The Phileas Club 76 – Special: A conversation with conservative Christian


On this episode we talk about:

  • Being a conservative Christian!

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  1. Another great episode.

    Although I am an atheist I fully agree with Tony’s views regarding how people treat Christians.

    Thanks to Patrick for one again presenting a view different to his own whilst not being patronising or condescending in the process.

    • My pleasure. 🙂

      • Fantastic show. As an apostate Christian (since my teens) and near life-long agnostic it’s fascinating to get a view into the evangelical Christian mind.

        If you ever want to speak to someone who’s been an agnostic for going on 7 decades, keep me in mind.

        I.e. there is a third position between true believer and atheist that is the only philosophy that makes sense to me.

        If you want to discuss it please DM me in Twitter, @SeniorGeek49

      • Hey Gary, I’m really glad you enjoyed the show and it spoke to you. I don’t want to make the entire podcast about religion so I think I’ll lay off the topic for a while, but if I ever get back to it I’ll keep you in mind. Thanks for offering!

  2. Lorenzo Flores says:

    I heard this podcast soon after it published on Thursday and have been processing it since. I’ve listened to it twice at this point. I commend Patrick for creating a space Tony felt comfortable sharing in and can respect that Tony had to step out of his comfort zone to represent conservative Christians for an international audience.

    Tony was promoting the narrative that Christianity is under attack in the U.S. That he identifies as Christian and has had to deal with various forms of oppression: aggressive attitudes from non-Christians, prohibitive legislation that targets his faith, and public ridicule towards Christians in general. These are all experiences of victimization shared by Americans that identify with any number of historically marginalized communities and are indications that American demographics are shifting away from a Christian majority.

    It’s very hard not to resent the opinion that once Christians are exposed to this kind of oppression that it should be treated as a national identity crisis, that they are somehow more victimized than other communities, that because this oppression centers around a belief system it’s somehow more sinister than when directed at other groups.

    I’m a non-religious person of color in America and it really wasn’t until my late twenties that I began to understand how much these experiences affected me. I internalized a deficit model of thinking towards my own community and have been unlearning it since. I don’t expect people that have grown to adulthood without these experiences to understand. In the same fashion, I don’t know what it’s like to only start experiencing these forms of oppression as an adult. I could see that being very scary and can only hope people just experiencing these dynamics are capable of rising above their anxiety and seek to cultivate empathy toward those born into it.

    For the non-American audience, I think it’s important to highlight that the divisive issues affecting the U.S. are much more nuanced than conservative Christian versus liberal non-Christian. Climate change, class, and race are just as, if not more important than religion for many Americans. We’re reaching a point where neither of our two major parties can encompass a set of platforms that aligns with large groups of the populace. Tony’s point that he would support a candidate that is pro-life but advocates for universal health care serves as an excellent example. We’re undergoing a shift in party dynamics and, as scary as it is, I’m hopeful that we will rise above it and demonstrate to the world that very diverse populations within the U.S. can indeed co-exist in the same civil society.

    • Oh my goodness, that was the most eloquently crafted statement I’ve ever read. And you’re dead on about everything.

      Speaking as a Christian white male living in the southeast US here: I never experienced any kind of dissenting opinion until I hit college. At that point I was completely on board the “Christians are being persecuted” bandwagon. The idea that people not only disagreed with me, but that they were willing to do so publicly was baffling to me. How could they be so wrong?

      Not until much later, maybe not even until recently did I realize: all people go through persecution of some kind. You should consider yourself lucky if the object of your persecution is something you chose, as opposed to something like race or national origin. If it’s something you chose you have the ability to reassess your stance; possibly to reaffirm your opinion or abandon and reform it. If it’s something intrinsic to your person…well that’s that. Discrimination by race, gender, or nationality is far worse than that against religion or political affiliation because the former are not choices, but actual qualities of people.

      I’ve been blessed to have discussions just like the one Tony and Patrick had with friends of mine who come from different backgrounds and hold different beliefs than me. A lot of my opinions have changed, and I’m not sure they’ll ever be fully formed. It’s important to try to see things from other perspectives.

      • I agree with Drew, thank you Lorenzo for putting it so much better than I tried to myself during the show. I think your background clearly helps there, so thank you for sharing your experience with us. It was simple but made it perfectly clear. Three thumbs up. 🙂

  3. Julien Bertozzi says:

    As you said, even if you don’t agree, he sounds like a very reasonable person. The kind of guy that you can be friend with. And that’s what frightens me. How can someone like that have such ideas about abortion ?

    • (Still listening to the episode, but I believe I’ve passed their entire discussion of abortion.)

      What do you mean by “such ideas”? They did not say much about his stance on abortion, but what he did say seemed resolute but reasonable.

      • I think this is an example of the inability to understand someone’s position when they’re so foreign to you. I for one have a very hard time agreeing with the anti-abortion people’s arguments, so it takes a real effort on my part to be in those conversations. But that’s where it’s important to overcome your personal preferences and just stay civil. I mean, as much as I disagree with them, it’s not like the arguments are completely unreasonable. Same with all those debates: death penalty is in that category too. And I would hope that people who are anti abortion would agree that the argument of pro-choice people are reasonable as well, even if they do ultimately disagree with them.
        Bottom Line, I think Julien just has a hard time finding that core of “understandability” in the anti-abortion side of the debate, which I get, but would encourage him to seek anyway. Because it works both ways, as I said…

      • Definitely, you guys didn’t dive into any of those topics which I think was a wise decision considering the time constraints of the show lol. Saying you’re pro-life may not mean “no one can abort a fetus under any circumstances” just the same as pro-choice doesn’t mean “kill all fetuses forever”. All of those topics have intricacies that would take hours to really flesh out.

  4. MonkeyDKS says:

    Patrick, I have been listening to you on TNT and DTNS for years, and I was very excited when you became a full time contributer on DTNS becaus eit gave me the chance to get to hear more from you. I’ve been listening to THIS show for about 3 months now, and I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of them. You have probably made every one of us stop and check our own beliefs and idea about “Group A” or “Group B” during one episode or another. This was such an episode for me.

    I was born catholic and now lean more towards atheism I suppose, but I thought this discussion was so well done on both sides. I had to stop part-way through the episode and just sit and process things for a few minutes. While I’m happy to say, I’ve never said anything mean to anyone about their religion because I respect anyone who has beliefs in a higher power, I did think about how often I see these statements come up and I realized, since they didn’t affect me directly, I never really paid them any attention.

    Thank you for bringing Tony onto the show, and I thank Tony for being so brave, open and honest about some VERY personal topics and feelings. I still have a lot of thoughts floating around in my head, but (similarly to how you sounded during the show) I think I need a little more time to process them. I’m not sure why this episode made me think more than others, but it did and I’m glad.

    Sorry…this isn’t a very well formed comment, but it’s where my head is at now and I just wanted to say thanks before life distracted me from it.

    Unrelated – I wanted to write a iTunes review after listening to this, but I can’t find a way to do it without ACTUALLY downloading iTunes…which I really don’t want to do (iTunes is literally why I switched to Android). Is there another place to review podcasts I can do without iTunes?

    • Hey MonkeyDKS, and thank you so much for your comment. I think it’s absolutely well formed, and conveys the most important message of all: it made you stop for a second and think about this, which is a part of your life, and that is exactly what we’re trying to do. So thanks for letting me know if affected you in this way (and that you enjoy the show as a whole!). Hope to keep this going a for a while to come…

      Oh, and don’t worry about the iTunes thing, it’s not that important. If you really want to help, just mention the show to your friends IF the topic comes up, that would already be a lot! 🙂

      • MonkeyDKS says:

        I thought a bit more and I think the over-arching theme for this episode was, “Treat people online like you would want to be treated.” Just because we’re online doesn’t mean we have to treat people worse than we would in person. This isn’t a new thought, but it was put in great perspective through the honesty and candidness from you and Tony.

      • If we could somehow make everyone feel the importance of this, I think the whole world, not just the Internet, would be a much much better place… 🙂

  5. Jared Beiswenger says:

    Interesting interview. I kind of wish you guys could have interviewed me instead =P. I was an atheist until I was about 24 and read the Bible to prove it wrong… Ironically, I ended up finding a lot of flaws with my world view and ended up becoming a Christian. Going through that process, I pretty much put all of Patrick’s questions to the test to get answers, and made a slow change of mind from what most Westerners believe to being a Christian based on the evidence I found.

    Anyway, I’ll recommend The Reason for God by Tim Keller. He does a much better job than I could ever do, and makes a pretty good argument that it actually takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian. All people (of all beliefs) think a lot of the things they believe given truths when they’re not. You need to understand ALL the arguments against what you believe (not just the straw man ones) before you can know what you believe is true.

    Thanks for the show.

  6. Hey Patrick! I found your Phileas podcast via Overwatchers.

    I just wanted to commend you for having a constructive discourse with someone you disagreed with on many points. That is certainly admirable. It was a pleasure to listen to.

    I see above that you aren’t particularly interested in having more podcasts about religion in this series at the moment, but if you’d ever like to have one about the interplay of faith and science I’d love chat. As a conservative Christian who is an engineer by trade and avid scientist, it is a subject near to my heart.

    Regardless, thanks for spending time to provide us with articulate content both here and in your other channels. (I have a lot to explore!)

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