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Unbelieving preachers get help to 'come out' as open atheists
Minister-turned-atheist Jerry DeWitt speaks at ReasonFest in Kansas earlier this year.
June 13th, 2012
10:47 AM ET

Unbelieving preachers get help to 'come out' as open atheists

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - Jerry DeWitt entered the ministry when he was 17, launching a 25-year career as a Pentecostal preacher. He traveled all around his home state of Louisiana, preaching and ministering wherever he could.

All these years later, DeWitt, 42, is still on the road, and now takes his message all over the United States. But the nature of that message, along with his audience, has changed dramatically.

DeWitt is now an avowed atheist, and his audiences are made up of religious “nones,” the growing number of Americans who are atheist, agnostic, humanist or just plain disinterested in identifying with a religion. Today, DeWitt preaches a gospel of disbelief.

During his speeches, he talks about the process of leaving his preacher job. “If you don’t believe, then you will be like me - you’ll suddenly find yourself where you only have two choices,” DeWitt told a group in Johnson County, Kansas, earlier this year.

“You can either be honest that you don’t believe ... or you can pretend that you do,” he said. “Which is what so many people are doing and that is called faith.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The transition from preacher to outspoken atheist has not been easy, and DeWitt is trying to smooth the way for other former believers. He is executive director of Recovering from Religion, an organization founded in 2009. Its slogan: “Thousands of organizations will help you get INTO religion, but we’re the only one helping you OUT.”

But a relatively new effort goes a step further than his own group by focusing on helping clergy in particular. In March 2011, a coalition that includes national groups such as American Atheists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation helped launch the Clergy Project, which is aimed at giving doubting and atheist preachers a community in which they can talk about their disbelief.

The program's ultimate goal: to help unbelieving preachers to “come out” in real life.

A safe online community

The Clergy Project’s key component is a private online community of active and former pastors discussing their conversions to lives of active disbelief. It lets congregational leaders come out anonymously, using an alias.

“It is important to focus on any group of people who are in a lot of pain,” said Linda LaScola, a co-founder of the Clergy Project. “That is why the Clergy Project exists, and it wouldn’t be growing if there wasn’t a need for it.”

When it launched last year, 52 clergy signed up for the online community, according to LaScola. A little more than a year later, 270 members are contributing to the message boards and connecting anonymously with one another.

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According to LaScola, the community includes some rabbis, imams and Catholic priests, but the majority are Protestants.

Members are barred from disclosing what is discussed on the boards, but DeWitt said it’s a blend of humor, advice and encouragement. DeWitt, who left his congregation just over a year ago, is considered the group’s first graduate.

“It gave me confidence to come out,” DeWitt said of the Clergy Project. “Knowing that I was not alone, that I was not a fluke, that I was not a freak of religious nature, but that this is a process; it most definitely gave me confidence and a purpose.”

Jerry DeWitt, far right, in his days as a minister.

DeWitt said that after connecting with people on the message boards, he realized he faced fewer obstacles than some others who are trying to leave the ministry. For example, DeWitt's wife and son already knew about his disbelief, while other questioning preachers had not yet told their families.

“I think it is important when you are struggling that you talk it out, that you write about it, that you find support,” said Teresa MacBain, acting executive director of the Clergy Project. “I still try to reach out to people who are questioning, who are doubting, clergy people and laypeople alike, and let them know they are not alone, that there are people who care.”

How does he feed his family?

For 44 years, MacBain was involved in some sort of ministry, from organizing worship music to being a senior pastor at a Methodist church in Florida.

At a recent American Atheists convention in North Bethesda, Maryland, MacBain first publicly announced her atheism, inspiring a roaring round of applause. American Atheists President David Silverman walked onstage and hugged her as MacBain began to cry.

"I was the one on the right track, and you were the ones that were going to burn in hell," MacBain told the crowd. "And I'm happy to say as I stand before you right now, I'm going to burn with you."

She said she sees plenty of growth potential in the Clergy Project. In the near future, she said she hopes to incorporate it as a nonprofit and begin raising funds for clergy who have decided to leave ministry jobs. She also wants to compile a group of employment recruiters to help former clergy find new jobs.

DeWitt, for his part, is struggling financially and said his house could be foreclosed on in the next few months.

For former preachers in search of work, their old skills can be hard to translate into new fields. What references do former ministers use if they have disappointed their congregants by leaving the pulpit?

MacBain said that some “formers,” as she calls ex-clergy, have left their hometowns for new jobs in fields ranging from radio to counseling.

To aid those transitions, Recovering from Religion has started the Clergy Professional Relief Fund, dedicated to “helping ex-ministers have a soft landing after coming out of the ministry.” Though little money has been collected so far, the hope is to help former ministers with job training and relocation expenses.

“Even if you have a degree in divinity, that doesn’t really mean anything,” DeWitt said. “That is the biggest fear that a nonbelieving clergy member has. How does he feed his family?”

Losing faith, losing friends

As a young fresh-faced minister, DeWitt was first confronted with his disbelief when he “became the person who got the burden of preaching about hell,” he said. “I really loved the people I preached to, I loved them like family. So imagine preaching that if you don’t do this, you are going to burn in hell. That wasn’t easy for me.”

After doubt about hell, DeWitt began to research other schools of thought about God and belief. He began to develop other doubts, about certain biblical translations and about healing.

“The next big issue was the failure of prayer,” DeWitt said. “People are passing away, whenever we pray for them to live. People aren’t getting jobs, whenever we pray for them to have jobs.

“The harder we tried to alleviate suffering within our church, it seemed like the worse things got,” he said. “It didn’t seem like prayer made any difference. It just continually crushed my heart.”

When DeWitt decided to come out as an atheist, some in his congregation appeared shocked.

“I was very heartbroken actually because his family means so much to me; they are actually like family,” said Natosha Davis, 30, who attended DeWitt’s church for four years. “I was very heartbroken for him that he had to go through that and struggle.”

Many congregants were less charitable. “Some people where he lives just totally turned their backs on him,” Davis said. “He was ostracized, excommunicated. It is like he has a disease, but he doesn’t.”

When DeWitt runs into people he used to preach to, he still averts his eyes. Going to the post office and to Walmart, he said, can be stressful because of the possibility of running into a former congregant.

“It is because places in which you were once admired now you are suddenly scorned or pitied,” DeWitt said, who admits not having many friends anymore. “It makes for an extremely uncomfortable life.”

And yet DeWitt said his atheist life mirrors his old religious one in some key respects. In some ways, he said, he’s still a minister.

“The origin of the symmetry is me, is my personality, my love for people, my love for ministering,” DeWitt said. “What I have always tried to do is to minster from where I personally am at.

“When I was 17, I preached what I believed was best for people at the time; when I was 20, it was a little different; at 25 it was different, too,” he said. “And now at 42, I am still the same guy preaching what I see is best for people.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity

soundoff (5,298 Responses)
  1. Cheryl Jefferies

    Odd how you'll cover this. And, the "feminist" nuns attacking the Catholic Church. But, where is the coverage of the 164 rallies containing tens of thousands of people over the past week-end, people from ALL faiths and even some of no faiths, who gathered to protest Obama's abortion mandate in ObamaCare? Where is THAT coverage?

    June 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • sam

      Mandate? Really?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Ricky L

      You tell me, Cheryl.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I had no idea Obama was forcing women to get abortions!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • sam

      Now I'm just curious. Cheryl, did you spend a weekend protesting something that doesn't exist?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  2. elizabeth

    II don't feel the need to identify with any particular religion. I am not saying that God does not exist because there are some things that are beyond my understanding as a human being, and I can accept that. I would rather accept that fact than be controlled by a religion which uses fear to keep me going. It's not the hope of going to heaven, people fear the possibility of going to hell if they aren't a Christian or Muslim or whatever. I am not going to let fear control my life. I know right from wrong, and I believe that any real God would know I'm a good person based on how I live my life, and would not send a good person to hell. I also believe there are some obvious inaccuracies in the religious books, but religious people have explanations for everything, such as, you can't take the bible literally. It says this person lived 983 years, but it doesn't mean that. Come on! Obviously that inaccurate, and I'm not going to believe that story when it's not true, God did not write that story. He would have just written the truth, not some words you have to do all of this interpretations for. He would want his message clear, I think.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  3. Brian

    Even if you believe in God it seems silly to pray to God for specific acts of intervention such as curing a specific disease in a specific person. If God controls all things, didn't He cause the disease in the first place? Or do you believe in scientific forms of disease propagation, but religious forms of disease control? Besides, the Holocaust should serve as a lesson that if there is a God in heaven He is a very hands-off sort of God, and if he wasn't willing to intervene during that awful period of history He probably isn't going to cure this or that individual's illness.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  4. Former Christian

    The idea that most of the country is Christian is bogus. Of all the "Christians", I assure you at least 1/3 of the people are not actually Christian. They are just too cowardly to go against their spouse, don't wanna disappoint their parents, or whatever the case may be...or simply enjoy the fellowship that goes with it so they fake the funk. I didn't officially come out as being atheist until I left home. I declared myself one though at age 12 when I came to the realization that religion itself is bogus. One simply comes from a previous one and so on. When people didn't have nearly the scientific knowledge they have now, they just wanted to explain existence and what happens when we die and all the forces around us. Well, those can be explained now and also we know how to create life using some basic elements, heat, and electricity. Yes...humanity can CREATE life. Oh, but how can one be moral without religion? Give me a break. The ancient Greeks among many other ancient civilizations developed the branch of philosophy known as ethics.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  5. Allan

    Whoa unto all of you who do not cook a nice ginger tea over a talking bush! I wonder if the talking bush was yelling "Yo... dumb-ass... put the fire out... I'm burnin' over here and you want to talk about writings on a rock?!?"

    June 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  6. Silly Baggers!

    I don't have a problem with athiests. I could care less what they do and don't believe. My thing is what makes them any different from a religion? They still organize and actively recruit members. They have people traveling to spread the word. They have foundations and take donations for their cause. They have gatehrings equivelant to that of mass. They are the same thing but a different belief. They hate for religion to be in their face but keep pushing their beliefs in everyones face just the same. Frankly I think athiests are just as big a fraud as the religions they hate.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      How many times do you need to be told? Atheism is a religion like NOT collecting stamps is a hobby or BALD is a hair color.

      You just dont seem to get it do you?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • fintastic

      Wrong! wrong! wrong!............ Atheist = LACK OF BELIEF

      Are all organized groups "religions"??....

      June 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • BigRed

      So you don't believe that religion requires a belief in (a) God? What sort of Christian are you to say that people who don't believe in God worship? Atheists proclaim there is no God, they are not devil worshipers, witches, Wicca, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews or any other faith. They are devoid of faith in a higher being. They are always down to Earth, decent folk, who have never caused a war, have never massacred anyone, and have never taken park in inquisitions or persecutions. They believe in living their lives to the fullest without the fantasy world of Gods and Goddesses impacting their every action. They are probably the most actualized and decent people on the planet.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Chut Pata

      Let me tell you the difference between you and us, we do not scam trusting people by saying, "Hey I have an almighty friend sitting on the cloud who is going to strike you with thunder unless you give me 20% of your income".

      June 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • asdf

      By that definition, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is a religion for taking money for breast cancer research.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Jay Davis

      Atheism has similarity to religion only as much as any other group of people that get together with common interests has similarity to religion. Some are more active than others, but most atheists don't proselytize and try to actively convert other people to their ideas – something that is required by virtually every religion. There is also no dogma, no organized hierarchy, no rituals – no rubbish. You can draw some parallels but it's just a huge fallacy to conflate atheism with the flip side of religion or make it some kind of secular religion.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Glorifundel

      Atheism is not a religion because it does not follow a common belief, they simply reject your belief as reality, and typically reject any belief that does not have any proof to back it up. If your deity were to produce actual proof of its existence, instead of the current set of Miracles which can be summarily explained by natural causes, coincidence, and chance, then atheist would likely be more readily able to accept your claims.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Excitizen

      BigRed – well said. My boyfriend is an Atheist and is the most Christ-like person I've ever met (and I was raised in a religious family)! He is so non-judgmental and kind – even to those he dislikes and I try every day to be more like him. I respect him so much! You don't have to be religious to be moral.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  7. pwnagepimp

    Let's all compare the Christian God who is supposedly the most righteous, holy, and most loving being in the universe to Satan who is supposedly the most demonic, evil, and corrupting being in the universe...

    # of people the all LOVING god has killed: millions of human beings NOT including almost every single living, breathing creature being killed by his rage-induced flood.

    # of people the pure evil Satan has killed: 10 people. (All 10 of them were killed as part of a bet by God)

    June 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  8. Jack

    Guy gets mad because God doesn't do what he thinks God should do. Guy gets mad at God. Guy gets even. Most atheists I know are just angry with God and/or sick of religious hypocrites (just as Jesus was angry with them, too). Only, you can't get angry with God if you don't believe in God. Funny, that.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Trumpy

      You must not know many atheists. Cool anecdote though.

      I'm an atheist who isn't "mad" at god. I don't believe god exists, so what is there to be mad at? Besides, it's people, not gods, I see causing much of the chaos and harm and evil in the world. I am mad an many who believe in god for their use of god as justification for their acts, but don't ever mistake that for being mad at "god" directly.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • SB

      It astounds me that you could disprove your own hypothesis without even realizing you've done so. In fact you don't know a single atheist who is "angry with god(s)" because one cannot be angry with something that does not exist. Your definition of the word atheist is flawed.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Do you get angry with santa claus if you don't get what you want for christmas?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Jay Davis

      I get angry at Voldemort. But I don't think he's real for a second.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Only, you can't get angry with God if you don't believe in God. Funny, that"

      yep, therefore atheists are not mad at god because we cant get mad at what doesnt exist. However, that doesnt stop us getting mad at religion, and i think you are confusing the two.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  9. asdf

    Lol that's the problem with getting a degree in something as useful as a B.S. in Watching Paint Dry.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • hemplover

      Love your screen name, ASDF. Clever.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  10. Crownnoble

    There is no higher power than truth. Everything comes from it and it has always been and always will be. Truth is God and we mere mortals just will have to conform to it or be crushed by it.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Excuses

      sign of a merciful god, "believe/suckup to me or get crushed by my wrath".. oh gee, where did we hear that before now..

      June 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Devil made me do it

      Truth is science and physics. Religion and god are lies. Religion is crushed by logic and that is the truth.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • pwnagepimp

      Why would the most loving and perfect being in the entire universe ever "crush" anybody?

      Am I wrong to assume that the most loving and perfect being in the entire universe would *actually* LOVE his creation no matter what type of life they lived? God created us, along with our imperfection, so why would we be "crushed"?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • fintastic

      How about some factual evidence that god exsists?....... we're waiting...

      You cannot provide even one single shred of evidence.....

      June 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Excitizen

      o.k......which god are you referring to? The Christian God, the Muslim God the Buddhist God? Please clarify. Oh, I guess you would have to be a God to know which one is THE TRUE GOD so nevermind!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  11. In response to Sam

    No, I just proved that my computer is hacked and that I am dealing with idiotic trolls. For the record the Response button was not available for that comment or for yours. But the rest of them are still there. : )

    June 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  12. John

    Say it Loud! Im atheist and Im Proud!

    June 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Former Christian

      I'm atheist, but i'm not proud of it. It's just fact. Why be proud of the simple fact that there is no god? I live my life and shake my head how in the year 2012, people still believe in stories of gods and demons and all that junk. Thank the Roman Empire I suppose...

      June 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  13. SB

    I applaud the courage of these men and women. Openly embracing the logical and the reasonable after having been a religious leader must be extraordinarily difficult, potentially even putting you at odds with the people you care about. Be strong; you are not alone.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      SB you have the mind of a fool and will perish in the end.

      Amen.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • SB

      Of course I will. Everyone perishes in the end.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam

      HS is here, everybody out of the water!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • SB

      Take note of the difference here: I wish these strangers well and commend their courage, while the religious person wishes me to suffer and perish. The true colors of religion always shine through, and what dark colors they are.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Excitizen

      HS – go back to your bible and read again and again and again the 10 commandments – especially the one that says "Thou Shall NOT Judge". According to your own religion you are going to he.ll. In reality – you're just another religious hypocrite – congratulations – you are the reason so many are turning away from religion today – the disgusting hypocrisy of so many of its pompous followers.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • bembol

      And your handle is HeavenSENT. Look at you.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:19 am |
  14. John 14:6

    The finite cannot begin to know the mind of the infinite. God did not create evil. Man has a choice; to do right or wrong. Love is not forced. It must be tested. Words can praise, but without action, they are void.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • jennifer

      Actually, your god did create evil. Did he not create everything in the universe? Is your god all powerful and all knowing? If he is, he knew what the consequences of his actions were going to be. If he truly did not want evil in the world, he would not have created the world the way he had. Your god is at fault for everything wrong in this world. Stop deluding yourself.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • John 14:6

      @jennifer> my question for you is how can you have an explanation for something your against? were you there when he created it and do you know his reasons? I don't mean any disrespect at all and my apologies if i have offended anyone.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Canadian Bacon

      But if God is infinite, he (she, it, whatever) DID create evil. If there is a source of evil other than God, then God is NOT infinite, because God does not encompass the source of evil.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • John 14:6

      Gods word says, "What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, 'Stop, you're doing it wrong!' Does the pot exclaim, 'How clumsy can you be?'

      June 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • fintastic

      god is one big contradiction after another.....

      June 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • John 14:6

      People always try to define, by human standards, what is considered "evil." Everything would look as evil next to him. He did not create evil, for there are none like him. Everything outside of God would look as if were evil and filth. His word tells us that "our righteousness is as filthy rags unto the Lord." Now in the beginning his work was perfect, but as i mentioned earlier, God does not force love. It is tested. Man had the choice to follow in perfection and choose God's will for a relationship of love and perfection, but man's love faltered through the first adam. Love was fulfilled with the second adam. I love my children so much. Even if they were to do wrong against me, true love would always forgive and would always prevail. There is nothing they could do to not be my children. God's love for us will always be there, it is we who reject Him and commit evil(anything that is not like Him, ...perfect)..agaiin no disrespect...great hearing what others believe..love you all

      June 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      John,

      How do you know what god said? Were you there when he said it? NO you weren't. And none of the people who wrote the bible were either. It is all opinion and hearsay.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Chut Pata

      "Does a clay pot argue with its maker?". Nope. Those who believe in a creator, do not question him because they are afraid of him. Those who do not believe in him, do not question because they would feel stupid arguing with someone that does not exist.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • HS

      I believe you are a believer and firmly believe that god created the universe and you probably believe in that cause bible tells you so. Does Bible also mention a reason, why did God create universe and life?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      I love the clay pot quote. Essentially god is saying, 'look, I screwed up. Stop whining and deal with it.'

      June 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      sorry john but to claim everything outside a god is evil means that the concept of a person doing evil is incorrect as everything we must be doing is evil to god.
      and enough of the whole god always loves us so if we go to hell its because we reject him nonsense. If god is the one doing the judging he is the one condemning, pure and simple, nothing more, nothing less.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • John 14:6

      @ honey badger don't care > no i wasn't, but "i" do believe in his word through the authors he used to pen it and it's your opinion that it's hearsay. Please don't be mad at me for what i believe. I'm not mad at anyone else for not believing. It's your choice. You don't answer to me and you don't owe me any explanation.

      @chut pata > i agree.

      @HS >For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Col 1:16 ESV and before someone puts there spin of thinking on this verse,.. God created all that is good, not evil. Made chose to defile himself by not following God's will, but as the verse says, all things were created through him and "FOR HIM," not for us. When we create our own universe, planets, and everything, then we can complain, but not against God for the way he does what he does.

      @*facepalm* lol ... i thought that was pretty funny. God created humor too, but "I", (me) ..I believe we messed up, but it's ok that we differ in our beliefs. God believes in us, even if we don't believe in him. His love and will for our lives never falters.

      @cedar rapids> Yes, everything outside of God is evil without Christ. God's word says, "so whether you eat or whether you drink, or whatever you do; do it all for the glory of God." We could be the best person in the world with the greatest ethics, but without Christ it is all in vain. God says, "For the wages of sin is death." He wouldn't be righteous in judgment if he didn't hold people accountable, but God knew we could not overcome sin, so he came to take our sins upon himself through His Son, Christ. For "those that would believe" in him, are forgiven. I have been set free from my sin debt, by his sacrifice because he loved me so much to step out of perfection into imperfection that we created by not following his will for our lives. But, this is all what i believe and everyone has there own right to believe what they want. You are right that He is judge, his word says, "God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day." Psalm 7:11, God hates that which is evil, that which is displeasing unto him, because sin causes seperation from Him and us. He doesn't want us to be away from him, he does love us. He wants us to know that even though we've messed up, he will forgive us, if we would believe in Him through his son. Instead of trying to disprove him, try to prove him, is all im saying before you write him off. He said if we would search for him with "all our heart" then we would find him. Again.. it was great chatting with everyone and reading what different people believe. I hope i didn't anger anyone with what I wrote. I think it is great that people can discuss their beliefs without getting angry or hateful. Hope everyone has a great day or night. God Bless

      June 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  15. Ricky L

    This whole conversation fits neatly into the philosophy of Existentialism.

    Our lives vary in experiences, contexts, pains, joys, conclusions and delusions.

    This is a hard road we're on.

