This week’s guest is Stacie, the creative mind behind the @apostacie on Instagram and the co-host of @skeptichaven on Youtube.
Stacie grew up in charismatic churches, believing what she learned about and experienced at church was normal—from speaking in tongues to full-on demonic oppression. It wasn’t until Stacie was an adult that she began to seriously question her upbringing. After watching a Reformed-Christian documentary about the Charismatic church, the questions started coming.
“I made the promise to myself: If I had questions, I was going to find the answers to them.”
Now, she uses her online platforms to reach both atheists and doubting religious folks. Her compassionate wisdom is helping so many people.
Thinking Atheist podcast & YouTube
Childish Things: A Memoir by Dave Warnock
Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist by David McAfee
The Belief Book by David McAfee
The Book of Gods by David McAfee
“Basically I didn’t think that I had a choice but to be Christian because that was how I was raised. It was: This is the Truth. Why would I not serve [God]?”
“…looking back I can see all the anxiety from the time I was a young child, especially with spiritual warfare, always believing there were supernatural forces, whether they were demons or angels. That causes a lot of terror in a small child.”
“I made that promise to myself: If I had questions, I was going to find the answers to them.”
“I thought, If I’m going to do this, I have to know I’m not going to go to hell for it.”
“I would listen to [sermons] like I was someone hearing them for the first time. I was like, This sounds like a fairy tale. This sounds very ridiculous. I don’t know if I would believe this, if I wasn’t raised in it.”
“To find out there’s this big, huge, amazing community of people [deconverting]…you have this connection instantly. It’s like: You get what I’m going through. You know what I’m going through. You know the words I am saying!”
“For anyone out there…who’s having doubts: Don’t be afraid to continue exploring those doubts. Don’t go to your pastor. Go to someone else who’s neutral.”
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“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
NOTE: This transcript is AI produced (otter.ai) and likely has many mistakes. It is provided as rough guide to the audio conversation.
David Ames 0:11 This is the graceful atheist podcast United studios podcast. Welcome, welcome. Welcome to the graceful atheist podcast. My name is David, and I am trying to be the graceful atheist. As always, thank you to my patrons. If you too would like an ad free experience of the podcast, please become a patron at any level at patreon.com/graceful atheist. I wanted to highlight our blog. Jimmy and our lien from the community have been participating in writing on the blog and I'm just really excited about the work that they are doing. Please check out the blog at graceful atheists.com/blog If you are questioning, doubting, deconstructing, or D converting, you don't have to do it alone. Please join us at the deconversion anonymous Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/deconversion. Special thanks to Mike T for editing today's show. onto today's show. Our lien interviews today's guest Stacey. She goes by the moniker apostasy which I think is just amazing. You can find her on Instagram @apostacie and she is the co host of Skeptic Haven on YouTube. We'll of course have links in the show notes. Stacey stone story is amazing. She began in a more Pentecostal charismatic environment Word of Faith. She eventually went to a more Reformed churches. Her and her husband and her family were excommunicated multiple times. Apparently, she talks about health anxiety, a fear of literal demons and angels, and then going through a really investigatory timeframe where she was searching for the truth. She saw a documentary from the reformed perspective against the charismatic movement. She saw documentaries about multilevel marketing as cults, but it was ultimately the response to COVID within the Christian community and deconstructing her belief in the devil, and hell itself that led to hurt deconstruction and deconversion. Here is our Lean interviewing Stacy. Arline 2:23 Hi, Stacey, welcome to the Stacie 2:24 graceful atheist podcast. Hi, thank you for having me. Arline 2:28 Now, you have a fantastic Instagram presence. And a friend sent me your information was like you need to check her out. And I I love it. I have not just learned a lot but like laughed, and I really appreciate the work that you're doing. Usually we begin with just tell us about the religious environment that you grew up in. Stacie 2:49 Sure. So my name is Stacy. And well, first of all, I live in Canada. So the west coast of Canada near Vancouver just for context of locations. And I grew up mainly in a charismatic environment, Pentecostal word of faith, so very much believing in the supernatural, the healing, speaking in tongues, prophesying, if you were to see kind of the pastors and preachers on television that pray for people, and they're being slain in the Spirit, that's sort of the environment that I grew up. And it was very much quote unquote, normal for for church services, in my, my formative years, and throughout my teenage hood, so very much, you know, spiritual warfare was a huge part of that as well. So not something that I recommend for people, but that's what I thought was normal for Christianity and believing in God. Arline 4:15 I was part of the Calvinist part of Christianity. So we totally just, yeah. Stacie 4:23 Well, it's interesting, because I don't know if you know this about me, but later, actually, that's super interesting that you are out of Calvinism, because I would love to hear your story later on. But when I was leaving Christianity, that is kind of the stepping stone. That was that was what I left. That was my way out of Christianity as I dabbled in Calvinism. Wow. Yeah. So about in 2019 I came across a documentary called American gospel. I don't know if you're familiar with when I have not seen it. Okay. Well, it is a documentary that is a Christian documentary. But it is from a reformed perspective, kind of exposing the charismatic Word of Faith theology. Okay. And when I saw that documentary and 2019, that is, I feel like that's where my deconstruction sort of began. I felt like my world had been turned upside down, because I thought, everything that I had grown up believing about God and Christianity, and Jesus, I felt this was all a lie, because it exposed speaking in tongues, and just how ridiculous it was and how it's not biblical and how it was. It gave scripture backing up how that was only meant for that time period. And so I leaned into that reformed perspective quite heavily. And I thought, well, if, if I've had Christianity wrong, I need to figure out the right kind of Christianity. So I went into kind of the Calvinism side, and I thought, well, this is the closest to the Bible. So I wanted to be correct in my theology. And so I thought, well, I didn't think Christianity was wrong at that point. So I found a Reformed Church. And I started listening to a lot of Reformed preachers and reading a lot of Reformed books and getting involved into into that side. And I feel like I just went from one culty, Christianity to another culty Christianity. And that is the last bit of church experience that I had. And yeah, it's interesting that you have that background, because I don't have a ton of experience in it. I can't really speak from a Calvinist perspective a lot, because I don't have a ton of knowledge on it. But that is the last church that we were a part of. And, yeah, they are bizarre. They are very much legalistic, what I was always told about. So you were told that we were probably bizarre in our own way of being heavily into the Holy Spirit and like, wacky, probably, but I was told growing up, oh, they don't have the Holy Spirit. They're dry. They're legalistic. Arline 7:55 But you guys are right. That was. Stacie 8:00 So there's a bit of it's so weird how it's just everyone's kind of pointing fingers. Like you don't have it. Right. You don't have it? Right. And it just, yeah, I fell right back into that like, Okay, well, no. The charismatic people are right now. I'm right. So it's, it's so there's just so much to it. But the church that we left, that was the first time I ever experienced becoming a member of a church formally. Oh, wow. Yeah. And then being called out with church discipline. And Arline 8:39 that's definitely a thing in the world, I think. Stacie 8:43 And so when we left and yeah, we got excommunicated, and publicly called out many times over last last year, 2021, and over their live stream on YouTube, and not just us, but our children's names too. Not that not them calling out our kids, but basically naming our children because of our quote unquote, sin. So that was harsh. But yeah, anyways Arline 9:26 so you grew up charismatic, did it work for you in your teens and 20s? Like, was life like it was all working fine, or? Stacie 9:35 Well, I mean, I guess that's all I was used to. Oh, that was all I was used to. So I don't I didn't think there was any other way of I. Basically, I didn't think I had a choice of not being a Christian. Because that's how I was raised. I it was, this is the truth. Why would I not serve? Jesus? I felt like people who didn't were just either blind. They didn't have their eyes open to to it, or they were just ignorant. And I felt sorry for them. I, so I just didn't see any other way to live. And yeah, I wouldn't have ever chosen not to. Because I, I fully believe what I was living was the truth I wouldn't have committed to it for so long if I didn't believe what I was doing was right. So yeah, even though it was not easy, because I brought on a lot of now I'm looking back and I can see all the anxiety. From the time I was a young child, especially with, like the spiritual warfare aspect with always believing that there were supernatural forces, whether it be demons or angels. That causes a lot of terror to a small child, Arline 11:14 children up to a certain age, they don't know the difference between real and pretend. Know Exactly. And then when things we teach them, and we were guilty of it when our kids were little, we were reformed. But we, we liked Hillsong music, we didn't literally go to his church, but like, listen to Mark Driscoll is preaching, and he had spiritual warfare stuff. Okay. And so we did believe that there were invisible forces doing things. Of course, we were teaching our kids that because that's, that was what we were convinced was true. Looking back, I do not have any, I didn't grow up in the church, I became a Christian in college. So I am very thankful to hell. But I'm looking back, I did not have any experiences that I can't now just explain by my brain thinking that these things are true. And since I believed that they were true, I saw things through that lens. Like, did you do you have experiences having grown up in the charismatic church? Do you have experiences that now you look back and you're like, like, how would you define them? Or explain them now? From when you were younger? Stacie 12:25 Yeah, there were there were times where, see, I was told by I have a lot of stories of me being a toddler, seeing things in the spirit realm. I don't remember those things. But it's interesting, because I have a lot of memories from that age. Like, I have a really good memory from the time I was one and two and three years old. Wow. But all these stories that happened at that age, I don't remember them taking place. So I, I don't know if they were just sort of fed to me like, oh, did you see this? Oh, is that what like, I don't know if that's true. But I just grew up always thinking, Oh, I used to see in the spirit realm and a toddler. And it was mostly my grandmother who kind of influenced that, oh, stories. And then as I grew up, having a lot of anxiety. Sometimes she would be the person that I would go and asked, please, can you pray with me? I'm just feeling like, just not right. I think I'm being attacked by Satan. You know, I think anxiety was not the word that I would have used back then. Always. This is an attack because I'm such a strong Christian, the devil knows that. He needs to take me down. I tell this story somewhat often, because I think it really gives a picture of sort of the mind frame that I had, but I remember sleeping over at her house when I was in grade eight. So I was probably 13 or 14. And I just said can you please pray with me because I just feel really oppressed. But that was the Word and she said, Sure. I can pray with you. So she did. And after she was done praying for Satan and his demons, just leave me alone. She basically said, okay, but just remember, now that he's, he's left you alone. If you let him come back to bother you. He's gonna bring back seven times the amount of demons. Arline 14:57 I remember the story that This idea comes from Yes. Right from the Bible where sweep your house clean. And then yeah, that's yeah. Stacie 15:07 And I was like, Oh, great. Okay. So I felt a lot of pressure to make sure I wasn't opening any doors to the enemy. So I'm, you know if anyone is a former Christian