level talking about our spiritual lives.
334: Should we avoid talking politics over Thanksgiving?
Let's be honest: Spending time cooped up with family and friends on holidays like Thanksgiving can present some interesting conversational challenges for many of us. With that in mind, our question this week is about the idea of putting a moratorium on political chat over the holidays, and whether Bart - as someone who famously had a very serious ideological conversation with his parents on Thanksgiving - has any advice about which topics work on that kind of occasion.
333: When I Spoke in Tongues, with Jessica Wilbanks
Jessica Wilbanks grew up in a fundamentalist Pentecostal church on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, and then, at 16, walked away from the church. Ever since, she's been haunted by the world she left behind and wrote a book about it, just released: When I Spoke in Tongues (available on Amazon). In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Jessica talks about growing up in her family, the "loss of an assumptive world" with her loss of faith, having a nervous breakdown in college, transcendent experiences and the Holy Spirit, the early days of Pentecostalism, her mother defending her from an angry pastor, her bisexuality and more.
332: Can't pray... now what?
Sometimes, in the face of big problems in the world, doing everything we can reasonably do stills feels inadequate. Consider the question this week, which is about missing prayer, and the helplessness it can provoke. Bart begins a multi-faceted answer, but partway through begins to doubt his own wisdom on this. After some reassurance, he sees it through to the conclusion: we should do whatever we can, and give ourselves a break about what we can't.
331: Rethinking psychedelics, with Ashley Booth
Just say no! That's the mantra most of us have picked up from authority figures in our lives about drugs of all sorts, no matter their category. But for our guest Ashley Booth and a growing number of scientists, doctors and thinkers, it's become clear that our culture threw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to the usefulness of psychedelics. This particular class of compounds - psilocybin, LSD, DMT and others - is special. They provide strange, unusual forms of consciousness, changing the perspectives of those who take them so much that their experiences can be life-changing.
330: What makes a good ritual? with Keith Page
Some of the things people abandon when they leave the church are rituals. But this week's Q&A features a voicemail by listener Morris Bird, who asks: 'What are your thoughts generally on the role of rituals in secular communities, and what makes a good ritual, and how are good rituals designed and implemented into a community?'
329: Becoming an 'Evidist', with Jeff Haley & Dale McGowan
Don't worry; if you've never heard of 'evidism', you're not alone. This is a term coined by the guests in this episode, inventor Jeff Haley and author Dale McGowan, to describe people committed to fact-based, evidence-based thinking. In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Haley and McGowan talk about their book, Sharing Reality: How to Bring Secularism and Science to an Evolving Religious World, and their ideas for how to have better, more evidence-based conversations with people who have different worldviews.
328: Cultivating friendship - who to choose?
How does one decide who to pick to be friends with? Bart Campolo and John Wright look at this question as a sort of 'Part 2' to the last Q&A about cultivating good friendships: 'I really enjoyed Episode 326 where you guys talked about how being interested in other people is the first step to having good friendships, but my question is, who should I be focusing on? Who should I invest in or try to get closer to when I build a nice friendship? Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.'
327: Alternatives to monogamy, with Dedeker Winston
No defaults. That's how Dedeker Winston, and her romantic partners Jase and Alex, see the foundation of their relationship structure: conscious, intentional choice around a lifestyle that works for the people involved in it, rather than defaulting to the monogamy (or serial monogamy) of our culture. As a former evangelical Christian, Dedeker not only left behind her faith but also many of the ideas based on it, like its messages about sex and relationships.
326: How do I cultivate loving relationships?
It's a line Bart Campolo uses a lot in this podcast and elsewhere, that the essence of life is cultivating loving relationships with other people. Today's question asks how to begin the process of doing that, including the line, 'I’m never sure what he means or what I’m supposed to do.' Bart borrows heavily from Dale Carnegie's classic advice, which he uses to break it down to a single, basic point.
325: AA Beyond Belief, with Joe C
It's often noted that Alcoholics Anonymous sounds like a religious movement, with its appeal to a 'Higher Power'. But Joe C. is the founder of a group called AA Beyond Belief, which he says exists to provide a space for AA agnostics, atheists and freethinkers worldwide. Bart Campolo has wanted to have a conversation with a secular person deep in the AA world for a long time, and Joe C. is that person! Many people have been helped and find their community in groups like his, and Bart wanted to explore how it looks for Joe, people in recovery and those in his group in particular.
324: Is it really okay to favor our own groups?
Bart Campolo thinks his kids are the best in the world. Well, not objectively speaking, right? Well, sort of! I mean, he really prefers his kids to your kids. But he hopes you do too. Is that right? Is that okay? And is there any problem with that sort of 'us-them' mentality?
323: Street Epistemology with Anthony Magnabosco
It's not a term most people use every day, but street epistemology is a thing. Anthony Magnabosco is one of its more prominent ambassadors, largely because he routinely captures his efforts on video and posts them on the internet. What is street epistemology? It's a conversational tool which uses Socratic questioning to help people expose the underlying methods by which they arrived at their beliefs, thereby subjecting those beliefs to scrutiny. Examples of Anthony at work can be found on YouTube, and the website can be found at StreetEpistemology.com.
322: How to be alone without freaking out
This week's question comes from a listener who has a very difficult time being alone. 'When my girlfriend goes away on business trips,' he writes, 'I experience a ton of anxiety. And it isn't that I'm jealous of her - I'm I'm totally glad that she's having these experiences - but I get really anxious and my tendency is to want to immediately fill that space with with someone so that I don't have to have that negative feeling of being all alone, which I really hate. Is there something wrong with me?'
321: Secrets with Frank Warren
Curating peoples' secrets. It's a decidedly odd vocation, but Frank Warren has been doing it for a long time now through his ever-popular online art project, PostSecret.com. People anonymously send Frank their most intimate, private, beautiful, scandalous, horrifying, amazing, unspoken thoughts on postcards (yes, through the mail!) and Frank posts a new batch of them every Sunday on the site.
320: Where do you get your morality?
In this episode Bart takes a question that, he joked upon hearing it, may easily have come from his Christian father: 'What is the basis for your morality?' And why?
319: The Art of Community with Charles Vogl
Charles Vogl helps leaders transform loneliness and separation into connection and belonging. His book, The Art of Community, is the book Bart Campolo says he always wished he had to recommend to people who wanted to build their own groups and nurture them.
318: How to do a platonic coffee date
Bart answers a question from a listener called Erin, who called our ‘Q Line’ to ask how to start to make new connections with someone she wants to be friends with.
317: Human-centered design with Kate and Ramsey
Human centered design (HCD), and its closely-related sibling, impact design, is about understanding challenges facing people or society, and working with others to design solutions to those challenges. Design thinking is an interdisciplinary thing, a collaborative process and a highly skilled area. Kate Hanisian and Ramsey Ford are the co-founders of Cincinnati-based 'Design Impact', leading a team of people working on a range of things like social inequality, community and social change. This conversation they had with Bart Campolo is recorded a little differently than most episodes of Humanize Me, and is more like listening in on a chat in a coffee shop!
316: He told my 5 year-old son he's going to Hell!
On this week’s Q&A episode, Bart answers a question from a listener called Matt concerning his 5 year-old son, who was given an abrupt - and nasty - theology lesson from his 6 year-old cousin recently.
315: Sexy, but not an object, with Glenda Jordan
Glenda Jordan makes money by being sexy, and dancing on stages in a form of adult entertainment. But that doesn't mean that she is merely a sex object, or that she gives up her humanity to do it. So what's the difference between objectification and empowerment? In this conversation with Bart Campolo, Glenda talks about how the female body is seen by males from the early stages of a woman's life, the attention women get whether they want it or not, physical safety as a woman, and social conditioning in men. At the center: sexuality is about context, and there are both appropriate and inappropriate contexts in which to look at, enjoy and - yes - sexualize the female form.
314: Why, Anthony Bourdain?
Suicide is on the minds of the many after some prominent ones in the past week or two. So today, we get to a question close to the hearts of the rest of us: what does this teach the rest of us?
313: Former megachurch pastor Kent Dobson thinks differently
Like Bart, Kent Dobson had a prominent Christian father, and, like Bart, Kent finds himself a post-evangelical. But, although their journeys share some similarities, these two have not ended up in the same place. In this wide-ranging conversation, Kent talks about his current work with a values-based community that includes believers and non-believers, being part of (and pastor of) the Michigan megachurch founded by Rob Bell, the ‘faith unraveling’ since, the state of Israel, the work of Carl Jung, trying on different theological ‘hats’, and the (not so easy to answer) question of whether there’s a personal force in the universe.