    Everyone of us deserve all the luck and sympathy we can find.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • sam

      Agreed.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  16. Face it

    We’re animals, that’s all. We like to think ourselves different from them because of all of the ‘great’ things that we’ve done and made, but we’re just animals. We came about through the exact same evolutionary process that brought you every other animal you see around you. But by some sick twist of fate we developed a heightened intelligence, self awareness, and the ability to express our thoughts through language. Because of that we’ve created all of these stupid problems; where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? Is there a God(s)? Politics, religion, morality… it’s all made up mumbo jumbo. You can live your life however you so choose, it is yours after all, but in the end there is just you.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  17. CNNuthin

    Jerry DeWitt spent his life analyzing and studying his beliefs. And he reached the conclusion that he did not believe them. Good for him. Now he is preaching to others about it? Why? He is making a cult following based on his ideas. He may be right. He may be wrong. Religion and Spirituality should be personal to each person. Don't believe in a spirit? Okay. I don't either. Don't believe in a God? Okay, makes sense, but are you 100% certain? And the other way, Do you believe in having a Spirit or a God? Do you think either of those need "strengthening" by converting others to your way of thinking? Just take in what you can around you, research where it all comes from, and then sit and think on it. Your body is yours. your mind is yours. Your spirit is yours. Your opinions are yours. Well, there is a contradiction. This is my opinion and I am trying to convert everyone who reads this. Take this for what it is, a comment based on my personal beliefs and opinions. Treat each other well and let them find their own way. If they get "lost" and "turn their back on" something, then they are not dedicated enough to keep looking. Their choice.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Excuses

      Thinking exercise.. Replace "Jerry DeWitt" with "Jesus Christ" and read through the above comment. see how aptly the comment describes atheistic philosophy and what they dislike about christianity.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Excitizen

      Re-read the article – they are not trying to "convert" anyone – they are providing a safe place to discuss doubts or the loss of faith. Huge difference between the two words "support" and "convert".

      June 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  18. ReaganDem

    It never ceases to amaze me when people go off topic when responding to an article, in order to promote their own ideaology.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  19. Robert Brown

    I can’t prove or provide scientific evidence for God. Jesus refused to provide proof that he was the son of God when questioned. Why? He knew some people would still not believe. People saw the miracles he did and still didn’t believe. He even said if someone came back from the dead and told them God, heaven, and hell are real, some still wouldn’t believe. Why? It is a mystery to me.

    To others, the idea of God is illogical. They need physical evidence. God or his actions must be measured. God’s creation is not acceptable because you can’t prove God created it. God’s interaction with us and the bible are not acceptable because they are hearsay.

    What is the answer? How can a confirmed atheist be convinced there is a God? A person can’t convince another that there is a God. It requires the power of God. God may use someone, but it is his spirit that draws us to him. One plants, another waters, but it is God who gives the increase.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Devil made me do it

      Why? Because he was not the son of god. God doesn't exist. Never has never will. There is no power of good, only the delusions of men.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • CNNuthin

      Everyone thinks the proof would be found here. Take the idea of a multidimensional being who can go through time and space, and try to apply it to a three-dimensional universe and assume he/she would leave evidence behind on a small pebble in space. Some say life is the proof. I thought about that. There may be a way to convert Atheists. If we were to go somewhere else in the universe and find a planet with human life, I would believe in a Divine Creator. With the events that caused life to appear here, the creation and destruction of dinosaurs and then the eventual rise of man, finding a planet with other humans on it who were "created in God's own image" would convince me. If we just find microbes and maybe a planet of lizards based on dinosaurs, I will stick with my beliefs that there is no divine architect who designed us.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • pwnagepimp

      The idea of god is illogical to many people because logically speaking, an "all loving" god wouldn't force people to spend eternity in torturous agony... ever. Torture is the furthest thing from love.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • fintastic

      Robert, If someone makes an outrageous claim, don't you require proof? If I told you I could fly, would you believe me without actually seeing me fly? of course not. Why should belief in god be any different?

      It's what we call common sense. There is not one bit of factual evidence to support the exsistance of god. Nothing.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Excitizen

      If Jesus refused to provide proof that he was the son of God, then why did he supposedly perform miracles ?

      June 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  20. grassisbrown

    Whoa unto all of you who do not believe is God, and Jesus Christ his beloved son. When he comes back to claim his own, you will be amongst the wailing and lost. I am a Jesus freak and proud of it... I love the Lord with all my heart and I trust that one day you will believe in him, before it is too late. Sad article in every way.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • BigRed

      Have you considered professional help to deal with your delusional ideas? Being an overt fantasist is a form of mental illness.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • stacheman

      Well you go right ahead and do that. Have a nice flight up into the clouds when JC returns.......

      June 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • bembol

      grassisbrown pleasse include broccoli in your diet. and don't read just one book.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:23 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.