Logan: Beyond Belief

Atheism, Bloggers, Deconstruction, Deconversion, LGBTQ+, Podcast, YouTubers
Logan
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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

Jon Steingard: The Wonder and The Mystery of Being

Critique of Apologetics, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Humanism, Podcast, Podcasters, Secular Grace, YouTubers
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Listen on Apple Podcasts

I really did believe and I had questions,
but I was afraid to even ask them alone by myself.
I was afraid to present them to myself.

My guest this week is Jon Steingard, the lead singer and guitarist for Hawk Nelson. In late spring of 2020, Jon posted a gut-wrenching confession on Instagram that he no longer believed in God. He is one of the more prominent recent high profile deconverts. Jon risked more than most by publicly acknowledging his lack of faith as his career was tied to the Christian music world. This confession and the public discussion of his loss of faith has and will continue to have reverberations throughout the Christian community for some time.

I was ensconced in this culture and my career was a part of that
and questioning it would have meant undermining my career
and so for a long time I just didn’t.

Jon has made himself widely available to honestly and vulnerably tell his story both to the Christian community and to the atheist humanist communities. It is Jon’s honest seeking after truth and his willingness to respectfully engage apologists and other prominent Christians that are having such a large impact. He has become a safe person for others in the Christian world to discuss their doubts.

So often I would say, “You know I am really wondering about this,” and you would just see this look of relief go over their face
and they would be like, “oh, thank you for saying that, I’ve wondered that too.”

I noticed there [were] a lot of people in Christian culture that were my age that had grown up in the church that were beginning to ask the same questions that I was and also similarly intimidated by what it would mean to say [this] out loud.
And so I just found myself being like, “well, I’ll go first!”

In my conversation with Jon, he describes a major turning point in his life when he saw poverty, starvation and abandonment of the Batwa children and community in Uganda. This began a quite reasonable time of questioning: if God is all-powerful, all-knowing and good, why are the Batwa suffering?

{Witnessing poverty starvation and abandoned children in Uganda} And that kind of thing wrecked me

The things that I am seeing here, do not dovetail with the idea of an all powerful and all loving god.
Because when I read scripture, when I listen to what I hear in Christian culture,
I hear about a god who intervenes,
I hear about a god who answers prayer, certainly not always but definitely sometimes.

And so I grew up hearing [answered prayers for parking spots], and then I go to Uganda and I see this [poverty …]
And I go like, “God, maybe answer a few less parking spot prayers and a few more prayers for these children who are literally dying
and suffering unimaginably.

I came back from that trip and I was just like, “There is no way that I can believe in god the way that I used to.”

In January of 2021, Jon started a podcast and YouTube channel called The Wonder and Mystery of Being.

Links

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

The Wonder and The Mystery of Being podcast and YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUjFcPl10_QMxoevHL4jLXg

Jon’s deconstruction story

Twitter
https://twitter.com/jonsteingard

The documentary Jon produced while still a Christian

Interact

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

Jennifer Michael Hecht’s Doubt: A History
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2019/05/16/jennifer-michael-hecht-doubt-a-history/

Clergy Project
https://clergyproject.org/

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Leighann Lord: Very Funny Lady

Atheism, Authors, Humanism, Podcast, Podcasters, Secular Grace, YouTubers
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest this week is Leighann Lord, comedian, author and podcast host. She has traveled the world doing comedy and has been on VH1, Comedy Central and HBO. She has co-hosted on Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Start Talk Radio and on CFI’s podcast, Point of Inquiry. She hosts her own podcast, People With Parents. She has written two books: Dict Jokes and Real Women Do It Standing Up.

Leighann went to Catholic school growing up and is now a humanist activist. Leighann was awarded the 2019 Humanist Arts Award for her work as the New York City face of the African Americans for Humanism outreach campaign sponsored by the Center for Inquiry.

[First attending humanist gathering]:
I had my discovery and my sincerity.

We talk about humanism and what it can add to the conversation about race in America. Leighann handles my naivete with grace and elegance while still pointing out the world is a complicated place and racism is a persistent problem in America.

What [BLM is] doing, I believe is the work and ideal of humanism.
Which is human beings realizing that they have a stake.
You want to light a candle? That’s great we still going to have to get in here and do this work.
And to me that is humanism.
Human beings trying to be better humans.
Actually doing the work.

Leighann’s podcast, People With Parents, deals with the role reversal of taking care of elderly parents. It is also a raw and real look at grieving the death of parent. We discuss secular grief and the need to be more public about grief as non-believers.

[Regarding grieving a loved one] Everyone is there for you week one. And most of them are saying the absolute wrong thing.
So while you are trying to grieve you are also busy being angry.

We geek out about comedy and how it can let truth sneak past our defense mechanisms. Leighann shares her top five comedic influences. She talks about first seeing Marsha Warfield on stage, “I didn’t know we did this. Which tells you the power of role models.”

Leighann’s comedy specials which are available on YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Prime have much to say about living in 2020 though they were recorded a few years ago. They cover race, religion, sexism, sex, wealth disparity, and the lack of education in the current administration.

You realize nobody changes their opinion or even starts to hear your side when your finger is in their face.
That’s just not how humans work.

Links

Website
http://www.VeryFunnyLady.com

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

Twitter
https://twitter.com/leighannlord

People With Parents Podcast
http://www.veryfunnylady.com/people-with-parents-podcast

YouTube
http://youtube.com/c/LeighannLordComedy

Books
http://tinyurl.com/LeighannsBooks

Interact

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Richard Swan: London City Voices

Atheism, Communities of Unbelief, Deconversion, Humanism, Podcast, YouTubers
Richard Swan: Director of London City Voices
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My guest this week is Richard Swan. Richard grew up Catholic, became an Anglican and then moved on to Pentecostalism. He was a worship leader and an active member of the Christian music scene including touring as Graham Kendrick‘s choir director.

He began to notice that regardless of his person life the people responded in worship under his leadership. This began his questioning which eventually led to his deconversion.

It seemed to be working and I didn’t like the fact that it was working because it didn’t make sense to me.

Post-deconversion, Richard is now the director of London City Voices, a non-religious community choir.

London City Voices is so much more than your average London choir… We are a community, a group of friends, an increasingly-large group of drinking buddies… and we are also a dynamic non-religious, non-audition community London choir.

Richard has figured out how to use his passion for music to build a secular community. In our conversation, we talk about the power of music to bring people together, how it can be manipulated and what it takes to be a community builder.

Church can give us a little window on [ the human response to music]. If it’s linked to your belief system it can have an even bigger impact. Or not because maybe your a humanist and you just bloody love music and that is no less of an experience.

Links

Website
https://www.londoncityvoices.co.uk/

YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCE7166Y1HBO7_lh7_yjE4g

Twitter
https://twitter.com/LondonCityVoice

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/groups/412432238841455/

Interact

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

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Support the podcast
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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Amy Logan: Exmormonology

Atheism, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Mormonism, Podcast, Podcasters, YouTubers
Amy Logan
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This week’s guest is Amy Logan. Amy is the podcast host of Exmormonology. She is a certified life coach who helps people through exiting Mormonism, deconstructing and thriving in a post-faith life.

Amy was the perfect Mormon girl. She did everything right. She attended BYU. She was married in the Temple. When she discovered a book covering the full history of Mormonism she began to have doubts. Until she had what she describes as the “moment,” sitting in her car crying her eyes out with the realization that she could no longer call herself a Mormon.

If the church is true, it has nothing to fear,
and I get to figure this out.
It was at that moment I gave myself permission.

She continued on for a while trying to maintain some semblance of belief. She tried to “hang on to Jesus.” But eventually that crumbled too.

Its all bullshit.
Everything single thing I believed and held sacred and true it is not real, it just isn’t real.

Today, Amy helps those who have also left the Mormon church live full and healthy lives. Exmormonology is not just for those who have left Mormonism, it is for anyone who has gone through a faith transition.

I knew life was never going to be the same.
But I didn’t know that it could be better at that point.

Links

Amy’s website:
https://amyloganlife.com/

Exmormonology podcast:
https://amyloganlife.com/category/podcast/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/amyloganlife

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

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWLNS7aHLgQ6UaiJVX8yrDw

Truman Show: ending clip

Interact

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

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Support the podcast
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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

John Lopilato: Counter Apologist

Atheism, Critique of Apologetics, Humanism, Podcast, Podcasters, YouTubers
Counter Apologist
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My guest today is the Counter Apologist AKA John Lopilato. John is active on Twitter as @CounterApologis. He has a YouTube channel called Counter Apologist. He is also one of the new co-hosts of the RealAtheology podcast.

John has taught himself philosophy, apologetics and counter apologetics. In fact, he learned apologetics in a desperate attempt to keep his faith. Ultimately, he found apologetics wanting. He became the Counter Apologist because he wanted there to be sophisticated answers to apologetic arguments that could not be easily dismissed. John can be found online interacting with apologists and discussing the relative merits and flaws of apologetic arguments.

I appreciate John’s approach. He is often more than fair to his interlocutors. In my conversation with him, he is very kind to my naive questioning. We discuss a wide range of topics including: debate culture, the burden of proof, lacktheism, Kalam Cosmological Argument, the rationality of faith, values vs facts and how difficult it is to make a compelling argument when the two sides may have differing values and presuppositions.

I threw myself into apologetics to try and salvage my faith.

Counter Apologist

Links

John’s Blog:
http://counterapologist.blogspot.com/

John on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/CounterApologis

John on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CounterApologist

RealAtheology Podcast
https://twitter.com/RealAtheology/
https://www.facebook.com/RealAtheology/

For further study

Kalam Cosmological Argument:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalam_cosmological_argument

Falsifiability:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability

A and B Theory of Time:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_series_and_B_series

Interact

Send in a voice message to the podcast:
https://anchor.fm/gracefulatheist/message

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Makaih_Beats

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/

Jim Palmer on Humanism

Atheism, Authors, Humanism, Podcast, Secular Grace, YouTubers
Jim Palmer
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

On today’s episode I am finally getting the opportunity to discuss the topic I am most interested in: Humanism or what I call Secular Grace. It is ultimately about answering the question, “how do we live life well post deconversion?” Rather than looking backwards, it is looking forward to learning to thrive as a human being.

My guest today is Jim Palmer. Jim is an ordained minister, receiving his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Divinity School in Chicago. After serving several years as the Senior Pastor of a non-denominational church, Jim left professional ministerial life on a quest for more authentic spirituality and has authored five books about his journey. In addition to writing, speaking and his spiritual direction practice, Jim is an adjunct professor in the areas of Ethics and Comparative Religion. He is the Co-Founder of the Nashville Humanist Association and is a certified Humanist Chaplain with the American Humanist Association. 

Links

Books

Human beings having a human experience quote:

Clergy Project
http://clergyproject.org/

The Humanist Society
https://www.thehumanistsociety.org/

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Support the podcast
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Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Matt Cook: Deconverson (not so) Anonymous

Deconversion Anonymous, Humanism, Podcast, Religious but not Spiritual, YouTubers
Matt Cook: Deconversion (not so) Anonymous. Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

Today’s show is a Deconversion (not so) Anonymous episode. In these episodes, people who have gone through deconversion or faith transitions tell their stories anonymously or otherwise.

On today’s episode, my guest is Matt Cook from Toronto Canada. Matt was a former evangelical missionary to Pakistan and a preacher who lost his faith about six years ago. Matt is not your typical deconvert. He calls himself religious but not spiritual. Several years after deconversion, Matt chose to live a year “Christianly.” During that year he prayed, he read the bible daily, he went to church and practiced other spiritual disciplines. Although, it did not change his mind he has found continued value in these disciplines and practices some of them to this day. 

You can learn more about Matt and his year of living Christianly at his blog mwcook.com, on his YouTube channel and @matt_the_cook on Twitter.

In the show we discuss the possibility of becoming a humanist chaplain (or celebrant or officiant), if you are interested in exploring that role or if you are looking for a humanist celebrant to officiate a wedding, dedication or funeral find the humanist organization for your country. In the US, it is the American Humanist Society. In Canada, it is Humanist CanadaWikipedia lists more organizations.

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats