Joel: Deconversion Anonymous

Atheism, Autonomy, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, ExVangelical, Hell Anxiety, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Unequally yoked
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This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Joel. Joel grew up in the WELS Lutheran church. He met his wife at a Christian group during college. They attended a few churches, one of which was Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll’s church.

Joel began to question what he had been taught. He began noticing discrepancies in scripture. He began to see the way the Church handled LGBTQ rights and the role of women was wrong.

Am I waiting for revelation to confirm what I have been taught
or am I avoiding an inevitable confrontation with my real thoughts and beliefs.

He was able to reconnect with his sister as they grieved the loss of his grandfather. He discovered that she had deconstructed as well. He began to see atheism as not just reductionist and evil but as a viable option.

I got really afraid, to be honest, because I am not thinking “oh, I am finally learning the truth.”
I am thinking, “I am losing this faith that I should be given and I am falling away I am going to be punished for it.”

Today he is making his unequally yoked relationship work with mutual respect and love. And he is experiencing “absolute joy that the shackles are off.”

It started to make me think of blind faith as a concept. And I started to think, “Am I also blindly faithful of things and what does that look like?”

Interact

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

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Eli: Transition and Deconstruction

Adverse Religious Experiences, Autonomy, Deconstruction, ExVangelical, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Religious Abuse, Secular Grace, secular grief
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My guest this week is Eli Fuhrmler-Wheeler. Eli grew up going to Awanas at an Evangelical Free church. Eventually, he attended an Assemblies of God church and spoke in tongues. His parents forbade him from going to that church and “of course I felt they were keeping me from the gates of heaven and pulling me into hell.”

Eli’s childhood was traumatic in many ways. He experienced sexual abuse, neglect, his mom was very sick her whole life, her boyfriends were abusive, his father had an antisocial personality disorder, and he lived on and off in foster homes.

Eli sought the comfort of drugs and alcohol. He discovered he was a lesbian. He was told he was going to hell by his family.

As an adult he began a relationship with his now wife. At 30 he realized he was a man and began transition. Eli has faced rejection by family and some friends. However, his gracefulness through it all has won some of them over.

[Rather than show grace, why not be angry at those who have not shown you grace?]
That wouldn’t teach anybody anything.
It wouldn’t teach me anything and it wouldn’t teach them anything.

Eli deconstructed from Christianity through the years. He has explored various world religions including Norse Heathenry and various mystic traditions.

Transition and therapy have given Eli the wholeness he deserves. Eli and his wife show unconditional love for one another. This is the relationship that Eli has experienced grace for himself.

Links

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

Religious Trauma Institute
https://www.religioustraumainstitute.com/

Interact

Thank you for nominating the podcast for the People’s Choice award in the Religion and Spirituality category
https://www.podcastawards.com/

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

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Daniel Kelly: When Belief Dies

Atheism, Autonomy, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Hell Anxiety, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Podcasters, Purity Culture, Unequally yoked
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My guest this week is Daniel Kelly, the new co-host of When Belief Dies. Daniel began as a Charismatic Christian, moved to an Orthodox Christian church and eventually was at a Bible church that preached through every verse in the bible.

Daniel was a dedicated Christian working in a Christian non-profit helping those with disabilities. His mother had MS when he grew up so he was focused on helping his family through difficult times and did not always get to be a kid.

I believed I had to be perfect and I had to be helpful to everyone in order to be valuable.

Daniel’s feminism and belief in the humanity of the LGBTQ community, led to moral objections to some of the harder Biblical passages that do not uphold the humanity and full autonomy of everyone. His serious investigations into theology and the Bible were some of the early seeds that led to deconversion.

The grief Daniel experienced leaving the faith and the loss were profound. He lost his faith, his community, the health of his relationship and on top of that the pandemic hit. He was isolated and alone. He experienced “Hell Anxiety” and worried he was a “vessel of wrath.” The first year after deconversion was one of the most difficult of his life.

He made it through and today he is the co-host of the When Belief Dies podcast. He is building healthy relationships and restoring family relations. He is experiencing the freedom to love people unconditionally.

Links

When Belief Dies Podcast
https://whenbeliefdies.com/

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

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

Interact

Sam and Daniel interview me
https://gracefulatheist.com/2021/05/23/sam-and-daniel-interview-david-ames-the-graceful-atheist/

Daniel and I interview Sam
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/when-belief-dies-bonus-inquisition-daniel-kelly-david/id1516058806?i=1000522850337

Tris Mamone’s Finding Faith in Secular Grace
https://www.splicetoday.com/writing/finding-faith-in-secular-grace

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

Sarah: Christian Nationalism, Complementarianism and Deconstruction

Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Purity Culture
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
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This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Sarah. Sarah says she may have one of the “longest deconstruction stories. She grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist church in an area where there were not that many Baptist churches. So she felt different from an early age. She was constantly attempting to live in the “will of God” but struggled to determine what that was. She knew from an early age that she was a doubter which equates to “backslider.”

After listening to deconstruction stories for the last several years, I think I have the longest deconstruction story ever. I suspect there could be longer ones than me, but I have yet to hear one. My deconstruction started in the 1980’s when I was a teenager, and it was very lonely.

Sarah was never comfortable with the limited roles allowed for women in the Church. Fortunately her mother encouraged her to do and become whatever she wanted. Sarah was smart and interested in science. Studying science and biology did not fit the Young Earth Creationism she was taught at church.

Sarah and her husband were the one couple who were egalitarian while the young married couples group were all complementarian. Sarah was vocal about her thoughts on complemntarianism.

Sarah spent a long time outside the United States. When she returned to the United States she was shocked by the Christian Nationalism she heard from the pulpit.

On the days I still believe …

Rachel Held Evans

Rachael Held Evens, Mike McHargue and David Hayward helped Sarah through her deconstruction. Today post-deconstruction she is interested in finding her “deconstructing friends” in real life.

Interact

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

Deconversion Anonymous
https://gracefulatheist.com/category/podcast/deconversion-anonymous/

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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Promotions

Conference on Religious Trauma
https://pheedloop.com/CORT/site/home/

#ReligionShouldntHurt
https://www.instagram.com/religion.shouldnt.hurt/

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Ian Redfearn: Meaning Making

Atheism, Critique of Apologetics, Deconversion, Humanism, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Secular Community, Secular Grace, secular grief
Ian Refearn
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My guest this week is Ian Redfearn. Ian deconverted over 12 years ago. Since then he has continued to obsess over his deconversion. He is still asking the why? and how? questions. Ian is concerned with the deep questions of life and continuing to find ways to make meaning.

When people ask the question, “why did you leave it?”
I say it came down to credibility and integrity.
Credibility, I no longer found it credible to talk about a loving interventionist god against the reality of what was going on in my life and in the life of those around me and in the world.
And integrity, in that, I just couldn’t keep on pretending.

Ian has experienced the full force of the chaotic world we live in. His 24-year-old son has Cystic Fibrosis which is particularly frightening during an airborne pandemic. His father is experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease. All of this is happening during the time of Covid 19.

In spite of the difficulties of life, Ian has a joy and a sense of purpose. He is a committed father, husband, son and community member. He takes time to wonder at the beauty in the world. He recognizes that relationships are what give us our most valued meaning in life.

So there is much to wonder … are we allowed to use the word transcendent? Just that which completely expands your mind.
So there is meaning in that.

But above all else I think there is meaning in relationship and for anyone going through this that will not change you will find the relationships that matter.

Also don’t stop giving … you will find meaning in reaching out and helping those less fortunate than yourself.
That will serve to give your life meaning

He is now attending the Manchester Sunday Assembly and becoming an active member of the Secular community.

All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.

Links

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/ian.redfearn1/

Sunday Assembly Manchester
https://www.facebook.com/sunassemblymcr
Zoom 11am (GMT) Sunday mornings  https://zoom.us/j/2472709402

What is your favorite #DeconversionSong?

Music is important to Ian and it influenced his deconversion and how he talks and feels about it now.

Use the hashtag #DeconversionSong to tell us your favorite deconversion song

Here are some of Ian’s favorites:

My favorite is A Great Big World’s Say Something

Interact

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

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Troy Moore-Heart: Y’all Means All

Adverse Religious Experiences, Agnosticism, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Humanism, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma, Secular Community, Secular Grace
Troy Moore-Heart
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

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.”

Links

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/troy.moore.heart/

Y’all Means All
http://www.yallmeansall.com

The Trevor Project
https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Religious Trauma Institute
https://www.religioustraumainstitute.com/

Reclamation Collective
https://www.reclamationcollective.com/

American Humanist Association
https://americanhumanist.org/

Interact

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

Interview with Brian Peck
https://gracefulatheist.com/2019/11/14/brian-peck-room-to-thrive/

Interview with Sasha Sagan
https://gracefulatheist.com/2020/02/06/sasha-sagan-for-small-creatures-such-as-we/

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Logan: Beyond Belief

Atheism, Bloggers, Deconstruction, Deconversion, LGBTQ+, Podcast, YouTubers
Logan
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My guest this week is Logan Thomas who blogs at Beyond Belief. Logan interned at St. Andrews, a famous church in the UK. He went on to Bible college and eventually perused a Master’s degree in theology where he studied biblical studies, biblical languages, history and textual criticism where he began to question.

After all that I had been through, what I had studied, what I had learned about myself, about people, and the world around me, I could no longer hold on to the faith and the God who had been my constant companion through it all. It just didn’t fit.

From the Beyond Belief Blog

After discovering his sexuality, Logan came out during his internship at St. Andrews. He discusses coming out twice. He started with a more progressive view on homosexuality. But between the Church’s stances and the biblical texts, he realized these things could not be reconciled. We discuss the differences between UK and US churches handling of the LGBTQ community.

