In today’s episode John M. Verner and Ms. Patrice help me navigate a discussion on my new book, Don’t Call Me A Christian: What Does That Word Even Mean? This is a completely free book and can be found at SexDrugsAndJesus.com.
JOHN VERNER’S BIO:
I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Exposition, with an interdisciplinary in Literature, from Moody Bible Institute. I was one of two recipients of the MBI Homiletical Jury Award for outstanding preaching in 2016. I have experience as a youth pastor, pastoral intern, academic journal editor, and guest speaker. I used to be a part of the largest cult in the United States. In 2019, I published my first book, The Cult of Christianity, as a first step in addressing the subtle issues of this complex system. In 2021, I continued my work with this podcast!
INCLUDED IN THIS EPISODE (But not limited to):
· A Review Of My New (FREE) Book
· Raising Children With Inconsistent Religious Information
· The Effects Of Religious Trauma
· Truth Is Found Outside The Church
· The Birth Of The Bible
· Is The Word “Christian” Really Worth It
CONNECT WITH JOHN:
Website, Social Media & Books: https://linktr.ee/thecultofchristianity
CONNECT WITH DE’VANNON:
· Pray Away Documentary (NETFLIX)
o TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk_CqGVfxEs
· OverviewBible (Jeffrey Kranz)
· Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed (Documentary)
· Leaving Hillsong Podcast With Tanya Levin
· Upwork: https://www.upwork.com
· FreeUp: https://freeup.net
VETERAN’S SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS
· Disabled American Veterans (DAV): https://www.dav.org
· American Legion: https://www.legion.org
· What The World Needs Now (Dionne Warwick): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfHAs9cdTqg
INTERESTED IN PODCASTING OR BEING A GUEST?:
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You’re listening to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast, where we discuss whatever the fuck we want to! And yes, we can put sex and drugs and Jesus all in the same bed and still be all right at the end of the day. My name is De’Vannon and I’ll be interviewing guests from every corner of this world as we dig into topics that are too risqué for the morning show, as we strive to help you understand what’s really going on in your life.
There is nothing off the table and we’ve got a lot to talk about. So let’s dive right into this episode.
De’Vannon: Hello all my children and welcome back to the Sex Drugs in Jesus podcast. In today’s episode, John m Vanier from the Cult of Christianity podcast is Back with us, along with Ms. Patrice, and they’re here to help me navigate a deep discussion into my new book, which is called Don’t Call Me a Christian.
What does That word even mean? This book is completely free and it can be found at my website, sex Drugs, and jesus.com. [00:01:00] In this episode, we’re gonna talk a lot about the effects of religious trauma, whether or not the word Christian is really worth it, the birth of the Bible, and just so many things. . Hello everyone and welcome back to the Sex Drugs in Jesus podcast. I’m your host with the most Savannah that I have with me, the wonderful and great, incredible, beautiful, Patrice. And then we also have the powerful and very well learned in edge Ed John m Vane. How are y’all doing today?
Pat: We are doing well. What about you? Good to hear you.
De’Vannon: I am marvelous darling, and living my best life. Everything’s just gonna get better from here on out.
De’Vannon: Now y’all are both in the greater Atlanta area and I think that it’s really, really cool. How’s the weather over there today?[00:02:00]
Pat: Yeah, it’s overcast. Just kind.
John: it’s been, it’s been rather warm, which is great, but the past two days, it’s been very, very rain.
Pat: Just about. Yeah.
De’Vannon: that’s how spring
De’Vannon: It’s like partly cloudy, no rain in the forecast. So I’ve been out there, you know, personally watering my garden and everything. But, so what was I gonna say about Atlanta? Hmm.
Pat: And it’s the.
De’Vannon: we’ll circle back to Tyler Perry Studios in just a moment. I was about to dare to do like a tie-in before we explained everything, because I really, really, really like talking about Tyler Perry.
But but we’ll, we’ll circle back in just a second. So, so on today’s show, everybody you wanna be talking about, this new book that I wrote, it’s called Don’t Call Me a Christian. What does that word, any, what does that word even mean? And John has read. Patrice has read it and they’re gonna let me have it one way or the other and tell ’em if they really, [00:03:00] really hated it.
I really, really couldn’t get enough of it, and hopefully they got the point. And so is there anything that y’all would like to tell people about your own personal background, history or anything like that before we get into the book?
Pat: For me, I’m actually born Catholic, Roman Catholic. I’ve deviated from it over the years. I am way past 50 and, you know, have lots of questions that have not been answered by the church. John, you have anything to jump in and say?
John: Yeah. Yeah, so if, if y’all have heard me before basically I, I studied to be a pastor and then various stories, left the faith myself and now you know, do a lot of work to investigate colts and religions. And yeah, I’m always happy to talk about this stuff. So I’m excited to get.
De’Vannon: Okay, so let’s hop right into it. Let’s, let’s take a [00:04:00] look at the book. I pride myself on designing very enigmatic book covers or polarizing. I wanna know what each of you thought of it and if, if you picked up on the points I was trying to make, or did it all just kind of look like it was thrown together.
John: Nothing ever looks thrown together. It looks like you put a lot of thought into it. I, I, I honestly get a lot of like, almost like frustration and angst from the cover. Like, but, but the weird sense of reverence too, because there’s a lot of you know, classically Christian imagery in it. You know, I didn’t, I don’t read too much into the book covers.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it. So I didn’t read too much into it, but but I like it.
De’Vannon: Thank you very much. What about you, Patrice?
Pat: I actually, you know, now looking at it strange enough, I am not a book cover person. I [00:05:00]look at it just to see the name and then I go right into its contents. Now looking at it, I’m seeing that there’s, you know, a lot of things you’ve put in it. So it’s a, a visual manifestation of what you’re thinking about the church of old, of, you know, some freedom on the bottom.
There’s just so much going on when you look at it. So I really did not see the effort, but now I do. As you draw attention to it, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot going on that I can actually accept, if that makes sense to you. I’m accepting everything that’s there. It’s not like it’s just thrown together.