though, they'll recognize these little catchphrases and Buzz phrases. But so here I am at 13. And I thought, Okay, well, I didn't really do anything that was wrong. I never I knew what Christians considered doors that would, would open to the devil or give him a foothold, which would be right. That's all the words. I don't know how to say them. Not in Christianese. But I understand. Yeah. And so I didn't read my horoscope, even if I had like a 17 magazine, I would rip that page out because I didn't even want it in my house. I, I wouldn't, I would really censor the movies or TV shows, if they were doing a scene on television or safe. The teenagers came across a Ouija board, I would shut that scene off. Because I didn't even want that to be something that would open the door. And they could come through my television screen. Right. So I was very, very careful about what I watched. And so when anxiety came back, because anxiety always does it wasn't the devil or his demons. I was petrified. Great. Now I let them back. What did I do wrong? And now they're going to come back and it's going to be seven times stronger. So I was terrified. Yeah. Arline 16:53 And that makes your anxiety worse. Because lately, so it feels like seven more came because now it's Stacie 16:59 because you're just freaking out. And then you have that guilt of what did I do? Yes. What the word that I open? Yeah, Arline 17:09 it has to be your fault. So then you have more anxiety? Because now you're trying to figure out like, Stacie 17:14 exactly, yeah, hey, Stacy, I had a lot of just my mind was always racing, your mind was always going and that continued up. I mean, I now I'm on anxiety medication, because good for you. It helps, right? But even just leaving that environment helped. Tremendous, I'd say 80% of my anxiety just left from leaving that environment and leaving that way of thinking, and deconstructing spiritual warfare, and just realizing that's not a thing. And I began deconstructing that without even realizing that was what I was doing when I came across that documentary. And so when I, when I watched that in 2019, I answered a lot of questions that I had about the Bible and about Christianity that I had been raised in. And I promised myself then that I would never not allow myself to find answers to questions that I had, because even though it was a Christian documentary, it answered a ton of questions about the craziness of the charismatic Pentecostal faith, right. And so I started doing major deep dives into that and finding out well, when did speaking in tongues become part of the church again, and when did this happen? And when did like the Foursquare church become the Foursquare church? And I started really investigating all these things. And now I'm like, Okay, that is kind of like a deconstruction, of finding out the roots of all of these things. I also believed in the rapture my whole life, I had the kind of fear of, you know, when is Jesus gonna come back, even though, I had a bit of an excitement towards that, there's still a lot of anxiety, especially when roll events start taking place. And you know, people who kind of subscribe to that mindset. They are always looking at the news. And anytime there's a war or a rumor, or they're like, this is it and I've heard that for my entire life. Yeah, yeah. And so that was sort of the next thing that I do. instructed without realizing it, and I thought, okay, I don't think I believe in that anymore. And I was still a Christian. I was more reformed, but I was like, No, I don't think that I'm, I believe in the rapture, I don't think this is something that's going to take place, or at least a pre tribulation rapture, which means, if anyone doesn't know what that is, it's Jesus come back, collects the true Church, and then there's going to be like a seven years of absolute chaos. And basically, hell has broken loose on earth, and it's survival of the fittest, so to speak. So I stopped believing in that. And, you know, found out where that kind of theology came from. And it's like, okay, well, I feel better. So, yes, I really made myself that promise, if I have questions, I'm going to find out the answer to them. And so it just kind of naturally progressed from there. And it was in the summer of 2021, where we moved away from our, our family, our church, our whole circle, we move four hours away. And once we moved, I was kind of free. In my head, I wasn't surrounded by all of the propaganda, I guess. I had myself very well insulated. By everything, Christian. Yeah. And when we moved, it was like, Oh, I can sort of listen to these podcasts, or, you know, like, when we were living in where we lived before I was this, like, very Christian woman, and I spent all day listening to sermons. So all day, that's all that I had on AI. And so, you know, like, you start to have doubts. So it's like, feed your faith, you know? And, yep, that's what you would do. And so, but when we moved, I was kinda like, I don't want to do that. I want to, I want to listen to other things, I want to start kind of exploring. Just, it wasn't even like I was looking to, like, deconstruct by faith that wasn't even it, it was just sort of like, oh, this podcast is kind of interesting. And then it kind of got me thinking, Oh, well, that actually makes a lot of sense. And another one would sort of get suggested or recommended, and it kind of went from there. And it wasn't even anything really to do with Christianity, I was really interested in in like, swell kind of cults and not just like, like religious cults, but even like multi level marketing call, yes, political call. So I was listening to a lot of those podcasts, and sort of seeing the similarities between those and religion. And that's when the wheels really began to turn. I also was seeing a lot of just the Christian response to COVID. And that was also a huge eye opener to me. And it all just kind of went from there. It was not really like one specific moment, but it was, I just say it was the fall of 2021, where it all just popped open like a can of worms. And it was exciting. At the same time, like, because I had gone through times in the past, where I would have major, major doubts and just think this is all ridiculous, but I would keep it inside. I wouldn't say anything to anyone. And I knew how to kind of get through it. And come out on the other side without losing my faith. And one of the ways was, it's like I would just kind of think my way in a circle. And I'd be like, well, this doesn't seem true. This just sounds ridiculous. And then I'd come back around and think but when it comes down to it, I believe that there is a devil because I was so afraid. Oh, wow. And I thought, Well, I'm afraid of going to hell. I'm afraid of a of the double. I can't believe in a devil and not believe in Gods so I'm just back at square one. Okay. i Yeah, I have to just believe in God, then. You have Arline 24:54 to stop this like okay, yeah, exactly. No farther. Stacie 24:58 That's exactly it. So I would I've kind of like, take the next step in my brain, take the next step and then be like, but if I believe there's a devil, and I believe that more some times, and the fear of that, and that would just stop me dead in my tracks, and then I'd be like, Okay, well, I give up. Yeah. Okay, I can't believe in the devil and not believe in God. So, wow, yeah. And so I really, in order to go any further in my questioning of things, and my search and my doubts, I thought, if I'm going to do this, I have to know I'm not gonna go to hell for this. And I know a lot of people, that's sort of the last thing that they, they get rid of, for me, it had to be the first thing. And so I, I talked to my husband. And I just asked him, I was like, I'm just so nervous about finding out certain answers to questions. Because what if I'm sitting, and I, I commit the unpardonable sin? And then that's it, I'm doomed. I'm gonna go to hell. Yes. And he never like, everyone always asks me, Well, what did your husband feel? What's his belief system? So he was a very supportive husband who had a he, he always thought it would be great if there was a heaven, and he would love to go if it existed, but he has a very analytical scientific mind that just, he's like, there's not enough proof for me, but he was very supportive in my faith. Arline 26:44 So was he not a believer while you guys were married? Or Stacie 26:49 I think he was just really good at at being supportive, and all of that, but he just was like, No, this is, but I didn't really know because he never really liked he didn't challenge me on anything. He just, he's amazing. So that's awesome. When I would go to him, and at this time, he just offered me these little like, pieces of of encouragement or advice. He never like, nudged me, or was like, yeah, do this, go for it, like, stop believing he was just like, just use caution. Don't, don't go overboard. Because this was my whole identity. He didn't want me to, like, lose my faith, and then spiral and be like, well, now what you know, Arline 27:35 it can go really badly really quickly. Because it is a scary thing, especially if this is like you said, this has been your identity for your entire life. And we're fed the idea that like without Jesus or without God, we we have no purpose. We have no meaning everything you know, you're nothing to be thankful for. You know, everything falls apart. It doesn't. That's all just lie, they have to sell you that idea. So you'll stay because it's kind of just boring. Well, I'm coming out of Calvinism. We were boring, you guys, you're not boring. I am curious, I'd like to go back. How did you go from listening to sermons super godly woman to watching that documentary? Oh, but Stacie 28:25 you said it was a Christian, it was a Christian document. Arline 28:29 You weren't necessarily asking questions or anything. You just happen. You watched it. And then you started asking questions. Part of Stacie 28:35 watching that documentary was, I was a huge Hillsong listener. And I was really big on like, the emotional music and all of that, but I was like, I really wanted to get to like, the heart of like, God, and theology. And like, I was starting to really think, Kay, these people sound like they're worshiping themselves. And that's not what I'm here for. So I started to just really look into their music and and, excuse me, not just them, but also like Bethel and elevation, and all those really big, big Christian names, right? And I was just like, these, these people are just, they're in it more for themselves. They're not in it to bring people to, to know the gospel. And, and so I came from it from that perspective. Yeah, so I stopped listening to all all Christian music in general, because I was listening to all the lyrics. And I was like, No, I sound like I'm singing about myself more than I'm thinking about God. And that's not what I want to do. So that's how I found that documentary. Yeah, it was. I was Just wanting to just be really pure in my worship. So, for people who tell me you are never a real Christian, I'm like, Okay, well, first of all, that's such a straw man. Arline 30:14 Yeah, straw man. missive. It's like, I can't think anymore. This is making me uncomfortable. I have to just dismiss your whole story. Yeah, Stacie 30:23 exactly. And I'm like, No, if you had any idea, but whatever. If that makes you feel better, you can no. Yeah, but I'm like, No, if you had any idea, like, I dedicated everything, to finding out who God was. And that's all I ever wanted to do. And it led me here. In the end. Arline 30:45 Yes, I can empathize with that. The listeners of the podcast have heard bits and pieces of my story over and over. But um, he realized he could no longer believe he didn't choose to stop believing like he just realized I cannot His thing was I can't worship the God of the Bible. All the stuff I've been told is true. Like, I just can't square it with reality anymore. And that burst my little bubble because it's like, okay, well, now what a were Calvinist, he can't lose his salvation. But I know he had always been a Christian. So that we're, I'm having to figure that out. And so I needed to make it make sense. So then I go on my own journey, trying to figure out like, what do I believe? What do I think is true? And it led me to now I'm an atheist, like, I don't believe there are supernatural things. And all of it was just all of it was in my head. I was telling some people last night like, my daily life is almost exactly the same as it was when I was a Christian. But my brain is so much more quiet. Yes. Yes. The anxiety the I didn't have as much. No, I did have a lot of what I thought was demonic oppression. When there are lots of rules to break, you're constantly worried about, you're breaking the rules. Exactly. So yeah, I can empathize with being like, I was trying to be the best. I was trying to bring my husband back to Jesus. I was trying to, like explore more parts of Christianity. I had friends who had come out of charismatic churches. So I was trying to like, learn from them. Seventh Day at Venice, and I was like, Oh, this is so great. And then slowly, I started remind mine went through like Catholicism to then learning more Buddhism to then realizing like, actually, all this stuff is much more helpful than all the things I was doing. And then, by 2019, the end of 2019, I was like, Yeah, I think it's all made up. And yeah, I like it. And people will say, Oh, it must not have been, it must have been just head knowledge. And I'm like, if you saw the Tupperware full of journals, you would know this is not this was not had. No. So you spent 2021 What's happened since then? What's happened since then? Stacie 33:06 I know, it's, it's 2021 was not that long ago. But, like thinking back, I really feel like the deconstruction did we got begin in 2019. Even though I did like without realizing it. I kind of gave it that last hurrah. 2019 finding that Reformed Church and and then, yeah, it was it was the fall of 2021. And it was like, I know people say it's like, okay, it's not like you wake up one day, and you're like, Okay, I no longer believe but it was, it was a pretty short time period from the doubting again, because I would come around every couple, like every year or so I would feel these doubts, but from the time it started, again, to the time, I was like, Nope, this is all made up. It was about two months from now. Yeah. And but I had felt for a long time. This is just so ridiculous. Because when I would break it down in my head, and I would sometimes listen to it, like even to sermons, I would listen to them. Like I wasn't a Christian. I would listen to them like I was someone else hearing them for the first time. And I'd be like, This sounds like a fairy tale. This sounds very ridiculous. I don't know if I would believe this if I wasn't raised in it. Yeah, and yeah, so there were just little things, especially in the Old Testament, that once I realized or discovered that I like the story of Noah's Ark, because I was also told probably like you as a Calvinist, the Bible is infallible, inerrant, you can trust it. There's, there's nothing in it. That is not true. And so I believed every word of it, I believe every story that you could take into history. Very scalably, unfortunately, but I didn't really have any reason to question those things. Right. Arline 35:35 Yeah. It's taught to you as though it really happened. Stacie 35:39 Yeah. So once I heard that, that Noah's Ark myth, in other mythologies that predated it, that's when it was just like, holy cow. Yeah. And that, to me, is a very interesting thing that I even believed that that was true, because I was also kind of told that, like, I was a young earth creationist, so the fact that I even was like, even though that didn't square up, totally, because I still, that I had a big question mark over it. I kind of sort of subscribe to it. But I still had a lot of questions over the whole six that I was like, I don't know how that works. But sure. But then hearing this predated and it was in like the Epic of Gilgamesh, yes. And then hearing, you know, there's a lot of different cultures around the world that have a no, a flood myth to them. And they all have a similar, they all have a similar vein of like, the gods were angry, and they save one part one family and everyone, and I was like, Okay, if that story, if that story is not true, that means none of this is true. And I can't trust anything written in it. And that was just, that was kind of that moment for me of if one thing is a lie, then it's all a lie. And because that's just, I don't know, it just, you can't be like, Okay, well, it's just this one thing is a lie when you're told it's infallible the entire thing. So from there, that was sort of my like, cake, go for it, you have, like, I gave myself permission to just go for it. And then what I was saying earlier about my husband is and deconstructing Hell was, this quote that he told me when I was just like, I'm really afraid of going to hell I'm afraid of sending is he saw this quote on Twitter a couple of days prior to this conversation we had, and it said, Life is a spark between two identical eternities, the one before birth, and the one after death. And it was like this, like, this weight on my shoulders just like left because I thought, Oh, my goodness, before I was born, was an entire eternity. And I have no concept of what that even was, there was no, like, I wasn't in a paradise. I wasn't burning in the lake of fire. There was literally nothing. So I thought, why wouldn't it be the exact same? And I feel like, after living my whole life being so afraid of like, Oh, I really don't want to go to how it was just gone from that quote, and I was like, thank you so much for sharing that with me. Oh, my gosh, you have no idea. Like, I just thanked him and thanked him. And he's like, you're welcome. Because he didn't believe in it. But I was just like, You have no idea what you just did for me. And he's like, okay, that's no problem. Like, can you please send me that? Can you like, wherever it was? Can you send me that I need and so I kept it on my phone as my back ground screensaver because I just needed to look at it and remind myself I kept it on for like, three or four months and just every time I looked at my phone, I was like, you can you can question everything. There's no hell, it's just like before you were born. That is awesome. Between that and finding out about the Noah's Ark myth, and just, I was like, Kay, I think I'm pretty much out. And from there, I just find everything I learned so fascinating. Every one I listened to who has been in the same situation. And I started seeking out stories like this of other people giving their accounts, because the next thing I wanted to do was know, who has been in this situation? Have there been other people? And were they feeling the same way that I'm feeling? And so I started just connecting, without them knowing, just listening. And just wanting to know, Okay, who else has gone through this? Because I didn't really know, if there was other people, well, obviously, there were, but it's not something you hear about when you're in the church at all, at all. And so to find out, there's like this big, huge, amazing community of people that are just, like, once you know, someone that's come through it, it's like, you have this connection, instantly. And it's like, you get what I'm going through, you know, what I'm going through, you know, the words that I'm saying, as words. And it's just, like, it's so amazing. So, that's why like, I love sharing this, because if you know if I can help people, if people connect with me, it's like, awesome. I'll be your friend. Because you, you do lose people too, in the process. It's hard stuff. Arline 41:39 Yes, I've heard that. Often people stop believing long before they leave the church simply because you know, you're going to leave your community, you're going to be alone. And it is very necessary for the church. Well, I don't know that they can do it anymore. But used to to make it feel like there isn't going to be community, if you leave, there's no other place, you can get this now. People know, there are so many places that I can get the needs met, that I used to get from church. Now I know there are so many other places that I can get those thinking back to the anxiety conversation, mental health help, yes, the church does not corner the market on your spiritual world. Like this is all BS, I can go therapy, embodied therapy, I mean, you can find so many different places to get the help in the community that you need. And it does not have to be in church anymore. Stacie 42:35 No, I don't think they really have any idea. Unless they are, you know, a licensed professional, they don't know how to handle mental health at all. And, you know, I used to think, Okay, I should only talk to Christians for counseling, but that's not even true, because they're only going to you know, point you in one direction for everything. So, no, step outside that. Arline 43:05 So, here you are now, how do you find community? How have you been able to connect with people? Have you in real life because I have not in real life? Stacie 43:15 But no, I have thought because we have moved away from but even then, my whole my whole community was was Christian, Christian, Christian. And other than my, my in laws on my husband, we have my husband's family. They aren't necessarily Christians. But they live where we used to live so we don't see them often. Unfortunately, they would have been the only people that I still would have had and they they've rallied around me for sure. But I don't have any in person connections besides my husband, my kids and my amazing mom. Yeah. And then that's that's plenty for me right now. Like it's, it's amazing. But other ways of finding community is online has been the most powerful resource if you're not sure of where to start online, there's YouTube shows are amazing. There's a lot of live YouTube shows that you can watch throughout the week. And wow, there's a lot and I watch you know, I don't watch them all. But if I'm, if I'm doing dishes or something or cooking dinner, I'll turn them on and then there's a live chats and so you get to know people that way. And there's also I was just on recovering from religion. Their Zoom meeting last month. I didn't even know about that until I was on their show. And they do like a weekly Zoom meeting. And it's amazing because it's like, it's like a group therapy in a way they have a guest, guest speaker, and I was their guest speaker, but then you can ask questions to the speaker at the end of the show, and you can have your camera on, and you can see the people that are there. And that was really awesome. And then, of course, there's just, you know, you can connect on Instagram and tic toc. And, you know, there's just so many ways to get to know people who have gone through the same thing. And so I've really utilized that and connected with people and made some really good online connections. And so when I do, I also host, a weekly YouTube show. And that's been a lot of fun. And getting different guests on as well. And yeah, so it's been, it's been a really fulfilling journey, one that I wasn't expecting to, to, then have it go this route. But yeah, so I find just online has been huge. And then if you are in the States, I have not, but they do have conferences throughout the year in different locations. So depending on where you live, you can also just go and meet different people at conferences, and I would love to attend one at some point, but you can, if you are familiar with different YouTube shows or or different activists through social media, a lot of them attend, but you can you can either meet them, but also other people who are there just to attend and then make those connections. So we have Arline 47:09 not the graceful atheist podcast we have not had in real life meet up things yet. But there are some people in the deconversion anonymous Facebook group who all live in North Carolina. And so they just set up their own thing. And they all met and hung out and ate. And I was so jealous. I'm in Georgia. I was like, oh, it's only eight hours away. But um, but yeah, people, it's just like building the online friendships. And then you get to meet people that you can meet in real life. And then, like you said, the conferences like they're just, we live in a time where geography no longer, I guess, like, prohibits us from building community? Yeah, I have friends that I talked to so consistently, and like we haven't met in real life yet, but like they are there they are true good friends, Stacie 47:58 I really, really, really are. Arline 48:09 Well, I've really enjoyed this, is there anything, Stacy that I have not asked that you that you want to talk more about? Stacie 48:17 I just think that if anyone out there who listens to these types of shows, and if you're just listening because you either are skeptical of people's stories, or you're questioning yourself, don't be afraid to continue exploring those doubts. And I also think, don't go. This is just my own advice that I did for myself. Don't go to your pastor, I think go to someone else who's neutral or because they're just going to steer you back to what they want you to believe. I purposely didn't when I started having doubts. I didn't want to talk to our pastor because I thought he's just going to tell me what he wants me to know. That's not what I Arline 49:09 want. It's the same stuff we've heard over and over. Stacie 49:13 Exactly. I already knew the resources he was going to give. But don't be afraid to ask the questions. You're not doing anything wrong. There is no such thing as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit or the unpardonable sin. That's just a way to control you into submission. And I heard it was either Seth Andrews, or I think it was Seth Andrews, but he did a really good kind of blurb on that that I recorded and I'm going to share it on my Instagram but yeah, it's just it's a way that the church has controlled people is just Putting up this like, No, you don't even know what that is. Everyone's kind of in question. What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? It's this invisible thing that you're just afraid of? Yes, Arline 50:11 it's it's it's this vague enough. Well, vague, but like scary enough. It is a Bible verse Jesus said is so like somehow, yeah, it has power Bakley there's a former guest named Lars, who he often talks about how Christians and you know, we were one of them. Oh, yeah, of course. Believe that, like words are just magic. Like, if you just say these words, or if you've read these words, or if they're written out somehow, there's magical power that will harm you or benefit, you know, however. And yeah, so it's like if Jesus said it, and it's written down, even if I have no idea what that means. Then I need to take it Stacie 50:50 seriously. Yeah. But you don't? Yeah, so don't let just because they're written down in this book bound by leather called the Holy Bible, it's, who cares. And another thing that I really realized when I started really looking at some of these stories in the Bible is they're really grotesque. And there's a reason why you're not told to turn to them on a Sunday morning. You know, we're, we're always told, let's turn to this, and it's the same ones over and over again, you're not told to turn to the ones where, you know, the guy throws his daughter out to get rate continuously, and then she's chopped up and sent to the 12 tribes of Israel. You know what I mean? Like, you're not told because it's, if someone brings a guest, and they're like, what the actual What are you talking about? So? Just, yeah, just, it's, it's not this holy, magical book. It's literally an old Arline 52:04 table. There's some cool stories like my boys, and I like some of the cool stories, of course, you know, they're like, they, they always well, my older one, he was, I don't remember how old he was when we realized that we couldn't believe anymore, but he was old enough that like, he had just kind of learned to read. And he would read his little Jesus story book Bible because we were good. Calvinists. Stacie 52:29 Yes. We had that. Arline 52:32 And, and then we would read the real like real Bible, the grownup Bible. And he was like, Wait, I didn't know David cut off Goliath his head, like, why don't get to miss that. Like, because you know, and now now, it's nice, because we can, we can read those like myths, although there aren't a lot of children book myths of those stories. But we can also read Greek stories and Roman and Norse mythology, and we can just indigenous peoples, and just enjoy the stories for their coolness factor. Without and I don't have to be afraid of them. I don't have to worry that it's gonna lead my kids astray. They just, we can just enjoy. Just read them. Yeah, and alums and stuff. And then, and just go on with our lives. And it's fun. Stacie 53:20 Yeah, that was one thing I felt with my kid that was always like, no, don't look over here. No, don't look over. No, no, no, no, no. It was just this constant. Like, I have to keep you focused. And looking at only this. And that was a lot of stress, too. Arline 53:36 I didn't realize and that my older son again, when I did, because we were homeschool. We're a homeschool family. And at one point, I guess this was in 2019. Yes, it was in 2019. I was like, I don't want to do Bible store. I don't want to read this right now. Like I don't even know if I believe and he was like, okay, that's fine. You know, he has no like baggage, he just looks or whatever. And he's also like, sweet another thing we don't have to do for school. Yeah, but whenever I finally was like, Baby, I think it's all made up. I don't think it's true. He goes, so I don't have to believe in the Noah story. And I was like, no, why? And he was like, I didn't like all that all the animals dying and all the people getting left. So this whole time he had this little like, thing. He didn't love that. He had to believe because it was supposed to be true that and then I think it was the next Christmas he goes and I don't have to believe that King Herod killed all those babies. I was like nope braziers. Like all these things. I had no idea he was tucking away. Now he did like the David killed Goliath by cutting. Totally dug that part. Oh, keep that one. But um, you just don't know how like, Stacie 54:49 how it affects. It affects our kids. Totally. Wow. That's very profound. Kids are great. They are. They are Arline 55:07 Do you have any recommendations, podcasts, books, anything that helped you on your journey or where or that you're reading now that have been or listening to? Yeah, Stacie 55:18 I all, you know, I always like to recommend Seth Andrews, a new atheist. I think he, he comes across just so kind and compassionate in everything he says. He grew up a Christian as well. And he converted. Actually, I think he was around the same age I was. And so his book was the first book that I read. It's called D converted. I was just looking for books at the library, again, just Has anyone else written about this as I've gone through this, and I found his book had no clue who he was had no clue. He had a podcast, nothing. I just wanted to read a story. And I came across his and it was just captivating. And I love his his show. So the Thinking Atheist on YouTube. And he's, he's fantastic. He's so kind. And I listened to even shows of his from 1012 years ago, they're still relevant and they've helped in my, in my journey. And, yeah, there's just there's so many different people that you can just look up their names on, on YouTube, Dave Warnock. His book, I just finished reading a memoir called childish things. And he's another amazing person that I admire. He's become kind of a friend to He's so kind. And, yeah, just, there's a lot of just phenomenal people. And I also like, David, and I think his name is David Mack. You pronounce that David McAfee. He has some really great books as well. Mom, Dad, I'm an atheist, and he has some really good books for children as well. Really good. And I check them out of the library, David McAfee, a couple about different religions and different gods and I got those for my oldest son to read. Arline 57:29 We actually have I think we have those they look like little stick people that kind of, like, cartoony or colored Yeah, yeah. In pertaining to we've, we've read the belief book. Okay. I think you got Yeah, and we haven't read the second one yet. That's what we do for school now. Yeah. And just to like a shout out idea that we we did with the book, you get to create your own religion, like make up your own. Cool. Yeah. So it was fun. They, we, you know, what, are our followers going to sacrifice? What, what are some of our rules, where, where do they worship? What do the temples look like? And it was such a fun thought experiment with the kids. Our whole family did it. It was, it was a lot of fun. And you know, you have a seven year old who's like, pizza, they're sacrificing