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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. Josh

    The very large upside to religion is the community and friendship aspect. Socially, religion is wonderful and healthy. The downside is, it's based on a lie that was created by people who sought power and wealth. I guess the moral of the story is: only practice religion recreationally.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  2. Mike C.

    I was kicked out of Catholic School at age 11 for constantly challenging the nuns, priest and teachers for proof of their doctrine. Whom or whatever created me gave me intuitive intelligence to not suspend all sense and reason with blind faith in words by men who created a system of controlling other people who need structure and purpose to existing within a society. Religion has done little more than give one community a false platform to be inhumane to other humans with whom they share earth and community. The proof is evident in many of the comments in this forum. The religious place their love for a paranormal authority over humanity whose only differences one to another are conscious. Proselytezing and indoctrination of another person should be a global crime against humanity.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • KKB

      AMEN!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Petercha

      "Proselytezing and indoctrination of another person should be a global crime against humanity." And if their religion requires them to proselytize? Should they be executed? Is that what you are saying? I take it you do not believe in freedom of religion.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  3. NotReligious

    I just watched Bill Maher's Religulus last night.....everyone should see that.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • fintastic

      I've watched it several times. Awesome!.

      June 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  4. lance corporal

    seems like when your not part of their club the christians act very UN christian

    no I'm not an atheist

    June 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  5. Holmes

    Study history and you'll figure out a lot of things related to religion.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  6. Bart

    I love it when people say they do not believe in God and a christian starts quoting from the bible. "Did you not hear? I think that the book you are quoting from is bogus. You do not prove it is correct by quoting from the book I said is just a bunch of parables."

    June 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Petercha

      Just because someone does not believe in God means they automatically think that the Bible has no wisdom in it. For example, in 1st Timothy 6:10 (NKJV) it says "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil". Most people would accept this teaching as wisdom, Christian or not. People don't rob other people because they hate money, but because they love money.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Bleh64

      Psssttt.....don't forget to tell them that the bible was written by man and translated by man 🙂

      June 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Whahappen

      at the same token though you cant disprove it either....Saying its a myth does not make it so...Those well educated (non-believing) bible archeologists digging real biblical artifacts would sure look foolish chasing fairytales wouldnt you say?...just my opinion...only my opinion.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • rickwh

      I agree. They might as well be reading out of a Harry Potter book for all the good it does. Christians will never learn. Wait , I can't say that – this preacher learned. There is hope after all.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  7. PumpNDump

    PS: "god" and "jesus" are myths/fables. Like all myths/fables they are manmade and no more real than the Grimm Fairy Tales.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Misha

      I understand your opinion. I pray you have an "experience" and "interaction" with Jesus Christ in your dreams and in your life, as I have. He is the most awesome being in the universe. 🙂

      June 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  8. Whahappen

    If Atheist dont believe in a God thats their buisiness...what I dont get is their hate towards this God that doesnt "exists" and the problem with Jesus claiming to be his son? If its just a fairytale in their mind why such hate towards religion? It makes no sense its like hating a certain author for his way of writing. I think the hate comes from knowing there is a God and the fact that they themselves cant have the faith of some people...just my opinion....only my opinion.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • sam

      I think people need to stop equating disagreement with 'hate'.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Evangelical

      I think the hate comes from people who know they are sinners and don't want to take responsibility for their sins. So they turn on the very idea of God. And they have a need to convince everyone that there isn't a God because that way they will not be held accountable for there sins.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Whahappen

      Sounds like hate to me....disagreement doesnt put down and make mockery of others ideas its a simple I just dont believe or I do...just my opinion...only my opinion..

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

      It's actually religious people contantly trying to make us live by their rules that makes us hate religion. I want you to be free to practice your religion, and I want to be free to practice my lack of religion. I respect your belief in god, but by your comment, you clearly do not respect my belief that he doesn't exist.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Hawk

      I have no "hate" towards any god or any followers of any god. My problem arises when the followers of a god, usually Christians, try to either inject their religious views into law or try to tell me that I am somehow less moral or that I should have less rights than them because of my lack of belief. That is my problem.

      Teach your religion at home or in your churches. Keep it out of schools, law and the government. If you don't like abortion or gay marriage, don't have an abortion or a gay marriage. But don't put your beliefs into our laws.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Petercha

      "Teach your religion at home or in your churches. Keep it out of schools, law and the government." Sounds like you don't believe in freedom of speech, Hawk.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • DarkBronzePlant

      Yup, that's only your uninformed, imaginative opinion.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • DarkBronzePlant

      Petercha, are you really attempting to equate government-forced religion with free speech? Really?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Whahappen

      A response to Hawk:

      This is a response filled with a human just reasoning on what he disagrees with...no hate just saying what any human would be feeling with such a delicate issue...kudos man! Even though I dont see your views as I do mine I respect your humble honesty! my opinion...only my opinion.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Oh Boy!!!

