Steve Hilliker

Voices of Deconversion

Voices of Deconversion
Voices of Deconversion


Atheists & Agnostics share their stories of deconversion from Christianity.


Winter 2020 Update - Losing Purpose after Deconversion: How I Responded and My Plan 15 years later!

Jan 28, 2020 30:09


Episodes will be out intermittently for the coming weeks and months (I'm still aiming for bi-weekly).

That was all I was trying to say and ended up talking about the impact deconversion had on my sense of purpose and fulfillment in life, LOL.

If all you need to know is to check your podcast app every once in a while, then it's all good and I'll talk to you soon :)

However, if you're interested in hearing about one of the most significant impacts deconversion had in my life (something that's impacted many of you too), then I'd feel grateful for your time and appreciate you letting me share my experience with you. 

I share how realizing I wasn't Christian, put me in a tailspin and led to serious depression and loss of meaning and purpose in my life. I'm still feeling the repercussions of deconversion 15 years later.

Let me emphasize that I'm incredibly hopeful, motivated and excited for this next chapter of my life! 

I didn't thank Krissy enough in this episode, so I'll do it here. She's been with me and seen me through this entire insane journey. She is one of the most empathetic and compassionate people I've ever known. She has been so understanding and sympathetic in every way. Her love and friendship have truly meant the world to me. 

Let me know if you've experienced something similar in your life and how you responded. I'd love to hear it!

Send me a message on Twitter @vodpodcast, Facebook or

071 Muhammad: The Satanic Verses Cause Curiosity, then Questions. Becomes an Atheist in Iran. Spreads Anti-Islam Material. Arrested & in Solitary Confinement. Forced to make a False Confession on Youtube. Threatened with Prison, He Plans His Escape from I

Jan 3, 2020 01:37:33


Today is a very special episode about an ex-Muslim's deconversion to atheism, while living in Iran. His story is so important to share!

He grew up in Iran in a Shia Muslim family. He was a devout Muslim until he got curious about Salman Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses. His curiosity leads him to banned anti-islam websites. He reads articles and books, eventually realizing he's an atheist.

Muhammad began to spread anti-islam materials on websites and social media. After 3 years, he is caught and aggressively arrested on the street. He spends time in prison and solitary confinement. His parents put their house up for bail and he is forced to repent and make a false confession, which airs on Youtube and Islamic Republic television.

While on bail, he is eventually called back for the trial and an inevitable 15 years in prison.

He decides he must escape Iran. 

070 Jordan: Worldly Friends vs. Church Friends. Learns Calvinist Theology. Rejection from a Mentor. Doubts Lead to Agnosticism.

Dec 1, 2019 01:30:23


Jordan grew up going to church every Sunday with his family. He went to Bible studies and lived a typical Christian life. When he was junior high age, his family stopped attending church regularly.

As Jordan grew older, he struggled balancing his church friendships along with his non-church friendships. He didn't want to live a double life.

His faith becomes more serious and he discovers Calvinist theology. At first, he embraces it. Later, he begins to question more than just Calvinism. 

The difficult process of deconstructing his faith leads to agnosticism. 

069 Roland Watts: Raised Methodist in a small Australian Township. Blasphemed the Holy Spirit as a Child. Feared He was Damned for Years. Meeting the Christadelphians Brings Huge Relief. He's now an Agnostic Atheist.

Nov 11, 2019 01:38:28


Gidday Listeners!

My first guest from Australian shares his fascinating journey out of Christianity. 

He was raised in a typical Methodist Christian home in a small Township in Australia. His dad was a brickmaker and his mother a homemaker. He was raised going to Sunday school. His dad attended prayer groups during the week and his mom went to women's church groups. 

As a young teenager he was listening to a Fundamentalist preacher when a blasphemous thought entered his mind. Instantly he knew he was damned and going to hell. He couldn't dare tell anyone, as this may confirm his terrible reality. He kept all this to himself. He lived his day-to-day life, but every so often was reminded of his terrible fate. This thought tormented him for years.

A few years later he's invited to a meeting with the Christadelphians. As a Methodist, he was viewed as a damnable heretic. Conversely, he viewed them that way too. Following an intense discussion he has a realization and finally finds relief.

I loved his message to embrace the things we don't know. This is a huge part of what brings me peace as an atheist too. It's ok to not know or understand everything. It's the mystery of life that brings wonder and awe. It also leaves us with so much to discover in our world.

In difficult times, we gather comfort from something Roland reminded me near the end of our talk: We're in it together!


068 Matt Scott: Age 5 Believer/Raised Charismatic (Assemblies of God) Christian/Goes to Bible College, Gets Minister's License & Goes to the Mission Field/Deconverted Less Than 1 Yr. Ago/ Now He's Got Atheist Tattoos!

Oct 13, 2019 01:35:50


Matt was born in Wichita, Kansas and lived there until about age 7.

He was raised non-denominational/charismatic mostly in the Assemblies of God churches and had full on believed by age 5. He had great parents and never had too many issues in the church. However, he always had a great fear of hell even as a Christian.

He was in and out of church most of his life until his first divorce. Then went to bible college at a very charismatic school in 2009. He began seeing cracks and flaws in that particular doctrine and started pulling back. He had gotten his minister's license close to graduation and upon graduation went straight to the mission field in Asia in 2011/12. He worked with the underground church in China and the Burmese refugees I’m Thailand.

He finally began having more questions over the years until he couldn’t do it anymore because of how it was just messing his head up. 10,000 religions, 40,000 plus denominations within Christianity alone, good people going to hell, simply for not believing. He hated the way Christians viewed & spoke to the LGBTQ community and other faiths like they all couldn’t just be people, but had to be a mission and Christians had to have an agenda. He felt that devalued all groups outside of Christendom as less than human. He hated it.

Later he had a stint in rehab for alcohol and began reading books like the wisdom of insecurity from Alan Watts and Thomas Paine’s the Age of Reason. He felt like he'd found freedom in Deism. He was there for a bit, then went back out of fear. That didn’t last long. 

The full shift happened less than a year ago and now he is an Atheist. He said he truly feels born again and free.

067 Debbie McNulty: Survived Sexual Abuse in the United Pentecostal Church. Now Neo-Pagan She Advocates to Help Other Abuse Survivors.

Sep 20, 2019 02:05:48


URGENT: If you live in Wisconsin please contact your state representative to express support for the Clergy Mandatory Reporter Act & the Child Victims Act. 

These bills are being considered right now. If your representative is Republican, it's even more important. Republican support is low for these bills, but is critical. Anything you can do is very much appreciated.

Now, to introduce today's guest...

Debbie McNulty is a lifelong resident of Wisconsin. She attended a United Pentecostal church from about age 7 to 17. She was exposed to sexual abuse and ideas which caused serious religious trauma. 

Now she works to help others cope with their trauma and raise awareness about the organization she grew up in. Her story is such an important story to tell.

Debbie is an amazing person and ends the conversation with such a hopeful message! 

Debbie's Blog:

Cap Times article:

066 Rebecca Policello: Grew Up in the World Wide Church of God. Tragedy Ends Friendship and She Runs to God. Research at a Catholic College Leads to Agnosticism.

Aug 27, 2019 01:20:51


What an amazing story!

Rebecca grew up in a cult-like Christian church called the World Wide Church of God. Her particular congregation was quite small and at one point only consisted of around 20 people.

They celebrated Jewish holy days, but adopted their own meaning. They kept a version of Kosher as well. They had very peculiar beliefs about becoming gods one day and having to slay sinners when the resurrection occurred. 

In such a small church there weren't many children her age. Rebecca became very close to her friend Linda and Linda's family. She even referred to Linda's mom as Aunt Kathy. In a sudden and tragic way, Rebecca loses her friend Linda and Linda's parents.

Tragedy sends Rebecca running toward God. She embraces her faith wholeheartedly. She decides not to curse, minimizes the media she consumes and dives into purity culture. She was as devout as it gets for a teenager.

When she goes to college, the demands of piety become too much. Personal research and a class at her Catholic college begin to change what has always been a fundamental part of Rebecca's life.


065 Oklahoma Fire Fighter Wiley Gabehart: As a Marine Became an Aggressive Christian. Faith is Tested with Tough Questions. He Looks at Faith & Mental Health Transparently. He's Now an Atheist.

Aug 7, 2019 02:28:27


You have to hear this story!

He's always wanted to help people. When he became a strong Christian, it was saving people from the lake of fire. If Hell was real, Wiley was compelled to do everything in his power to save people from it.

He would stand outside ATMs on busy Friday nights preaching to people. He was attracted to an aggressive form of Christianity. Having exactly the right doctrine was very important to him. So much so, that he and his wife later struggled to find the right church. 

He wouldn't marry his wife unless she agreed to wear dresses and not celebrate Christmas, as it's a pagan celebration. She eventually agreed.

Later Wiley hears a podcast host pose a question for Christians. The host asks if Christians could admit they might possibly be wrong. When the podcast host proclaims that Christians never will admit this, Wiley thinks "challenge accepted".

His faith is tested and then his marriage. He faces questions about faith with transparency. He also decides to face OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in an honest, open way. He's a courageous human being and I'm so glad he shared his story with us.

064 Amanda Holloway: Impacted by Sexual Abuse and Mental Illness She Turns to God. She Gets a Bachelors Degree in Youth Ministry. God Does Not Help During a Mental Health Crisis. She's Now an Ex-Christian.

Jul 25, 2019 01:34:43


Amanda is realistic about life's difficulties, but also very hopeful. She wears her heart on her sleeve and hopes her story will help others going through similar challenges.

I loved her wise words about living with mental illness and how, although better off today, she still has ups and downs. She's a kindhearted person with a great sense of humor. I loved getting to chat with her. Her story is such an important one to tell.

Amanda is a newly deconverted Christian that wonders where her prayers went for the 16 years she was a Christian, she describes herself as a multiracial undomesticated goddess but understands she’s a work in progress. Amanda was raised in an emotionally neglectful household and experienced sexual abuse from a family member. She committed her life to God as a way to escape abuse and to find love. Suicide was a common theme as she struggled with undiagnosed mental illnesses. She wants others to seek help with depression and anxiety when it comes up because it can be dangerous for those to go undiagnosed. During a mental health crisis last year she realized that God was not the answer and that she needed help for depression. During that time she was also diagnosed with PTSD. Since leaving Christianity she’s been freed from the guilt and shame associated with religion and now sees the world differently. This allows her to enjoy life, laugh more, and watch Game of Thrones. She is a mother to dynamic twin boys and a wife to a strong, adventurous man. She enjoys being outdoors but not exercising, she enjoys reading only for pleasure, she enjoys watching her children laugh and play but not fight, she loves game nights, good food, and rum punch drinks. She also aspires to be a comedian. She wants others to be unencumbered by the fear of what others think and to reach out when they need help. She wants to be a safe place for herself and others.

063 Jeremy: As a Child He Preached & Gave Altar Calls. Raised Apostolic Pentecostal Christian. When God Doesn't Heal a Blind Man, His Faith is Challenged. He's Now an Atheist.

Jul 11, 2019 01:35:07


I don't think I've met anyone who was as committed a Christian at such a young age as Jeremy. He understood his faith so well as a 7 year old that his friends at daycare wanted him to debate an adult atheist! At home he was telling his father he wanted to preach. By 10 years of age he was giving altar calls. This was a child who loved the Bible and lived his faith. Things continue like this into college.

One night during a church service Jeremy attended, the preacher decided to put her faith into action. She called forward a blind man for healing. Everyone expected a miracle, but after a while nothing occurred. The man was not healed. Jeremy was troubled by the experience. This was a turning point.

When Jeremy eventually accepts he's an atheist, he has to tell his fiancé, father and pastor at his church. These were conversations that would test his most important relationships. 

He's come a long way and recently graduated from college. I had a great time talking with him and enjoyed a few laughs along the way.

062 Dying Out Loud with Dave Warnock: ALS Diagnosis and Carpe the F*****g Diem!

Jun 27, 2019 48:04


Dave was recently diagnosed with ALS and has been given 2 to 5 years to live. He has been going around the country and on podcasts speaking about his experience. Today Dave joins me to share what his life focus has been since the diagnosis.

How Christian friends and secular friends respond to Dave's news has been very different. I found this really interesting. Dave quit his job and has been living his best life now. He is writing his own story, as he puts it. Life is a collection of moments. Life is about allowing ourselves to really capture those moments and enjoy them.

He was an inspiration to talk to and you'll get so much out of this conversation. Carpe the f*cking diem! 

Dave loves connecting with people, feel free to reach out on social media:

Dave speaks at the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis on July 14, 2019. To all my Minnesota listeners, go check it out :)


061 Dana Smith: Baptist Raised in California. Homeschooled. Born to be a Missionary. Now Leans Agnostic.

Jun 11, 2019 02:15:09


What a great conversation!

Dana brings such wonderful insight into her life experiences. It was a pleasure hearing her fascinating story. 

We discuss some difficult, but important topics today. Child abuse, mental illness, substance abuse, abusive relationships and the fixation on sex by male church authorities. 

Dana was raised in a evangelical baptist church and home in California. She was homeschooled from Kindergarten though 6th grade and survived child abuse until she left her hometown to pursue academic training for missionary work. She completed several mission trips in preparation for full time ministry before concluding she could not participate in the field. She de-converted from Christianity in her 20’s and began working to help others do the same by hosting a support group in Chicago and being outspoken about her experiences on social media and in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 2013. Dana has a Biblical Studies degree from New Tribes Bible Institute and a B.A. in Applied Linguistics from Moody Bible Institute. She received her Masters in Special Education from University of Illinois Chicago. She is a political activist in her community and a teacher, tutor and therapist to children with diverse needs. She actively seeks to help abolish white supremacy and misogyny. She is currently writing a book on de-conversion, specifically from the view of intersectional feminism.

@somestarstuff on twitter (my blog)

060 Catholic Raised. Selective Mutism Prepares Her to be a Nun. Mom Gets Cancer. Grieving without God's Help

May 7, 2019 02:02:51


I was so impressed with Misty's kindness, strength and perspective.

At 4 years old Misty gets a virus, which leads to a social anxiety disorder called Selective Mutism. This prevents Misty from being able to speak. She is only able to speak with her parents and brother, but not her older sisters. Misty copes with this through most of childhood. She spent many days playing by herself and being, as she put it "in her head".

As early as 11 years old she notices depression. By her senior year in high school, it gets worse. Exposure to an atheist cousin has an impact, but she feels a calling to be a nun.

Her years experiencing selective mutism pave the way to her calling as a cloistered nun, taking a vow of silence. Misty's mom thinks she should be a writer (spoiler alert: she is now a reporter for two newspapers....and she loves it!).

Tragically, her mother is later diagnosed with cancer and not long after passes away. Misty wonders if God wanted her mother to die, since her mother didn't think Misty should be a nun.

Misty learns to grieve without God's help. She grows closer to her father. Her religious and political views change...and it turns out catholic boys aren't necessarily the best boys to date. 

Spring Update: VOD News, Upcoming Episodes, Emails and Podcasts I've Been On.

Apr 16, 2019 12:58


059 Timoree Branson: Church was Life. Faith Starts Fracturing. Difficult Talks with Her Christian Husband & Children

Mar 19, 2019 01:50:25


A truly touching and inspiring story.

Christianity was everything for Timoree. It helped her with sobriety, mental illness and was a source of comfort. You can imagine that when faith begins to fracture, how unsettling and scary it was for her. 

The most important things in her life were at stake. Somehow, she still found the courage to face this challenge head on. Timoree tells the tearful, but moving stories of how she told her husband and children that she is not a Christian. Her son is a youth pastor! 

The beautiful thing about her story is the emphasis on relationships: our relationships with our spouse, children and friends. The value of having good people in our life is priceless. 


058 Janice Selbie of Divorcing Religion: Raised Evangelical. Showed Submission w/a Head Covering. She's now Agnostic Atheist.

Mar 6, 2019 01:09:42


Janice was an all-or-nothing kind of Christian.

Her life takes a turn toward fundamentalism when her husband is going to school to be a pastor. She chooses to show her submission to her husband by wearing a head covering and not wearing jewelry or make-up. She went through some tremendously difficult experiences: Her daughter's illness, difficulties in her marriage and a family member jailed for murder.

Janice brings amazing insight regarding how we see faith through the lens of our personality. She talks about how as Christians, there was always the danger of fundamentalism becoming our identity. As fundamentalist Christians, if faith is questioned it can be interpreted as a threat to our personhood. Now an Agnostic-Atheist Janice has focused her time and energy into helping others.

Check out her Divorcing Religion Workshop at:

Find her on Social Media:






Full Bio

Janice was born and raised in a charismatic Christian home, attending Pentecostal, Vineyard, and other evangelical churches before eventually marrying a pastor. In her 30s, Janice became ultraconservative, donning a head-covering, homeschooling her children, and rejecting any vestiges of secular life (TV, radio, music, newspapers, magazines, etc.).“I referred to myself as ‘Mennocostal,’ frequently attending closed Mennonite churches run by the Holdemann Mennonites.” It wasn’t until her 40s that Janice began experiencing doubts about her deeply held faith. As her marriage unraveled, her questions grew. “I felt like a beach ball held beneath the water for too long. My sadness, confusion, and anger became so intense that I knew I had to leave it all behind.”

After ending her decades-long marriage, Janice went back to school to attain her Diploma of Applied Psychology and Counselling.“My passion is to help others who are experiencing the tremendous losses associated with religious de-conversion. My own journey could have been easier if I had been able to connect with even one other person who had walked away from their faith and built a healthy life afterward.”  These painful experiences influenced Janice to develop the Divorcing Religion workshop so that others can gain knowledge and tools to help with their own journey out of fundamentalist religions.  In the workshop, she helps participants gain perspective about their journey, build supportive communities, and learn how to avoid being ensnared by other forms of fundamentalism in the future.



057 Firing God author Cheryl Abram. Family of Ministers & Church 6 Days a Week. Tells God to F*** Off

Feb 20, 2019 49:42


Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Cheryl Abram. 

She's author of the book Firing God. Check it out on her website:

So many great stories in this episode! We hear how her southern Louisiana family is chalk full of deacons and ministers. She attended Church 6-days a week! As things get more difficult later in life, she finds herself giving God one-last go. Her pastor gives her a book to read. What she reads in that book causes her to tell God to F*** Off.

On a lighter note, she cracked me up with her story of watching Christopher Hitchens debates secretly in her room. So awesome & so hilarious! 

At the end of our conversation she elaborates on the meaning behind the title, Firing God. I loved her explanation so much. It was such an empowering idea. I trust you'll love it too.

056 Joy Unspeakable: Toxic Faith and Rose-Colored Glasses. Joy Hopper's Memoir

Feb 6, 2019 01:29:57


What a Journey!

Joy was 3 when separated from her siblings and family of origin. It happened without warning. Her foster family were fundamentalist Christians in Idaho. 

She grew up in the church and had mostly a positive experience. She got lots of attention and love in church. As a child her feet get run over by a lawnmower. She believes God can heal her and goes in front of the church to be healed.

Later in life she marries, becomes a missionary in Taiwan and raises 6 kids in the church. When one of her daughters returns from a trip to Europe her views have changed, and Joy noticed!

As a Christian mother, Joy is very unsettled by her daughter's new views. However, down the road when Joy begins to research and question her own beliefs, her daughter is excited to hear about it!

Joy eventually sits down with all her children to share her new views. Her message to her children is unconditional love and support, no matter what they choose to believe for themselves.

Joy Hopper's memoir is called Joy Unspeakable: Toxic Faith and Rose-Colored Glasses. You can find it in paperback or Kindle.


055 Cass Midgley: Everyone's Agnostic Podcast Host/Oklahoma Born/Christianity Gave Purpose & Hope/Earns Masters in Theology at Vanderbilt as an Atheist

Jan 21, 2019 01:40:25


Today I finally had the privilege to meet Cass Midgley!

His podcast (Everyone's Agnostic) was the first podcast I found that shared deconversion stories. This has been so encouraging to me through the years and played a big role in helping me process my deconversion.

He's an open book and a straight shooter. The longer you listen to Cass, the more you'll discover an incredibly insightful, compassionate and generous human being. 

Cass Midgley earned his Masters in Theological Studies from Vanderbilt University in 2013…as an atheist. Cass started the Everyone's Agnostic podcast in 2014 with friend and former co-host Bob Pondillo. Everyone's Agnostic podcast now has over half a million downloads! 

As a boy, Cass knew there was a God; the two were close, personal friends.  Born and raised in Oklahoma, Cass walked right into Christianity. Christianity gave him a great life: purpose, friends, community, hope, etc.  

In 2004, at age 38, he left the church and began thinking and reading things he would not allow himself to while a Christian. 

​When not uniting the deconvert community, Cass also enjoys his daily crossword puzzle, watching college basketball, and drinking cheap gin & tonic with lots of lime. Cass is also a Humanist Chaplain who officiates non-religious weddings and funerals for all genders and orientations. 

Winter Update - Personal News and Some Podcast News

Jan 15, 2019 10:34


I want to update all of you on what's been happening since the last episode. This is a brief update on some personal stuff and also some podcast stuff. 

I'm currently editing my episode with Cass Midgley of Everyone's Agnostic podcast. That will be out in the coming days.

Thanks for being such awesome listeners! I appreciate you all.

054 April Choi: Korean Immigrant/Seminary Student/Teacher in Georgia Public Schools/Eyes Opened by Church History.

Dec 16, 2018 02:09:21


Loved this conversation! 

What a fascinating and unique experience. April has so many wonderful stories to share.

Some highlights: Her parents immigration from Korea, the origin of their Christianity, Korean superstitions and what it was like to be raised Presbyterian. She's forced to speak in tongues as a child. She later decides to go to Seminary and is a youth pastor for several years.

She experiences regular stress, sickness and depression as a Christian. Church history opens her eyes. When she stops going to church, her sickness stops and her liberation begins!

She taught in Georgia Public Schools for 24 years. She loves to travel and also spends time helping new immigrants to America get registered to vote.

053 Stars from Streetlights: Musicians Austrian & Steve Discuss Deconversion & Their New Song "Heathen"

Nov 29, 2018 02:05:26


Today we hear from Austrian Graf and Steve Birss of Lethbridge, Alberta. They discuss their new song "Heathen" and share their diverse journeys out of charismatic Christianity. 

Each was raised by a single mom. However, their mothers influenced them in very unique ways. 

We talk about the Jesus movement, leg lengthening, calvinism and Christian tattoos. We hear about the impact of drug dealing and jail, overcoming an eating disorder and healing from trauma. 

A wonderful and positive takeaway-learning that we have the power within ourselves to overcome life's difficulties. Another great takeaway- learning to repurpose and redefine our experience. Last but not least-being gracious to ourselves.




052 Emancipation of a Black Atheist. Author D.K. Evans Shares His Journey out of Christianity

Nov 6, 2018 01:14:56


Today I have the privilege of speaking with author Dauv Evans. Dauv shares his journey out of Christianity and we discuss his book "Emancipation of a Black Atheist". 

2012 was a decisive year for Dauv. He got married, had a child and moved from North Carolina to Tennessee. This is also when Dauv started seriously questioning why he believed in God.  

His mother always taught him to think critically when he was growing up. This value instilled in childhood became pivotal to his journey. When Dauv tells his mother he's not a Christian, she initially responds predictably. It's only later that he discovers her feelings were much more complicated. 

Dauv's wife becomes an ex-Christian too (still considering herself spiritual). They decide to share the news with her family. Dauv's family and his wife's family have various intriguing responses. Their experience will resonate with anyone who has come-out ex-Christian to Christian family members.  





051 Leah Nitcher: Fundamentalist to Atheist-Back & Forth. Mental Health Battle (she's a fighter). Giving God an Ultimatum.

Oct 26, 2018 01:26:23


This is an incredible story! 

Leah's life reaches a turning point in April 2018. Raised in fundamentalist Christianity, she is intensely aware of the threat of hell and the rapture as a little girl. At one point, she thought her family was raptured and she was left behind! This terrified her.

As she moves into high school she begins to ask some unwelcome questions and makes some controversial statements in church. (She compares Osama Bin-Laden and Jesus!) This leads to her first bout of atheism. 

Although her theology becomes more progressive, she finds herself sucked back into a very fundamentalist church group. At this point, mental health struggles reach a critical point. 

*Trigger warning re: abuse (emotional, physical, sexual) and suicide from about the 50 min. mark to 1hr. 5min.

I loved hearing how Leah eventually turned a corner. As she put it, "I started to get better the moment I stepped away from Christianity".

Hearing about her experience was powerful and inspiring.

Instagram: olive.poetry


050 Andrew Jasko: Minister Prepping for Missions to India/Bible Caused Mental Distress/Quits Ministry/Starts Over as an Atheist.

Oct 12, 2018 01:32:15


Studying for a doctorate in clinical psychology, Andrew is now an atheist. Not long ago, he was a Pentecostal minister (Master of Divinity from Princeton Seminary) with a certain calling to be a missionary in India. What changed?

In graduate school, Andrew realizes he must address some mental health issues. The Bible's teachings were causing psychological distress. His experience of religion as trauma is very common and such important an important issue!

His journey takes him from minister and missionary-to-be, to psychedelics and Burning Man. His dream is to help people heal from religion and dogmatic ideologies.

He offers private coaching, speaks at events, facilitates workshops and blogs at


049 Gary Hogue: Endures Homelessness, Jail and Tragedy. An Ex-Mormon's Inspiring Story!

Sep 28, 2018 01:08:59


Gary was born in Utah and raised a Mormon. He even dreamt of Joseph Smith at 4 years old! Gary had a strict upbringing. He also moved around the country a lot growing up.

Just after High School he ends up married and has a son. Soon Gary finds himself homeless, then in jail and later he endures a heart wrenching tragedy.  

Gary's story is truly inspirational! He has endured some incredibly difficult circumstances in life. He is now an atheist ex-Mormon and doing great!



048 Richard (Tales from the Church): Satanic Panic, Indoctrinating Kids and Being Raised Southern Baptist with a Pentecostal Twist

Sep 13, 2018 01:29:42


Richard describes his deconversion as more of a realization. I loved that description.

We get into so many awesome topics in this interview. We discuss everything from the Satanic Panic of the 1980's to the harm done when children are indoctrinated. 

Richard has always loved music. He talks about growing up listening to artists like Marilyn Manson & Nine Inch Nails and how this clashed with his mother's views. We talk about travel, teaching special education and mental health too. 

Check out Richard's new YouTube channel: Tales from the Church

Twitter: @ChurchTales



047 Objectively Dan: Methodist Raised, He Loved Camp Ministry. Wanted Good Reasons to Believe. He Encounters Street Epistemology!

Aug 28, 2018 01:19:06


Dan has a fascinating story!

Here's a video of Dan when he was a Christian and his faith is challenged through street epistemology:

Dan is from Texas and was raised Methodist growing up (later attending a Baptist church). Dan loved the church community and really lived out his faith. Camp ministry was particularly enjoyable for him. 

Dan sought out good reasons to back up his faith. It's this journey that leads to atheism. When he tells his parents of these new views, things go over much worse than anticipated.

Dan is now part of the Secular Student Alliance at Baylor University. He also has a great Youtube channel, which you can subscribe to here:

He is now host of the show, Truth Wanted. This is a call-in show about getting to the bottom of beliefs. Be sure to follow the show on Facebook:

Twitter: @ObjectivelyDan






Busy Summer Update!

Aug 22, 2018 02:56


Here's a quick update :)

Thanks for listening!

046 Nicki: Grew up Charismatic & Loved It! Learns to Read People. She Rebels, Then Returns. Her Mom's a Prophet. Doubts Persist, Atheism Follows.

Aug 1, 2018 02:14:28


Nicki's story has so many twists and turns, I absolutely loved it! This episode flies by.

Her Dad saw Jesus in the passenger seat of his truck. Her mom became a prophet. Nicki learns to read people, crack eggs on their heads and help women become pregnant through prayer.

She goes to beauty school and rebels, then become's the prodigal child. She meets the perfect Christian husband and starts a family. 

When doubts persist, she seeks out life-changing counseling. The fallout is significant. As an ex-Christian, Nicki finds her friendships are incredibly important.

045 Christine Goodrich: Forsaking Faith Co-Host. Raised Charismatic is Now Atheist. She Sought God and Felt Guilt. Her Mom was an Evangelist.

Jul 19, 2018 01:34:27


What a great conversation!

At a young age Christine's family moved from New York to Oklahoma, so her mom could train to be an evangelist at Oral Roberts University. Her childhood memories include, nearly memorizing the movie Jesus of Nazareth and road trips to see evangelists Benny Hinn and R.W. Schambach!

Despite being saturated in charismatic Christianity, Christine struggled with guilt from, as she put it "not feeling it, like other Christians felt it". Nevertheless, Christine sought God with all her heart.

She is now an atheist and started the brand new podcast, Forsaking Faith with her friend Heather Bailey (hear Heather's story in episode 041) 

The theme of friendship, specifically genuine friendship with Christians, is an important part of Christine's story. This kindness expressed by both Christine and Heather carries over into their podcast. 

Forsaking Faith is a much needed podcast, so check it out and tell a friend :)




Twitter: @SecularHangouts @forsakingfaith


The Happiness Hypothesis:



044 Eva Quinones: President of Humanistas Seculares de Puerto Rico who Sued the Government for Separation of Church and State. She's a Humanist Agnostic-Atheist

Jul 7, 2018 01:29:03


I had such a great time talking with Eva!

Our interview has a different flow than most episodes, but it's a nice change of pace. We discuss a variety of topics: How people on the island are still recovering from hurricane Maria, politics in Puerto Rico and some awesome work being done by Secular Humanists of Puerto Rico. 

Additionally, she shares some exciting news about freethinkers in South America! There was a first ever conference and Dan Barker (you'll remember him from episode 001 of the podcast) was one of the featured speakers.

We touch on Eva's path to Humanist Agnostic-Atheism about halfway through. Eva tells some great stories and has a great sense of humor.





043 Ric Caliolio: Baptized Roman Catholic. Loves Science. Trades Fatalism for Self-Determination as an Agnostic-Atheist

Jun 21, 2018 01:25:36


Ric was born and raised in the Philippines. He was baptized as an infant into the Roman Catholic church. Ric teaches me about Anticipated Mass and how malls in the Philippines host Catholic Mass! 

Ric loved biology and evolution from a young age. We discuss the different ways catholics and evangelicals view science. A big life lesson that Ric gained in deconversion was leaving the fatalistic thinking of a christian and learning self-determination. This is a HUGE part of so many of our deconversions, mine included! It's an amazing moment when you realize that you're in control and don't need to have "Jesus take the wheel" (as Ric jokingly noted).

VICE Article:


042 L.A. & T: Pastor for 26 Yrs., Deconverts & Church Leaders Follow! His Radio Contract Gets Torn Up. He's a Top 300 Minister. Change Begins in India.

Jun 8, 2018 02:05:22


This is such a remarkable story...

He's only been out from behind the pulpit for 6 months! He served as a minister for 26 years. This story has so many twists and turns, ups and downs.  

I can't begin to tell you all the fascinating moments L.A. shares with me today. He's joined by his wife T. They decided to use their nicknames for today's interview.

From a radio contract that seemed promising, to a tearful proclamation that he's been called to be a pastor.

Later in life L.A. and T experience a terrible loss, but their faith is strong. They encounter the fraudulent leaders of Evangelical America, but their faith persists. L.A. is even named a top 300 minister in America.

A chance trip to India changes everything! 


You can reach L.A. & T or check out his blog


041 Heather Bailey: Forsaking Faith Podcast Co-Host. From Dancing Charismatic to Agnostic.

May 23, 2018 01:36:11


Heather is co-host of the upcoming podcast, Forsaking Faith.

She does a wonderful job describing what life was like growing up in a non-denominational church. From being on the church dance team to being taught that her relationship with Christ should be intimate, like a romantic relationship. These things make a big impression on her growing up and make deconversion that much harder down the road.

A succession of events in her life build up. Her final straw is a seemingly average conversation with a woman at her church over lunch. That conversation has an immense impact on Heather. I loved hearing this story because to me, it makes the contrast between Heather's two potential futures so clear. You can sense the power that moment had for Heather, as she shares this story.

She  also shares her feelings on difficult topics, such as death, the concept of a just world and what happened (or didn't) when she stopped praying. 

Feel free to connect with Heather or her co-host Christine:





040 Black Nonbelievers Inc. Founder & President: Mandisa Thomas

May 2, 2018 01:11:13


Mandisa Thomas, a native of New York, is founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., which is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Although never formally raised Christian, she was definitely impacted by the Christianity around her. Her parents were both Black Nationalists, which had a significant impact on her growing up. Mandisa has a unique and fascinating upbringing.

We also get to hear what motivated Mandisa to start Blacknonbelievers and how it became the organization it is today. She shares some thought-provoking statistics about the increasing religiousness amongst black Americans. Finally, she has some wonderful advice for the atheist community at the end of our discussion.

1 Year Anniversary Podcast!!!

Apr 18, 2018 29:48


It's Our 1 Year Anniversary!!!

To celebrate the first year of the Voices of Deconversion podcast, I decided to do something different. I wanted to do something that reflected on our first year.

If you listen to the podcast you'll know that I love quotes (I start each episode with one). I combined that with the podcast's goal of encouraging atheist & agnostic ex-Christians. The result is a compilation of quotes from my guests.

One of my favorite questions to ask is: When you think about a person who's just deconverted, what encouragement or piece of guidance would you give them?

I took each of my guests' answers to that question and compiled them together for this episode. Although there are a few themes, each guest gave a unique response. I really enjoyed listening back through to them.

Thank you VOD listeners! It has been so much fun this past year. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you tuning into the podcast. It's been wonderful getting to know so many of you.

I love hearing from listeners, even just a quick hello. I'm most active on Twitter @vodpodcast, but you can always email me

Thanks for a great year!


038 Vilmarie Perez: Raised Evangelical. Becoming Less for God Leads to a Serious Problem. Came Out to Her Mother & was Forced to Move.

Apr 4, 2018 51:26


My guest today is Vilmarie Perez.

Her father was a preacher, her step-father a pastor and her aunt had her own church. Raised in a strong evangelical family, she begins to experience some real difficulties in adolescence. 

Her Christian upbringing leads to a desire to become "less" for God and family. She develops an eating disorder. In the next year or two she comes out to her mother and also becomes an atheist. Her mother forces her to move from the States back to Puerto Rico with her father. This is traumatic for Vilmarie, as she leaves behind her friends and the life she knows. 

I was inspired by her story and you will be too!


Jesus Camp (movie)

Tumblr: ExChristian

Secular Student Alliance

037 Benibo Ajumogobia: From Lagos, Nigeria. Mom was a Deaconess, Dad an Elder. At 16 He Cuts Out Friends, Vows Celibacy. 9/11, Howard U and CSPAN Impact Faith. Now He's Agnostic-Atheist

Mar 21, 2018 01:51:23


My guest today is Benny (Benibo) Ajumogobia.

He was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. His mom was a deaconess, and dad an Elder. The charismatic church he was raised in had some BIG differences compared to American charismatic churches. The emphasis on witchcraft is one example.

At 16 Benny responds to an alter call at a revival meeting in the U.K. His faith takes a serious turn. He decides to cut off all friendships for the sake of his faith. He also takes a vow of celibacy.

The events of 9/11 and attending Howard University have an influence on him, but he remained a committed conservative Christian. Years later, a show on CSPAN would have an enormous impact on his faith. He's now an agnostic-atheist.

Ex-Christians on Reddit:

036 Treigg Turner: Baptist Preacher's Kid. Took the Bible Seriously. Seeds of Doubt Grow into Atheism. Joins Black Non-Believers of Cincinnati

Mar 7, 2018 01:31:49


Treigg shares an array of experiences and touches on some fascinating topics. He grew up a Baptist preacher's kid and took the Bible VERY seriously. He later helped with the youth ministry in his mom's church and even had his own church TV show! 

Seeds of doubt are planted throughout his life. One begins when he notices his friends parents listening to secular music. This was a major moment for Treigg. His parents only played gospel music. Another seed of doubt is when Treigg begins discussing God's allowance of slavery with an agnostic friend.

Treigg has to share his new views with his parents as he realizes how much of his world was wrapped up in religion. His search for community leads to Skeptics of Color in Cincinnati, which evolved into Black Non-Believers of Cincinnati.

The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins:


035 Ian Redfearn - Part 2: Resigns Church Membership. Tells His Wife He Can't Do Church Anymore. Talks Atheist Spirituality & Awesome Quotes!

Feb 28, 2018 52:09


The second half of my conversation with Ian is wonderful! 

We start with him resigning membership at his church, then discuss atheist spirituality. He shares observations about how church doesn't seem to make people any better.

Ian tells me how he prepared to tell his wife he couldn't go to church anymore. Her reaction was amazing! Finally, Ian ends on such an inspirational note. He shares a quote from the movie, The Life of Pi and also a quote from Dr. Who. As you probably know, I love quotes! These two in particular were very moving to me.

Thanks for listening!

035 Ian Redfearn - Part 1: Billy Graham, Christian Dental Fellowship & the Toronto Blessing Play Key Roles. Ian & His Wife Face Serious Health Challenges to Her & Their Son. God Calls Him to Lead. Later Observations & Questions Cause a Big Change

Feb 21, 2018 01:04:01


It was so much fun to meet and speak with Ian!

I loved hearing of his experience as a charismatic Christian in England. Definitely there are similarities to those of us in the U.S., but important differences too.

Ian has so many factors that played a role in shaping his faith. From seeing Billy Graham speak in person, to seeking out a Dental practice that was part of the Christian Dental Fellowship and his experience with the Toronto Blessing. As a young family, Ian and his wife received difficult news about her health and that of their first-born son.  

God calls Ian to lead. Ian gets some practice preaching. Seeing the influence of Answers in Genesis at his church is a significant turning point. Subsequent observations and questions prove to be the start of a big life change!

034 Diversity, Your Feedback, Connecting and What's New with Voices of Deconversion!

Feb 15, 2018 16:56


This is a mini-episode without an interview, but I have some important things to talk about related to the podcast. I discuss diversity, your feedback, connecting and what's new for Voices of Deconversion!

Thanks for listening, I appreciate you!

Say hello on Twitter: @vodpodcast, Facebook: or email:

033 Bill Finley - Part 2: Helps on Skid Row, Meets a Retired Rabbi, His Daughter Questions the Trinity, Told by His Church He Doesn't Have Enough Faith!

Feb 7, 2018 45:57


Be Excellent to Each Other!

In part 2, Bill discusses his time helping people out on Skid Row in Los Angeles. He encounters people who make a huge impact on his life, including a rabbi he decided was most certainly not going to hell.

Bill's family moves from southern California to Alaska! His daughter begins asking who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. She questions the Trinity.

Bill transitions to CFO of his congregation. When the church wants to spend money they don't have, Bill advises against it. Their response to Bill triggers a big change in his life.

I absolutely loved this quote from Bill:

"If their theology was right and what they believed was true, it would've made people a lot better".

Everyone's Agnostic podcast:

Life After God podcast:


Good Without God by Greg Epstein-

Why I Left, Why I Stayed by Bart Campolo and Tony Campolo:




033 Bill Finley - Part 1: Mediates for Divorced Parents. Boy Scouts is Stabilizing. B.A. in the Bible. Officer/Minister in Salvation Army Twelve Yrs. Now Humanist.

Jan 31, 2018 53:07


Bill starts our conversation discussing the difficulties he experienced when his parents divorced. As a child, Bill had no warning the day his mom decided to pack up their stuff and move out. 

Boy Scouts became a stabilizing force in Bill's junior high and high school years, as he became the de facto mediator between his parents.

He moved to Colorado for college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies.

Bill and his wife served as Officers/Ministers in the Salvation Army for over twelve years. They now attend a Unitarian church and Bill considers himself a Humanist.

032 Krista Cox: Feminist Humanist Alliance Advisory Board Member, Poet, Passionate About Emotional Health & Advocacy for Victims and Marginalized Communities.

Jan 25, 2018 57:27


Krista Cox is a poet, Program Director of Lit Literary Collective, Associate Poetry Editor at Stirring: A Literary Collection and Pittsburgh Poetry Review.  She's also on the Advisory Board for the Feminist Humanist Alliance.

She has an inspiring story to tell. 

Following a traumatic experience in a relationship she spent years not feeling like herself. She explained it like a switch being flipped. When it begins to impact her son, the switch flips back. Her resilience and determination when she describes that moment were really inspiring to me. Her instincts kicked in. 

Late in the interview she describes how she is "drawn to joy". I loved the way she explained that and found it to be incredibly hopeful!

Learn more about Krista and her work at:


031 Ryan Bell: National Organizer Manager at Secular Student Alliance. Host of the Life After God podcast.

Jan 17, 2018 01:03:13


In this week's episode, Ryan Bell shares his compelling story of deconversion. Ryan also talks about what he's been up to since joining the Secular Student Alliance as National Organizer Manager.

I've been looking forward to meeting Ryan for a while, so it was wonderful to finally speak with him. Although I'm familiar with Ryan's story, I learned some fascinating new details during our conversation.

He explains what convinced him to stop pursuing Pre-Med in college and become a pastor. He also shares what motivated him to live in Nicaragua for 6 weeks. Finally, it was fun to hear the story of how his "Year Without God" blog went viral, resulting in breakfast with Penn Jillette. 

Ryan spent nearly 20 years in congregational pastoral ministry. His very public deconversion in 2014 is documented in his blog, “Year Without God”. Since that time, Ryan has been a writer and speaker on the subjects of religion, humanism and justice. In 2015, he founded the Life After God community and is the host of the Life After God podcast. His writing can be found at The Humanist, CNN, and The Guardian.






030 Ariel Pontes - Part 2: Religion Hijacks Curiosity & Stops Inquiry. Searching for Meaning While Becoming Atheist. Making the World a Better Place. Embracing Humanism.

Jan 10, 2018 43:38


In Part 2, Ariel discusses his transition out of Christianity and into atheism. He searches for meaning in life and finds it in Humanism. He talks about what he likes best about being a Humanist, what stayed the same about him after his deconversion and making a difference in the world.

He's also a web developer and blogs at







030 Ariel Pontes - Part 1: Raised in Brazil w/Catholicism & Spiritism. Sought an Out-of-Body Experience, Began Asking Questions. Now a Humanist, He Chairs the Americas Working Group at IHEYO

Jan 4, 2018 39:43



Ariel was raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-well known for being a very Catholic country. However, Ariel describes how spiritism, reincarnation and out-of-body experiences are a normal part of Christianity in Brazil.

In his early teen years he sought out how he could have an out-of-body experience. He began asking questions to learn more...and that's when things take a turn. 

He is now Chair of the Americas Working Group at IHEYO (International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organization):


He's also a web developer and blogs at

He currently lives and works in Bucharest, Romania.

029 Vennie Kocsis - Part 2: Banished from Alaska Cult/Adjusting to Normal Life/Authentic Self/Raising Freethinking Kids

Dec 28, 2017 49:15


This is the second-half of my conversation with Vennie Kocsis, a cult survivor.

Vennie left off in part 1 when her family had just been banished from the cult in Alaska. It was fascinating to hear how very practical, everyday things were new to her, like wearing jeans. 

As she adjusted to normal life, she began to exude independence. As she grows into young-adulthood she discovers a variety of beliefs and tries out several of them. We also discuss raising freethinking kids, which is always interesting for Ex-Christians. 

Vennie devouts a lot of her time to raising awareness about modern-day cults. If you'd like to support Vennie or learn more about her work, check out her website:



029 Vennie Kocsis - Part 1: Cult and Abuse Survivor. The Family Moved to a Compound When She Was a Little Girl. She Witnessed Rituals and Animal Sacrifice. In Her Teen Years Her Family is Banished.

Dec 20, 2017 42:53


Vennie lives in the Pacific Northwest, in the United States. She is an author, artist and podcaster.

Through her podcast "Survivor Voices" and her other work, Vennie stands beside fellow cult and abuse survivors, encouraging them that they're not alone.

Being raised in a cult, Vennie endured some of the most difficult experiences a child could go through. She survived mental, physical and sexual abuse in the cult. Although she doesn't go into a lot of detail, she does discuss the abuse. 

*Please be aware that in this episode we discuss mental, physical & sexual abuse. If these topics are a trigger for you, or if this is a particularly difficult subject, please take note before deciding to listen. Also note that she briefly discusses animal sacrifice that occurred within the cult.

She's quite courageous to speak so candidly about these difficult issues. I admire all the work she does in bringing awareness about cults and supporting those who have survived cults and abuse.

You can find her art, writings and podcast at





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

Dec 13, 2017 01:02:40


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 self.


Forest-Silvus Stanley Lipford


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.

Dec 5, 2017 59:29


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 friends start to take notice.

When Forest is in Ireland for a mission, it's revealed to those in leadership that he has been showing signs of self harm and an eating disorder.

I want to thank Forest for being willing to be so open about an experience in his life that was incredibly difficult.

Forest's story is fascinating and he was so articulate and reflective about his journey. He was a wonderful guest! 

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.

Nov 29, 2017 46:37


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: @GracefulAtheist


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.

Nov 22, 2017 43:26


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 Christina, it's the final straw. 
After 20 years of Christianity his faith broke down in 2015. 

He respects and cares for those who remain in their faith. David is interested in finding evidence based truth. He want's to discover and communicate the subtleties of why some believe, some do not and some change their minds.

@GracefulAtheist on Twitter

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

Nov 15, 2017 01:10:31


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 respond and relate to Christians when they ask us to pray for them. As a physician, she's occasionally been asked to pray when delivering difficult news to her patients. 

Dr. Haralabatos received her MD from Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine and served her residency in internal medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital. She completed her fellowship training in Allergy and Immunology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She is Board Certified in Allergy and Immunology. 





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!

Nov 8, 2017 57:54


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 catholic-self with his skeptic-self. 

He's got a great personality and was a lively and entertaining guest. I had a great time interviewing him.


Support Masa Critica Here!








Atheists of Columbia:






Dan Barker's Book - Losing Faith in Faith:


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.

Nov 1, 2017 47:32


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 Spreaker every Tuesday at 10:30pm, Central Standard Time. For our Spanish speaking listeners, definitely give it a listen!  

Support Masa Critica Here!










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.

Oct 25, 2017 55:34


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 loved were his comments on having compassion for our former Christian selves. The result of this is extending that compassion to those around us. A positive and wonderful message!

This journey, although difficult, was exciting. It was like being a pioneer who's finding his own way.



Lawrence O'Donnell Losing His Mind!


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.

Oct 18, 2017 45:01



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 planted others.

He has a Masters in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, as well as a Diploma in Religious Studies and Ministry from McGill University in Montreal.

In 2010 he left the professional paid clergy after almost 30 years of ministry. 

He started the blog called nakedpastor in 2006, and initiated his public undressing of religion, religious community and spirituality through writings, art and cartoons. Thousands of people are challenged and entertained by nakedpastor every day.

In 2012, he launched The Lasting Supper, an online resource site and community for spiritually independent people to help themselves find companionship and support for their spiritual journeys. 

His art, cartoons, writings, and books have found their way all around the world.

He lives with his wife Lisa on the beautiful Kennebecasis River near Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. They have 3 grown children. And a dog, Sophie.

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

Oct 11, 2017 30:48


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 Facebook:




Darren's Sermon:



Darren's Resource:





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

Oct 4, 2017 38:46


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.


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?

Sep 26, 2017 01:00:47


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 B.S., but now what does he believe in?

We also discuss petting Pandas, short haired Jesus and The System! 

He's a great guy with insightful answers and some great takeaways at the end.


The Brighter Light Podcast:

#BLP or just look up Brighter Light Podcast


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

Sep 19, 2017 40:38


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.


Make it easy for people to find the podcast, by leaving a review here:



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

Sep 13, 2017 48:50


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.

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.

Sep 5, 2017 01:16:41


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 the island. Gerardo's activism focuses mostly in bringing attention to the increasing amount of violations to the Separation of Church and State in the island's government and guiding the development of more secular student groups in other Puerto Rico universities. He has a passion for science and philosophy, and believes deeply in equal rights for all under law. 



Hemant Mehta:

Pascal's Wager:

Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, by David Hume:

God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins &
God is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens:

Secular Humanist Association UPRM:

Humanistas Seculares de Puerto Rico:

Atheists of Puerto Rico:

Gerardo Miguel Rivera:




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

Aug 29, 2017 38:31


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 Jane







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

Aug 22, 2017 42:28


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 has so many wonderful things to say, but this quote from her interview is really touching and one of my favorites. I had to share it here: 

"In life there isn't always an answer, there isn't always something to explain. Sometimes you just sit there and it's hard, and things are broken and you just have to kind of sit-in-there and wait for time to heal it."


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

Aug 15, 2017 01:17:29


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 introduction, can be found along with his other music at

Stephen's Resources

Everyone's Agnostic Podcast with Cass Midgley and Dr. Bob Pondillo

Angels and Airwaves: The Revelator





Bill O'Reilly:"We'll Do It Live"!!!












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.

Aug 8, 2017 01:08:27


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 difficulties with his mother at home and decides to run away.

Stephen grew to love music and has now created some fantastic music of his own! It's unique and a lot of fun to listen to. Check it out:

Don't miss part 2 of my interview with Stephen. He explains his deconversion and discusses coming-out in more ways than one.  

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

Jul 18, 2017 01:03:00


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 atheist. @vodpodcast





017 Steve Hilliker - Part 1: Dreams Don't Come True, Trust in God Deepens. Life-Altering Decisions Are Made, Then Later Challenged

Jul 13, 2017 01:01:17


I grew up in a conservative Christian home. We went to church every Sunday. God was a very important part of my life.

As I realized my childhood dreams weren't panning out, my trust and commitment to God grew stronger in high school. I began studying the Bible and loved it! I enjoyed occasionally preaching at youth group and attended 3 churches a week for a time. I wanted to live out my faith, so I stopped swearing, listening to secular music and watched mainly family friendly movies. In high school, this also meant avoiding any partying.

After my freshman year at Washington State University, I came home and Krissy and I began dating. We got married a few years later. We wanted to trust God in everything, so that included family planning!  

I transferred to Trinity Lutheran College and began working toward my Bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies. I loved studying and preaching the Bible, so becoming a pastor was a solid decision, or so we thought.

As life became increasingly difficult to manage (full time work and school, two kids under age 2, depression), our plan for life and understanding of God began to be challenged.

016 Skeptic Nikki - Raised in the Bible Belt of Tennessee as an Evangelical Christian. She Explored Hinduism, Buddhism and New Age Beliefs. A Friend Prompted Her Toward Atheism.

Jul 5, 2017 01:47:38


Nikki Terry (Skeptic Nikki) was raised an evangelical fundamentalist Christian in the Bible belt of Tennessee. After years of following suit and hoping this would lead to acceptance she realized she didn't see eye to eye with the limited thinking around her. 

In college she explored hinduism, buddhism and new age beliefs. She spent hundreds on crystals chakra readings, Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle books. The only thing new age about her now are two Sanskrit tattoos. Prompting from a friend helped her make her way from agnostic to atheist. 

Skeptic Nikki was born on Twitter and has become an influential platform for atheism, logic and education. Her blog is in the works, in addition to a video podcast using socratic and epistemological questioning and motivational interviewing to help people move away from entrapping religious belief.

Nikki and her fiancé live in Atlanta, Georgia.







Matt Dillahunty

Stated Clearly

Street Epistemology: Anthony Magnabosco

Dr. Robert Sapolsky Matt Dillahunty

Dr. Paul Bloom: Intro to Psychology






Thank You Listeners!!!

Jun 29, 2017 06:37


We are SO excited that you are tuning in to the podcast!  

In this six minute episode we wanted to share a handful of the comments we have received from you, the listeners. 

Mostly, we want to tell you how much we appreciate you. Every download, share, like, tweet, etc...they matter and we are grateful.

We are interested in providing a variety of unique guest interviews from diverse perspectives. If you want to share your deconversion story, contact us. We'd love to hear from you.



Public Facebook Page: 

Secret Facebook Page:
Contact me if interested, we screen those who join to ensure it's a safe group for atheists and agnostics to support one another, vent, post humorous memes or news relevant to the atheist/agnostic community.

Finally, because I am a lover of geography and I didn't want to bore you during the episode, here is a list of all the places we have received downloads of the podcast. I think this is SO cool!

U.S. - Every state but 8 (not gonna name names or anything, but HI, ND, SD, OK, WI, DE, NJ and RI...where you at?!?)

Canada - From B.C. to Nova Scotia! Excited to see our neighbors to the north coming back each week!

Australia - Western, South, New South Wales and Queensland you rock! It makes us happy to have you as regular listeners, thank you!

U.K. -  Southern and central regions mostly, lots in Hillingdon and Surrey! We're glad to have so many listeners there!

France - You joined us recently, but already 5th most downloads! Tres Bon!

Ireland - Literally the first place anywhere to download the podcast. Thank you for    that...and Guiness.

Sweden - Representing Scandinavia well! (You're whooping neighbor Norway in downloads, so you're our favorite up there).

Vietnam - You were downloading for a still out there Vietnam? You were our first downloads in Asia...come back!

Japan - Newest country of the bunch, but on pace to be downloading France-style. Keep on listening...we're excited to have you!

Costa Rica - Representing Central America! Joined us recently and we're glad you did. Thank you Costa Rica! 

Honorable Mentions:

New Zealand, Korea, Nigeria, Spain, Mexico and Zimbabwe. We're excited you're listening. Glad you keep coming back!

One-night stands, but we're hoping it was more than that:

Ukraine, Colombia, South Africa, Poland, Norway, Greece, India, Germany and Singapore.



015 Kristen Hovet - Preaching to Friends & Bible Study Lead to Questions. A Friend's Suicide is a Huge Blow.

Jun 27, 2017 01:27:01


Kristen was a devout protestant who would preach to her friends. She diligently studied the Bible. She began to have questions about her beliefs. She became pregnant soon after getting married. While at university a friend commits suicide, which was a huge blow to Kristen.

Kristen is an American-Canadian journalist and writer who specializes in psychology, health, science and the intersection of sociology and culture. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers. She has a degree in English from Simon Fraser University. She's completed certificate courses in epigenetics, personalized medicine, human physiology and genetics and evolution. She hosts the Humans of Earth podcast, a profile podcast interviewing people from all around the world, highlighting their lives and aiming to bridge the us vs. them divide through shared stories.

Born in Williston North Dakota, she currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her interests include languages, travel, music and yoga.


Kristen Hovet


Humans of Earth Podcast



Marlene Winell-Leaving the Fold



014 James Jackson - Endured an Alcoholic, Severely Abusive Step-Father and Later Depression. Raised Southern Baptist in Texas. His Dad was Obsessed with the End Times. James Never Stopped Asking The Right Questions!

Jun 20, 2017 01:51:49


James is an American TV network news producer who grew up Southern Baptist in the heart of Evangelical Christian country in Texas. His dad was heavily into End Times theology and anticipated Jesus' imminent return. 

When his mom re-married, he endured an alcoholic and extremely abusive step-father until his step-father was finally taken to jail. Shockingly, the church rallied around his step-father.

From a young age, James never stopped asking all the right questions. His questions led him to exciting discoveries in science. He also gained a wonderful and diverse group of friends. He is now a Secular Humanist.



Christopher Hitchens



Sam Harris



The Thinking Atheist-Seth Andrews



The Friendly Atheist-Hemant Mehta



The Internet!




013 Vix - Eyewitness to Religious Killing, She Shares How Witches & Demons Infuse Nigerian Christianity. She Discovered the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Co-Runs Nigerian Atheist & Agnostic Movement's FB Page

Jun 13, 2017 01:14:43


As a young girl, Vix witnessed deadly fighting between Christians and Muslims in northern Nigeria. Her family also experienced a significant personal tragedy.

Vix was raised in a Nigerian Christian culture with belief in witches and demons. Her parents are devout Christians. Vix began her journey away from Christianity after moving away from her devout Christian parents to go to college in the the United States.

She now co-runs the Nigerian Atheist and Agnostic Movement's Facebook Page! She previously co-ran one of the largest Flying Spaghetti Monster pages on Facebook.



The Nigerian Atheist and Agnostic Movement Facebook Page


012 Marty McDonald-Very Devout Catholic From Childhood, He Became Evangelical in Adulthood. Marty is Now an Atheist.

Jun 6, 2017 01:36:26


Marty grew up the oldest of 9 boys in a very devout Catholic family. Marty became agnostic in 1996 and as of 2011 considers himself an atheist. He is one of the friendliest, most helpful people you'll meet. I often notice him encouraging other atheists & agnostics on social media (some of them newly deconverted).

Marty offers fascinating specifics about his Catholic upbringing. Just like so many deconverts, Marty took his faith very seriously. Trusting God to provide following a significant injury was a major turning point.

He married at 19 years old and has been married 29 years now! His wife is a graphic designer, he is an IT developer. He likes hiking, the Seattle Seahawks, plays a little guitar and is a science enthusiast. He is also a board member with Sunday Assembly in Olympia, Washington. His daughter graduated from college in 2016 and his son is a Junior in college.


Marty's Blog:


Richard Rubenstein


John Shelby Spong


Marlene Winell


Ryan Bell & Life After God




011 Wendy Marsman- Raised Fundamentalist, A Missionary for 15 Years Before Her 20 Year Marriage Ended. Now an Atheist, She Reconnected with Her High School Sweetheart.

May 30, 2017 01:40:43


Wendy was raised in a fundamentalist evangelical home in Canada. She married and raised her children in Brazil while working as a missionary. Her marriage of 20 years ended and during that time Wendy was becoming an atheist. Wendy has become so much happier outside the church and has even reconnected with her high school sweetheart! They have a blended family of 5 children.

Wendy hosts the Women Beyond Belief Podcast-a podcast aimed at giving women who've left religion a voice and a place to tell their story.


Women Beyond Belief



The God Virus by Darrel Ray


Seth Andrews


Christopher Hitchens


Richard Dawkins



010 Luciano Gonzalez-Moderate Catholic to Active Conservative Christian. He was Raised in Latin America & The United States

May 23, 2017 01:32:49


Luciano's doubts came to a turning point in college. He attended Winter Jam (a Christian concert tour) and heard the Newsboys promoting the movie God's Not Dead. Luciano and his girlfriend went to see it. The movie had an impact on Luciano, which he describes in this episode.  

Luciano is a Puerto Rican atheist raised in Panama, Colombia, Honduras, Georgia and North Carolina. His blog is Sin/God at He is a Board Member for HAFREE (Hispanic American Freethinkers). He also is an administrator at the Secular Latino Alliance. You can find him on Twitter or on his Facebook Page as The Hispanic Atheist.
  David Osorio @Daosorios

Luciano and Juhem's Podcast, The Benito Juarez Experience:


009 Audrey Moreland-Raised Strict Jehovah's Witness, She Lost Family & Friends When She Left the Church

May 16, 2017 01:08:53


Audrey was born into a very strict Jehovah's Witness family. Meetings were held at her church 7 days a week! A week in the life of a Jehovah's Witness consisted of continual preparations for church meetings/activities. This only left time for church. 

Audrey eventually left the church at age 21, but this came at a significant cost for her closest relationships.

Sam Harris

Richard Dawkins

Dale McGowan


008 Gary Westfall-One of My Best Friends, Raised with Belief in God, Now Agnostic

May 9, 2017 36:59


This enjoyable conversation was quick, humorous and sometimes serious with one of my best friends from childhood. Gary is an awesome guy and a great friend. He was raised with belief in God, but now considers himself agnostic. His belief system changed significantly when his mom, a very dear friend of my family and one of my very favorite people (also my mother's best friend) was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Gary does have a belief in something, but it differs from the norm. In addition, he definitely believes in the Seattle Mariners and his son believes in the Detroit Tigers.

The Book of Mormon

South Park

The Simpsons

Humor in General :)

007 Andrea Westfall-Raised Catholic, But It Never Took. She's a Writer, Editor and Content Creator

May 9, 2017 01:04:19


My good friend Andrea joins me for a wonderful conversation. She was raised in the Catholic church, but for her it just never took. She loves all things dance! She is a writer, editor and content creator. She lives near Detroit, Michigan. 

The Book of Mormon Musical

George Carlin
When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops

Bill Maher
Real Time Podcast




006 Dr. Anthony Pinn - A Good Methodist Who Became a Better Atheist

May 2, 2017 52:56


Dr. Pinn had some very encouraging words for deconverts. He also shared some really unique insights into the problem with theism and Christianity in particular. 

Our interview was shortened due to some scheduling issues, but I'm so grateful for the opportunity to meet and interview Dr. Pinn. He is such an intelligent and just all around great person. Although the episode is a bit shorter than usual, it is jam packed with some wonderful conversation. Enjoy...and remember, "we are legion"!

Show Notes:

Susan Jacoby

Dr. Anthony Pinn




Special Episode 001: Researching Deconversion with Professor Jim Nagle

Apr 30, 2017 01:33:15


This episode deviates from our typical weekly interview, so I'm posting it on the weekend as special bonus episode! 

Professor Nagle identifies with the catholic tradition. The first half of our discussion is his religious journey away from catholicism to agnosticism and back again. 

It's important to note that Professor Nagle uses the term deconversion in a broader sense than I do. For this podcast I define deconversion in the sense of a person leaving Christianity altogether and becoming atheist or agnostic. Professor Nagle uses the term deconversion to define various religious transitions in life.

The second half of the interview he discusses current research on deconversion and the focus of his particular research, including how religious teaching changes in response to our cultural climate? 

He is currently working on his doctorate at Fordham University in New York.


Show Notes:

Versions of Deconversion: Autobiography and the Loss of Faith by John Barber


005 Maria Stadtmueller of The Big Chew Podcast and

Apr 25, 2017 01:29:54


Maria is a writer and podcaster from rural New Jersey from an ultra-catholic family. Maria wanted to be a nun and was obsessed about going to hell. By chance she read Joseph Campbell in high school and he flung open the doors to how humans create story and belief.

Maria was a stand-up comic in New York. She has a Master's degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa, where she also studied religion. Her passion is the new cosmology-the science based story of how we and our universe have evolved and its potential to supplant religion. Her e-book: Songs That Are to Come, tells of her own discovery of this story from catholic nuns. She now lives in northern Vermont where she blogs and podcasts at


The Big Chew Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher: and Soundcloud

Songs That Are to Come: An ex-Catholic, A Sacred Earth and the Nuns Who Reunited Them. Find the e-book at:

Joseph Campbell books:

The Power of Myth documentary with Bill Moyers

Loyal Rue:

Everybody's Story: Wising Up to the Epic of Evolution

Thomas Berry books:






004 Robert Parham, M.A., LMHC

Apr 18, 2017 01:24:41


Robert W. Parham, M.A. is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor, and Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider.  He holds two Masters Degrees, one in Counseling that he earned in 1996 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and one in Clinical Psychology that he earned in 2006 from the Washington School of Professional Psychology.  Robert has been helping people in the mental health field for over 18 years, working in psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment programs, and private practice. 

Parham Counseling, Inc. is a professional counseling office committed to helping individuals, couples, groups, and families live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

The Clergy Project

Recovering From Religion

The Secular Therapist Project


003 Alix Jules

Apr 11, 2017 01:47:10


Writer, activist, social critic and commentator, Alix's activism has garnered national attention on matters of race, religion and politics. Alix was the first atheist featured in Ebony magazine. He's a founding member of the largest freethought organization in North Texas and organizer for Black Non-Believers of Dallas. He advises for the American Humanist Association and the Center for Inquiry. His writing can be found on various venues such as Secular Nation, Free Inquiry, American Atheist magazine and Time magazine. Check out his self titled blog The Graffiti Wall at Patheos or on The Orbit and as a regular on air personality at Dogma Debate.

Hispanic American Freethinkers

The Clergy Project

The Black Humanist Alliance

American Humanist Association

Center for Inquiry

African Americans for Humanism

Secular Nation

Free Inquiry

Black Nonbelievers

Black Nonbelievers of Dallas

The Orbit

The Graffiti Wall

Ebony Magazine: I Am The Big A

002 Ebony Exodus Project: Candace Gorham, LPC

Apr 11, 2017 01:25:51


Researcher, teacher and counselor Candace Gorham shares her story of deconversion from Christianity. 

The Ebony Exodus Project:

Black women are the single most religious demographic in the United States, yet they are among the poorest, least educated, and least healthy groups in the nation. Drawing on the author's own past experience as an evangelical minister and her present work as a secular counselor and researcher, The Ebony Exodus Project makes a direct connection between the church and the plight of black women. Through interviews with African American women who have left the church, the author reveals the shame and suffering often caused by the church—and the resulting happiness, freedom, and sense of purpose these women have felt upon walking away from it. This book calls on other black women to honestly reflect on their relationship with religion and challenges them to consider that perhaps the answers to their problems rest not inside a church, but in themselves.

Secular Student Alliance:

Recovering From Religion:

Secular Therapist Project:

Black Non-Believers:

The Clergy Project:

The Triangle Freethought Society:

Ebony Exodus:

001 Dan Barker-Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation

Apr 11, 2017 01:41:59


Dan Barker and his wife Annie Laurie Gaylor are co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and co-hosts of Freethought Radio.

Dan is a former minister and evangelist, Dan became a freethinker in 1983. His books, Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children and Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher To Atheist (1992) are published by FFRF. Other books include Godless (Ulysses Press, 2008), The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God (Pitchstone Publishing, 2011), Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning, Pitchstone Press (2015) and GOD: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction (Sterling Publications, 2016). A graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a degree in religion, Dan now puts his knowledge of Christianity to effective freethought use. A professional pianist and composer, Dan performs freethought concerts and is featured in FFRF’s musical CDs, "Friendly Neighborhood Atheist," "Beware of Dogma,” and “Adrift on a Star." He joined FFRF's staff in 1987, serving as public relations director. He was first elected co-president in November 2004, speaks widely and has engaged in more than 100 debates about religion.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

The Clergy Project

A Room of One's Own



Introduction: Why am I doing this?

Apr 11, 2017 08:18


In this introduction episode I let you know what to expect from the podcast. I also give a brief summary of my story of deconversion from Christianity. Finally, I share with you the reason I decided to create the Voices of Deconversion podcast.

I'm excited to share these fascinating and uplifting stories with you. 

Thanks for subscribing to the podcast!