Hinge is out now! Check it out by clicking on the link below!
About a year and a half ago, I received a message on Facebook from a pastor that was living out in LA. I had just been in my first publicized debate on a radio show called “Unbelievable,” and after hearing me on the show, the pastor, Drew Sokol, decided to reach out to me to discuss a project that he had been thinking about for some time. You see, sometime before this, Drew had gone through a period of doubt in which he seriously questioned the things that were at the center of his life and ministry. This period of doubt shook Drew to his foundations and though, ultimately, Drew managed to emerge from this period of doubt with his confidence restored in the Christian worldview, he was nevertheless left with a nagging question; what if I’m wrong?
At the time, the popularity of podcasts was still picking up, riding the tide of surprisingly successful podcasts like Serial and This American Life. Taking note of this, Drew began to envision a podcast that would explore the life of Jesus, as well as the way that belief and doubt can and does affect our lives. Initially, the podcast was to be hosted by a Christian, and would seek to explore questions from the perspective of Christianity. But then, a glorious idea popped into Drew’s consciousness; what if he were to create a podcast about Jesus and belief and so on, that was hosted by not just a Christian, but an atheist too? Would such a thing even be possible? If so, how would it work? And what, if anything, might come of it? As the idea began to pick up more and more inertia Drew started to look for a potential co-host, until eventually coming across me on the Christian radio show, “Unbelievable.”
Thus was born Hinge, a podcast about an atheist and a pastor together exploring one of the most polarizing questions in all of history: Who was Jesus Christ? Our hope was that we might uncover some of the mysteries surrounding this historical figure (for the record, I’m somewhere between Mythicism and historicism w/ respect to the historical existence of Jesus) or, in the very least, serve as a shining example of how people from different sides of the ideological divide can engage in cordial and fruitful discussion with one another in spite of their differences. Little did we know, however, that our country would soon be in desperate need of precisely this kind of example.
Fast forward to now—the Age of Trump. One can’t help but notice that the political climate of the United States has/is becoming an increasingly volatile and incendiary place. It is now next to impossible to engage in any serious discussion with people who are not in one’s political in-group, and this in turn is causing us to seek refuge more and more with those who are in our group. What’s more, this is not only affecting our public discourse, but as many of us know all too well, the relationships that we have with those who are dearest to us.
Needless to say, then, this situation, as it currently stands, is a recipe for disaster. Our country—indeed, for many of us, our families—cannot survive such an ordeal in the long run. The harder it becomes to speak with those that we disagree with the more impossible it will become for us to solve the legion of problems that beset us and our country.
Look, we need to find ways to change the trajectory of our conversation. We need to find ways to emerge from our corners and away from the reassurances we get from those of like-minds. But most importantly, we need to find ways to have meaningful discussions with those that we disagree with, whatever the issue. Hinge, the podcast, is one attempt to do just that.
And let’s be frank, if an atheist and a pastor can do a podcast about Jesus together in spite of the enormous theological gulf that separates them, then surely, the rest of us can find ways to cross that ever-growing political chasm that divides us so. If not, well then we’re all completely screwed.