312: Why do we still cry out in times of crisis?
Bart Campolo doesn’t believe in God anymore. But recently, while attempting to ride a new tandem bicycle for the first time, he fell, damaging his wrist, and immediately cried out: 'Why? Why me!' It seems to be instinctive behavior for homo sapiens, but how should we think about it? Is it good to ‘lean in’ to these instincts, or should we try to avoid personifying the universe and crying out for help in this way?
311: Women Who Explore with Lindsay MacNevin
Have you ever wanted to get into the outdoors more but been a little intimidated by other groups who do? Or do you find it hard finding groups where everybody is open to new friendships? Women Who Explore is a community dedicated to getting women into the outdoors, and it’s ended up creating hundreds of new friendships in the process, all in the past year. Its co-founder, Lindsay MacNevin, is a Canadian former travel writer who joins Bart to talk about her project.
310: How should we respond to the homeless?
When you're asked for money by a homeless person, or pass someone who appears to be homeless standing in a doorway or on a street corner, how should you respond? That's the topic addressed in this, the first of Humanize Me's Q&A episodes. Bart Campolo is joined by the podcast's producer John Wright to attempt to answer the question, which came in from a listener called Mark.
309: Are we really free to make our own choices? with Dan Barker
Well, are we? It’s a weird thought that the experience we all share – of making our own decisions, freely choosing our next move – is nothing more than an illusion. But the science leans that way, and Dan Barker has engaged with the subject more than most. Dan is an activist, an author and speaker who serves as the co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. He’s sued the government, talked about atheism with Oprah, debated with Sean Hannity and hung out with Christopher Hitchens. And he agrees with Sam Harris about free will, but has his own thoughts on the implications of that conclusion.
308: Science Mike (Mike McHargue)
In this episode Bart talks (a lot) with new pal Mike McHargue, aka Science Mike, whose two podcasts, Ask Science Mike and The Liturgists (with Michael Gungor) are huge among the still-kinda-Christian-but-with-lots-of-questions crowd.
307: A chat with my dad about the film, with Tony Campolo
It's here! For all of you who have been waiting patiently to see the documentary film Leaving My Father's Faith – capturing Bart's conversation with his dad Tony Campolo on the subject of his leaving Christianity – the film is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video and Vimeo On Demand. This episode is a chat between Bart, Tony via phone and John Wright, the director of the new film. They reflect on the release of the film, what it captures, reactions to it, and how they feel it portrays them and their interactions on this touchy but important subject.
306: A Conversation With Rabbi Daniel Bogard
Daniel Bogard is a Jewish rabbi who’s passionate about building bridges across faith and cultural borders. He’s also a deep thinking, warm feeling, easy talking person with whom Bart has a terrific conversation about, well… a whole bunch of stuff.
305: What everyday people can do to prevent suicide, with Jennifer Wright-Berryman
Jennifer Wright-Berryman is a suicidologist in the School of Social Work at the University of Cincinnati and is currently the lead researcher for a peer-to-peer, school-based program called Hope Squad. Jennifer is an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati and has a PHD in Social Work from the University of Indiana.
304: Ryan Bell – the new Humanist Chaplain at USC
Ryan Bell is a former pastor who became an atheist after spending a year without God as an experiment. He started and hosts the popular blog and podcast Life After God and is now both the National Organizing Manager for the Secular Student Alliance, as well as the new Humanist Chaplain at the University of Southern California, a position that Bart held before moving back to Cincinnati.
303: The art of an apology
What does a real apology look like? What is the difference between remorse and regret? Between saying sorry and asking for forgiveness? Bart talks about how to make an authentic apology and shares some stories from his own life that have shaped his own apologies.
302: What happens when an evangelical megachurch becomes LGBTQ+ inclusive, with Ryan Meeks
Ryan Meeks is the founding pastor of EastLake Community Church outside of Seattle, Washington. A couple of years ago, EastLake became one of the first evangelical megachurches in America to support full inclusion and affirmation of LGBTQ+ people. In the process, Ryan also transitioned out of evangelicalism. The fallout was huge but still hundreds stayed.
301: Sammy Rangel's turnaround from violent extremism
Sammy Rangel is a transformed man: a former far-right extremist who had a powerful change in his life and is now the Executive Director of Life After Hate, a nonprofit that works with ‘radicalized' individuals in extremist movements and assists them in leaving the movements and reforming their lives (among other things).
