Judah: Anti-vax, Anti-medicine, Anti-government to Deconverted Medical Student

Atheism, Autonomy, Bloggers, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, ExVangelical, High Demand Religious Group, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Religious Abuse, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
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This week’s guest is Judah. Judah grew up “Church of God, Pentecostal adjacent,” where Judah’s father was convinced, “God is alive in these people.” By eight years old, Judah was speaking in tongues and absorbed into eschatology—the study of the end times.

Around ten, at a more “separatist” church, the family started homeschooling. His church and family were convinced they were right and everyone else was wrong. Answers in Genesis was the science curriculum, but Judah was also exposed to science on public television.

“I knew if [the creationism] pillar is knocked out; it’s going to be really hard to recover from.”

As a teen, another pillar began to crack. Judah believed his attraction to guys and girls was sinful. It felt like God was two opposing forces—one god you lean into for love and grace, the other shames and condemns you. 

“If god really is all powerful, and I’m praying to him and wanting these things to go away, then why aren’t they going away and how can I be a better christian?”

Judah doubled down on young earth creationism and repressing his sexual attractions and dove deeper into eschatology. The family’s eschatology changed over time, but 2012 was the year the end of the world would come.

“Cling to family. Cling to beliefs. Cling to this idea that we will be saved from this awful place they call earth.”

Eventually 2012 comes and 2012 goes. This undid Judah. He spends the next three years learning what else was not true, debunking creationism, conspiracies and various theological matters. 

“If I deconstruct this all, and I fully leave the faith, I’m willing to accept the fact that I’m risking hellfire but I care about the truth too much to live a lie for the rest of my life…”

Judah was a more liberal Christian for a while but eventually science and logic led him to become an agnostic atheist. He came out with his beliefs to his family in dramatic fashion and hasn’t looked back. His future is in his own hands and whether his family takes responsibility for their beliefs and actions during his childhood is in theirs. He now lives a life true to himself and his own values and ethics. 

Judah’s blog
https://jmedic.medium.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/

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“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Will: Heretical Theology

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

This week’s guest is Will from Heretical Theology.

Will grew up in a Methodist church until high school, when he began attending youth group in what he now calls the, “cult church.”  Years later, will he and his wife were still at that church, he would have a seemingly supernatural experience at his brother’s church in Florida. The decide to move, and not only was there a megachurch waiting for them, there was also Disney World!

Will and his wife dove right in! They served at the megachurch for about five years when his wife began to doubt her beliefs. Eventually, Will resigned himself to being alone in his faith. 

“Just figured I’d be that church leader who has an unbelieving spouse.”

Slowly, however, Will’s fundamentalist beliefs shifted. He wanted to understand the Bible better, so he could understand his wife better. He decided to take off his “Jesus colored glasses,” and read the Bible differently. It wasn’t long before he had a number of issues with what he was reading. 

Then enters the Republican nomination of Donald Trump. Will felt like he was in the “twilight zone,” not understanding how Christians were getting behind Trump.

“Plot twist: I was a follower of Christ; not a follower of Trump.”

He and his wife stopped going to the main services but were still in small group. The pastor met with Will to discuss “ministry,” but instead Will needed to pour out all his questions and concerns. The pastor dismissed them. It may not have been intentional, but it still hurt. A few months later, he knew he no longer believed. 

“I was like, ‘God and I are done.’”

Today, Will uses Instagram to share what’s learned from the Bible.

“I know some shit about the Bible, and I would like to put that to some good use.”

He’s taking the “decades of useless Bible knowledge” he has to teach and challenge people, in hopes that his followers will outgrow him and move on to do amazing things. 

Recommendations:

  • Sam Harris (books & podcast)
  • Bart Ehrman (books & classes on Wondrium)
  • Paulogia (YouTube)
  • Yuval Noah Harari (Books: Homo Deus21 lessons for the 21st century & Sapiens)

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

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

Derek Webb: The Jesus Hypothesis

Agnosticism, Deconstruction, Deconversion, ExVangelical, Musicians, Podcast, Podcasters, Secular Grace, The Bubble
Derek Webb
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Derek Webb, musician, song writer and public deconstructor. For 10 years, Derek was a member of the Christian rock band, Caedmon’s Call. He then went on to a solo career where he focused on self reflection in his art. During that time, Derek began to desconstruct. He did so publicly in his music and on social media.

Where I find myself, strangely, being more tolerant, or loving or accepting than god is.
Where I feel like I am making apologies for the god of the universe who is supposedly all love.

For Derek’s Fingers Crossed album, “the tale of two divorces,” Derek made himself available to his audience for criticism. He and his team turned this into the podcast, The Airing of Grief. What could have been a public expression of anger and hostility at Derek’s change of heart, wound up being people describing their own deconstruction. It was a poignant reminder that we are not alone in this process.

Wouldn’t you rather lose all of it if the it that you have currently is not a real thing?

Derek’s next album, Targets, is a joyous and rebellious rock celebration of deconstruction. Derek’s current project, The Jesus Hypothesis, takes a second look at his former theological beliefs. For this project, Derek has made himself even more available to his audience by live streaming the writing and recording process for his Patreon supporters.

Because if it is not real I want to know that,
if it is real I want to no that,
and if something else is real I want to know that
and I feel like I know a little more than I used to know
in terms of what is there and what’s not
at least what rings true to me.

Derek is the perfect guest for the podcast as his art, music and personal style exemplify both having an honesty contest and Secular Grace.

Derek’s Website
https://www.derekwebb.com/

The Airing Of Grief
https://www.theairingofgrief.com/

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

Patreon
https://patreon.com/derekwebb

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous private Facebook group and become a part of the community!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion

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/

The Bubble
https://gracefulatheist.com/2018/01/15/the-bubble/

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

Transition music by Derek Webb from the Fingers Crossed album

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Ask Me Anything 2021

Atheism, Critique of Apologetics, Deconstruction, Deconversion, ExVangelical, Humanism, Podcast, Religious but not Spiritual, Secular Community, Secular Grace
Listen on Apple Podcasts

Ask Me Anything 2021.

Questions from Sheila, Emily, Rick and Mark, Jimmy, Arline, Judah, and Matt.

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

Still Unbelievable
https://anchor.fm/still-unbelievable/episodes/Episode-39—Deconstructing-a-Deconstruction-Deconstruction-els542
https://anchor.fm/still-unbelievable/episodes/Episode-64—Discussing-Sean-McDowell-and-John-Marriot-on-deconversion-part-1-e195h0h

Paulogia on Babylon Bee’s ExVangelicals
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMFQJPKYK28

Exvangelical on Evangelical response to Deconstruction
https://www.irreverent.fm/show/exvangelical-1/on-the-deconstruction-discourse/

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

Anthony Pinn
https://gracefulatheist.com/2020/08/23/dr-anthony-pinn-humanism-and-race/

Amy Rath
https://gracefulatheist.com/2021/06/06/amy-rath-nonelife/

Bart campolo
https://gracefulatheist.com/2020/07/09/bart-campolo-humanize-me/

Why I am not an Anti-Theist
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/10/17/why-i-am-not-an-anti-theist/

My Deconversion Sotry
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/09/10/common-message/

Interact

Support the podcast
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Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

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“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

2021 Holiday Special

Deconstruction, Deconversion, ExVangelical, Podcast, Secular Community, Secular Grace, secular grief, Secular Humanist Graces
Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash
Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

The Holidays: The Big White Elephant in the Room

When one has deconverted, the holidays may look completely different, reexamining everything from family traditions to singing carols to dealing with those extended family members. On today’s episode, two returning guests, Arline and Lars and a new guest, Carlene, share how the holidays have and haven’t changed since deconversion. 

Lars and Arline go into what it’s like to be an unbelieving parent during the holidays, navigating the mythologies of Santa and Jesus. Children ask genuine questions, and they expect genuine answers.

The group discusses what they have not given up, among other things, singing Christmas carols. Carols are different than singing religious songs at church, more cultural than sacred. For some, however, it takes a little self-discipline to sing along without critiquing the lyrics. 

The guests also examine what they have thrown in the trash bin completely, including, but not limited to, the phrase “Merry Christmas” and all those nativity scenes. 

Being thankful of the time spent with extended family can be challenging, regardless of religious beliefs. Each person shares how they’re finding their own unique ways of appreciating time with family. Religion does not own the rights to giving thanks. 

Lastly, Carlene, David, Lars and Arline consider some new traditions they’ve started or would like to start. Nature is the easiest place to experience awe and wonder, and everyone discussed ways to be in nature more this winter. Also, creating new traditions can be awkward and may not always turn out quite like we hope.

It is a lovely conversation, full of hope and lots of humor. 

