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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. Dos Ruedas

    Do the Jews and Muslims know they are going to burn yet? Or have you heard, they say the same of Christians. And what about the Brevik fella, clearly after killing 76 kids he knows his faith in a god will prevail...so perhaps that belief will be rewarded with a nice fluffy cloud.

    I'm hearing and reading quite a bit of non sense.....my trust is in humanity exploring the universe(about the only thing I agree with that Gingrich fella on; America must take space to task).

    June 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  2. Doc Vestibule

    Is belief in the supernatural necessary to follow Christ's example of compassion, humility and charity?

    June 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • a realist

      i was with you entirely up untill you mentioned ancient aliens LOL

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

      Belief in metaphysics isn't necessary for the performance of gracious acts, but it IS necessary to follow Christ. These are separate issues.

      As for space aliens, why do you laugh? Richard Dawkins, famous athiest apologist, has stated openly that he believes in them. He even has a theory about ancient visitations.

      MY POINT is that there are a lot of things in heaven and on earth that we know nothing about. Case in point is the atom, a thing which cannot be seen weighed or measured yet the citizens of Hiroshima learned of its power.

      There is much we do know little about.....including God. Blowing it all off as nonsense is not wise.

      but that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      June 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  3. Please...

    Good for him. It took a lot for me to come out of the closet too, about disbelief. Unfortunately intellilgence does not determine whether a person believes in the supernatural or sky fairies because it is more of a brainwashing or cult in that we brainwash our kids when they are little into believing a certain way. Even very intelligent people can't break free from that, or they don't want to admit they don't believe because of fear of ostracism. I could care less now who knows. I stopped worrying about whether people liked me or not based on religion.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  4. Steve

    Funny that people still expresses a belief in a deity when that deity is totally absent from life. God apparently created this universe but he can't even talk to you or answer a prayer now? C'mon on, the Christian God is no different from Zeus and other myths, except the fact many still believe in its existence up to this day.

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

      that's Deism. George Washington and other founding fathers were Deists. it's a small step away from atheism, actually. you think a god made everything then left. it's because people back then just couldn't come up with any other explanation for the universe, but they knew there wasn't a god doing anything today.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  5. Peikovianyi

    As a non-believer myself, I once spoke with an old man who had a very ill wife. They were both regular church goers. He had no idea of my own religious convictions, but he told be he was having a crisis of faith concerning passages of the Gospels. I felt there was nothing to be gained by his losing his church at this late hour and that he would return to his faith shortly. I told him certain passages were written as a challenge to his faith, and he was delighted to hear it. It's arrogant to impose our own views on anyone, because as correct as these may be, other people still have their own life to get through.

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

      I agree. Belief of a lack thereof is personal. If it helps him in his stage in life, who are we to mentally kick his legs out from under him?

      June 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  6. Bootyfunk

    Bible Fun Fact:
    Are you female? Have you ever engaged in premarital s.ex? Even if you're married now, did you have s.ex even once before you were married? Maybe when you were a teenager? 98% of American women have. Do you know what the bible says is the punishment for such wh.orish behavior? Let's check and see:

    "But if this thing be true, and the tokens of v.irginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the wh.ore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you." (Deuteronomy 22: 20-21)

    Well, looks like we must drag the non-virgin woman to her father's doorstep and there, with help from the whole town, stone her to death. Sorry 98% of women, Yahweh says you have to die. I'm guessing you're going to Hell, too. (Please note this punishment does not apply to men who do the exact same thing.)

    *** I’d wager that last 2% of women left after we stone the rest to death will be right popular with the fellas.

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

      Bible Fun Fact:

      That's the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Christians have been redeemed from the curse of the law through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Therefor, people who accept Christ can be forgiven of their sins, and not have to be stoned to death.

      If you're going to throw out criticism, please be intelligent about it. Otherwise you make Athiests look ignorant.

      You may not agree with someone, but respect their right to believe what they believe. You have the same right. Childish name calling only weakens your credibility.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      Yeah, that was the Old Testament. That's way back when God was a bloodthirsty monster and people got stoned for almost anything. That went on for hundreds of years. No telling how many people God ordered stoned or slain back then. But, hey! He's totally changed now. He's your buddy God now. Sure he used to drown half the world for some mistake or other, but lets let bygones be bygones. He killed his own son just to save you from...well, from himself actually. And technically he didn't kill him because he's still alive so it was more like a long nap or a short coma.

      June 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  7. RICHARD

    READ THE STORY carefully. At every turn its about me, me, me. Money for me. Religion for me. Attention and photo ops for me. Prayer for me. Me, me, me. Even the most avowed atheist must admit that someone whose focus is on himself all the time has serious mental and social issues. Forget about a relationship with God, or one's fellow man for that matter. These people need therapy.

    God answers prayers (or not) for God's reasons. Does the reader do everything he or she is asked to do every time? God isn't a vending machine as many believers already know. Hey, that's one of the biggest lessons a Christian learns. God always answers prayers for what we need, not always for what we want. Big difference.

    As for these who now deny the God they once profited from......if I were an atheist I'd avoid them like the plague. If they betray the gospel so easily, what's to keep them from betraying their new atheist buddies? Think about it.

    it's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    June 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      no such thing as god.

      next.

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

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The claim that God exists is extraordinary hence requires extraordinary evidence. I would accept as extraordinary evidence the ability to have a normal conversation with God, miracles such as amputees getting their limb back, etc. Unfortunately, I see none of that. Is it that surprising then I am a non-believer?

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

      "even the most avowed atheist"... What is that supposed to mean?... There is an implication in there that you are somehow better than us. Even we atheists are not so dense as to not see that.

      And then of course you go into some mindless clap about prayers" God answers prayers (or not) for God's reasons."

      Is that supposed to be an argument for something? The guy was a preacher... me me me is their theme song.... you should read the bible as carefully as you read this story and maybe you would at least have some sympathy for him.

      June 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • another non-believer

      So, you drink the Kool-aid... you know who else did?? Jim Jones & his believers. They believed in God as well, what happened there, THEY DIED!! You don't see atheist mass suicide, you know why?? Because they understand that we are what we are and that's all. There's no "higher deity" that controls anything. It's all myth & fairytale thought of & written by MAN to keep other people in line and doing what THEY want (THEY being the government, church leaders, or any religious figure that thinks THEY know how you should live). It's all myth and garbage spewed from someone thinking they are better than you and you should listen to them. Read the bible and you can take anything that is stated and interpret it anyway you see fit. It boils to interpretation and pushing that on someone else, or believing someone else's interpretation.

      Religion is an old, outdated belief that has been proven time and again is nothing more than myth or fairytails. The sooner that everyone learns that, the better off this world will be because then, no one will be killing others in the name of religion. Religion, the belief that has been killing other humans since the dawn of time. Nothing more than an excuse to kill who you don't like, don't agree with, or don't want taking what you believe is yours.

      June 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  8. Adam

    It's totally consistent for a Christian to proselytize.

    It is totally inconsistent for an Atheist to do the same.

    Some people just make me scratch my head.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      atheists seek truth. in seeking truth, you must confront the lies and delusions. that's what we're doing. confronting the lies of religion.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Snow

      sad that you do not see a problem in your thinking

      June 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      Which tenet of the atheist dogma says so?

      Hint – atheism has no dogma or tenets, it's simply the lack of belief in deities. That's it.

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

      In Atheism there is no truth. That is, if atheism is "true" nothing is true. Without an objective law giver, everything is relative.

      If Atheism is true, religion isn't "wrong" because morality doesn't exist.

      So many people just look on the surface, refuse to think critically, and end up looking very foolish.

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

      there is no tenets in atheism, but what is it that atheists seek when they deny god? the truth. the facts. what is actually going on. and it ain't god.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      So atheists should remain quiet, while christards spew their religious diarhea? Not going to happen... The days of your unfettered hypocrisy, hate, and arrogance are over...

      June 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • fintastic

      "So many people just look on the surface, refuse to think critically, and end up looking very foolish"

      you certainly do Adam, you certainly do!

      June 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  9. starfishflinger

    I applaud Mike, and all who struggle with their faith, for being honest about what he feels in his heart. I wish that the members of his former church could see that they are more than just a building, they are a community, and you should never turn your back on a member of your community. I struggle with my faith all of the time, but I am still there on Sunday, because I want to be part of that particular community. It isn't for everyone. Not everyone wants to attend a service if they don't believe, but I would love for the Atheists, Humanists etc... to come up with some other form of "church" where they can gather regularly, if they wish, and experience that same feeling of community, without judgement.

    You cannot change what is in your heart. If you believe you do, and if you don't you don't, and no one should feel pressured to do one or the other. If there is a God, I don't think He wants that from us, I think He wants us to choose him freely. But I also view God as a father, I would never turn my children away for any reason. If anything, I would be proud of them for asking the difficult questions. Everyone is different. Some people are absolutely happy to worship one way, others need to worship in another. Whether you call it "God" or "the universe" or "nothing at all" makes no difference to me...we all have the same thread running through us that connects us, we all want to live a good life, provide for our children, laugh, learn something, teach something, feel valued. Call it whatever you like, celebrate it however you like- but celebrate it!