      Well stop shoving your religious beliefs down peoples throats. Believe what you want just don't bring it ans practice it in public places.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Trumpy

      It isn't god that so many "hate," it is what his followers do in his name that they hate. I don't hate things that I don't believe exist. I DO hate people who in the name of the thing I don't believe exist seek to limit the lives, liberties, rights, and property of others–from flying planes into buildings to opposing gay marriage on purely religious grounds to picketing dead soldiers' funerals for publicity to a host of other laws and actions designed to discriminate against the non-religious (for example my own state const.itution says I am not fit to hold public office unless I publicly profess a faith in a higher power) in a secular society–THOSE are the things I "hate." And all of those things come from the men and women who follow god, not god itself.

      Don't confuse the "hate" of the actions of the religious with "hating" the deity that religion follows.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Trumpy

      "Sounds like you don't believe in freedom of speech, Hawk."

      Sounds like you don't understand what freedom of speech...and it's limits...mean, Petercha.

      Freedom of speech does not mean getting to use government facilities to support or spread particular religious beliefs. Freedom of speech does not mean that the majority gets to infuse it's religious views into secular law so as to force those religious views on to other people.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • rickwh

      I don't hate religion. If people want to believe in fairy tales that's their right. I do hate it though when they try to cram this cr#p down my throat and have laws written based on religious principals. I also hate it when I see supposedly "Good Christians" fanning the flames of hatred and intolerance. Please understand, I don't hate your religion – I hate you for using religion to prop up your judgements on others. Oh yeah, supposedly God will judge everyone when they die so why do you mere mortals want to judge others so much in this lifetime? It looks like you don't trust your own god to do it.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Samantha

      I don't hear or see "hate" in his words, so I guess the written word is subjective to each person's feelings. I do feel his hurt when the realization in his view that "religion" is a sham. He feels deceived. Well, maybe he does. I to am reading into his words what I think I see in them. I am not sure I would also equate being angry with hating. I am angry that religious leaders had interpretated religious texts to sujugate women, when in fact they could have chosen the opposite. I am angry that people who say they believe in a religious path, tend to believe it for others and ignore it for themselves. The use of religion has been used throughout time to appease the poor, judge against those who believe differently, or who are different, to have pre-emptive wars, and to hate. Read some of these posts written by those who say they believe in God and my points are made over an over again. The hurt and anger comes when the religious realize all the deceptions within the religious community. Instead of shunning this man, would not those who say they believe in Christ, give him a hug, tell him they are sorry the community failed him and then let him know they are praying for him and they are there for him if he needs them. Isn't this what their Christ preached in Sermon On The Mount? It is so much easier for the religious community to preach hate. Gandhi said he liked Christ, Christ was good. He didn't lke Christians cause they were not good.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  9. Reality

    ALLELUIA to the ""googol" power !!!!! - ( googol = the mathematical term for the value represented by a one followed by 100 zeros

    June 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  10. Ron

    I notice he is holding up his book. A book you can buy and he can make money on. Looks like his new religion is the almighty buck. Just another person finding a new way to make money on religion and I am surprised anyone cared enough to make an article. Oh wait, the article attracted advertisers and freedom of religion is the least favorite right of news writers.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Whahappen

      I totally agree....

      June 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • sleepytime

      That's not his book, it's the program for the event he was speaking at.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Ron

      Another Ron here... It almost like atheism has become a religion. They 'preach' to you to not believe in God. Weird, eh?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • gbslapshot

      If you would read that "book" as you call it you would have seen that it is a flyer for the festival they are at......

      June 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Mike C.

      Ron – 1. So you are saying the man walked in to CNN, 2. Uploaded a photo of himself on their web server without anyone's authority and 3. Dared them under threat to remove his unauthorized photo from their website. Not only is this dude a non-believer, he must be ruler of the world to get this entire corporation (and legal authorities) to bow to his authority...I would LOL...

      June 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  11. JMB

    St. Ignatius of Antioch, s atudent of the Apostle John – "Some ignorantly deny Him, or rather have been denied by Him, being the advocates of death rather than of the truth. These persons neither have the prophets persuaded, nor the law of Moses, nor the Gospel even to this day, nor the sufferings we have individually endured. For they think also the same thing regarding us. For what does any one profit me, if he commends me, but blasphemes my Lord, not confessing that He was [truly] possessed of a body? But he who does not acknowledge this, has in fact altogether denied Him, being enveloped in death. I have not, however, thought good to write the names of such persons, inasmuch as they are unbelievers. Yea, far be it from me to make any mention of them, until they repent and return to [a true belief in] Christ's passion, which is our resurrection."

    June 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  12. shawbrooke

    It's not hard to leave the church. Just stop going. Now is a difficult time for anyone to find a job, and that's not a former congregation's fault. They are creating their new job. The media needs to understand that they, the media, are providing free publicity for a new commercial venture. Half the US does not go to church, so support for their decisions is easy to come by.

    When you as a pastor are preaching the word of God, then you believe that it's good for people. But if your motivation was to help people first and then preach, the church is better off without you.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  13. dan

    In reference to God not answering prayers Dewitt makes a very revealing statement, " People are passing away, whenever we pray for them to live." This perverted view that as a Christian, God is your personal genie who will give you health. wealth, and happiness is rampant throughout pentecostalism . These individuals set themselves up for disappointment. The story of Jesus and his disciples is pretty much one of suffering and sacrifice and the call to join in. Bonhoeffer had it right, you need to count the cost of discipleship.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Petercha

      Good point, Dan.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • guaraya

      I'd like to second that, Dan! Well put!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Tom

      Outside of a book what evidence is there that your God exists and someone who believes in a different God doesn't?

      June 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  14. Misha

    The saddest part of this article for me is the unanswered prayer. I have seen many people healed, I have been healed and raised off of my deathbed. My pastor was healed by Jesus before he was even a Christian of terminal cancer in his 20s, he cried out to God in despair. Just because people aren't always healed, doesn't mean God doesn't heal. Sometimes if requires other actions on our part as well. There are lots of spiritual dynamics involved – spirit, soul, and body, generational sins, lifestyle issues, etc. Jesus did not heal everyone in Israel when he was on the earth. Knowing God has been the joy of my life, with all the ups and downs (and I am in ministry). I have seen too much to ever denounce Him.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Josh

      The point to this whole discussion is that the visible element to religion, and thus the proveable part is that there is no person, in the history of humankind that has ever seen god. We are quick to attribue things we cannot understand to god, because we don't want to dis-believe. Factors exist that explain everything in the universe, weather simply or extremely complex. The simple answer to someone being cured of an incurable disease is god. Get complex. Educating yourself outside of one book will open your eyes to ideas that could change the world. Disbelieving doesn't mean you are a bad person, or hate everyone. Disbelieving allows you to explore areas that believers are afraid to explore.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  15. Truth Today

    They were not true believers from the start. Truth hurts but it is the truth nonetheless. Had they been true believers with a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, then they would still be believers today. They were in the church but the church was not in them.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Jay

      what you have done, is used a "No True Scotsman Logical fallacy" Look it up

      June 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • lance corporal

      keep them blinders on tight........

      June 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Trumpy

      No true Scotsman, eh?

      Pathetic.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • fintastic

      "They were in the church but the church was not in them."

      Ohhhhh! NOW i understand!

      What a load......

      June 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  16. PC

    Once a huckster, always a huckster.

    "“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.”

    Pretending you believe is not FAITH. Faith is BELIEVING in that which is not certain, or can't be proven, not pretending to do so. DeWitt has no credibility, and he's shucking and jiving the 'party line' to the only audience he can.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Misha

      I agree faith is believing in what you do not see. When You seek Him with all your heart, You will find Him. You have to believe that He IS. You will never receive from God what you can't believe. This is so true. I was never healed until I put my total trust in Him, knowing I needed Him. He is a Good Father.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Misha: Do you care that what you believe is based on facts and evidence?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Trumpy

      @Misha: Sorry, but that confirmation bias is true of any self-fulfilling prophesy. If you seek ANYTHING with "all your heart," you WILL convince yourself to believe it. You're basically saying that if you want to believe it bad enough, you will. It's sad and it is NO different than what followers of EVERY other religion say. You haven't found Vishnu because you didn't seek Vishnu with "all your heart," but if you did you would find them. It's patently ridiculous.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  17. Alfredo

    Most people with common sense already know that "God and his many religions" is a fictional, man- made creation. Hey believe or not, whatever makes you happy as long as you don't shove your beliefs on me...

    June 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  18. Recovering Southern Baptist

    I was raised Southern Baptist and left the church while in college. The reason has nothing to do with creation vs. evolution or do God/Satan really exist. In my experience, the church people I was around didn't do anything useful in the world. Their sole concern was what other people believed about the supernatural. I found it absurd that so much energy was spent trying to convince people to intellectually accept a notion which could only be understood in the imagination. While one's belief does influence one's behavior, I still find it absurd that the church people I was around got so irate at the thought patterns of unbelievers but didn't DO anything about the environment or the misery of the less fortunate.
    I also recognized that if God does exist, then who am I to presume to know anything about what God wants for me or any one else. I guess I still believe that God does exist. I certainly hope God does. I hope that God is an almighty, pure love and that one day, God's pure and all-powerful love will conquer all the evil humans can invent. I've come to terms with the fact that if such a God exists, God works slowly. God's power, in my understanding, is not precise or immediate like a laser. It is manifest in the hearts of all people who try to live honestly and spread good-will rather than steal, cheat or oppress others. God's love has spread & grown since the phenomonen of Christ as people have become more caring and humane over the past 2000 years. To an athiest, is this just a coincidence?

    June 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      Yes, coincidence. The real reason is because we are becoming more intelligent, and as a consequence, more people are accepting religion for what it really is....man-made.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Recovering Southern Baptist

      To me, it is equally pointless to declare with certainty one way or the other about what may exist beyond the natural world. 'The burden of proof' – ie proving the existence rather than the inexistence of God – is a relatively new notion. It is totally logical, but all the same, at one point in human history, it was logical that the Earth was at the center of the universe.
      My point is that recognizing what we don't & can't know is far more interesting than arguing about what we think we do know.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Josh

      I'd like to point out that the "thinkers" in recorded history lived in times where religion was paramount. Theocracies were abundant and it was very dangerous to come out on the wrong side. This could have altered the thought process of many in the past.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • pentecostal believer

      God is real Southern .. I have experienced him according to the way he prescribes for gentiles in John chapter4 and 7 ...

      I agree with you that God does take a long times it seems,but he comes suddenly and without warning , which is why he said men ought always pray and not faint... God is Love but he has a problem with the dis obedience with his laws particularly the Ten commandments which he admits we cannot keep perfectly...for this he provides us with th blood of Jesus , which costs his life but he has an endless life both as a man and also God now... and he provides us with plenty of evidence of him throught the Pentecostal application of the Spirit being manifested to the individual who seeks earnestly that phenomonon ... for me it has been 34 years... and I find that the preacher who is mentioned in this article has never met God as a pentecostal as incredible...but when I first went on ling I discovered a forum for ex- pentecostals and I could not understaqnd even that... how can one who experences God within them discount the event of a life time...of joy unspeakable and full of glory!!! 🙂 🙂 poor ex pentecostal preacher now athiest... 😦

      June 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • ...

      mob mentality mean anything to you? that's why people get hooked on religion

      June 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  19. Bo

    I’m going to post this again, because this is what this verse is talking about, and this preacher is helping to fulfill the prediction of this scripture and others like it concerning the last days, and the last days may include the next couple hundred years for all I know, maybe longer, but I hope not. What is expected is that the overwhelming majority of the people on the earth will be rejectors of God and there will only be a comparatively few true Christians. Maybe you don’t know what “apostasy” means, but I do give you the credit that you do know. Mind you, I’m not trying to convince you of anything, just pointing out that this is what the scriptures say.

    1) Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4)who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

    And these verses predicts the role of atheist in the last days:

    17)"But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18)that they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mockers, [scoffers, atheists, unbelievers] following after their own ungodly lusts." 19)These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.” Jude 1:17-18 (brackets are mine.)

    These verses describe those in the last days who claim to be Christians, but are not.

    “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. [6] For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,” 2 Timothy 31-6

    June 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • fintastic

      And those verses were all written by MAN...

      June 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  20. ralph

    It's no wonder there are so many unbelieving pastors and regular folks. Christianity hasn't been true Christianity for almost two thousand years. It's no wonder Christianity gets a bad rap because of things like the Crusades. People who called themselves Christians (but weren't as defined by their very actions) paraded around killing people in the name of Christ. It's no wonder people are giving up on Christianity, with so many running around as Christians in name only. When is the world going to wake up that the Gospel as declared by Christ in the beginning wasn't on the earth in its purity for hundreds of years, resulting in the mess we have today. Think about it – how can all Christian sects be true when they differ so much? So if they're all not true, is there one that is? And if so, how will we know? There is a sure-fire way to know and that's for each of us to investigate on our own, away from well-meaning but often self-serving advice of others. Logic tells us that if a loving God exists he would want us to know it. So who do we ask? We ask him! God answers prayers and is keenly interested in our lives. There is a true church of Christ on the earth today. But don't take my word for it; ask God to guide you to it. Let's hope it's not too late for people to believe that Christ is the complete answer to all of life's ills.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
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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.