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. https://michael.ck.page/d36a3d2338
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.”
After listening to deconstruction stories for the last several years, I think I have the longest deconstruction story ever. I suspect there could be longer ones than me, but I have yet to hear one. My deconstruction started in the 1980’s when I was a teenager, and it was very lonely.
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.
On the days I still believe …
Rachel Held Evans
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.
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.
My deconversion was very slow. As Christian Scientists, we’re taught to heal the way Jesus did, through prayer. Eventually, I realized I was deeply unhappy and prayer wasn’t working. So I sought other methods to find happiness: diet, therapy, exercise, even Ayahuasca. When I finally let go of the expectation to be a good Christian, I felt a relief and a happiness that people noticed and commented on.
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.
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 experience 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.