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January 8th, 2014
08:39 AM ET

Pastor tries atheism, loses jobs, gains $19,000

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - In the past, at times like these, when his life foundered and frayed around the edges, Ryan Bell often prayed for help. But this year, at least, the pastor has resolved not to.

For the next 12 months, Bell says he will live as if there is no God.

He will not pray, go to church, read the Bible for inspiration, trust in divine providence or hope in things unseen. He’s taking the opposite of a leap of faith: a free fall into the depths of religious doubt.

Bell’s “intellectual experiment,” which began January 1, has already borne dramatic consequences.

In less than a week, he lost two jobs teaching at Christian schools near his home in Los Angeles. He’s 42 and has been a pastor or in seminary for most of his adult life. Now he faces the prospect of poverty and taking odd jobs to feed his two daughters, 10 and 13.

“There have been times, usually late at night and early in the morning, when I think: What have I done? It really undermines the whole structure of your life, your career, your family,” Bell said.

But just as the man of God began to despair, he found help from an unlikely source: atheists.

'Suspending belief '

The seeds of Bell’s journey were planted last March, when he was asked to resign as pastor of a Seventh-day Adventist congregation in Hollywood.

He had advocated for the church to allow gay and lesbian leaders, campaigned against California’s same-sex marriage ban and disputed deeply held church doctrines about the End Times.

Eventually, his theological and political liberalism became more than leaders in the denomination could bear, and he lost his career of 19 years. His faith was shaken, and for a while Bell became a “religious nomad.”

On the positive side, losing his church job gave him the freedom to question the foundations of his religious belief without fear of troubling his congregation.

“I could finally pursue those questions that had been bouncing around my head,” he said, while earning money from teaching, speaking and consulting jobs.

MORE ON CNN: Behold, the six types of atheists

Then, after lunch with a friend last year, he thought: What if he tried out atheism, and lived with no religion at all for a year?

“It’s like when you go to a movie and you suspend disbelief for three hours to get inside the story,” Bell said. “I’m suspending my belief in God to see what atheism is all about.”

Bell, who still holds ministerial credentials in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, thought it would be a neat little intellectual experiment.

He would interview atheists, attend gatherings of nonbelievers and read through the canon of skeptics: Friedrich Nietzsche, Baruch Spinoza, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, among others.

When friends got sick, instead of praying, as was once his immediate response, Bell said, he would “do something tangible and practical and supportive for them.”

He would start a blog, “Year Without God,” and write about his faithless journey. Bell thought maybe a few people would read his posts, follow along and offer advice or criticism.

“I didn’t realize, even four days ago, how difficult it would be for some people to embrace me while I was embracing this journey of open inquiry into the question of God’s existence,” Bell wrote on Saturday.

‘We need to talk’

The first signs of trouble came around the turn of the new year, just days after Bell announced his experiment online.

Texts and e-mails arrived from friends, family and colleagues with the ominous phrase, “We need to talk.”

Kurt Fredrickson, a friend of Bell’s and associate dean of ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, sent one of those messages.

Bell, a graduate of Fuller, had taught in the school’s doctorate development program for the past year. But Fredrickson told his friend that his sabbatical from faith meant a sabbatical from the seminary as well.

“From an academic standpoint, and even as a personal journey, I’m really excited about what Ryan is doing,” Fredrickson said.

"There is no honest person of faith who doesn’t have doubts, and Ryan is being courageous enough to take a step back and assess his life. This is bold stuff.”

But Bell’s job at Fuller was to help students through their doctoral dissertations, a particularly stressful time, Fredrickson said, when seminarians need to lean on a person with strong faith.

“They are flying solo for the first time, and we want to not only teach, but to nurture souls as well,” Fredrickson said. “Ryan saying he’s going to be an atheist for a year is a little contradictory to that.”

Fuller would be happy to talk to Bell when his experiment is over, the dean added.

MORE ON CNN: What Oprah gets wrong about atheism

Azusa Pacific University, where Bell had taught intercultural communication since 2011, also declined to renew his contract.

Rachel White, a spokeswoman for the school, wouldn’t comment, saying it was an internal personnel matter. But she said all school and faculty are expected to sign a statement of faith outlining their belief in Christianity.

Also this year, Bell lost a consulting job with a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Glendale, California.

Bell said he bears no ill will toward the church or the schools that let him go, though he wishes they would tolerate, if not support, his atheism experiment. The loss of income has led to some family stress, he said.

“I have kids to support and utilities to pay and the rent is due,” Bell said. “At this point I’m willing to do almost anything.” Bell said he and his wife are divorcing, though not because of his atheist experiment.

Meanwhile, the phone calls, e-mails and texts from friends and family worried about the fate of his soul continue to pour in.

‘A beautiful gesture’

“He learned what it’s like to be an atheist real fast,” said Hemant Mehta, a prominent atheist blogger and schoolteacher in Illinois.

Mehta said he knows many atheists who fear that “coming out of the closet” will jeopardize their jobs and relationships, just as in Bell’s experience.

Mehta said he doesn’t exactly agree with the premise of Bell’s experiment. How does someone pretend to be an atheist? It’s not like a hat you wear to see if it fits. Faith taps into deeply held beliefs and emotions. Even during his experiment with atheism, won't there still be a nagging suspicion in the back of Bell’s mind that God exists?

(For the record, Bell describes his current theological views as agnostic - somewhere between belief and atheism. But he's trying to put that aside for the year to live and think like an atheist.)

Mehta said he admired Bell’s pluck and sympathized with his plight. Though he had never spoken with the pastor, Mehta set up an online fundraiser for Bell on Tuesday. In just one day, nearly 900 people donated more than $19,000 to help “the pastor giving atheism a try.”

“I think more than anything else, people appreciate that this guy is giving atheism a shot,” Mehta said. “I mean, he lost three jobs in the span of a week just for saying he was exploring it.”

Bell said he knows Christians and agnostics who have contributed to his fundraiser as well, so it’s not an all-atheist effort.

Still, he’s impressed that nonbelievers have flocked to help fund his experiment

“It really validates that the (atheist) community is really all about the search for truth,” Bell said. “They know that I might not even end up as an atheist at the end of my search, but it doesn’t matter to them. It’s such a beautiful gesture.”

Will the support tip Bell toward atheism? The pastor is agnostic about that, too – for now.

MORE ON CNN: Can atheist churches last?

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • evangelicals • Faith • Lost faith

soundoff (6,251 Responses)
  1. Bremen3011

    You do not just "try" Atheism. It is a process you go through, usually done by research, and a lot of critical thinking. You don't just wake up one day and be like, today I want to try to not believe. Your head does not work that way.

    January 8, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
    • doobzz

      It sounds like he's been questioning for a while and finally got the courage to face his disbelief.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • Hex

      Correct you are. Religious folk seem to think it's just a quick choice we make in anger or when we aren't in a good mood. Nope...I read and debated with people on the subject. I came to the conclusions that religion was clearly not being honest in more than a few areas and I made a choice to allow myself the label "atheist". Although it doesn't matter because the term it self is just the opposite of a "theist". They misunderstand and immediately think "different is bad" and draw all sorts of conclusions...which is sad because it shows they lack critical thinking....then again they are religious so....

      January 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • Jake

      I don't quite agree. One doesn't need to go through any process to become an atheist. We are all born atheists. There is an intense indoctrination process that is required to become religious and perhaps once you've been put through that, you need to go through some sort of theraputic process to get over it.

      I do agree however, you don't get to choose to be atheist or agnostic for a year. If you still believe in a god, you're not an atheist.

      January 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
      • doobzz

        I agree with you. I was being specific to this man and his journey. Of course it doesn't apply to everyone.

        January 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  2. What did he expect?

    Seriously? What did he expect? Sounds like he's been trying atheism for a while now, going it alone without God. He's lost his job, family and now his faith. I'm sure that big spaghetti monster in the sky will be waiting for him with open arms and scrumdiddly meatballs.

