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Voices of Deconversion

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Atheists and agnostics share their stories of deconversion from Christianity

Atheists and agnostics share their stories of deconversion from Christianity
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Atheists and agnostics share their stories of deconversion from Christianity








028 Forest Lipford - Part 2: Forced to Leave Ireland. Comes Out Atheist to Parents. Ultimatum is Given. Life Opens Up.

In talking with Forest, it struck me how much he endured. He gets kicked out of the mission trip group he was with and sent home from Ireland. He was battling mental health issues and subsequently would lose his faith. His ability to continue in college depended on his parents, who were paying for it. Forest makes the brave decision to tell his parents that he's no longer Christian. His dad gives him an ultimatum. Forest's life opens up. He's enriched and becomes his true...

Duration: 01:02:39

028 Forest Lipford - Part 1: Childhood Prophecy, a Cult-like Pastor & the Murder of a Family Friend. He Chooses Intellectual Dishonesty and Endures Mental Health Issues.

Forest grew up in North Carolina going to a charismatic church. A leadership change in his home church brings a new pastor who begins to express some cult-like tendencies. When Forest's parents became interested in missionary work, the family moved to Iraq where he attended school around age 12. A friend close to Forest's family is murdered. Forest comes to a point where he says he "chose intellectual dishonesty". This choice results in some big behavior changes in Forest. Family and...

Duration: 00:59:28

027 David Ames - Part 2: Tells His Christian Wife He's Not a Christian. A History of Doubt. The Basis for Atheist Morality. Forming Community.

In Part 2 of my conversation with David, he shares the moment he realized he was no longer a Christian. He also shares the painstaking process of telling his wife (who is still a Christian today) that he was no longer a Christian. David discusses finding comfort in the history of doubt and secular thinking throughout history. He also explains his thoughts on the basis of morality as an atheist. It was a wonderful conversation! Twitter:...

Duration: 00:46:36

027 David Ames - Part 1: Jesus Tells His Mother to Stop Drinking. Her Dramatic Conversion Impacts David. Grace Was Foundational as a Christian. He Became a Youth Minister. He Now Calls Himself the Graceful Atheist.

Jesus tells David's mother to stop drinking. Her struggles with addiction ended when she dramatically converted to Christianity. This had a major influence on David's faith. He approached his faith with authenticity, but soon found he was in the minority amongst friends. He learned that others approached their Christianity in different ways. David eventually enters the ministry, before burning out and distancing himself from church activities. When David reads something from Greta...

Duration: 00:43:25

026 Dr. Irene Haralabatos - Greek Orthodox Father & German Lutheran Mother. She Thought Rationally from a Young Age. She Was Skeptical of Noah's Ark. A Childhood Search for Chocolate Leads to a Discovery that Unravels Two of Life's Greatest Mysteries

Dr. Haralabatos considers herself an atheist and a secular humanist. Her mom was Lutheran and her dad was Greek Orthodox. However, while she was growing up her family attended a Methodist church every Sunday. She was very rational from a young age and remembers questioning stories in the Bible like Noah's Ark. One day, as a young girl she was searching for some chocolate. What she ended up discovering would unravel some big mysteries. Dr. Haralabatos had some great advice on how to...

Duration: 01:10:30

025 Gerardo Romero - Part 2: Surprises His Catholic Parents-Tells Them He's Agnostic. They Respond in an Unexpected Way. Catholic Gerardo vs. Skeptic Gerardo. It's Awesome Raising Kids as a Skeptic!

In part 2 of my interview with Gerardo, he tells his parents he's agnostic. He was not expecting their surprising response. I absolutely love his quote (which I used at the beginning of the episode) where he talks about something he experiences now, that he would not have as a catholic. His answer is the experience of raising his kid. Awaking his child's mind. Love that! He makes some great references to Interstellar and The Matrix in our conversation. He also compares his...

Duration: 00:57:52

025 Gerardo Romero - Part 1: Raised a Liberal Catholic and Now a Libertarian Atheist. He Discusses His Unique Deconversion Journey and the Changing Religious Landscape of Mexico. He Hosts the Masa Critica Podcast.

Gerardo was a lot of fun to talk with and an outgoing, friendly guy. He's energetic and a straight shooter. Raised a liberal catholic, he made the transition to libertarian atheist later in life. A unique deconversion journey for sure. He shared with me his unique journey and his thoughts on politics and the changing religious landscape in Mexico. He was part of Ateos Mexicanos, but the group has been less active of late. He currently has a weekly podcast, Masa Critica. It airs on...

Duration: 00:47:31

024 Naked Pastor-David Hayward - Part 2: The Perfect Storm Happens. David is Numb After Leaving the Church. Searching for Purpose After Faith. Learning to Have Compassion for Our Former Selves & Others.

The second half of my conversation with David is just as good as the first! David describes how the events in his life all came together in what felt to him like a perfect storm. He was a mess, numb and in shock after leaving his ministry of 30 years! He talks about what got him in trouble with the church before he left. He has some great insight into the sense of purpose a minister feels in church, then how difficult it is to find that same purpose outside the church. Another insight I...

Duration: 00:55:33

024 Naked Pastor-David Hayward - Part 1: Drifting in Seminary. A Vineyard Pastor for 30 Yrs. A Dream Brings Clarity. Congregants Stop Supporting Him. He's Done & It's the Perfect Storm.

David Hayward of has a wonderful story! He's turned his difficult experience into a way of helping others who are going through a similar struggle (e.g. helping ex-clergy re-do their resume after leaving ministry). He was baptized Anglican as a baby, came to faith in a Baptist church when he was a teenager, changed to Pentecostal in his late teens, married another Pentecostal named Lisa, was ordained Presbyterian, pastored a Vineyard church, went Independent, and...

Duration: 00:45:00

023 Darren Garvin - Part 2: Atheists & Christians Come Together. Darren Preaches a Sermon as an Atheist! Reaching out to Religious Leaders Changes Him.

Darren picks up the story where we left off in Part 1. He is invited to preach a sermon at a Christian church! The response of the congregation is unexpected. As Darren continues to reach out to various religious leaders in his area, he finds that doing this changes him. This interview has a very positive message and is a great example of how to keep dialogue and civility alive between groups of people with opposing points of view. Darren on...

Duration: 00:30:47

023 Darren Garvin - Part 1: Sings in Front of the Church as a Kid, Enjoys His 20's before Committing to Christ, Teaches Sunday School, Feels Ashamed When Doubts Begin, Chooses to NOT Lead Students to Christ

Darren's family would sing in front of his Assemblies of God church in a Partridge Family-style singing group. When Darren got into his twenties, he enjoyed them and made a conscious effort to delay a serious commitment to Christ until later. As planned, he commits to Christ in his late twenties. He starts teaching at a Christian school. When doubts begin, he feels ashamed. The turning point is when he publicly chooses to NOT help lead his students to Christ.

Duration: 00:38:45

022 Anthos of The Brighter Light Podcast - As a Child Went Door to Door for Jehovah. Disfellowshipped in Adulthood, He Decides to Get His Life Together. Later in Life He Looks Into JW Teachings-It's B.S., but What Does He Believe in Now?

Anthos is a laid-back guy with a great sense of humor, but he's also brutally honest about the teachings of his former cult, Jehovah's Witnesses. As a young child he knocked on doors to spread the good news about Jehovah and paradise (spoiler get a pet Lion!). In adulthood he's disfellowshipped, but this drives him back to the faith and getting his life back together. Later in life, when his kids are grown he decides to research his church's teachings. He finds that it's...

Duration: 01:00:46

021 Krissy Hilliker - Part 2: Trust in God. Problems Providing for Her Children. Did She Marry the Wrong Man? Empathy for Others Leads Her to Atheism

In Part 2 of Krissy's story, she explains what made her re-think her family planning decision. She begins to question our marriage and thinks she may have married the wrong man. Krissy's empathy is ultimately what led her away from Christianity. She discusses the issues that troubled her most and how she became an atheist. WE NEED YOUR HELP! Make it easy for people to find the podcast, by leaving a review...

