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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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Ask Me Anything 2021

Graceful Atheist Podcast

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 Am I happier? Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group! Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
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 Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
January 10, 2022
Derek Webb: The Jesus Hypothesis
This week’s guest is Derek Webb, musician, song writer and public deconstructor. For 10 years, Derek was a member of the Christian rock band, Caedmon’s Call. He then went on to a solo career where he focused on self reflection in his art. During that time, Derek began to desconstruct. He did so publicly in his music and on social media. For Derek’s Fingers Crossed album, “the tale of two divorces,” Derek made himself available to his audience for criticism. He and his team turned this into the podcast, The Airing of Grief. What could have been a public expression of anger and hostility at Derek’s change of heart, wound up being people describing their own deconstruction. It was a poignant reminder that we are not alone in this process. Derek’s next album, Targets, is a joyous and rebellious rock celebration of deconstruction. Derek’s current project, The Jesus Hypothesis, takes a second look at his former theological beliefs. For this project, Derek has made himself even more available to his audience by live streaming the writing and recording process for his Patreon supporters. Derek is the perfect guest for the podcast as his art, music and personal style exemplify an both honesty contest and Secular Grace. Links Derek’s Website The Airing Of Grief Instagram Patreon Interact Full show notes Is it just that I had the wrong image of god? The Bubble Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution Transition music by Derek Webb from the Fingers Crossed album "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
January 03, 2022
Ask Me Anything 2021
Ask Me Anything 2021. Questions from Sheila, Emily, Rick and Mark, Jimmy, Arline, Judah, and Matt. Links Deconversion How To Still Unbelievable—Deconstructing-a-Deconstruction-Deconstruction-els542—Discussing-Sean-McDowell-and-John-Marriot-on-deconversion-part-1-e195h0h Paulogia on Babylon Bee’s ExVangelicals Exvangelical on Evangelical response to Deconstruction Secular Grace Anthony Pinn Amy Rath Bart campolo Why I am not an Anti-Theist My Deconversion Sotry Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
December 20, 2021
2021 Holiday Special
The Holidays: The Big White Elephant in the Room When one has deconverted, the holidays may look completely different, reexamining everything from family traditions to singing carols to dealing with those extended family members. On today’s episode, two returning guests, Arline and Lars and a new guest, Carlene, share how the holidays have and haven’t changed since deconversion. Lars and Arline go into what it’s like to be an unbelieving parent during the holidays, navigating the mythologies of Santa and Jesus. Children ask genuine questions, and they expect genuine answers. The group discusses what they have not given up, among other things, singing Christmas carols. Carols are different than singing religious songs at church, more cultural than sacred. For some, however, it takes a little self-discipline to sing along without critiquing the lyrics. The guests also examine what they have thrown in the trash bin completely, including, but not limited to, the phrase “Merry Christmas” and all those nativity scenes. Holidays spent with extended family can be especially challenging, regardless of religious beliefs. Each person is finding their own unique ways of making the most of their time with family, especially being grateful. Religion does not own the rights to thanksgiving. Lastly, Carlene, David, Lars and Arline consider some new traditions they’ve started or would like to start. Nature is the easiest place to experience awe and wonder, and everyone discussed ways to be in nature more this winter. Also, creating new traditions can be awkward and may not always turn out quite like we hope. It is a lovely conversation, full of hope and lots of humor. Book Recommendations #PaidLinks Small Creatures Such as We by Sasha Sagan Grace Without God by Katherine Ozment Good Without God by Greg Epstein Interact Send in a recorded AMA question Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash
December 06, 2021
Jose Ramos: Deconverted In The Pulpit
This week’s guest is Jose Ramos, Hannah’s husband from her episode two weeks ago. Jose’s family converted to Independent Fundamentalist Baptist and his father became a pastor. They were taught that the IFB had the “pure word of God,” and it was their purpose to evangelize and change the world. Throughout his teens, Jose’s only rebellion was, “like a month partying with [his] brothers.” Later, he went to Bible College, and then started preaching. He met Hannah and took over his father’s Spanish speaking church. Studying the Bible for ministry, however, brought more questions and doubts. Over the next year, he continued preaching but knew he didn’t believe. He left the ministry and later told Hannah why. After another hard and depressive year, he knew he was agnostic. Jose gave Hannah the space to go on her own journey. They still attended church as a family, but he did not try to change her. Today, their stories can give comfort to other couples facing religious doubts and uncertainties. Jose’s honesty and vulnerability show the grace and goodness in his own human heart. No more looking forward to heaven or fearing hell, simply being present in each movement and looking for the beauty that’s found there. Recommendations Books #PaidLinks Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (Also available in graphic novel form) Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari Podcasts Sam Harris’ Making Sense Links Hannah’s episode Clergy Project Interact Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
November 29, 2021
Movie Review: The Truman Show
“Good afternoon. Good evening. And good night.” This week’s episode is a compelling discussion between David and past podcast guests Jimmy and Colin. They take a deep dive into how The Truman Show mirrors the long, painful journey of deconstruction—realizing the story you’ve been told isn’t quite what it seems, pushing back little by little, and then sometimes leaving completely, walking out the door and into the darkness. “You never had a camera in my head.” They consider it all: The trauma and fears induced Infantilization The constant gaslighting The creation and controlling of relationships And the lies, a completely fabricated life. All done to “love him, protect him.” They each bring their own stories to the table, stories of courage and uncertainty and a desire for truth, stories that resonate with many people. Like Truman, we can lean in when what we’ve believed no longer lines up with what we’re experiencing. We can be curious, ask questions and see where that journey takes us. Links Where to stream The Truman Show Final scene Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
November 22, 2021
Hannah Ramos: Unequally Yoked To Deconverted
My guest this week is Hannah Ramos. Hannah grew up in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist family, one of ten homeschooled children. Dissuaded from going to bible college, she waited for her Prince Charming. When Jose showed up to speak at her church, she knew he was “God’s choice” for her as a husband. Very early in their marriage, Jose took over as pastor of a Spanish speaking church. Everything seemed to be going according to God’s plan, until three years later when Jose admitted to Hannah that he no longer believed. Suddenly, she found herself in an unequally yoked relationship. For six years, Hannah focused on her own faith and raising their three children as believers, and they loved one other through this time. Jose supported Hannah’s faith, and Hannah had given up on changing Jose’s mind. Hannah had the space to begin to question her own faith. Her children innocently asked her to explain the Trinity, and they were not satisfied with her answers. She read through the Bible, asking, “But is this true?” She no longer could assume that it was. Finally the pat answers Hannah received no longer satisfied her, and she admitted to herself that she also no longer believed. To Jose’s amazement (and slight disbelief), Hannah revealed that she was no longer a Christian. Today, they are closer than ever, and their children are free to decide for themselves what they believe. Hannah has found a peace she did not think was possible. Interact Full show notes Lars and Christie episode Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
November 15, 2021
Phil Quagliariello: PK, IFB, Emergent church and Insurrection
My guest this week is Phil Quagliariello who blogs at Phil Q Musings. Phil grew up as a PK in Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Churches which, of course, were the one true Church. He moved around often as a kids and saw the dark side of ministry when his father was removed from a church by the board for being too “new fangled.” He went through the entirety of his education including college in Christian schools. Phil eventually found himself in Calvary Chapel churches were they were more exegetical, focused on the Bible. He got married and they both were worship leaders. Eventually, the concept of the “Emergent Church” came to their church and Phil lead the worship for that service. Unfortunately, that marriage did not last. Phil found himself seeking a church experience that was more authentic and “that did not suck.” He found a faith community that met in the basement of a bar that at first he found satisfying. Phil remarried to a women with two children. These children and the children they have together became the light of his life. Phil began to recognize the trauma of his upbringing: the fear of punishment and the fear of Hell. And he focused on being parent who does not use fear as a weapon. Phil began to seriously doubt Evangelicalism during the 2016 election. But he still hung on to the church experience until the Jan 6th election when he could no longer call himself an Evangelical, a Christian or a believer. Phil has a particularly good answer to how he finds meaning in his life. Links Phil Q Musings Blog Interact Ginna’s Episode Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
November 08, 2021
Jack Robertson: Deconversion of an ADD mind
My guest this week is Jack Robertson, host of the Musings of an ADD mind podcast. He grew up with a super Evangelical Southern Baptist mother and always went to church. As a teenager he became super religious himself until a confidant let the whole youth group know he was having sex with his girlfriend. Then he stopped going to church for a while. Then late in his 30s Jack got heavily involved in an Oklahoma City based megachurch. He read through the bible three times. But, jack always had questions. “In the Exodus story god is the bad guy, not Pharaoh. If man was created in god’s image then wicked pre-flood people that were so evil he needed to destroy the world would be a reflection of him.” Jack asks himself if he really believed or if it was his ADD hyper focus on Christianity that kept him in for so long. After a friend asked for prayer for a job interview it hit him, “how would god decide? Go with whoever had the most friends pray? The person who’s friends prayed the most? Use a prayer version of comment winner generator?” After a deep dive into Mesopotamian history he realized it was all just stories. The 2016 election and then his son coming out as bi-sexual finalized his decision. He no longer believes Links Musings of an ADD Mind Website Facebook page Interact Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group Jon Steingard Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
November 01, 2021
Mark Landes: Military, Deconversion and Humanism
My guest this week is Mark Landes, a former Army officer who is working toward becoming a humanist chaplain. Mark grew up in the United Methodist tradition. He went to West Point and became an officer in the Army. He wanted to become an Army chaplain. Mark’s army career is a fascinating tale in itself. He was stationed in West Berlin shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then during the Gulf War he volunteered to go to Kuwait and experienced the first air raid of the Gulf War. Mark was also a gay man in the military before the time of “don’t ask don’t tell” when there were witch hunts to remove gay military members. He was investigated and removed with an “other than honorable” discharge. Understandably, Mark went through time of deep depression. To make maters worse when he returned to the states he joined a 12 step group that was in effect a group conversion therapy. It is during this dark time of his life that Mark began to question the reality of god. Through a years long process Mark deconverted eventually admitting to himself he no longer believed. Mark has since become a humanist celebrant and has made an attempt to get a Masters in Divinity to become a humanist chaplain. In this process he began his “theological anthropology” which has led him to tell his story. He now wants to get a Masters in Pastoral care and is hoping to create an “institutional chaplaincy” in the business world. This humanist journey began with him asking the question, “how can I make the world a better place?” Links Mark’s Blog Captain Cassidy Sasha Sagan Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats Thanks to Logan Thomas for the new Graceful Atheist Podcast art work
October 25, 2021
Emily: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Emily. Emily grew up in an Evangelical Free Church in the rural Midwest. She was on the Cubbies-Sparks-AWANA track. Around age 10, she became a pastor’s kid when her dad switched careers and went into ministry. Her early childhood experiences of church were fairly positive, but she struggled with severe fear of hell and the rapture from a young age. The youth group setting was horribly unsuited to a sensitive introvert like. She was miserable being forced to attend churches where she didn’t know anyone except her parents.This discomfort in Christian circles continued through college. After college, Emily spent a year in London doing a master’s degree. She immersed myself in the city’s amazing performing arts scene and met a lot of people with totally different backgrounds and beliefs to hers. That year really expanded her horizons, and when she moved back to the US, she pursued a career in performing arts administration. For the first few years after grad school, Emily wasn’t ready to reject everything and say that she didn’t believe in God, but she had no interest in going to church, praying, reading the Bible, etc. Then the 2016 election happened, and she watched with horror as Christians whom she loved and admired went all-in for Trump. At that point, her indifference turned to disgust, and she wanted nothing to do with Christianity at all. In the past 2-3 years Emily has really done the hard work of figuring out what she believes now and addressing the harm that her Christian background has caused. Emily has had to work through the baggage of purity culture as she is in her first long term relationship. Therapy with a focus on religious trauma has been helpful. Emily is discovering who she is, relish the arts and experiencing the joy of being a human being. Interact We are very excited to announce the new private Deconversion Anonymous Facebook Group. The group will be administered by Arline from episode 71. Please join us in building a community of graceful human beings. Deconversion Anonymous Facebook Group Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats Thanks to Logan Thomas for the new Graceful Atheist Podcast art work
October 18, 2021
Ginna: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Ginna. Ginna is a software developer in her 30’s. She went through deconversion in her 20’s after suffering depression during her college years. Even though there were Christians around her who were on medication for their depressions no one was public about it. The implied stigma kept her from reaching out for help and kept her from finding the right treatment when she did. After college she went to a ” shelter for honest questions” called L`Abri to find answers to her questions. Her questions were pointed and personal. The questions of theodicy, divine hiddenness and theological evil. She “had a really good time, but [she] didn’t get answers to the questions that [she] had.” After a brief stint in a liturgical church, which she loved, she stopped going to church and gained some perspective. She realized she could no longer believe in a god where there was no practical difference between non-existence and said god being evil. Ginna eventually received the help she needed for her mental health. She had to try multiple different doctors and therapies until she found the right combination. Today she is excited about exploring secular community and growing as a human being. Interact We are very excited to announce the new private Deconversion Anonymous Facebook Group. The group will be administered by Arline from episode 71. Please join us in building a community of graceful human beings. Deconversion Anonymous Facebook Group Full show notes with quotes Magic Feathers and Sugar Pills Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
October 11, 2021
Monique: Deconversion Anonymous
My guest this week is Monique. Monique grew up a cultural Christian until the family of her boyfriend “made it known they were Southern Baptists.” She married that boyfriend and had kids. He became abusive. First psychologically, then spiritually and eventually physically. He gas lit her, told her she was not worthy and that she was not following god, and called her purity culture epithets we won't recount here. After years of isolation and spiritual abuse, Monique left after executing a cloak and dagger level plan to serve divorce papers and a restraining order simultaneously. Eventually, her kids were taken from her as he had lawyers and she did not. She was estranged from them for years. Monique went through a deconstruction and deconversion that began to give her some peace. Her youngest son reached out to her to tell her he is gay. She opened up her arms and showed grace, love and respect. She and her daughter attempted to reunite but this was ruined when the daughter took offence to a passing joke about prayer. Today, Monique is free and loving learning true things. Her and her new husband (who happens to be a believer) have respect and love for each other. Monique is telling her story to give hope to others so they may know they are not alone. Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
October 04, 2021
Lars and Christie: Deconverted family
My guests this week are Lars, Christie, Teddy, Amy and Eleanor, a whole family who deconverted around the same time. Lars felt a sense of duty to be a Christian all his life because he believed it was true. Christie felt there was “good evidence” for parts of the Bible and accepted that the rest was true. This worked until both of them came to the conclusion there was not enough evidence to believe. During the pandemic with Church on screen rather than in person, both Lars and Christie began to feel the freedom from Church. They eventually admitted to each other that they no longer believed. A few months later they asked the kids, “do you notice anything we are not doing any longer?” To which they responded, “church.” None of them seemed to miss it too much other than friends and the snacks! Lars and Christie also share about Lars’ demi-sexuality and the difficult early conversations around sex when they were first getting married. This highlights the destructive aspects of purity culture on everyone. Today the whole family is feeling free, intellectually honest and relieved after admitting to themselves they no longer believe and stopped going to church. Links Answers To Answers In Genesis FB group William Lane Craig admitting it is the witness of the holy spirit not evidence Interact Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
September 27, 2021
Book Review: Scout Mindset with Jimmy
My returning guest this week is Jimmy. Jimmy and I review Julia Galef’s book Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t. We explore the book from two lenses: Deconversion and Secular Grace. Jimmy brings an intense focus on humility, self-honesty and truth seeking to the conversation. The perfect complement to Julia’s book. Julia GalefThe best description of motivated reasoning I’ve ever seen comes from psychologist Tom Gilovich. When we want something to be true, he said, we ask ourselves, “Can I believe this?,” searching for an excuse to accept it. When we don’t want something to be true, we instead ask ourselves, “Must I believe this?,” searching for an excuse to reject it. ... In contrast to directionally motivated reasoning, which evaluates ideas through the lenses of “Can I believe it?” and “Must I believe it?,” accuracy motivated reasoning evaluates ideas through the lens of “Is it true?” Links Jimmy’s first appearance on the podcast Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t Soldiers and Scouts Why Buddhism is True Humanist Ten Commitments Daryl Davis, who attends KKK rallies and has helped many leave: Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
September 20, 2021
Sara: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Sara. Sara is “a musician from a home of musicians.” She grew up in an Assemblies of God church in a “vibrantly faithful home.” She spent her teen years in a “cool” Southern Baptist Church. She then spent some time in Acts 29 churches and Reformed theology. To round things out she attended a Presbyterian (PCA) church. Sara started having doubts in college, but she was able to ignore them for some time. They eventually wore her down. Parenthood was the last straw. She realized she loved her son more than God loved anyone. God’s “hiddenness” was neglect that any parent could recognize. Sara had been a worship leader. This usefulness kept her in the church longer than she would have otherwise. It also contributed to her deconversion as she saw what church was like “back stage.” Now Sara writes on her blog, Former Protagonist, about her deconversion experience. She is also exploring Humanism and loving her family. Links Former Protagonist Blog Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
September 13, 2021
Joel: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Joel. Joel grew up in the WELS Lutheran church. He met his wife at a Christian group during college. They attended a few churches, one of which was Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll’s church. Joel began to question what he had been taught. He began noticing discrepancies in scripture. He began to see the way the Church handled LGBTQ rights and the role of women was wrong. He was able to reconnect with his sister as they grieved the loss of his grandfather. He discovered that she had deconstructed as well. He began to see atheism as not just reductionist and evil but as a viable option. Today he is making his unequally yoked relationship work with mutual respect and love. And he is experiencing “absolute joy that the shackles are off.” Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
August 30, 2021
Stephanie: StephUp and Deconstruct
My guest this week is Stephanie, the host of the StephUp Podcast where she “delve[s] into different topics to learn more about the world and more about ourselves.” Stephanie had me on her podcast to delve into atheism. In this episode, Stephanie describes her journey of deconstruction of Christianity, politics and conservative culture. She is focused on caring for people and shedding racism, sexism and abusive behavior within and without the Church. Stephanie lives up to the honesty contest while describing: the burden of a “relationship with God,” purity culture and being single in the Church, and her disappointments with Church leadership. Ultimately, I believe Stephanie is an important voice of change within the Church. Links StephUp Podcast What should Dragon Do Instagram Twitter My interview on the StephUp podcast Interact Jon Steingard interview Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
August 23, 2021
Eli: Transition and Deconstruction
My guest this week is Eli Fuhrmler-Wheeler. Eli grew up going to Awanas at an Evangelical Free church. Eventually, he attended an Assemblies of God church and spoke in tongues. His parents forbade him from going to that church and “of course I felt they were keeping me from the gates of heaven and pulling me into hell.” Eli’s childhood was traumatic in many ways. He experienced sexual abuse, neglect, his mom was very sick her whole life, her boyfriends were abusive, his father had an antisocial personality disorder, and he lived on and off in foster homes. Eli sought the comfort of drugs and alcohol. He discovered he was a lesbian. He was told he was going to hell by his family. As an adult, he began a relationship with his now-wife. At 30 he realized he was a man and began transition. Eli has faced rejection by family and some friends. However, his gracefulness through it all has won some of them over. Eli deconstructed from Christianity through the years. He has explored various world religions including Norse Heathenry and various mystic traditions. Transition and therapy have given Eli the wholeness he deserves. Eli and his wife show unconditional love for one another. This is the relationship that Eli has experienced grace for himself. Links Secular Therapy Religious Trauma Institute Interact Thank you for nominating the podcast for the People’s Choice award in the Religion and Spirituality category Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
August 16, 2021
Jason: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Jason, the son of a pastor. He grew up in the independent Christian Churches, an offshoot of the Church of Christ that allows music. He grew up doing “sword drills” and was a devout teenage believer. He participated in Bible memorization contests. He became a musician and participated in worship bands for years. In Jason’s young adulthood he began to question his own interpretation of the Bible. Why was bad language bad? Why the limited role of women in the church? How could a loving god send people to Hell? Eventually, the disparity between the idea of a loving god and the reality of the world and the suffering of innocent children led to his deconversion. Jason’s wife is still a believer though they both deconstructed from Evangelicalism and started participating in an Episcopal church. They are making an “unequally yoked” relationship work based on love, equality and mutual respect. Links Captain Cassidy interview Roll To Disbelieve Interact Full show notes Deconversion Anonymous Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
August 09, 2021
Geoffrey Wallis: A Voice From Inside
My guest this week is Geoffrey Wallis, author of A Voice From Inside: Notes on Religious Trauma in a Captive Organization. Geoffrey is Physically In but Mentally Out (PIMO) of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. After recognizing the religious trauma and the cognitive dissonance he was experiencing he found help through therapy. He remains within the Watchtower organization because it is a “captive organization” which enforces shunning by family members and friends. Geoffrey’s book, A Voice From Inside: Notes on Religious Trauma in a Captive Organization, is an evenhanded look at life inside a High Demand Religious Group. Geoffrey shows Secular Grace in his documenting his personal experience. It is incredibly well written and interesting to read. Links A Voice From Inside: Notes on Religious Trauma in a Captive Organization Website Interact Nominate and Vote for the Graceful Atheist Podcast on the Podcast Awards Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
August 02, 2021
David: That's Questionable
My guest this week is David. David is the son and grandson of pastors. He does has have good memories of growing up in the church and he credits his parents with restraint. As an adult, he became more fundamentalist. He was a Southern Baptist and went through a very strong Calvinist phase. David taught apologetics classes. He delved into apologetics to qualm his own questions. But teaching apologetics on topics like the Trinity led to more doubt not less. It was a re-read through the Bible where he began to recognize the god of the Bible is not a loving one. The full implications of Reformed theology began to have horrifying implications. Ultimately, David deconverted and now calls himself agnostic. Today David is the co-host of the That’s Questionable podcast Links Website Instagram Twitter Interact Nominate and Vote for the Graceful Atheist Podcast on the Podcast Awards Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
July 26, 2021
Daniel Kelly: When Belief Dies
My guest this week is Daniel Kelly, the new co-host of When Belief Dies. Daniel began as a Charismatic Christian, moved to an Orthodox Christian church, and eventually was at a Bible church that preached through every verse in the bible. Daniel was a dedicated Christian working in a Christian non-profit helping those with disabilities. His mother had MS when he grew up so he was focused on helping his family through difficult times and did not always get to be a kid. Daniel’s feminism and belief in the humanity of the LGBTQ community led to moral objections to some of the harder Biblical passages that do not uphold the humanity and full autonomy of everyone. His serious investigations into theology and the Bible were some of the early seeds that led to deconversion. The grief Daniel experienced leaving the faith and the loss were profound. He lost his faith, his community, the health of his relationship and on top of that the pandemic hit. He was isolated and alone. He experienced “Hell Anxiety” and worried he was a “vessel of wrath.” The first year after deconversion was one of the most difficult of his life. He made it through and today he is the co-host of the When Belief Dies podcast. He is building healthy relationships and restoring family relations. He is experiencing the freedom to love people unconditionally. Links When Belief Dies Podcast Recovering From Religion Secular Therapy Interact Sam and Daniel interview me Daniel and I interview Sam Tris Mamone’s Finding Faith in Secular Grace Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
July 19, 2021
Thomas: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Thomas. Thomas is a Missionary Kid. He was very close to his mother who passed away in her 40s when he was in middle school. Thomas went through real depression for years after losing his mother and losing his faith. We discuss the hardships of grieving a loved one without comforting beliefs. He went through bouts of self-medication including being immersed in the massively multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft. Thomas went on to become a professional scientist. The meditative nature of running was helpful. He also discovered actual meditation gave him peace. A rich and varied diet of podcasts also helped him along the way. He says he now experiences real joy that was only promised to him as a Christian. Interact Nominate and Vote for the Graceful Atheist Podcast on the Podcast Awards Full show notes Deconversion Anonymous Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
July 12, 2021
Vanessa: Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome
My guest this week is Vanessa. She describes herself as “born into a large family of fire and brimstone preaching, bible beating, in-tongues-speaking Christians in the Pentecostal Church of God faith tradition.” Her father, her grandfather, and her great grandfather all were pastors of her home church. She began to doubt at a fairly young age and discovered she no longer believed in god in her college years. As a non-believer, she married her believing husband. Recently being unequally yoked has become a discussion point as they negotiate how to raise their daughter. Vanessa is grateful she can be present for her daughter in a way she did receive when she was young. We discuss unequally yoked marriage, secular parenting, and post-traumatic church syndrome. Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Support the podcast Via and Stripe Via Paypal:
June 28, 2021
Chris Highland: Friendly Freethinker
My guest this week is Chris Highland. Chris is an author of over a dozen books, he was a Protestant minister for 14 years and an Interfaith (collaborative, open-minded, inclusive) chaplain for 25 years. Currently a Humanist celebrant, he has a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Seattle Pacific University and an M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary. My highest compliment to Chris is that he has been doing Secular Grace for most of his life. Chris shares his love of nature and beauty. We discuss humanism, nature and loving believing spouses. Links Friendly Freethinker Blog Clergy Project Why I am not an angry evangelical atheist Do we have to choose between aggressive religion and aggravated atheism? Deconversion Secular Grace Books Nature Is Enough From Faith to Freedom Attribution Additional music Dakar Flow – Carmen María and Edu Espinal "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
June 21, 2021
Travis: Measure of Faith
My guest this week is Travis. Travis documented his deconstruction on the blog There Travis has documented his journey from a questioning but dedicated Christian to a doubting agnostic. He delves into the apologetics that was supposed to give him comfort but ultimately led to the loss of faith. This is one of the more emotionally raw episodes. Travis opens up about his grief at the loss of his beloved father. His dad was an example of faith well lived and it had a profound impact on Travis. We discuss what secular grief is like after one no longer can be comforted by belief in life after death. I have been feeling a little conflicted putting this information out there that can potentially help people lose faith because it was so important to someone like my dad. It makes me question whether I really want to be a participant for taking that away from someone. These days Travis feels like he has said what he needed to say on the blog. His compassion and empathy is evident in that he is more concerned with caring for the people in his life than endlessly debating apologetics and counter-apologetics. Links Interact Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
June 14, 2021
Amy Rath: NoneLife
My guest this week is Amy Rath, the host of the NoneLife podcast. NoneLife is dedicated to all those who check “None of the above” for a religious category and who do not feel comfortable being categorized any other way. The podcast is inspiring us all to do good in the world and to live an ethical life. I’m Amy, and I’m a “none.” A what?  Well, it took a lot of searching for me to find this term, but it fits perfectly.  A “none” is someone who doesn’t belong to any particular religion.  There are likely as many reasons for being a “none” as there are individuals, so we’re a hard group to label.  Nones might be atheists, agnostics, former-members-of religions, humanists, etc. etc. etc. Amy grew up a dedicated Catholic and was “all in.” In her late teens and early twenties she felt better “just not believing in anything.” In 2019 she discovered the term “None” as in “None of the above” and had a sense of “coming home.” “Finally there is a name for what I am.” She had found her people. Amy started the NoneLife podcast so that others could discover this sense of finding themselves sooner. She has become an important and inspiring voice for Nones the world over. Links Website PechaKucha presentation Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
June 07, 2021
Reverend Bones: Escape From Heaven
My guest this week is Michael, AKA Reverend Bones. Michael is an Australian singer/songwriter whose latest album Escape From Heaven is about his faith transition out of Evangelicalism. Michael talks openly and honestly about how purity culture affected him and the religious trauma it produced. Michael is now a climate activist and anti-purity culture activist. Michael uses his TicTok presence to speak out on these topics as well as the need for separation of church and state. Links Website TikTok Instagram Spotify Interact Full show notes If you are interested in producing music for the Graceful Atheist Podcast, the sound I am looking for has a strong baseline and beat with gospel church organ, potentially with R&B or Gospel vocal samples. Here is a playlist to inspire you to Gospel R&B Beats. Get in touch. Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution Music by Reverend Bones from Escape From Heaven "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
May 31, 2021
David Ames: Graceful Atheist interviewed by Sam and Daniel
This week I am being interviewed by Sam and Daniel from the When Belief Dies podcast. The focus is on what I have changed my mind about since beginning work in the secular community. We discuss the following topics: The deconversion process Secular Grace How the 12 steps influenced my conception of Secular Grace Honesty contests Talking with believers The analogy of the Cathedral Secular Grief Letting go of an afterlife for oneself and one’s loved ones The human desire for an afterlife represented in secular movies This episode is a sister episode to Daniel and me interviewing Sam on When Belief Dies. Both episodes are dropping at the same time. You can see me in the YouTube version interviewing Sam. Music If you are interested in producing music for the Graceful Atheist Podcast, the sound I am looking for has a strong baseline and beat with gospel church organ, potentially with R&B or Gospel vocal samples. Here is a playlist to inspire you to Gospel R&B Beats. Get in touch. Links When Belief Dies Full show notes with much more Attribution Photo graphic design by Logan Thomas, Beyond Belief "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
May 24, 2021
Caroline Schwabe: My Beautiful Cyborg
I begin every streaming interview with a question, “Hi, can you hear me?” Never has an affirmative answer to such a mundane question been so profound as it was with this week’s guest, Caroline Schwabe. Caroline had progressive hearing loss and eventually could no longer speak on the phone even with hearing aids. Almost by accident, she was referred to a Cochlear implant program in Canada during a routine hearing test. January 28, 2018, was her last deaf day. She has been on a three-year journey of rediscovery after receiving a Cochlear implant. Along with her husband, Andreas, Caroline co-hosts a podcast called My Beautify Cyborg about her Cochlear implant journey. It describes the hopes and fears leading up to surgery and the joy and rediscovery after turning on the implant. Caroline’s gratitude and joy is infectious and comes through in each episode. Caroline and Andreas had experienced major disappointments and hurts from the Church. At the same time, she was going through the implant process, both she and her husband were slowly leaving the Church. If not a full-blown deconstruction, they have been asking very hard questions and wrestling with the answers. This episode is unique in that there are two parallel stories: one of regaining hearing and one of questioning one’s faith. Podcasts have played an outsized role in Caroline’s rediscovery of hearing and language recognition, including this one. Links My Beautiful Cyborg Links for Cochlear implant information Interact Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
May 17, 2021
Brette: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Brette. Brette was so serious about her Christianity in junior high her goal was martyrdom. In her young adulthood, she followed her pastor’s advice and attended Master’s Commission, similar to a discipleship training program. Her experience there was nothing short of psychological torture. Her faith began breaking down as did her physical and psychological health at Master’s Commission. It included deliverance sessions and enumerating her demons. It wasn’t until she saw her younger brother being treated poorly that she began to question. She and her brother left: “leaving was the BEST feeling!” After a brief stint in “spiritual but not religious” land, she finally admitted she no longer believed in god. She let go of “trying to make it be true.” Brette has since discovered naturalistic and psychological explanations of her experiences that have given her more closure and comfort. Interact Sam (When Belief Dies) GoFundMe for a laptop Deconversion Secular Grace Deconversion Anonymous Attribution Picture by Brette’s daughter A. "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
May 10, 2021
Arline: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Arline. Arline became a Christian in early adulthood. She went to a Christian college where she met her now-husband. Her faith tradition was a severe version of Calvinism. She taught complementarianism. The roles allowed for women and complementarianism were not a good fit for Arline’s inquisitive personality. Her husband went through an emotional deconversion first. Arline did not take this as well as she would now like. Alongside this was the long slow deterioration of her mother’s health. She slowly began to deconstruct. First by exploring other versions of Christianity. Eventually exploring other faith traditions including meditation from a Buddhist perspective. In short. she was letting her curiosity and intelligence explore all the areas of interest that were previously prohibited. In the end, for her own personal intellectual integrity, she admitted to herself she no longer believed. She has since discovered natural human habits that have helped her far more than her faith ever had. Interact Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
May 03, 2021
Bonus: Janice Selbie and Conference on Religious Trauma 2021
Janice Selbie on the Conference on Religious Trauma (CORT) The Conference on Religious Trauma (#CORT) online May 11 to 16, 2021 Links Conference on Religious Trauma Twitter Face Book Godless Moms Podcast Friends of the podcast presenting at CORT Janice Selbie Alice Greczyn Dave Warnock Clint Heacock Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
April 30, 2021
Michael Marvosh: Conversations That Matter
My guest this week is Michael Marvosh. Michael is the podcast host of Dead Man’s Forest and is working on his book Reality Knows the Truth: The Art and Artifice of Being Human. Michael and I discuss what it means to be human and the human experience of spirituality. Michael tells us his deconversion story that he no longer sees as deconversion. He describes his rediscovery of a rational spirituality. Michael and I hit a broad range of conversation topics including having conversations that matter, models vs reality, A.I., Death Cafes, vision quests, blind spots and podcasting. It was truly a conversation that mattered. Links Contact Michael Website Dead Man’s Forest Reality Knows the Truth: The Art and Artifice of Being Human About Rational Spirituality–a way of looking at the world with a balance between ancient wisdom and modern reason. Death Cafe Interact Secular Grace Deconversion Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
April 26, 2021
Sarah: Christian Nationalism, Complementarianism and Deconstruction
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Sarah. Sarah says she may have one of the “longest deconstruction stories. She grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist church in an area where there were not that many Baptist churches. So she felt different from an early age. She was constantly attempting to live in the “will of God” but struggled to determine what that was. She knew from an early age that she was a doubter which equates to “backslider.” Sarah was never comfortable with the limited roles allowed for women in the Church. Fortunately, her mother encouraged her to do and become whatever she wanted. Sarah was smart and interested in science. Studying science and biology did not fit the Young Earth Creationism she was taught at church. Sarah and her husband were the one couple who were egalitarian while the young married couples group were all complementarian. Sarah was vocal about her thoughts on complemntarianism. Sarah spent a long time outside the United States. When she returned to the United States she was shocked by the Christian Nationalism she heard from the pulpit. Rachael Held Evens, Mike McHargue and David Hayward helped Sarah through her deconstruction. Today post-deconstruction she is interested in finding her “deconstructing friends” in real life. Interact Full show notes Deconversion Deconversion Anonymous Secular Grace Promotions Conference on Religious Trauma #ReligionShouldntHurt Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
April 19, 2021
Carly: Christian Science Deconversion
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Carly. Carly shares her story with a great deal of vulnerability and emotion. Carly was a Christian Scientist. While studying philosophy and the Bible Carly was introduced to Christian Science. She was impressed with its logical arguments and internal consistency. Carly was more evangelistic than the church she attended. She wanted to use the Christian Science reading room during SXSW as an outreach. She was shot down. When she pointed out that prohibited alcohol would be consumed by renting the space out she was shot down again. The juxtaposition of what Christian Science promised and the reality of life led her to doubt. Carly eventually found what she was looking for in more secular matters like work, exercise and therapy. Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Deconversion Anonymous Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
April 12, 2021
Rachael Parsons Svendsen Deconversion not so Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion not so Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Rachael Parsons Svendsen. Rachael is a Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor at RCPS Therapy. Rachael became a Christian at three years old. She went to Biola University and studied philosophy. Later in life, she experienced the effects of Religious Trauma: just setting foot in a Church she would break down in tears. Honesty is an important value for Rachael and part of what led her to deconversion. She talks about the difficulty of relationships with believers in her life while attempting to maintain honesty. Rachael and I investigate the experience of cognitive dissonance and religious trauma. We discuss the importance of the Easter story to Western thought, what is like to parent post-deconversion and the loss of the (false) sense of control after deconversion when difficult life events occur. Rachael points out that she does not have it all together post-deconversion. We agree we are all winging it. Links RCPS Therapy Small Words Big Stories Interact Deconversion Secular Grace Adverse Religious Experiences Promos Religion Shouldn’t Hurt Conference on Religious Trauma Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
April 05, 2021
Mike T: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is G.A.P. editor, Mike T. Mike grew up in the South and went to a Catholic church. Everyone in the South went to one church or another and this was just in the background for Mike. After a charismatic Evangelical friend encouraged him he began to explore charismatic churches. The big draw was the opportunity to play music, his life-long passion. Later in life, married with kids, he had normal financial stresses in his life. When he compared the reality of both his life and the life of those around him to the promises of his more material success-oriented faith tradition he could not help but question. When a financial advisor suggested he hold off on his charitable giving, the mandated tithe, he expected consequences. Those consequences never occurred. Things were not adding up. His first mistake was doing research on evangelists that would come to town. These fantastical claims must have generated news stories somewhere, right? His second mistake was re-reading the bible (and Bart Ehrman). Eventually, he discovered science and a new way of determining what is true. His faith fell apart. Mike is the editor of the Graceful Atheist Podcast. Beyond editing, Mike wants to start a local community for those who are going through doubt, deconstruction and deconversion. Music continues to be the great passion of his life. Links Clergy Project Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Deconversion Anonymous episodes Attribution "Dawg Biscuits on the Moon" and "Restless Regions" John Monson and the Galaxy Brothers "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
March 29, 2021
Ian Redfearn: Meaning Making
My guest this week is Ian Redfearn. Ian deconverted over 12 years ago. Since then he has continued to obsess over his deconversion. He is still asking the why? and how? questions. Ian is concerned with the deep questions of life and continuing to find ways to make meaning. Ian has experienced the full force of the chaotic world we live in. His 24-year-old son has Cystic Fibrosis which is particularly frightening during an airborne pandemic. His father is experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease. All of this is happening during the time of Covid 19. In spite of the difficulties of life, Ian has a joy and a sense of purpose. He is a committed father, husband, son, and community member. He takes time to wonder at the beauty in the world. He recognizes that relationships are what give us our most valued meaning in life. He is now attending the Manchester Sunday Assembly and becoming an active member of the Secular community. Links Facebook Sunday Assembly Manchester Zoom 11 am (GMT) Sunday mornings What is your favorite #DeconversionSong? Music is important to Ian and it influenced his deconversion and how he talks and feels about it now. See the full show notes link below to find Ian's deconversion-related musical recommendations including Spotify and YouTube links. Use the hashtag #DeconversionSong to tell us your favorite deconversion song. Interact Full Show Notes Secular Grace Deconversion Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
March 22, 2021
Leah Helbling: Women Beyond Faith
My guest this week is Leah Helbling. Leah is the host of the Women Beyond Faith podcast and an incredibly important voice in the secular community. Leah has a long history of secular community building. Post-deconversion she started a chapter of Women Beyond Belief. She now is a team leader of Bart Campolo‘s Cincinnati Caravan. “Leah is often referred to as ‘The Great Connector‘” Leah and I discuss the gift of being present when someone tells their deconversion story. Leah shares her deconversion story which includes overcoming the purity culture and complementarianism of Evangelicalism. It also includes the unwelcoming atmosphere in the secular community for women and what she is doing about it. We talk about podcasting and what motivates us to do the work. Finally, we talk about building secular community. Links Women Beyond Faith Facebook Instagram Cincinnati Caravan Recovering From Religion Search for secular community on Interact Full show notes Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
March 15, 2021
Anna Hummel: YWAM, DTS and Deconversion
My guest this week is Anna Hummel. Anna became a Christian at 16 after growing up in a nominal culturally German Christian home. She was attracted to the community, the love of the people and the sense of belonging. Before long she found herself at a Youth With A Mission Discipleship Training School where things were a bit more intense. At DTS Anna began to have Adverse Religious Experiences. The cumulative stress and lack of privacy began to wear on her. She had trauma around the fear of Hell both for her loved ones and for herself. It was not until she got home and experienced the Secular Grace of her non-Christian friends, that she recognized the harm she was experiencing and the loss of her normally care-free attitude. Today Anna has compassion, understanding and Secular Grace for those who succumb to the peer pressure of conformity to the group. She wants people to experience the freedom from religious trauma that she now thrives in. Links Secular Therapy Project Religious Trauma Institute Interact Deconversion How To Secular Grace You are not broken, you are human Full show notes Attribution "You Are Not Alone" image Anna Hummel "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
March 08, 2021
Brian Blais: Bayes vs Apologetics
My guest this week is Brian Blais, professor at Bryant University and IBNS, Brown University. He is the author of A Measure of Faith – Probability in Religious Thought and Statistical Inference For Everyone. Brian is an expert in Bayes’ Theorem and how it applies to philosophy, theology, and apologetics. In this episode, I take the restraints off myself and express the reasons why I think apologetics is faulty. Brian is the perfect guest for this. We bounce ideas off one another to articulate good epistemology. We discuss how mathematics and Bayes can be abused by injecting unstated information which changes the probabilities and ultimately the conclusions one comes to. We also discuss how beliefs have consequences. The current rash of conspiracy theories has had real-world effects. Brian explains how decision theory can be used to make difficult choices. Links Brian’s website Twitter Statistical Inference For Everyone (Free Version) Amazon Version A Measure of Faith: Probability in Religious Thought Bayes’ Theorem The Monty Hall Problem Interact Full Show Notes Deconversion How To Critique of Apologetics Apologetics Epistemology and Moving On Previous episodes referred to in this episode Attribution Transition Music and Dawg Biscuits on the moon John Monson and the Brothers Galaxy "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
March 01, 2021
CG: African Polymath
CG grew up in strict religious home in Nigeria, where everything was banned except Christian media. His family was heavily influenced by the Pentecostal Word-Of- Faith/Prosperity movement. CG attended a tyrannical, authoritarian, and punitive college in Nigeria. CG, later on, moved to London, UK. In London, he saw that the world was bigger than the Christian bubble that he had been raised in his whole life. He attended a popular charismatic church where he met people from different cultures, beliefs, and denominations. However, some of his friends challenged his Word-Of-Faith/Prosperity beliefs. He started theological beliefs started changing as a result. CG, subsequently, moved to the USA to get a graduate degree at a Christian college. He lived in the American south where, as an immigrant, he felt isolated and disconnected from the Christian culture around him. This drove him to a personal intellectual journey, where he spent hours reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching videos. After graduating with his master’s degree, CG came to the point where he could not ignore the damage that Christianity was inflicting on his mental health and personal development. He realised that he had to choose between completely losing his sanity & freedom by remaining a slave to religion or abandoning his beliefs and accepting his freedom/autonomy. A few days later, he became an Agnostic, and, subsequently, an Atheist. CG has been on the path of freedom, healing, and recovery ever since. He is deconstructing sexual shame, self-hatred, misogyny, white supremacy, colonization, and western imperialism (and other forms of injustice). He also seeks to heal the havoc that religion has inflicted in Nigeria (and other African countries) through evangelism, cultural imperialism, and colonization. Religion, significantly, contributes to the apathy and passivity of Nigerians, which prevents them from fighting for their freedom and justice. CG is very passionate about humanism. He believes humanism is what our generation needs to help make the world (especially Africa) a better place. He is an existential humanist, a cosmopolitan humanist, and a planetary humanist. He believes that humanists need to have freedom (autonomy), humility, compassion, hope, love for learning, curiosity, and open- mindedness. Links African Polymath Blog Twitter Reading list and resources Email Interact Deconversion Secular Grace Graceful Atheist Podcast Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
February 22, 2021
Troy Moore-Heart: Y'all Means All
My guest this week is Troy Moore-Heart. Troy grew up in an Evangelical family in Texas and described his childhood self as a “true-believing born-again Christian” who was baptized by his father at 6 in his grandmother’s church. Troy experienced religious trauma, the natural childhood fears given the purported reality of a spiritual realm all around him. Later in life, when he acknowledged his sexuality he “fervently believed [he] was going to hell.” When he eventually came out to his family he needed to put up healthy boundaries. Troy started to call himself an agnostic and not an atheist for fear of losing his relationship with his family. After marrying as an adult, he came to terms with his religious trauma and anti-queer shame. He discovered secular humanism as “an ideological and moral home.” Today, troy calls himself a progressive humanist, and he is focused on transformative justice. He is becoming a humanist celebrant. He supports projects like the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Y’all Means All and the Trevor Project. Troy also supports the thriving secular therapy community that is growing around trauma-informed therapy, including the Religious Trauma Institute and the Reclamation Collective. Troy requests that you consider signing the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Y’all Means All” pledge. “It’s become a galvanizing slogan to promote LGBTQ inclusion and advocacy in rural Southern communities.” Links Instagram Y’all Means All The Trevor Project Religious Trauma Institute Reclamation Collective American Humanist Association Interact Full show notes Deconversion How To Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
February 15, 2021
Meir-Simchah: On Orthodox Judaism
My guest this week is Meir-Simchah. Meir-Simchah Panzer lives in Jerusalem with his wife and their four children. He co-hosts the podcasts Two Christians And A Jew, with Frank M. Taylor and Dr. Jennifer Brown Jones, where the team dives into how Christians and Jews read the Hebrew Scriptures differently and what difference it makes for our lives, and the Artifact Podcast with Nachliel Selavan where ordinary objects become portals into the history, ideas, and existential mystery behind them. Formerly, he co-hosted Holy Madness – The Show, with Tzvi Zucker. Meir-Simchah is a student of Rabbi Matis Weinberg. He is a co-founder and executive at Ohalecha Arts and Events Center; he writes essays, poems, and stories; and he teaches the Hebrew language and Hebrew Scriptures for individuals and groups. Meir and I discuss his work on Two Christians and Jew, how he interacts with the Christians, what he actually thinks about Jesus and the NT, and the influence of secular Judaism on secular humanism. Links Two Christians and a Jew Twitter Facebook Two Christians and a Jew discussion group Artifact page Artifact discussion group Email Interact Full show notes and book recommendations Rate and Review the Graceful Atheist Podcast Podchaser: Secular Grace Attribution “Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
February 08, 2021
Alice Greczyn: Wayward - Spiritual Warfare & Sexual Purity
My returning guest this week is Alice Greczyn. Alice has written a new memoir called Wayward: Spiritual Warfare & Sexual Purity. In it, Alice tells the harrowing story of growing up in an Evangelical family that attempted to live by faith. They moved from place to place believing the “Lord would provide.” Alice describes it as being “homeless.” Alice came of age under the oppressive sexual and purity mores of the “Kiss Dating Goodbye” era. She tells the story of being shamed while on a mission trip to India for being “flirty.” As an adult in her 20s, in a desperate but final act of faith, Alice tests God. God fails. And Alice begins the difficult process of letting go of faith. This is a dark time of panic attacks, depression, and self-harm. With the help of secular therapy and the discovery of the term, Religious Trauma Syndrome, Alice began her recovery process. She studied the science of faith, neurotheology, and began to understand herself and those around her who still believed. In this new freedom, she rebuilt her life reclaiming her autonomy and discovering what real love feels like. On top of being an author, Alice is an advocate for those questioning their faith. Her organization, Dare to Doubt, is a resource for those who are no longer satisfied with their faith tradition’s explanations and demands. Links Wayward: Spiritual Warfare & Sexual Purity Limited supply of signed copies Amazon Dare To Doubt Interact Alice’s first appearance on the Graceful Atheist Podcast Full Show Notes Rate and Review Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
February 01, 2021
Logan Thomas: Beyond Belief
My guest this week is Logan Thomas who blogs at Beyond Belief. Logan interned at St. Andrews, a famous church in the UK. He went on to Bible college and eventually perused a Master’s degree in theology where he studied biblical studies, biblical languages, history and textual criticism where he began to question. After discovering his sexuality, Logan came out during his internship at St. Andrews. He discusses coming out twice. He started with a more progressive view on homosexuality. But between the Church’s stances and the biblical texts, he realized these things could not be reconciled. We discuss the differences between UK and US churches handling of the LGBTQ community. Logan cares about the truth. As he was deconstructing what he believed about the bible based on what he was being taught at Bible college he came to a point where he could no longer believe. Logan tells his story with a great deal of honesty and self-reflection on his former faith. Now Logan has a social media presence where he blogs and creates videos asking questions about faith and doubt. Links Beyond Belief Blog Twitter Instagram YouTube Interact Full Show Notes Deconversion Secular Grace A Humanist Podcast Rate and Review the Graceful Atheist Podcast Podchaser: Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
January 25, 2021
Erin: Religious But Not Spiritual
My guest this week is Erin. Erin is working toward her chaplaincy and her Master's degree in Practical Theology. She describes herself as “religious, but not spiritual.” Erin grew up in Northern Ireland. She was raised to respect all people. But when she was accepted by an Evangelical Presbyterian church she became in her words “the worst kind of fundamentalist.” This included deriding Catholics. At University she excelled and found herself attracted to more liberal theologies. She says she went from Evangelical to an Open Theist to a functional atheist (agnostic). Erin also happens to be on the Autism spectrum. This had an impact on her inability to accept things on faith. She needed logical consistency. But Erin still finds value in the Christian tradition. She plans to do good in the world as a chaplain. Links and recommendations Doubts and Loves by Richard Holloway Autism Faith Network Autism Pastor Interact Full Show Notes Deconversion Humanist Podcast Secular Grace Rate and Review the Graceful Atheist Podcast Podchaser: Make audio snippet quotes of the podcast Vurbl: Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
January 18, 2021
James: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is James. James is a former missionary to Haiti who was a part of the Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions. James took his Christianity very seriously and was sensitive to God speaking in his life. Through a series of realizations and life difficulties, James began to doubt what he had been taught about God matched reality. Later, exploring psychology he realized the cognitive biases and connotative dissonance he had lived under. James describes himself as more “emotional.” His story is an important one representing the way Christianity can play on emotions and “works” until real tragedy strikes. Special thanks to Mike T. for editing this episode. Links ExChristian Recovery Secular Therapy Project Interact Full show notes Deconversion Rate and Review the Graceful Atheist Podcast Podchaser: Make audio snippet quotes of the podcast Vurbl: A secular humanist podcast: Graceful Atheist Podcast Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
January 11, 2021
Jon Steingard: The Wonder and the Mystery of Being
My guest this week is Jon Steingard, the lead singer and guitarist for Hawk Nelson. In late spring of 2020, Jon posted a gut-wrenching confession on Instagram that he no longer believed in God. He is one of the more prominent recent high profile deconverts. Jon risked more than most by publicly acknowledging his lack of faith as his career was tied to the Christian music world. This confession and the public discussion of his loss of faith has and will continue to have reverberations throughout the Christian community for some time. Jon has made himself widely available to honestly and vulnerably tell his story both to the Christian community and to the atheist humanist communities. It is Jon’s honest seeking after truth and his willingness to respectfully engage apologists and other prominent Christians that are having such a large impact. He has become a safe person for others in the Christian world to discuss their doubts. In my conversation with Jon, he describes a major turning point in his life when he saw poverty, starvation, and abandonment of the Batwa children and community in Uganda. This began a quite reasonable time of questioning: if God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and good, why are the Batwa suffering? In January of 2021, Jon started a podcast and YouTube channel called The Wonder and Mystery of Being. Links Instagram Confession of his lack of belief The Wonder and The Mystery of Being podcast Twitter Response to Brian Houston Interact Full show notes with quotes from the episode Deconversion from Christianity Jennifer Michael Hecht’s Doubt: A History Clergy Project Make audio snippet quotes of the podcast Vurbl: Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
January 04, 2021
Michelle: A Loving Unequally Yoked Relationship
My guest this week is my wife, Michelle. Though I have deconverted from Christianity, Michelle is very much a dedicated Christian. We still love each other and we are making it work in an “unequally yoked” relationship. We have an honest conversation about how we got to now and how we go forward in the future. Michelle does work that is social work adjacent. She is a better practicing humanist than I am. I admire her for who she is as a person. I admire her for the work she does. And, yes, I admire her for her faith. We sit down at our kitchen table for an honesty contest. You can hear the love, but you can also hear the tension and the hurt. We discuss how we met, how we have “deconstructed” over the years, when I told her I could no longer believe, and how we are making it work “unequally yoked.” In this episode, we respond to listener questions about our loving relationship when one of us believes and the other does not. Send in your questions for a potential future episode with Michelle and me. Links Unequally Yoked verse 2 Corinthians 6:14 – 15 Recovery From Religion has a resource page with a section entitled: Spouses/ Partners With Mixed Belief Systems (from a secular perspective) Unequally Yoked (from the Christian perspective) Interact Chosen Family Grace Michelle and I discuss her listening to the Sarah: Believing Spouse of an Atheist Deconvert episode Full Show Notes Rate and review the podcast Podchaser Vurbl Attribution Photo Sneha ss, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons Music"Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
December 14, 2020
Colin: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Colin. Colin absorbed his mother’s Evangelical Christianity. He has mostly good memories of the people in church. He bounced from his mother’s to his father’s families never quite fitting in. He hung on to his Christianity long after he recognized it no longer brought him “positive results” out of fear of losing everything: salvation, community, and identity. My first and only real religion is inclusion. Colin’s doubts began young with a dynamic Sunday school teacher who was not allowed to preach in church and a gay uncle he was not supposed to approve of. Colin recognized that love demands inclusion. He felt it was his moral obligation to be inclusive. In his late twenties, in therapy, he experienced true acceptance. Even while he was explaining to his therapist he was still a virgin, having been a part of the purity culture of the ’90s. Colin’s story takes a dramatic turn of self-discovery. He discovers himself and discovers his voice. He then experienced more acceptance telling his story of recovering from growing up Evangelical to non-christian audiences. Colin tells his story with rawness, honesty and a great deal of humor. Interact Deconversion Colin mentions a post I wrote on apologetcis: What If I Grant That Colin mentions my friend Bryce interviewing me Full show notes Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
November 30, 2020
Barrett Evans: The Contemplative Skeptic
My guest this week is Barrett Evans, author of The Contemplative Skeptic. Barrett wrote the book for those who are skeptical but drawn to spirituality.  A former evangelical seminarian and ex-Roman Catholic, Barrett is an agnostic who has retained a fascination with contemplative spirituality.  Building on what he learned in his divinity, counseling, and historical studies, he draws on hundreds of religious and secular sources in an effort to combine honest doubt with the best of contemplative experience. It is proper to doubt. We discuss how honesty and humility lead to doubt. Barrett’s look at comparative religion reveals the reasons for doubt and the wisdom of a contemplative life. We ask what does it mean to be “spiritual.” The tremendous range of religious diversity is one of the greatest reasons for skepticism towards any particular religious belief. Links The Contemplative Skeptic Barrett’s website Honest Doubt Twitter Interact Secular Humanist Graces Thanksgiving secular grace sayings Steps to deconversion Critique of Apologetics Full show notes Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
November 16, 2020
Ian Mills: New Testament Review
My guest this week is Ian Mills, a PhD candidate in New Testament studies at Duke University. His dissertation is “Rewriting the Gospel: Second Century Evangelists and the Act of Gospel Writing.” His key advisor is Mark Goodacre and Bart Ehrman is on his dissertation committee. Ian is a professing Christian who confesses the resurrection of Jesus. I ask Ian to provide intellectual cover for believers. His example is one of honesty and intellectual integrity while maintaining faith. What makes him interesting is his commitment to methodological naturalism as it applies to studying the first and second century gospel writings. He explains why even as a believer this is not threatening to his faith. Ian is the co-host of the New Testament Review Podcast. He and his co-host Laura Robinson rose to internet fame (at least in secular circles) after they did an episode giving an unflattering review of Lee Strobel’s “A Case For Christ.” Ian’s approach is a breath of fresh air particularly when compared to popular apologetics. What [popular apologists] do is bad for you. And it is because it is a complete inversion of what people of integrity and what good science inquiry should be. Instead of starting with questions and data and going and looking for explanations that satisfy your questions, they start with a set of conclusions and go mining the evidence looking for that. I personally learned a lot from Ian in this conversation. He is a wealth of information and expertise on the early Church and the process of gospel writing and canonization. As I say in the interview, I felt transported back to the best of Bible college. I suspect we will be hearing from Ian for years to come. Links New Testament Review Podcast YouTube Academia Twitter Interact I mention Ted Chiang’s Hell is the Absence of God Critique of Apologetics Full show notes Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
November 02, 2020
Suandria Hall: My Choice My Power
My guest this week is Suandria Hall. Suandria is a trauma informed counselor specializing in faith transitions. Her practice, My Choice My Power, is online and she offers mental health counseling to residents in Colorado and life coaching sessions online, by phone, and email for anyone. Suandria tells her story of being groomed for ministry in a very Charismatic community with rigorous honesty. In her early adulthood she began to question and eventually deconverted. She had a positive experience with a therapist who “held space” for her shifting faith positions. She then went on to become a secular counselor to help others through the same process. We talk about the power of parents to influence children. And the damage that can occur when parents pass that responsibility on to an invisible god. Her approach to counseling is trauma informed and acknowledges Adverse Religious Experiences and religious trauma. She helps people going through the process of deconstruction and deconversion while being open to all faith positions. Links Suandria’s Counseling Site Twitter Instagram Interact Adverse Religious Experiences series Steps of Deconversion Full show notes Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
October 19, 2020
Randal Rauser: Conversations With My Inner Atheist
My guest this week is Randal Rauser. Randal is, in his own words, “a systematic and analytic theologian of evangelical persuasion.” He is a professor of systematic theology, apologetics, and worldview at Taylor Seminary. Randal has written a number of books on apologetics and atheism. I first became aware of Randal’s work around 2017 when I read “Is The Atheist My Neighbor.” At least in the circles, I am a part of, Randal is considered to be a fair and honest apologist and is widely regarded for “steel-manning” atheist arguments before giving his arguments against them. This week we discuss his new book, “Conversations With My Inner Atheist.” In this book, Randal personifies his doubts as an interlocutor named Mia, My Inner Atheist, who presents the atheist, humanist and naturalistic arguments against his faith. Randal shows real vulnerability in several of these dialogues and often leaves the matter without a satisfactory conclusion by either party (believing Randal or non-believing, Mia). As you might imagine, I have some thoughts on these matters most of which I express in the Final Thoughts section of the podcast. We also discuss a recent back and forth between Randal and Ian Mills of the New Testament Review Podcast fame on the topic of methodological naturalism. Links Blog Twitter YouTube Books Conversations With My Inner Atheist Is The Atheist My Neighbor Interact My Critique of Apologetics Full Show Notes including links to the Randal and Ian methodological naturalism discussions Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
October 05, 2020
Jimmy: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Jimmy. As early as the beginning of 2020 Jimmy was still in the closet trying to determine how he would come out as an atheist and humanist. By mid February he had told his family and was bracing for his church to find out. Jimmy was a serious and dedicated Christian drawn to Calvinism by family and the intellectual rigor. As the years went by and his attempts at self-betterment were not realized he began to be drawn by the pragmatism of Stoicism. He eventually realized that counseling would be beneficial, though this had so far been off the table. Through these active measures he began to see some success at self-betterment. Jimmy’s chief concern was not damaging the relationships with his believing friends and family. He was very careful to show them he loved them and had no contempt for their faith. "It is one of these things where I think, this has got to be a band-aide I am ripping off and not a cancer I am injecting into my family. And I am going to do my darnedest to make sure that this works and that they know I love them." For the full show notes including Jimmy's book recommendations and quotes from jimmy: Interact Deconversion How To Image Attribution "memento Mori, 'To This Favour' by William Michael Harnett" by Bob Ramsak is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit Audio Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
September 21, 2020
Ray Gilford: Deconversion not so Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. My guest this week is Ray Gilford. Ray grew up more of a cultural Christian. His family believed but did not push him. In college, without community and looking for friendship predatory evangelism took advantage of him. Ray worked hard at being a Christian but wanted something deeper. He learned Hebrew and Greek in an effort to find “True Christianity.” He remained a Christian for 32 years. Eventually, he deconverted realizing that Christianity did not live up to its promise. Ray now says he practices Pagan, metaphysics and spiritualism. Though this is a different path than most of my guests what is interesting about Ray’s metaphysics is that id does not preclude miracles and yet Ray still found Christianity wanting. Interact Deconversion Anonymous Deconversion Deconversion How To Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
September 07, 2020
Dr. Anthony Pinn: Humanism and Race
My guest this week is Dr. Anthony Pinn. Dr. Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities, the Professor of Religious Studies. the Founding Director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning Rice University, and the Director of Research of the Institute for Humanist Studies. Dr. Pinn has written a number of books on the intersection of humanism and race. In this episode, we discuss his book, When Colorblindness Isn’t the Answer. I learned quite a lot from Dr. Pinn. Both about humanism and the experience of black humanists. Ultimately I was challenged to change my behavior, to “do my homework,” and to understand that it will take dismantling of white supremacy in humanist communities in order to gain the great benefits that diversity brings. "We can do better." This sort of fundamental change this movement towards diversity and equity means giving up comfort. You cannot request comfort and say you are interested in change Throughout his book(s) and in the interview Dr. Pinn calls on our humanist values to be less ignorant, to include black and other historically disparaged voices, and to develop our own vocabulary and ways of experiencing awe without calling on theistic traditions. Links Website Twitter Books When Colorblindness Isn’t The Answer Interact Critique of Apologetics Deconversion Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
August 23, 2020
Joel Furches: Why Christians Become Atheists
My guest this week is Joel Furches. Joel is a psychologist researching topics of religion. He has a BA in psychology an MA in education, and he is working on his PhD in Behavioral Analysis. He he has focused on conversions and deconversions and has written a well researched article entitled: Why Do Christians Become Atheists? A Case Study. Joel and I discuss his research and walk through his model of deconversion. We discuss the “Market place of ideas” and “The Christian Bubble.” We define the terms disaffiliation, deconstruction and deconversion. Joel’s advice for Christians who are seeing more deconversions: [What] I would say to Christians in general is that it is not their responsibility to re-covert [the deconvert]. They have not failed because this person deconverted and they will probably not succeed in re-converting them. It is to respect the person who has deconverted, respect their experience. Give them the right that any other human being would have which is to defend their views. And interact or engage in those views as important. Links Joel’s Website: Switching Sides FB: Twitter: Why Do Christians Become Atheists? A Case Study Perez, S. and Vallières, F., 2019. How Do Religious People Become Atheists? Applying a Grounded Theory Approach to Propose a Model of Deconversion.Secularism and Nonreligion Interact Deconversion How To Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
August 10, 2020
Leighann Lord: Very Funny Lady
My guest this week is Leighann Lord, comedian, author and podcast host. She has traveled the world doing comedy and has been on VH1, Comedy Central and HBO. She has co-hosted on Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Start Talk Radio and on CFI’s podcast, Point of Inquiry. She hosts her own podcast, People With Parents. She has written two books: Dict Jokes and Real Women Do It Standing Up. Leighann went to Catholic school growing up and is now a humanist activist. Leighann was awarded the 2019 Humanist Arts Award for her work as the New York City face of the African Americans for Humanism outreach campaign sponsored by the Center for Inquiry. We talk about humanism and what it can add to the conversation about race in America. Leighann handles my naivete with grace and elegance while still pointing out the world is a complicated place and racism is a persistent problem in America. "[This] is humanism. Human beings trying to be better humans. Actually doing the work." Leighann’s podcast, People With Parents, deals with the role reversal of taking care of elderly parents. It is also a raw and real look at grieving the death of parent. We discuss secular grief and the need to be more public about grief as non-believers. We geek out about comedy and how it can let truth sneak past our defense mechanisms. Leighann shares her top five comedic influences. She talks about first seeing Marsha Warfield on stage, “I didn’t know we did this. Which tells you the power of role models.” Leighann’s comedy specials which are available on YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Prime have much to say about living in 2020 though they were recorded a few years ago. They cover race, religion, sexism, sex, wealth disparity, and the lack of education in the current administration. Links Website Instagram Twitter People With Parents Podcast YouTube Books Interact Secular Grace Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
July 23, 2020
Bart Campolo: Humanize Me
My guest this week is Bart Campolo. Bart is the host of the Humanize Me Podcast. He is the author of “Why I Left, Why I Stayed.” Along with his famous Evangelical father, Tony Campolo, Bart is the subject of John Wright’s documentary: Leaving my Father’s Faith. If that is not enough, Bart is also the Humanist Chaplain at the University of Cincinnati. Bart and I discuss graceful ways of talking with people with whom we disagree, having conversations that are difficult that touch on religion, race and politics and changing one’s mind. I point out that Bart has been particularly public with some of these conversations, including a book and documentary with his dad, Tony Campolo, a podcast episode with his son, Roman, where they disagree on the hope or lack thereof for our species and a recent podcast episode on race. In short, Bart wears his heart on his sleeve and lives his life out loud with humility, honesty and grace. We discuss humanism and the burden of being hopeful. Bart pushes back on my assertion that everyone needs awe, belonging and community. According to Bart different people need different amounts of each of those things. At the same time, Bart is facilitating a healthy secular community in Cincinnati providing just those things for the lucky few who attend. They put it this way: Commitment to loving relationships Making things better for other people Cultivating gratitude and wonder in life Worldview humility I normally have a few quotes from the episode, but as I was writing them down it became a transcript. Bart is eminently quotable. Listen to the show to find out. I will leave you with just one which you will need to listen to the show to understand: Show your work! Be sure to listen to the end for a funny story I tell that relates to Bart’s father, Tony Campolo, during my time at bible college. Links Website Podcast Documentary Book Interact Secular Grace Deconversion Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
July 09, 2020
Bryce Harrington interviews the Graceful Atheist
My guest this week is Bryce Harrington. Bryce and I have been colleagues off and on at a couple of different companies over the years. But most importantly he and I had a seminal discussion back in 2012 while killing time in an airport. At the time I was a dedicated Evangelical Christian and Bryce has been a life long atheist. Even though I had an ulterior motive at the time Bryce was kind, gracious and genuinely curious as he wanted to understand how and why I believed. As you will hear, ironically, my former believing self changed Bryce’s view of religious people. Fast forward to today, I told Bryce I had deconverted last year. He was shocked and amazed and wanted to understand how I had changed my mind and why I was doing the podcast. This turned out to be a really fun and interesting conversation that I am glad to be able to share with you. We did not pre-plan the questions. What you hear is Bryce’s genuine curiosity. He may have a career in podcast interviews. We also get to hear Bryce’s story. The isolation and loneliness he felt growing up the only non-believer in his community. That sense of isolation lasted for much of Bryce’s life. I think many of you who are life long atheists or who have just recently deconverted will be able to relate. Interact Hell is the Absence of God (thought experiment) Secular Grace Deconversion Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats http://freemusicarchiv