Bethany: Deconversion Anonymous

Adverse Religious Experiences, Autonomy, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, ExVangelical, Hell Anxiety, Podcast, Purity Culture, Secular Grace
Mt. Rainier
Picture of Mt Rainier
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This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

This week’s Deconversion Anonymous guest is Bethany. Bethany grew up in the Pacific Northwest, attending an Assemblies of God church. It was an insular experience of their brand of Christianity against the world.

The older Bethany got, the scarier the church doctrines—eternal torment, losing one’s salvation, the Apocalypse, faith healing that doesn’t always work and even demons under her bed.

“[My dad and his friends] were warriors for Christ, going out into the world fighting evil forces, but as a child, it was so scary to me…”

Bethany was a conscientious and sensitive teen. She ardently believed what she was taught and would believe even if it led to martyrdom.

“…[My parents and church] weren’t that extreme; I felt like I became really extreme.”

In college, Bethany got exposed to reformed theology and progressive Christianity. She began to think, “There is no, ‘God says,’ or ‘Scripture says.’ These are all interpretations.”

After college, Bethany moved to California. She immediately joined a church, but it wasn’t the same. She was no longer tied to it the way she had been; she finally had space to think for herself.

“It felt more like I had been indoctrinated my whole life, a constant stream of indoctrination…and then I finally got a break.”

In California, Bethany’s been able to think, hike, read and realize who she is without outside influence, but it hasn’t been easy. She’s been afraid and uncertain, still haunted by some of her old beliefs. But she is free and life is full even while she is still “in process.”

“Maybe I’m worthwhile in myself, and I can have strength and autonomy in myself.”

Book Recommendations

#PaidAmazonLinks

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

My interviews with Alice Greczyn
https://gracefulatheist.com/2021/01/31/alice-greczyn-wayward/
https://gracefulatheist.com/2019/07/25/alice-greczyn-dare-to-doubt/

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Picture of Mt. Rainier by Bethany

April Ajoy: Evangelicalish

Comedy, Deconstruction, ExVangelical, Podcast, secular grief, YouTubers
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This week’s guest is April Ajoy, viral Tiktok’r, youTuber and podcaster. She is a “recovering conservative humorously detoxing religion.”

April had a unique childhood. She was homeschooled and spent half of each year in Pentacostal spaces and the other half traveling with her family, singing and evangelizing.

Her parents were evangelists and her grandfather was a pastor of a megachurch, so even as a young person April saw cracks in the traditions and beliefs. She didn’t see them as systemic, though, only random, separate incidents.

“[I was taught] don’t ask too many questions because if you ask too many questions, one day you’re going to wake up and become an atheist and go to hell.”

Over the next decade, tragedy hits April’s family and God does not step in to thwart it, a family member comes out to her and she realizes she cannot continue believing much of what white Christianity has painted as “good news”. 

“I found myself not wanting to be around Christians…not being able to know what parts of my Self I could present until I could figure out what kind of Christian I was dealing with.” 

Today, much of April’s childhood beliefs have been dissected and thrown out, but she is loving others in a much deeper way. She still considers herself a Christian and is fighting injustices in her own creative way.

“Humor is how I cope with trauma.”

On social media, April tackles all the difficult subjects—white supremacy, misogyny, purity culture, the absurd things evangelicals post online and more! She brings levity and fun to serious topics in a way that will make you laugh out and that is good medicine. 

Links

TikTok
https://www.tiktok.com/@aprilajoy

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/aprilajoy/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/aprilajoyr

Evangelicalish on Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/c/Evangelicalish

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Ryan Mulkowsky: Some Random Thoughts

Uncategorized
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This is the three year anniversary of the Graceful Atheist Podcast. Thank you to everyone who has listened and participated. Special thanks to Mike T and Arline for their work on the podcast over the past year.

This week’s guest is Ryan Mulkowsky. Ryan grew up Independent Fundamentalist Baptist. He made a “profession of faith” when he was nine years old and was reading Christian apologetics before he was twelve. By fourteen, Ryan was “licensed” by the church and started teaching the kids. 

However, Ryan’s mental health suffered during adolescence. Whether at home, school or church, no place was safe for him to grow and change—strict dress codes, young-earth creationism, white-centered history books and virtually no sexual education. 

“I constantly felt like anything that was happening to me was because I was a sinner or because I was depraved or something was wrong with me.”

Ryan went to one university that was even more conservative and strict than his high school, left and graduated from another with a degree in apologetics. But Ryan knew he wanted to be with people.

“I realized that the majority of the apologists have this disposition. They have zero interest in talking to people. They just like to debate, and they just like to lecture.”

Soon Ryan was introduced to healthcare chaplaincy, and for the first time, saw people up-close in great physical and emotional need. He was also introduced to other religious faiths—Buddhism Orthodox Judaism and progressive Christianity. 

“That’s when a lot of my beliefs started disintegrating and dissolving and coming apart was when I was a chaplain and a resident.”

Ryan is a now a secular humanist, married with a family and working as a grief coordinator for Hospice. His life has both meaning and purpose without religion. He is living out secular grace by providing comfort and peace in some of humanity’s most vulnerable moments.

“That’s where the beautiful stuff is. That’s where the human, raw, real, unfiltered but so damn beautiful and sacred stuff is.”

Links

Blog
https://www.ryanmulkowsky.com/

Twitter
http://twitter.com/ryanmulkowsky

Instagram
http://instagram.com/ryanmulkowsky

Some Random Thoughts Podcast
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/some-random-thoughts/id1523342430

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Marla Taviano: Unbelieve

Authors, Autonomy, Book Review, Deconstruction, ExVangelical, Podcast, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Marla Taviano, author of Unbelieve: Poems on the Journey to Becoming a Heretic. Marla grew up in Middle America and moved across the globe and back, searching for God’s will for her life.

She grew up in a loving home and didn’t realize she was in a “white Christian bubble.” Her church was almost all-white, her hometown almost completely white, and then after high school, Marla attended an even smaller completely white, conservative Christian college. 

“I was all-in. [Faith] was all there was to life. That was the focus, the center. My faith was everything to me.”

Marla’s first inkling that something was missing came when she read the book, The Hole in Our Gospel. She had read the Bible many, many times over the years, and here was a new revelation—2,000+ verses about helping the poor?

four-letter words
if you’ve never lived inside / the bubble of
evangelical Christianity it / might surprise you
to find that l-o-v-e / and p-o-o-r were new
and controversial subjects for me / at age 35

From  Unbelieve: Poems on the Journey to Becoming a Heretic

Less than a decade later, while she and her family were part of a multiethnic church plant, Marla began to see more “holes” in Christianity, namely racism and white supremacy. Her eyes were slowly beginning to open.

“Once you start to uncover things, it really is a slippery slope or ‘the unraveling’…It’s all connected. You can’t stop.”

Since 2015, Marla has been back and forth to Cambodia, written a book of poetry, started an incredibly popular bookstagram, been through a painful divorce, connected tons of people to one another and is still sharing her knowledge and wisdom with her followers.

“I feel that there are so many Christians who just go along in their happy little lives and nothing really rattles them, and nothing really happens. So they’re not forced to question things or consider things…”

In her search for truth, Marla asks, “Is this loving to my neighbor?” She may not be certain what her beliefs are right now, but she does believe that love is what will change the world. 

Links

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/marlataviano/
https://www.instagram.com/whitegirllearning/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/marlataviano

Amazon Paid Links

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats