In these episodes, I will have believers on who I have grown to trust interview me. Rather than try to argue with them I’ll see if I can get them to understand why I no longer believe. The idea is to reverse the roles and have the believer in the skeptics seat asking the questions.
As deconverts, we may find ourselves in the odd position of defending our former faith when believers want to suggest that we must never have been a “True Christian” or that our faith must not have been real. This episode was prompted by a discussion on Twitter on this topic and the genuine and open response from David Hellsten.
On this episode, Susan from Scotland tells us how she grew up Presbyterian but began to ask hard questions at a very early age. She felt empathy for those who were different from herself and recognized a lack of empathy in the church leaders. Ultimately, she deconverted in her twenties and now lives with intellectual honesty, empathy and compassion on the other side of faith.
My name is David and I am trying to be the Graceful Atheist. I am a humanist. And I believe that human connection is the most profound experience one can have. It is this human connection that will be the focus of the podcast.
There are three main themes that I want to explore: Faith Transitions, Secular Grace and having an Honesty Contest.
The first theme is faith transitions from doubt to deconstruction to deconversion.
If you are anything like me, the process of deconversion feels lonely and one of the first things you want to do is tell your story. But who are you going to tell? It is possible that your friends and family are still believers and they will be unlikely to appreciate your story. Even the non-believers in your life may be non-pulsed if they have never gone through a deconversion experience. Telling your story is a cathartic part of the deconversion process. If you want to tell your story for the podcast, you can remain anonymous, use a pseudonym, or if you are out as a non-believer, you can tell the world.
The message of the podcast is that if you are going through a faith transition, you are not alone.
Secular Grace is a proactive acceptance, love and caring for our fellow human beings person to person. Think of it as humanism plus. Where humanism has tended to focus on the rational for ethics and human rights, Secular Grace focuses on human connection, belonging, awe and love. Rather than be defined by what I don’t believe. I want to be defined by what I do believe. I believe in people.Self Honesty
The final theme, brutal honesty, will be an aspirational goal and the ethos of the podcast. One of the plans I am most excited about for the podcast is a role reversal interview called “A Believer Interviews the Graceful Atheist.” In these episodes, I will have friends of mine who are believers who I trust interview me in an honesty contest. I’ll allow them to ask the hard questions and rather than try to argue with them I’ll see if I can get them to understand why I no longer believe. If, and only if, they are interested they can come back for a second episode where I will ask them some tough questions about their faith.