Doug Traversa: Atheist Minister

Atheism, Authors, Deconversion, Dones, Humanism, Podcast, Secular Grace
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Doug. Doug became interested in church when he was in junior high, and when Doug is in, he’s all in. 

He was a believer throughout high school, college and into the military. But then books and magazines happened. Doug began reading more “skeptical literature,” and the questions began. 

Doug’s faith unraveled while he was “an atheist in a foxhole,” but faith in the supernatural was unnecessary. He needed his own strength, and the strength of the people around him.  

He has since been an atheist pastor, finding the human connection he and his wife needed, without changing their beliefs or forsaking their values. As Brene Brown says, “We are hardwired to connect with others,” and Christianity has no longer cornered the marked on community and belonging. 

Quotes

“When I was twelve, I decided to get serious about my eternal destiny”

“So I began asking harder questions at church, and I soon encountered a pattern I would see again and again as we visited different churches. Once my questions became too difficult (or too annoying), I was told I just had to have faith.”

“I left God behind, at least the version taught in the Bible. I would now be unapologetically atheistic.”

“I deployed for a year…and that was my ‘atheist in a foxhole’ moment. … we were convinced at least some of us were going to die, and I was thoroughly convinced in my mind at that point that this was my last full day on earth. … At no point did I pray, acknowledge God, feel slightly drawn to God…I was perfectly good with: There is no god, and I might die tomorrow. We’ll just see what happens.”

“People have often asked me why I left the faith, and I tell them, ‘It’s because I studied the Bible.’”

“It was my reading of skeptical magazines and literature that gave me the freedom to look at the Bible in a new light, but it was the actual Bible itself that condemned itself.”

“All I can say is I’ve been extremely happy not having to believe in God, not having to worry about saving other people.”

“Having left behind a church that demanded faith, I found a most unexpected church that reveres rational thought and welcomes atheists. Amazing. Having sworn to never set foot in a church again, I find that the universe loves to throw curveballs. To quote Douglas Adams, “In an infinite universe, anything is possible.””

“When you’re taking care of someone else, you’re not thinking about yourself.”

Links

Unitarian Universalist Church of Tullahoma
tullahomauu.org

Doug’s Short story “The Faith I Left Behind” is in the book, The Sandbox

#AmazonPaidLinks

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Jan: Mental Health and Deconstruction

Adverse Religious Experiences, Deconstruction, Dones, ExVangelical, Missionary, Podcast, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts

Content Warning: This week’s story includes references to physical and emotional abuse, mental illness and suicidal ideation. Listener discretion is advised.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Jan. Jan grew up in a strict fundamentalist household but attended a loving church. That disconnect planted the first seeds of doubt. 

She went off to a Christian university where she was told to expect “signs and wonders”, but they didn’t happen. Becoming a missionary wife was supposed to satisfy her “need to serve God” but it didn’t happen. Again and again, as she pursued God, she was let down.

Trauma, depression and unfulfilled promises slowly broke her, and even then, God didn’t show up. She had been doing it all on her own, and it would take a divorce and leaving the Church completely, for her to see that.

After finding care and support in therapy and “spiritual but not religious” communities, Jan now supports others struggling with mental illness. She is living a life filled with grace both for herself and others. 

Banksy: London. There is always hope

Quotes

“I just kept believing it, because that’s the subtly of brainwashing…even though it has positive aspects, the problem is you’re not getting any other influences, not developing any critical thinking skills.”

“I kept putting doubts on the shelf…but the shelf kept getting heavier.”

“…[thinking] ‘Wow, something’s wrong with me. Nobody else is talking about [depression], so I must be the only one.’ That’s a hallmark for problems in mental health, when you think you’re the only one.”

“I got divorced and left the church. It was like jumping off a cliff with no parachute.”

“One of my quests is to just have adventure and have fun.”

“Find a compassionate person. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable…know that it is not hopeless, you have choices and there are people waiting to point you in the right direction…”

Links

National Association on Mental Illness
https://www.nami.org/Home

Secular Therapy Project
https://www.seculartherapy.org/

Recovering From Religion
https://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Matt: Deconversion of a Missionary

Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Dones, ExVangelical, Missionary, Podcast, Secular Community
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Matthew. Matthew grew up in the Pentacostal tradition and went from being a youth leader in high school to a full-time international missionary as an adult. He had all the right answers to all the important questions. 

The missionary life, however, didn’t turn out as he’d expected. He and his team did everything in their power to tell people about Jesus but nothing supernatural was happening. Year after year, “the hiddenness of God” became too much for Matthew. 

It hasn’t been easy for Matthew to arrive where he is now—living a freer life, not having to have all the answers, not having to wait for the supernatural to happen. He loves the people closest to him, enjoys his friends and acquaintances without judgment, and those small things are what can slowly change the world.

Tweet-worth Quotes

“For a long time, I was doing mental gymnastics to make things work…”

“I was asking everybody, ‘How do you know?!’ And all of the answers were so unsatisfying.” 

“I’m trying really hard [to communicate clearly with my kids] and I’m not able. But God, by definition, is able but doesn’t seem to be trying very hard.” 

Recommendations

YouTube

Religion for Breakfast
https://www.youtube.com/c/ReligionForBreakfast

Digital Hammurabi
https://www.youtube.com/c/DigitalHammurabi

Esoterica
https://www.youtube.com/c/ESOTERICAchannel

Paulogia
https://www.youtube.com/c/Paulogia

Organizations

The Clergy Project
https://clergyproject.org/

Books

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Bob Barnes: BAHACon 2022

Agnosticism, Atheism, Dones, Humanism, Podcast
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Bob Barnes. Bob is a lifelong atheist and an organizer with BAHA, Bluewater Atheists, Humanists & Agnostics. BAHA “is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the image of Freethinkers and Atheists and to give back to our communities.” 

BAHA is hosting its annual conference, BAHACon, with speakers and events you won’t want to miss! August 26 – 28th, 2022 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

Links

BAHACon
https://bahacon.com

Bluewater Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics
https://bluewateraha.com/

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Paul Is Done

Deconstruction, Dones, ExVangelical, Podcast, Spirituality
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

After years in the mission field and in pastoral ministry Paul is done. Paul is Deb’s (last week’s guest) husband.

Deb’s episode
https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/06/26/deb-is-done/

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Deb is Done

Agnosticism, Autonomy, Deconstruction, Dones, ExVangelical, Podcast, Purity Culture, Spirituality
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Deb. Deb “asked Jesus into her heart” at six years old and remained a devoted follower of Jesus for decades. She married her high school sweetheart, started a family and found herself living the missionary life on the continent of Africa.

As the years passed, Deb’s faith was tested—praying and watching children die on two continents, her husband pointlessly fired from their church, meeting different types of Christians and the reading of diverse books. Deb had more and more questions about her lifelong faith.

Today, Deb’s spirituality is one that stays curious and open to new thing, no longer holding tightly to any one creed. Her story is a beautiful one filled with compassion and love and a desire to meet people wherever they are. She is truly living out secular grace. 

Deb’s husband, Paul, tells his story.
https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/07/03/paul-is-done/

Tweet-worthy quotes

“I just knew the more we prayed, the likelihood of God answering was higher.”

“That’s what we needed. We needed to get kicked out of the church to begin being more honest with our doubts and our questions.”

“After sixty years of feeling like I have to go [to church] every time the doors are open, it was just amazing—the release that was!”

“…it’s so important to be curious and to be a lifelong learner. That’s my purpose for living, to just be a learner.”

“I want to be a lifelong learner. I’m seventy-one. I want to learn. I want to be teachable…and curious. That’s really my desire for the last years of my life.”

Recommendations

Podcasts
Youtube

Tara Brach’s guided meditations

Books

Brian McLaren’s Books

#PaidAmazonLinks

Brian McLaren’s Books

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

Ruby Gets Real

Agnosticism, Bloggers, Deconstruction, Dones, ExVangelical, Podcast, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Ruby. Ruby is an author, blogger and YouTuber, living her journey out loud for the benefit of her followers. Lutheran to her core, Ruby spent her life committed to the institution of the Church. It took multiple heartbreaks and difficulties in life before she began to wonder, “Is any of this true? Is any of this real?” 

She threw out the formal church experience first. Then, through her impressive consumption of non-fiction books, she was able to be rid of the Bible and finally Jesus. 

Now, Ruby’s life is all about love and kindness toward her fellow human beings. As far as supernatural beliefs, she looks to “the flow,” of the Universe. She’s able to define god in her own terms and her life—and the lives around her—are better for it.

Quotes

“Confirmation was a social experiment for me.”

“I found that [enacting my faith] was what this was about…It’s always been about people.”

The Shack…was pivotal in my journey because all of a sudden, God doesn’t have balls.”

“If [all the Old Testament people] aren’t real, then what happens with Jesus?”

“People matter.”

“Love blossoms in the manure of my life.”

Links

Poetry
https://thepreciouspoet.blogspot.com/

What do I believe?
https://thepreciouspoet.blogspot.com/p/what-do-i-believe-may-7-2022.html

Book blog and recommendations
https://rubygetsreal.blogspot.com/

Atheistic Lent
https://authenticlent.blogspot.com/

Interact

Post on satisfaction
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/01/19/i-still-havent-found-what-im-looking-for/

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

Dave Gossen: Agnostic and Done

Agnosticism, Deconversion, Dones, Podcast, Unequally yoked
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

Our guest this week is Dave. Dave grew up in the Mennonite Brethren faith and followed all the rules until at age 50, a gift from his son made him begin to ask questions. Dave’s love for his family and a desire for truth are equally apparent in his story. He asked hard questions and was never given satisfying answers. Knowing he had to tell his wife about his waning faith, Dave feared the consequences. Fortunately, Dave and his family have chosen to turn toward one another in love. It has been a trying journey for Dave, but he knows that pursuing truth and loving the people around you give life purpose.

Tweet-worthy quotes

“When the Jenga tower begins to fall, it falls big time.”

“Good science. Good medicine. Good doctors.

“Taking the Bible for granted. Taking the existence of God for granted…Maybe I’ve got to question the things that I’ve been taught my entire life.’’

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The things that you were taught your whole life? Just make sure you do some critical thinking about them.”

Recommendations

Podcasts
Books

#PaidAmazonLinks

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

Anne: Deconversion Anonymous

Adverse Religious Experiences, Artists, Autonomy, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Dones, ExVangelical, Podcast, Religious Abuse, The Bubble
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

This week’s guest is Anne. Anne grew up in a loving and happy Christian home in a large city where her father pastored a small reformed church.

“We were cloistered as this little wonderful diverse congregation.”

As a teen, her faith was very real to her, and a few years later, she attended a Christian college, but struggled mentally and physically. 

“I was trying to figure out what made me a christian aside from the fact that…I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, I didn’t blah blah blah.”

Anne left that school and attended a Bible college, but she quickly realized she would be excluded from most ministry opportunities because of her gender.

“I thought, ‘You know? What is out there for me?’”

After a short and sometimes insulting experience in children’s ministry and then a sickness that went on for man years, Anne felt like God had “benched” her, but she continued praying and hoping.

“I was such a magical thinker…”

Over the next many years, Anne’s family met one obstacle after another—toxic or cult-like churches, physical and mental illnesses, Christians backing Trump and even loved ones passing away. Finally, she couldn’t take any more.

“I couldn’t hear from God…I couldn’t worship. I couldn’t hypnotize myself with the piano. I couldn’t do anything…[I was] done.”

Then during the Pandemic, Anne read a single book that made her stop and think for a moment. Then, her questions started coming and couldn’t be stopped. From the outside, it may seem like Anne’s deconversion was quick, but she had given God plenty of time to reveal himself. 

Recommendations

Books 

Jesus & John Wayne by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
https://amzn.to/388uqxl

#AmazonPaidLinks

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

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

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

Deconstruction
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction

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