Wendy Marsman was raised in a strict Evangelical community in rural Canada. She fulfilled her dream of being a missionary by moving to the Brazilian Amazon for eight years with her then-husband and children. What followed was an unraveling of what she believed, and a painful realization that, as a woman, she was a second-class citizen in Christianity.
(The Big Chew Podcast asks, How do we live on Earth without the Stupid? And how stupid is it to keep the majority of the population—women—under some belief system’s thumb? If belief systems have thumbs…still stupid, though.)
Wendy has faced some stark personal truths, and has surmounted major changes to found Women Beyond Belief, a podcast where other women (and men) finding their way out of religious beliefs can also find community.
We talk about:
- How she feels about having promoted to indigenous people beliefs she no longer holds herself
- How her community used religion to hide abuse
- How women were treated in her Evangelical faith
- “Closeted” atheists and dark family secrets: life in the “mission field” of the Amazon
- The different paths she’s seen people take out of Christian belief—and which one she took
- The loss that can come with leaving one’s religious culture
- Where she derives her “morality” and “ethics” outside of religion–and how she feels more deeply moral than before
- Where she turned when faced with a serious disease
Wendy also mentions The Clergy Project, which is for religious leaders and who have left the faith. clergyproject .org
Dan Everett, the linguist and colleague of Wendy’s who became an atheist while working with the Piraha tribe https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/04/16/the-interpreter-2