It’s purposely put,
De’Vannon: Okay. When you say there’s freedom on the bottom, what do you mean?
Pat: I’m looking at the bird in the cage and he has freedom. So it, it’s, it’s so many different moving [00:06:00] pods that I’m actually looking at right now, that I’m seeing the body, you know, it’s like there’s blood, there is the chalice, there is, you know, light, there is the, the dove. Well, well the bird, there’s the freedom of the bird.
I’m, that’s my interpretation.
De’Vannon: Right. So
De’Vannon: you know what? You’re spot on. That’s exactly what I was going for with that bird. I view that cage as. Entrapment. You know, you can call it the church, you can call it the dogma. You can call it the mindset behind it. And the, you see the cage is open, but the bird hasn’t necessarily left yet.
Pat: Right? Correct.
De’Vannon: You know, nobody puts a gun to our head and makes us go to said church or 10 said religion or be a part of said denomination.
And even though, like when I was there, there was so much that I hated, I didn’t like, I felt uncomfortable and I compromised and I said, well, I’m just gonna stay here anyway, you know? But the church was not like the military, you know, I couldn’t leave the military when I [00:07:00] wanted to, but I could have walked away from a church at any moment.
And rather, but rather than do that, I stayed.
De’Vannon: Let me see, what else can I talk about? I’m not gonna talk about everything. Go ahead, miss Patrice, you wanna
Pat: No, no, no. I said that is exactly what, you know, you’re seeing in this, when you look at it, you do have that freedom to leave, you know, but then you also put in the spider web that is just showing that, you know, it’s, it’s something that’s old, it’s something that’s, I wouldn’t say crusty, but it’s just we have just fell into such a funk that we are not gonna leave.
We’re gonna leave everything as it is. Even if it just, it just be, it decays. . So me looking at it now, I’m thinking, okay, it looks like there is a decay in the religion, but we still stay where we are. We’re comfortable, we’re safe, we’re not gonna move.[00:08:00]
De’Vannon: Mm-hmm. . And yet none of this was meant to be disrespectful to the church or Christianity or anything like that. But like the, the, the whole, and this is technically like a kind of an altar, so to speak, in. The whole premise of this, like you said, is looks a little outdated. Like it is kind of like it’s been setting there.
The blood is very vibrant because it still works,
De’Vannon: but the webs and the whole, like the fog and everything represent the confusion that has entered into Christianity and kind of taken over it. And so that, that was the point of the book, was to talk about what a Christian really is and isn’t, and the impacts that the, that dichotomy has had on the world.
John: Did you put the word Christian in blood font? Because of all the blood that’s been that under the banner of Christian has been.
De’Vannon: I was thinking more of what a horror show it’s become, but you know, the crusades or, or [00:09:00] the actual, literal, literal blood that has been shed, and then the mental and emotional blood that has been shed fit there too. This is a bloody business. This is a bloody business.
, okay, so I’m gonna get getting more from you Patrice, on like, when you left the church, you said that you grew up Catholic and then at some point, I know you took your kids out of the Catholic church because of how the priests were and everything like that. Can you talk to us about that?
Pat: Yeah, sure. Okay. Growing up, we were staunch Catholics. You know, you go Thursday evening, Sunday morning, you had to go to church. It was the standup, sit down, knee, down, the same thing, just, you know, over and over and over. There was not very much in the standing, it was just whatever was, you know, spoken to you or told to you.
You believe there was no, you know, you did not ever question anything. Mask for me was in, it was in [00:10:00] Latin, so you barely understood it. You just went through the motion. I ended up having, you know, you had to stay married to somebody in your religion as well. That’s not part of the Roman Catholic Church, but it’s part of being like a staunch Catholic.
Pat: along years after, you know, we had kids. and we couldn’t explain to our children what was the process of this going to church and religion and we had no understanding to impart to our kids. We went on basically, let’s say a quest. So my husband and I, we went on this quest trying to understand the meaning of God through the church.
We were in college. You stumble upon the block of history. You start going to history classes and they start teaching you a lot more [00:11:00] about questioning God. We had no answers. So everywhere we turned to, we didn’t get an answer. We didn’t get an appropriate answer. What we got was versus was the interpretation from the church of what we were trying to get.
We didn’t get like a full stop answer. It was just, Like a quest onto the next question. So we lost faith and in turn we couldn’t put our kids on the same path that we were on. We were like the, you know, like a little hamster. We were just on that little treadmill just going around and around and around.
How could we impart this docket? We did not know what to impart. We did not know the true meaning of Christianity to start. How could we become [00:12:00] Catholics to end? We had no beginning and we had no end. We had no answers to questions. We were just confused, frustrated, and at that point could not really in good faith, continue.
This trend, it’s, we went nowhere basically. I hope that answers it. It’s, you know, fundamentally what we had going on in our minds was we had no an, we never had an answer. And the answer you would get constantly would be somebody else’s interpretation. It’s not science. We understood. It’s not science.
There’s never a tr a true, you know, one plus one is two. It, it was somebody’s interpretation of it. and it just didn’t swing. And then along came the [00:13:00] corruption being unraveled in the Catholic church with, you know, the priests with all these things. It also cast another fair in our minds in that, you know, you have sons and you don’t know what could happen to them in the church.
That we felt compelled at the time that this is not the place for us, we could just worship at home. And that’s where, you know, that’s where we’ve been and that’s where we still are. We have moved our needle ahead at all. We are still in the same predicament, literally maybe 20 years in. So I hope that helps.
De’Vannon: John, anything you have to say about what she said?
John: Yeah, I’m just, I’m, you know, sorry for the experience of, of what I would call religious trauma, of being told that something is definitely true, that doesn’t make sense. [00:14:00] And then being left with that confusion and being left with that feelings of like betrayal of trust, not just, you know, interpersonally with people you might have met, but with like the whole system with the, you were told that a story about how the world is, about how how Christianity or Catholicism came about.
And then meanwhile there was severe coverups going on. And that that’s something you can’t just shake off and move on from. That’s, that can be very earth shattering. So, I’m sorry you went through.
Pat: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much. It’s, it’s like if you dig a little deeper into it, you start realizing that, you know, it’s at the same time they’re trying to teach you. Catholicism, but then they’re also put in Santa Claus, they put in the Easter Bunny. They put in all these things. So you have, as a [00:15:00] child, a belief, you believe in these things you really believe until that’s shattered.
And then you realize, okay, the only thing you had to support you at the time was religion. And then that becomes shattered. So what actually is true? Is there anything true? There’s no truth to, basically, I feel like there’s no truth to life because everywhere along your way of, you know, when you’re an adolescent, when you’re a child, you’re an adolescent, you’ve been fed all these different things that you unraveled to be untrue.
So now where is the truth? It has been dashed away from you. and you can’t recover it. So you now have to find a good support system in that, you know, your spouse, who can actually have the same mindset as yourself, who can just say, look, just [00:16:00] even if you turn away from the religion, still believe in God.
And as I said, that’s where we are. We just believe in God, but we don’t believe in the religion. You know, that’s trying to put it together. It’s like, it’s like a, it’s super gluing faults, so you just super glue all the faults in the world and you, you know, bring it to us as religion. Instead, we need to figure out what is actually true to ourselves and believe it.
And just, you know, I, I don’t know the correct word,
De’Vannon: Why, why?
Pat: you know,
De’Vannon: why? Why do you, why do you believe truth can’t be recovered? Who do you, who do you believe owns truth?
Pat: We own our own truth. We have to own our own truth.
De’Vannon: Well, for, to me there’s a difference between owning [00:17:00] truth and discovering it. Discovery is more like a journey to discover knowledge. It almost sounds like you’re saying because you no longer have a relationship with the church, truth is out of reach.
Is that what you’re saying?
Pat: No, actually I’m saying I, I don’t know how to put. , I don’t know how to put it. I’m sorry.
John: I can, I can offer a perspective on this that, that might be different than both of y’all’s. For, for one, I don’t definitely believe in a God. I don’t necessarily, I’m, I’m, if you want to call it agnostic, you can, but I just, I don’t, I don’t think I need to believe in God personally. So for me, what truth boils down to is an unknowable thing, right?
Like if, if, if we’re talking in a, with absolute certainty, no human being can know the truth behind all things, [00:18:00] we will die believing some lies. But what is definitely possible is to discover certain things. are more likely to be true than others in, in that sense, if you’re using the word truth more as like a spiritual reality, a purpose or something like that, that I agree is very individualistic.
But if we’re talking about more truth in, in regards to like what really happened, what really happens, there are best guesses when we look back at history, there are best guesses when we look at what’s going on right now, there are ways to verify things and, and there is some science to it and there’s some art to it.
But it is possible what the church has done that’s really damaging to many, many people is warped their v warps, their confidence in their abilities to actually know what is true. . People can learn a lot of things but churches need [00:19:00] people to not learn a lot of things in order for their messaging to work.
The more ignorant their congregation is, the easier they are to control for their own purposes. So, so that’s the comment I wanted to put forth is I think not only does truth exist outside of the church, I think that’s the only way you can get to truth, is if you get outside of a church.
De’Vannon: Because the church, cause the church has an agenda. So so Patrice, what I’d like to know is, do you think it’s possible that your kids were molested before you got them out of the church?
Pat: No, not at. Only, the only reason I would say that they were baptized into the church and they were what, maybe a week or two weeks old at the time we got outta the church, literally when they were about, EH, [00:20:00] four, and four. And they were always with us. So, you know, I didn’t, I had that fair. So I don’t think we even went past three or four years old when we couldn’t answer questions for them because the, my truth started to be muddled when I started to have to tell them about, try to teach them, you know, some of the prayers and I was just doing.
In rotation with my husband. We were just saying the same prayers over and over. We didn’t understand we, what we were saying. We had no clue. We had nothing to back up what we are saying, some we were even seeing in Latin. So we, we, we did not know what to do. So I do not believe at the time that they would’ve been molested because of the fact that they were not in that church left alone without [00:21:00] us.
De’Vannon: Okay. Well that’s, that’s very refreshing to hear. Sometimes it happens, you know, and you know, we don’t find out till like, later, later, later. I didn’t realize they were that young when you had taken them out. For some reason I was thinking they were close, closer to their teens.
Pat: No, no, no, no, no, no. That’s why, sorry, go ahead.
De’Vannon: so, so, so you said you had some questions that you still have for the church now John’s a bible scholar.
He used to, you know, be very high up in churches and stuff like that. Do you have a question you’d like to pose that maybe he can help you?
Pat: Well, you know what? Let me start from the beginning. I have always questioned literally the, you know, how do they, how do we get about to this Bible? Where did we start? That’s my first question. Who wrote it? Is there any concrete evidence that what we have written is exactly what was said? You know, that’s my first thing because [00:22:00] we are reading a Bible that is said that is, you know, said to be God’s, you know, from God.
But then we have interpretations of it. We have versions of it. We have different things. Things may have been lost in the, you know, Conversion from language to language, all the predecessors of the languages. So things could have been changed, things could have been lost, things could have been inputted that weren’t really there at the beginning.
John: I’ll, I’ll go ahead and just dive into that and say everything you’re saying could have happened, did happen. So, so there is no short way to answer how we got the Bible. That’s like, that’s, that’s three hour lecture type stuff. . Cause it’s a, it’s not one book, it’s, it’s, you know, spans thousands of years of history.
It wasn’t assembled till, you know, somewhere between 100 ad and 300 ad. So there, [00:23:00]there’s a lot of question marks and I, I, you know, I’m not the biggest Bible expert. I, I know a lot you know, I read the original language and such. But.
If it could happen, it did happen. There were things taken out. There are things that were chosen, there were things that were not. There are things that have gone through at least one to one to three languages before we’re even talking about English translations, when we’re just talking about getting the original stuff together.
Because you’ve got Hebrew agree Latin all and Aramaic and all these things working together. So yeah, you’re right to be skeptical of that. There are , there are there. It is a, it is a mind-boggling thing. So for it to ever be presented as this was just written by God is, in my opinion, very reductive and very unfair, I think that’s a bad way to look at the.
Pat: Yeah, it truly is. You know, so you know, so then you, you, okay, [00:24:00] so if I start with that as being my platform, you realize I have nowhere to go because I don’t have a solid base. So I have interpretations of something. I don’t have the science behind it, which I’m sad to say. You know, you feel that you need something solid to cast your own thoughts, your own beliefs on, and I don’t have that solid base.
De’Vannon: so what you’re saying, like this isn’t like really just like a one pointed question. This is kind of like the overarching theme of like your whole grievance is that you just don’t trust what you have to pull from. It’s too corrupted.
Pat: Yeah, it, it’s corrupted. It’s corrupted over years. Not corrupt in being, you know, bad corruption. It’s just interpretations have been corrupted or been changed to what’s going on in our life right now, what’s [00:25:00] going on in the world right now. So you’ve changed everything to be, you know, more in a subtle way.
You changed it so that it could conform with our new identity. So something back in 1940 is not applicable in 2023. So you just changed the religious aspect of. To conform to modernization, if that makes sense. We’re just changing along the way. We’re just going along. So we’re on a, like a conveyor belt and religion is along with us.
As long as we keep going down the path, religion is going down with it. It’s changing, it’s evolving. It should have, it should be able to stand the test the time which it’s not able to do. So you know, they have another, you know, problem in that [00:26:00] what we have had in the past is no longer applic applicable to the present.
So my belief Dean is not gonna be the belief of somebody 50 years from now because it’s going to evolve again. It’s gonna change, you know, as you said, you know, we want to. Behave as if we are still learning from not just God, cuz I know John, you don’t believe that there is a God, but you believe that there is.
There is something like a being. There’s something that’s the same thing I was learning in colleges, that there is something may not be a God. I just tend to hold onto it because my religion is still weighing me down and saying that there is the God, but there’s something, you know, just something out there and I, I got to hold onto [00:27:00] something or else I feel empty.
De’Vannon: right. So thank you for explaining all that. Now, the last question I have for you, then, John, if you care to talk about the way you parted from the church, then that’s fine. If not, you don’t have to. But both of y’all have completely different like ways that it happened. You were very studied and then you left Patrice, you were under the Catholic education, and then you left.
So my question is, once you left the church, how did you continue your education? John already had plenty of education before he left the church. So since you took the church, you know, outta the picture, how did you compensate for that?
Pat: For me, I just engaged in other activities, I guess, engaged my kids, I engaged my, my other past science, my other hobbies, other things to fill the void because there was nothing I could put back, a pour back into myself to make me. [00:28:00] Really get back where I was. You know, when you’re young, you are, just believe everything that people say until you have to pass that knowledge on to somebody else, to your kids, and then you realize you’ve, you’ve come up short.
I came up short, did not know what to pass on, did not know what to do, so I walked away. I had nothing to fill the void with. I did not have a sense of purpose to go and find out for myself.
Pat: I didn’t, didn’t have that, didn’t have the resolve to want to do it, didn’t want to do it.
De’Vannon: Okay, so I’m bringing this up to, to drive a point home. Many of us leave the church to get kicked out. Whatever happens, and then like the mistake I made when I got kicked out of Lakewood was I let that drive a wedge in between me and God for years, and I should not have done that. So when we were pull our kids out of the church, if we’re not gonna let the church teach them, then we’ve gotta take up that [00:29:00] mantle for ourselves and.
John: Well, I’ll ch I’ll challenge that really quickly. Why is that bad for you to have a wedge there? Because, you know, you, you, you seem to, I I’m, I’m hearing a lot of like, shame in this, in this narrative of like, when you, when you leave church, you should feel ashamed for it, or, or not, not church per se, but because the church hurt you, you should feel ashamed because you’re less engaged with God.
Well, who told you you should feel that shame for being less engaged with God. I can’t find that anywhere in the scripture I’ve read. So, so I, I would just wanna challenge that, that that’s actually okay for you to not feel like you have to be engaged with.
De’Vannon: Well, the thing is, she, she, she still was yearning for it though. She just didn’t know where to go and get it, and, and I don’t.
John: sure. But, and Patrice, I don’t mean to speak into your story, but a lot of church leaders have been telling you that you should be yearning for something. [00:30:00] The what? What if, what if We don’t need to be yearning for anything. I’m all for holding onto hope. I’m all for personal spirituality. I’m, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but what, what worries me is when people are traumatized by what I call cult leaders who have, who have created neuro paths in their brain to make them feel like, oh, because I don’t have the same thing I had as this child, this like expectation that there’s something greater than me looking out for me.
If I’m not engaging with that mysterious, ambiguous thing that I’m somehow failing in some sort of way. I don’t, I don’t see that as failure at all person.
De’Vannon: Well, I, I’m so sorry if it came out like I was trying to judge her. I’m not. It’s more like, it’s more
John: I was hearing you judge yourself davanon. That’s what I was.
De’Vannon: Oh, well, that I did really, really, really, for a long time I blamed myself for what happened at church, and that’s no joke. I really, really did. But you know, it wasn’t meant to be like a [00:31:00] badgering at all. It’s, it’s more like a conscious thing. You know, most people believe we have a soul or a spirit or something like that.
And so if the church was feeding you and you take that away, then what? You know, like you said, it was a void. You know, what do we like? What? What do we fill with? It has to be some sort of other religious education. Now you can Google a lot of things. There’s videos everywhere. There’s all kinds of ways that you can go and learn, and so,
Pat: I, I, I agree with you in that you feel the void, but, and John, you’re correct. . I shouldn’t have to feel this way, but you still have to live in a world where, you know, you have brothers and sisters that are still in the religion that seem to want to question you. People love to question, why did you leave?
Or why, why aren’t you going to church? You know everything that that happens to you in, in your book, dev Divine, and you’re seeing [00:32:00] people reap what they sow. Now, because I’ve left every bad thing that has happened to me, the first thing people go to, they’re handle is, oh, it’s because you left the church.
Now that’s not the same thing you say, when I have something great in my. . So something good in my life, you don’t tell me, oh, it’s because I left the church. So you feel that, you know, yearning to be a part of something because everybody else is a part of something and you are left alone. So you’re like on the outside always looking in that you don’t have that religion or that crux.
I wanna put it as it is the crux or the crutch to hold onto that everybody else has. I feel like the one-legged person in the two-legged race because I don’t have something to stand upon. I just don’t have that solid base. And they do make you feel guilty that you are not [00:33:00] in a religion. Cuz if you look at everywhere you go, sorry John, but if you look at everywhere you go, the first thing you do, if you go to the hospital, what religion are you?
So are you judging me because I’m a religion? No, they’re judging you because they need to know what your practices are. Okay? So if I have none, they tend to look at you to ask you, well, what were you, they’re still seeking out something from you. So you are not a whole person until you have a religion to stand behind.
And I know you said, you know, there’s like cults and stuff, which I, I do read upon, but everything basically stands upon religion. And if you don’t have it, you are near ostracized from the rest of the world. in politics, you have, you know, in your book you’ve [00:34:00] seen like the re Republicans, they want to stand with the with, oh God, I forgot what you, you call them.
What did you call in your book? The Christians, the, the, the, some, some type of Christian, you know, so if you’re not Republican with like those, that type of Christian mentality, you’re kind of democratic with a different mentality. So everywhere it comes into play, so when you don’t have it, you feel like a castaway.
Pat: that is where I have that constant feeling, that void that you always feel is your lost connection with the rest of the world who’ve basically put themselves into different religions to garner respect, wealth or power or whatever. So I’m, I’m feeling the [00:35:00] void because I can’t identify, that’s my best word.
I can’t identify.
Pat: am to everybody else. And you know, like the minute somebody says they’re agnostic, people basically will be, oh, in our religion, in Catholic religion, they’re not going to want to accept you or even speak to you. And, and there’s so much wealth of knowledge. You can come to us and change our, or instruct us or teach us or help us understand, you know, it, it, it’s, it’s a big, it’s, it’s, it’s bigger than, it’s, it is really big.
It’s really, really big.
John: Really quickly Patrice, I’m, I’m glad you brought up the word identity because. When I was reading your book, I really kind of, that that was what I really thought it was about more than anything was about identity. Because frankly, when I read it, you know, it’s, the title is Don’t Call Me a Christian.
And then I felt like I was [00:36:00] reading a summation of what Christianity is. And so I’m, I’m, I’m very interested as to, to your identity when it comes to was that like front of mind when you were writing the.
De’Vannon: Thank you for that question. And after I answer this, if you wanna say anything about your parting from the church then go ahead and then, okay. So my point is to get people to break away from terminology, because what happens is we can get too caught up on what a word is supposed to mean and let the definition of the word. Carry far too much weight than what it actually does. So that mean, if Karen is a Christian, she’ll go around saying she’s a Christian.
She won’t make gay people wedding cakes, and she’ll kick certain people out, but she’ll be like, Hey, I’m a Christian. See, Christian is an action word is a word of love. It’s not just like a word. So whether you were ever called a Christian or not, if you live like Christ, then you are one of his children.
It’s not about the [00:37:00] word, it is about identity, like you were saying, but we can identify what the whole trinity without being called a Christian.
John: I don’t know if that’s true. Only because this is how, this is what? I would say in general because first off, I very much empathized, like my last days as a Christian, I would’ve eaten this book up for sure. Cuz this was literally my position was I believe these core things about Christianity. I’m sick of the church, I’m sick of all the garbage, right?
And so I was like, I don’t, like I had that feeling that a lot of good people who are Christians have, when someone, when the, when the conversation one way or another ends up in a place where you have to identify as a Christian and you don’t want to that is a, that is a thing that happens. And so I kind of did it begrudgingly.
I was like, maybe I can go back to saying I follow the way, maybe I can do, I, I, I think you like the term Christ [00:38:00] follower, right? So like I had a lot of those same thoughts and feelings. Here’s the problem, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll do it by way of example. If a, let’s let you know, let’s say a cop says the guy who murdered George Floyd isn’t a real cop.
Well then that just dodges accountability, right? Because now he is just saying, oh, he is not a real cop. I don’t particularly enjoy men cis men specifically. I don’t enjoy cis men culture in general. But I am a cis man by every functional definition, right? I could certainly identify somewhere else and, and there would be definitions and things that would go along with that.
But in general, just because I might not like that culture or whatever, it doesn’t necessarily change who I am. So sometimes when I’m reading what you’re writing, I’m like, well, you’re describing the Christian faith. Is is something you [00:39:00] believe. So, How can I not call you a Christian if, if you’re describing essentially Christianity,
De’Vannon: Mm, because I don’t go to churches. You know, when you think of Christians, you automatically think of like a physical building. You know, I prefer to be called like a believer than a Christian, but I get what you’re saying. If I’ve checked all the boxes, check, check, check, check, check. Then how can you do this and say you’re not a Christian.
I get that, but I don’t wanna be called one because of how much pain that word calls as people. You know? There was one time I was talking to this lady I just met and I think this was the last time I told somebody that I’m a Christian. She paused, got like super uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure if the, the conversation’s gonna even be able to continue.
And she was like, are you the good kind or like the mean kind? You know, and right and right. Then I realized people have, like, this is a triggering word if, if people haven’t personally been [00:40:00] hurt by the church like us, then they probably know someone who has. And so I don’t want that word to drive a wedge in between my witness to somebody else or the work that I’m doing because I’m insistent upon being called it.
And that’s really why I divorced the word.
