Liminal Podcast

Religion

June 01, 2020 Gordon Hall and Joe Pearson Season 1 Episode 7
Liminal Podcast
Religion
Chapters
Liminal Podcast
Religion
Jun 01, 2020 Season 1 Episode 7
Gordon Hall and Joe Pearson

Gordon and Joe have a frank, off the cuff conversation about religion.

Show Notes

Check out this episode on YouTube!
Trump and Religion
The Silk Roads: A New History of the World - Peter Frankopan
Finding God in the Waves - Mike McHargue
How (Not) to Speak of God - Peter Rollins

Liminal Podcast is about dealing with change, be that through humour, self-care, science, or spirituality. Join Joe and Gordon as they laugh and ponder, as well as speak to experts and friends, trying to figure out how to deal with life when the rug has been pulled from under your feet.

We’d love to hear from you! If you want to get in touch click here.

Liminal Podcast couldn’t happen without the support of our team, as always massive thank you to Harry for writing the theme music, Haley for creating our logo and Leah for everything she does behind the scenes. Thank you to everyone who rates and reviews the show, we really appreciate it.

Subscribe to Liminal Podcast

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Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/theliminalpod)

Show Notes Transcript

Gordon and Joe have a frank, off the cuff conversation about religion.

Show Notes

Check out this episode on YouTube!
Trump and Religion
The Silk Roads: A New History of the World - Peter Frankopan
Finding God in the Waves - Mike McHargue
How (Not) to Speak of God - Peter Rollins

Liminal Podcast is about dealing with change, be that through humour, self-care, science, or spirituality. Join Joe and Gordon as they laugh and ponder, as well as speak to experts and friends, trying to figure out how to deal with life when the rug has been pulled from under your feet.

We’d love to hear from you! If you want to get in touch click here.

Liminal Podcast couldn’t happen without the support of our team, as always massive thank you to Harry for writing the theme music, Haley for creating our logo and Leah for everything she does behind the scenes. Thank you to everyone who rates and reviews the show, we really appreciate it.

Subscribe to Liminal Podcast

Apple Podcasts
YouTube
Spotify
Stitcher

Follow us on social media

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
TikTok

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/theliminalpod)

Gordon Hall :

Hello, and welcome to this week's episode of Liminal podcast a weekly show trying to explore what to do when life pulls the rug from under your feet. My name is Gordon. Joe once again, how are we doing today? mate? I'm doing pretty well.

Joe Pearson :

Yeah, not a bad week. I say so myself. How about you?

Gordon Hall :

Yeah, I've had a very good week. Thank you. I've had a week kind of away from doing work stuff. I booked a week of holiday so I've been able to just relax really focus on some of the podcast stuff. But also just being able to like focus on myself and not worry about any stresses has been really nice this week

Joe Pearson :

is you had a bit of an admin week then

Gordon Hall :

yes, I have an I forget how much I enjoy Little things like setting up email accounts. And organising websites and stuff like that. It's a lot of fun. And there's some stuff that we've got in the pipeline coming up, which I'm really excited to tell people about.

Joe Pearson :

Nice. Can you give us an inkling?

Gordon Hall :

Yeah, well, I guess, firstly is that we are going to be updating our website very soon to include a bit more information about where we want him to take this podcast in the future. We've been chatting a little bit about, I guess, our vision behind it. Yeah. Joe, do you want to talk about some of the other stuff?

Joe Pearson :

The main thing we're gonna look at is obviously guests, and some very interesting people. And we're in negotiations already with a couple of people who are very keen to come on and tell their story. As I say, this is not going to be super, super positive things. We're going to look at some dark things, but we're going to make it fun at the same time.

Gordon Hall :

Yeah, absolutely. And if you've got a particularly interesting story about a big change in your life, or a particularly difficult situation that you've kind of come through on the other side, we'd love to hear from you and maybe feature you on a future record. Episode Two, drop us an email at Hello at the Liminal pod comm or use the contact form on our website, we would would love to speak to you more about that keep the ratings and reviewing

Joe Pearson :

going on as well. We've got a whole host of reviews come through this week. I believe they help us out in our algorithms. So if you're liking what you're hearing, we could certainly get this to more people if people do that for us. Yeah,

Gordon Hall :

absolutely. Like I said, I've been going hard on podcast admin this week. And one of the things that I've discovered is that while there's a lot that we can do, obviously, kind of myself and Joe making sure that we're producing, you know, great quality episodes for everyone. And we're making it as available for everyone as well. A big reason people will be able to discover our podcast is through the recommendations in podcast apps, and they only come from people rating and reviewing. So if you do like what you're listening to please do drop us a rating drop us a review. Subscribe to us. It makes a huge difference to us.

Joe Pearson :

There is one other thing that you've been pestering me about This week on and not as a platform all the kids are on and it's not Tick Tock to video platform.

Gordon Hall :

Yes indeed we are exploring hosting the podcast on YouTube. At the moment we're probably not going to be doing any videos just yet. Kind of the logistics of the logistics of recording in lockdown are difficult enough without adding video into the mix but once we're in the same room together I'd love to explore seeing whether we we do have a face for video whether it is true like like my mom said that I just have a face for radio.

Joe Pearson :

No comment from me on that one. Well, we both need that's heavily offensive. Anything else you did of note this week Got it? Or if you just had a complete admin week

Gordon Hall :

yeah, like I said mainly I've been doing the podcast admin stuff but I did get to meet up with my lovely friend Kate the other day for a nice socially distanced chat and hang out. Although we made a bit of a mistake in where we We decided to hang out. So we were we met kind of in between both of our flats, and we started walking around looking for a place that we could set on some grass that wasn't too crowded, because everywhere seems to everywhere that's grass seems to be full of crowds at the moment. It's in the streets are dead. The parks are full at the moment. And we saw just by the canal, a gate that was ajar. And inside there was loads and loads of grass with only a couple of people sitting on it. We thought, perfect. We'll go and sit there. We went through the gate went to sit down, and we were having a cat job. We were probably there for about 3040 minutes and we got a text message from one of our friends who'd been cycling alongside the other side of the canal and he Soros was like, hey, so we said, Hey, come have a quick catch up, you know, make sure you stay far away but we hadn't seen him in a while that he went to try and get into where we were at the gate was shot. Oh, now it wasn't locked with a padlock or anything like that. It was locked. With one of those key fob things, so there was no way we could pick the lock. There was no way we could climb it. It was literally a gate, a building and a canal. No way to get around that. Oh god. So after waiting around at this corner of this gate for about 10 minutes for residents come and let us out. Nobody did, we decided to explore we managed to find that was a very thin concrete Ridge on the edge of the canal between the grassy bear and the water that we could walk along just past the edge of the gate and then get onto some Marsh and we didn't really know where it went. But we decided to just you know, you knew it was a bit. Yeah. So we did that. And we found this this big, grassy bear. And we had no idea how to get out from that bear until we managed to you know walk for about half a mile we managed to find a way out but it was it was an experience. I tell you got

Joe Pearson :

an adventure. Yeah. And luckily you don't really have much to do so. There was no real rush. Yeah.

Gordon Hall :

Not Yeah, but what what have you been up to Mr. Pearson? Well,

Joe Pearson :

I've got some good news. But I will share that later, as we tend to do other than I've been on a couple of bike rides. And it works the lock down life really just kind of pottering around each day trying to get rid of the tire, hashtag lock down

Gordon Hall :

life, indeed, which leads

Joe Pearson :

us on nicely. So what we actually talked about this week is it's invite highlighting deep subjects. And this is a very impromptu conversation that we actually entered.

Gordon Hall :

Yeah, it wasn't what we initially planned on talking about this week. And it's something that I mean, is it is is a topic that we're probably going to be talking about a lot over the coming episodes of this podcast. And as I said, This podcast is looking at how to deal with change in life. The topic that we're talking about today is something that has been a catalyst for change in my life in positive and negative ways. And I'll go into that a bit in our discussion, but I guess the one thing that I would say just on this front, from a a personal note is that this was a very frank discussion that me and Joe had we in no way intended to offend anyone in what we said. We weren't quite blunt in some of our views. And we're not apologising for our views. But we just want to make sure that people know that these are our views. They're not we don't necessarily agree on everything. I'm sure they would agree on that, at least. Yeah. And I, for one, know that my views and my beliefs change every single day. So what I've said in this podcast I probably don't completely agree with on listening back, but it's a discussion that we want to have and keep having.

Joe Pearson :

Yeah, I'll second to that. So here's our little chat about religion.

Gordon Hall :

And I hate religion. There's some goodness I said, God, there's no

Joe Pearson :

I mean, it is good to it that you can get from other places which is not religion?

Gordon Hall :

Well, yeah, in my opinion. But I mean, you could say the same about a lot of things with that

Joe Pearson :

religion in its best form is community you can learn a lot about being a good person. And in its worst form, it's a fucking cult. And there's people that make money out of it. It causes wars. Yeah, there are too many religions. It's by the fact that, that causes problems in itself. People use it as an excuse to behave certain ways people use it to take advantage of other people.

Gordon Hall :

See, I'd agree with you to a point. But I still think that there is some goods that religion can bring. And I'd argue that in your worldview, and in the way that you see the world, yes, religion doesn't make sense. But religion, it makes sense to people who are in that place, who need that kind of order, that kind of structure to their lives to other people. It doesn't matter. Long something, but yeah. But it's, it's it's something that every shift in consciousness first starts out as a selfish act, then people come together, progress from that selfish point to a community. And then the next shift would then happen with people coming up with their own individual ideas. So it kind of shifts between this individual to community focused. Community brings us together, but it limits us and doesn't necessarily allow new ideas as much. But then new ideas don't offer the support.

Joe Pearson :

I think I think the problem the problem I have with religion is that it's often pressured on people. It's not like it's not, it tends to be something that a family member or a close family friend, or that's how a lot of people tend to get into it, or they get people in quite vulnerable situations and offer the religion as a way of getting out of it. And that's fine. I understand. That's good, but that's The problem with it, I think it can be quite oppressive. And also it's so deep in some communities, particularly in America, that there's no other option. If you're not with us, you're against us. That's that's how I think it is. But oh my god him down the road, he, he's not come to church, there's part of that. And I don't think we have that in the UK anymore. And I'm so happy about that.

Gordon Hall :

There's definitely still some of that. I I definitely experienced some of that, certainly when I was in the church, but it's not as mainstream, for sure. But I think that there's, as someone who has lived as being someone in Christianity and in the church, my perspective, I can kind of understand both points of view, I can understand your point of view in that you're like, I don't need to force your beliefs on me and all of that kind of stuff. But the flip side, when I was a Christian, I had believed what I believed was such fervour and I believed in God and I believed in the existence of Heaven and Hell and the fact that we, inherently I believed we were inherently sinful, as people we inherently did wrong. And the consequence of that wrong was death and hell and punishment after we've died and all of that kind of stuff. And I believed that God offered an antidote to that. So in my worldview, the way I understood the world, it was a matter of life or death and me telling you about it and converting you was saving your life. And it's really interesting how aggressive

Joe Pearson :

that is. That's no,

Gordon Hall :

no, I totally get get your point of view. But it's, it's I guess, the, if you're not able to step outside of that, and you're not able to see it from the outside. It feels very much like this is the it's this way or the like, it's our way or the highway. You know what I mean? This is the only way and if somebody is not doing it then and you care about that person as well I get it

Joe Pearson :

then it's because you truly believe it you have to think that way you have to think that way otherwise you're wasting your life. You know that's that's that that's the horrible reality of it. I think a lot of people get way too far down the line. And I think at some point they actually go away What am I doing? What the fuck am i doing but there is so deep that their whole life is built around it that they can't get

Gordon Hall :

out. Yeah, very much what the situation was like for me, and that's why I've spent the last few years building my life back up again. Because so much of not just my kind of job, like kind of career side of things. You know, I was working in the church, but it was also the way that I fundamentally organised reality in my brain. The way that I saw the world and saw myself was through this lens of Christianity and removing that lens even though I understood that I didn't believe it anymore, and I understood the arguments against it. It was hard to love myself when I believed that the only way I could love myself was through God when God doesn't exist. Suddenly the way that I was loving myself when it I mean, that's why it's a traumatic experience.

