Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ep. 11: Nails in the Coffin of Belief


Nails in the Coffin of Belief
In this episode, Patrick and Jenica explore reasons why people stop believing in a god.

Atheists Fight Hunger http://atheistpa.org/donations/atheists-fight-hunger/
"Fight the hungry!"

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Jenica's post on facebook for listener feedback: https://www.facebook.com/jenica.crail/posts/10103241161508542?pnref=story

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Ep 10: The Mythinformation Conference Debacle


We kind of veer off our typical topics this week to discuss Jenica's experience at the controversial Mythinformation Conference in Milwaukee.
 
Serious Inquiries Only podcast: http://seriouspod.com/
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Email - reallifebeyondfaith@gmail.com

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ep #9: Coming Out


On this week's episode, Patrick and Jenica talk about coming out - both their experiences coming out and some advice on how, when and why to do so. They also talk about the NFL's "take a knee" situation, they read and discuss an evangelical handout/pamphlet, and Jenica talks about her experience at a Rally for Racial Justice she attended.

Atheists Fight Hunger http://atheistpa.org/donations/atheists-fight-hunger/

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Email - reallifebeyondfaith@gmail.com

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Check out this episode!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ep 8: Q&A Episode - part 2


Patrick and Jenica tackle the second half of the questions submitted by listeners, but first they talk briefly about the end of the world and drama in the atheist movement.
 
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Email - reallifebeyondfaith@gmail.com

Check out this episode!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Starting a Podcast!



The idea of starting a podcast has been simmering in the back of my mind for a while now. One of the most influential activities for me upon leaving religion was listening to podcasts. I learned SO MUCH and gained insight I wouldn't have otherwise had. I started to think that I would love to be able to have that kind of impact on someone else by sharing my story and experiences. That is why I started getting involved in the atheist/secular/skeptical community. Whatever you want to call it.

First I started this blog, which I, admittedly, have been rather inactive on. Then I started meeting people online and was invited to share my story on several podcasts such as, Secular Sexuality, No Religion Required, Dogma Debate, The Zachrilege Cast and The Thinking Atheist. I found that, even though I enjoy writing and am reasonably good at it, I don't often find the time and quiet I need to actually sit down and write. I can get my thoughts out more quickly and possibly more effectively by talking and, especially, conversing. Podcasting is also an easier medium for many people to consume because it can be completely discreet and allows them to do other things while listening. That has always been what I love so much about podcasts and audiobooks. I'm a busy wife and mother and I need to be multi-tasking pretty much non-stop. To sit down and read something is terribly inconvenient (though necessary at times). I totally get it and want to provide that medium to those who are interested in hearing what I have to say.

I wasn't originally thinking that Patrick would be involved in my podcast if I ever started one because he didn't seem very interested in activism. He had traveled the journey along with me, for the most part, but was a lot less passionate about it. We just have different personalities in that way. Well, he's recently gotten a lot more interested in activism and wants to be involved in the stuff I'm doing and it's been really fun to do things together! This past weekend, speaking with him at the Secular Saturday Convention, about supporting loved ones through deconversion, was really fun! He's an amazing person with wonderful insights to share. He's excited, along with me, to start this podcast and get our voices and our story out there in hopes that it could help someone in some way.

Things really got rolling with the podcast idea when our friend, Chris Watson of The Podunk Polymath Podast, came for a visit recently and we shared with him that we had considered starting a podcast, but weren't really sure if it would actually be successful or if we would have enough content. He greatly encouraged us to do it and all but guaranteed us that we'd be successful at it. We were still skeptical, but it got us thinking some more. Well, shortly after that, Chris posted on Facebook about Patrick and I "hypothetically" starting a podcast and there was a significant response to it, which kind of blew me away! People actually want to hear what we have to say? They would support us financially? Holy shit! Maybe we could do this!

The biggest obstacle, though, was the cost of getting started. We would need to get equipment such as, mics, interface, pop filters, headsets, a podcast hosting platform, etc. It all seemed a bit overwhelming, but we were starting to plan to get a few things here and there and eventually get started. Well, at the Ark Encounter protest that Patrick and I attended together, our friends Brittany and Johnny Pike gave us a podcasting package that had a mic, mic stand, interface and headset! With that we were more than halfway there! So we got another mic and a few other things on Amazon and suddenly we had all the hardware we needed! We seriously have the best friends!

We've received so much encouragement and advice. It's truly amazing and overwhelming. I'm very excited to get started and see where this takes us. Hopefully we don't totally suck at it! Haha. It'll be fun even if we do though.

Thank you to all of those who have encouraged us and supported us in making this decision! It wouldn't be happening without your support! We've already had people pledging support on our Patreon page even before we've officially launched any episodes! That blows me away!

Find/Contact us:
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Twitter: @RLBFpod
Email: reallifebeyondfaith@gmail.com
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Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Mom Delusion

Sometimes I hate being a mom...

Just thinking that makes me feel awful and here I am writing it down for all to see. I don't usually voice this feeling because I never want to come off sounding ungrateful or for those of us with no sense of nuance to think I mean that I hate being a mom ALL the time. That is certainly not the case.

However, there are those days, and sometimes weeks, in which I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, irritable and tired of hearing "Mommy!" I get tired of being needed all the time. It's exhausting. At home I'm needed by my kids, my husband and my pets and at work I'm needed by customers (server/bartender). If I get around to my own needs it a huge accomplishment!

What I've realized lately is that there is nothing wrong with feeling this way. I don't have to be perfect for everyone. I had an idea in my head when I decided that I was 'ready' to be a mom and I now refer to that idea as the 'mom delusion.' I thought that, in some way, becoming a mother would complete me or would give meaning to my life. I thought that I would be amazing at parenting and not make any of the mistakes I've seen other parents make. I thought I'd be able to make my children behave and listen to me. Excuse me while I laugh hysterically at that one. Hahahahahahahaha!

Also, as a Christian woman at the time, I believed that a woman's purpose in life was to be a godly wife and mother. Now I know that we each create our own purpose and it can take so many amazing forms. Being a mom doesn't have to be one of those (or a wife for that matter). A woman without children is not less of a woman.

When I came to that realization I had to ask myself the questions, "Do I regret having kids?" "Am I one of those women who would have thrived without children holding her back from her accomplishments?" "Does my depression and anxiety prevent me from being a good mother?" "Am I just passing my mental illness on to the next generation?" Ultimately, the answer to those questions doesn't change the fact that I already have kids, but it was a really difficult thing for me to face, at the time. I concluded that if I had never had kids I would have lived the rest of my life wishing that I had. My boys have been a challenge for me (mostly due to my mental illness and difficulty coping), but more than that they have brought unspeakable joy to my life. I do not regret having them.

I would like to address this 'mom delusion' though (it could also easily be the 'dad delusion'). Before we have kids of our own we all think we know what parenting is going to be like and what it's going to mean for our lives. We read a couple parenting books and think we have all the answers. We listen to pastors and mentors in our lives who tell us that children are a blessing from God and that it will enrich our lives. As young women, we're taught that we were created to bear and nurture children. And so on and so forth... We all have different ideas and expectations. This is just a general list of some of the things I believed or was taught.

The truth of the matter is that every single person is different and their skills, their needs and their purpose are different from one person to the next. Parenting is hard and should be approached with respect and fear by prospective parents. Some people are more equipped with the skills and patience needed to be wonderful parents and some people should stick to what they're good at and not be pressured by family, friends or anyone else to have children that they don't want.

I used to think that I wanted a large family of at least 4 or 5 kids. I realized, after dropping my 'mom delusion,' that I was quite happy with just my 2 beautiful boys and that was plenty for me. I no longer believe I'm called to bear fruit and populate the Earth. It turns out that the Earth is already over-populated! I'm going to turn my attention to my 2 boys and try to help them to become the best humans they can possibly be and, in the process, they will probably help me to become the best human I can be.

Sometimes I love being a mom...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Ways to Support a Loved One Who is Losing Their Faith


Losing one's faith can be one of the most difficult and painful experiences of a person's life. For many, including myself, it felt like the death of a loved one. I lost a huge part of my identity when I lost my faith and, in some ways, those aspects of my identity will never be replaced. For some the loss may not feel quite as intense, but there is still a sense of loss, whether it's the loss of a community, a tradition, a comfort zone, etc.

One of the most important things for a person losing their faith is having a support system. However, that is often exactly what they lose when they are honest with people about their non-belief or growing doubts. So what are some ways that we can be the support that our loved one needs during this difficult transition?


  1. Listen. I can't stress this enough. Allow them to talk openly with you without judgment. One of the most therapeutic things they can do is just unload all of the frustration and disappointment by verbalizing it to a caring, non-judgmental ear.
  2. Don't take it personally. Whatever they are experiencing is their own journey. Even if you don't like the conclusions they're drawing, try to keep in mind that it's not about you. Don't constantly remind them that their loss of faith is hurting YOU! Keep in mind that it probably hurts them worse. Also, this is a time when tensions and emotions may be high and hurtful words might be said. They are probably experiencing some grief and may lash out. I know it's easier said than done, but try to be as patient and forgiving as possible. There's no good excuse for hurtful language, but if you can ride this out with them your relationship will grow through it. My husband was incredible in this area for me.
  3. Be patient. Like I said in the last point, you'll need to be patient, forgiving and as understanding as possible. Their grieving process could take months or it could take years. It's difficult to have a complete change in your world view. It's difficult to feel that everything you believed and lived for has suddenly been ripped out from under you. It takes time to get used to a new outlook on life and the world. Patience from the people around you makes a huge difference!
  4. Be a shoulder to cry on. Your loved one may or may not have an emotional reaction to losing their faith. I certainly cried on many occasions and I'll never forget how loving and supportive my husband was in those times. He was still a Christian at the time, but he knew that what I was going through was really hard on me so he would just hold me while I cried. Those times could have been so much worse if he wasn't there to help me through it.
  5. Validate their feelings. Even if what they are feeling is not what you think they should be feeling, it doesn't matter. The fact of the matter is that they are experiencing this in exactly their own way and your job is to be their support through it. Acknowledge to them that you recognize that what they are experiencing is hard. When they express anger, say things like, "That must make you pretty mad." When they express disappointment, say something like, "How disappointing." These simple phrases communicate to them that you are listening and empathizing. It may seem silly that you are just repeating their emotions back to them, but it truly helps a person to feel like they are really being heard.
  6. Respect their conclusion. I was going to say, "Respect their decision," but, in reality, it's more of a conclusion than a decision. You can't really choose to believe something. You either believe it or you don't. A person bases their beliefs on the evidence presented to them (keep in mind that some people's understanding of what constitutes evidence is different than others). Could you decide to believe that gravity didn't exist and then jump off a tall building? My guess is that your answer is "No" because the evidence is too overwhelming for you to deny the existence of gravity. Respect that, even if the conclusions they've drawn aren't the same as yours, they couldn't change their mind just by choosing to.
  7. Don't try to control or fix the situation. You may feel the overwhelming urge to try to fix the situation or to make them feel better right away. As much as it sucks, you can't fix it! You don't need to fix it. The best and most helpful thing you can do is listen (and all of the other things I suggest here, of course).
  8. Recognize that they may be going through the grief process. Grieving can be a long and difficult process, but it's healthy and normal. Like I mentioned above, losing my faith felt like the death of a loved one to me. I went through several of the stages of grief. A list of the stages and a description of each is here.
  9. Communicate openly and honestly about YOUR feelings. Just because you are the supportive person to your loved one going through this difficult time doesn't mean that you can't/won't experience emotions of your own over it. You may also be feeling the disappointment, anger, denial, sadness, etc. that they are feeling. It's good to communicate openly about your feelings without making it seem that you are blaming them. Communication and honesty are critical to maintaining a strong relationship, especially when going through a crisis.
  10. Do NOT use Pascal's Wager as an argument for faith. Pascal's Wager is the idea that it's better to believe in God and be wrong than to not believe in God and be wrong and suffer the consequences. This is a ridiculous argument for many reasons that I won't go into here. You can read more about why this argument doesn't work here. Just don't use that argument on someone who has lost their faith. It's very dismissive of their position and, like I said before, a person who doesn't believe can't force themself to believe. Belief just doesn't work that way.
If you're a person who took the time to read this article the chances are that you are probably already a caring, supportive person wanting to improve and be even better at it. You are to be commended for that! I hope that these suggestions are helpful to you.

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