Hello and welcome to the blossom, your awesome podcast episode number 23. Today on the show, we have got CJ Sand. He is the founder of a movement that is gaining steam and growing exponentially the reasonable movement. He is also an author and the host of the sounds reasonable to me podcast. I am so honored and delighted to have CJ here with us. C. J. Thank you so much. Welcome to the show. Well, thank you for inviting me. It's a real honor to be on your show. So I am so excited to hear about your movement reasonable. So I'm gonna say we get right into it. Can you give me a little of your background and then tell me how this all kind of came up for you? Sure. Well, I guess I'm the last person you'd expect to do something like this for the past 38 years.
I've been a music teacher and I taught eight years in Washington State and for the past 30 years I've taught in overseas schools in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium. As I got closer to retirement age, I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life after education and that's where I started the journey that ended or can I say, just began with writing the book, reasonable. A new way of being. I was born and raised catholic and for decades I was an enthusiastic parishioner. I sang in the church choir. I was an active member of the church, but for years I had had my doubts about the whole belief thing, There were things that just didn't add up for me now, there were some things I really liked about church, don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the fellowship and as I said, I sang in the choir and I generally enjoyed my religious experience. I was lucky to have a string of great priests to who regret human beings as well. But all the time I had my doubts and things about the church that I didn't like, things that I didn't believe, things I didn't even want to be associated with.
I talked to people about this and they'd say things like, oh nobody believes everything, you know, you just pick and choose and don't worry about it, but it bothered me, it bothered me a lot. I kept asking myself, why do I always have to settle? Why can't I have something that I can believe in without exceptions, without having to pick and choose? And this is where reasonable. Came in. Uh first off I started off trying to come together with a way of being, I had looked at all kinds of other options outside of Christianity, different atheist things, different humanist things and each one of them for at least for me seemed to have at least one deal breaker in the bargain and something why I go, I agree with this, I agree with this, I agree with this. And then suddenly, no, I don't agree with that at all. And, and again, if I was going to settle, I could have just stayed with where I was in fact, many times.
Um I looked at my Catholicism and just thought, you know, this is all too much work, why not just go back to church, sit in your pew, be a happy hypocrite and just, you know, chant the mantra till you die. I I know a lot of people who do that, but I thought, no, we can do this. And then I thought I thought, well why not come up with my own. And so I went around and around with trying to come up with a belief system where I actually agreed with everything and that it actually made sense. And this is where reasonable came into being. It's a rational uplifting. An egalitarian alternative to being an atheist and agnostic, a nonbeliever non religious pagan or the horrible none as in nothing in particular or none of the above. When you're filling out a form with reasonable, the emphasis is on finding happiness in your life today and treating yourself and the world you live in in the way you would like to be treated reasonable, reasonable.
Is designed to be elegant in the scientific sense. To be breathtakingly simple. In fact, everything you need to know about reasonable is contained in my book. Reasonable. A new way of being, mm okay, now this sounds reasonable, but almost very idealistic. I mean, it sounds so beautiful. So um what really I mean, brought this on for you in this way that you just needed to find this other more, you know, balanced kind of way for us to be. I mean, was that a kind of a deep spiritual thing beyond just the story of kind of struggling with some of the aspects of what, how you have been raised or belief systems? Well, when I it came to me that I wasn't really going to do the whole God thing anymore, when I was going to be an atheist, the whole Atheist thing really put me off simply because of all of the things that come along.
When you think about an atheist right away. One of the first comments you'll hear from, from people when they're arguing with an atheist, is that well, you don't believe in anything? So you don't you really don't believe in anything, no morals, no values, nothing. You're just this big void. And for me, at least the way I felt it couldn't be farther from the truth that that there are morals and values and things that I believe in. And I thought, why can't you do that without, you know, having to be religious, without having to believe in a God. And so that's what really sparked me to get the whole thing going, mm, that is really incredible now, So, would you consider yourself spiritual at all? Is there any place for spirituality there? Or Well, I have to say I am a realist and I like things with evidence and the whole spiritual thing for me, it it just doesn't work, that I I I think it's it's a miracle that we're on this planet.
