Open Thread for Episode 20.49: Matt and Jen

Matt and Jen talk about the ACA Position Statements and how they arose.

Technical note:  This video is not clipped at the beginning due to YouTube technical difficulties.


  1. Humberto Garcez says

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks so much to having me in your show. I did get a little frustrated when you guys said that you don`t believe that I never gave any money to the medium…but,beside that, totally fine the inquiry. I happens to agree with you. I would never believe in my claim…You have to see with your own eyes. That been said, here is the place that happens the psicograpfhy, and when Matt said he want to visit Brazil, please…go there and check out :

    Also, please let me know you are going to Rio…I will make sure you guys have everything you need to have the time of your life..

  2. Murat says

    After this second time with Dana, I began to think that her family’s harsh attitude may (though definitely the major one) not be the only point of stress in her life. As she has described where she lives and what she does, I think some sort of free time self-assignment, something solitary like writing or starting some social initiative (even if online) may change her positioning in life. I think acceptance on any other “fresh” platform -not necessarily one dominated by atheists- can help her discover or re-discover aspects of her very own self that do not rely too much on family ties.

  3. rexleeoz says

    It was nice to hear Dana again even though she has a tough time ahead of her especially over the “festive season”.
    Particularly hard to take is that her daughter seems to be estranged from her as well. I do not know how old her daughter is and what her living arrangements are, but I assume that she is relatively young and still needs to mature and come to her own understanding of why some people do not believe in gods.
    Perhaps, she may get married and become a mother herself and seek Dana out at that time, hopefully without the baggage of the rest of the family.
    In the mean time, Dana could seek out a “soup kitchen” in the area, where she could volunteer her time, providing XMAS lunch and having time with many lonely people who will love her for her action irrespective of religious adherence.
    Chances are the people running the soup kitchens will be atheists and it will get her involved with the atheist community in her area.

  4. James Henderson says

    Do Churches operate under the same Tax-Exempt status as you guys? If so, it seems odd that they get away with not only endorsing candidates in the press, but even from the pulpit!?

  5. Robert, not Bob says

    @Humberto, what Matt said was he didn’t believe the medium doesn’t get money for her work generally-though he later softened that a bit, acknowledging that fame is a possible gain too. In fact it sounds like she was using you to attract more customers. Which is a really vile thing to do, taking advantage of your loss that way. Her staff probably scour the local news to find such prospects.

  6. Wiggle Puppy says

    Regarding Trey: Matt and Jen failed to mention the very common human phenomenon of exaggerating the significance of memories after the fact. Case in point: the “3:16 game” was a game during Tebow’s time with the Denver Broncos in which he threw for 316 total yards and averaged 31.6 yards per pass. Pittsburgh had the ball for 31 minutes and 6 seconds, but this wasn’t Tebow’s team. Given that the average sports game generates a veritable truckload of different statistics, is it really surprising that, given the number of professional sports games played per year, some weird-looking stats would result every once in a while if cherry-picking numbers is okay? Not to mention, no major records were broken in this game AND Tebow wasn’t even wearing “John 3:16” on his eye black in this game, but it was just a common verse he wore while in college at Florida.

    So, it appears that Trey misremembered the circumstances of this particular game and made it sound more amazing than it was. Gee, I wonder what the odds are that he’s over-inflated the circumstances of his anxiety story in retrospect as well??

  7. says

    humberto @ 1:

    “I would never believe in my claim…You have to see with your own eyes.”

    how do you think card tricks work? did you not hear what matt said about his own experiences as a stage magician? you really need to listen your own segment; not only do your arguments fail, when they fail, you run yourself in circles, continuing to argue as impossible events which were just explained to you not to be. you introduced yourself as a skeptic, which may well be true in other areas not discussed, but clearly on this topic, you are grasping. skepticism and empiricism were developed to combat our built-in biases and the best time to be most skeptical is when we’re trying to evaluate the things that we want to be true.

  8. Monocle Smile says

    I posted links about this in one of the open threads around the election, but it’s not all that “odd” that this endorsement is done with impunity. Loads of those in charge of our government have made their living fondling the religious scrotum.

  9. says

    re trey, what i said in last week’s thread:

    “i’ve heard other callers like luke try to justify their mundane anecdotal narratives as part of a whole; they usually have more than one “inexplicable” story to tell and even feel free to include second- and third-hand accounts they’ve not witnessed — then insist that the sum of a handful of inconsequential yarns must equal the extraordinary and irresistible body of evidence that god claims require.”

    trey seems to implicitly know this

    “the thing that keeps me believing in a god of some sort, are strange and meaningful … coincidences, for lack of a better word, in my life and other people’s, that keep me … i can’t say it any other way, but feeling like there’s something out there that cares.”

    … but despite his admittedly weak footing, he prefers to believe the things that he wants to be true.

  10. Yvonne from Holland says

    While listening to Dana, all i wanted to do was give her a big hug to let her know she was not alone.
    It left me feeling very fortunate to have an atheist family and inlaws who, while being Christian, do not judge me and are not trying to convert me (or my husband for that matter).
    I can only hope Dana will find people who will support her in this difficult time.
    Dana, if you read this, stay strong, you are a better person than them for sure.

  11. Murat says


    Hi Humberto. I’m sorry to say that, but almost everything you said and wrote about this thing makes it less credible. I’m not strict on such issues and I tend to approach such claims with a reserve for the lesser of the probabilities, but honestly, the one you mention ranks high among the very “cliché” set-ups.

    When you said that a relative of yours had worked in the staff of that person, I began to think that, very early in your life, you might have been implanted with the idea of that person having true psychic powers, hence, now in your adulthood, trying to confirm to yourself that hidden indoctrination. (For WHAT exactly could the person of your description need STAFF anyway?)

    Furthermore, as an admirer of Brazilian culture, I must say that I find this whole thing to be a bit too much North Americanesque, having almost no ties to the highly authentic stories that rose from the heart of your country. In no part of this can be found the slightest reference to tribal beliefs, to the spirits of Amazonia, anything to happily pardon and connect to the naturalistic ways of life still being preseerved in that awesomely surprising country.

  12. Kamil Gregor says

    “All disciplines of science were founded by religious people.” Yeah, that’s because atheists were busy being burned at the stake.

  13. says

    About Trey…
    I think everyone has had the experience of say, you are thinking about a new car and you suddenly notice the model you are considering buying seems to be everywhere you go. Or you find out you are pregnant or someone close to you is, and suddenly all you see are pregnant ladies and/or little babies in every mall you enter. Or you are thinking about taking up running and now joggers seem to you to be everywhere.
    People notice what they are interested in. If they are not interested they don’t really see those people, cars, or bible verses in their surroundings, those things are just in the background.
    Also Trey being raised religious, was TAUGHT to look for signs especially in answer to prayers, and assign meaning to things non-religious people would take as mere coincidences.
    His whole training was to see meanings in passing patterns. As well, his anxiety problem may feed into that. Certainly if you are anxious the feeling that some benevolent power is watching and protecting you is something that would give comfort.
    I have noticed religious people seem to collect such stories and assign major importance to them. I see it as a feedback reinforcement cycle.

  14. ron james says

    aca please inform dana there is a atheist group in ocala fl about 35 to 40 min. from her location. I am a member there she can contact me at 352 843 5801. I will transport her if necessary .. ron james

  15. Mobius says

    I loved Matt’s comment about Craig and his “terminal degrees”. Have some scientist that Craig want to debate refuse because Craig does not have a PhD in the relevant field. LOL

  16. Larry Doyle says

    What I took from Humberto’s comments about this medium not taking any money from people was that this was part of their scam. People like Humberto are being used as advertisement to draw in the members of the upper class. From them the medium would get their rewards, IE m:oney and power.

  17. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Another Sunday, another um, uh…funday?…Anyway…

    Eric’s call was a neat warmup.

    Trey while being in an unstabe state looked up bible verse A and mundane occurence of death(relayed by friend) and preacher on the radio talking about bible verse A paired with truck and left out details = WHY? + Wottice? Not ‘gawd.’

    Trey gives gawd a lot of credit for his ability to be a decent person. If anything annoys me its people forsaking credit of their ability to change or improve and putting it on something that doesn’t exist.

    The woo-woo group(‘cuz they’re humans) loves to pick out irregularities but forget the mundane. Evolution continues to give us trouble in the realm of discussing woo-woo themes.

    Josh brought us some biscuits for the fresh brew of sensibility served by Jen & Matt this ep. Self proclaimed ‘open minded theist’ brings forth something that exposes his raging gawd bias and he refuses to excuse himself to get it down. So inappropriate.

    Onto Humberto(an atheist bred atheist) with a personal experience after losing a partner while being a skeptic, obtained a letter from a medium(*snickers*) proceeds to process said letter(while declaring the impossibility of the letters’ contents) and proceeds to interact with the predatory individual all while in a vulnerable state. Said predator continues to give information that he loves to assert as impossible(skepticism is in question) now he’s ensnared in the jaws of the predator. Skeptics need to carry salt to throw on these mediums tbh, spare the snails.

    Humberto, the simple(and likely) conclusion is based in the real world that points toward these people having access to the information through other people and technology not through powers we haven’t been able to verify yet. “You’re skeptic-ing wrong-guh! This is a Chinese hoax!!!” – in my President Elect voice.

    Oh. My. Gosh! Matt just got it that a local dog with an R name was injured recently in my neighborhood, what the hell? The Atheist Experience? More like the Medium Experience! A host just psychiced an injured dog with a human name, the Trump effect has made an atheist show host a medium.

    Craig needs to rub it in, be especially kiss ass nice and watch him wind himself up and then make him explode as you and your wife look like the normal non-asshole human beings that you are. If he wants to sling dirt make a speech about acceptance and how repeated rejection by like minded groups(let’s say churches) leads one to be a pushy douche that makes passive agressive speeches toward family members during seasonal times and instead of being about familial togetherness the aforementioned behaviour paints said passive walnut into being a troll that wears gloves all while parading its gross unkempt personality traits that leaves a foul taste in everyone’s mouths.

    That’s only if you don’t mind getting down to the troll’s level though, otherwise I’d recommend taking him aside and letting him know that behaviour like that won’t be productive to any kind of sustainable relationship for any decent family. Also issue a fair warning that any further practice will result in actions of protest involving separation of passive cultist from state of human decency(you and your wife opting out of anything that involves his putrid swell of fighting words.)

    Matt and Jen did it better than me though. 😀

    Great to hear from Dana on the air again. Her family is in the tribal mode right now, too busy othering her instead of smothering her with the love that families should impose. When I came out it was all about what I believe and never about eternal punishment or ostracism which is how families ought to handle a member with an atheist set.

    Dana is going through the weeding out stage that everyone that honestly presents themselves go through in order to determine whether or not they have people around them that loves them or rather the idea that was presented as them. It’s satisfying that people are more than willing to help her through this stage because she’s done enough contending with this by herself. Shared struggles make the world more efficient.

  18. says

    @Wiggle Puppy

    Thank you for pointing out precisely what I wanted to: the utter horseshit of (cue angelic choir) Tim Tebow’s “3:16” game.

    Talk about confirmation bias. Why would the fact that the Steelers held the ball for 31:06 (which is, by the way, how it would be written, not 31:6 or even 31.6, which would be 31:36) be taken as a sign? Nielson ratings are *reported* as tenths of millions, in decimals (in this case, 31.6 million), but is there any reason to think that there were precisely 31,600,000 people watching the game? If not, does it count if it the estimate (which is what it is) actually reflected 31,609,753 viewers? I mean, it would be hard to cram John 3:609753 on a placard to hold up behind the goal posts, but….

    Besides the fact that he apparently did *not* put 3:16 in his eye black for that wildcard playoff game, Tebow *frequently* did write that (as well as other bible verse numbers), yet there were no reported statistical “miracles” associated with those games.

    As Matt points out, time and again, the real question is, why the hell would the almighty creator of every goddamn thing ever choose such a ridiculous, hard-to-interpret way to send a message? What would the message even have been?

  19. Tsukihime says

    I can’t believe that Dana’s family did that to her, and I have a whole branch of my family who did the same thing. I’m sure my parents would have disowned me as well but thankfully their love for me was stronger than their faith. Dana, I know there are a lot of people online supporting you right now, but if you ever need any assistance please let me or the groups you are chatting with know. I’m sure there would be people there who would give you the shirt off their backs for you. Remember, you’re not alone. Don’t ever think you’re alone.

  20. BigRalphSmith says

    I’m thinking Dana has issues that go beyond the stresses being imposed by any members of her family. As I listen to her, I am very conscious of how she sounds and I’m of the opinion that, were her problems not coming from her family, they would be coming from somewhere else and be just as traumatizing as those she claims with her sister. I’m not trying to minimize her emotional difficulties (even if that’s the actual end result) but I am going to simply say that, given a comparison with the general population, I’d have to “rank” her ability to emotionally deal with everyday situations at the bottom of the scale. I’m starting to feel like calling the show is viewed by her as “therapy” and I’m not thrilled about that idea.

  21. CrazyJesse says

    I’m not sure I’ve ever disagreed with Matt… and I’m not convinced that I do yet, It’s not uncommon in the least to find contradictions in the Bible. But it seems more likely that Matt Slick’s opinion is distorted by the fact that his daughter came out as an Atheist rather than what the Bible actually says. I’m more than willing to be shown wrong but, seems odd that Jesus not only foresaw that he would divide families, but he seemed to encourage it. Not peace, but a sword.

  22. jeffh123 says

    James Henderson: That’s the special treatment religion gets. Every time one of them breaks the rules for their tax exempt status, they should lose it. But the IRS won’t touch them. Neither will the courts.

    Dana’s family are a bunch of hypocrites. At least Matt Slick has what is supposed to be, at least in part, the Christian spirit. Hopefully Dana can get into a secular community.

  23. Crazy Jesse says

    I’m not sure I’ve ever disagreed with Matt(D)… and I’m not convinced yet that I disagree, because it’s not uncommon in the least to find contradictions in the Bible. But it seems more likely that Matt Slick’s opinion is distorted by the fact that his daughter came out as an Atheist rather than what the Bible actually says. I’m more than willing to be shown wrong but, seems odd that Jesus not only foresaw that he would divide families, but he seemed to encourage it. Not peace, but a sword. Sorry if this gets posted twice, the first one wasn’t getting through the moderators so I tried again after creating an account. Hope the best for Dana, I hope she keeps appearing on the show!!!

  24. Humberto Garcez says

    There was two moments, one was exactly what you explain in your post, other was that when I mentioned that I`ve keep coming back for 10 years , I never gave any money, and I` didn’t`. And they said that they didn`t believe it.

    Like I said, I don`t expect any one to believe on my experience, I wouldn`t. Never than less, it did happens.

    They don`t accept money, and they don`t talk about religion, and the reason is that both issues could make people to not go there, and get the messages.

    I`m from Brazil, and Brazil is the mother lode of scams …you can`t imagine how it is. So, we have a lot of material to contrast, This place is for real, ( it is still there, and is open to everyone, no need to affiliate or subscribe, no appointments…just show up…and see by your self

    During those 10 years I gather more than 50 letterers, and what I saw was beyond doubts. Believe me, in order to make sense to me, it had to be true, and I would be able to see any contraindication.

    A friend of my father, that have lost her 10 years old son. He was hit by a drunk driver. I took her there, with no notice, she just came with me, and when the Medium call me, she was standing on my side. The Medium told her (by her name) to give up the idea she had it. No one understood, and then she explain that she should go to the person she hired to kill the driver and tell him that she didn`t want to proceed with the plan , she also mentioned that the hired killer was a policeman, and which Police Department he works…My fathers friend, for obvious reasons, never shared that information with no one. And, I have a ton of others experience like that.

