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Graceful Atheist Podcast

Graceful Atheist Podcast

By David Ames
A secular humanist podcast about Secular Grace after deconstruction and deconversion.

The podcast takes an honest look at stories of faith transition from a life-altering faith, to doubt and deconstruction, to deconversion, and finally, to a thriving graceful life post-deconversion.

My name is David, and I am trying to be the Graceful Atheist. Join me and be graceful human beings.

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Anne: Deconversion Anonymous

Graceful Atheist Podcast

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Shannon: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. This week’s guest is Shannon. Shannon’ story delves into the emotional experience of deconversion. Shannon grew up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist church, where the teachings were pernicious. As a teen and into adulthood, Shannon knew her own beliefs and convictions did not always align with her church or family. She tried to be who they wanted her to be, but her decisions were never quite enough for them. Over the years, she slowly, like “mental velcro,” ripped out the only beliefs she had known. Where her family couldn’t hold space for her questions, her husband could. It was a hard journey, but she wasn’t on it alone. Today, Shannon misses the certainty she used to have, the path laid out in front of her with easy answers. But she is able to see the world with new eyes—the glory and majesty of nature, the wonders of scientific inquiry. It has changed her for the better, and she isn’t looking back. Recommendations Thought Experiments For Believers https://gracefulatheist.com/2018/12/03/thought-experiments-for-believers/ Deconversion How To https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Review of Hell is the Absence of God https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/06/04/review-hell-is-the-absence-of-god/ After Life trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIGGKSHMQOM The Invention of Lying trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhRnmyBjOLs Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/22/shannon-deconversion-anonymous/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:18:47
May 23, 2022
Seth: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. This week’s guest is Seth. Seth was the oldest child in a large homeschooling family who attended attended mostly non-denominational churches. He was always studious and had read through the Bible multiple times before adulthood. In high school, Seth made his faith his own and dove deeply into Youth Earth Creationism. He studied at a state university and a few years after graduation began work at The Creation Museum. While living near the museum, Seth was introduced to a fringe religious movement he describes as “Messianic Judaism meets evangelicalism meets conspiracy theories.” In the Hebrew Roots movement, Seth discovered teachings he’d not encountered before and some doubts began to creep in. Over the next year, Seth continued to experience conflicts between YEC and Hebrew Roots. The two ways of thinking were at odds—flat earth or round, scientific cosmology or the broken body of a leviathan? By 2020, Seth realized he was an atheist, no longer able to convince himself to believe again. Recommendations Books Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari Youtube Paulogia Viced Rhino Godless Engineer AcapellaSciencehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydqReeTV_vk Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/15/seth-deconversion-anonymous/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
55:31
May 16, 2022
Anne: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. This week’s guest is Anne. Anne grew up in a loving and happy Christian home in a large city where her father pastored a small reformed church. As a teen, her faith was very real to her, and a few years later, she attended a Christian college, but struggled mentally and physically. Anne left that school and attended a Bible college, but she quickly realized she would be excluded from most ministry opportunities because of her gender. After a short and sometimes insulting experience in children’s ministry and then a sickness that went on for man years, Anne felt like God had “benched” her, but she continued praying and hoping. Over the next many years, Anne’s family met one obstacle after another—toxic or cult-like churches, physical and mental illnesses, Christians backing Trump and even loved ones passing away. Finally, she couldn’t take any more. “I couldn’t hear from God…I couldn’t worship. I couldn’t hypnotize myself with the piano. I couldn’t do anything…[I was] done.” Then during the Pandemic, Anne read a single book that made her stop and think for a moment. Then, her questions started coming and couldn’t be stopped. From the outside, it may seem like Anne’s deconversion was quick, but she had given God plenty of time to reveal himself. Recommendations The Lasting Supper Deconversion Anonymous Harmonic Atheist MythVision Bart Ehrman Darkmatter2525 Holy Koolaid Books #AmazonPaidLinks Jesus & John Wayne by Kristin Kobes Du Mez https://amzn.to/388uqxl Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/08/anne-deconversion-anonymous/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:29:35
May 09, 2022
Ursula Schneider: Leader, Seeker, Artist, Woman
This week’s guest is artist Ursula Schneider. As a child, neither her charismatic church nor her unstable home were safe for her. There was a lot of mental illness at home and Ursula often felt abandoned by the church. Their family was simply “too much.” Ursula grew up, married young and began going to church again. As an adult, she needed something real to her. She saw that something in the women at church, so she dove right in—daily prayer, bible studies, women’s retreats, all of it. But Ursula kept bumping up against a certain church doctrine: women cannot teach men. She was a gifted leader and teacher but church after church kept her out of the pulpit. At the last church she attended, Ursula faced the greatest challenge yet to her faith. Over the span of a few months, she and her husband went from being well-respected leaders to losing their entire community. Ursula went through a depressive state and cried out to God, but no answer came. Over the next few years, Ursula would make beautiful art, write for herself and continue to question her religious beliefs. Since leaving, Ursula has dabbled in other faiths, wondering if any will fit her. Nothing has yet, but she is learning and growing as a whole person. She no longer has to squash part of herself or silence her own curiosity. Ursula’s art and writing empower others to exist as their whole selves in the world and to see beauty and inspiration in the world around them. Ursula Schneider art exhibition through May 25th 2022, at D&R Art Gallery and Studio in Tucson, AZ. Links Website https://www.ursulaschneider.art/ Personal FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/ursula.d.schneider/ Business facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ursulaschneiderart Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ursula_schneider_art/ People can also email me at ursulaschneiderart@gmail.com Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/01/ursula-schneider/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:10:01
May 02, 2022
Andrew Pledger: Religious Trauma Awareness
CW Mental health and depression This week’s guest is Andrew Pledger. Andrew has spent nearly his entire life in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church—where the KJV rules and women do not. Andrew was homeschooled K-12 with a mildly white Christian nationalist curriculum, no sex education and no diverse friendships. For years, Andrew’s mental health suffered, but there were no resources for him. He was told that he wasn’t “reading the Bible enough” and “needed to get closer to God.” In college, Andrew knew he needed professional help but at a fundamentalist Christian college, there was only “biblical counseling”. The first two years were excruciating. Eventually, however, with a little community and a lot of research, Andrew took his mental health into his own hands. He started asking difficult questions about the Bible, and it was not long before the foundations began to crumble. Since leaving Christianity, Andrew has lived out secular grace. He is spreading awareness about toxic religion and working toward becoming a religious trauma therapist. His personal experience of freedom compels him to help others find the same freedom. Links Instagram https://www.instagram.com/4ndrewpledger/ Josh Harris Interview https://www.instagram.com/tv/Ca–9vFAxqs/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y= Photo Series https://www.instagram.com/4ndrewpledger/guide/religious-trauma-photo-series/17999363926411608/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y= Website https://4ndrewpledger.mypixieset.com Link aggregator https://liinks.co/4ndrewpledger Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/04/24/andrew-pledger-religious-trauma-awareness/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:29:30
April 25, 2022
Robert Peoples: Affinis Humanity
This week’s guest is Robert Peoples of Affinis Humanity. Robert grew up in a Black Baptist church in New Jersey. When he was young, he enjoyed church but was an inquisitive child with many questions and no satisfying answers. As a teenager, Robert looked for answers outside the church—from Thomas Paine to Allah to the Buddha. By 18 years old, Robert could no longer believe in anything supernatural. His understanding of the world came from philosophy, history and science. This was incredibly difficult for his family, but they continued to faithfully love and support him. One frustration Robert has with the Black church community is that it works to change unjust systems but then uses phrases like, “We couldn’t have done this without God.” In recent years, Robert has been working with a political non-profit to ensure the “separation of state and church” and to change unjust policies. Human suffering is caused less by individuals “in need of heart change,” and more by systemic racism, homophobia, classism and other inequities. [Humanism] has increased my love for humanity exponentially. I no longer love people with conditions. In the midst of all the work to be done, Robert is hopeful. He is effecting change in the world and reminding others that “being human is enough.” He stands in awe of the beauty of nature, his daughters and this short life. His story is one of world-changing secular grace. Links Affinis Humanity https://www.affinishumanity.org/ Secular Coalition for Arizona https://secularaz.org/ Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/04/10/robert-peoples-affinis-humanity/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:11:36
April 11, 2022
Luke Janssen: Recovering Evangelicals
This week’s guest is Luke J. Janssen, M.Sc., Ph.D., M.T.S., Professor Emeritus, Dept. Medicine, McMaster University, and co-host of the Recovering Evangelicals podcast. He is a scientist in medical research. During a faith crisis he began taking courses on theology which turned into an M.T.S degree. Luke tells his story in four 15 year phases: his early years as a nominal Reformed Christian, his young adulthood as a Pentecostal/Charismatic fundamentalist, a desconstruction phase, and where he is now, with a “small part of him that won’t let go” and a belief in a creative force. Luke and his co-host, Boyd Blundell, cover many aspects of desconstruction on the Recovering Evangelicals podcast. They discuss various apologetic and scientific arguments and honestly reveal what they do an do not believe now and why. Links Website https://lukejjanssen.wordpress.com/ Recovering Evangelicals https://lukejjanssen.wordpress.com/recovering-evangelicals/ Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/04/03/luke-janssen-recovering-evangelicals/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:23:33
April 04, 2022
Bethany: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s Deconversion Anonymous guest is Bethany. Bethany grew up in the Pacific Northwest, attending an Assemblies of God church. It was an insular experience of their brand of Christianity against the world. The older Bethany got, the scarier the church doctrines—eternal torment, losing one’s salvation, the Apocalypse, faith healing that doesn’t always work and even demons under her bed. Bethany was a conscientious and sensitive teen. She ardently believed what she was taught and would believe even if it led to martyrdom. In college, Bethany got exposed to reformed theology and progressive Christianity. She began to think, “There is no, ‘God says,’ or ‘Scripture says.’ These are all interpretations.” After college, Bethany moved to California. She immediately joined a church, but it wasn’t the same. She was no longer tied to it the way she had been; she finally had space to think for herself. In California, Bethany’s been able to think, hike, read and realize who she is without outside influence, but it hasn’t been easy. She’s been afraid and uncertain, still haunted by some of her old beliefs. But she is free and life is full even while she is still “in process.” Book Recommendations #PaidAmazonLinks Untamed by Glennon Doyle https://amzn.to/3IHW945 Educated by Tara Westover https://amzn.to/3tHRif2 Wayward by Alice Greczyn https://amzn.to/3JHKFi5 Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion My interviews with Alice Greczyn https://gracefulatheist.com/2021/01/31/alice-greczyn-wayward/ https://gracefulatheist.com/2019/07/25/alice-greczyn-dare-to-doubt/ Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/03/27/bethany-deconversion-anonymous/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/ Picture of Mt. Rainier by Bethany
01:39:16
March 28, 2022
April Ajoy: Evangelicalish
This week’s guest is April Ajoy, viral Tiktok’r, youTuber and podcaster. She is a “recovering conservative humorously detoxing religion.” April had a unique childhood. She was homeschooled and spent half of each year in Pentacostal spaces and the other half traveling the US with her family, singing and evangelizing. Her parents were evangelists and her grandfather was a pastor of a megachurch, so even as a young person April had seen cracks in the traditions and beliefs. She didn’t see them as systemic, though, only random, separate incidents. Over the next decade, tragedy hits April’s family and God does not step in to thwart it, a family member comes out to her and she realizes she cannot continue believing much of what white Christianity has painted as “good news”. Today, much of April’s childhood beliefs have been dissected and thrown out, but she is loving others in a much deeper way. She still considers herself a Christian and is fighting injustices in her own creative way. “Humor is how I cope with trauma.” On social media, April tackles all the difficult subjects—white supremacy, misogyny, purity culture, the absurd things evangelicals post online and more! She brings levity and fun to serious topics in a way that will make you laugh out and that is good medicine. Links TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@aprilajoy Instagram https://www.instagram.com/aprilajoy/ Twitter https://twitter.com/aprilajoyr Evangelicalish on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/Evangelicalish Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/03/20/april-ajoy-evangelicalish/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:10:48
March 20, 2022
Ryan Mulkowsky: Some Random Thoughts
This is the three year anniversary of the Graceful Atheist Podcast. Thank you to everyone who has listened and participated. Special thanks to Mike T and Arline for their work on the podcast over the past year. This week’s guest is Ryan Mulkowsky. Ryan grew up Independent Fundamentalist Baptist. He made a “profession of faith” when he was nine years old and was reading Christian apologetics before he was twelve. By fourteen, Ryan was “licensed” by the church and started teaching. Ryan’s mental health suffered during adolescence. Whether at home, school or church, no place was safe for him to grow and change—strict dress codes, young-earth creationism, white-centered history books and virtually no sexual education. Ryan went to one university that was even more conservative and strict than his high school, left and graduated from another with a degree in apologetics. But Ryan knew he wanted to be with people. Soon Ryan was introduced to healthcare chaplaincy. For the first time, seeing people up-close in great physical and emotional need. He was also introduced to other religious faiths—Buddhism Orthodox Judaism and progressive Christianity. Ryan is a now a secular humanist, married with a family and working as a grief coordinator for Hospice. His life has both meaning and purpose without religion. He is living out secular grace by  providing comfort and peace in some of humanity’s most vulnerable moments. Links Blog https://www.ryanmulkowsky.com/ Twitter http://twitter.com/ryanmulkowsky Instagram http://instagram.com/ryanmulkowsky Some Random Thoughts Podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/some-random-thoughts/id1523342430 Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/10/13/ryan-mulkowsky-some-random-thoughts/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:44:33
March 14, 2022
Marla Taviano: Unbelieve
This week’s guest is Marla Taviano, author of Unbelieve: Poems on the Journey to Becoming a Heretic. Marla grew up in Middle America and moved across the globe and back, searching for God’s will for her life. She grew up in a loving home and didn’t realize she was in a “white Christian bubble.” Her church was almost all-white, her hometown was almost completely white, and then after high school, Marla attended an even smaller completely white, conservative Christian college. Marla’s first inkling that something was missing came when she read the book, The Hole in Our Gospel. She had read the Bible many, many times over the years, and here was a new revelation—2,000+ verses about helping the poor? four-letter words if you’ve never lived inside / the bubble of evangelical Christianity it / might surprise you to find that l-o-v-e / and p-o-o-r were new and controversial subjects for me / at age 35 Less than a decade later, while she and her family were part of a multiethnic church plant, Marla began to see more “holes” in her Christianity, namely racism and white supremacy. Her eyes were slowly beginning to open. Since 2015, Marla has been back and forth to Cambodia, written a book of poetry, started an incredibly popular bookstagram, been through a painful divorce, connected tons of people to one another and is still sharing her knowledge and wisdom with her followers. In her search for truth, Marla asks often, “Is this loving to my neighbor?” She may not be certain what her beliefs are right now, but she does believe that love is what will change the world. Links Amazon Paid Links Unbelieve: Poems on the Journey to Becoming a Heretic https://amzn.to/3sLNpoR Instagram https://www.instagram.com/marlataviano/ https://www.instagram.com/whitegirllearning/ Twitter https://twitter.com/marlataviano Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/03/06/marla-taviano-unbelieve/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:18:14
March 07, 2022
Meghan Crozier: Prog/Post Christian Deconstruction
This week’s guest is Meghan Crozier, the writer behind The Pursuing Life blog and co-host of Thereafter Podcast. Meghan grew up in an Evangelical Free church and she was all in. After high school, she went to a christian university, signing a pledge to become a missionary. Her life turned out differently, and though it took years to be okay with that, she is now extremely thankful she never became a missionary. At the beginning of the pandemic while so much was changing in everyone’s lives, she clung to her faith. She journaled, prayed for an hour and read her bible every morning. Since 2020, she began to see other aspects of her church that she could not unsee—homophobia, gaslighting, ableism. Then the January 6th insurrection happened. After her church’s response to this disturbing event, Meghan knew she had to reconsider almost everything her life. Meghan now holds her Christianity very loosely. She’s found community and connection online through Twitter, and through her blog and podcast. Meghan is an important voice in the deconstruction world, influencing people with the spoken and written word. Links Twitter https://twitter.com/thepursuinglife https://twitter.com/thereafterpod The Pursuing Life https://www.thepursuinglife.com/ Thereafter Podcast https://linktr.ee/thereafterpod Prog/Post Xian Deconstruction Coffee Hour 6 AM PST / 9 AM EST on Twitter Spaces Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/02/27/meghan-crozier-prog-post-christian-deconstruction/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
58:54
February 28, 2022
The Ranting Atheist
This week’s guest is the Nigerian podcaster, The Ranting Atheist. He grew up in a strict Pentacostal church where his parents were ministers. At home, his parents were tough on him and his brothers, and made sure they attended Christian schools, even into university. While TRA was in university, following all the rules, his parents parents were rising in the ranks of their church. All was well until “church politics” got them. After that, his parents’ health began to decline, but TRA was still a believer. But as years passed and Nigeria suffered an economic recession, TRA’s faith in the Christian God started to wane. Between conversations about the Bible with a friend, Youtuber DarkMatter2525 and a false prophet in his church, many seeds of doubt were planted. As an atheist, TRA wanted to find a way to assist other Nigerian atheists. His podcast The Ranting Atheist has been the perfect tool. Every weekend a new episode is released “to let Nigerian atheists know that they are not crazy and they are not alone.” TRA is living out graceful atheism one podcast episode at a time. Links The Ranting Atheist Podcast https://www.podpage.com/TRAtheist/ Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tratheistpod/ Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group! Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:12:53
February 21, 2022
Jeffrey Caldwell: Humanist Hospice Chaplain
This week’s guest is Jeffrey Caldwell. Jeffrey grew up in Lancaster county, PA in a liberal denomination set in a conservative area. As a child, church was okay; it was filled with the usual things—bible crafts in Sunday school and singing in the choir. His family was “quasi-religious.” It was good for children to have morals, but no one was pressured to believe anything. Jeffrey had doubted whether Christianity was real throughout middle school. Neither his parents nor his siblings took it very seriously. He left church in high school but was still searching for meaning. Music, books and movies filled the space that religion often does. Eventually, his interest expanded to include philosophy, politics, social justice, all influenced by the “oldies” his dad played in the car. In his twenties, Jeffrey struggled with mental health issues and after a surprise encounter with church, he knew he was missing community. He didn’t fit in with the traditional religions, so he tried the UU church. Then he got involved in progressive politics and social justice, and eventually went to seminary. In seminary, Jeffrey became a chaplain. Now, Jeffrey has created a thriving online and in-person community, Connections Humanist Community. Each week, people share stories and conversations. They belong to a  community where they are valued and heard. Jeffrey is living out what it means to be a “graceful atheist.” Links Connections Humanist Community https://www.meetup.com/connections-humanist-community/ Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group! Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
59:42
February 14, 2022
Natalie: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s episode is Natalie. Natalie grew up in a traditional Christian household, one of six kids. Living in the South and attending a Southern Baptist church most of her childhood and adolescence, however, left a bad taste in her mouth. One place she found solace? Books. Natalie was an avid reader from a young age and reading authors like Judy Blume opened her eyes to a whole good and happy world outside of her Christian bubble. Fictional, though it was, that world made her wonder, “How can [my family] be so unhappy and still have these beliefs about this religion?” Natalie escaped the South at seventeen for a few years and began seriously examining her childhood faith. Even as she was questioning her beliefs, she still lived amidst the family chaos, a daily reminder that she needed to escape again. Eventually, after a quick and clandestine wedding, she and her husband moved away. It’s been a while since Natalie deconverted, and she has lived a fulfilling life, with both happy times and hard times. Today, seeing those who are deconstructing their faith, she empathizes deeply . Author Recommendations Judy Blume Grace Livingston Hill Interact Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
58:57
February 07, 2022
Matt Oxley: Raging Rev
"Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/ "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/ This week’s episode is Matt Oxley. Matt has what he calls a “Bapti-costal” background—mainstream Southern Baptist with “some extra flair and drama.” At six, he was saved, by thirteen he was “hardcore about faith” and by high school, his beliefs were his whole world. However, when he was nineteen he left church over doctrinal issues, for a called it a “sabbatical” and took a few years to genuinely examine his convictions. He knew he had to believe the “cardinal doctrines,” if he was to accept all the other beliefs. But how much could he see was wrong and still ignore it? He was no longer one hundred percent sure he believed in God, much less Christianity, and it didn’t feel like God was doing anything to help him believe. Eventually he admitted to himself that he was an atheist. At first, he became an “anti-apologist,” spreading a different gospel, but over time he has found a balance. Now that eternal retribution is no longer a possibility, Matt holds his beliefs lightly. He is able to parlay with both Christians and humanists, asking hard questions and stirring up all kinds of discussion—Biblical history, Jesus versus Paul, fundamentalism, capitalism, sexuality, and more. Today, Matt’s gospel is love. He no longer believes in a god or in struct doctrines, but he is optimistic about the church’s future. He’s influencing it for the better, once kind and hard conversation at a time. Links Raging Rev https://ragingrev.com/ Pastor With No Answers https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/pastor-with-no-answers-and-friends-podcast/id1046402610 Interact Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:02:05
January 31, 2022
Judah: Anti-vax, Anti-medicine, Anti-government to Deconverted Medical Student
This week’s guest is Judah. Judah grew up “Church of God, Pentecostal adjacent,” where Judah’s father was convinced, “God is alive in these people.” By eight years old, Judah was speaking in tongues and absorbed into eschatology—the study of the end times. Around ten, at a more “separatist” church, the family started homeschooling. His church and family were convinced they were right and everyone else was wrong. Answers in Genesis was the science curriculum, but Judah was also exposed to science on public television. As a teen, another pillar began to crack. Judah believed his attraction to guys and girls was sinful. It felt like God was two opposing forces—one god you lean into for love and grace, the other shames and condemns you. Judah doubled down on young earth creationism and repressing his sexual attractions and dove deeper into eschatology. The family’s eschatology changed over time, but 2012 was the year the end of the world would come. Eventually 2012 comes and 2012 goes. This undid Judah. He spends the next three years learning what else was not true, debunking creationism, conspiracies and various theological matters. Judah was a more liberal Christian for a while but eventually science and logic led him to become an agnostic atheist. He came out with his beliefs to his family in dramatic fashion and hasn’t looked back. His future is in his own hands and whether his family takes responsibility for their beliefs and actions during his childhood is in theirs. He now lives a life true to himself and his own values and ethics. Links Judah’s blog https://jmedic.medium.com/ Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group! Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:18:40
January 24, 2022
Will: Heretical Theology
This week’s guest is Will from Heretical Theology. Will grew up in a Methodist church until high school, when he began attending youth group in what he now calls the, “cult church.”  Years later, will he and his wife were still at that church, he would have a seemingly supernatural experience at his brother’s church in Florida. The decide to move, and not only was there a megachurch waiting for them, there was also Disney World! Will and his wife dove right in! They served at the megachurch for about five years when his wife began to doubt her beliefs. Eventually, Will resigned himself to being alone in his faith. Slowly, however, Will’s fundamentalist beliefs shifted. He wanted to understand the Bible better, so he could understand his wife better. He decided to take off his “Jesus colored glasses,” and read the Bible differently. It wasn’t long before he had a number of issues with what he was reading. Then enters the Republican nomination of Donald Trump. Will felt like he was in the “twilight zone,” not understanding how Christians were getting behind Trump. He and his wife stopped going to the main services but were still in small group. The pastor met with Will to discuss “ministry,” but instead Will needed to pour out all his questions and concerns. The pastor dismissed them. It may not have been intentional, but it still hurt. A few months later, he knew he no longer believed. Today, Will uses Instagram to share what’s learned from the Bible. “I know some shit about the Bible, and I would like to put that to some good use.” He’s taking the “decades of useless Bible knowledge” he has to teach and challenge people, in hopes that his followers will outgrow him and move on to do amazing things. Recommendations: Sam Harris (books & podcast) Bart Ehrman (books & classes on Wondrium) Paulogia (YouTube) Yuval Noah Harari (Books: Homo Deus, 21 lessons for the 21st century & Sapiens) Links Instagram https://www.instagram.com/heretical_theology/ Am I happier? https://www.instagram.com/p/CXM4sStrey2/ Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group! Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
57:10
January 17, 2022
Carlene: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s returning guest is Carlene! She grew up in the Independent Church of Christ—a cappella music, wholly male leadership, baptism before heaven and Biblical inerrancy. One church teaching that took up too much emotional energy was the constant push to be baptized. She was told, “you’ll feel so much better when you do it. You’ll feel so clean.” But it felt inauthentic to publicly say, “I’m a sinner,” when she didn’t feel like that was true. Carlene’s home life was similar to church life—patriarchal, authoritarian, traditional and conservative. Carlene was an obedient child who did not question authority, so she remembers a healthy, happy childhood. Her two sisters, however, remember profoundly different childhoods. In high school, Sunday school lessons were always about “staying pure.” Her boyfriend started going to church with her. They followed the rules and were eventually baptized at the same time. It wasn’t long, however, before Carlene’s beliefs would become real to her. Carlene’s boyfriend went into the military and was sent to Afghanistan. She prayed and prayed for his safety, and at the time it seemed like he returned home safely. They got married and have been married for ten years. Over time, however, they have learned that there are both visible wounds and invisible. While in college, Carlene first learned about evolution. It was this plus friends coming out as gay, working as a police detective and eventually the election of Donald Trump that, over many years, made her question again and again what she had always been taught. It was “the death of a thousand cuts,” and it took almost a decade, but Carlene is now an atheist who finds a glorious sense of awe and wonder in nature without Christian beliefs “taking up space and living rent-free” in her mind. Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group! Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:03:54
January 10, 2022