Ryan Mulkowsky: Some Random Thoughts

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This is the three year anniversary of the Graceful Atheist Podcast. Thank you to everyone who has listened and participated. Special thanks to Mike T and Arline for their work on the podcast over the past year.

This week’s guest is Ryan Mulkowsky. Ryan grew up Independent Fundamentalist Baptist. He made a “profession of faith” when he was nine years old and was reading Christian apologetics before he was twelve. By fourteen, Ryan was “licensed” by the church and started teaching the kids. 

However, Ryan’s mental health suffered during adolescence. Whether at home, school or church, no place was safe for him to grow and change—strict dress codes, young-earth creationism, white-centered history books and virtually no sexual education. 

“I constantly felt like anything that was happening to me was because I was a sinner or because I was depraved or something was wrong with me.”

Ryan went to one university that was even more conservative and strict than his high school, left and graduated from another with a degree in apologetics. But Ryan knew he wanted to be with people.

“I realized that the majority of the apologists have this disposition. They have zero interest in talking to people. They just like to debate, and they just like to lecture.”

Soon Ryan was introduced to healthcare chaplaincy, and for the first time, saw people up-close in great physical and emotional need. He was also introduced to other religious faiths—Buddhism Orthodox Judaism and progressive Christianity. 

“That’s when a lot of my beliefs started disintegrating and dissolving and coming apart was when I was a chaplain and a resident.”

Ryan is a now a secular humanist, married with a family and working as a grief coordinator for Hospice. His life has both meaning and purpose without religion. He is living out secular grace by providing comfort and peace in some of humanity’s most vulnerable moments.

“That’s where the beautiful stuff is. That’s where the human, raw, real, unfiltered but so damn beautiful and sacred stuff is.”

Links

Blog
https://www.ryanmulkowsky.com/

Twitter
http://twitter.com/ryanmulkowsky

Instagram
http://instagram.com/ryanmulkowsky

Some Random Thoughts Podcast
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/some-random-thoughts/id1523342430

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

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

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

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

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Carlene: Deconversion Anonymous

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Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Carlene. She grew up in the Independent Church of Christ—a cappella music, wholly male leadership, baptism before heaven and Biblical inerrancy. 

One church teaching that took up too much emotional energy was the constant push to be baptized. She was told, “You’ll feel so much better when you do it. You’ll feel so clean.” But it felt inauthentic to publicly say, “I’m a sinner,” when she didn’t feel like that was true. 

Carlene’s home life was similar to church life—patriarchal, authoritarian, traditional and conservative. Carlene was an obedient child who did not question authority, so she remembers a healthy, happy childhood. Her two sisters, however, remember profoundly different childhoods.

In high school, Sunday school lessons were always about “staying pure.” Her boyfriend started going to church with her, and they followed the rules and were eventually baptized at the same time. It wasn’t long, however, before Carlene’s beliefs would become real to her. 

Carlene’s boyfriend went into the military and was sent to Afghanistan. She prayed and prayed for his safety, and at the time it seemed like he had returned home safely. They got married and have learned over time that there are both visible wounds and invisible. 

While in college, Carlene first learned about evolution. It was this plus friends coming out as gay, working as a police detective and eventually the election of Donald Trump that, over many years, made her question again and again what she had always been taught. 

It was “the death of a thousand cuts,” and it took almost a decade, but Carlene is now atheist, finding a glorious sense of awe and wonder in nature without Christian beliefs “taking up space and living rent-free” in her mind. 

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

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

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

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

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Sam from When Belief Dies reflects on his appearance on the podcast

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This is an incredibly touching reflection from my friend, Sam, who was on the podcast back in March of 2020.

https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2020/03/19/sam-when-belief-dies/

When Belief Dies

Maybe you have already heard it, maybe you haven’t. A good few months ago I was on The Graceful Atheist Podcast (you can listen to ithere). I have known David for a while and I really enjoy our chats when we manage to have them. For this one episode, I managed to tell my story and share the blog with him and the world.

He has such a beautiful way of showing that people outside of religion still love, laugh and care.

It feels bizarre, and it might sound really dumb to you, but my voice is now preserved online for as long as the internet lasts. I keep thinking that there could be a ‘coming back’ from my deconversion, not that I actually want it. I still think about church leadership and the path my life was on. I wonder if it could ever happen now, but…

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