Why do people love to pop bubble wrap? How do you cope with religious guilt? Is cooking with plastic safe? What happens in your brain when you’re having an extramarital affair? Is there any scientific evidence for God? Why does the sun make me sneeze?
Ask Science Mike is a podcast that answers your most burning questions about science, faith, and life hosted by the author, speaker, and podcaster Mike McHargue. Originally created to answer basic science questions that Christians were too afraid to ask, such as questions about evolution, dinosaurs, and global warming, the podcast quickly branched off into a safe space for people who were deconstructing their faith and questioning their long-held beliefs. As well, the podcast became somewhat of a “Dear Abby” advice column for people trying to navigate around complicated relationships and personal conflicts. Although McHargue is neither a scientist, a pastor, nor a counsellor, his advice and answers to deep questions are consistently thoughtful, well researched, and above all are loving toward those seeking answers.
McHargue wrote about his faith journey in the book Finding God in the Waves, in which he describes his religious upbringing and rule-focused theology, his 180 degree shift into becoming an atheist after not being able to make sense of a lot of the Bible’s teachings, and finally reuniting with a compassionate, loving God who spoke to him on a beach. Even if your faith journey is not quite as dramatic as that, being a university student in the Bible Belt of the Fraser Valley must leave you with some questions: questions about seasonal affective disorder, how to talk to people with different belief systems than you, the optimal human diet, the consumption of marijuana, understanding politics, how to reverse climate change, and overcoming sexual violence, to name a few. You would think that with a range of topics so extensive, his knowledge would end somewhere, but it appears to keep going and continues to dig into both difficult and lighter questions.
How the podcast works is that people simply submit questions through McHargue’s website, and those who support his work on Patreon get to choose which questions get answered. There are several series of episodes exploring similar topics that McHargue is most passionate about, such as climate change, mental health, and the Bible. Although the podcast attempts to answer some extremely personal questions, McHargue sticks to factual, research-based knowledge, but can often be biased toward liberal viewpoints. McHargue is honest about his own life experiences, from dealing with the church, being on the austistic spectrum, and his struggle with depression and anxiety.
Whether you pick and choose episodes that answer questions you have always been curious about, or binge listen to a series on your next road trip, come in with an open mind, ready to engage with a different worldview and perspective on some of life’s deepest questions.