Joe Pearson :

Yeah, you should question everything that you cause. Yeah, yeah, in my soul robot is really interesting chapter on religion, and how it spread via the Silk Road. And it's a massive part on Roman Empire, and how they use religion to oppress people and get them to essentially use religion to say, look, we are united, we may have just fucking stolen your city and took all your resources however, we are both of Christianity. You know, we are one yeah, we are one and they use religion and as you can see Consistently see in Asia, you see in every around the world, they used it and they actually manufactured it. In some cases. Obviously Christianity wasn't but they also manufactured parts of it to fit in what they were doing at the time. Oh, when

Gordon Hall :

religion all

Joe Pearson :

not all the time, some of its natural and organic, but I think a lot of it was manufactured. I mean, obviously all of its manufactured, but you know, it's, well, yeah.

Gordon Hall :

All of it is, at the end of the day, it's humans coming up with that whether they're distilling a message from a higher power or not. It's still in the end of the day, humans coming up with it and manufacturing it in that sense, but I think the majority if not all religions, at their heart, if you go back to the context that they were originally in the, for the community that they were birthed out of because every religion wasn't born to be a world religion. It was born as a way for community to understand something that they were going through the the situations that they will experience. Yes, absolutely. It helps to answer the questions of life that are so hard to want to answer. Be that where have we come from be that why has this person got an ill? Why is my harvest not come in? It's it. It's comforting to have an answer in a god and in and to have comfort in the uncertainty that people but it's when those in some ways innocent in some ways transformational communities get noticed by those people in power and the people in power realise the effect that this has on a community to drive change to make money and all of this kind of stuff. Things go sour Keep people happy as well. Yeah, definitely keeps the people happy keeps them toeing the party line, etc. You know, it's very easy to see in the States at the moment, the way that the Evangelical Church has been almost taken over by the Well, basically Donald Trump and the right wing, kind of Republican media. It's causing this huge, like, surgence of the church with things like, you know, being against abortion and being against homosexuality, trans rights, Black Lives Matter, all of these kind of big things. It's, you know, Christianity in America has been taken over by white supremacist in many ways. And that's not like a

Joe Pearson :

as an issue at all.

Gordon Hall :

Yeah, that's the

Joe Pearson :

that's the problem that people will use religion as a tool to push other ideas. That's the problem. At the very heart of it, as I keep saying is is good, it is good. There's good things there. It's people trying to understand why we're here. why bad things happen? Why is it kick get cancer? Why would you Why? Yeah. Why is this the whole world had to stop because of an illness is people understanding? The problem is they all birthed at a time when we didn't understand science. We didn't understand why this happens to this and why it's true. There was no, we didn't understand particles, we didn't understand the air. We did

Gordon Hall :

anything. There was no standing of science, but they were birthed in an in an age where our understanding of science was different. We had rather than having a view of the universe as this, you know, massive thing. We believed Earth was the centre we believe there were three tiers to the universe. So yeah, you know, if you there's a really great book actually, the I I had ages ago and I've recently bought again, I've yet to Read it again. But if I remember correctly, it's a book called Honest to God by john Robinson. And it was completely revolutionary at the time because it basically gave a way of understanding the Bible that was fundamentally at odds in many ways with the way that the church was understanding the Church of England at the time. But it was a, it was a radical new way to understand it. And what he basically describes is the in mess of ancient Mesopotamia, in that time, they had an understanding of the universe that was three tiers, you had the earth, you had the heavens, and then you had the underworld or like Hades, hell, essentially. And, okay, God was in heaven. The devil was in hell. And when you when you died, you went down into the earth and this whole picture of us tension of resurrection of heaven and hell and all of these concepts that we've got they come from this understanding of the universe was fundamentally different to what we have now. And so what john Robinson kind of challenges people to understand in this challenges people to do in this book is to reframe the way they think about God rather than being this being in the sky, that is other and somewhere else. God is the ground of being God is the very thing that connects everything together. And I like that idea. I don't agree with everything that he says he still has a Christian understanding of God in many ways, but I like the idea that there is something that deeply connects every single one of us that some people might connect to and find religion, and then that gets distorted and causes the religions that we have been talking about, but the there's something there that people tap into when they pray. When they meditate when they take acid when they know all of this kind of stuff. Does that make sense? Yeah,

Joe Pearson :

yeah. They understand the world a little bit more that they can alter themselves, slow it down and take time to think. I think the reason that people need to understand why it's because we have such a level of consciousness that no other animal has in this world. We can think about anything we want to at any one time. You know, you can get lost learning about a subject that you have no idea of, it's probably because the amount of information we're getting in especially these days that you can learn about anything we've gotten. We're going to talk about social media.

Gordon Hall :

Yes, at some point, we're just

Joe Pearson :

getting a constant feed of stuff of stuff and stuff that you like, and the most favorited thing on Twitter that day. The most, you know, the most outrageous video that surfing the internet that day. Yeah. Yeah, I think the reason people want a higher being is because they don't want to understand the fact that we are so minimal and so not pointless. But so we have such a little impact on the rest of the world. We're just this tiny speck. And actually, if you drop dead right now, the world will not matter. It doesn't make any difference other than to the people around you.

Gordon Hall :

And they want to feel that they belong, and they have more purpose than simply being this animal that's meant to just reproduce, and then die. It's it's interesting that you bring that up because it reminded me of something in the Bible, which is not where I thought this podcast was gonna go. I'll be honest. But there's a collection of books in the Bible called the wisdom books. And one of them in particular is called Ecclesiastes is and it's a book that very few people in the church really understand. It's quite an honour. read book in the church. And I've just so I'm just starting at the top of it and I read until, you know you want to chime in or something. So, the words of the teacher, the son of David king in Jerusalem, meaningless, meaningless, says the teacher, utterly meaningless. Everything is meaningless. What do people gain from all their labours at which they toil under the sun, generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. For sunrises and sunsets and hurries back to where it rises, the wind blows to the south and turns to the north and round round it goes ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full to the place the streams come from. There they return again all Things are worrisome. More than one can say. the eye never has enough of seeing, nor that it's fatal of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, look, this is something new. It was here already long ago. It was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them. It's quite depressing. Yeah, passage to like, read and you probably wouldn't think that would necessarily be in the Bible. It's quite hopeless in many ways.

Joe Pearson :

I think for me, that's just feeding on what I've just said. That life is very monotonous and you actually have little to no impact on the world, other than your habitat, your family and the people around you. And then once you've gone You're gone and that is it. Life moves on nature forgets you decompose. And that's it. So I think I think that's trying to play on people's monotonous lives, I think, yeah. And then saying, Well actually, you do have a purpose This is the higher being and if you do these good things in your life, you will go to heaven and you'll have afterlife, which is a lot better than your current life.

Gordon Hall :

Well, that's that's not what this passage is, is saying it's not talking about the afterlife or, or anything like that. It's the reason that I kind of mentioned this is to kind of illustrate the point. The the good in religion, is that it's it allows us to recognise that the questions that we battle with today, and the that feeling that we have of monotony, that we're not able to do anything new or novel that everything is just a rehashing of what was that that's something that we've been thinking about that humanity has been wrestling with The years, the millennia, you know, this was written, it's the the Old Testament, this is probably written, you know, three 4000 years ago. And yet, in many ways, it is still relevant to today, we need to understand the context of it, we need to understand the the reasons why it was written. But that doesn't mean that we can't learn anything from it just the same as we can learn stuff from, you know, Shakespeare or, you know, ancient Chinese literature or anything, stuff like that. But it does have its value.

Joe Pearson :

But a question for you, Gordon,

Gordon Hall :

what's your question?

Joe Pearson :

Why do you think particularly in this country, we are not as religious as we once were? What Why do you think that is? I have an answer to that, but I'll let you answer it first.

Gordon Hall :

A big part of that is down to the Enlightenment, the age of technology, people being able to ask questions, I think in our country as well. More than the states we have the kind of tenacity, I guess, to ask those difficult questions and to not shy away from that. I think that there's we're definitely I think we take it for granted how, in many ways, we're quite a liberal society. Certainly we were, you know, the kind of years that we were growing up, Joe, maybe not so much now after 10 years of Tory ruling. But yeah. Why do you think?

Joe Pearson :

I think is the thing he first said it's freedom of information. And unlike America, I don't think religion is embedded in politics, like is there where it's, it's God. So I'm not sure.

Gordon Hall :

I think it's it's funny that you say that because religion is embedded in our culture. politics in more ways than it is in the States. They're in the States, they have the separation of church and state, written into their law. So technically, there should be no interference of religion and the state there is and Donald Trump has definitely abused that multiple times. But the head of our state is the head of the Church of England.

Joe Pearson :

True. Yeah, it's true. I mean, yeah, of course, the queen, obviously. So,

Gordon Hall :

yeah. But I think potentially the fact that so much of America's church is influencing politics in an underhand way. You see the likes of people like Billy Graham's and Franklin Graham is a massive supporter and promoter of Trump and his divisive politics. You've got people or churches like Bethel Church, which is a massive Evangelical Church in the States. That we're holding prayer meetings and prophecies saying about how Donald Trump was sent by Jesus. All kinds of really divisive stuff during the election campaign as well from that church is a dicey and dangerous place. And yeah, religion and politics are connected in a much dirtier way, I think in the States. I think that's.

Joe Pearson :

Yeah, I mean, let's be honest, I think religion normally comes from parents, if not parents, grandparents, and it kind of gets passed down the family. So this is the set of values we have and religion components part of them. And religions are part of our week. Every Sunday, we go to this and that's family time for us. I think maybe in the case of my parents, and I don't know about yours. My parents aren't religious. So it wasn't a part of our lives. It was an option. If I wanted to go down there. It wasn't like it's a complete no go We disagree with everything but as a family, this is not something we're going to buy into.

Gordon Hall :

Hmm. For me, church was something that was we went to church, kind of every Sunday wasn't forced on us. I was probably, for me, I think I found religion a safe place. Because I got bullied a lot in school church was a place where I felt safe, that I wasn't going to get bullied where people seem to enjoy my time and me being there. And so I think the fact that I found a community there definitely reinforced the beliefs that I had there. And I think that is something that is a blessing and a curse with the church and it's something that it's it's to quote, Uncle Ben. With great power comes great responsibility the church in it You know, the ability to create such close knit community, it has the responsibility to make sure that that community is for the benefit of people, rather than to the detriment of people or the community around to make sure that it's not a scapegoating organisation that's blaming the other people, the people that are not in their group, but equally no widget we I mean, I'm talking about Christianity here because I've got experience with it. There is good. There's examples of good and bad religion, in all kinds of aspects of life, not just in the church, not just in other religions, but also you can see this kind of thing in the very extreme aspects of things like humanism and atheism. If you look at the way that Richard Dawkins sometimes talks about atheism, yeah, talks about it. In a he preaches about it. He evangelises about it he tries to convert people to it in a way that is as reprehensible as the the Christians and the other religions that are doing it in a in a forceful way.

Joe Pearson :

Yeah, I think Jehovah's Witness think, I don't know Scientology which like the extreme example in America, whether that's a religion or not, I don't know. I consider that more difficult.

Gordon Hall :

Job. Witnesses are not very Jehovah Witnesses are very good at arguing their point. And I respect them for that because they actually know their shit. They're not just you know, when I was a Christian I, I talked to talk a lot, but I didn't necessarily know my ship to back it up. I couldn't argue it as well. Whereas I remember this is a this is a funny story. So he is ago when I was a Christian Me, our church had a relationship with a travelling evangelist. Do you know what I mean by the term travelling evangelist Joe?

Joe Pearson :

Is that someone who would go around and preach and give speeches, etc, around basic slash Hello?

