About The Podcast

Storytelling is sense-making, creating order from the chaos of knowledge and experience. Gods have been a part of the human story for as long as we’ve been telling it, shaping and coloring our conception of who we are. What if instead, we take one natural world and one mortal life as a starting point and see where that story goes?

Human Story is a podcast exploring the experience of being human, one story at a time. Host Leighann Lord introduces a different secular storyteller in each episode, one person sharing what it’s like to be one of seven billion living, feeling, thinking human creatures temporarily awake on a minor planet.

LEIGHANN LORD is a stand-up comedian, actor, author, and keynote speaker with appearances on Showtime, Comedy Central, and HBO. She graduated magna cum laude from Baruch College, CUNY in Journalism and Creative Writing. Host of the Human Story podcast at OnlySky, former co-host (with Neil deGrasse Tyson) of Star Talk Radio, and co-host of CFI’s Point of Inquiry podcast, the self-described sci-fi nerd also holds a black belt in mixed martial arts.

Human Story host Leighann Lord


The shadows we live in | Casey Karaman

Casey Karaman never expected the biography of an urban planner to change the way he saw the world. But the nearly five years it took to work his way through that one massive biography changed his view of himself, those around him, and the way our lives are dictated by decisions made by people we…

Laughter is healing | Nathan Timmel

After comedian Nathan Timmel witnessed a ceremony for a US soldier killed in Afghanistan, he had to perform for that soldier’s friends.

Sahra’s last message | Ashkan Mehr Roshan

Before the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, an Iranian activist, blogger, and translator who goes by the pseudonym Ashkan Mehr Roshan connected with an Afghan woman and freethinker. Together, they formed one of the biggest and most effective underground support communities for nonbelievers and religious minorities in the region. But shortly after the Taliban…

My tangled feelings at Ramadan | Eiynah

Raised in Saudi Arabia in a Muslim family of Pakistani background, and now an atheist living in Canada, Eiynah knows something about displacement, and disorientation, and the yearning for the lost familiar. Although she left Islam under her own power and is a strong critic of religion, her childhood and culture are intertwined in Islam.…

How an Indian film changed my son’s life | Jennifer Hancock

Learning that she didn’t know the name or work of the most famous actor in the world sent lifelong movie enthusiast Jennifer Hancock down a rabbit hole into the massive film industry of India. In the process, she found insights about love that are rarely touched in Western cinema—and solved a puzzle about her own…

The view from our only life

How does a secular perspective change the way you see the world and your life? OnlySky’s Dale McGowan asks this question of people attending the American Atheists conference in Atlanta. Special thanks to Nick Fish and American Atheists for making this episode possible.

For which it stands | Adam Lee

Most Americans don’t give a lot of thought to the Pledge of Allegiance. You were taught to say it when you were four or five, and you said it, probably in a droning voice, surrounded by 20 other droning children who likewise hadn’t thought much about it. Whether or not he started off droning like…

The apple and the river | Jonathan MS Pearce

People are different. That’s a good thing. But in recent years, it feels like some differences have deepened to the point that we look at friends and family on social media, or even across the dinner table, saying and believing things that are just baffling to us. And we wonder: how did you get that…

Beyond the bitter pill | Hemant Mehta and Notes from Autumn

Hemant Mehta has been a freethought blogger, author, and speaker for nearly 20 years now, building his blog Friendly Atheist into the largest atheist blog in the world. Just as the pandemic began, he came across a YouTube channel called Notes from Autumn. The host was a young woman and recent deconvert with strong criticisms…

Relax, it’s just the end of the world | George Hrab

Funk drummer, composer, and podcast legend George Hrab spends an unhealthy amount of time thinking about the end of the world. And he’s pretty sure we’ve got it all wrong. Not just the zombies, but the role fear would play both before and after the collapse of civilization.

Chasing false wonder | Captain Cassidy

From the time she was young, Captain Cassidy heard promises of wonder. If she did this, or believed that, or avoided a long list of temptations, she would find herself smack in the middle of a world of wonder. She chased that promise from Catholic Maryland to Baptist Alabama to Waco Texas, finally landing in…

Getting my own story straight | Dale McGowan

There’s a story in your head, a kind of autobiography. You’ve been writing and revising it all your life. We take the chaos of information from a normal life and create a story that makes sense. Some of it might even be true.

But considering who’s telling the story, it’s no surprise that a lot…