Emily: Deconversion Anonymous

Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, ExVangelical, Hell Anxiety, Podcast, Purity Culture, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Emily. Emily grew up in an Evangelical Free Church in the rural Midwest. She was on the Cubbies-Sparks-AWANA track. Around age 10, Her dad switched careers, went into ministry and she became a pastor’s kid. Her early childhood church experiences were fairly positive, but from a young age, she struggled with a severe fear of hell and the rapture.

The youth group setting was horribly unsuited to a sensitive introvert like Emily. She was miserable, being forced to attend churches where she didn’t know anyone except her parents. This discomfort in Christian circles continued into college.

After college, Emily spent a year in London working on a master’s degree. She immersed myself in the city’s amazing performing arts scene and met a lot of people with totally different backgrounds and beliefs to hers. That year expanded her horizons; when she moved back to the US, she pursued a career in performing arts administration.

For the first few years after grad school, Emily wasn’t ready to reject everything, saying she didn’t believe in God. However, she had no interest in going to church, praying, reading the Bible, etc. Then the 2016 election happened. She watched with horror as Christians whom she loved and admired went all-in for Trump. At that point, she wanted nothing more to do with Christianity.

[The White Evangelical embrace of Trump] turned my indifference that I had had towards Christianity into a feeling of disgust.
I want nothing to do with this.
I was so disillusioned and just repelled by it.

In the past 2-3 years Emily has really done the hard work of figuring out what she believes now and addressing the harm that her Christian background has caused. Emily has had to work through the baggage of purity culture as she is in her first long term relationship.

Therapy with a focus on religious trauma has been helpful; Emily is discovering who she is–relishing the arts and experiencing the joy of being a human being.

I’m so much happier now that I’ve left Christianity. As someone with a deep appreciation of the arts, I’ve found so much joy in embracing the beauty that humans create – music, theater, literature, etc. – without the need to glorify God as the source of inspiration. I love being able to navigate relationships and shape my life on my own terms, rather than trying to fit into the prescribed narrative that evangelical Christianity boxes people into. I also like sleeping in on Sundays!

Interact

We are very excited to announce the new private Deconversion Anonymous Facebook Group. The group will be administered by Arline from episode 71. Please join us in building a community of graceful human beings.

Deconversion Anonymous Facebook Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion

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

Thanks to Logan Thomas for the new Graceful Atheist Podcast art work

Ginna: Deconversion Anonymous

Critique of Apologetics, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, ExVangelical, Podcast, Secular Community
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

“It was both a mental and emotional decision, it was a whole being decision.”

My guest this week is Ginna. Ginna is a software developer in her 30’s. She went through deconversion in her 20’s after suffering depression during her college years. Even though there were Christians around her who were on medication for their depression, no one was public about it. The implied stigma kept her from reaching out for help and kept her from finding the right treatment when she did reach out.

“God can’t be bothered to help children survive, I seriously doubt if god is getting you a parking place at the game.”

After college Ginna went to a “shelter for honest questions,” called L`Abri to find answers. Her questions were pointed and personal. The questions of theodicy, divine hiddenness and theological evil. She “had a really good time, but [she] didn’t get answers to the questions that [she] had.”

“[I realized] they are not ready to answer these questions either.
The answers they have satisfy them, and they don’t satisfy me, and I don’t know what to do with that.”

After a brief stint in a liturgical church, which she loved, she stopped going to church and gained a new perspective. She realized she could no longer believe in a god where there was no practical difference between non-existence and said god being evil.

“It seems unlikely to be true. And if it is true I am worshiping a mad man.”

Ginna eventually received the help she needed for her mental health. She tried multiple different doctors and therapies until she found the right combination. Today, she is excited about exploring secular community and growing as a human being.

Interact

We are very excited to announce the new private Deconversion Anonymous Facebook Group. The group will be administered by Arline from episode 71. Please join us in building a community of graceful human beings.

Deconversion Anonymous Facebook Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion

Magic Feathers and Sugar Pills
https://gracefulatheist.com/2018/03/21/magic-feathers-and-suger-pills/

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

Monique: Deconversion Anonymous

Autonomy, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Purity Culture, Religious Abuse, Secular Grace, Unequally yoked
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Monique. Monique grew up a cultural Christian until the family of her boyfriend “made it known they were Southern Baptists.” She married that boyfriend and had kids. He became abusive. First psychologically, then spiritually and eventually physically. He gaslit her, told her she was not worthy and that she was not following god, and called her purity culture epithets we won’t recount here.

How dare I question him [ex-husband], how dare I question god.

After years of isolation and spiritual abuse, Monique left after executing a cloak and dagger level plan to serve divorce papers and a restraining order simultaneously. Eventually, her kids were taken from her as he had lawyers and she did not. She was estranged from them for years.

Monique went through a deconstruction and deconversion that began to give her some peace. Her youngest son reached out to her to tell her he is gay. She opened up her arms and showed grace, love and respect. She and her daughter attempted to reunite but this was ruined when the daughter took offence to a passing joke about prayer.

I am not going to conform.
I will not conform to meet someone else’s standards.
I am who I am.

Today, Monique is free and loves learning true things. Her and her new husband (who happens to be a believer) have respect and love for each other. Monique is telling her story to give hope to others so they may know they are not alone.

You are not alone. I am here. I am may not be able to help you, but I am here with you.

Interact

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

Lars and Christie: Deconverted Family

Atheism, Critique of Apologetics, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Purity Culture, Secular Community, secular grief
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My guests this week are Lars, Christie, Teddy, Amy and Eleanor, a whole family who deconverted around the same time. Lars felt a sense of duty to be a Christian all his life because he believed it was true. Christie felt there was “good evidence” for parts of the Bible and accepted on faith that the rest was true. This worked fine until they both came to the conclusion that there was not enough evidence to continue believing.

During the pandemic with Church on screen rather than in person, both Lars and Christie began to feel freedom from Church. They eventually admitted to each other that they no longer believed. A few months later they asked the kids, “Do you notice anything we are not doing any longer?” To which they responded, “church.” None of them seemed to miss much, other than friends and the snacks!

Lars and Christie also share about Lars’ demi-sexuality and the difficult early conversations around sex when they were first getting married. This highlights the destructive aspects of purity culture on everyone.

Today the whole family is feeling free, intellectually honest and relieved after admitting to themselves they no longer believe and stopped going to church.

Links

Answers To Answers In Genesis FB group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/answers2aig/

William Lane Craig admitting it is the witness of the holy spirit not evidence

Interact

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

Joel: Deconversion Anonymous

Atheism, Autonomy, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, ExVangelical, Hell Anxiety, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Unequally yoked
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

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/

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

Jason: Deconversion Anonymous

Atheism, Critique of Apologetics, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, ExVangelical, Humanism, Podcast, Purity Culture, Unequally yoked
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Jason, the son of a pastor. He grew up in the independent Christian Churches, an offshoot of Church of Christ that allows music. He grew up doing “sword drills” and was a devout teenage believer. He participated in Bible memorization contests. He became a musician and participated in worship bands for years.

In Jason’s young adulthood he began to question his own interpretation of the Bible. Why was bad language bad? Why the limited role of women in the church? How could a loving god send people to Hell? Eventually, the disparity between the idea of a loving god and the reality of the world and the suffering of innocent children led to his deconversion.

Anything you do with the bible is interpretation.

Jason’s wife is still a believer though they both deconstructed from Evangelicalism and started participating in an Episcopal church. They are making an “unequally yoked” relationship work based on love, equality and mutual respect.

Links

Captain Cassidy interview
https://gracefulatheist.com/2019/10/17/captain-cassidy-roll-to-disbelieve/

Roll To Disbelieve
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve/

Interact

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

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

Brette: Deconversion Anonymous

Adverse Religious Experiences, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Podcast, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Brette. Brette was so serious about her Christianity in junior high her goal was martyrdom. In her young adulthood, she followed her pastor’s advice and attended Master’s Commission, similar to a discipleship training program. Her experience there was nothing short of psychological torture.

Of course, everything was always very spiritualized there and this was no exception. Everything was either god or demons. One part of the program was that we all we went through deliverance (exorcism) while we were there that we spent weeks preparing for.

Her faith began breaking down as did her physical and psychological health at Master’s Commission. It included deliverance sessions and enumerating her demons. It wasn’t until she saw her younger brother being treated poorly that she began to question. She and her brother left: “leaving was the BEST feeling!”

But I had finally given myself permission to question things and it all unraveled pretty quickly from there.

After a brief stint in “spiritual but not religious” land, she finally admitted she no longer believed in god. She let go of “trying to make it be true.”

Since then it’s been really interesting to me to look back on my past experiences and understand them from a purely naturalistic and psychological perspective. It was really helpful to learn, too, about Religious Trauma Syndrome.

Brette has since discovered naturalistic and psychological explanations of her experiences that have given her more closure and comfort.

Interact

Interact

Sam (When Belief Dies) GoFundMe for a laptop
https://gofund.me/9bed67a7

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

Picture by Brette’s daughter A.

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Arline: Deconversion Anonymous

Autonomy, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Naturalism, Podcast
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Arline. Arline became a Christian in early adulthood. She went to a Christian college where she met her now-husband. Her faith tradition was a severe version of Calvinism. She was taught complementarianism. The roles allowed for women and complementarianism were not a good fit for Arline’s inquisitive personality.

Years later I realized that [complementarianism] was a very new thing and I was so angry because I had been taught it was this Bibilcal idea. So in my mind biblical means it has been around for thousands of years. No, it was like 1987. What is this?

Her husband went through an emotional deconversion first. Arline did not take this as well as she would now like. Alongside this was the long slow deterioration of her mother’s health. She slowly began to deconstruct. First by exploring other versions of Christianity. Eventually exploring other faith traditions including meditation from a Buddhist perspective. In short. she was letting her curiosity and intelligence explore all the areas of interest that were previously prohibited.

Here’s the succinct version:
Christian fifteen years, since college.
Super loved Jesus, the Bible, church, all the things.
Tried my darndest to be changed by the Holy Spirit.
Happily married to super Christian guy from campus ministry.
He slowly (felt suddenly to me!) realized he had to be agnostic because god of the Bible is a monster.
Sent me on a two-year spiritual meandering.
Finally caved and am now figuring out what atheism looks like for me.

In the end, for her own personal intellectual integrity she admitted to herself she no longer believed. She has since discovered natural human habits that have helped her far more than her faith ever had.

Links

From the Andy Stanley discussion:
Is it just that I had the wrong image of God?
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/11/17/is-it-just-that-i-had-the-wrong-image-of-god/

Interact

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
Listen on Apple Podcasts

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

Carly: Christian Science Deconversion

Atheism, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Podcast
Click to play on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Carly. Carly shares her story with a great deal of vulnerability and emotion. Carly was a Christian Scientist. While studying philosophy and the Bible Carly was introduced to Christian Science. She was impressed with its logical arguments and internal consistency. Carly was more evangelistic than the church she attended. She wanted to use the Christian Science reading room during SXSW as an outreach. She was shot down. When she pointed out that prohibited alcohol would be consumed by renting the space out she was shot down again.

My deconversion was very slow.
As Christian Scientists, we’re taught to heal the way Jesus did, through prayer.
Eventually, I realized I was deeply unhappy and prayer wasn’t working.
So I sought other methods to find happiness: diet, therapy, exercise, even Ayahuasca.
When I finally let go of the expectation to be a good Christian, I felt a relief and a happiness that people noticed and commented on.

The juxtaposition of what Christian Science promised and the reality of life led her to doubt. Carly eventually found what she was looking for in more secular matters like work, exercise and therapy.

Interact

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

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

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

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