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Personal Stories and Deconversion

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Speakers About Deconversion and Personal Stories

Jeremiah Bannister
  • I live with my wife and four children in Dorr, Michigan, midway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
  • I graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communication from Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan. I also minored in political science.
  • I'm the creator and host of PaleoRadio, a talk radio program focused on politics, religion and culture.
  • As a protestant, I was a pastor and advocate for presuppositionalism, theonomy, and postmillennialism--put together, Christian Reconstructionism.
  • As a Roman Catholic, I was a Knight of Columbus, a catechist, and a guest speaker on matters of politics and religion. My final year as a Roman Catholic--and as a Christian--was spent as a sedevacantist.
  • Twitter: @Paleocrat
Dan Barker
  • Located in Madison, WI
  • Former evangelical minister
  • Co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • Author of Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist
  • Author of Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists (with a foreword by Richard Dawkins)
  • Author of The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God
  • Dynamic Speaker and Debater (and singer!)
  • Frequent media appearances including the Phil Donahue show, Maury Povich, Hannity & Colmes, and Oprah Winfrey
  • Co-host of Freethought Radio
Greta Christina
JT Eberhard
  • Located in Lawrence, KS
  • Blogger
  • Co-Founder of Skepticon
Chris Highland
  • Located in San Rafael, California
  • Non-theistic freethinker; "Nature Chaplain" 
  • Instructor in "natural spirituality" through Cherry Hill Seminary; adjunct instructor, Dominican University and Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
  • Nine published books including Life After Faith
  • Presbyterian Minister for 14 years (1987-2001; Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary; parish associate for 10 years; left ordination for reasons of conscience)
  • Interfaith Chaplain in county jails--10,000 inmates per year-- and with unhoused, homeless poor--in one of the nation's wealthiest counties-- for 20 years (directed county emergency shelter for 2 winters)
  • Taught courses in congregations on World Religions and Sacred Scriptures
  • Philosophy major, Seattle Pacific University--evangelical college
  • Former Evangelical (high school through college attended Baptist, Pentecostal,
    Protestant, Campus Crusade and House Church congregations; youth group leader; wide biblical and ecumenical knowledge)
Chris Johnson
  • Located in New York, NY
  • Author of the photography book, "A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God"
  • Director of upcoming film version of the book.
  • Has raised over $125,000 on Kickstarter for the book/film of "A Better Life"
  • Interviewed atheists from around the world for the two projects including notable figures such as, Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Steven Pinker, Penn & Teller, Julia Sweeney, Alex Honnold, & Derren Brown, among others.
  • Check him out on Youtube here.

Topics Include:

  • The journey of creating "A Better Life" - from concept to published book!
  • Crowdfunding
  • A new way of looking at atheism
  • Atheism and Death
Gordon Maples
  • Located in Columbus, OH
  • Manager of the Secular Student Alliance's Regional Program
  • Formerly SSA's Regional Campus Organizer for the Southeastern US
  • Founder of the Southeastern Collegiate Atheist Alliance
  • President/Officer of Alabama Atheists and Agnostics (2010 - 2012)
  • Has inadvertently appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, The Blaze, and Creation Today.
  • Has spoken at multiple conferences and freethought venues throughout the Southeast and the rest of the country
  • Twitter @SouthernHeathen

Nathan Phelps
  • Located in Alberta, CA.
  • Born and raised in the "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.
  • Left home on the night of his 18th birthday and ostracized from my family since.
  • Was married for 23 years and raised four children.
  • After another 20+ years in mainstream Christianity he reasoned his way to atheism.
  • Executive Director of the Centre for Inquiry Canada in Calgary, Alberta.
  • On the board of directors of Recovering From Religion.
Rebecca Vitsmun
  • Located in Pullyallup, WA
  • Development Coordinator of Humanist Disaster Recovery Teams for Foundation Beyond Belief, the first national disaster recovery program for the secular community
  • Co-host and writer for broadcast radio program, Ask an Atheist.
  • Outed on live national television by Wolf Blitzer after a tornado destroyed her home
  • Board member of Humanists of Washington
  • Twitter: @ActuallyAtheist
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