Gordon Hall :

Yeah, around around the world. He mainly was focused in the UK, but this particular travelling evangelists technique to get people to talk about Jesus and it was a particularly effective one, he managed to have a lot of conversations he managed to convert a lot of people. And I think you'll understand why he essentially would walk around the town centre of an area carrying a massive cross. A life sized cross like the one Jesus is thought to have been crucified on. And reality was properly crucified on a tree not a, you know, two very nicely shaped pieces of wood stuck together at a perfect right angle, but anyway, Yeah, this guy would walk around the town centre, holding this massive cross and start conversations with people. And me and my friend decided that we wanted to copy him. We didn't have the massive cross, but we were walking around our town centre. And we were trying to have conversations with people that we thought we're prompted by God to convert them to Christianity. And I can remember we had a very successful day. Because we went down to the, there was this alleyway that we felt God was calling us down. He wasn't calling us down the high street with lots of people who's calling us down this alleyway where there was nobody. And we were like, yeah, okay, God's calling is down here. And then we saw this fire exit. And we thought, okay, God's telling us to speak to somebody at that fire exit. And this woman pokes her head out of the fire exit and starts making it like a cigarette. And we kind of tentatively walk up, okay, and we check it out. And we keep going up to like, talk to her and then we Check it out. And eventually she goes back in and like we've all got, we've missed our chance. We walk around the corner, and we see this window cleaner. We're like God's telling us to talk to the window cleaner. Really, it was just the next person that we'd spoken to I don't think God was just kind of going like, Oh, yes. Yeah, yeah. But anyway, we started talking to this window cleaner. And turns out that he's a Jehovah Witness. And he starts talking to us and challenging what we're saying and challenging our understanding of the Bible and says, Well, actually, no, you read it like this. It says this, and he gave us a tract. And we found ourselves not able to argue with him and not able to kind of come up with anything to counter him because what he was saying made so much sense. And so we had to go. After we'd done that we went to our pastors house, and he had the travelling evangelists there. And we've chatted to them and they prayed for us. And exercise the demons out of us. Okay. This is

Joe Pearson :

where I probably have to ask a couple of questions. I'm imagining where you're sat in a chair or you may even be lying down and some kind of ritual is taking place. I hope I'm right.

Gordon Hall :

It wasn't. I say exorcism, it's probably a strong word. He was. Yeah, they the way that we kind of, I guess they they saw the teaching as demonic they didn't see it as we were possessed by demons. So it wasn't a like an exorcism, an exorcism, per se it was more praying against the dark. Magic know, the dark forces that were working. Everything was a battle. When I was in the church. It was a spiritual battle. Totally No. Everything was evil, either for God or against God. It's very black and white like that. Yeah.

Joe Pearson :

very divisive in a way. Hmm,

Gordon Hall :

definitely. This is a good thing. This is a bad thing. Hmm.

Joe Pearson :

It's simple because it gives people a path. It says, actually, there's no uncertainty. We know this is the thing to do, or this is your thing. And if you're not sure you have these people to go to. So I would argue what you were doing though, is oppressive.

Gordon Hall :

Because I I have those thoughts when

Joe Pearson :

I'm in a town centre, and I see people preaching this and preaching that, I think, what are you doing? If you truly believed this was right? You would people would come to you. You know, it would be that clear in daylight that you wouldn't have to do this. And actually, if what you were preaching was fact, it was fact it was so clear, we would all be on it.

Gordon Hall :

See, I I like what you're saying and it makes sense but I'd argue that we, you saying that we'd know it and we'd see it? I don't think we would. We will. It's, it's something is nice to think that like, Oh, yeah, like we, we'd say, if it was the one true religion, we'd say we'd go to it. But in reality, I think, you know, we, you walk down the high street every now if when when we can walk down the high street and go to shops and stuff like that. The the fact that there's still homeless people living on the streets, that there's still, like, inequality in this world. I don't think I you know, and I think if religions have got anything, right, it's the caring for the poor is a priority. And of course, yeah. And I think that if, if we don't, if society just doesn't, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think it's naive to believe the the if if there is a an answer to everything if there is a religion that is good and is all powerful that everyone would just immediately see it and go to it and there wouldn't be any questions. I think people are in some ways inherently selfish. And God I don't know why I'm saying that that's the Christian me talking mall. Do I think that people do Oh, no, oh

Joe Pearson :

no, they're not some people are but some people aren't. Isn't this it's not a black and white. This is this department of religion is not black and white. There are some people are horrible people and they only care about themselves and they don't give a shit about anything else. As long as they're earning 60 grand a month and they can pay for their next holiday and they can get a new driveway they are happy and there's loads of people that will give more than they should to help others. People, that's just how nature works. We are all different. It's a massive spectrum. And usually religion sometimes it says, Well, look, you are either a good person or a bad person. Sometimes that's that switch conflict every day, you can have a really bad day. You're grumpy to everyone you interact with, and you're not a nice person to be around. But then the next day, you go and help a friend out with a thing and you do some personal development. You know, it's, it's not black and white. You know, we live in this world where you get fed information and some days that is too much. You can't handle it. And you just have to shoot yourself in a room and do whatever hobby or activity takes your mind away. And then the next day, you can be the best person you want to be again.

Gordon Hall :

I'd agree with you it's not black and white. And I think the I guess what I what I what I guess I'm trying to say is that with religion, it is not black and white as well. It's not like religions, either good or bad. I think religion Like anything can be good, it can be incredibly life changing and transformational. And I've seen it happen. I've seen people completely turn their lives around through finding, finding a community, in religion, but I've equally seen its destructive side as well. And I think the more that we understand and appreciate that life is not black and white, that there is no, no right or wrong or yes or no or no binary in life, that life is completely in the grey that everything is that everything is complicated. Nothing is it is. There's no simple answers like that.

Joe Pearson :

You got to remember, we're just chemical reactions that are taking place every single second. You know, and that's hard for people to understand that actually, their consciousness is just a load of particles combining together. To become a forte, and then become an action, and actually we are animals, we are basic animals we have basic needs. But we develop so much that we can understand so much about ourselves that it can become very complicated to even think about that as a process. And I think that's why religion people like religion, it gives them an answer to those questions and it gives them purpose. And in times of distress, like someone dies, or let's say, a child has been born, it gives them protection that actually, this child may potentially now have a more secure life because we have baptises child. Well, it's in those times when you need that community to come together.

Gordon Hall :

That people like religion. Yeah, I mean, there's, there's no in many ways, there's no greater force for good in a time of crisis than the church. You know, if you're going through a hard time, the you know, the unknown Understanding of evolution and the, you know, formation of the universe through the Big Bang is not going to provide you comfort, but a community supporting you making you food, checking in with you, all of that stuff can and that is the good that I've seen in the local church. It's just the Yeah, the fact that it's, it's not a Yeah, and I think it's understanding that, that, that that good, doesn't erase the bad and the bad doesn't erase that good that they can both coexist and do co exist and we've got to get used to that. And I think as well, we're moving towards a point where religion and spirituality is going to be less about do I fit in this book? So do I fit in this box, do my beliefs, you know, do I believe in Christianity or Islam or both? I think people are going to realise that the, you know, all of these ideas can be helpful to us in some ways and may be helpful to us in different situations. And it's about taking what is useful at the time. And, and using that. And it's about the spirit behind the, the religion rather than the institution that it's become. Yeah,

Joe Pearson :

it's so essentially you should take values should take values and apply them to your life. But I think it has to be in a higher meaning.

