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.
It seems like that if an all knowing god was to inspire the writing of the most important book ever in the history of mankind it would have been something that would have been preserved to where we could look at the originals and it would have been something that was consistent. And I don’t see that.
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.
We you are deconverting like I did, I was weeping before the lord asking him to give that belief back to me and he didn’t.
Ultimately, David deconverted and now calls himself agnostic. Today David is the co-host of the That’s Questionable podcast.
It’s amazing how much more peace I feel on this side of the decision than on the other side.
One of the most difficult things about deconstruction, deconversion, etc. is feeling alone. It’s terrifying not only to go through a full blown metaphysical and existential crisis, but to do so knowing that the people who are supposed to love you the most can’t or won’t accept you as they once did.
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.
My full break from faith came in the form of rage when it hit me that I’d never had parents – I’d only had pastors.
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 not receive when she was young.
We discuss unequally yoked marriage, secular parenting and post-traumatic church syndrome.
My guest this week is Travis. Travis documented his deconstruction on the blog measureoffaith.blog. There Travis has documented his journey from a questioning but dedicated Christian to a doubting agnostic. He delves into the apologetics that were supposed to give him comfort but which ultimately led to 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.
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 is a shameless heathen who tries to remember that it’s rewarding to be nice to others. She’d prefer not to create a cult, but don’t test her.
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.
The concept of celebrating an ethical life absent organized religion has been on my mind for years.
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
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.
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.
It’s hard to be in relationships with people who think you’re going to Hell.
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.”
We don’t need to believe in any supernatural deity or god or interventionist all powerful being to believe that we must be kind and moral.
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.
My personal motto is: Do no harm but take no shit and work for peace and justice. For me that is humanism.
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.”
My guest this week is Erin. Erin is working toward her chaplaincy and her Masters in Practical Theology. She describes herself as “religious, but not spiritual.”
If I had to encapsulate my religious outlook in one sentence, I would invert the oft-cited phrase ‘spiritual, but not religious’ and instead say I am ‘religious, but not spiritual’. I have always had a deep-seated interest in religion, and I love the traditions, community and way of life which Christianity provides. Yet I have always struggled with the supernatural aspects of the faith; I could never grasp the concept of communicating with a God ‘up there’ while humans were ‘down here’.
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 chaplain.