Amy Rath: NoneLife

Agnosticism, Deconstruction, Deconversion, ExVangelical, Humanism, Nones, Podcast, Podcasters, Secular Community, Secular Grace
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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.

Links

Website
https://nonelife.org/

PechaKucha presentation
https://www.pechakucha.com/presentations/practicing-decency

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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“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

David Ames: Graceful Atheist interviewed by Sam and Daniel

Atheism, Critique of Apologetics, Deconversion, Humanism, Naturalism, Podcast, Podcasters, Secular Community, Secular Grace, secular grief
It me.
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This week I am being interviewed by Sam and Daniel from the When Belief Dies podcast. The focus is on what I have changed my mind about since beginning work in the secular community. We discuss the following topics:

This episode is a sister episode to Daniel and me interviewing Sam on When Belief Dies. Both episodes are dropping at the same time. You can see me in the YouTube version interviewing Sam.

Music

If you are interested in producing music for the Graceful Atheist Podcast, the sound I am looking for has a strong baseline and beat with gospel church organ, potentially with R&B or Gospel vocal samples. Here is a playlist to inspire you to Gospel R&B Beats. Get in touch.

Corrections

There were several places in the episode where I forgot names. I’ll mention them here.

It is Tim Sledge who talks about “exceptions to the rule of faith” in his book, Goodbye Jesus.

It is Carolyn Golden, Psy.D. who discusses attribution and schema on the Life After God podcast
Episode: How and Why We Believe
https://lifeaftergod.org/059-how-and-why-we-believe-part-1/

Brian Peck is quoted multiple times. Here is my interview with Brian:
https://gracefulatheist.com/2019/11/14/brian-peck-room-to-thrive/

Links

When Belief Dies
https://whenbeliefdies.com/
https://linktr.ee/whenbeliefdies

Interact

My Deconversion Story

Telling my deconversion story on Voices of Deconversion
http://voicesofdeconversion.com/home/2017/11/22/027-david-ames-part-1-jesus-tells-his-mother-to-stop-drinking-her-dramatic-conversion-impacts-david-grace-was-foundational-as-a-christian-became-a-youth-minister-hes-now-the-graceful–wmm4s

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

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

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Photo graphic design by Logan Thomas, Beyond Belief

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Mike T: Deconversion Anonymous

Atheism, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Humanism, Naturalism, Podcast, Secular Community, Secular Grace
Mike T.
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This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is G.A.P. editor, Mike T. Mike grew up in the South and went to a Catholic church. Everyone in the South went to one church or another and this was just in the background for Mike. After a charismatic Evangelical friend encouraged him he began to explore charismatic churches. The big draw was the opportunity to play music, his life-long passion.

Later in life, married with kids, he had normal financial stresses in his life. When he compared the reality of both his life and the life of those around him to the promises of his more material success oriented faith tradition he could not help but question. When a financial advisor suggested he hold off on his charitable giving, the mandated tithe, he expected consequences. Those consequences never occurred. Things were not adding up.

[after stopping tithing]
And that was another thing, everything I had been told didn’t happen.
So I just started wondering, well, what else am I missing out on?

His first mistake was doing research on evangelists that would come to town. These fantastical claims must have generated news stories somewhere, right? His second mistake was re-reading the bible (and Bart Ehrman). Eventually, he discovered science and new way of determining what is true. His faith fell apart.

I prayed and I prayed and I never heard anything.
I wasn’t trying to get out of it all together.
I was trying to hold this thing together.
I didn’t want it to go this way.
I didn’t wake up one day and say I am not going to do this Christian stuff no more.

Mike is the editor of the Graceful Atheist Podcast. Beyond editing, Mike wants to start a local community for those who are going through doubt, deconstruction and deconversion. Music continues to be the great passion of his life.

Links

Clergy Project
https://clergyproject.org/

Interact

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

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

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

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Attribution

“Dawg Biscuits on the Moon” and “Restless Regions”
John Monson and the Galaxy Brothers

“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
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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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“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
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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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“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Suandria Hall: My Choice My Power

Adverse Religious Experiences, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Podcast, Race, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma, Secular Community, secular grief
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My guest this week is Suandria Hall. Suandria is a trauma informed counselor specializing in faith transitions. Her practice, My Choice My Power, is online and she offers mental health counseling to residents in Colorado and life coaching sessions online, by phone, and email for anyone.

What is more important to me than anything is being honest and being authentic about who I am and who I choose to be in this world.
While pretending for a moment seemed easy.
I really had no concept about how much I was about to unravel.
Once I make this choice to say this out loud that I don’t believe this any more. What does that even mean?
But I took a leap and I started to say out loud that I don’t believe this any more.

Suandria tells her story of being groomed for ministry in a very Charismatic community with rigorous honesty. In her early adulthood she began to question and eventually deconverted. She had a positive experience with a therapist who “held space” for her shifting faith positions. She then went on to become a secular counselor to help others through the same process.

What they are looking for is someone who doesn’t force any type of spirituality in the practice.
They just want to show up and say let me just talk through some stuff.

We talk about the power of parents to influence children. And the damage that can occur when parents pass that responsibility on to an invisible god.

The child learns that the love the adoration the loyalty the devotion
that a mother and a child would share with each other is now shifted.
So now god becomes the number one.

Her approach to counseling is trauma informed and acknowledges Adverse Religious Experiences and religious trauma. She helps people going through the process of deconstruction and deconversion while being open to all faith positions.

Trauma is when our bodies our systems becomes overwhelmed, flooded with emotions, flooded with bodily sensations.
It gets stuck.

Links

Suandria’s Counseling Site
https://www.mychoicemypower.com/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/mychoicemypower

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

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While these points may be a part of your thinking about religion or harmful religious experiences, they are not the foundation of religious trauma. WE ARE TRAUMATIZED when our central nervous system (movements, bodily sensations, thoughts, speech, memory) is… • overwhelmed, altering the way we process and recall memories (Van Der Kolk) • unresolved or incompleted responses (Levine) • overstimulated repeatedly and cumulatively, usually over a period of time and within specific relationships and contexts (Courtois) In plain terms, religious trauma is when your ability to respond and create or experience safety is interrupted by TOO MUCH ENERGY unable to release or complete within religious context. In even plainer terms, your brain & body says "Hey, it's time to take care of yourself and here's the blood flow, chemicals, and hype to do it", but you don't because your religion has taught you to obey, stay silent, trust others (God, the Word, leaders, the group) instead of yourself. You live over stimulated, ready, and "ON" which can look like anxiety, fear, tension. Compliance dampens the discomfort. Examples and potential effects: I want to meet other people outside of our community/beliefs. NO–they are dangerous, sinful, will lead you astray. Obey. Must tow the line to maintain relationships and community acceptance. Kept away from people, cultures, and beliefs unlike yours. Can perpetuate social issues like racism and inequality based on ignorance. I want another my path, explore my interests. NO–stay in God's will. Doubt your ability to make decisions. Limit education and opportunities. Blocks creativity and exploration. Wait for someone or something else to guide you. Hyper-spiritualized decision making. I'm curious about sex and sexuality and want to have ownership of my body. NO–your body is not your own, submit and obey, in heterosexual marriage only. Struggle with intimacy, sexuality, and sometimes even routine health screenings. —– Even when you KNOW you can make another choice you don't because YOUR BODY reminds you that you can't. This is trauma work. This work isn't anti-religion. This work is pro-human experience. #sundaymorning

A post shared by Suandria Hall (@mychoicemypowercounseling) on

Interact

Adverse Religious Experiences series
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/category/adverse-religious-experiences/

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

Full show notes
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2020/10/18/suandria-hall-my-choice-my-power/

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Dr. Anthony Pinn: Humanism and Race

Atheism, Authors, Book Review, Communities of Unbelief, Deconversion, Humanism, Podcast, Race, Secular Community, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest this week is Dr. Anthony Pinn. Dr. Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities, the Professor of Religious Studies. the Founding Director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning Rice University, and the Director of Research of the Institute for Humanist Studies. Dr. Pinn has written a number of books on the intersection of humanism and race. In this episode, we discuss his book, When Colorblindness Isn’t the Answer.

We spend so much of our time making fun of and belittling theists.
That’s not very productive.
You don’t transform the world that way.

I learned quite a lot from Dr. Pinn. Both about humanism and the experience of black humanists. Ultimately I was challenged to change my behavior, to “do my homework,” and to understand that it will take dismantling of white supremacy in humanist communities in order to gain the great benefits that diversity brings.

This sort of fundamental change this movement towards diversity and equity means giving up comfort.
You cannot request comfort and say you are interested in change.

Throughout his book(s) and in the interview Dr. Pinn calls on our humanist values to be less ignorant, to include black and other historically disparaged voices, and to develop our own vocabulary and ways of experiencing awe without calling on theistic traditions. “We can do better.”

[Our] goal should not be removing religion …
Religion is really simply a way of naming our effort to come to grips with who what when and why we are …
But it seems to me, the larger more compelling goal is decreasing the harm that we do in the world.

Links

Website
https://www.anthonypinn.com/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/anthony_pinn

Books
https://www.anthonypinn.com/books

Interact

Critique of Apologetics
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/critique-of-apologetics/

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/deconversion/

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Bart Campolo: Humanize Me

Authors, Communities of Unbelief, Deconversion, Humanism, Podcast, Podcasters, Secular Community, Secular Grace
Bart Campolo
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest this week is Bart Campolo. Bart is the host of the Humanize Me Podcast. He is the author of “Why I Left, Why I Stayed.” Along with his famous Evangelical father, Tony Campolo, Bart is the subject of John Wright’s documentary: Leaving my Father’s Faith. If that is not enough, Bart is also the Humanist Chaplain at the University of Cincinnati.

Bart and I discuss graceful ways of talking with people with whom we disagree, having conversations that are difficult that touch on religion, race and politics and changing one’s mind. I point out that Bart has been particularly public with some of these conversations, including a book and documentary with his dad, Tony Campolo, a podcast episode with his son, Roman, where they disagree on the hope or lack thereof for our species and a recent podcast episode on race. In short, Bart wears his heart on his sleeve and lives his life out loud with humility, honesty and grace.

We discuss humanism and the burden of being hopeful. Bart pushes back on my assertion that everyone needs awe, belonging and community. According to Bart different people need different amounts of each of those things. At the same time, Bart is facilitating a healthy secular community in Cincinnati providing just those things for the lucky few who attend. They put it this way:

  • Commitment to loving relationships
  • Making things better for other people
  • Cultivating gratitude and wonder in life
  • Worldview humility

I normally have a few quotes from the episode, but as I was writing them down it became a transcript. Bart is eminently quotable. Listen to the show to find out. I will leave you with just one which you will need to listen to the show to understand:

Show your work!

Be sure to listen to the end for a funny story I tell that relates to Bart’s father, Tony Campolo, during my time at bible college.

Links

Website
https://bartcampolo.org/

Podcast
https://bartcampolo.org/humanizeme

Documentary
https://campolofilm.com/

Book

Humanize Me Podcast episodes that give context to this conversation:
With Roman: https://bartcampolo.org/2020/04/510
On BLM: https://bartcampolo.org/2020/06/515
With Leah: https://bartcampolo.org/2020/07/516

Documentary

Interact

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

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


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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Dr. Clint Heacock: Reconstruction after Deconstruction

Communities of Unbelief, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Humanism, Podcast, Podcasters, Religious Trauma, Secular Community
Clint Heacock
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest this week is Dr. Clint Heacock. Clint is the host of the Mindshift Podcast that focuses on reconstruction after deconstruction. Clint grew up in the Church of Christ with parents who followed the Bill Gothard method of child rearing. Clint now describes this as cultic practices.

What I need to do is discover the authentic Christianity
… and then I wasn’t able to do it.

After pursuing a PhD in Theology in the U.K. while teaching Clint began to recolonize the disparity between what he believed and what he was teaching. The problems with the bible became too much. At the time Clint was hosting a podcast called “Preacher’s Forum.” The content had become too radical for its audience. He then changed the podcast into Mindshift and as his listeners have told him, he began deconstructing in public.

Only when you physically remove yourself and
psychologically remove yourself,
that’s when you start to think critically.

Clint has has had a focus on cult studies, Christian Dominionism and Christian reconstruction where politics and religion meet. He has had various experts in these fields on his podcast.

Best advice: Get yourself educated

Most important Clint has a heart for people. Just because we no longer are religious does not mean we lose our sense of pastoral care.

Links

Mindshift Podcast
http://mindshiftpodcast.co.uk/

Blog
https://medium.com/@clintheacock
https://medium.com/@clintheacock/leaving-christianity-is-a-lot-harder-than-it-looks-8930f532e41e

Interact

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Sarah: Deconversion Anonymous

Critique of Apologetics, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Naturalism, Philosophy, Podcast, Secular Community
Sarah
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Sarah. Sarah is a co-author of the book “Still Unbelievable!” She is a regular poster on the Unbelievable? discussion boards. Sarah has a unique blend of down to earth perspective and an intellectual rigor.

In some respects, it is like being skinned alive layers of belief are being pulled away.

Sarah grew up a Christian. She was a part of the Shepherding Movement which is now considered a cult. She has moved from the Anglican church, to (British) Baptist, and then to Charismatic Vineyard churches. Until she began to research her own faith. What she found was an utter lack of evidence and a confusing morass of conflicting information.

You are giving god CPR.
You really are trying to keep it alive with the best intentions

She describes her search for validation as “going forensic” as she studied apologetics, philosophy, cosmology and evolution. Ultimately, she could not keep god on “life support” and she is now an agnostic.

Love is a good way to live your life.
Love is the point.
We’ve only got this present moment.
That is all we know for certain.

Links

Reason Press and the Still Unbelievable! book
https://reasonpress.net/
“Sophie’s” Story
https://reasonpress.net/SU1E/Sophie1
https://reasonpress.net/SU1E/Sophie2

Skeptics and Seekers
https://skepticsandseekers.squarespace.com/blog/x-tians-part-one-what-christians-who-stay-need-to-know-about-the-christians-who-dont

Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? podcast
https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable

Interact

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

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

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Support the podcast
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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats