As blogger Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist reports:
It was almost a year ago when Ryan Bell, a professor and former pastor of a Seventh-day Adventist church, announced that he would “try on” atheism and “live as if there is no God” for 12 months…
But he got a taste of what being an atheist was like much sooner than expected. Less than a week after announcing his experiment, Bell was fired by his Christian employers at Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary… Readers of this site came through in a big way and helped raise more than $27,000 for his family…
In an NPR story today, he told reporter Arun Rath that atheism just makes more sense to him now‘:
“I’ve looked at the majority of the arguments that I’ve been able to find for the existence of God and on the question of God’s existence or not, I have to say I don’t find there to be a convincing case in my view. I don’t think that God exists. I think before I wanted a closer relationship to God and today I just want a closer relationship with reality.””
Bell has a new job, by the way, putting his Humanism in action. He’s working with a group called People Assisting The Homeless (PATH). He worked with them when he was a pastor, but now, it’s just more evidence that he can still be good without God.
A few days before, the Christian Post quoted him in a story titled “Ex-Pastor Who Took Yearlong Break From Faith Asks ‘Why Do I Need Religion to Love?’ May Announce Atheism Soon:”
“The question I am asking right now [is] why do I need religion to love?…I want to be for something good, but I don’t want boundaries, and religion just feels like a very bounded thing.”
The Post’s Christian readers were angered:
This is nothing more than rebellion, and at the expense of many of the rest of us. What selfishness and irresponsibility, no matter what the personal struggle.
You need the Christian religion (and yes, Christianity is a religion, the true religion) to worship God, and God must be worshiped.
Those who have entered into a genuine relationship with Christ Jesus are the most loving people.
At Free Republic, where the Christian Post story was reposted, angry, militant Christians vented homophobic slurs and character attacks:
“What a dirtbag. Sorry, without Christ your ‘good deeds’ are worth *****.”
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light….. Isaiah 5:20.”
“He means without submitting to God. But only God is good, so it is impossible without Him. “
“Being good without boundaries. The serpent couldn’t have said it any better.”
“No God, no concience… No God, no peace… Now come out of the closet faggot.”
“Calling evil good and good evil . . . where have we heard that before, I wonder?”
“Next he’ll tell us he’s discovered he’s a transvestite.”
“I was wondering if he is dating a male or female.”
“Seems as though he is sewing the devils fruits to me.”
“His “wrestling with doubts” is about as real as professional wrestling.”
“Smells like someone is having a mid-life crisis.”
“He is not smart enough to be able to see the difference between religion and belief.”
You’ll want to engage your Irony Surge Protector before reading these:
“I am sincerely curious. What obnoxious certainty do Christians have that he objects to?”
“This man is full of self-approval. He thinks he knows it all. Pathetic.”