Atheists and agnostics share their stories of deconversion from Christianity.
Bella: Aware They're Non-Binary at 6. Catholicism Ruins Childhood. Bullied, Abused and Suicidal. Reads Bible. Realizes it's (Dark) Fiction.
Christianity ruins their childhood. They were born into a Catholic family and went to church every Saturday. They became aware they were non-binary at 6 years old, realizing they didn't want to be a girl. Their parents were caring and the type of people that you wish Christians were. Despite a loving home environment, this didn't prevent a childhood of isolation and self-hatred. They were bullied, abused and suicidal. Somehow they remained a hardcore Christian.
Later in life they experience abuse in romantic relationships. In college they leave Catholicism for Non-denominational Christianity.
Processing their grandmother's death leads to panic attacks and motivates them to read the Bible. It's immediately obvious to them that the Bible is (dark) Fiction.
They eventually get mental health help and in 2019 decide they are non longer a Christian. They are now an atheist.
Christa Elane: Toronto Blessing Shapes Early Faith. Sheltered and Homeschooled. Later Sent to Christian School. A Vision Leads to a Cult. She Now Leans Atheist.
* Trigger Warning: Discussions of abuse and rape*
Christa Elane is a self described "old Millennial" who has been deconverting for years and now leans atheist. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her spouse and kids. She's a social worker and disability advocate with a passion for Autism acceptance and inclusion. She was raised in a so called "spirit filled' non-denominational Christian church in California. She was a part of the "Toronto Blessing" revival in he 1990s and was in a Christian cult in her teen years in Spokane, Washington. Christa wants to share about her journey out of Christianity and the abuses she witnessed at several churches.
080 Eric: At Army ROTC Discovers the Real World, Fundamentalist Upbringing, Forced to hide Music He Liked. Served in Afghanistan. He was an Atheist in a Foxhole.
My guest today grew up never knowing any other perspective, except the one he was told to have. His family did not attend events outside of church. He spent preschool through 12th grade at the same private school and church. His friendships were strictly controlled. Girlfriends or "crushes" were prohibited. Every potential influence was censored. He had no privacy at any time. He wasn't allowed to develop any opinion unless it was the same as his parents.
He was forced to hide his thoughts, friendships, music or anything else that didn't conform. His worldview had been dictated to him his whole life until, through the Army ROTC program at a fundamentalist Christian college, he began to discover the real world. He now considers himself an atheist. He's married with two kids and lives in the South.
Amanda Roe: Ex-Catholic Atheist. Used to Attend Daily Mass. Unwittingly Joins a Cult at University. Propaganda in U.S. Elections Catches Her Attention. The Bible says "You'll Know Them by Their Fruits". That's the Last Straw. She Lets it All Go!
Amanda was a devout Catholic. She used to attend mass daily. She and her husband didn't use birth control, in accordance with church teaching. She accidentally joins a cult at university. The 2016 and 2020 U.S. elections get her thinking about propaganda. She wonders what propaganda she believes. She hears a Bible verse that says, " You will know them by their fruits". That's the last straw. It gave her the final push to leave Christianity. She became an atheist in November 2020.
She's married and has four kids. She has her undergrad in theology and Master's degree in mental health counseling. She's passionate about human rights and changing the world through empathy.
Now she is focused on raising her four kids to be aware of others. She's considering going back to school to study religious trauma and spiritual abuse because she feels like these topics aren't talked about enough.
Chelsy Albertson: Lesbian Ex-Christian Who's Agnostic/Atheist. Former Campus Crusade for Christ Member. A Mission Trip to India Leads to Epiphany.
Chelsy's been instructing English as a Second Language (ESL) for 20 years. She's been a full time lecturer at Purdue University since 2014.
Currently she's working on her second Master's degree about the experiences of lesbian ex-members of Campus Crusade for Christ.
She was raised in a Christian home, but an experience during the summer of her Freshman year in college, begins a series of big changes in her life. Her parents don't respond well. A mission trip to India leads to an epiphany. She is now agnostic/atheist.
Chelsy's hobbies include kayaking, playing guitar and drums, rock climbing, traveling and learning languages. Chelsy and her wife recently got married just a few weeks ago!
Abigail Sandoval: Adopted from South Korea by American Christian Parents. Abuse, Neglect & Purity Culture Cause Harm. Now She's an Atheist Mom Who Became the Kind of Parent She Always Needed.
Today I speak with Abby.
She was adopted from South Korea with her little sister by Christian American Parents. Her early life was marked by abuse and neglect. She was raised in a non-denominational Christian family. Demons and hell cause her nightmares as a child.
She makes big life decisions based on her faith. She later has to tell her Christian family that she is getting divorced. When She has to tell them she's an atheist, it doesn't go over well with some.
Now Abby is determined to be the kind of parent to her sons that she needed when she was a child. She wants to give them choices. She wants them to feel they have control. She wants them to know that they are their own person and they don't belong to anyone.
Abby was delightful to speak with. Her story and courage are so inspirational. I'm grateful she shared her story with us today.
Helped me through the hardest transition of my life.
It was nice to stumble on this down to earth podcast. Sometimes you can feel alone in your journey towards the light, particularly when you come from a super evangelical family. Interview style podcast with content I think a lot of people can relate to. A good reminder we are not alone!
I love Steve’s interviewing style. He lets the story unfold and allows the guest to speak without being talked over. The stories are always interesting and Steve does a great job asking the questions the listeners want answered.