Episode 7: Breaking Up

Danny Scott grew up in a big Irish/Scottish/Italian family in New Jersey, and as anyone familiar with stereotypes will infer, Danny was raised Catholic. Still, Danny enjoyed going to church and found comfort in Catholicism. He enjoyed the community and he credits the Catholic high school he attended with keeping him focused and giving him the structure and discipline to earn his high school diploma. And yet, a few years after high school Danny was in a place where he felt he had to leave Catholicism and as he puts it, "break up" with God.

It has been several years since Danny and God split, though recently, Danny has been reexamining the great beyond and now considers himself spiritual but not religious, a man of faith, with no faith. Danny does not believe in the bible, but when he sees one in a room, he can not help but feel drawn to it. So what is it about God/the Bible/Jesus that Danny can not completely break up from? Is it possible for him to be an objective spiritual person, outside of organized religion? And why is it that lately everyone Danny meets wants to talk about God?

Episode 6: What Women Want

Hinduism - according to many historical sources - is considered the world's oldest religion and is currently the third most popular religion on the planet. It includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities and no binding holy book. With a seemingly wide range of freedom and the mass appeal of many Hindu practices (yoga, meditation, etc.) it is surprising to find that there are many who choose to leave Hinduism behind.

Today's guest, Greeshma, left Hinduism several years ago when she was still living in India. But why did she choose to leave a religion that seems so open, diverse, and from all outward appearances, free? Join Hayley as she speaks with Greeshma about growing up Hindu, why this and other religions have very little to offer women, and why we must encourage our parents to grow up with us.



Episode 5: Transcending the Fear

Philosopher and Nobel Prize laureate Bertrand Russell once wrote, "Religion is based primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing - fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things." 

In today's episode, Hayley speaks with a former Muslim and a former Hasidic Jew about this idea of fear. Both Mustapha (former Muslim) and Celia (former Hasidic) grew up in very different religions in very different regions of the world, and yet both have shared similar struggles and feelings when deciding to leave their religions behind, and how they are now reorganizing and living their lives outside of these religions.

Episode 4: The Roots of Hate

"There's a reason children could be in a playground and there could be all colors of these children, and they could be two, three years old and they will all play together. But as they get older and as they are taught by their parents and they're taught different things, that's where the racism comes in, and religion is really pretty much the same. Religions are racist little groups..."  

In today's episode Hayley speaks with artist Hunt Rodriguez. Hunt grew up in the Pentecostal Church and tells his story about leaving organized religion, coping with PTSD, why he believes we are all Jesus, and how this idea inspires his artistic career and his life.

Episode 3: The Logic of Islam

Often when we see Islam brought up in conversation, it is discussed in one of two ways. Either it is spoken about in a fearful way, in which the religion and its believers are to be heavily scrutinized (a la Fox News, Donald Trump) or it is a religion of peace with a bad reputation because of a few terrorist extremists (a la Barack Obama, MSNBC.) And as is often the case with two opposing ends of a spectrum, neither is anywhere close to the truth.  

The reality about Islam and Muslims can not be broken down into soundbites and the truth about them exists somewhere in the gray area between the all fearful or all politically correct attitudes with which we approach them. In today's episode we speak with Former Muslim, Ibrahim. Ibrahim was raised in Egypt and speaks about growing up Muslim, how traveling and having a daughter changed his mind about his faith, and how he is helping other former Muslim's to transition out of Islam despite the fact that many times, they are risking their own lives to do so. 

Episode 2: A Big Slice Out of a Good Life

The Catholic Church is the largest religious body in the United States and currently comprises 22% of the population. And despite it's influence and it's recently popularity brought forth by the new Pope, the Catholic Church's numbers are steadily declining.

This past year, a film which highlighted the plight of Boston Globe reporters exposing years of sexual abuse and subsequent cover up that took place in the Catholic Church - Spotlight - won the Academy Award for best picture, and left many questioning their own Catholic upbringings. 

It's often easy to dismiss past occurrences as circumstantial in the context of the times in which they occurred. How often do we hear our elders lament about a past grievance then brush it off with the statement "that's just how it was back then." It's a statement which also implicitly says "let's move on" and yet that is often the opposite of what we should do. Because while the statement "that's just how it was," is true, it doesn't make what occurred in the past is good, or healthy or right, and it is absolutely essential that we take the time - even if it's just a moment - to acknowledge that.

In today's episode of the show we speak with former Catholic, Eileen. Eileen's powerful story is one filled with harrowing occurrences likely shared by many Catholics of her generation. Join us as host Hayley Karl and co-host Dustin Parent speak with Eileen and examine of how this psychological damage brought about by the Catholic Church, effected her, and how she helps herself and others heal and be who she is in spite of it. 

Episode 1: The Epiphany

The Mormon Church - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) - is currently ranked as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States. Mormonism is considered by many of it's members to be a culture as well as a religious ideology. And yet, over the past few years the LDS church has been subject to major criticism and because of this has endured a steep decline in it's membership.

As part of this decline hundreds of resources including Mormon blogs and podcasts and formed to offer support to members of the church who have began questioning their beliefs. But over ten years ago, when Melanie Christianson found herself having a crisis of faith, she felt very alone in her questions and evolving spirituality.

How does a woman whose family has been a part of the LDS Church since the beginning and who LOVED growing up in that church family, make the decision to step outside of her culture and community? In our premiere episode, host Hayley Karl speaks with Melanie Christianson about her journey out of the Mormon religion, Melanie's life in the church, and what living an authentic life means to her.