I think that every day when the sun comes up, that's my miracles are things that happen every day. And I guess I don't need all the other stuff just for me, not that I want to criticize anybody that does believe in those things, and I want to be really clear about this, is that one of the things that sets reasonable apart from other atheist or humanist movements is that if people choose to believe in a God and have religion in their life and it makes their life better and it makes them feel better about their life about everything, then that's wonderful. And it's really none of my business to say anything derogatory about that, simply because I don't want them saying derogatory things about me. And I I believe in personal freedom. I believe in people being able to make their own choices. And I guess if if I want people to respect and to, you know, give me the time of day with reasonable, then I have to return that respect.
And if people want to believe in God, that's that's wonderful, I I shouldn't get a say in that it's their personal choice. Okay, I know I'm gonna have to say that is very reasonable. I love that. I think that's so and you know, this is the thing. I think with religion I believe in God. And uh but you know, I just I believe they're all they're all the same. Everyone is saying the same thing essentially when you start breaking it down. I mean there is one god and that's just my belief. But I love that your belief is um it's nonjudgmental. Which I think as humans we struggle with. Well it really bothers me what modern culture has become where you have people where if you don't believe the way I believe then I can't even be your friend on facebook that's uh you know the whole idea of you know being educated and being tolerant and understanding that there's more than one way to do this whole thing called life and respecting people if they choose to do it differently from you simply because you would like them to respect the way that you live your life.
Mm hmm. Yes. Absolutely. And I think that's just um the one of the keys to your belief system, you know, is that honoring others and um having being able to hold your head up high and wanting that respect for yourself. So that's truly beautiful now. So is there, you know, as far as just trying to kind of understand this on a deeper level. So is there an antidote to spirituality here or what you know, how where is that deeper fulfillment for you with reasonable coming from? Well, maybe I could go through the reasonable beliefs with you and we could talk about that. It's it's five basic beliefs and I've I've tried to boil everything in life down to just these five beliefs and it's 99 words and it covers, I think everything. So number one, the reasonable beliefs. This is the first one. Let go of mythology, Superstition and fear.
Mhm. Number two, treat yourself and the world you live in as you would like to be treated with love, Generosity, honesty and respect. Number three being reasonable consists of the right to do whatever does not infringe on the rights of others, thus exercise of these rights has no limits other than those which secured two other members of society, enjoyment of those same rights. Number four, the point of life is to be happy, strive to find your happiness in living a balanced harmonic and loving life. And number five reasonable is gender, age, racial, ethnic and sexual orientation neutral. Every human being is of equal worth. And those are my five beliefs. Oh my God, I love that. Um so you know, this is and I I love that it's called reasonable and it is so reasonable, but it's so ironic.
Um because people just struggle with some of this. So breaking these down, getting into this. So number one, just in your opinion, your philosophy, letting go of fear. Why? Um what is that about us and um how did that come up for you to be able to kind of just let that go. Well, so, so much of the mythology superstition and fear has really ruled the world for the last couple of 1000 years, you have people that try and get them to do what they want by scaring them or by coming up with some kind of superstition that, oh, you know, if you do that, something horrible is gonna happen to you or threatening people, I guess with me, the whole thing with sin and hell and all of these things where you can't reason with somebody to do the right thing, you have to scare them, you have to you have to con them in some way.
And so that's where that all comes from, is that I would like to live a life where if somebody is going to talk me into doing something, they need to have a good reasonable explanation for it. You can't just scare me and then just hope for a good result. Yes. And I, you know, I I love that because there are some religions, I'm not going to bring up any names here, but you know, they are really based in fear, right? This fear of uh not doing the right thing and ending up in hell or whatever, you know, that maybe, but going deeper with the CJ now, you know, obviously it's kind of like, so religions can tell us there's this dogma that says, well, you know, you got to do this, this this X, y and Z and repent or whatever, blah blah blah or you're gonna go to hell, right? So, but there's this as human beings, it sounds like, you know, with your movement, the reasonable movement, okay, conscience, you just you're kind of following your own guidance and tapping into your conscience, right?
Like, okay, this is right and this is not right and well, I I think we all have that inside of us. I think that that everybody has that sense of right and wrong, good and bad. It's the reason why you don't have to tell a person to feel good at the end of the movie, when the person says the baby from you know, disaster or when the couple fall in love, you don't have to sit there and say and that's good. That's why you should feel good about this. We all have that inside of us. And I think that a lot of times people don't give other people enough credit for the good instincts that we all have. Mm That is so beautiful. And um was that how did that kind of come up for you in life, was there a moment or a point? Or was that kind of a constant where you perhaps felt judged or you know someone or just situations invalidating your own conscience.
Well, I I told you I was raised catholic and I had the yoke of catholic guilt on my shoulders from a very, very young age, and I have to say that when I came up with the reasonable beliefs and the third reasonable belief where it says that exercise of these rights has no limits, it was like a weight had been taken off my shoulders rather than a whole big long list of voucher shalt nots and and guilt and shame and all the things that come with that. Suddenly I had a way of being that has no limits except that I just can't infringe on anybody else's freedom to do the same thing. So as long as you're not infringing on someone else's freedom, you're free to do as you wish. And it's it's it's liberating, hmm, that sounds um so liberating, like, am I going to join the reasonable movement? It's okay, I love that I'm just free to choose, free to not be judged free to not judge.
I love all of that. That's so, I mean, it sounds honestly CJ it sounds so idealistic, like it sounds almost too good to be true, but but the thing is that it's all just common sense things, every one of the things, in fact, I've been criticized with reasonable beliefs that people will say, well, you know, that's just common sense, that's what everybody does anyway, and then I argue back saying no, if you actually look at the world and how things actually are a lot of times it's actually the opposite of what I'm talking about? I mean what I'm talking about is the ideal, but it's not what's in practice and and maybe you know, I, I'd like to see it in practice a little more. Right? Yeah. And now you know what I think is so cool about this. So we all, you know, whatever religion, however you were raised, we all I think in some way have we kind of may go with it, but even, you know, deeper down there may be some sort of internal struggle there, right?
Some aspect of it, something that doesn't make sense. But I think it's so amazing and so empowering that you're like, you know what, I'm going to start my own movement and that's amazing. So where did that part of you come from? I well after a while you get to a certain age and you you think that, oh, I could never do that or I couldn't do this? And one thing or another and then you get to a certain age where you're going, why why can't it be me? Why not? Because at some point all of these religions started off with one person saying, hey, you know, why don't we look at the world this way and why don't we believe in these things and why can't you have something brand new and especially if it if it makes sense. Mm hmm. Yeah, I mean, absolutely. So is there, But have you always been like this in life? Have you always just said, okay, well this doesn't work for me. So I'm going to do this or, and not in a resisting way.
You know, not in a negative way, but just kind of felt empowered to say, well, I'm gonna go with this. And I know it sounds like with, you know, certain aspects of your upbringing. No, just because you felt kind of hindered but with other things in life, was that just always kind of innately a part of you? Well, yes and no, I mean, I I was if I hadn't got the job overseas, I would have, you know, grown up in my hometown, I would have, you know, taught I was the high school music teacher at the high school I graduated from, I was the hometown boy. But when I, when I took the job overseas and I moved my family to England and all of that I kind of got, you know, out of that same old same old kind of mentality. But then it was in my middle forties when I really started to have the whole to have the whole epiphany on religion and how I felt about things and how I I just thought there was more, I thought that it could be so much more, we have everything we need for magic.
It's just a matter of putting it in the right order and and having the right priorities and so yeah. And then little by little I worked on it and worked on it at one point, I had nearly 20 reasonable beliefs and then then I had it down to 13 and then it went back to 15 and finally I said, no, just boil it down to what really matters. And then I came down to five and got those, hmm. Now, um, you know, you, something you said here, so you moved and it, you know, it's just, it's so to travel and be in different environments and different places and you know, you're in England, which is kind of, you know, it's like the heart of, I mean London especially, right? It's just like the center of the world of earth, you know, where it's like the time zone versus, you know, the far East and then the west Coast and it's just like this vortex and it can, it can feel that way.
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So it seems like that really had something to do with the start of this for you to kind of like you said, get out of your environment and then there's this expansiveness when you kind of see other cultures and other places and right, is that, that definitely had something to do with wanting to kind of move forward with starting this movement. Yeah. Like I said, when you travel when you live in other cultures, that kind of thing, that it does open your mind and you start thinking different ways and now for people who can't travel or aren't able to kind of get around in that way. What else do you recommend? Well, um, I guess one of my big questions that I ask people is that you know, why, why are you going to settle?
Are you sitting in a church pew somewhere or are you an atheist or an agnostic? And you are you just settling for how you are your way of being? Because well, that's what I've always done or that's what my parents did or this is it's just easier just to do what I do. But then I asked, are you willing? I mean this is your life, this is your way of being, this is what you believe in. It's the most personal thing you can do. And are you willing to settle? Are you willing to just have something that Yeah, I believe in part of it and and but not all of it and some of it I don't agree with at all. And you know, why should you have to settle? And so that's but again, and why I started the movement is that I didn't want to settle. I wanted something where I believed every part of it. Mm I love about C. J. Now, what has that done for you on a soul level? Well, I'm I'd like to say I'm I'm a whole different person than when I started this process.
I I was very conservative. I was very judgmental. I have to thank my wife for helping me on my journey. She's been kind of my guide through all of this. Uh and yeah that it's just opened up my mind about so many different things, tolerance and acceptance and the whole idea of freedom, you know, as americans, we talk about freedom all the time, you know, that's what the country is supposed to be all about. Freedom and liberty. And we have to remember that freedom and especially like freedom of speech. Freedom of speech doesn't mean that we have permission to talk about the weather, freedom of speech means that you have permission to talk about a very controversial things that's and you can't have a little bit of freedom either you have it or you don't. And I'm coming down on the side of I'm a big fan of freedom, that people should have the right to live their lives as they see fit as long as they're not, you know, infringing on someone else's right to do the same thing.
Okay, and now, so just touching on this this freedom of speech thing, you know, I'm curious in your belief system. So you know, you say you can't you gotta be able to have that total freedom. But is there a fine line. Is there somewhere where we draw the line where freedom could mean someone's you know, Got liberty now too, just spew hate speech is that? Well, see this is where I think that that people having having the freedom is one thing actually doing it is another thing. And I would like to think that when you look at a reasonable belief, number two, that you treat yourself in the world you live in as you would like to be treated with love, Generosity, honesty, and respect, and the respect part would mean that no, you wouldn't be spewing hate speech because it's right there in belief number two, that for you to be disrespectful to someone over, you know, how they live their life, who they choose to love, whatever it happens to be.
That goes against that reasonable belief. So that wouldn't be reasonable. Okay, um thank you, and I'm was having second thoughts about joining the movement, I needed clarity there, but, yep, sorry, you were going to say, oh, well, and another thing I wanted to talk about just a little bit was the whole I have, I've had a lot of people ask me, you know, why not just be an Atheist that if you don't believe in God, you know, that's already there, or there's agnostic, there's humanists, there are all these different things, why not just do that? But for me, names matter, And names matter a lot. Atheists are referred to or refer to themselves in the negative? Atheist one, who is without a God? Now I ask you how many other movements or beliefs refer to themselves this way when somebody meets a christian, do they introduce themselves as an anti satanist? Of course not.
Would a muslim refer to themselves as non fear? No. Would a jew introduce themselves as a gentile? Never in a million years. And yet atheists, they can't shake the whole God thing because it's right there in the name, when somebody comes up and asks me, you know, oh well what religion are you? I look them in the eye, I shake their hand and I say I'm reasonable and it just feels really good. I love that. I love um just the self empowerment aspect of this now. So help us, you know, can you kind of humanist, what is that and how is reasonable? Different? But what humanists, I mean, they humanist agnostic. There there's a group over here called Brights that it's all Atheist movements with different belief systems, different things like that. And again, I don't know that I want to run anybody else down.
They have their thing. And that's wonderful. One of the things that kind of put me off joining their things, if I can bring up one thing that I didn't like was that they seemed to be totally preoccupied with arguing or debating people of faith and again with wanting to respect other things. I know that there was a time for that when atheism was, you know, kind of this closet thing and I mean in some places, it was illegal, it was it was it was not nice and people did have to kind of fight for their rights and they had to, you know, go toe to toe and do all that. And people have done the heavy lifting on that. I think we're past that now and we're to the point where you don't have to pick a fight with people who think differently than you. You can, you can just have your new way of being. And I like the whole Buckminster fuller thing where you don't change something by fighting the current reality that you change things by coming up with a new system that makes the old reality obsolete and hope, hopefully that's what I'm doing.
It sounds like that's exactly what you're doing. And um just doing it in such a powerful way without judging without knocking other people just wanting to be honored and honor. And now let me ask you where, you know, as far as love, it seems like that this philosophy is rooted in love. It is I I purposely didn't use love a lot in my book or in my beliefs simply because I think it's the most abused word in our language that it can mean so many different things to so many different people. And I, I think sometimes you muddy the water when you talk about love because when you say it, it means you can talk to 100 different people and they're all thinking about 100 different things when you say it and and in in writing the beliefs, I tried to be very clear, very precise about what I was talking about.
So I there is the finding your happiness in living a balanced harmonic and loving life. I think that's the only time I mentioned it. Okay. And now, and is it is that because it's just love is can be or so powerful or just misconstrued? Well, yeah, I I mean, I I think you're opening up a room for debate room for misunderstanding when you start talking about love just because everybody has a different definition. And so when I talk about, you know, generosity and honesty and respect those are all the things that come with love that should come with love at least in my opinion. And and so yeah, I I didn't want the whole peace, love kind of thing has been kind of done to death. I wanted my my way of being to be a little bit different than that.
Okay. And you know what C. J. I'm not gonna judge you for that. Thank you. That's very, very reasonable of you. Well, you know, and it just and the reason I bring it up because yeah, love is such a loaded term, but it really does incorporate so many of these things. Um you know, so much of your philosophy, but I completely respect and hear what you're saying with that. Um, I think it's really beautiful now, you know, with the number four, I think it was striving to be happy and harmonic. So how do we kind of, really, people struggle with this? How do we lean into this? How do you just in general lean into that? Well, I've always kind of taken my life as well, a cross between an amazing, you know, opportunity and being on a game show that every, everything I get into it, it's like, you know, I walk in and the next contestant on the price is right is CJ Sand and I go in and I take almost everything like a game and it, it makes life so interesting, so much fun because, you know, you're trying to do your best, you're trying to help others, you're trying to achieve whatever you're trying to achieve.
And, and when I was thinking about, you know, what do people really want out of life? And I know that people would talk about, you know, money or, you know, fame or all kinds of different things, but I think when it all boils down to it, people just want to be happy and, and to, to have a goal like that in, in the belief system, you don't find that often often in other people's belief systems, the whole idea that, yeah, that, that we're here to be happy and we're here to find our happiness by, you know, being being harmonic with other people by being loving with other people by leading a balanced life. I really like that one. I get a lot of criticism for that. But that's that's why I'm I'm very pleased with what I wrote. Oh, I you know what? And you should be because I think that is really, it's so accurate.
Your description. It's so true. Because you know, if we go back to the religious thing, they were not really that's generally not really touched upon. It's kind of assumed that, okay, do X, y and Z according to these philosophies and that will equate happiness, but it doesn't it's kind of missing because we're always still searching for meaning or a deeper fulfillment. Yeah. Well, I mean, I I grew up in the sixties and seventies and the whole idea of trying to find yourself for what's life all about, man? You you heard that all the time? And I thought I asked myself, what's life all about? And I said it's about trying to find happiness. Mm I love that. And now, you know, what else, what else do we need to know, what else do you want to share with us? Um just thinking in this way. Yeah, I would like to say that my book is available on amazon.
It's reasonable. A new way of being. I also have a second book out, which is the it's actually the transcripts from the first year of my podcast which is called Sounds reasonable to me and I'm halfway through the second year of that right now. And if people want to visit my facebook page, I have a facebook page titled reasonable. And it's it just shares different thoughts, you know about life and about, you know, trying to live a reasonable life. Uh that kind of thing. If they would want to give it a look, you know, it may be something that they find valuable. Okay, awesome. And I will have links to all of that hair with this episode. So people will be able to easily access all of those. Your book, the second book, your facebook page. And now, what I'm going to ask C. J. Is you leave us with some words of wisdom, love, Light power. Whatever you'd like to leave us with.
Well, I guess it's that I would challenge all of you to take a look at your belief system and ask yourself, are you settling? Are you settling for less than you deserve less than than you you need. And if if you are then perhaps just you know, give my book a look and and maybe reasonable could be right for you if you find something else that's wonderful as well. Because what I would really like for all the listeners would be for them to find happiness in their life for them to find fulfillment to lead a reasonable life. Mm I love that. That is awesome. I just thank you so much. This has been an amazing conversation. And um I just I thank you for your wisdom and your expertise. Well, thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here and it's an honor to be on your show. Thank you so much.
Mhm. Mhm mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm. Mhm mm hmm. Okay.