    January 8, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      R'amen

      January 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
    • doobzz

      I hope so too, because his "Christian" family and friends have dropped him like he's radioactive.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • durundal

        clearly a great group of friends and family.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
  3. Susan

    Sounds like a tantrum....I did not get my own way....so – I will leave, and abandon my faith. This is truly a confused person...He clearly does not understand the word of God. Next question...was a he a true believer in the first place....probably not...but now he has an opportunity to really see life without God...how sad

    January 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
    • Hex

      What nonsense. A tantrum? It just shows how bigoted you religious folk really are. Treating others that don't believe what you do like trash doesn't help your cause. Either does insulting them and saying "They were never a real believer".

      January 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • youreyesareweird

      Well, I hope you don't read the King James version of the bible then, because that's exactly what King James did.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
  4. XTraTsticle

    What a turd, I hope god strikes him with lightning twice....shame on anyone giving this man donations...look at his picture he looks a little mentally disturbed to begin with....I feel bad for his family,especially his kids...imagine how goofy there going to be when they grow up.....

    January 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
    • Alias

      Worst troll of the day award goes t o....

      January 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
    • MoveForward

      The real turd here is you.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • chutzpah

      "What a turd, I hope god strikes him with lightning twice...."

      Duh, really... who's the turd here?

      January 8, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  5. sly

    Godders, please take this fella back into your fold. We don't want weak kneed men who pray to sheep and goats and medieval gods.

    This is 2014. Let's live inthe real world.

    January 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • kyzaadrao

      Our God isn't crazy about "lukewarm" stances either. This isn't about that though, this is more a lesson in how both religion and atheism together can be equally guilty of scamming people out of donations and book sales over trivial and distorted teachings.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
      • Hex

        How does giving that guy 19k in donations after he was fired for his views scamming? Please explain the scamming part.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
      • Fan2C

        It's fairly useful to be able to imagine this "God's" "stances" on various things, isn't it?... and to squeeze "proof" for your take out of ancient Hebrew writings.

        Agree on the scamming, though.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • sly

        Ok, sounds fair. The Godders don't want this guy either.

        Maybe the Satanists will take him, as us non-Godders don't need this little lamb.

        January 8, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
  6. jellylee20202

    I neither pray nor go to church and I lead a relatively quiet, peaceful and mostly happy and content life. I don't identify as atheist though, I consider myself agnostic. I don't know if God exists or not, I just don't care as it really has no bearing or effect on my life. Most of our family members feel the same and we are doing just fine. We just believe in being good people, being nice to others help out where we can and do the right thing.

    January 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • ialsoagree

      Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive things.

      Agnosticism goes to what you know (gnostic, "knowledge of god", agnostic "lack of knowledge of god").

      Atheism goes to what you believe (theist, "believer in god", atheist "non-believer in god").

      I am an agnostic atheist. I don't know whether god does or does not exist, but I don't happen to believe in a god.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
      • G to the T

        I believe he would qualify as an "agnostic apatheist" – Don't know and don't care...

        January 9, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      You and millions of other people.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
    • Noocrat

      As an atheist myself, this sentence to me implies that you do believe – "I don't know if God exists or not."

      That are you're coming from a place where you did believe. If you weren't sure or didn't believe you would say:

      "I don't know if a god exists or not"

      So my assumption is that you're an agnostic Christian.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • OldSchool

      It's pretty simple really – do you believe in a god/gods? If the answer is no you are, by definition, an atheist...

      January 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • Hex

      As the top poster said...you misunderstand the terms. They are not used to describe the same thing. Most atheists are considered agnostic atheists. In fact I've yet to meet an atheist that isn't agnostic. Some aren't as intelligent and use the term agnostic because they don't understand....you for instance.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  7. jhonny Ausemkock

    This guy DESERVED to be fired! His job performance was atrocious. Holy rollers don't want to hear about gay marriage and the like. That's not what they were paying him to talk about! I don't feel a bit bad about him getting fired. It's the best thing that could have happened to him. I think he actually is a fellow atheist and is just now beginning to realize it. Welcome to Logicville, Mr. Bell. I think you'll find the tangible much more comforting and effective than nonsensical stuff people just made up as they went along.

    January 8, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
  8. Baal

    This atheist sent him $10

    January 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • jhonny Ausemkock

      Why are you sending him money?

      January 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • Gaven

        Why not? What, does it take a theist to do something good for others?

        How about you not be such a d i c k to someone that did something nice for someone and learn from their example instead of belittling it?

        January 8, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
  9. lean6

    What's so different about this and the usual bouts of experimentation that so many other prominent pastors and religious figures have tried? I think the only difference is that this guy may genuinely not realize that he's lying to himself, while the other ones did. Religious beliefs aside, I don't see how anybody can trust another human being to the point of seeing them as divine. What history has shown us is that you should assume all sorts of impure ideas and behaviors in every human being. How could you ever trust a man with your money or your mind?

    January 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • doobzz

      From what I've seen, most pastor's "experiments" involve cheap motels and cross dressing hookers.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
  10. Doug

    This atheist experiment is just his vehicle to inquire, question and find out 'What if"? Overall, it's to be commended.

    "He's not a real Christian" someone says. It's understandable, I suppose, but it also begs the question "What is a real Christian?"

    I mean, I don't think angels appear to the "real" ones and let them know, "hey, you are a REAL Christian." The jury is out as to whether Christianity as taught today is real at all. But I'd venture that one characteristic of a "Real" anything would be a desire to know the truth, even if it hurts. Even if it means finding out you and every pastor you loved was wrong.

    The journey for truth is a subjective one–and one that both "Christians" and "Atheists" share, though they may travel very different paths. If your truth is only acceptance and belief in a particular narrative and interpretation, then in truth, you haven't really even started the journey to know the truth, you've merely duped yourself with a short-cut and ready-made answers.

    Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened. Ask and it shall be given. Seeking, knocking and asking are all actions of the individual and involve effort and perseverence. They take whatever form they need to take–forms are only vehicles. If you seek a God only according to a certain prescription, then it's not a real search at all, because you've already predetermined what you will find–which is really just silly.

    He's cleaned the slate and started at Zero. That's like calibrating your instrument for the experiment.

    The beginning of wisdom is really in facing the truth of yourself–and that begins simply with "I don't know."

    January 8, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • Hex

      Simple answer. A real christian is someone that believes Jesus Christ died for their sins....that's the only prerequisite for being a christian. That's the only rule in the bible that's unforgivable. Everything else can be forgiven except not believing and following.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
      • G to the T

        What you've described is a follower of Paul/Saul's teachings, not Jesus'.

        January 9, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
  11. John Wayne

    So called christians turning thier backs on you because you don't hold the same belief system as them seems to be the routine protocol. I will never bash someone for what they believe in because I don't have the answers. Humans were walking this earth 200,000 years before christ do all of them get sent to hell because they were never presented the teachings of the prophet Jesus Christ ? Or does this only apply to humans the past 2013 years and not the 200,000 years prior?

    January 8, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • sly

      John ... please don't tell me you are another of the blind flock that doesn't realize God created Earth 1753 years ago.

      Don't believe in Dinosauers – they are just a myth – those bones were all buried in the 1970's by the tree-hugging liberals.

      There never was such a thing as a Dinosauer – because God did not create them.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
      • doobzz

        I thought Satan buried the dinosaur bones as a preemptive strike against God.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
      • Alias

        The dinosaurs are a myth created by the CIA to scare people away from time travel.
        I thought everyone knew that.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • sly

          Maybe so ... but either way, those liberals burying all those dinosauer bones, sometimes really really deep (and close to where Satan lives), is one of the great accomplishments (and scams) of all time.

          One of the few accomplishments greater is God's ability to sew tiny wings on all the butterflies. Seriously – they don't make tools that small, and God has huge hands.

          Life is full of amazing stories ....

          January 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • maybe

      No it's doesn't pertain to people of God who walked the earth before Christ, they were saved by the belief in what was to come. I'm not bashing you or trying to be a smart ass, just stating what the belief is. Also I am a Christian and I don't bash other people or other religions, actually I get looked down at because I don't, I have a gay friend, I have a Muslim friends and boy oh boy do the Christians try to talk to me about how wrong they are, this is what I say to them " I'm not God, God says pretty clear that we are NOT TO JUDGE any one, and I don't, I just love them for who they are. I don't really care what you believe in or your life style it really makes no difference to me or what I believe in. I wish we could all just get along. XOXO

      January 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • G to the T

        I want you to know, I appreciate your opinion in many respects, but this portion confuses me: "they were saved by the belief in what was to come."

