16 – Andrea Powell – Former Active Christian (Awana, Mission Trips, Door-to-Door Evangelism) Turned Humanist and Critical Thinker

Andrea Powell – Former Active Christian (Awana, Mission Trips, Door-to-Door Evangelism) Turned Humanist and Critical Thinker

Andrea PowellActive Christian

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.

Humanist and Critical Thinker

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.

Music – Original Composition by Esther Nicholson

Podcast Logo by Sarah Nicholson