Erin: Religious But Not Spiritual

Agnosticism, Authors, Deconstruction, Deconversion Anonymous, Humanism, Podcast, Religious but not Spiritual
Erin by Haida Draws
Photo by Haida Draws
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
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My guest this week is Erin. Erin is working toward her chaplaincy and her Masters in Practical Theology. She describes herself as “religious, but not spiritual.”

If I had to encapsulate my religious outlook in one sentence, I would invert the oft-cited phrase ‘spiritual, but not religious’ and instead say I am ‘religious, but not spiritual’. I have always had a deep-seated interest in religion, and I love the traditions, community and way of life which Christianity provides. Yet I have always struggled with the supernatural aspects of the faith; I could never grasp the concept of communicating with a God ‘up there’ while humans were ‘down here’.

Erin grew up in Northern Ireland. She was raised to respect all people. But when she was accepted by an Evangelical Presbyterian church she became in her words “the worst kind of fundamentalist.” This included deriding Catholics.

At University she excelled and found herself attracted to more liberal theologies. She says she went from Evangelical to an Open Theist to a functional atheist (agnostic).

Erin also happens to be on the Autism spectrum. This had an impact on her inability to accept things on faith. She needed logical consistency.

But Erin still finds value in the Christian tradition. She plans to do good in the world as chaplain.

Links and recommendations

Doubts and Loves: What is Left of Christianity (Canons Book 104)

Autism Faith Network
https://autismfaithnetwork.com

Autism Pastor
https://autismpastor.com/

Interact

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

Humanist Podcast
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/podcast/

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

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
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Photo by Haida Draws

James: Deconversion Anonymous

Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Podcast
Photo by James
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

The idea of being non-christian or even non-religious, even more so, was just not something that ever occurred to me as a possibility it was all very real very present it could completely fill my mind and my heart and consume my life.

My guest this week is James. James is a former missionary to Haiti who was a part of the Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions. James took his Christianity very seriously and was sensitive to God speaking in his life.

Through a series of realizations and life difficulties, James began to doubt what he had been taught about God matched reality. Later, exploring psychology he realized the cognitive biases and connotative dissonance he had lived under.

Whether or not God is real, what I was taught about God does not hold up.Sometimes shit just happens and it is not part of a plan

James describes himself as more “emotional.” His story is an important one representing the way Christianity can play on emotions and “works” until real tragedy strikes.

This basic skeleton of theology that I have been taught my whole life It really only works if you don’t ask certain questions and you don’t follow certain logical pathways that come out of it.

Special thanks to Mike T. for editing this episode.

[ “You were never a real Christian”]That sort of denial makes perfect sense. It’s cognitive dissonance. If somebody who was fully faithful, fully committed, fully convinced [and,] on fire for god can eventually get to a place where they say I no longer believe that then that raises the uncomfortable question of “Could that happen to me?” That is something a believer could ask themselves.
Rather than face and confront that question, as uncomfortable as it is, if you can dismiss the deconversion of someone else by saying “you never really believed in the first place” then they no longer have to contend with that discomfort in themselves they can avoid the cognitive dissonance that way.
So I understand why they do that.

Links

ExChristian Recovery
https://www.reddit.com/r/exchristianrecovery/

Secular Therapy Project
https://www.seculartherapy.org/

Interact

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

Rate and Review the Graceful Atheist Podcast
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Attribution

Photo by James

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
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Colin: Deconversion Anonymous

Comedy, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Podcast, Religious Trauma, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

I have become the person I always wanted to be.

My guest this week is Colin. Colin absorbed his mother’s Evangelical Christianity. He has mostly good memories of the people in church. He bounced from his mother’s to his father’s families never quite fitting in. He hung on to his Christianity long after he recognized it no longer brought him “positive results” out of fear of losing everything: salvation, community and identity.

My first and only real religion is inclusion.

Colin’s doubts began young with a dynamic Sunday school teacher who was not allowed to preach in church and a gay uncle he was not supposed to approve of. Colin recognized that love demands inclusion. He felt it was his moral obligation to be inclusive.

That to me is love, for lack of a better word. I was being totally authentic and I was being totally accepted.

In his late twenties, in therapy, he experienced true acceptance. Even while he was explaining to his therapist he was still a virgin, having been a part of the purity culture of the ’90s.

I found unconditional acceptance immediately outside of religion whereas I often found highly conditional acceptance within it. Imagine my surprise!

Colin’s story takes a dramatic turn of self-discovery. He discovers himself and discovers his voice. He then experienced more acceptance telling his story of recovering from growing up Evangelical to non-christian audiences. Colin tells his story with rawness, honesty and a great deal of humor.

Interact

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

Colin mentions a post I wrote on apologetcis: What If I Grant That
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2016/11/26/what-if-i-grant-you-that/

Colin mentions my friend Bryce interviewing me
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2020/06/26/bryce-harrington-interviews-the-graceful-atheist/

Full show notes
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2020/11/29/colin-deconversion-anonymous/

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

Support the podcast here.

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
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Jimmy: Deconversion Anonymous

Atheism, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Podcast
"memento Mori, 'To This Favour' by William Michael Harnett" by Bob Ramsak is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
“memento Mori, ‘To This Favour’ by William Michael Harnett” by Bob Ramsak is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

My cell phone has a skull on it, to remind me that death is coming and I better live now. If you are not going to live now, when are you going to live?

Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Jimmy. As early as the beginning of 2020 Jimmy was still in the closet trying to determine how he would come out as an atheist and humanist. By mid February he had told his family and was bracing for his church to find out. Jimmy was a serious and dedicated Christian drawn to Calvinism by family and the intellectual rigor.

It wasn’t that I was running away from it. But I think at that point I had internalized that I wasn’t a believer …
I realized I was going to have to come out at some point. I couldn’t maintain a charade.

As the years went by and his attempts at self-betterment were not realized he began to be drawn by the pragmatism of Stoicism. He eventually realized that counseling would be beneficial, though this had so far been off the table. Through these active measures he began to see some success at self-betterment.

[Stoicism has] this very pragmatic approach to making yourself a better human …
[Stoicism] hit me at a time when I needed something.

Jimmy’s chief concern was not damaging the relationships with his believing friends and family. He was very careful to show them he loved them and had no contempt for their faith.

It is one of these things where I think, this has got to be a band-aide I am ripping off and not a cancer I am injecting into my family. And I am going to do my darnedest to make sure that this works and that they know I love them.

I love these people How can I not harm them? Or how can I minimize the harm?

Jimmy is eminently quotable so here are more quotes from the episode

I had a long list of potentially scary things that could happen … I wanted to see it in writing to remind myself why I am trying to be careful and it is because of people I love. The best people I know are die hard Christians. The would die for their faith. Like I would have 10 years ago.


So I don’t want to harm these people and I don’t to make them think that I think they are idiots … I don’t want to conjure up of images of Christopher Hitchens sneering at them whenever they look at me.


The whole feeling alone thing. That is just hard. All the people you really care about you can’t tell

Jimmy’s book recommendations

  • A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, by William B Irvine
  • Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary, by Kenneth W Daniels.
  • Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry
  • How (not) to Be Secular, by James KA Smith
  • Blue Remembered Earth, by Alastair Reynolds

Interact

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

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

Support the podcast here.

Attribution

Image Credit
“memento Mori, ‘To This Favour’ by William Michael Harnett” by Bob Ramsak is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Audio Credit

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
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Ray Gilford: Deconversion not so Anonymous

Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Podcast, Spirituality

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Ray Gilford. Ray grew up more of a cultural Christian. His family believed but did not push him. In college, without community and looking for friendship predatory evangelism took advantage of him. Ray worked hard at being a Christian but wanted something deeper. He learned Hebrew and Greek in an effort to find “True Christianity.” He remained a Christian for 32 years.

I was always looking for more.
That’s nice but what is beyond that?

Eventually, he deconverted realizing that Christianity did not live up to its promise. Ray now says he practices Pagan, metaphysics and spiritualism. Though this is a different path than most of my guests what is interesting about Ray’s metaphysics is that id does not preclude miracles and yet Ray still found Christianity wanting.

Links

Blog
galacticwanderlust.com

Twitter
https://twitter.com/StellarWndrlust

Interact

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

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

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

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

Support the podcast here.

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
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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/

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

Support the podcast here.

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
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Stephen Barry: Deconversion Not So Anonymous

Atheism, Bloggers, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Secular Community

This week’s show is a Deconversion (not so) Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Stephen Barry. Stephen was a Seventh Day Adventist who deconverted while attending college studying theology. When he was exposed to other ideas and other people even within his own faith tradition, this small amount of scrutiny led to deconversion.

I was waiting for that … something; fasting and praying, ask and you shall receive.

After losing the community of the black church, Stephen has found secular community. Though he notes we have a long way to go to be more inclusive of people of color in the secular community.

No voice is going to tell you the meaning of life,
you need to go out there and make your own meaning.

Stephen is a musician and a music critic. He blogs about this love of music with great insight on Tublr. We discuss explicitly spiritual music and how we interpret it post-deconversion.

Now I am just more comfortable being who I authentically am.

Stephen’s break down of the H.E.R. song, “Lord is Coming.”
https://barryorchestra.tumblr.com/post/190207895358/barryorchestra-presents-top-50-of-2019-26

We discuss the H.E.R. song, ” Lord is coming”

I bring up the song, “Say Something,” as one of the deep expressions of the deconversion process.

Links

Twitter
https://twitter.com/barryorchestra

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/barryorchestra

Blog
https://barryorchestra.tumblr.com/

Music
https://barryorchestra.bandcamp.com/

Interact

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

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

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

Support the podcast here.

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 

Fred: Deconversion Anonymous

Atheism, Critique of Apologetics, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Podcast
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

Today’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest today is Fred. Fred is a relatively new deconvert who is not entirely out as a non-believer. He has told his son, but no other family members including his wife. Fred grew up Catholic then his family discovered charismatic Catholicism. He has moved through various charismatic protestant churches during his adult life. He still participates in church with his family.

Fred grew up in the ’80s and lived through the Satanic panic, D&D panic and the Evangelical fear of Rock and Roll.

While studying anti-cult apologetics against Mormonism and Scientology, Fred experienced the outsider test for faith. He began to question his faith which did not stand up to scrutiny.

“Anyone who wants you to think that you can stand on the strength of your faith and get what you want is placing a burden on you because so many times what you really wish for will not come true and you will blame yourself.”

Interact:

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

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

Support the podcast here.

Attribution:

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

Erik Carlson: Deconversion (not so) Anonymous

Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Humanism, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Secular Grace
Erik Carlson
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest today is Erik Carlson. Erik is a secular humanist and an atheist. His background in the sciences and biology led him to question his young Earth creationist and Calvinist faith tradition. Discovering his sexuality led him to question the morality of his John Piper inspired Christianity. All of which culminated in deconversion.

Erik’s humanism is evident in his focus on loving people over ideology. He is hopeful for his generation’s ability to make positive change in the world from the secular, scientific and political perspectives. And he has good advice for those in the process of coming out: “Protect yourself, do it in your own timing.”

Erik’s book recommendations

Velvet Rage by Alan Downs

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Help for coming out

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/
https://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/

Just for fun

Erik mentions Lady Gaga’s song Born This Way

I mention Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down:

Interact

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

More Deconversion Anonymous episodes

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
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Support the podcast here.

Sassy Atheist: Deconversion Anonymous

Atheism, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Podcast, Secular Grace
Sassy Atheist
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

Today’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

Sassy Atheist is on the show. Sassy has a YouTube channel where she honestly describes her deconversion and her earnest desire to help others through the
process. Hear her heart breaking story of a broken relationship with a loved one because of her deconversion.

Sassy’s search for truth included Episcopalianism, Catholicism, Evangelicalism and eventually atheism. She also was on a search for community which she is now finding in the atheist community. Sassy exemplifies the themes of the podcast: deconversion, Secular Grace and brutal self honesty.

[To god] Just do something to tell me that you are here and that you know that I am in pain.

Sassy Atheist

Links:

Get in touch with Sassy Atheist:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SassyAtheist19
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf7XYBo2Lp54h4VU_lcfZXg

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

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

Attribution:

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 

Support the podcast here.