    June 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • QS

      Part of being an Atheist is not needing to have a gathering in order to confirm that which we already know.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • starfishflinger

      QS, I understand that...I just meant that there may be people who still wish to gather, and I would like for them to have the option. Of course, you can just as easily gather with your hiking group, your cooking class, your softball team and so on.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  10. Jim

    Lord, have mercy!!

    June 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  11. guest

    Christians.....stop using the word "know"......your self contradiction that God is Almighty and that you "know" what he wants is ludicrous.....you dont even know what your parents/friends/children want....

    June 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Bleh64

      Now, now, you are making an arguement based on common sense, stop that!!!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • RICHARD

      Dear guest:

      ENGLISH words can be confusing at times. Take for instance the word 'know'. Sometimes we know what know means. To be honest, though, sometimes we don't know.

      You made a good point in that there are lots of times we don't know what other people in our lives want (sometimes we do know and don't want to know, but that's another story). Does that mean we don't 'know' those folks? We 'know' with familiarity, but not always completely or perfectly. For example, quite often we hear about a person married to the same spouse for many years as they are blind sided by some behaviour to which they say, "I never 'knew' that" about so and so.

      As it is true about earthly things, so it is true about heavenly things. One can 'know' God without knowing all about Him. Why should we? If we keep secrets from our family and friends should God not be expected to do the same? Does such imperfect 'knowing' mean we don't 'know' other folks? Not at all. Does limited knowledge of God mean one cannot 'know' Him? Certainly not? God can indeed be 'known'.

      On the other hand, if someone tells you he or she 'knows' God perfectly.......well I'd hang onto my wallet if I were you.

      but that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      June 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  12. Tom

    Hell sounds really cool – all the most interesting people are there.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      if i don't go to Hell, i'll miss all my friends.

      besides, i really want to talk to ghandi and john lennon.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      Imagine eternity with self-righteous Christians – THAT'S my idea of hell.

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

      Too bad it doesn't exist in the first place!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  13. mkane

    If Atheist want to believe in eternal rock and random chance thats seems pretty unreasonable in itself.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Eternal rock? You mean like Jimi Hendrix?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • QS

      An irrational religious person believing they have any credibility to talk about what is reasonable.

      Now my day is complete.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • fintastic

      No no no.. the Ramones!

      June 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  14. Adam

    What a sad story.

    The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

    June 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      Right, the guy who doesn't believe in the invisible sky wizard and talking snakes is the fool. Keep telling yourself that.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      what a great story! he's finally woken up and thinking for himself. yay freethinkers!!!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • sleepytime

      The fool says out of his mouth, "There is a god."

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

      Read that scripture carefully, people. It doesn't say Christian God. It says God.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Which God??

      And he'd be correct.

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

      to LOL Religion – Your comments are pretty naive. This person Adam was pointing out that you (Atheists) should not ridicule Christians or any other religion for that matter because being an Atheist (if you follow the current scientific theories regarding the creation of the universe) is just as crazy in our eyes. Because instead of believing in that "great sky wizard" or however you describe it... You believe in Magical Particles that somehow ALWAYS existed and somehow exploded billions of years ago randomly creating a Universe more intricate and complex than even the brightest of human minds can understand at this point... So... Seriously, Don't try to talk smack about religion when your "faith" in scientific ideologies requires more leaps of faith than just about any religion on Earth... might I add, you sound like a Snarky Jerk.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  15. Bleh64

    If god created us to have free will, does it really matter whether you believe in a fictional deity or not? Seriously, if he/she/it gave us free will we should be either to worship freely or not worship our decision. I worked with a guy who was an ordained minister, i told him one day "sure the bible is a good book, even though it was written and translated by man", my my, what "un-christain" words came out of his mouth, hypocracy at it's best 🙂

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

      You have free will to throw yourself in hell or not. It's that simple.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Bleh64

      See here we go, another "christian" who says i'm going to hell lol, you nut jobs are a dime a dozen, really.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      I met a man once who offered me the opportunity to give him all my money of my own free will. Of course he mentioned that if I didn't give him all my money he would shoot me. Of course it was entirely up to me. Free will and all.

      June 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  16. MrHanson

    Atheists can be just as bigoted and prejudice as the "religious" people they say they aren't. Need proof? Just Google "Dr. Ben Carson at Emory University" and you can see how intolerant atheists can be.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Bleh64

      You are always going to have extremists on either side MrHanson, i can pull up just as many youtube videos showing religious zealots showing hate for non-believers, it's not difficult.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      Atheism in and of itself doesn't make you a better person, it just means you've no longer deluded yourself into believing in imaginary friends. It's religion that claims the moral authority and falls short. Perhaps that's why atheists make up a disproportionately small percentage of the prison population.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • BigRed

      Atheists never urged each other to kill Christians, Muslims, Jews, or anyone else of faith. Sadly Christians, Muslims, Jews, and members of other faiths have been targeting, torturing and killing us for years. Your talk of atheist intolerance is imbecilic, absurd, and hypocritical to say the least.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Snow

      people can be any way they want.. but numbers count.. percentages count.. and in that realm, religious people beat every other group, sadly including all the politicians in the world and the drivel they spew to keep in power..

      June 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • mickey1313

      That capacity for good and evil likes inside every human. I'm not saying that all atheists are good people, i think few people in this world are out for anyone but themselves, atheist or theist.

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

      Atheism clears the mind and makes room for thoughts that are worth thinking.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  17. happyfrenchman

    As an atheist, I agree with his position as an atheist, but, since he spent the greatest part of his adult life, flapping his gums about what he now says was a fallacy, or an untruth, I feel, he best keep his mouth shut and stay out of the argument.

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

      I too am an atheist, but I have little sympathy for someone who spent most of his life telling others what to believe and now continues to do the same even though the message has flipped 180 degrees. The mentality is the same.

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

      I dissagree, he realized his mistake, he's making it public so others won't make the same mistake.

      I am also an Atheist... although I don't play one on TV.

      June 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  18. Petra

    One day every knee will bow........ but the greatest treasure belongs to those who gladly choose Him now. God is real!! Hell is also real!! God gave you life – it is the time you have to choose where you want to spend eternity. I will go to heaven because I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior – I hope I will see you there!! Praying for all that do not know Him or reject Him. May God have mercy on you.

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

      So your god will banish me to hell where I will suffer and burn for all eternity simply because I don't profess to love him.
      Wow, such a loving and merciful god!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • PJH

      Your god is an opinion, deal with it.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Nope

      God didn't give me life my Mother did. Don't get me wrong, she's a great lady, but a God she's not. The only sad part is that when you die there will be nothingness, so you won't be able to feel foolish for believing in such unfounded claims.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • EPAB

      Sounds like you're living your life in fear of a wrathful deity who demands complete obedience or you'll suffer the eternal fires of hell. Better you than me. And I am a good person.

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

      make them believe with fear.. great plan for a loving god.. Do you really not see the contradiction and what is wrong with that plan? really?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Bleh64

      Just because you accept jesus christ doesn't guarantee you admittance into heaven. Supposedly in the catholic faith, and i was baptised catholic, once baptised you are guaranteed entrance to heaven. So by that theory i could commit any number of crimes against others and as long as i was baptised and or accept jesus as my savior i have my ticket for the train? LOL......FAIL!!!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • stanknasty

      @PJH....your opinion is just an opinion...just deal with it.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • rdeleys

      I'd say your god, if he exists, has a lot to account for. Normally I would look forward to interrogating him except I don't see any evidence he exists.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • fintastic

      News flash for Petra, you are your own personal savior. No such thing as "god"

      June 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  19. scoobypoo

    There may be hope for the world after all.
    Here's hoping more and more people wake up throw off the chains of organized religion.

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

      ..in place of what? Disorganized atheism?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  20. SUNNY

    So many people have lost faith and hope, but there is a GOD. This world and all the wondrous things in it did not appear by themselves. Something had to think about it and create it. The problem is people are manipulated. There is law and order in the universe and karma – we reap what we sow and we live over and over again until we get it right. Prayers are answered everyday, but people don't see it because they're expecting it to be answered their way. People get sick and die and that's just the cycle of life – we are only allotted a certain amount of time. Life was meant to live and learn and suffer and people fail to understand that and blame it on GOD.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • scoobypoo

      That is one of the most flawed arguments for theism.
      If "something had to think about [the world] and create it", then using that same logic something had to think about and create your god, and then something had to create the god creator and so on to infinity.

      That's just silly. You believe what you were taught to believe but you can change that. You don't believe in santa claus anymore, right? This is no different.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • mickey1313

      I'm a good person, no law breaking, no violence, but Christians claim that because i don't believe as they do i am condemned to eternity of tournament. What kind of living for would do that. Any all powerful being that required worship could and would make off in deniable that it existed

      June 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • stanknasty

      Sunny...you may want to stay out of the sun so much.... you are the most confused person on the planet...no wonder atheist feel encouraged.

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

      Sorry Sunny ,but the only people that ever tried to manipulate me were "Church People'.

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

      Thank you, god, for cancer, war, malaria, parasitic worms, cholera, tuberculosis, typhus, toenail fungus, jock itch, acne, flatulence, heart disease, dementia, ........................................etc. Thank you indeed for all the "beautiful" things you gave us.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
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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.