Gordon Hall :

purpose, if that makes sense.

Joe Pearson :

For me, obviously, I'm not religious, but there's certain things that I tried to apply to my life. One thing is the environment, you know, and it's a massive thing if I can impact that in some way in my life. For example, right now we're looking at a house, I might be able to move into a house and I'm thinking okay, cool. Maybe now's the time. Should I do a bit of gardening Should I get acquired hospital these very simple, basic things that I could do in my day to day life to make a little impact.

Gordon Hall :

I'm considering it

Joe Pearson :

for once. Yeah, that's that's part of growing up. So that's one value. The other people is friends family, doing those little bits and pieces around for other people. which obviously is quite a religious act to go above and beyond and help a friend or someone in need, because I know people have been there for me.

Gordon Hall :

Yeah, so I've got an analogy to describe religion for you and it uses trains Joe, so I want you to imagine for me that I'm giving you directions from one part of London to another. So I tell you, you need to get on the Northern line via bank towards Morden and that will be how you get to Camden. And that's directions from London Bridge station. So anytime that you're going from London Bridge to Camden, you get the Northern line by bank. However, if say a few days later, you're trying to get to Camden again. And you'll say Morden, which is the complete other end of London, the complete other end of the Northern line. If you're getting a Northern line via bank, you're going to get end up going way past Canada and you're going to miss your stop it a lot of people see religion as, like, these instructions that we take and we we take them out of their context and we say, okay, you know, the Bible says, you need to go via bank to that for you know, therefore you need every time you do it, you need to go by a bank, when actually humanity is progressed so much more since then where we're coming. We're starting our journey from much later point on the journey because morally we're a lot more progressed we're not a lot more advanced. So a lot of the laws in the Bible seem very backwards, because they're coming from much earlier point in time.

Joe Pearson :

Yeah. So my question to you would be Then, why people consider why people consistently trying to evolve religion when actually maybe We just need to leave it, leave it and go, Okay, what have we learned from it? What's the good that have come from those times? Not very old human way of thinking, which is not wrong. It's just a very long time ago. It's also a time when we didn't have information being shared every single second, and access to that information. So maybe why don't we just leave it, leave it in the past, don't dismiss it, and move on and take our values? Are we going to progress better with it or without it would be the question?

Gordon Hall :

I guess what I'd say to that, is that yes, we've got a lot of information now. I don't think information is the be all and end all. You've got to know what to do with that information. You've got to have some kind of wisdom in that. And I think the the good stuff that we can take from religion is the ability to ask these questions. And hold them intention and not necessarily be happy with answers because answers are great. But they just generally lead to more questions. And for me, I think the the defence of religion, I guess and the benefit of religion is that it helps us to grapple with these questions that science can't answer and shouldn't answer the questions of why rather than what the science is great at saying, This is what happened. But religion is helpful for understanding why stuff would happen or for grappling with and there might not be the same answer for two people it might not be even that the correct quote unquote, correct answer is the right answer for someone. For some people, believing that their loved one is in heaven, is what gets them through every single day, if that's wrong, and if that's not true, taking that belief away from them, isn't going to help them isn't going to make Their life any better? Hmm. And yeah, at the end of the day, the world is a massive and complex place that we don't understand. And we all have these things that we hold in tension, these questions that we have about the universe and our place in it. If it's helpful for somebody in their life, to hold those beliefs, I don't think it's an issue. It's if they're using those beliefs and forcing them on other people, that it's becomes an issue.

Joe Pearson :

Yeah, that the problem is that it has to be both of those things. And the first bit is great, but the second bit isn't great. So I don't think it balanced itself out to a point where we say, well, we definitely need it as a whole so that some people can get happiness from knowing the fact that their loved one might be in heaven, for example, or when you die. There is something there and actually, it's not nothing. I get comfort in the fact that I don't know. I don't know. There's a there's a big argument that we have When you die is that feeling apparently when you're drowning, people that have pretty much drowned but actually survived because they just got back to life. Apparently there's a moment of panic. And then there's a moment of absolute calmness where you kind of know your body sort of knows it's going to die. And it gives you this really calm feeling that you actually feel fine, you don't feel any of the pain anymore, and you just sort of go into your own head, and it's just calmness and pretty much nothingness. And apparently, that's what they believe scientifically, that that's what death is going to feel like. And you might just have this constant fear of consciousness. And obviously, your matter will just come by lay and that's it, you're done. But if you understand that, then you realise that actually my life is really, really short. And nothing I do now is going to impact me afterwards. Therefore, everything I should do, day to day should be important. I should enjoy myself. Because once this is done, there's nothing

Gordon Hall :

rather than let me keep working now. Movin On,

Joe Pearson :

let me have this monotonous life. Let me do it for the higher being. Because actually my best life is going to be after my life is finished, and I get all the happiness. But if that's not true, you've wasted your life, waiting for something that's not going to happen. I mean, what wasted in the nicest possible context, I don't mean you have wasted your time. You're saying you're putting a lot of energy into something that might not be there.

Gordon Hall :

I understand that. And I think that

Joe Pearson :

what you actually think though, do you think there's a heaven? Do you believe there's a hell? No, you come, you've gone in one side and you

Gordon Hall :

come out the other. So I don't believe in a heaven or hell now. But I think the thing for me is that, as I kind of left Christianity, the question of whether or not there's a heaven or hell kind of, didn't, it, it lost its importance to me. And I think it became more about an event For me now, it's more about creating Heaven and Hell on Earth also create, it's about the re, rather than Heaven and Hell being these kind of places that exist only in our dreams or only as an idea or concept, I began to understand the idea of heaven and hell as states that we can experience now and here. So for example, for from, you know, for many people right now, they are experiencing hell, in poverty in, you know, situations in their family abuse, whatever it might be. Yeah, they are experiencing a living hell, if you look at, you know, disasters that have happened the way that this pandemic is kind of going across our society For many people, that is a living hell, and that is something that we should be motivated to do something about and to change. And equally for some people when you know they get married or when they experience, you know, love or, you know, beautiful when you go for a walk and you experience that beautiful view or that piece of the present moment that can feel like heaven. And I think it's about recognising that we live in a world that is full of good and evil and that those things can be that can look very similar for some people. And recognising that life is a tapestry of this contrast, often contrasting ideas and religion can some people give them a way of holding that tension. Understanding that Yeah, mystery but for me, I guess I am a mystic now I think I like the, the idea that there is something but I don't think it's something that you can label or, or per name. I think that we, we know so little about it. And I think if we try and if we try and know about it, we missed the point of it. I think if you think about something like meditation, it's about transcending thoughts about getting away from your thoughts and recognising that you're not just a constant stream of thoughts that actually you are something beyond that you are a person in the here and now we spend so much of our time living in the past or living in the future, living in the what ifs that anxieties, the worries of you know what's going to happen in the future after locked down. Am I going to be Okay, walking to work getting the travel to this kind of stuff that we miss the beauty and the the joy of the present moment. Yeah, religion can for some people, give them a way into that. Yeah, I think

Joe Pearson :

in truth, it's just the evolution of human nature. We've evolved so much that no longer do we need to go out and get our food every day. We can use our brains in such a way that I can have such a specific job. I can be the guy who makes a table, for example, that's quite an old school job. But think about a stock trader. A stock trader can be one of the biggest financial can be one of the most lucrative jobs in the world. All that is, is pushing around digits on a computer screen. Yeah, that is how much we've evolved. You can get to that point, and you can have all of your life's needs sorted and just by having such a job like that. You No, no longer are we required to be the animal that we once were. And I think that's what a lot of people struggle with, you know, but many days, you can have no purpose other than you're just here and you're in your house, and you've got all the things you already need. And there's no purpose for you that day. So you've got to make something up. And I think religion feeds into that a little bit. It gives them an outlet.

Gordon Hall :

Yeah, it does. But I think also, and I did that this is a bit of a tangent from what you were just saying, but the fact that we are now so disconnected from so much of what we do so for example, you when you eat food, you're no longer having to go out and catch or forage for your food. You're able to go to a shop and you're able to buy it, but in that, yeah, there's so much going on in the production of your food that you're are not present for you might not even be aware of. And actually, in terms of the if we're talking about morality, where does the morality of the actions that are taken in the public the making of your food, we've got things like fair trade because people have recognised that they don't want to be buying coffee that's been grown by people that are not being paid a fair wage. But I think the the consumer culture that we've got has, in many ways blinded us to the consequences of our actions and you see things like the fast fashion movement like you know, the the rise of Amazon and stuff like that, and we've far far off bar form more often than we care to admit we choose convenience over like, necessarily the most ethical and best for the planet. Yeah, option.

Joe Pearson :

Money always comes into that. Money always comes at what what is the price of this good, though. Want, if it's cheaper elsewhere, you will often overlook why that is. Yeah. And then Amazon have built a complete business model on that. How, how fast and how cheaply can we get this product to the customer, and they can keep those, those bottom lines as low as they possibly can. They will always beat another competitor. And that's how they grew so much. Yeah, you know, it's a flawless business model. But it's like, sometimes the environment will suffer and it's not local stuff. But at the end of the day, the consumer will always win because they'll get it as cheap as they want.

Gordon Hall :

It's advertising at the end of the day, and not to be a preachy vegan or anything like that. But it's, if you think about something like the dairy industry, or the meat industry, and you actually think about it for a second. These companies, these companies have managed to conditioned us to believe that it's acceptable for us to be drinking the milk from a completely other creature, they've conditioned us to believe that the violence that goes on is inconsequential. And that the way that we treat these animals is just the way things are and that these foods are healthy for us. They've convinced us of all of these things. Regardless of the morality of it, I'm not like saying whether or not those are inherently good or bad things, I think is obvious what I believe but is interesting though, the way that they've managed to make us almost see a cow. And the harm that comes to a cow to produce the food that we eat, as different from the harm that we see when something you know that when that woman put a cat in a wheelie bin and the moral outrage on the internet yeah to that, compared with the slaughter of millions of cows every day. It doesn't make sense if you if you think about it, for a second out, you can Take yourself out of the cultural things that we've just accepted as normal. Yeah, that makes sense. This is

Joe Pearson :

similar in the meat industry, we've almost established that this animal we use for food. Take for example a chicken and then this animal is our pet, a dog or a horse. Or this this week, maybe we race these animals because these are such special how talented that animal is. Whereas this animal is not it. Look how much meat is on it, oh my god, you keep growing that if you could split that, that cow up, look how much money you can make from that. We can give it life. I mean, I have a personal connection to this. I part of my family are wagyu farmers, which is a very rare breed of Japanese cow. Now, of course, they slaughter these animals at some point, but they live an incredible life. They live to a very old age. And a lot of the time it's just selling the sperm or a car for of the breeding purposes. So that's when it can be at its peak and ethically Of course. course that question whether they should do it at all, but ethically that's at the top level where they get as much of a life as they would have normally got, other than the fact they will get killed at some point. But yeah, I think the biggest issue is obviously factory farming. And when it's done,

Gordon Hall :

yeah, a huge scale. It's huge. That they, they allow us to almost not see it, they they they mask so cleverly what they're doing. And and yes, distract us from the what's going on. But I've got a question for you about your your farming, if that's okay. You said that. They sell the sauce. Yeah. Yeah. So does that mean that I'm just going to assume that it's your job for the purposes of this illustration, but does that mean that sometimes you have to go in and extract that sperm from the bow? Yeah, I've seen it happen. I've seen it happen. Can you describe that for our listeners, please?

Joe Pearson :

It's quite graphic, but you essentially have to reach in the behind of the ball and inject, well inject to extract it.

Gordon Hall :

It's pretty graphic, it. It doesn't hurt the cow bowl.

Joe Pearson :

As far as we know, there's no visual sound of it. It's just sort of stands there. I think similar to when you're pulling milk out, it doesn't hurt them because of the fact that actually that's meant to be a pleasurable thing for the cow.

