In this episode, religious icon carver and symbologist Jonathan Pageau and I have a far-ranging conversation on the topics of consciousness, what lies beyond religious literalism and the so-called “Christian atheism” movement.
Having studied Orthodox Theology and Iconology at the University of Sherbrooke in Québec, Jonathan Pageau has been carving different types of liturgical objects for the past 14 years. His carvings have been commissioned by priests, bishops and laypeople in the United States, Canada and Europe. His work is also represented by major liturgical art companies including Desmarais & Robitaille in Canada and New World Byzantine Studios in the United States.
Jonathan is one of editors and contributors of the Orthodox Arts Journal and teaches icon carving with Hexaemeron, non-profit organization offering courses in religiously-inspired icon painting, carving and embroidery.
This extensive background in sacred symbols positions Jonathan surprisingly well to respond to the recent spike in interest from the atheist and agnostic community in symbolic readings of Christian texts. This interest has been largely fueled by the lecture series titled The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories, that professor of psychology and clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson is conducting at Victoria University in Toronto and broadcasting on YouTube.
Aside from his now infamous The Metaphysics of Pepe video, a conversation with Dr. Peterson on the symbolic cultural significance of the Pepe the Frog meme, Jonathan has recently been producing some of my favorite content on YouTube, which explores the symbolic worldview in relation to the Bible, religion, society and popular culture. Please take a look at Jonathan’s channel and recent talks. I could not recommend them more highly.
You can listen to my episode with Jonathan below, or at the links provided. You can also read the preamble to this episode—an essay on my religious history and spiritual seeking titled In the Belly of the Beast: My Journey with Religion, Skepticism, and Spirituality—at this link.
Please enjoy my interview with Jonathan!