  25. says

    This comment is directed at Dana. I am an atheist that lives in New Port Richey, FL, about an hour and a half from Hernando, and I know of some atheist groups in the area. I would also love to meet you and help you in any way I can. I heard your plight and frustration in the past 2 episodes of the show and feel for you. You can find me on Facebook and send me a friend request and I will try to help you in any way I can. There are many atheists in your area and mine and even though there is not a lot of groups, there is a lot of support you can get from us. I hope to be able to connect with you soon.

  26. Matthew A Sargent says

    James Randi! I need more information about this slightly mentioned event. Will this be available online?

  27. Monocle Smile says

    No offense, but your anecdotes aren’t very convincing. Furthermore, why is this medium not being constantly contacted by the world’s leading scientists? Why is she not the most famous person of our time?

  28. Monocle Smile says

    I can’t find anything legitimate-looking on Celia do Carmo.
    Chico Xavier was apparently a thing in the ’80s and ’90s. Seems like Uri Geller or Sylvia Browne, though thankfully without the desire to con people out of their money…at least for the books. Apparently he was epileptic.

    You didn’t respond to the question at all. Say there was a dude in Africa who can cure AIDS with a shamanistic ritual. If this person said “testing by scientists isn’t my primary concern,” then they’re either a shit human being…or a con artist and a shit human being as well.

  29. Humberto Garcez says

    @ Murat…the event happens in a huge warehouse, for 600 people…so they need a staff for helping with the cleaning and the cafeteria…which I was involved for very short period, as a volunteer

  30. Humberto Garcez says

    @ chancellor, when I was attending to those meetings, ww didn’t have Internet yet, gathering information in Brazil is a very difficult job..mwe don’t keep records of nothing…and there was never money involved . So where is the return? If you walk in on this place right now…they will call you by the name, and they will very precise about the information….I’m very aware of cold reading is…

  31. Humberto Garcez says

    @monocle, did I mentioned that she claimed that her primary concern wasnt be tested? Please brou..Urygeler? That was the most ridiculous thing ever.

    Do you know anyone in Brazil? If you do as him about Chico Xavier..and let me know

  32. Childofcain says

    Is that a free cafeteria? Or one from which people make money from the 600 visitors a night 😉

    I’m faintly suspicious that you keep posting links but, just for fun, the things described in your letter – what were they?

  33. ZZZ says

    Trey thought he read a bible verse referencing anxiety and soon after heard a preacher talking about that same verse.

    When I was high school aged, within a 24 hour period I went from never having heard of the Bataan Death March to having chanced across it from three unconnected sources (an online opinion article reference, picking up a random book with non-obvious name that turned out to be on the topic, I forget what the third one was).

    Bizarre repeated coincidences can’t be meaningless and undirected… or can they?

  34. robertwilson says

    Hey Humberto, I’m Brazilian. Chico Xavier, Célia do Carmo.. they’re scam artists.

    And you’re not a very good skeptic. Your story was nothing special. It happens all the time. You have all the info needed to know how they get you and you’re unwilling to see it.

    Satisfied? You make too much of the “uniqueness” of Brazil, as many Brazilians do – including me at times. “It’s impossible to gather information in Brazil.” Sure it is… and once you think that, you’re an easy target for charlatans like the ones above.

    And all this is before even finding out you knew someone on her staff! That’s laughable. Let go dude.

  35. says

    in the end, humberto’s tale fails the first principle of skepticism: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. all he’s got are standard-issue dime-a-dozen cold-reading (warm given the admitted staff acquaintance) anecdotes that he insists are inexplicable without invoking woo. and his final pitch “you have to see with your own eyes” echoes your basic cult recruitment hook (“don’t take my word for it. why don’t you come to our next meeting? i guarantee you’ll be amazed.”). thanks, but no thanks; i’m washing my hair that night.

  36. Curt Cameron says

    In the show Jen said “The rules are if you’re open to the public then you have to serve the public. So if you don’t want to make cakes for gay people, then what you do is instead of having a business that’s open to the public, you form a private club, and people can join your private club and you can only sell cakes to them.”

    Actaually, that’s not accurate, at least not in most of the country. Businesses are generally given leeway about whom they can choose to serve. There were exceptions made to this general practice with the Civil Rights Act, which said that businesses (public accommodations) can’t discriminate on the basis of race religion, or national origin.

    There are some localities in the US that have extended these protections to sexual orientation, but in the vast majority of the US, cake bakers can legally discriminate against gay couples.

  37. Curt Cameron says

    Trey said that he thinks that god is “just the thing behind the thing behind the thing,” but then goes on to describe how he believes in a very interventionist power that manipulates what Bible verses he reads and what a preacher on the radio chooses to talk about. Those ideas don’t seem to be compatible to me.

  38. says


    Thanks for coming back and letting us know how you are. I’ve been thinking about your story a lot.

    My thought on this is that your family is not ready to deal with your deconversion on your terms. Perhaps there’s a chance you can help them deal with it on their terms, within the worldview they are already used to. After all, you understand so much more about their religion than they understand about leaving it.

    You can push them to act like they actually believe the things they say about god. For instance, if they say “God has a perfect plan”, well if god is hiding from you right now, that must be part of the perfect plan. If god wants to hide, who are mere mortals to criticize or understand that?

    If they say “Let go and let god” then they need to do that. They need to trust that their god will reveal himself to you in his own time and in his own way. If god’s up there, he already knows what you would need to see, and what the right time would be to send it to you. Why hasn’t he done it yet? Mysterious ways.

    If they say “Trust god” then they need to do just that. You are an honest seeker after the truth, and they need to trust that their god will take loving care of you.

    I’m sure you know every platitude their church throws around. Maybe you can find something there that will allow them to feel they can lay off the preaching and just be family.

  39. mond says


    You have most likely seen a magic trick and you are convinced it is real.
    (The real deception is that it was never presented to you as magic trick, but as real. Truly a despicable manipulative act)

    Because you think the trick is impossible to perform as trick does not make it impossible.
    That is the whole basis of the art of the conjurer.
    It just means you don’t know how it was done AND that is the key.

    The ironic thing here is that your explanation for the impossible thing happening is itself as far a we know impossible.

    You have answered a mystery with a mystery.

  40. dana says

    I sincerely thank those of you who remembered me. The nice man who answered the phone recognized my voice and so sweetly got me on the air – although I didn’t think I’d make it due to the prior caller hanging on. Several things need cleared up so I can feel better. (1) I NEEDED to hear Russell say I didn’t need to defend myself. That was a shock, and a well timed piece of information. (2) I NEEDED to hear Matt say “It’s not your fault.” I’ve always taken the blame freely, being easier to take the blame than watch someone else have to. So, right away, I felt guilty.

    I LIED when I said I was no longer suicidal, but that’s a hard thing to admit to. But this morning I placed myself in my husband’s shoes. Just the act of finding a loved one, beyond resuscitation, would throw all of my horrors onto his shoulders to bear. Just thinking of the thoughts he’d be having, and all the red tape while grieving………No. Can. Do. I’m not one to cause pain to another, and that would be RUTHLESS.

    I then realized that for ALL THOSE YEARS when my family thought I was hilarious, kind, loving, etc., I was an atheist. Only they thought I was a member of their club – but I was JUST BEING ME. Six years later, when they discover I’m an atheist, they forget the years they were loving me for my good qualities. After all, it cannot be, that an atheist would have GOOD qualities!

    And lastly, I did not come out to my sister. I was outed. I, an atheist, would NOT have informed my sister because I already knew how horribly she would react. I wasn’t saving my own neck. I was looking out for how it would affect HER.

    SHE, being religious, didn’t stop her from attacking me while knowing I am facing two surgeries this month and am in ill health.

    I knew SHE was in ill health, so I went out of my way to protect her from heartbreak.

    She knew I was in ill health, but religion does not allow compassion and empathy. The bible merely teaches retaliation and retribution.

    So, in Matt’s words, I guess I “was the better person”.