Logan cares about truth. As he was deconstructing what he believed about the bible based on what he was being taught at Bible college he came to a point where he could no longer believe. Logan tells his story with a great deal of honesty and self reflection on his former faith.

It was not simply because I had lost trust in the historical reliability of the Bible; it was not only on account of the unpleasant character of the god found within; it was not just because I could not reconcile my feelings for people of the same sex with a god who condemned this without reason; it was not simply due to the increasing incoherence of the Christian worldview; and it was not only because of the vast chasm between theological expectations and my lived reality. However, when these were all viewed together…

From the Beyond Belief Blog

Now Logan has a social media presence where he blogs and creates videos asking questions about faith and doubt.

Links

Beyond Belief Blog
https://www.beyondbelief-blog.com/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/itsbeyondbelief

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

YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw-jiLmRFSpxKuSldp7bzEQ/

Interact

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

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

A Humanist Podcast
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/podcast/

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Stephen Barry: Deconversion Not So Anonymous

Atheism, Bloggers, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Secular Community

This week’s show is a Deconversion (not so) Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Stephen Barry. Stephen was a Seventh Day Adventist who deconverted while attending college studying theology. When he was exposed to other ideas and other people even within his own faith tradition, this small amount of scrutiny led to deconversion.

I was waiting for that … something; fasting and praying, ask and you shall receive.

After losing the community of the black church, Stephen has found secular community. Though he notes we have a long way to go to be more inclusive of people of color in the secular community.

No voice is going to tell you the meaning of life,
you need to go out there and make your own meaning.

Stephen is a musician and a music critic. He blogs about this love of music with great insight on Tublr. We discuss explicitly spiritual music and how we interpret it post-deconversion.

Now I am just more comfortable being who I authentically am.

Stephen’s break down of the H.E.R. song, “Lord is Coming.”
https://barryorchestra.tumblr.com/post/190207895358/barryorchestra-presents-top-50-of-2019-26

We discuss the H.E.R. song, ” Lord is coming”

I bring up the song, “Say Something,” as one of the deep expressions of the deconversion process.

Links

Twitter
https://twitter.com/barryorchestra

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/barryorchestra

Blog
https://barryorchestra.tumblr.com/

Music
https://barryorchestra.bandcamp.com/

Interact

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

Deconversion Anonymous episodes:
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/category/podcast/deconversion-anonymous/

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Bret Gallatin: Humanist Activist

Atheism, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Humanism, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest today is Bret Gallatin. Bret is a secular humanist activist. He is about to launch a new podcast covering secular matters and politics.

What you believe affects everybody, it doesn’t just affect you.

Bret is a pastor’s kid. More than that he is a member of a multi-generational Evangelical family. He was expected to go into the family business. He was on track to do so, going to bible college and working at the church’s radio station ministry.

The easiest place to hide being gay is in the purity culture.

Until questions about his faith and honesty about his sexuality led to his deconversion. On the path of grace, he began to question if his interpretation of the bible was correct. His coming out to his father who was also his pastor was a defining moment for Bret.

https://twitter.com/BretG/status/1158427818130366464

At the end of the day, how do you know you are right?
How do you know your brand of Christianity is right?

Links

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/bretg

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

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

Interact:

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Attribution:

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Brady Hardin: The Life After

Atheism, Critique of Apologetics, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Humanism, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Podcasters, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest today is Brady Hardin. Brady is the co-host and creator of the Life After Podcast. Brady’s story of deconstruction is a painful one. He dedicated his life to ministry at 14. He discovered he was gay, was honest about it and committed to never acting on it. He got married to a woman. He was doing everything “right,” everything that was expected of him.

My biggest “sin” was to believe that the Holy Spirit actually changes people from the inside out and makes them more like God.

Then he got divorced (you have to listen to understand why), was kicked out of ministry, lost his best friend and had his son taken away. He described himself as “God’s only forgotten son.” This was where his deconstruction started.

Why am I the only one trying to do the Holy Spirit’s work for the Holy Spirit? He needs to do something. The ball is in his court.

Today Brady is an openly gay man, a humanist and a deconstruction super star. You can find him on the Life After podcast, on Twitter and Facebook helping others through the deconstruction and deconversion process. Brady is dedicated to raising awareness of Spiritual Abuse, Religious Trauma, and Indoctrination.

I can gaslight myself to be even more indoctrinated or I can take a second, get my head above water and realize: my logic has been drowning this whole time because I have been putting conclusions before evidence and trying to shove these narratives into real life instead of observing what is actually there and working off of that.

In the episode, Brady breaks down how narratives affect our lives. The Evangelical narrative is restrictive and repressive. But we can choose our narratives: a narrative of freedom, self-expression and inspiration.

[Narratives are] what we are using now, with honesty, as atheists and with responsibility to tell our own stories.

Update:

Links

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/BradyHardin

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/thelifeafterorg/
Community group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelifeafter/

The Life After
https://www.thelifeafter.org/

Interact

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

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats