021 Krissy Hilliker - Part 2


"Once I was able to let it go, the world made a lot more sense"

Krissy Hilliker

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.



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021 Krissy Hilliker - Part 1



 "I had so much guilt and shame I really did believe that if I had behaved differently it wouldn't have happened to me. I really started to think, I have to turn my life over to God"



Krissy Hilliker

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


"Speak out for the people who cannot speak out. So if you can come out as an atheist or if you're able to be more open about it, do so"

Gerardo Rivera

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


"The church teaches that your heart is where evil desires come from. I think that's just a lie. Sometimes we do have to follow our hearts and sometimes we do have to be true to ourselves. It doesn't mean that it's wrong"

Sarah Brennan

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

Skype: sarahmbrennan13

Email: sarahmbrennan13@gmail.com

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019 Sarah Brennan - Part 1


"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."

-Sarah Brennan

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 (above) from her interview is really touching and one of my favorites.

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018 Stephen Barry - Part 2


"Keep asking questions. It's ok to ask yourself what you want out of life, out of your experience. It's ok to not know, to not have all the answers or know exactly where you stand"


-Stephen Barry 

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 https://barryorchestra.bandcamp.com

Stephen's Resources:

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

Angels and Airwaves: The Revelator

@barryorchestra https://twitter.com/barryorchestra




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018 Stephen Barry - Part 1

"It was legit. I accepted it. I believed it. I would pray to God and I tried to see God as my friend"

-Stephen Barry

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.  

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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

"This was my plan B and now this was gone, in an instant. The moment you said that was the moment I realized my faith had ended"

-Steve Hilliker

In part two of my story, I learn of different ways Christians interpret the Bible. Discussing these views with my wife results in a comment she makes, snapping me out of denial. 

My identity crisis begins and I struggle to come to terms with my new reality. I eventually decide I'm an atheist, but everyone else thinks I'm a strong Christian still 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.




https://twitter.com/vodpodcast (@vodpodcast)

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017 Steve Hilliker - Part 1: Aspiring Pastor, Studying The Bible. My Relationship w/God is Unexpectedly Challenged

"At least you can look back if you try and you fail and say, I gave it my best shot, my best effort, I tried...but I didn't. That was really hard for me to accept, that basically I quit on myself is how I felt"

-Steve Hilliker

I grew up in a conservative evangelical (fundamentalist) Christian home. We went to church every Sunday and God was an important part of my life.

As I entered high school and realized my childhood dream wasn't panning out, my trust in God grew stronger. I began studying the Bible and loved it! I enjoyed occasionally preaching at youth group and attended multiple churches each week (for a period of time). I wanted to live out my faith, so I stopped swearing, listening to secular music, watching R rated movies and avoided 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.

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016 Skeptic Nikki (Nikki Terry)

"The more you understand the less you attribute God to. God isn't just a catch-all, 'I don't know so, God'"

-Nikki Terry

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 skepticnikki.com 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. 

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015 Kristen Hovet

"The silence of everyone in the church...when people found out that we left the church, our peers were silent. That was the predominant reaction"

-Kristen Hovet

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.

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Kristen Hovet




Humans of Earth Podcast

Marlene Winell-Leaving the Fold


014 James Jackson

"It was the first time in my life that I was liberated, and it could not have happened really at a worse time"

-James Jackson

James endured an alcoholic, severely abusive Step-Father and subsequent depression. He grew up in the heart of evangelical Christian country in Texas.  His Dad was obsessed with End Times theology. James never stopped asking the right questions!

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013 Vix of Nigerian Atheists/Agnostics

"The worst part is my mom blames herself. She says it happened because she didn't pray hard enough. You're telling me you worship God and God promises he's going to look out for you, but you didn't pray hard enough and that's why your son died"


She Co-Runs the Nigerian Atheist/Agnostic Movement's Facebook Page

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

"I wanted to believe in the God that my friends believed in. The one they said forgives everything and loves you no matter what, but when I asked each one of them pointed questions, the bottom line was that he doesn't love you unconditionally, far from it"

-Audrey Moreland

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