their pizza, you know, and then I'm like, I want them to be a nature because I loved it. It was just it was a neat. It's a neat experiment. It's those are those are cool books. Stacie 58:27 Yeah, super cool. So yeah, I recommend those, especially if you have kids that need to kind of want to expose them to just gently especially if you're a D converting and you've exposed them to religion. Yes. It's a nice way of sort of like here. Here's some information for you. Especially, you know, my son, he's 10. And my oldest and so he really enjoyed them. When he read the first one, he was like, Can you give me the second one? I was like, yeah, it's on hold. I'm waiting to pick it up at the library. So yeah, those are good ones. And I'm actually really thankful that I've had the opportunity to just chat with Dave Warnock and David McAfee on our show and Seth Andrews, I get to chat with him next week. So Arline 59:19 that's exciting. Stacie 59:22 So, yeah, but they are, they are some of my favorites. Just because I've talked to them. It's just, they're wonderful people. Arline 59:32 So that's great. Well, we will put all of these, all of these in the show notes so that people can just click and find things. How can our listeners connect with you online, Stacie 59:45 sir? Well, you can follow me on Instagram. Add me on Facebook. Follow me on Tik Tok or Twitter. So my my screen name my screen name is a POS to see, but it's it's my name. So a p o s t A C i e. Thank you. And then I'm also yeah, like I said a co host on secular soapbox once a week. So if you search skeptic Haven on YouTube. That's, that's the network. And we have a bunch of different shows and I co hosts a secular soapbox with Michael Wiseman. So okay, yeah. Well, Arline 1:00:34 Stacey, thank you so much for this. This was a lot of fun. You, I really enjoyed hearing your story. Stacie 1:00:40 Thank you. I really enjoyed meeting you and sharing my story. So thanks for having me. Arline 1:00:52 My final thoughts on the episode that was just simply lovely. Oh, I enjoyed that so much. Stacy is so kind and so thoughtful in everything that she said, I just I loved it was such a wonderful conversation. Seeing other people seeking after truth. She wanted to know, are these things true that was so important to her. And so she pursued that knowledge, and eventually had to stop keeping herself from moving forward with questions. And being too afraid of what those answers might be. And when she did that, it led so many places she didn't expect but to the word she is fulfilling to a fulfilling life. And I just love it. It's wonderful is so inspiring. Oh, I don't know how to use non Christian II type language. But it is it's inspiring to see to see people doing that. I very much empathized with what she talked about when it came to the anxiety. It is amazing and sad. How much anxiety how much our brains are just constant and our bodies are constantly concerned about so many things. When you are a religious person, are you glorifying God, you're not glorifying God, well, maybe I am or is that the devil? Or is this my flesh? Or is this me just constant, constant constant. And how when you leave that it's not necessarily immediate, but like, slowly your brain and hopefully also your body can slow down and calm down. Live in the present, enjoy the life that you have. Do the things that need to be done without all that added anxiety and worry and oh, it's just so much. So yes, Stacey, thank you so much for being on the podcast. This was just a lovely, lovely conversation. David Ames 1:03:02 The secular Grace Thought of the Week is my two favorite words, error correction. Stacy story reminded me again that the brittleness of in particular the doctrine of inerrancy but dogmatic doctrine in general, and the brittleness of any ideology that cannot be questioned. The reason there are droves of people deconstructing and leaving the church is that there is no subtlety allowed. No nuance allowed, no doubt allowed. And when one begins to doubt, even a tiny little thing, a small doctrine, the House of Cards begins to come down. Both Stacey and an upcoming guests named Stephanie, really remind me of the opposite of this, of the investigating of the finding of truth, the comfort of resting in evidence. The scientific method is not about believing in science, it's about the process. The process is not believing things that don't have sufficient evidence and being skeptical. And keep in mind here, I don't mean cynical, I mean, skeptical, Show me the evidence. And that applies to so many areas of our life, not just religion, but the onslaught of advertising that we are put under on a daily basis. Even bad science, the medical claims that come out all the time about this diet or that fad, more coffee, less coffee, more drinking alcohol, less drinking alcohol, all of those things tend to be bad examples of science but the better the example of science that it is the more double blind, the testing the number of people who have been in the study, the longer it has gone on, the more you can trust that and the irony of coming out of Christianity is that we are told we can trust that we can rest in Jesus in dogma. And the truth is, as we come out of that when we start doubting that, and we can no longer trust that we can rest in things that have evidence, we can rest in the process of the scientific method. We can rest in things that we can be critical of, and still stand after that criticism. I'm very excited next week is my interview with Jennifer Michael Hecht and her book The Wonder paradox. It's an amazing book, please go check that out that will be released in early March. The week after that we have our four year anniversary officially March 14th is the anniversary of the podcast and I have our lien, Mike T. Jimmy, Daniel, and Colin on to talk about our favorite movies, books, podcasts that talk about deconversion or secular grace in one way or another. I also want to hint at I'm in negotiations right now to do a crossover promo and have Holly from the mega podcast on to interview I'm super excited about that. I hope that comes to fruition. That will be in early April if it happens. Until then, my name is David and I am trying to be the graceful atheist. Join me and be graceful human beings. The beat is called waves by MCI beats that you want to get in touch with me to be a guest on the show. Email me at graceful email@example.com for blog posts, quotes, recommendations and full episode transcripts head over to graceful atheists.com. This graceful atheist podcast a part of the atheists United studios Podcast Network Transcribed by https://otter.ai