82 episodes

Holy Heretics seeks to foster honest conversations about the state of religion in the 21st century. We interview experts, spiritual seekers, scholars, and activists in our quest to examine just exactly how modern-day Christianity lost the Way of Jesus while also discovering how it can be regained through subversive thought and action.

Holy Heretics: Losing Religion and Finding Jesus The Sophia Society

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.7 • 115 Ratings

Holy Heretics seeks to foster honest conversations about the state of religion in the 21st century. We interview experts, spiritual seekers, scholars, and activists in our quest to examine just exactly how modern-day Christianity lost the Way of Jesus while also discovering how it can be regained through subversive thought and action.

    FKD Up By Faith w/ Jude Mills and Gary Alan Taylor

    FKD Up By Faith w/ Jude Mills and Gary Alan Taylor

    Episode Summary:
    In this unique, collaborative episode of Holy Heretics, I chat with Jude Mills, the creator of the FKD Up By Faith podcast. Jude created the FKD Up By Faith podcast for individuals harmed by religious fundamentalism. She hails from the Southeast of England, and is using her podcast to fuel her scholarly work at the University of Kent.
    Jude and I are both hosts of our own respective shows, and this time, instead of asking the questions, Jude interviewed me about my faith deconstruction journey. It was a blast! It’s also probably the first time I’ve had the chance to fully discuss how my personal, professional, and spiritual life was “f’kd up” by evangelical Christianity. Here’s a few things we get on about in this conversation:
    *Why Melanie and I created Holy Heretics
    *Why it’s a good thing to be labeled a heretic these days
    *How my faith deconstruction journey costs me my job
    *Where I’ve landed post deconstruction
    *How to move beyond the rage stage of deconstruction
    *What your life and faith can look like after evangelicalism
    I hope my story helps you process, heal, and continue your journey of recovery from religious fundamentalism.

    Please follow us on social media (use the buttons below) and help us get the word out! (Also, please don’t hesitate to use any of these channels or email to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback.)

    If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review, or share on your socials 🙏 And check out Jude’s show FKD UP BY FAITH wherever you get your podcasts!

    Show notes:
    http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/fkd-up-by-faith



    Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics | Substack: holyheretics.substack.com


    Advertising inquiries: garyalan@sophiasociety.org

    Support our work on Patreon or Substack and get early access to episodes and premium content like our online class on deconstruction!
    https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics or subscribe to our Substack to gain access to Holy Heretics Shorts, premium content, and our online class on faith deconstruction!

    This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Jude Mills and Gary Alan Taylor.  Music is by Faith in Foxholes.

    • 50 min
    Faith and Mental Illness: What I've Seen in Dark Places W/Anna Gazmarian

    Faith and Mental Illness: What I've Seen in Dark Places W/Anna Gazmarian

    Episode Summary:
    (CW): Mental Illness, Suicidal Ideation, Depression, and Anxiety)
    Anna Gazmarian’s new book Devout: A Memoir of Doubt, investigates the overlapping complexities of religious faith, mental illness, and doubt. If you grew up in religiously conservative spaces, odds are you either never talked about mental illness or you were made to believe only people with a demonic spirit could suffer from mental and behavioral disorders. According to research by the National Institutes of Health, evangelical Christians often see mental health as the outworking of a harmful spiritual condition and therefore, the solution is to just have more faith in God. This is not only completely erroneous, it’s harmful. In this deeply personal conversation, Anna shares her struggles with depression, bipolar disorder, darkness, and doubt. For those of us who have lived on the dark side of the human experience, we have gifts to give to the world that only we can give because we know what it is like to lose touch with reality, to be in pain, to question the entire human experiment, to suffer with anxiety, to struggle to get out of bed in the morning, and to fight to find meaning in an otherwise meaningless existence. I’m honored to share this space with Anna and have this needed conversation about mental health and faith.

    Bio:
    Anna’s debut, Devout: A Memoir of Doubt is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in March 2024. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her essays have been published in The Guardian, The Rumpus, Longreads, The Sun, and Quarterly West. She works for The Sun Magazine and lives in Durham, NC.

    Please follow us on social media (use the buttons below) and help us get the word out! (Also, please don’t hesitate to use any of these channels or email to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback.)

    If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review, or share on your socials 🙏

    Show notes:
    http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/Christianity-and-mental-illness

    Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics | Substack: holyheretics.substack.com


    Advertising inquiries: garyalan@sophiasociety.org

    Support our work on Patreon or Substack and get early access to episodes and premium content like our online class on deconstruction!
    https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics or subscribe to our Substack to gain access to Holy Heretics Shorts, premium content, and our online class on faith deconstruction!

    This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Gary Alan Taylor.  Music is by Faith in Foxholes.

    • 36 min
    My Life and Faith After Evangelicalism W/Jonathan Merritt

    My Life and Faith After Evangelicalism W/Jonathan Merritt

    Episode Summary:
    Interviewing Jonathan Merritt felt like having a conversation with myself. His journey out of white evangelical subculture is an almost mirror-image of my journey. My guess is, you’ll find a lot of correlation as well.
    Jonathan was a card-carrying evangelical who left his Southern roots and evangelical home to find faith, family, and freedom outside the confines and cult-like community of evangelical Christianity. His journey led him from certainty to contemplation, from winning to wisdom, from the shallow end of the pool into the deep waters of Ignatian spirituality, and from exclusion to radical inclusion. As he reminds us, evangelical Christianity is not only a fairly modern invention, it is also a minority movement within global Christianity. Evangelicals do not have a monopoly on God. There are a myriad of spiritual pathways available to you once you leave. So take heart, there is life after evangelicalism. There is faith after evangelicalism. There is new found family after evangelicalism. You get to decide what your future is going to look like. You have the power to form a freer faith and a more inclusive “family.”
    Four years and seventy-four episodes into Holy Heretics Podcast and I can honestly say I believe this conversation with Jonathan Merritt to be the most helpful and hopeful episode we’ve ever created. I hope you enjoy!
    Bio:
    Jonathan Merritt is one of America’s most popular writers on issues of faith and culture. He is author of several critically-acclaimed books, including Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words are Vanishing - and How We Can Revive Them, named “Book of the Year” by the Englewood Review of Books.
    Jonathan is an award-winning contributor for The Atlantic, a contributing editor for The Week, and a regular columnist for Religion News Service. He has published more than 3000 articles in respected outlets such as The New York Times, USA Today, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast and Christianity Today. 
    In addition to the written word, Jonathan regularly contributes commentary to television, print, and radio news outlets. He has been interviewed by ABC World News, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, PBS, and CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
    Jonathan is also a sought after speaker at colleges, conferences, and churches on topics relating to spirituality, politics, and current events. Whether he is delivering an academic lecture or inspirational sermon, Jonathan’s captivating communication style and powerful presence are well-suited for intimate gatherings of hundreds or arenas filled with thousands.
    As a collaborator or ghostwriter, Jonathan has worked on more than 50 books, with several titles landing on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestsellers lists. Additionally, he trains hundreds of young writers through his Write Brilliant seminars and online course. He is often available for exclusive one-on-one coaching for a select number of advanced writers.
    Jonathan holds a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Theology from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, and has done additional graduate work focused on ascetical theology at The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church.
    He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including the Wilbur Award for excellence in journalism, and the Religion News Association’s columnist of the year award.
    Jonathan currently happily resides in New York City.
    You can find Jonathan’s latest children’s book My Guncle and Me here! For more information about Jonathan and his writings, visit his website. You can also connect with Jonathan on Instagram.
    Please follow us on social media (use the buttons below) and help us get the word out! (Also, please don’t hesitate to use any of these channels or email to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback.)

    If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rat

    • 49 min
    ReWilding Christianity w/Gary Alan Taylor

    ReWilding Christianity w/Gary Alan Taylor

    Episode Summary:
    Do you feel spiritually and physically domesticated? Are you struggling to free yourself from the long-term impacts of spiritual colonization? Do you feel disconnected from the natural world? Are you longing for something more than merely reconstruction? If so, spiritual rewilding might be the next step in your faith seeking journey.
    Though an environmental term—meaning letting nature take care of itself and referring to conservation strategies that reintroduce species to their natural environment, restore wilderness areas and the land to its original state, and create corridors to connect these lands and species with each other—rewilding is a concept that just makes sense at a soul level.
    The faith deconstruction movement has provided an unprecedented opportunity to rediscover the untamable within, to decolonize our souls, and to free ourselves from a fenced-in faith domesticated by dogma, ideology, whiteness, patriarchy, power, purity culture, and rationalism. We have the opportunity to trade in our certainty for wonder and our literalism for mystery. As stewards of a once-wild faith that has all but been domesticated, we have a duty to free our faith from some of the repressive, world-denying, and destructive practices that have facilitated our spiritual stagnation. 
    This episode with Holy Heretics host Gary Alan Taylor is an introduction to spiritual rewilding through the re-introduction of indigenous spirituality and Creation-centered Christianity. Along the way, we’ll look back at the history of our faith tradition and find examples of how our spiritual ancestors responded to spiritual domestication through their pursuit of a primeval faith.
    Bio:
    Gary Alan is the host and co-creator of Holy Heretics Podcast. He spent the first-half of his life in evangelicalism before beginning his faith deconstruction journey in 2020. He started Holy Heretics and The Sophia Society with his friend Melanie to serve the thousands of other individuals leaving toxic Christianity. Gary Alan has an undergraduate degree in History from Milligan University and a Master of Arts degree from East Tennessee State University. An international speaker, content creator, and writer, Gary Alan has over 26 years experience working in nonprofit ministry and higher education. He is in recovery from fundamentalist Christianity and his passion is to see others free themselves from toxic expressions of faith. He and his family live in Monument, Colorado and he works for the University of Colorado.
    Please follow us on social media (use the buttons below) and help us get the word out! (Also, please don’t hesitate to use any of these channels or email to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback.)

    If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review, or share on your socials 🙏

    Show notes:
    http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/rewilding-christianity

    Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics | Substack: holyheretics.substack.com


    Advertising inquiries: garyalan@sophiasociety.org

    Support our work on Patreon or Substack and get early access to episodes and premium content like our online class on deconstruction!
    https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics or subscribe to our Substack to gain access to Holy Heretics Shorts, premium content, and our online class on faith deconstruction!

    This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Gary Alan Taylor.  Music is by Faith in Foxholes.

    • 31 min
    Nice Churchy Patriarchy w/Liz Cooledge Jenkins

    Nice Churchy Patriarchy w/Liz Cooledge Jenkins

    Episode Summary:
    Author Liz Cooledge Jenkins joins us on the show to discuss the harmful effects of patriarchy on men, women, families, LGBTQIA persons, culture, nations, and spiritual communities.
    With its ties to domination, violence, aggression, militarism, and white supremacy, patriarchy centers white, heterosexual men at the expense of everyone else. Patriarchal communities often tolerate or even condone violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and honor killings. Patriarchy comes to us in overt and subtle ways, but even nice, churchy patriarchy is toxic AF.
    How has patriarchy damaged your identity and self-worth? How has patriarchy impacted the assault on women's reproductive rights and what might it look like for you to resist patriarchy in a post-Roe world? How do we use literary criticism to re-interpret those clobber passages in the Bible? Why have we seen an uptick in violent, hyper-masculine, patriarchal expressions since 2016? This episode answers all those questions and more as Liz and I dissect, dismantle, and destroy the theological, social, and sexual manifestations of patriarchal culture.
    Liz wrote Nice Churchy Patriarchy in the hope of helping evangelical and formerly evangelical women make sense of their experiences in church, feel seen and validated in the frustrations they may have, and be inspired to chart a new way forward. "Oppressive mindsets, theologies, and systems are not okay. Change is needed. We are not asking for too much, too soon. We deserve better. And we have the power to find that better—to build it together," writes Jenkins. 
    This practical conversation addresses the ways you and I can work to dismantle patriarchal structures, theologies, communities, and families to achieve a more just world. Connect with Liz on Insta @lizcoolj and @postevangelicalprayers.

    Bio:
    Liz Cooledge Jenkins (MDiv) is a writer, preacher, and former college campus minister who lives in the Seattle area with her husband Ken and their black cat Athena. Liz is passionate about building more just faith communities and a more just world. She has a BS in Symbolic Systems (Stanford University) and a Master of Divinity degree. Her writing has appeared in Sojourners, The Christian Century, Christians for Social Action, Feminism and Religion, and Red Letter Christians, among other places. When not writing, Liz enjoys swimming, hiking, attempting to grow vegetables, and drinking a lot of tea.

    Please follow us on social media (use the buttons below) and help us get the word out! (Also, please don’t hesitate to use any of these channels or email to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback.)

    If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review, or share on your socials 🙏

    Show notes:

    http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/nice-churchy-patriarchy

    Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics | Substack: holyheretics.substack.com


    Advertising inquiries: garyalan@sophiasociety.org

    Support our work on Patreon or Substack and get early access to episodes and premium content like our online class on deconstruction!
    https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics or subscribe to our Substack to gain access to Holy Heretics Shorts, premium content, and our online class on faith deconstruction!

    This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Gary Alan Taylor.  Music is by Faith in Foxholes.

    • 48 min
    Reconstruct Faith Your Way w/Angela J. Herrington

    Reconstruct Faith Your Way w/Angela J. Herrington

    Episode Summary
    Have you ever wanted someone to sit with you by the fire and watch your old religious beliefs go up in flames? Maybe you’ve longed for a guide or a coach to help you navigate all this wandering in the spiritual wilderness. If so, then this week’s episode is what you need right now!
    Faith deconstruction coach Angela J. Herrington joins me to talk about life after evangelicalism, and in particular this tender time in your spiritual journey when you feel alone, bewildered, angry, lost, and a bit terrified of what comes next. “There are a ton of people out here in the wilderness trying to figure out what we believe and what faith looks like during and after deconstruction. Together, we slog through the uncertainties and complexities of faith deconstruction. Laughing, crying, and raging against the toxic religious machine together,” she shares.
    This incredibly practical, approachable, and applicable conversation is a must for anyone in the throes of faith reconstruction.
    Faith deconstruction is disorienting, it’s painful, it’s also triggering. It’s often hard to find the language to describe what you are feeling, much less to find a way forward. As you navigate this space in between who you were and who you are becoming, may this conversation guide you on the long journey back to yourself as well as to God.

    Bio:
    As a certified life coach, seminary-trained online pastor, and a faith deconstruction coach, Angela has a lot of experience helping people connect with God. But this is also a very personal journey for me. For the last decade, I’ve been on my own journey to break free from learned smallness and step into wild sacred holy womanhood. Long story short, after finding faith in my early 30’s I began to realize that what I was hearing from the church about women didn’t always line up with what God was telling me. I loved God but realized the church was teaching some really toxic stuff. So this Enneagram 8, first born, Gen Xer started deconstructing. I questioned and challenged everything I thought I knew about faith, gender, and myself. It was messy and took a lot of work to sort it out. Therapy. Coaching. Bodywork. Spiritual healing. Conferences and retreats. And even a couple of college degrees. But the thing that made the biggest difference was the presence and support of wise people who helped me up when I didn’t know where else to turn. Which is just one reason why I became a faith deconstruction coach, to help people just like me make their way through the wilderness of deconstruction.

    Please follow us on social media (use the buttons below) and help us get the word out! (Also, please don’t hesitate to use any of these channels or email to contact us with any questions, concerns, or feedback.)

    If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rating and a review 🙏

    Show notes:
    http://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/reconstruct-faith-your-way

    Follow us on social media! Twitter: @holyheretics | Instagram: @holyhereticspodcast | Facebook: @holyheretics | Substack: holyheretics.substack.com


    Advertising inquiries: garyalan@sophiasociety.org

    Support our work on Patreon or Substack and get early access to episodes! and premium content like our online class on deconstruction!
    https://www.patreon.com/holyheretics or subscribe to our Substack to gain access to subscriptions and online classes in faith deconstruction!

    This episode was produced by The Sophia Society and written by Gary Alan Taylor.  Music is by Faith in Foxholes.

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
115 Ratings

115 Ratings

SparkleKitten ,

Absolutely fantastic podcast for those looking at Christianity with a critical lens

I found this podcast through Twitter and from the very first episode I was all in. The hosts are fantastically open, honest and raw on their talking, and the quality of the guests is amazing. Top-notch conversations that have me pausing in every episode just to sit and take in what’s being said. Highly highly recommend if you’re willing to look at faith, Jesus, and Christianity with a critical lens and desire to think about the hard questions.

Justaguynameddan ,

Disappointing

The constant lumping of all evangelicals into one group and bashing them collectively comes across as obsessive and terribly unkind. I could not stomach the bigotry they have toward this one group. I’m drawn toward deconstructing my own faith and finding a more loving and kind approach to faith. I did not find that here.

Saffa80 ,

Uplifting!

I really appreciate that your focus, even during deconstruction, has remained on how to be Jesus-followers, and that your choice of guests supports that focus.

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