John: Sure. But like a lot of cops hate the word cop. They say, I’m a law enforcement officer, so, It’s, that’s great. They want to, they, they understand there’s a problem or whatever, and they wanna distance themselves from it, but that doesn’t really change anything systematic. Right? Like, it, it, it, it doesn’t, it doesn’t actually deal with the issue, at least my perception is it’s not dealing with the issues of Christianity.
Because, and this is a personal thing that we’re obviously free to disagree on, but for me, I’m like, no, the actual mechanics, the actual theology, like ideas of the Trinity, ideas of you know, sin are like part of the cult structure. Like the, that’s part of what does the damage, not just some Christians who were mean [00:41:00] sometimes.
So, so that’s just kind of the, the, the crux of what I was feeling when I read the book is I know you, I know you’re a loving person. I know you’re a good person personally, I think you’d be a good person whether you were a Christian or not. So for say, go ahead. I’m sorry.
De’Vannon: I was just waving. Thank you.
John: Yeah. And so since I, since I know that about you, like I, I see this as like an identity issue where you’re like, I just don’t want the identity of Christian because I don’t identify with these Christians.
And that’s fine. It just, it that makes labeling, labeling in general, I’m also not a fan of, but at the end of the day, we have to have some labels for legal reasons, for , like conversational reasons and, and those kind of things. So I, I didn’t know if that, if I was spotting that correctly or if there was something else you were trying to do with the book.
De’Vannon: Mm-hmm. . I wanted to use that title to get people’s defenses down so that they would be open to a conversation about the Trinity. Now, I left the church, but I didn’t go [00:42:00] as far as you. To, to stop believing in God and everything like that. As we discussed when I had you in my show the last time, I’ve had too much miraculous stuff happen to me, which I believe.
And so for me, you know, it’s important that I just never, ever, ever have a barrier. Cuz I had a dream years ago and it’s like, it’s like God was teaching me like how to soul in, in this dream. And he was telling me that in order to win someone’s soul, to get, to get a, a convert, if you will, is that you have to get on the same page with him.
You have to have a common ground, not show up, you know, knock on their door and say, I’m right, you’re wrong. Change. You have to get on the same level. And so that word was coming in between my ability to do it. I’ve seen so many people be just devastated by that word and so I thought maybe I can package this differently.
What you’re saying, the institutions hurt people, not necessarily the word. You know, my call to action is for people to leave the church. If you’ve been hurt, then to sit [00:43:00] there thinking you have to, you can still have a perfectly good relationship with God. I still choose Christ. And so, so since we’re, since we’ve probably got like, maybe like 10 minutes left I’m not gonna go through each chapter title or we’re, we’re not gonna go through each chapter and discuss it.
What I’m curious is what part stood out to Y.
Pat: For me, you know, you went pretty deep into Christianity and. At some point I actually did not see Catholicism in it, which is just weird. I’m reading stuff that I never touched upon, never saw, did not engage while I was in the Catholic religion. So yours was deep and very profound in that Christianity to me sounds like it’s supposed to be.
The whole mantle was supposed to be, [00:44:00] you know, trying to, or maybe the umbrella was supposed to go up underneath, but Catholicism fell along the wayside. It, it didn’t get covered up in Christianity cause we are not as engaged as a Christian is. I don’t know if that makes sense. Learn from being from young, we were told a Catholic is a solely of Christ, the believers in Christ.
But we do not delve into the depth that you delve, delve in the book. So it, it was like eye-opening for me. You know, all the different verses and chapters that you relate you relating to when you are engaging in the book that I didn’t even know about. So, you know, it’s like maybe I should change religions, you know, go to a different team.[00:45:00]
Maybe if I had done, if I had that opportunity younger, who knows where I might have been now, you know, who knows? If I had taken a different path, would I have actually engaged more? Would I have been, you know, more interested in it? I was, I, I’m just at the path where I’m not. So, you know, the, the part of the book that I liked is when you say we needed, I needed for God to, I needed to invite God. I needed to embrace them. I needed to engage, I needed to emulate, and I needed to behave in a certain way. I never got that from my cathar teachings. I got nothing. I got emptiness. Just whatever was said passed down was whatever that person, you know, what their limitation on the religion was, is [00:46:00] what I was instructed.
So if they have 4%, then now I might have one. Then I now have to pass on what little I have to a child and tell them, you’ve gotta believe whatever I just said, no, I couldn’t even bring anything else to the table to say, well, this is the, the meaning of it, So that’s what I kind of really liked about the book.
Is that you really allowed me to, to delve into Christianity, which is not what the Catholic church allows. We call it something different. We used to call it we used to call people who call themselves Christians. We used to call them born again Christians. So it’s like saying you won’t really, it’s like all money and new money.
That’s my best interpretation of what Catholics look at with Christians. We believe Christians who quote versus [00:47:00] as new money type of people who just came along to religion. And we think we are the whole star world of religion that we hold the vault of religion. So when you say you’re Christian, we tend to want to look at you differently, if that makes sense.
That’s the identity you were talking about.
De’Vannon: Right. It, it makes, it makes perfect sense identity and is everything. John, what? What, what was your favorite?
John: I’m, I’m still so hung up on this idea of, of that I was already harping on. So I’m trying to get my brain into a different gear but You know, frankly, like, it was kind of hard for me to read because it just, it it’s Christianity. I didn’t see any, anything particularly new for me because, you know, the, the, I mean, and I’m not, and I’m glad the information’s out there.
What I, I will say this. I like how succinct you were [00:48:00] able to cover a lot of ground very quickly, which is hard to do with this stuff. The only problem is I feel like there’s information that I don’t agree with that I think is, is just Christian rhetoric and Christian versions of things. The biggest one in that department was just when you were talking about sin.
I, that I, I don’t, I don’t think, I don’t think we agree on how sin works at all. Or even its existence in, in, in the same way. But but yeah, I mean, again, I I thought you did a good summation of Christianity. The, the thing that I want to just circle back to very quickly is I actually have kind of a problem with sneaking Christianity into the conversation under other guys’s repackaging it.
This has been done for years. The way when the, the first and second great awakening in the us, the way the gospel was presented was very different than how the gospel was presented. Now, it was very different than how the gospel was presented [00:49:00] in the first 500 years of Christianity. Catholics have a very different version of presenting the gospel than Protestants do.
Presenting the the shtick in different ways, even if the way sounds really nice, does not give me comfort. It makes me scared that you’re, that there’s, there’s an ulterior motive. Now, I know you and I know your motives are pure . I know it’s because you have a heart for people who are hurting, and especially people who have been hurt by the church.
And so to me, I I, I see that in the writing as well. Like this is communicating to them. I just still see that fundamental problem of this still serves a system that is bigger than Davanon’s love for people. This is still the same rhetoric that’s in church. It’s just packaged slightly differently. And so that, that’s, that’s kind of my final critique is, is I, I can read this as a man identifying.
[00:50:00] His faith in very clear less Christianese type terms. But it is still the Christian faith through and through.
De’Vannon: Well, I mean, that was pretty much the point. I wasn’t trying to rewrite the Bible. I wasn’t trying to rewrite Christianity. The point was to say it succinctly in a different way because you know, sometimes you know, two different people can tell the one individual the same thing. That one individual might understand the first person, but they might get it from the second person just because it was explained differently.
Right. And so then that’s, that’s all it was. That’s why it’s a free book. You can just download it for free. , you know, you know.
Pat: No, but can I say something? Just back to John. I completely see what you’re saying, but for me, reading the book, this was, as they say, the introduction to Christianity For a Catholic being, I always keep saying I identify as being Roman Catholic. Cause I’m born there, grew up in it, we’ll [00:51:00]die in it, but never had this level of interpretation into Christianity.
I don’t read much, I don’t engage much because I was never really interested. So Duran’s book was actually a glimmer into Christianity. , as he said, his interpretation, it could reach different people. So as you said, you could repackage it, but for me this is like nearly like the first packaging of Christianity.
So for me there’s an absolute divide between Christianity and Cath and being Catholic. We are so different. We are a completely different beast, as they would say. As you know, you would say Muslim is as Buddhists, Catholics, we believe we are the end all and the we are the be all in the end all. [00:52:00] So to now realize there is Christianity, it is nearly for somebody my age, it’s nearly like mind blowing.
Would I continue along the path of trying to find out more about Christianity? I don’t know. but you know, I, I, I love what you said and I also like the book The violin is opening up so you it for you, it’s repackaging, but for me it’s like the first, it’s like the first step is the first step into real religion is to hear how everything evolves and interpretation is all about it.
So as I said at the beginning, it has evolved and changed and changed and changed. And we don’t know who has the real, real holy grail of the Bible. We don’t know what was originally there. We have gotten [00:53:00] versions and descendants of this same book, but we could choose which one we want to go to, and that’s what we’ve done over time.
De’Vannon: thank you very much for that, Patrice. At the end of the day, I’m not trying to like take the place of God. I don’t think any church should. My website doesn’t with the lessons and the education we have on there. one of my greatest prayers is for God to reveal himself to people on an individual basis in a way that that individual person is going to know that it is God speaking to them.
Like with the angels that come and talk to me with the dreams that I have and things like that. You know, it is, it is impossible for me to deny the existence of God. So I ask God to give people irrefutable proof of his existence apart from the Bible
John: Okay. I, I got one last thing I have to say to stay on brand So so my, so my whole thing, right? Like, I, I’m, I’m a host of a podcast called The Cults of Christianity. My whole life’s work is to dissect well, it’s started as a [00:54:00] dissecting Christianity. It’s moved on to dissecting cults. It is, I, Patrice, I totally understand.
Catholics do not encourage education. That’s not their, their, their shtick. There are many. Christianity is a huge umbrella with many, there’s very progressive Christians. There’s very fundamentalist conservative Christians. There are there’s Catholics, there’s Eastern Orthodox, there’s, there’s offshoots left and right.
Here’s, here’s the only warning I’ll give. It is so easy to go from one cult to another. This is something that happens with a lot of people is because they’ve been given a, a cult mindset. A cult follower mindset. They realize that what they were in is a cult. For you, it might have been Catholicism. For someone else, it could be something completely different, and then they.
Find another cult. Now, this doesn’t always mean like a religious institution sometimes. This can be, you [00:55:00] know, a, a very toxic group that goes to a bar. This can be a, you know get caught up just in a different world. This can, this can look you know, in my opinion, a lot of people who leave Christianity join Colts online that just talk crap about Christianity all the time.
And that’s like where they find their community and then people take advantage of them by selling them books about how bad Christianity is. I’ve put in a lot of work to not be that kind of ex Christian and gone to therapy and talked about these things to make sure that I’m never a cult leader again.
So the only warning I’ll give. That yearning you were talking about earlier. It’s totally human. It’s a normal emotion. It is so amplified when you grow up in a cult that you have needs, that you have these needs. That’s that to be saved. That that’s the, that’s the indoctrination. You have this need to be saved.
So whatever you believe is your personal choice and you need freedom in that. And I appreciate Davanon’s approach that he wants people to have that very [00:56:00] individualistic thing. The only thing I’ll say is just no one’s got all the answers. Don’t believe anyone who says they do, especially Christians, because they’ve been lying longer than about anybody about a lot of things.
And, and so that, that’s just my cautionary tale of it’s okay for personal discovery. I’m all for people figuring out their identity. Don’t join colts. They, they will only do damage to you and the ones you.
De’Vannon: Here, here we can, we can agree on that. So before, before we get in the wrap up, I’m just gonna read a couple of chapter titles just so people can get a feel for it. Again, like I said, this is a free book. It doesn’t cost you anything at all. It’s just at my website, sex Drugs and jesus.com. You can download it and just take it and do with it what you will.