Gordon Hall :

Right, in

Joe Pearson :

a sexual way, but obviously, that's that meant to be that calf taking the milk out. So it's not going to hurt them as such. Yeah. But yeah, I was shocked by it. Of course, I was a kid, when I seen this for the first time. And I asked those questions, but in the same way, this is what they've always done, and this is how they've lived for so many years. So it's hard to question that they've built the whole library. On it while they're doing it. That's just how it's always been. And it's still it's a religion, it's in the family, it gets passed down. And if you question that you are outcast from the family, and you're against everything they believe in, therefore you were divided.

Gordon Hall :

Yeah, this is,

Joe Pearson :

this is so fun. And I me and I struggle with it sometimes. And sometimes I'm numb to the fact like you've alluded to there. I just get it out of the packet.

Gordon Hall :

Okay, yeah, forget about I'm not saying that. It's a I'm not saying that in a judgmental vegan way because I totally get it and I'm numb to stuff with my day to day life and some of the stuff that I buy I don't think about where it's come from, you know, you everything that we buy, every food that we buy, you look at the ingredients, you can probably find something in there that is caused some kind of you know, whether it's palm oil or whether it's the know the conditions in the factory that produces the packaging, whether it's the fact that there is all of this plastic packaging on what you're eating, that doesn't need to be there. There's so much that we just kind of accept that to probably change in our society if we wanted to be more ethical and all of that, but we just we accept it as normal. And I think it's sometimes healthy to question that. Yeah, I thought it'd be interesting to, I guess just end this discussion about religion with a parable from an author that I know called Pete Rollins. I've spoken him about about him on the podcast before, but he tells this story about as a cat in a temple and goes like this. There was once a wise teacher who would go to the temple every evening to pray with his disciples. By the temple there was a stray cat who would wander in every evening and disturb The press and disturb the pace. So each evening before prayers, the teacher would tie the cat to a tree outside before entering the temple. The teacher was old and passed away a few years later, his disciples continued to tie the cat to the tree each evening before Pres. Eventually the cat died. And so some of his disciples purchased a new cat. So they continue this ritual. After 100 years, the tree died and a new one was quickly planted so that the cat by this point, the 18th generation of cat could be tied to it. And over centuries learn scholars began to write books on the symbolic meaning of the app of tying this cat to the tree. And that story is just a quick kind of illustration of how sometimes religion can miss the point and we can have these rituals that are so far away from what it was originally intended to be. I'm sure that's something that there's so many parallels that we can draw on there. But I just thought that was a nice kind of way to end our discussion today. Yeah, I like that a lot. It's good. And he's an author who has also moved away from religion. Am I right in thinking? Well, Pete Rollins has got quite an interesting relationship with religion. He, he makes his money off of writing about religion and not expressing his own beliefs. Pretty much a neutral perspective

Joe Pearson :

on it. Yeah. So if anyone wants to learn a little bit more, he might be a good source. Yeah, just for kind of overview.

Gordon Hall :

Yeah, if anyone's looking at learning a little bit more about some of the stuff that we've talked about, and some of the ideas that I've alluded to, I'd recommend two books. The first one how not to speak of God by Peter Rollins, which is from the parable that I just shared, and finding God in the waves by Mike mohonk. Both of those books explain in a lot more detail some of the ideas that I've tried to talk about today.

Joe Pearson :

I think we should probably finish by saying like, of course, these are our views at the minute, but it's an ongoing discussion. And we don't want to be insensitive when we're talking about it. Because because, of course, it's a very touchy subject for a lot of people. So don't do take everything with a kind of pinch of salt. Absolutely.

Gordon Hall :

Yeah. I, like I said before, I'm sure I hold the beliefs that I hold very, very loosely. And I'd hate for people to get caught up on something that I've said, because I probably don't believe that anymore. I've probably changed my mind on it. So yeah. Let's continue this conversation. So that was our chat about religion. Like we said at the beginning, that's just the start of the conversation. We're going to be talking about this a lot more. So if you've got anything that you want to add any comments, any questions, drop us an email at Hello at the Liminal pod calm Come or through the contact form on our website. And we'd love to hear from you guys. We've got some good news. Now,

Joe Pearson :

we do have good news. This is very personal good news. So it's not really come from the big wide world. The cookies in my life this week is done. Me and my girlfriend are moving into a new house. We haven't got an official date. But okay, run new build house. We can start from scratch just made. So

Gordon Hall :

that's pretty exciting. Exciting. Yeah, I know, you guys have had a bit of a difficulty with housing in the last year or so.

Joe Pearson :

Yeah, a little bit a little bit. Yeah, that's putting it quite lightly. But yeah, obviously this locked down has made it a little bit harder,

Gordon Hall :

and as lengthened out the process a little bit. But yeah, finally we can go for it and we'll be in probably at some point next month. Amazing. We're really excited for you and you this good news segment on the podcast is something that we really enjoy doing to give you all something to smile about each week, but if you would like to suggest anything for us To talk about, please do get in touch what's the email address that they can? Let us know Andre, you sent me

Joe Pearson :

a big list of all these email addresses. The one for this one is good news at the Liminal pod calm.

Gordon Hall :

Yes, good news at the Liminal pod calm. So get in touch there. Let us know any good stories that are happening either in your life or in the wider world. And you might get featured on a future episode. We don't always want to talk

Joe Pearson :

laws. So please give this something a bit more fulfilling

Gordon Hall :

now we're running out of stories to be honest, I think is the content is going to start drying up pretty quickly with anecdotes from our lives if we don't start getting some input from other people. So please do send them in unless you want to be subjected to another story about Joe's shitting in a park or something.

Joe Pearson :

I probably got a couple more left in the bank while the other in

Gordon Hall :

the in the stomach there. So that was another week of Liminal podcasts. It's been great having everyone listening like we said it The top please do keep those ratings and reviews coming in. It makes a massive difference. Joe, do you have anything else to say before we go?

Joe Pearson :

Absolutely nothing. Have a good week everyone. See you soon. Bye bye. massive thank you to Harry stillson tracking these episodes he has just released some new music on Soundcloud if you want to go and check out Harry Luna just searched on SoundCloud, you find some bits from there, he'll leave the fantastic lovely blue logo you see here, and Leah for some fantastic behind the scenes work that helps us out a lot and do follow us on social media for anything further at the Liminal underscore pod. See you next week.