    Thank you Tracy Harris, Jen Peeples, Russell, and Matt.

  41. says

    Did you say someone you personally know worked with this psychic? How can you still claim that it’s impossible for her to know anything about you? Also, just because she wasn’t taking money at the event doesn’t mean she didn’t get some from private sessions or donations from grateful visitors. Also, as stated on the show, sometimes it’s not even about money. Just fame and the feeling of power. Think about witch doctors or shamans. They didn’t get money from the tribe members, but they got respect and awe for knowing a few tricks and bullshitting. No real power required.

  42. Conversion Tube says

    The one caller ( I forget maybe second), he started the conversation saying “Let me tell you about an experience I had which I still can’t explain.

    Then he went on to explain it and Matt and Jen discussed it with him and by the end of the call the caller seemed to think he was still quite justified in thinking that God helped him or something.

    I feel the most important response to this caller wasn’t made.

    “Here is an experience that I can’t explain how it occurred”

    Stop the conversation there. Then why are you appealing to a god character as the explanation. You said it can’t be explained and then you go on to explain it must be god. You are contradicting yourself.

  43. Conversion Tube says

    Dana please remember too, your family are victims of their religion. It’s not really their true qualities that you are seeing. That you are used to.

    It’s so simply when you are an atheist to see the man behind the curtain. It’s so obvious to you.

    But they have this belief that is the foundation of how they think about everything and you simply existing as an atheist means they have to defend (if only in their minds) something they wanted to be reality without needing to defend.

    Everyone is capable some degree of reason, logic and thinking rationally and they are lashing out at you because deep down in the bowels of their psyche they know there is no other way to win or convince you. Lashing out at you is their only way to defend themselves against you simply existing as an atheist.

    I think it will help you so much more to remember your family are victims of the religion and that’s not their true selves.

    Give it time, at least one of them hates how you’ve been treated. At least one has a head full of doubts about their religion too. Someone will secretly contact you again.

  44. dana says

    December 16, 2016 at 11:55 am
    Due to the outpouring of support , as an update, I had the first of my scheduled operations yesterday. The upcoming surgery probably will be cancelled as that surgeon does not feel optimistic about the outcome.

    I told my husband that while I was looking at everything as being “bad timing at it’s worst”, I realize it’s actually good timing. My sister knows of my surgery schedule, as well as it being the time of year when christians get to put on their mantle of “peace on earth” and to hell with whomever isn’t christian. Having the options she has, has got to be mind boggling for her. For it is in her court whether she checks in on the sister she once loved so dearly, to see how the operation came out, and – “dammit. It’s Christmas….what am I supposed to do now?” problem.

    At least those are not MY problems, but hers. At least it wasn’t due to anything I said, but her. I’m resting on Matt’s answer in the next podcast that it wasn’t my fault, and Russell’s assertion that it’s not MY position to defend. I’m far from happy, as they have pulled my grown daughter into the busom of their protection and love, but it could be worse. How, I don’t know, but the day’s not over yet. LOL

  45. Wray Smallwood says

    I hope I am commenting on the right show, but the woman whose family disowned her made a statement, that if it didn’t come from Hitchens, was certainly a slap that was at his level. “You don’t need a god to judge you, there are (too) many Christians that will do it for him”. A phrase that I will remember and use whenever I can. Thanks for that.

  46. Ronald Kappes says

    My take on Humberto: I came late to this discussion because I listened to the Podcast only yesterday, 12/28. It seems to me that it would be very easy for a scammer to peruse old news stories, newspapers, articles etc from the past, looking for interesting stories about people with easily traceable descendants. No special skill involved except maybe how to use a telephone book. The scammer would appear to have miraculous powers to the victim.

  47. rune1im says

    Umberto’s call made me very sad. It tells me a lot about how *I* used to think. “She’s very famous here in Rio but nobody knows her…” WHAT?! That’s the problem with magical thinking….I’m getting better but I am sure I have some work to do to deprogram myself from the type of thinking. The type where you think something LOGICALLY and it can be proven wrong by a magical thinker because e.g. the bible told them so…. SMH….

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