“…It’s scary and new, and that might actually be the best part because your life is in many ways new again…you get to experience so many things for the first time with a new mindset, and this will hopefully enrich your life going forward…”

Lars

Book Recommendations

#PaidLinks

Interact

Send in a recorded AMA question
https://anchor.fm/gracefulatheist/message

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

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

Support the podcast
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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash

Movie Review: The Truman Show

Atheism, Comedy, Deconversion, Movie Review, Podcast, Purity Culture, Secular Grace, The Bubble
Listen on Apple Podcasts

“Good afternoon. Good evening. And good night.”

Truman Burbank

This week’s episode is a compelling discussion between David and past podcast guests Jimmy and Colin. They take a deep dive into how The Truman Show mirrors the long, painful journey of deconstruction—realizing the story you’ve been told isn’t quite what it seems, pushing back little by little, and then sometimes leaving completely, walking out the door and into the darkness.

“You never had a camera in my head.”

They consider it all:

  • The induced trauma and fears
  • Infantilization
  • The constant gaslighting
  • The creation and controlling of relationships
  • And the lies–a completely fabricated life.

All done to “love him, protect him.”

“He wanted what was real more than was presented to him.”

Jimmy

They each bring their own stories to the table, stories of courage and uncertainty and a desire for truth, stories that resonate with many people. Like Truman, we can lean in when what we’ve believed no longer lines up with what we’re experiencing. We can be curious, ask questions and see where that journey takes us.

“It is a painful process, and it is scary. But also there’s more on the other side that is very fulfilling.”

Colin

Where to stream The Truman Show
https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/the-truman-show

Interact

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

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

Support the podcast
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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

Book Review: Scout Mindset with Jimmy

Atheism, Book Review, Deconversion, Philosophy, Podcast, Secular Grace

Listen on Apple Podcasts

The tricky thing about motivated reasoning is that even though it’s easy to spot in other people, it doesn’t feel like motivated reasoning from the inside.

Julia Galef

My returning guest this week is Jimmy. Jimmy and I review Julia Galef’s book Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t. We explore the book from two lenses: Deconversion and Secular Grace. Jimmy brings an intense focus on humility, self-honesty and truth seeking to the conversation. The perfect complement to Julia’s book.

The best description of motivated reasoning I’ve ever seen comes from psychologist Tom Gilovich. When we want something to be true, he said, we ask ourselves, “Can I believe this?,” searching for an excuse to accept it. When we don’t want something to be true, we instead ask ourselves, “Must I believe this?,” searching for an excuse to reject it.

In contrast to directionally motivated reasoning, which evaluates ideas through the lenses of “Can I believe it?” and “Must I believe it?,” accuracy motivated reasoning evaluates ideas through the lens of “Is it true?”

Julia Galef

Links

Jimmy’s first appearance on the podcast
https://gracefulatheist.com/2020/09/20/jimmy-deconversion-anonymous/

Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t
https://amzn.to/3nFCKd9

Why Buddhism is True
https://amzn.to/3nGnXyM

Humanist Ten Commitments
https://americanhumanistcenterforeducation.org/ten-commitments

Daryl Davis, who attends KKK rallies and has helped many leave:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daryl_Davis

Books mentioned in the podcast

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

Sara: Deconversion Anonymous

Agnosticism, Atheism, Bloggers, Deconversion, ExVangelical, Humanism, Podcast, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

When I lost my faith, it felt like I lost my voice, too. I am a musician from a home of musicians.

My guest this week is Sara. Sara is “a musician from a home of musicians.” She grew up in an Assemblies of God church in a “vibrantly faithful home.” She spent her teen years in a “cool” Southern Baptist Church. She then spent some time in Acts 29 churches and Reformed theology. To round things out she attended a Presbyterian (PCA) church.

Sara started having doubts in college, but she was able to ignore them for some time. They eventually wore her down. Parenthood was the last straw. She realized she loved her son more than God loved anyone. God’s “hiddenness” was neglect that any parent could recognize.

They needed my free labor and I needed to be needed.

I was used to being needed.

Sara had been a worship leader. This usefulness kept her in the church longer than she would have otherwise. It also contributed to her deconversion as she saw what church was like “back stage.”

They said my voice was “clearly anointed by the Holy Spirit.” I went away thinking “no, I just spent four years and $60,000 learning how to manipulate you with it.”

Now Sara writes on her blog, Former Protagonist, about her deconversion experience. She is also exploring Humanism and loving her family.

Links

Former Protagonist Blog
https://formerprotagonist.blogspot.com/

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

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/

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