224: On men, masculinity, and their nature
How do men take the natural thoughts and urges they have and channel them appropriately? How do men grapple with their nature, while remaining safe and steadfast for the women in their lives?
Bart tells a story from his days as a Christian evangelist after having been to a storytelling workshop. In this episode he talks about storytelling as one of the most powerful tools that we have, and which binds us together as a tribe.
222: Catching Up, the Cincinnati edition
Bart checks in from Cincinnati, his old neighborhood made new again. Catch up on current happenings, future plans and more.
221: On Meditation, with Jennifer Howd
Jennifer Howd is an author, a developmental editor, and a UCLA-certified mindfulness facilitator. In this episode, Bart and Jennifer talk about her book, her work and how the principles she's developed can help people live a better and more fulfilling life.
220: Death Salon, with Megan Rosenbloom
Megan Rosenbloom tells Bart about Death Salon, a knowledge and art project she directs and curates in an attempt to open up conversations and engagement with the subject of death. What is death denial? How has death been sanitized and hidden in popular culture?
219: 'Theology' after faith? with Kester Brewin
Kester Brewin is no longer a believer in a God, but holds some 'theology' and 'Christianity' even so. Bart and Kester have a transatlantic chat about life after belief and how they've both ended up in different places.
218: True secular care, with Jason Callahan
How can secular people care for each other when the chips are down? Jason Callahan is the chaplain for the Thomas Palliative Care Unit at VCU Massey Cancer Center in Virginia and instructor for the Departments of Patient Counseling and Pastoral Care at VCU. Jason is a seminary-educated secular chaplain, endorsed by the Humanist Society and nationally board-certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains.
217: Mea culpa
Bart eats some humble pie with an apology he felt compelled to make after the realization that he hasn't always come across the way he intended.
216: Ask Bart Anything!
Listener questions abound on this episode, posed in real time by Humanize Me producer John Wright, featuring topics raised on the podcast's Facebook group. On this episode: When to come out as an unbeliever to your pastor, what Bart's been reading lately, whether atheists can enjoy worship music, and who to thank for the pleasure of living, among other things.
215: The Pro-Truth Pledge, with Gleb Tsipursky
Gleb was involved in starting it. Bart signed up to it. Now, they're both committed to it. What is the Pro-Truth Pledge? How do we separate fact from fiction? And why did a group of scientists come together at this moment in history to do this?
214: Harry Potter as a sacred text, with Vanessa Zoltan
Bart chats with Vanessa Zoltan, a research assistant at Harvard Divinity School where she graduated who has been involved with the Humanist Hub at Harvard University and is well-known for her approach to reading books like Harry Potter as a sacred text.
213: What makes a good father? with Roman Campolo
Bart’s son Roman joins him for this chat, recorded on Father’s Day, in which they contemplate the nature of ‘fathering’ and the attributes of an ideal father figure in someone’s life. What are the factors that make someone a good mentor? How can fathers establish a reality model for the person they’re mentoring but stretch to understand their world too? Is religion based on a father complex? To what extent did Bart’s own values stick with Roman, and what does Roman think now?
212: When clergy stop believing, with Drew Bekius
Like Bart, Drew Bekius is a former Christian minister who stopped believing and left the faith he held for so long. Bart and Drew talk about their journey, the view on the other side of faith, the plight of unbelieving clergy, compassion for those in that position and what they're both doing now that they're no longer evangelical pastors.
211: The ‘Interfaithless' meet on the beach
Ex-Mormons. Ex-Scientologists. Ex-Jehovah Witnesses. Ex-Evangelicals. They were all there at sunset at Morris Bird's bi-annual gathering on the beach, cooking ribs and meeting each other. Some had travelled for hours to get there, desperate for community with those like them.
On this episode, Bart chats with Morris about such communities and how they may be inspired by those who are doing it already.
210: American sex, with Lisa Wade
What kind of sex are Americans having? Will the Americans of the future have different sexual values than Americans of the past? What should our sexual values be, anyhow? Lisa Wade is a world expert – maybe the world expert – on hookup culture among U.S. college students. Her book, American Hookup, details her research into a culture that a growing number of people worry about.
209: Humanizing the internet, with Hank Green
Hank Green is a digital creator and content producer with popular YouTube channels such as Vlogbrothers and Crash Course. He reached out to Bart with some interesting thoughts about the digital age and humanism, leading to this podcast, in which the two explore things like: shared values and what helps people flourish, Hank’s approach to productivity, Bart’s technophobia, and the challenges of how to incorporate the internet into our lives healthfully.
208: Wanna start a community? Don't have a manifesto
In our second episode intended to help those who want to start their own local secular community, Bart warns against manifestos, vision statements, lists of values and other formalized statements of belief for emerging secular groups.
207: The future of society, with Michael Dowd
Is society going to suffer a collapse from unsustainability worse than the Great Depression sometime in the not-too-distant future? Both Bart and his guest for this episode, self-described ‘apocaloptimist' Michael Dowd, think so.
206: In quest of of better conversations, with Jared Seide
Bart talks with former Hollywood jack-of-all-trades turned super-cool master facilitator Jared Seide about Council, an age-old practice that involves bringing people together in a circle for candid and heartfelt conversations. Participants speak one at a time, sharing their personal stories and experiences, rather than opinions, and listen intently while others do the same.
205: Wanna start a community? Start talking!
In this - the first of two episodes on the topic - Bart talks about taking the first steps to starting your own secular community wherever you are. Consider it a practical guide to the first moves Bart recommends making, and how to talk about it to your friends and family.
204: Just another liberal do-gooder
In this episode, Bart shares an email from a listener who called him a 'just another liberal do-gooder.' Bart responded with kindness at the prompting of a student called Katie, and lessons were learned.
203: An Update
A brief update from Bart on the latest going on, including how he ended up losing all his emails, the release of his new book co-authored with Tony Campolo, and some new podcasts you can hear Bart on as a guest.
202: Pray? For Trump? Are you kidding?
Bart doesn't believe in a god. And he's no fan of the new U.S. President, Donald J Trump. So what could he possibly mean by urging people to pray for the president?
201: Harmony and community, with Maggie Wheeler
Bart chats with his friend, the actress Maggie Wheeler, who is a director of the Golden Bridge Community Choir in Los Angeles, where people join together at all levels of singing ability and form a harmonious whole. They explore how singing brings people together and how her choir is actually an exercise in community-building.
133: What in the world are we doing?
A special year-end edition of Humanize Me.
132: Storytelling and belief
Bart chats with his old friend Mark Yaconelli about his latest project, The Hearth Community, gatherings in which people explore, craft, and share stories from what they have lived. They talk about how these gatherings compare to Christian church, how they're different, and what role such things can play in shaping a secular world.
131: To err is human
What to do when you've made a mistake. After all, we're all human.
130: The internet is my religion
That's the name of Jim Gilliam's book, wherein he describes his journey out of fundamentalist faith, through serious illness and into internet-facilitated activism and a software company that helps leaders connect with their people. Bart chats at length with Jim at his offices in Los Angeles about connected humanity.
129: A brick through the window
How does a secular humanist respond to the election by many of his fellow Americans of a brash, impulsive man who they know deep down doesn’t really care about them? Slowly. Thoughtfully. Bart Campolo reads aloud his careful thoughts on the election of Donald Trump, and advocates an approach which involves trying to understand those who voted for him and listening with compassion and curiosity.
128: Grace without God
Like Bart, Katherine Ozment is trying to figure out how best to find meaning, purpose and belonging in a secular age. In this conversation Bart asks her about her journey, which is similar to so many stories we've been hearing recently from the audience of Humanize Me.
127: Moral courage, with Irshad Manji
Irshad Manji is an author, speaker and founder of the Moral Courage Project, espousing a ‘reformist' interpretation of Islam. She's featured in all kinds of media to speak out when others have wanted to shut her up, and chats with Bart here about a wide range of relevant and interesting subjects.
126: We hit a nerve
Last week's episode hit a nerve, or perhaps that should be many nerves. It's late at night in his apartment in Los Angeles and Bart takes a few minutes to touch upon the many responses to the episode with his wife Marty about whether he's being ‘too nice' about Christianity.
125: Are we going too easy on Christianity?
If it were up to Bart’s wife Marty, the rest of the world probably still wouldn’t know about their deconversion and this podcast wouldn’t exist, so her joining him for this episode is a pretty big deal. Rather than focusing on their marriage per se, however, Bart and Marty open up to each other about an immediate and excruciating question that every former believer must face sooner or later: How long do we hold our tongues once we realize that what we used to believe – and that many of our loved ones still do – is not just untrue, but also genuinely harmful?
124: How (not) to build a secular community
Bart's friend Peter Montoya talks about his attempts to start a new community of secular ‘freethinkers' from the ground up, how he began with the idea of a real, physical intentional community and didn't get there, and ended up with a large online community to show for it instead.
123: The definition of community
Bart talks about the attempt to create a new humanist community, one that listeners of this podcast can be part of. What's the difference between having a group of friends and having a community?
122: Meet the filmmaker, with John Wright
Can documentary filmmaking tell us anything useful about how to live our lives? Are people worth listening to for their own sake? These questions and others came up during Bart’s chat with his friend John Wright, the Northern Irish filmmaker working on the documentary about Bart’s transition out of Christian faith, and his father’s response to it as a well-known Christian evangelist.
121: When the credit for your hard work goes to God instead
Bart reads a letter from a listener whose wife worked really hard over many months to get a coveted new job, only to have her mother attribute all her success to God instead. Bart responds.
120: What is a Reducetarian?
Bart chats with Brian Kateman of the Reducetarian Foundation about his mission to help reduce our meat consumption by encouraging people to simply eat less meat. This new movement is composed of individuals who have committed to eating less red meat, poultry, and seafood, whatever the degree or the motivation.
119: How to initiate conversations
How to initiate conversations with people about life after religious belief, even when you live in the Bible Belt.
118: One former Christian minister to another
Once in a while, we run into people who we have so much in common with, it’s an instant connection and leads to a long conversation. This is one such conversation, between two well-known progressive Christian ministers who both stopped believing in God in recent years and left Christianity in public ways. Although Bart Campolo and Jim Mulholland share many aspects of their stories with each other, some of the ways they have journeyed since leaving faith are different.
117: How to live when you know life is finite
Your life is going to end someday. How do you live when you know life is finite? In this clip, Bart Campolo and Hemant Mehta talk about the moments of connection, awareness and sensation that make life worth living to its fullest.
116: Help! My husband is teaching my kids about Hell
A listener writes with a problem: she's an atheist but her husband is still a strongly committed Christian who is teaching their kids that, if they don't accept Christianity, they'll go to Hell. What does she do?
115: Shane Claiborne
Shane Claiborne is a progressive Christian leader and author who is passionate about social justice, and an old friend of Bart's.
114: Roman Campolo
Roman Campolo, son of Bart, joins him for a conversation.
113: A story about meeting a trans student
Bart tells the story of a recent experience being introduced to a trans student at the University of Southern California.
112: Holly Laurent
A conversation with comedian and performer Holly Laurent.
Bart reacts to a mass shooting in Orlando.
110: Dr. James Doty
Dr. James Doty is a clinical professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, an affiliate of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute.
109: Listener emails
Bart responds to some listener emails.
Bart talks about forgiveness.
107: Dr. Anne Newman
Dr. Anne Newman is a scientist who researches Epidemiology and Gerontology. She received her Bachelor's, Master's and M.D. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.
106: Time is precious
Time is precious.
105: Hemant Mehta
Hemant Mehta is The Friendly Atheist.
104: Ryan Bell
Ryan Bell is best-known for an experimental form of atheism as a former pastor which earned him headlines around the world.
103: Roman Campolo
Bart's son Roman Campolo joins him for a conversation.
102: Scott Wiltermuth
Scott Wiltermuth researches how socio-environmental factors affect people’s reactions to unethical behavior and their likelihood of behaving unethically themselves. He also researches how interpersonal dynamics, such as synchrony and dominance, affect people’s willingness to cooperate with others.
101: Welcome to the podcast!
The first episode of Humanize Me. Episode numbers are the season followed by the episode: this one is Season 1 Episode 01. Bart introduces the concept of the podcast and what to expect.
Wonder-full Podcast 8
With John Wright.
Wonder-full Podcast 7
With Massimo Pigliucci.
Wonder-full Podcast 6
With Helen Stringer.
Wonder-full Podcast 5
With Jesse Graham.
Wonder-full Podcast 3
With Greg Epstein.
Wonder-full Podcast 4
With Ashley Bradford.
Wonder-full Podcast 2
With Peter Rollins.
Wonder-full Podcast 1
Bart's first attempt at starting a podcast: the Wonder-full Podcast (which had a logo based on Wonderbread). First guest: Roman Campolo.