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Women Beyond Belief Podcast

A Podcast For Women Moving Beyond Religion The Women Beyond Belief Podcast features interviews with women who have left religion. Wendy Marsman, who is a former Evangelical missionary to Brazil, hosts the podcast. The name is also the title of a book by author Dr. Karen Garst, Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life Without Religion. The podcast is a platform for women to express the frustrations, anger and loneliness they find when they exit religion. It is for any woman who is deconverting and finding freedom outside the walls of the church. It can open up doors of opportunity for women who were from religious backgrounds where women’s voices were suppressed. The podcast is for Humanist, Feminist, Agnostic and Atheist women who have left religion and together are Women Beyond Belief.
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The Women Beyond Belief Podcast features interviews with women who have left religion.

Nov 23, 2017

Sabrina Deal is a humanist freethinker, mother of 4, entrepreneur, an advocate of courage and self-expression and a lover of all things colorful, living and loving life in Southern California. 

She is a former charismatic Christian who had a strong involvement in the church from a young age and throughout her 20s.  She began her conscious deconversion at the age of 31, and while she has come a long way she considers, what she calls, “The Untangling” to be an indefinite process. 

Sabrina is driven to help people, and her primary objective is to empower others. She encourages wholehearted courageous passionate vulnerable living through self-awareness and self-expression. 

You can follow and reach Sabrina at https://www.facebook.com/RainbowBrina/ 

Feel free to message her on social media with any questions or even just to chat. She encourages you, above all, to always ask, “Why?”. 

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/ 

Patreon Account: https://www.patreon.com/WBBPodcast 

YouTube Channel : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCizIjQrmLqBSbPy0jqkEl3A/videos 

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww 

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Nov 16, 2017

Dr. Karen L. Garst is the author of Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion. She and I are working together to tell the stories of women who have left religion and why more should do so. Her book received reviews from Richard Dawkins, Valerie TaricoPeter BoghossianRebecca HaleJohn Loftus,Sikivu Hutchinson and others. The book is a collection of personal essays from 22 women from diverse backgrounds who tell their stories of leaving religion. From various Judeo-Christian traditions, they talk about the shame, guilt, and oppression religion imposed on them and how they freed themselves from its grip. She is also working on her second book which will be a collection of persuasive essays from women atheists, most of whom are already authors such as Valerie Tarico, Abby Hafer, and Candace Gorham.

Karen has a blog which can be found at www.faithlessfeminist.com.

This podcast episode is the 7th in a series where Karen records the audio version of her blog articles. In the first section, Karen talks about early women atheists in the 19th century in the U. S. This essay is based on the book by Annie Laurie Gaylor entitled "Women without Superstition: No Gods, No Masters." It features Anne Hutchinson, Ernestine L. Rose, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. We owe them a great deal for paving the way for us.

And in the 2nd section of this episode, Karen talks about how the "New Atheism" movement started out with four prominent men dubbed the Four Horsemen. She then outlines some of the reasons more women are tied to their churches in general than men. She hopes that more women atheists will speak out and become part of the non-religion movement.

 Blog #1- Early Women Atheists

http://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/early-women-atheists-us/ 

Blog #2 - Why Aren’t There More Women Atheists? 

http://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/arent-women-atheists/

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Contributions through Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/WBBPodcast

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Nov 5, 2017

Lynn (Anonymous) grew up attending a fundamentalist church (IFCA–Independent Fundamental Churches of America), complete with parenting via James Dobson books and participation in AWANA, youth group, Bible Quiz Team, and youth choir. 

She loved it, and yet from the beginning, she suffered under its influence and questioned a great deal due to severe sexual violence she experienced as a small child. Because of the trauma, Lynn had questions about the problem of evil and the hiddenness of God for as long as she can recall. Her faith endlessly revolved around trying to resolve these questions, as well as wondering if she could ever be a good person or have any sense of self-worth one day.

Lynn always assumed Christianity was true, and she merely needed to find the “right” version that would be a good fit for her particular needs. Also, as she progressed through various stages of the educational process, Lynn strived to reconcile her Christianity with the contradictory yet demonstrable truths she was learning about the human condition. Struggling to make sense of her experiences in spite of the contradictory worldview she'd been given, she was driven to study psychology, and became a clinical psychologist. 

Parallel to her educational process, Lynn went through some theological and denominational shifts, from fundamentalism to more mainstream evangelicalism. Then from mainline Protestantism, to Catholicism, followed by the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (super liberal Catholics whose teachings fall outside of catholic orthodoxy). 

Each shift was fraught with fear, wondering if she'd go to hell for pursuing teaching that merely “tickled her ears.” The more loving and affirming the church, the more anxiety she had in attending, to the point that once Lynn found a truly accepting and affirming church in the ECC, she really couldn't attend because the anxiety became unbearable. 

In the midst of this journey was an additional conflict regarding her sexuality. Lynn loved the man she met at 18 and married at 21, and she loved the life they had together. She didn't want to be gay, but she was. She and her husband were ultimately together for 20 years, and married for 17 of those years. While Lynn couldn't fully own her orientation, and couldn't even be sure of it in the midst of marriage to a man, she is sure it contributed to the end of the marriage, though that wasn't the main reason for the divorce (for her). Lynn sees herself as one of the multitudes who REALLY tried to "pray away the gay". She remembers crying and pleading with God so many times. It really only compounded the self-hatred she learned through abuse and had reinforced through indoctrination. 

The divorce was almost 5 years ago, and Lynn has been in a relationship with a wonderful woman for 3 years. She loves her partner and loves her life, but still struggles with the impact of indoctrination and what that means in terms of her ability to accept herself. Lynn works as a psychologist, though she is taking a break from clinical work. Her faith was really integral in how she coped with the challenges of working with a severely mentally ill population, and stripping that away changed her entire framework and motivation. 

Lynn considers herself still pretty new to this deconversion process. It’s been approximately 3 years since she first questioned the truthfulness/reality of Christianity. She considers herself agnostic, but can't recall when exactly she took on the label. She just remembers that moment three years ago when she began to question, “What if it isn't about finding a version of Christianity I don't experience as harmful? What if the whole thing isn't real and there is no God?” It REALLY felt like scales falling away from her eyes and beginning to see the world clearly for the first time.  

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/ 

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/WBBPodcast 

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww 

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Oct 27, 2017

Elle Albus (Pseudonym) grew up in a rural Oklahoma, Southern Baptist family. Bookish and introverted, she never really fit in, but, as a people pleaser on the receiving end of corporal punishment and terrified of hell, she tried her best. She was close with her mom and a few trusted friends and thrived in the classroom, becoming valedictorian at her public (but still very white, conservative, and Christian) high school.

When she moved to college, she found a new community within the faith and, young and in her first ever romantic relationship, married a man she met there. Elle and her husband were committed to following the faith as best they could: they tithed dutifully, attended every week, always voted Republican, and promised to raise their children to follow god.

She tried, awkwardly, to submit and felt subtly guilty when she took the lead, even though it worked better that way.

After a few years of wedded bliss, they started trying to get pregnant, something Elle had always looked forward to, given her relationship with her own mother and how motherhood was emphasized in the church. Instead of the idyllic family they had planned, however, they were blindsided by infertility.

The pain of that experience and the abuse she endured at the hands of well-meaning Christians gave her the courage to finally question the beliefs she’d been raised with. As she fought to become a mom, she realized she would never treat her children the way the church and, by extension, the Christian god, had treated her and others. Nothing could ever make her send someone to hell.

When she came upon a blog article describing abusive relationships, it clicked into place that fundamentalism is abuse, and the last grips of her Christian indoctrination faded. Elle left fundamentalism behind, but more progressive Christianity held little appeal for her either. After researching and weighing the evidence, she found the evidence unconvincing and now identifies as a secular humanist.

While Elle is no longer a believer, her husband and most family members still are, and she is in the process of going public with her non-belief. She lives in the American South with her husband and toddlers, where she teaches high school science and math.

Elle is passionate about exposing the harm and abuse inherent in doctrines such as total depravity, female submission, purity culture, and hell and hopes to help others struggling with fundamentalism and with what life looks like on the other side.

Elle’s recommended resources:

Love, Joy, Feminism: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/

Christopher Stroop – Not Your Mission Field https://chrisstroop.com/

Christopher Stroop on Twitter @C_stroop:  https://twitter.com/C_Stroop

Sunday School Dropouts podcast: http://sundayschooldropouts.lol/

Bart Ehrman’s Blog - https://ehrmanblog.org/

Elle also sees value in the work of Rachel Held Evans, although she is still a Christian. Her insights into evangelicalism and providing a less-harmful version of belief were a vital stepping stone for her, as they are for many, and Elle appreciated that work.

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/WBBPodcast

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Oct 17, 2017

Angela Reddekopp and Wendy Marsman, both Canadian podcasters, had an informal discussion on September 10th, 2017. Topics discussed included social media, scandals, feminism and the atheist movement, patriarchal issues, ideas for improving how the movement can help women and other topics that they rant and brainstorm about. Due to some of the topics being more sensitive and private in nature, the full conversation was edited from 2 hours down to 1 hour.

If you are interested in sending feedback related to the initiatives discussed, please email Wendy at womenbeyondbelief@gmail.com.

Angela is co-host of the Brainstorm Podcast - https://www.brainstormblog.net/

Angela’s talk at Shift To Reason Conference, 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPHUqeDoI50

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/WBBPodcast

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Oct 10, 2017

Childhood

Dorothy Husen grew up in a family with parents who were traumatized and passed their trauma onto their kids. Her father had a mental illness and her mother was very controlling with intermittent fits of rage.

In childhood, she survived by becoming the good, quiet, obedient, compliant, and dependent little girl that her mother needed her to be. She scared of her parents and witnessed their anger exploding onto each other and her siblings regularly. Although never physically abused by her parents, Dorothy witnessed her sibling’s beatings and spankings regularly. She was vulnerable to perpetrators and was sexually assaulted and molested by a stranger and 2 family “friends”. 

Christian Identity

When she was 13, Dorothy’s parents converted to Charismatic Christianity through the Jesus movement in Southern California during the late 60’s and 70’s. This was the emergence of Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapels, Maranatha Music, & Melodyland Church. The emphasis was on love, joy, peace, and fellowship. 

Dorothy’s parents were seemingly instantaneously “healed in Jesus”. All was forgiven, healed, and made new in Christ Jesus. Those first few years as a Christian family were the happiest years of her childhood. Although the fighting between my parents did start up again, She was older and she formed her Christian identity to help navigate through life. The Christian faith provided an outer structure in which Dorothy could live her life. It gave her a purpose and role to fulfill as long as she remained within the walls of this structure. The faith held her together but at a high cost. The damage it did to her was that it taught her to repress and deny the pain from childhood. Christianity was a way for her to “spiritually by-pass” the emotional wounds. 

The horrible damage this perpetuated then was that Dorothy passed on her trauma to her children. She felt like an emotionally vacant mother. All she had to give them was Jesus and this outer structure of religion and rules. 

Both Dorothy’s children sought comfort and solace in drugs and alcohol.  Their home became the chaos of her childhood with the constant fighting over the children’s disobedience and “rebellion” from God and the church. 

When she became a mother, Dorothy became triggered by her old childhood wounds and began isolating and escaping even more. Religion provided the perfect avenue to dissociate by:  

1) Praying

2) Reading and studying the bible

3) Reading Christian books

4) Watching tv

4) Sleeping & Working

5) Going to women’s bible studies

6) Going to church 

Finding her True Core Self, her Authentic Identity, and Deconverting 

One day Dorothy’s husband said that he was unable to sustain the stress of being an attorney and that he might die of a heart attack if he kept this up. She got really scared because she loved him and was dependent upon him. He asked her to go back to school with him and they both could become Marriage and Family Therapists. Dorothy agreed. And thus began her journey of healing, identity formation, and deconversion. 

The first day she sat across from her therapist ( a requirement to graduate was 6 months of personal psychotherapy), Dorothy told her that she didn’t know what to talk about because her life was so good and healthy. She thought she was a spiritually mature Christian woman.  The therapist told her, “Dorothy, I think you have PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder]”. Outwardly, she protested, but deep down inside, for the first time ever in her life, she felt validated!  

She started healing, slowly, by journaling. She started having nightmares and journaling about those. And, she started crying for the first time. Eventually she moved on to training in Mind/Body Psychotherapy and then her own personal Mind/Body Psychotherapy which got down into her body releasing from deep within the brain and subconscious. [This is when she stopped going to church] 

Dorothy started provided for herself what her parents couldn’t give her…security, acceptance, unconditional love, a safe haven. She discovered her own moral compass and found that she was GOOD. [This is when she stopped reading her bible] 

Then she moved into the normal human development of curiosity, exploration, and trying new things. She began to make mistakes, then go back to her secure base within, self soothe, and then try again.  As Dorothy found her true authentic identity, the function of religion was no longer needed…and her faith just fell away. 

She opened up her own private practice, joined Toastmasters, found her voice, and grew in confidence. [This is when she threw her Bible away and stopped praying]. 

Dorothy remained agnostic for a couple of years, believing in source, love, or some higher power. Then, in early 2017, she decided to try a Meet-Up with a local agnostic & atheist group. She also started watching TED talks and listening to atheist podcasts. [This is when she completely de-converted and became an atheist] 

Dorothy Husen’s website www.dorothyhusen.com

YouTube channel, Dorothy Husen

Email is dorothyhusen@gmail.com 

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/ 

Patreon Account: https://www.patreon.com/WBBPodcast 

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww 

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

 

Oct 1, 2017

Jemma Martin is a 40-something world-traveling dream chaser. By day, she is a healthcare professional. She studied music in the past and now, occasionally has a singing gig. Raised in the Deep South, she grew up surrounded by pride, prejudice, and fundamentalist Christianity. Yet somehow, she made it out. 

Feel free to find Jemma on Twitter:

Twitter handle @oneredsoprano (RJW Martin)

https://twitter.com/oneredsoprano

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Patreon Account: https://www.patreon.com/WBBPodcast

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WomenBeyondBelief/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/WBBPodcast

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

 

Sep 27, 2017

Podcast host, Wendy Marsman, talks about subjects such as the 6th month anniversary and milestones since the podcast launched, SJW slurs, hate mail, activism, feminism, and the evolution of a new atheist.

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/WBBPodcast 

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww 

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Sep 22, 2017

Dr. Karen L. Garst is the author of Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion. She and I are working together to tell the stories of women who have left religion and why more should do so. Her book received reviews from Richard Dawkins, Valerie Tarico, Peter Boghossian, Rebecca Hale, John Loftus, Sikivu Hutchinson and others. The book is a collection of personal essays from 22 women from diverse backgrounds who tell their stories of leaving religion. From various Judeo-Christian traditions, they talk about the shame, guilt, and oppression religion imposed on them and how they freed themselves from its grip. She is also working on her second book which will be a collection of persuasive essays from women atheists, most of whom are already authors such as Valerie Tarico, Abby Hafer, and Candace Gorham. 

Karen also has a blog which can be found atwww.faithlessfeminist.com.

This podcast episode is the 6th in a series where Karen records the audio version of her blog articles. In the 1st section, she reads a guest post by Dr. Valerie Tarico, author of Trusting Doubt and blogger at www.valerietarico.com. Valerie gives an insightful analysis of the treatment of women in the Bible and early Christianity. She outlines 15 Bible verses that treat women as inferior and then discusses the implications of fundamentals who still cling to these verses as the inerrant voice of God.

 And In the 2nd section of this episode, Karen reads one of her own essays where she talks about the sex education she didn't have and its impact on her. 

Karen's blog: faithlessfeminist.com 

Karen Garst’s Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=974052

Guest Blog #1 - 15 Bible Texts Reveal Why “God’s Own Party” is at War with Women (Valerie Tarico)

http://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/gods-own-party-at-war-with-women/

Guest Blog #2 - “You can’t be pregnant – I didn’t come.” (Karen Garst)

http://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/cant-pregnant-didnt-come/

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Podcast Patreon Contributions: https://www.patreon.com/WBBPodcast

Podcast YouTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h9jVFWd6hc&t=91s

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson:

http://sarahnicholson.co/

 

Sep 14, 2017

Kitty Bo Wilson was born in Dallas, TX, in the early 1950's, and raised in Highland Park.  Her parents were Methodists but not really committed Christians.  Although very much a believer in God anyway, and not really understanding who Jesus was as savior or anything about the concept of original sin, at 14, she went through a questioning, agnostic phase.  At 16, her mother introduced her to the concept of reincarnation, which seemed to explain why there was suffering in the world, and also gave her a book about the psychic, Edgar Cayce.  This was the '60's, the Age of Aquarius and eastern religions, and pot and psychedelics. 

KItty Bo and her mother went to a study group centered around the readings of Edgar Cayce and meditation.  At 17, she paid $25 to a transcendental meditation teacher, received a personal mantra, and began transcendental meditation.  During her sophomore year of college at the University of Texas, after finding an Edgar Cayce youth study group, she learned of a living psychic, there in Austin, who gave readings like Edgar Cayce.  3 weeks after meeting this psychic, at the age of barely 20, she married him.

Kitty Bo became the conductor of the readings.  There were also group meditations where members of the White Brotherhood spoke, which even included Jesus on rare occasions. Her husband claimed to see people's auras. He was also deep into UFOs, and a station to signal UFOs was set up on some land outside of Austin.  What made all this difficult was that her husband was also a paranoid and extremely abusive.

In 1977, on a lark, they went to a Pentecostal tent revival and ended up leaving the metaphysical field and attending that church, which was in many ways a cult.  Finally, after 12 and half years of terrible abuse, Kitty Bo took her 3 children and fled.

She remarried a wonderful Christian man, moved to Indiana, where the moldy house they were living in cratered Kitty Bo's health.  They moved back to TX, settled on 20 acres in the hill country, and after menopause, Kitty Bo finally yielded to all the struggles she'd had with believing in God and became an atheist, in part due to her children becoming atheist after leaving home.

If you would like to connect more with Kitty Bo, you can send me an email and I will pass it along to her. My email is womenbeyondbelief@gmail.com

Podcast YouTube Channel:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj0-CtS2t0Q&t=1631s

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

 

Sep 7, 2017

Debbie Allen is a very active member in the secular movement. However, before her activism in secular causes, Debbie was involved in her Reform synagogue, serving on the board of directors and chairing several committees including Education, Social Action, Outreach to Interfaith, and Membership. She is a retired psychotherapist and had a private practice. She was also a research investigator in neuropsychology at the UCSD School of Medicine.

As the founder and local director of the San Diego Coalition of Reason Debbie helped grow the organization from 10 to 18 cooperative atheist, humanist and freethought groups over the past 8 years. This organizing is now one of the leading secular organization in southern California.

Among some of Debbie’s other activist rolls:

  • Past president of the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego
  • President of the San Diego Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State
  • Co-founder of the San Diego Recovering from Religion Meetup group
  • Founder of the San Diego Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers Meetup group
  • Member of the American Humanist Association board
  • Involved with the International Humanist Ethical Union and the Center for Freethought Equality
  • Camp counselor with Camp Quest for 2 summers
  • Co-founder of local Recovering from Religion support group
  • Board secretary of the Reason Rally Coalition
  • Executive Director of the Humanist Community in Silicon Valley
  • President on the board of the Humanist Society, an adjunct program of the AHA that certifies and educates Humanist Celebrants

Debbie is a certified Humanist Chaplain which helps her advocate for non-theists in the military. She established the first ever humanist meeting at a military base in San Diego, and volunteers at the VA hospital in La Jolla. In addition to the above activism, she has a special interest in creating easily accessible humanist education programs for children and families.

If anyone is interested in creating a humanist chapter in their area, Debbie would be happy to share her experience as a leader of various humanist and freethought groups. She has learned many things the hard way, and as the years go by, there are more and more resources for local groups that she things many people can take advantage of.

Debbie’s favorite Podcasts which made a difference in her knowledge of humanism, atheism, and the secular movement:

The Thinking Atheist - Seth Andrews - http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/

The Humanist Hour - https://thehumanist.com/multimedia/the-humanist-hour/

Waking Up - https://www.samharris.org/podcast

Point of Inquiry - http://www.pointofinquiry.org/

The Atheist Experience - http://www.atheist-experience.com/archive/

Minnesota Atheists - http://mnatheists.org/

Freethought Radio: Freedom From Religion Foundation- https://ffrf.org/news/radio

Skepticality  - https://tunein.com/radio/Skepticality-The-Official-Podcast-of-Skeptic-Magazine-p118952/

Skeptoid - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/skeptoid/id203844864?mt=2

 

 

Debbie's skeptical and science-themed podcasts recommendations:

Mormon Stories Podcast - http://www.mormonstories.org/

Brain Science Podcast - http://brainsciencepodcast.com/

TED Talks - https://www.ted.com/talks

Science Friday - https://www.sciencefriday.com/

Selected Shorts (NPR) - http://www.npr.org/podcasts/381443486/pri-selected-shorts

This American Life - https://www.thisamericanlife.org/podcast

 

Debbie’s recommended Books:

Creating Change Through Humanism by Roy Speckhardt, Ex Dir, AHA - http://www.humanistpress.com/creating-change-through-humanism.html

Personal Paths to Humanism (Stories of individual humanists from a variety of backgrounds) - http://www.humanistpress.com/personal-paths-to-humanism-vol-1.html

Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving by Marlene Winell - http://marlenewinell.net/leaving-fold-former

(Marlene has also been interviewed on various podcasts, and they are worth listening to)

 Announcements:  

American Humanist Association Conference - May 17-20, 2018 in Las Vegas - http://conference.americanhumanist.org/

 

Podcast YouTube Channel -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHEWiXjTQWU

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson:

http://sarahnicholson.co/

Sep 1, 2017

Dr. Karen L. Garst is the author of Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion. She and I are working together to tell the stories of women who have left religion and why more should do so. Her book received reviews from Richard Dawkins, Valerie Tarico, Peter Boghossian, Rebecca Hale, John Loftus, Sikivu Hutchinson and others. The book is a collection of personal essays from 22 women from diverse backgrounds who tell their stories of leaving religion. From various Judeo-Christian traditions, they talk about the shame, guilt, and oppression religion imposed on them and how they freed themselves from its grip. She is also working on her second book which will be a collection of persuasive essays from women atheists, most of whom are already authors such as Valerie Tarico, Abby Hafer, and Candace Gorham. 

Karen has a blog which can be found at www.faithlessfeminist.com. This podcast episode is the 5th in a series where Karen records the audio version of her blog articles. In the 1st section, she reads a guest post by Carlin Ross Titled “From Fundamentalist to Feminist”. Ross grew up in a Christian Fundamentalist home with no formal schooling. Amazingly, she escaped and attended college with the aid of social services. She and Betty Dodson now have a blog where they write about feminist-based sex-education. 

In the 2nd section of this episode, Karen reads a guest post by Shanna Babilonia titled, “5 Reasons Why Organized Religion Fears Educated Women”. Babilonia wrote for years for her website about secular personal development. Her blog had over 20,000 subscribers. Because she has a young child in school in a Bible-belt state, she stopped writing. Now, she gave Karen permission to share this blog article. 

Karen's blog: faithlessfeminist.com 

Guest Blog #1 - From Fundamentalist to Feminist (Carlin Ross) 

http://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/from-fundamentalist-to-feminist/

Guest Blog #2 - Why Organized Religion Fears Educated Women (Shanna Babilonia) 

http://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/why-organized-religion-fears-educated-women/

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/ 

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww 

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Aug 25, 2017

Dave Warnock became a born-again Christian at the age of 18. He is now an ex-Evangelical Pastor who left Christianity after over 30 years as a part time/full time minister. He and his wife have 3 children, 2 of whom have exhibited the "Good Christian" virtue of "Shunning the Sinner", as they view their now-atheist father. This has been very difficult for Dave. After 6 years of living this difficult life and not being allowed to see his grandchildren, he decided to change his future after feeling like a "dead-man walking". He took 2 months off in 2016 and made some big life-changes including deciding to leave his 37-year marriage. 

Dave talks about the difficulty of family relationships, the challenges of divorce, the stress of being shunned, and the freedom found after choosing to move beyond belief. He challenges other men who have left religion to realize when habits of patriarchy, chivalry and misogyny get in the way of seeing women as equals.

Dave’s interview on Everyone’s Agnostic podcast episode #107 

http://everyonesagnostic.libsyn.com/episode-107-dave-warnock

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Aug 17, 2017

Janet Aiken (Pseudonym) is a middle aged former-evangelical homeschool mom who studied Biology and Secondary Ed at universities in New York & Washington, D.C. Once upon a time she dreamed of rescuing all of the ill and downtrodden children of the world by becoming a Pediatrician. Those dreams died when she failed to get into Medical School.

Janet rose above the discouragement & disappointment & determined that she could still save the world, one child at a time, by becoming a die-hard fundamentalist Christian. This led her on a 20+ year journey into the domain of falsehood, deception & tyranny.

Of late, thanks to the critical thinking skills of her then teenage son, Janet has rejected the truth claims of religion. Today she strives to make every effort to rediscover the harsh beauties of life. She counts devouring content by the likes of Hitch & Harris, marathon training, wandering near & abroad, and deep conversation among her myriad of interests.

To continue your conversation with Janet, visit her on Facebook (Janet Aiken) and via email at janetaiken71@yahoo.com

COMING SOON - view her website at www.psalmsofdescent.com

Podcast YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCizIjQrmLqBSbPy0jqkEl3A

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Aug 10, 2017

Mandisa Thomas is the founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. Although never formally indoctrinated into belief, Mandisa was heavily exposed to Christianity, Black Nationalism, and Islam. As a child she loved reading, and enjoyed various tales of Gods from different cultures, including Greek and Ghanaian. “Through reading these stories and being taught about other cultures at an early age, I quickly noticed that there were similarities and differences between those deities and the God of the Christian Bible. I couldn’t help but wonder what made this God so special that he warrants such prevalence in today’s society,” she recalls.

Mandisa has a number of media appearances to her credit, including The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionCBS Sunday MorningCNN.com, and JET magazine. She has been a guest on podcasts such as The Humanist Hour and Ask an Atheist, as well as the documentaries Contradiction and My Week in Atheism. Mandisa currently serves on the Boards for American Atheists and the Reason Rally Coalition, and previously for Foundation Beyond Belief and the Secular Coalition for America. She also is an active speaker, and has presented at conferences/conventions for the Freedom from Religion FoundationSecular Student Alliance, and many others.

As the president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., Mandisa works to build community and support, as well as encourage more Blacks to come out and stand strong with their nonbelief in the face of such strong religious overtones. "The more we make our presence known, the better our chances of working together to turn around some of the disparities we face. We are NOT alone."

Website: www.blacknonbelievers.org

Twitter @BNonbelievers 

“BN Changes Lives” campaign

https://blacknonbelievers.wordpress.com/blog/

Facebook: Black Nonbelievers Inc 

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Aug 4, 2017

Danielle was raised as an Evangelical Christian and went to the same church from the time she was a little kid up until her early 20's.  When her mom was 38 years old, she was diagnosed with cancer. It went into remission but then the cancer came back and she ended up passing away a month before her 50th birthday. Danielle was a senior in college at that time.  

When her mom was first diagnosed with cancer, Danielle was told over and over again how prayer had saved her, when the cancer was in remission. But when her mom ended up dying, Danielle felt like she had failed somehow.  It took several years and several churches later for her to finally give up Christianity.

Danielle’s recommended resources:

The Thinking Athiest – Seth Andrews

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/podcast

Life After God Blog – Ryan Bell: http://www.lifeaftergod.org/

That’s Deep Bro – Christina Pazsitzky

http://www.thatsdeepbropodcast.com/

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson:

http://sarahnicholson.co/

 

Jul 31, 2017

Colleen Jousma was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has one older brother. Her parents separated when she was about 3 or 4. She lived with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend for most of her childhood after her parents separated. 

Colleen’s parents were both members of local Seventh-day Adventist churches, but when her mom separated, she stopped attending church. Her dad continued to attend and when they would visit him on weekends, he would bring them to church, both on Saturday and also on Sunday. 

Her earliest religious memory was when she was 5 years old. They were in church one Sunday and the pastor called a young couple to the front of the church. The couple was going overseas to be missionaries. The pastor asked people in the church to come forward, place hands on the couple, and pray for them. Colleen’s grandma remembers she looked up at her and asked if she could go and pray for them. She considers that day to be a strong example of her desire, even at a young age, to help people. There was a time that she thought it was a sign that god had called her to be in ministry. 

Around middle school, she stopped visiting her dad on weekends, and consequently, stopped attending church. In high school, Colleen attended a retreat at her friend’s church. When they were having an altar call, she “rededicated her life to Christ”. However, instead of attending her friend’s church, a “Sunday” church, she decided to go back to her dad’s old church because it was the “true” church. She finds it amazing how someone who only was around a religion on the weekends would pick up that mentality. Then again, Adventists are pretty strong about evangelism. It probably took hold a lot more than it would have if she’d gone to a church that wasn’t an evangelistic type. 

After high school, Colleen went to a public university for one year. From there, she transferred to the “flagship” university of Adventism, Andrews University. Her first term there, she was a history major. Then she switched to religion. She loved her time at Andrews, loved the bubble she lived in and planned to be a pastor (even though female pastors were a very small number in the Adventist church). 

She was disheartened a few times during university by her professors and fellow religion majors, but kept pushing on. Afterwards, she went to Seminary but didn’t do as well. She switched to a counselling degree. Then, she decided to go overseas to do a year of missions work. She had gone one summer to teach English in Ukraine and felt like that was the best place to go. Colleen raised the funds to cover the year, and off she went. After returning from Ukraine, she went back to the Seminary instead of going back to the counselling program. 

Colleen received a Masters in Religious Education, which enabled her to go overseas to teach English. She taught English in South Korea: first with a Seventh-day Adventist school and then high school with another denomination. She had a lot of anxiety for a decade and after finishing undergrad, she made the difficult move out of dorm life. Then, during the weekend of her graduation, she found out that something was wrong with her mom. Later that summer they found out it was a brain tumor. She dealt multiple tumors for 10 years before she succumbed to them. 

Grad school really didn’t go as planned. When Colleen went to South Korea it was hard to deal with. Her anxiety got the best of her (she now realizes that she didn’t know how to deal with anxiety until a few years ago). She came back to America in 2009 and jumped around to different jobs and stayed with a few friends. She took a self-development course, which, really opened up a lot for her. At the time, she remembers saying that she found out who she was “in Christ”. 

Looking back, she realizes that she was learning to be ok with herself. In 2010, Colleen took another course and it was that one that really woke her up more than she ever knew it could. It was because of these trainings that she finally woke up to her anxiety and how it affected her life. 

Her departure from religion started with her departure from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in January of 2011. She dabbled with the Unity Church after she’d read some of Shelby Spong’s books. The one that really broke her worldview up was, Biblical Literalism, A Gentile Heresy. After only reading part of the book, she started to understood that the Bible was man-made and her faith fell apart. 

Colleen felt that her beliefs were all based on the evidence in the Bible. So, if the Bible wasn’t true, there was no point in keeping the Christian beliefs. She held onto faith in God (though not the Christian god) for close to a year, but by the time she started dating her boyfriend in 2012, she was no longer a believer in any god. 

Colleen has changed careers from teaching and now enjoys taking care of pets and volunteering with animal non-profits. She also has started a blog featuring stores of people who are championing Secular Giving. 

Colleen's personal blog: https://myjourneythrlife.wordpress.com/ 

Secular Giving Blog: https://seculargiving.wordpress.com/

 To submit a guest blog: seculargiving@gmail.com

 On Facebook at: @Secular Giving

https://www.facebook.com/seculargiving/

  Twitter: @SecularGiving

https://twitter.com/search?q=%40SecularGiving&src=typd

Alex Record's post: Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More

 https://seculargiving.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/live-better-help-often-wonder-more/

Colleen’s interview on Everyone's Agnostic Podcast:

http://everyonesagnostic.libsyn.com/episode-146-colleen-jousma

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww 

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Jul 27, 2017

Emily Karp is a 27-year-old asexual atheist living in Maryland. She co-organizes the Mid-Atlantic Non-Religious Millennials meetup group, co-hosts the Recovering from Religion podcast, and also volunteers on Recovering from Religion's phone & chat helplines.

Emily found the journey to figuring out and accepting her sexual orientation, for her personally, was much more difficult than the journey to atheism! (She adds that coming out as asexual tends to be more difficult, too.)

While her asexuality was not the subject of this podcast ep, and she was lucky to avoid Evangelical Christianity and Purity Culture, she personally is very sympathetic to aces who have had more complicated struggles with religion and purity culture. Emily recommends checking out this zine: https://theacetheist.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/aces-in-the-church-zine.pdf

And anyone curious to learn more about asexuality is welcome to email Emily (contact info below).

She grew up with divorced parents, mainly living with her mentally ill, abusive, ostensibly Catholic mother, and she and her brother were raised in Catholicism.

Her father, who was always a part of her life as well, came from a Jewish background. For Emily, the questioning started young. She doesn't think she ever really had faith, fully believed in God or that heaven was real or that Catholicism was correct. For a long time, she didn't know it was an option to choose "none" as the answer to what religion you were affiliated with. So, she kept trying to believe. She chose not to be Confirmed at age 14.  

Immediately after taking a World Religions 101 course in her sophomore year in college, Emily officially declared herself an atheist a month before her 20th birthday. At that time she also discovered and joined the New Atheist movement with excitement, passion, and relief!

Emily’s bio on the Recovering from Religion's website: https://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/podcast/

The Mid-Atlantic Non-Religious Millennials meetup page: https://www.meetup.com/Mid-Atlantic-Non-Religious-Millenials/

Emily’s email: emily.karp@aol.com 

If you'd like to add her as a friend on Facebook, at the same time send her a Facebook message explaining how you heard her on a podcast. https://www.facebook.com/emily.karp.7 

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

 Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson:

http://sarahnicholson.co/

Jul 21, 2017

Sarah Haider is an American writer, speaker, and activist. Born in Pakistan and raised in Texas, Sarah spent her early youth as a practicing Shia Muslim. In her late-teens, she began to read the Quran critically and left religion soon after. 

In 2013, she co-founded Ex-Muslims of North America, where she advocates for the acceptance of religious dissent and works to create local support communities for those who have left Islam. In addition to atheism, Sarah is particularly passionate about civil liberties and women’s rights. 

This episode has Sarah Haider co-founder of Ex-Muslims of North America fearlessly discussing Islam in the modern world. Sarah Nicholson (who was the guest in episode #01 of this podcast), co-hosts this episode. The two Sarahs find common ground between fundamental Christianity and Islam as they talk about and try to understand the issues these religions pose in our political and social circles. With her unique perspective, Sarah Haider discusses whether such a rigid religion can be reformed, and what the mainstream beliefs look like within Islam. 

Further topics include trying to reclaim a feminism that represents universal equality, the current mixing of liberal values, religious conservatism, and finding out what it means for a woman to truly be free and equal. They discuss the beliefs about modesty and sexual ownership reinforced by religion, and the ways women are brainwashed to welcome oppression.

Understanding the discomfort and sensitivity around the topic of Islam, Sarah Haider gets to the core of why racism is used to stop conversation and where the true victims of political correctness lie. She presents important changes to public discourse to support these necessary dialogs while also using her foundation to help with the real – and exclusive – dangers that face those who choose to leave Islam. 

Website: www.exmna.org 

Twitter: @exmuslimsofna and @sarahthehaider

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXEPxzERO6Ph7OBypo9UtlQ

Sarah Haider's interview with Sam Harris

https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/leaving-islam

Seth Andrew's podcast about Islam and Women

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thethinkingatheist/2013/03/06/islam-and-women

Video - Sarah Haider: Ex-Muslim

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG_N3QltrWY&t=184s

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Podcast YouTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCizIjQrmLqBSbPy0jqkEl3A

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson:

http://sarahnicholson.co/ 

Jul 15, 2017

Dr. Karen L. Garst is the author of Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion. She and I are working together to tell the stories of women who have left religion and why more should do so. Her book received reviews from Richard Dawkins, Valerie Tarico, Peter Boghossian, Rebecca Hale, John Loftus, Sikivu Hutchinson and others. The book is a collection of personal essays from 22 women from diverse backgrounds who tell their stories of leaving religion. From various Judeo-Christian traditions, they talk about the shame, guilt, and oppression religion imposed on them and how they freed themselves from its grip. She is also working on her second book which will be a collection of persuasive essays from women atheists, most of whom are already authors such as Valerie Tarico, Abby Hafer, and Candace Gorham. 

Karen has a blog which can be found at www.faithlessfeminist.com. This podcast episode is the 4th in a series where Karen records the audio version of her blog articles. This blog is called Matriarchy to Patriarchy to Equality. 

In this episode, Karen explains the more egalitarian or even matriarchal societies that existed in early human culture and the strong relationship they had to nature. When agriculture became more common, private property came into being which resulted in a more patriarchal society. As there was no separation of church and state as villages turned into cities, men were in control. Eventually monotheism based on one male god became the norm. Finally, Karen speaks to the need for more gender equality in today's societies.

Karen’s book: Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion.https://www.amazon.ca/Women-Beyond-Belief-Discovering-Religion/dp/1634310829

Karen’s blog www.faithlessfeminist.com

Original Blog Post: Matriarchy to Patriarchy to Equality  https://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/matriarchy-to-patriarchy-to-equality/#_ftnref

 Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

 Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

 Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Jul 6, 2017

Alice Herron was born into an Irish Catholic family who had moved to Scotland after the end of WW2. She was educated in a convent school, was briefly married to a Muslim man. She then spent 27 years as a devotee of the New York based Indian Hindu guru Sri Chinmoy. For over 20 years, as a member of his group, she gave meditation classes to seekers, becoming one of the most experienced meditation teachers in the UK at that time.

Over her years as a devotee, she witnessed the guru become increasingly authoritarian, demanding, among other things, complete obedience from his followers. Over time, she says, the group developed all the classic characteristics of a cult.  Sri Chinmoy’s focus changed from pursuing spiritual goals to seeking name and fame for himself, in particular, initiating a campaign to win himself the Nobel Peace Prize.

In such an environment Alice became progressively unhappy, and eventually left the group in January 2002.  Around the same time, Sri Chinmoy, who had always claimed he was celibate, was exposed by several of his former female devotees as a sexual predator.

Perplexed to discover her former guru had lied consistently to his followers, she began to study the psychology of religion, attaining an MA in the subject. Her Master’s dissertation was entitled, “Psychological Factors in the Emergence of New Religious Movements”.

She remembered how many of her fellow members in the Sri Chinmoy group believed in him because they they had mystical-type experiences associated with him. She was intrigued that such powerful experiences could be associated with someone who had been exposed for exploiting his followers in the worst possible way. This contributed to her decision to study for a PhD in psychology, researching atheists who claim to have had some kind of mystical-type experience, and to look at how they make sense of these experiences and whether it affects their sense of atheist identity.

The more she studied the psychology of religion the less religious she became. Although she now considers herself an atheist, she says she still has a soft spot for some aspects of religion, and believes it can be helpful for some people.  The problem, she believes, is the lack of transparency and accountability of many religious leaders that in turn leads to corruption and exploitation.

Alice's email: aliceherronwork@hotmail.com

twitter account @godlessmystics

Alice's blog:  Godless Mystics  https://godlessmystics.wordpress.com/

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

 Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson: http://sarahnicholson.co/

Jul 4, 2017

Dr. Karen L. Garst is the author of Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion. She and I are working together to tell the stories of women who have left religion and why more should do so. Her book received reviews from Richard Dawkins, Valerie Tarico, Peter Boghossian, Rebecca Hale, John Loftus, Sikivu Hutchinson and others. The book is a collection of personal essays from 22 women from diverse backgrounds who tell their stories of leaving religion. From various Judeo-Christian traditions, they talk about the shame, guilt, and oppression religion imposed on them and how they freed themselves from its grip. She is also working on her second book which will be a collection of persuasive essays from women atheists, most of whom are already authors such as Valerie Tarico, Abby Hafer, and Candace Gorham. 

Karen has a blog which can be found at www.faithlessfeminist.com. This podcast episode is the 3rd in a series where Karen records the audio version of her blog articles. This blog is called Abortion Opponents - Power, Control and Hypocrisy. Once again, the right to accessible and affordable access to abortion is under attack. Most of the opposition comes from Republicans and those who profess to be Christian. Yet the history of abortion is much nuanced than one would first believe. This essay traces the history of abortion regarding religion and politics.

Karen’s book: Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion.https://www.amazon.ca/Women-Beyond-Belief-Discovering-Religion/dp/1634310829

Karen's Blog - www.faithlessfeminist.com

Abortion Opponents - Power, Control and Hypocrisy    

http://faithlessfeminist.com/women-and-religion/abortion-opponents-power-control-hypocrisy/

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

 Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

 Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson:

http://sarahnicholson.co/

 

 

Jun 29, 2017

Brian Peck is a licensed clinical social worker in Boise, Idaho, who specializes in faith transitions and religious-based trauma. His practice, Room to Thrive PLLC grew out of a desire to reduce the suffering unique to faith transitions and to trauma experienced within a religious context.

In addition to providing clinical services, Brian offers online coaching for individuals navigating faith transitions. While distinct from therapy in its focus and approach, Brian's coaching is informed by evidence-based principles and practices. 

For the past several years, Brian has collaborated with fellow clinicians, researchers, and members of various post-theist communities on a new online venture that adapts evidence-based resources to the unique challenges of faith transitions. The Faith Transitions Project is about the whole person and infuses flexibility into a process where it's often easy to get stuck. 

Learn more here https://www.roomtothrive.com/welcome/ 

Brian grew up in the Conservative Holiness movement and was deeply committed to his faith, traveling to China, the Philippines, and Honduras on missions trips. It was during a year of Bible college that Brian began to discover the many ways his religious faith no longer worked for him. 

Over the past 12+ years, Brian has done a lot of personal work related to the experience of leaving the church. His curiosity, openness, and desire to reduce human suffering are guiding principles for a life committed to human wellbeing sans supernatural beliefs. You may already be familiar with some of Brian's work as the director of social media for Life After God (https://www.facebook.com/ourlifeaftergod) or have seen him around one of the many post-theist communities. 

Brian earned his Master’s of Social Work degree from Boise State University and completed the required post-graduate supervision and training to gain clinical licensure. Brian is a member of the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS) and serves on the steering committee for the Social Work and ACT Special Interest Group. Brian is an active member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), has served on the board of directors for the Idaho Chapter (NASW Idaho) for several terms as a branch chair, and has served as the chair for NASW Idaho’s Political Action for Candidate Election (IDA PACE) committee. 

Originally from Pennsylvania, Brian now lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two boys where he enjoys spending time outdoors, sharing in conversations around the fire pit, enjoying a cup of home-roasted coffee, and living life as fully as possible. 

This episode covers a lot of ground yet barely scratches the surface of concepts that may feel counterintuitive at first. If you would like to continue the conversation, visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WomenBeyondBelief/ where Brian welcomes further discussion. 

You can also contact Brian here...

e-mail: brian@roomtothrive.com

website: https://www.roomtothrive.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoomToThrive/

Twitter: @RoomToThrive 

For more information about the Faith Transitions Project be sure to sign up for updates herehttps://www.roomtothrive.com/early-access

Podcast Website: http://womenbeyondbelief.com/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson:
http://sarahnicholson.co/

Jun 23, 2017

Andrea Powell grew up in Texas, but now lives and works as a designer in NYC. Christianity was a part of her life from the start. She and her family were active in non-denominational Bible churches. She participated in a number of faith-based activities such as Awana, Vacation Bible School, and Christian summer camps throughout her childhood. Andrea was a curious child who loved science and spent much of her time reading. She voraciously consumed the Focus on the Family magazines that were a constant presence in her home. After hearing Ken Ham speak, she became fascinated with creationist explanations of how the natural world came to be. Throughout middle school and high school, Andrea was an active member of her church youth group. She loved her time with their small groups, Bible studies, mission trips, local outreaches, and eventually she even became part of the leadership team.

In the summer before she went to college, Andrea attended a two-week program aimed at preparing young people to defend their faith in the face of the secular worldviews and liberal academic environments they were likely to encounter in higher education and the professional world beyond. Then she attended College, which was a whirlwind. Andrea joined the local branch of Campus Crusade for Christ and proudly shared her testimony to professors and classmates. Outside of the classroom, she spent hours debating issues of politics and morality and was surprised by the variety of arguments and examples she had never encountered during the years she had spent preparing for such conversations.

Somewhere around the third year of college, the nature of these debates shifted and began more often to include people from within the church. The debates included the questions such as whether faith could persist in a mind that had accepted evolution to be true, the condescending nature of many church positions regarding the roles of women in leadership and within families, and differing denominational positions toward the LGBTQ community.

By her fourth and final year, Andrea had grown frustrated with the dismissive ways her questions and concerns were often received by other Christians. She began stepping back from ministry responsibilities, and instead spent more time with her friends outside the church. After graduation, Andrea headed overseas and, after months of meeting fellow travelers from all corners of the globe, few of her childhood assumptions about morality and truth seemed to make sense any longer in the world she was encountering. By the time she made it to NYC, the desire to re-join a church community had evaporated for good. Over the next several years, Andrea hungrily consumed scientific, historical, and philosophical resources that had never been included in her faith-focused education. And slowly, she came to terms with an understanding of the universe and morality that could exist without the intervention of a supernatural being.

Andrea's email: thisisandreapowell@gmail.com.

Andrea's Design Business: http://www.thisisandrea.land/

Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson

Jun 16, 2017

Dr. Karen L. Garst is the author of Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion. She and I are working together to tell the stories of women who have left religion and why more should do so. Her book received reviews from Richard Dawkins, Valerie Tarico, Peter Boghossian, Rebecca Hale, John Loftus, Sikivu Hutchinson and others. The book is a collection of personal essays from 22 women from diverse backgrounds who tell their stories of leaving religion. From various Judeo-Christian traditions, they talk about the shame, guilt, and oppression religion imposed on them and how they freed themselves from its grip. She is also working on her second book, which will be a collection of persuasive essays from women atheists, most of whom are already authors such as Valerie Tarico, Abby Hafer, and Candace Gorham. 

Karen has a blog, which can be found at www.faithlessfeminist.com. This podcast episode is the 2nd in a series where Karen records the audio version of her blog articles. In the 1st section, she talks about how virginity and sex are viewed in religion. And In the 2nd section, she reads a guest post by Dan Dana, PhD, regarding advice for soon-to-be sexually active young women from a secular humanist perspective. Karen and Dan collaborated on the post after she saw his article on secular sexual advice for young men. Even though Karen admits to not agreeing on all the advice he gives, it is certainly better than the total lack of sexual advice she received growing up.

Karen’s book: Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion.https://www.amazon.ca/Women-Beyond-Belief-Discovering-Religion/dp/1634310829

Virginity and Sex

http://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/virginity-and-sex/

 Secular Sex Advice for Daughter

http://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/secular-sex-advice-daughter/

Karen’s blog www.faithlessfeminist.com

 Music - Original Composition by Esther Nicholson:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcug4tOb0B8WOdBUhYf56ww

 Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson:

http://sarahnicholson.co/

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