122 episodes

A secular humanist podcast about Secular Grace after deconstruction and deconversion.

The podcast takes an honest look at stories of faith transition from a life-altering faith, to doubt and deconstruction, to deconversion, and finally, to a thriving graceful life post-deconversion.

My name is David, and I am trying to be the Graceful Atheist. Join me and be graceful human beings.

https://gracefulatheist.com/?gaid=gapdsc Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/gracefulatheist/support

Graceful Atheist Podcast David Ames

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.8 • 116 Ratings

A secular humanist podcast about Secular Grace after deconstruction and deconversion.

The podcast takes an honest look at stories of faith transition from a life-altering faith, to doubt and deconstruction, to deconversion, and finally, to a thriving graceful life post-deconversion.

My name is David, and I am trying to be the Graceful Atheist. Join me and be graceful human beings.

https://gracefulatheist.com/?gaid=gapdsc Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/gracefulatheist/support

    Shannon: Deconversion Anonymous

    Shannon: Deconversion Anonymous

    This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

    This week’s guest is Shannon. Shannon’ story delves into the emotional experience of deconversion. Shannon grew up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist church, where the teachings were pernicious.

    As a teen and into adulthood, Shannon knew her own beliefs and convictions did not always align with her church or family. She tried to be who they wanted her to be, but her decisions were never quite enough for them.

    Over the years, she slowly, like “mental velcro,” ripped out the only beliefs she had known. Where her family couldn’t hold space for her questions, her husband could. It was a hard journey, but she wasn’t on it alone.

    Today, Shannon misses the certainty she used to have, the path laid out in front of her with easy answers. But she is able to see the world with new eyes—the glory and majesty of nature, the wonders of scientific inquiry. It has changed her for the better, and she isn’t looking back.

    Recommendations
    Thought Experiments For Believers
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2018/12/03/thought-experiments-for-believers/

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

    Review of Hell is the Absence of God
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/06/04/review-hell-is-the-absence-of-god/

    After Life trailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIGGKSHMQOM

    The Invention of Lying trailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhRnmyBjOLs


    Interact
    Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion


    Full episode show notes
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/22/shannon-deconversion-anonymous/


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


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


    Deconstruction
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/


    Attribution
    "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
    https://makaihbeats.net/



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    • 1 hr 18 min
    Seth: Deconversion Anonymous

    Seth: Deconversion Anonymous

    This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

    This week’s guest is Seth. Seth was the oldest child in a large homeschooling family who attended attended mostly non-denominational churches. He was always studious and had read through the Bible multiple times before adulthood.

    In high school, Seth made his faith his own and dove deeply into Youth Earth Creationism. He studied at a state university and a few years after graduation began work at The Creation Museum.

    While living near the museum, Seth was introduced to a fringe religious movement he describes as “Messianic Judaism meets evangelicalism meets conspiracy theories.” In the Hebrew Roots movement, Seth discovered teachings he’d not encountered before and some doubts began to creep in.

    Over the next year, Seth continued to experience conflicts between YEC and Hebrew Roots. The two ways of thinking were at odds—flat earth or round, scientific cosmology or the broken body of a leviathan?

    By 2020, Seth realized he was an atheist, no longer able to convince himself to believe again.

    Recommendations
    Books

    Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

    Youtube

    Paulogia
    Viced Rhino
    Godless Engineer
    AcapellaSciencehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydqReeTV_vk



    Interact
    Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion


    Full episode show notes
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/15/seth-deconversion-anonymous/


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


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


    Deconstruction
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/


    Attribution
    "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
    https://makaihbeats.net/



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    • 55 min
    Anne: Deconversion Anonymous

    Anne: Deconversion Anonymous

    This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

    This week’s guest is Anne. Anne grew up in a loving and happy Christian home in a large city where her father pastored a small reformed church.

    As a teen, her faith was very real to her, and a few years later, she attended a Christian college, but struggled mentally and physically.

    Anne left that school and attended a Bible college, but she quickly realized she would be excluded from most ministry opportunities because of her gender.

    After a short and sometimes insulting experience in children’s ministry and then a sickness that went on for man years, Anne felt like God had “benched” her, but she continued praying and hoping.

    Over the next many years, Anne’s family met one obstacle after another—toxic or cult-like churches, physical and mental illnesses, Christians backing Trump and even loved ones passing away. Finally, she couldn’t take any more.

    “I couldn’t hear from God…I couldn’t worship. I couldn’t hypnotize myself with the piano. I couldn’t do anything…[I was] done.”
    Then during the Pandemic, Anne read a single book that made her stop and think for a moment. Then, her questions started coming and couldn’t be stopped. From the outside, it may seem like Anne’s deconversion was quick, but she had given God plenty of time to reveal himself.

    Recommendations

    The Lasting Supper
    Deconversion Anonymous
    Harmonic Atheist
    MythVision
    Bart Ehrman
    Darkmatter2525
    Holy Koolaid

    Books
    #AmazonPaidLinks
    Jesus & John Wayne by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
    https://amzn.to/388uqxl

    Interact
    Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion

    Full episode show notes
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/08/anne-deconversion-anonymous/

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

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

    Deconstruction
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/

    Attribution
    "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
    https://makaihbeats.net/


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    • 1 hr 29 min
    Ursula Schneider: Leader, Seeker, Artist, Woman

    Ursula Schneider: Leader, Seeker, Artist, Woman

    This week’s guest is artist Ursula Schneider. As a child, neither her charismatic church nor her unstable home were safe for her. There was a lot of mental illness at home and Ursula often felt abandoned by the church. Their family was simply “too much.”

    Ursula grew up, married young and began going to church again. As an adult, she needed something real to her. She saw that something in the women at church, so she dove right in—daily prayer, bible studies, women’s retreats, all of it.

    But Ursula kept bumping up against a certain church doctrine: women cannot teach men. She was a gifted leader and teacher but church after church kept her out of the pulpit.

    At the last church she attended, Ursula faced the greatest challenge yet to her faith. Over the span of a few months, she and her husband went from being well-respected leaders to losing their entire community.

    Ursula went through a depressive state and cried out to God, but no answer came. Over the next few years, Ursula would make beautiful art, write for herself and continue to question her religious beliefs.

    Since leaving, Ursula has dabbled in other faiths, wondering if any will fit her. Nothing has yet, but she is learning and growing as a whole person. She no longer has to squash part of herself or silence her own curiosity.

    Ursula’s art and writing empower others to exist as their whole selves in the world and to see beauty and inspiration in the world around them.

    Ursula Schneider art exhibition through May 25th 2022, at D&R Art Gallery and Studio in Tucson, AZ.

    Links
    Website
    https://www.ursulaschneider.art/

    Personal FaceBook
    https://www.facebook.com/ursula.d.schneider/

    Business facebook page
    https://www.facebook.com/ursulaschneiderart

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

    People can also email me at ursulaschneiderart@gmail.com

    Interact
    Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion

    Full episode show notes
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/01/ursula-schneider/

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

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

    Deconstruction
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/

    Attribution
    "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
    https://makaihbeats.net/


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    • 1 hr 10 min
    Andrew Pledger: Religious Trauma Awareness

    Andrew Pledger: Religious Trauma Awareness

    CW Mental health and depression

    This week’s guest is Andrew Pledger. Andrew has spent nearly his entire life in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church—where the KJV rules and women do not.

    Andrew was homeschooled K-12 with a mildly white Christian nationalist curriculum, no sex education and no diverse friendships.

    For years, Andrew’s mental health suffered, but there were no resources for him. He was told that he wasn’t “reading the Bible enough” and “needed to get closer to God.”

    In college, Andrew knew he needed professional help but at a fundamentalist Christian college, there was only “biblical counseling”. The first two years were excruciating. Eventually, however, with a little community and a lot of research, Andrew took his mental health into his own hands.

    He started asking difficult questions about the Bible, and it was not long before the foundations began to crumble.

    Since leaving Christianity, Andrew has lived out secular grace. He is spreading awareness about toxic religion and working toward becoming a religious trauma therapist. His personal experience of freedom compels him to help others find the same freedom.

    Links
    Instagram
    https://www.instagram.com/4ndrewpledger/

    Josh Harris Interview
    https://www.instagram.com/tv/Ca–9vFAxqs/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

    Photo Series https://www.instagram.com/4ndrewpledger/guide/religious-trauma-photo-series/17999363926411608/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

    Website
    https://4ndrewpledger.mypixieset.com

    Link aggregator
    https://liinks.co/4ndrewpledger



    Interact
    Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion


    Full episode show notes
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/04/24/andrew-pledger-religious-trauma-awareness/


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


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


    Deconstruction
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/


    Attribution
    "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
    https://makaihbeats.net/



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    • 1 hr 29 min
    Robert Peoples: Affinis Humanity

    Robert Peoples: Affinis Humanity

    This week’s guest is Robert Peoples of Affinis Humanity. Robert grew up in a Black Baptist church in New Jersey. When he was young, he enjoyed church but was an inquisitive child with many questions and no satisfying answers. As a teenager, Robert looked for answers outside the church—from Thomas Paine to Allah to the Buddha.

    By 18 years old, Robert could no longer believe in anything supernatural. His understanding of the world came from philosophy, history and science. This was incredibly difficult for his family, but they continued to faithfully love and support him.

    One frustration Robert has with the Black church community is that it works to change unjust systems but then uses phrases like, “We couldn’t have done this without God.”

    In recent years, Robert has been working with a political non-profit to ensure the “separation of state and church” and to change unjust policies. Human suffering is caused less by individuals “in need of heart change,” and more by systemic racism, homophobia, classism and other inequities.

    [Humanism] has increased my love for humanity exponentially.
    I no longer love people with conditions.
    In the midst of all the work to be done, Robert is hopeful. He is effecting change in the world and reminding others that “being human is enough.” He stands in awe of the beauty of nature, his daughters and this short life. His story is one of world-changing secular grace.

    Links
    Affinis Humanity
    https://www.affinishumanity.org/

    Secular Coalition for Arizona
    https://secularaz.org/

    Interact
    Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion

    Full episode show notes
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/04/10/robert-peoples-affinis-humanity/

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

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

    Deconstruction
    https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/

    Attribution
    "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats
    https://makaihbeats.net/


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    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
116 Ratings

116 Ratings

FreeAtLast52 ,

So grateful for this podcast!

Hearing other people on the deconstruction journey share their stories has been comforting and reassuring at a time when everything feels upside down. This podcast has been a huge boost for my mental health and I find something in common with every guest’s story.

alabamasmommy ,

One of my favorites

Refreshingly honest and graceful. The space David holds for people to share their stories is so wonderful. This podcast is one of a kind and I’m sure glad to have found it. It’s like a giant hug during a lonely time and reassurance that we’re not alone! Thank you David

j8gille ,

So glad I found this!

First time listening and this is WONDERFUL! Assembly of God background, attendee, church staff & some Bible college. I know! Nothing is more freeing than enjoying life without some bizarre guilt constantly buzzing in the background.

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