Duration: 00:40:37

021 Krissy Hilliker - My Wife Shares How She Felt Vulnerable and Lonely in Childhood. She Turned to God to Find Purpose in Her Suffering. She Trusted God in Every Area of Life. She is Now an Atheist

Krissy and I became close friends in our early teen years. That was over 20 years ago! We've now been married for 16 years. In this episode, Krissy shares how as a child she felt quite vulnerable, lonely and afraid. When problems came up in her life, she responded by trying to be a better Christian. She trusted God in every area of her life. She looked to God to find purpose in her suffering. She is now an atheist.

Duration: 00:48:48

020 Gerardo Rivera - Raised in Puerto Rico by a Jehovah's Witness Father & Catholic Mother. Wafers Turn into God, Questions Begin. High School Teachers Help Organize Worship Activities on Campus. His Atheist Activism begins.

Gerardo Rivera is an atheist undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, where he pursues a B.A. in Chemistry. He is the founder and current President of Secular Humanist Association UPRM, a student group for young atheists, agnostics and all the secular community at the university. The group is the only one of its kind in all of Puerto Rico's public university system and it works closely with Humanistas Seculares de Puerto Rico, the leading secular organization on...

Duration: 01:16:40

019 Sarah Brennan - Part 2: Rebuilding Life After Divorce. Her Mom Reacts to the News. Goes Before a Panel of Pastors & Uses the Bible to Argue in Favor of Being Gay

In part 2 of my conversation with Sarah, she discusses rebuilding her community and her life. She had lived with her husband for 10 years and it was everything she'd ever known. Her mom and a close friend have strong reactions when she comes out. Finally, Sarah goes before a panel of pastors at her church where she served as a pastor. She uses the Bible to argue in favor of living an openly gay lifestyle. Such a wonderful story! Sarah's Resource: Dear John, I Love...

Duration: 00:38:30

019 Sarah Brennan - Part 1: Aware She Was Gay Since Childhood. Grew to Hate it & Planned to Live Straight. She Marries a Man, But is Later Encouraged By Her Dad & Best Friend to Embrace Her True Self. She Leaves the Church Behind & Falls in Love with a Wo

Sarah has such a moving story! Growing up she knew she was gay. Her parents and church discouraged her feelings, so Sarah grew to hate it in herself. She believed it was a choice and eventually married a man. Years later her feelings are awakened again. Her father leaves the church and encourages Sarah to accept herself. Sarah begins to fall in love with a woman. Sarah's best friend also offers encouragement. Simultaneously she leaves the church and her straight lifestyle behind. Sarah...

Duration: 00:42:27

018 Stephen Barry - Part 2: Frustration with God Grows, Praying His Last Prayer, Coming Out, Owning Your Truth.

This is the second half of my conversation with Stephen Barry. We pick up after he had an argument with his mother and decided to run away from home. Later in the episode Stephen discusses how he grew frustrated with God and when he prayed his last prayer. Stephen also tells the story of coming out atheist to his mom. He shares his thoughts on coming out to his mom a second time and one of his favorite quotes about "owning your truth". His song "Live for Life", which I share in the...

Duration: 01:17:28

018 Stephen Barry - Part 1: Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Growing Up, Homeschooled in a Military Family. His Parents Divorced When He Was a Child. After attending a SDA College, He Decides to Run Away.

Stephen is from Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was raised by a hardworking and devout Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) mother. His father was military, which meant he moved a lot growing up. He was mostly homeschooled and around the age of 12 his parents divorced. He was a committed Christian even as a young child. As young as 8 years old he was waking up at 4 and 5 in the morning to pray and read his Bible!! He eventually goes to study theology at a SDA college. He subsequently experiences some...

Duration: 01:08:25

017 Steve Hilliker - Part 2: Re-Thinking the Bible, My Denial Ends & Identity Crisis Begins. I Tell My Devout Christian Mother I'm An Atheist

In part two of my story, I learn the various interpretations different Christians have of the Bible. Discussing these views with my wife results in a comment she makes that snaps me out denial. My identity crisis begins and I struggle coming to terms with my new reality. I eventually decide that I'm an atheist, but everyone around me still thinks I'm a strong Christian and planning to be a pastor. I can't live a lie any longer and decide to tell my devout Christian mother I'm an...

Duration: 01:03:31

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