Let’s see, like what is Christ? What is Christ like Living is one spiritual Christians versus the church. Can we get along? Things like that. And so basically this book takes you from like the history of Christianity through politics, through interpretations and [00:57:00] transliterations to, to where we are today.
It’s super short, it’s super succinct, and also had to keep it short so that I could keep people’s attentions span. So the last, the last thing that I wanted to bring up was this quote by Mahama Gandhi that I included in the book. And he says, I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
That kind of with a huge inspiration behind this. What do y’all think he.
Pat: John, you go ahead.
John: Well, Gandhi Was not a perfect person. To be very clear. There’s, there’s some really problematic things about Gandhi. But what I will say is this is, Frederick Douglass also said a quote very similar where he said I, I forget the exact words, but paraphrased, it was something to the effect of you know, I, I don’t believe in American Christianity.
That was, that was his thing. So I, I think what he meant was pretty self explanatory in the sense that Christ, the legend as I [00:58:00] interpret him, you know, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t view what the gospel say about Jesus as historical fact necessarily, but as far as the, the mythology of who we understand the character of Jesus to be in the world what he represents is this idea of loving everyone.
What he represents is this idea of, no matter how broken you are, you can be made whole again. and that aligned with Gandhi in the sense that he cared about broken people and people who were ca outcast, right? That is very different than how Christianity has ever been from 380 to now. And so I think, I think Gandhi spotted it, and I don’t think it’s very hard to spot that.
When you’re, when your figurehead of your religion is someone who is willing to die bec even when wrongfully convicted. When you have a character who [00:59:00] would talk to people that no one else was willing to talk to, according to Legend that is different than anyone who’s identified as Christian, which I assume is why Devon wants to get away from that identity.
somewhat, because you also ca you probably like the Christ. You like that narrative. , but it’s not what you see. And so I think, I think that’s what Gandhi was saying, and I, I don’t think you have to look far to agree with.
De’Vannon: Well said, sir.
Pat: Yeah. . Yeah. I have nothing
I have nothing. That was really well said. You know, as you see, he’s just saying, I think what Gandhi’s just trying to see is I like your figurehead. I just don’t like your followers.
De’Vannon: It’s, it’s all, it’s all very interesting to me because, you know, Christ was not called a Christian, you know, this word came about, you know, after he was gone. And it came about because people needed to wait to divide the new followers from the old [01:00:00] followers essentially. And so, you know, I just, I just don’t want people to get hung up on the word.
I want people to have a meaningful relationship with God that. , you know, outside of the Bible, outside of a building, that is my call to act because when the pastor inevitably makes a mistake, a religion could fall. Then what are you gonna do? Like, identity has to be a relationship with Jesus, just with Jesus, with no one else around.
I’ll say this and I’ll shut up. Like your most, your most, your most powerful and, and meaningful time with God is supposed to be when you’re by yourself, not when you’re in the middle of a room full of people.
De’Vannon: And so
Pat: And I think that’s, yeah, that’s perfect.
De’Vannon: and so with that. So with that, any last words y’all have for the world? Y’all can just say so and then I’ll intro y’all out.
Pat: Well, I just like what, what John said at the end about community in [01:01:00] that instead of moving from the Catholic church into something, it’s like you’re moving and just having different bed partners. So you just go from one to the next to the next. So that’s why I actually have not sought out any other religion.
I just kind of stopped seeking and started enjoying life. And wherever it takes me, it’s where I go, you know, love, laughter, life, that’s all it’s supposed to be. I can’t get hung up about, you know, religion, race, age, you know, medical conditions. I just, I’m just not there. I’m just not there. So if I need to sit in the middle of a room by myself and just thank God for something, I don’t have to feel ashamed.
I don’t have to go into a church and, you know, say, say everything to the mountain tops. No. [01:02:00] It’s now just about me and my thoughts. That’s where my religions is stored. It’s in my thoughts and what I do. So if I do something good, I feel good. If I’ve done something bad, I feel human. That’s just where it is.
So my community is just me.
De’Vannon: You are where you are and that’s okay.
Pat: Yep. Yep.
De’Vannon: What about you, Johnny?
John: you can go to the to christianity.com and spend five. No, no. I, I wanna, I wanna tell people that that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to hold on to what you have believed. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to search for a new belief, and we all have beliefs. The only thing that will always be my caution is are your beliefs truly your own?
And investigate the hell out of that because there are so [01:03:00] many things that you might think are your own, that are not, that were given to you and probably forced into you. And so just be very wary of that as you’re seeking whatever you’re seek.
Pat: Yeah, that’s true. As as he said, be just cognizant of what you are introducing into you, into you, and don’t let it be a part of what was taught to you. So it shouldn’t be learned behavior, it should just be something that you really believe in. Most of religion is learned behavior.
De’Vannon: Well, not anymore because
De’Vannon: we, not anymore. Cause we kids are gonna be mindful about our religion, our approach to spirituality, and everything else that we do. We’re gonna know why we believe, what we believe. That is what it comes down to.
De’Vannon: All right. Like, so, like, like John was saying, y’all, his, his podcast is the Cult of Christianity and the website is the cult of christianity.com.
That’s gonna [01:04:00] go in the show notes along with John’s Link Tree. So and what can I say? Thank y’all for spending a whole hour of your life with me that I know that you can’t get back.
Too bad we didn’t get to talk about Tyler Perry, but we might just have to do this again.
Pat: yes. I would love that.
De’Vannon: Thinking Bye everyone.
Pat: Okay. Bye. Nice meeting you, John. Bye gra. Talk to you soon. Okay, bye.
De’Vannon: Class dismissed.
Thank you all so much for taking time to listen to the Sex Drugs in Jesus podcast. It really means everything to me. Look, if you love the show, you can find more information and resources at Sex Drugs in jesus.com or wherever you listen to your podcast. Feel free to reach out to me directly at Davanon Sex Drugs and jesus.com and on Twitter and Facebook as well.
My name is Davanon, and it’s been wonderful being your host today. And just remember that everything is [01:05:00] gonna be all right.