        Can you expand on this?

        January 9, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
  12. Vic

    [
    Mehta said he doesn’t exactly agree with Bell’s experiment. How does one "try to become” an atheist anyway? It’s not like a hat you wear to see if it fits. Religion taps into deeply held beliefs and emotions. Even during this experiment with atheism, won't there still be a nagging suspicion in the back of Bell’s mind that God exists?
    ]

    I could have not said it better myself. I could not agree more.

    Many people of faith lose sight of the fact that God is Sovereign and CANNOT be tested. In other words, God can test you but you CANNOT test God. No one can control nor decide what God does or does not do, that's solely His Sovereign Divine Will, Wisdom and Command.

    What I would do instead for an experiment is live with atheists for a year or so to learn the how and what it is all about. Even then, it would be a honeymoon relationship, mind you.

    [
    “It really validates that the (atheist) community is really all about the search for truth,” Bell said. “They know that I might not even end up as an atheist at the end of my search, but it doesn’t matter to them. It’s such a beautiful gesture.”
    ]

    That's the way it should be. The "truth" is independent of benefits.

    I wish Ryan Bell well.

    January 8, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • Billy

      It's kind of difficult to test Mickey Mouse as well.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      "won't there still be a nagging susp icion in the back of Bell’s mind that God exists?"

      It's true. But then again, that is all God has ever been. Even at my peak of faith he was still just a nagging susp icion that I had turned into a wildly personal hope and dream. I later found out that you can have more hopes and dreams without the nag than you could ever have with it.

      January 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
  13. A Doctor who gives up medicine loses job

    😉

    January 8, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      You won't see that article on CNN's health blog now will you?!

      January 8, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
  14. Doc Vestibule

    "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear."

    – Thomas Jefferson

    January 8, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • Harry

      "Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one."

      Thomas Jefferson

      January 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • Birdy Bird

      "If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? ...Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God."

      -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Law, June 13, 1814

      January 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
  15. CMx

    He is no pastor or Christian, for if he Knew the Lord God Of Israel, he would not flee a loving God.

    January 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      He isn't fleeing his faith in God.
      He is temporarily abandoning the superficial trappings of religion.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • OldSchool

      "he wouldn't DARE flee a loving God..." *eyes squint and camera zooms in*

      January 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
      • thomas.rexrode@fmr.com

        stop! you made me spit my soup all over my screen.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • Kyle

      Like how, if you ever got hooked on Crack, then you'd never be able to say that you weren't an addict anymore, right?

      January 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • Econ301

      A loving God would not punish those who flee him.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
      • Craig L

        He is not only loving – He is also a good judge...which is loving.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • Econ301

          He's also the jury and executioner.

          January 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • Kyle

        A shepherd wouldn't shoot a sheep that had strayed beyond his reach, right?

        January 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • Joey

          maybe god just isn't very good at his job

          January 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
  16. db

    I'm gonna try and keep my job as lab tech and not do any lab work for one year.

    January 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • Alias

      That's a little too simplified.
      I can teach what the bible says without believing it.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
      • jhonny Ausemkock

        A little over-simplified, yes. But not much if you think about it.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
  17. Rev. white

    As a Christian it is my belief that in order to show Christ risen we must embrace everyone and in order to do that we must be able to reach people where they are, and to not have a crisis of Faith in your walk with God is a lie. Pastor Bell, I encourage you to continue on this journey, because I believe that even though you experiment is looking at the non-existence of God it will ultimately draw you closer to God and give you a much deeper understanding and ability to minister to His people.

    God Bless you and guide you!

    January 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • Who Knows what?

      It is important for him to be like you. He needs to understand that God promises to protect his children and that when tragedy occurs it is also the will of God. He will never stop and shake his head and wonder why God allows a classroom of 1st graders to be shot to pieces in their classroom.. just know that it was Gods way of protecting them. Forget that Christians believe that children will inherit the kingdom of God, and yet when a child is in a hospital declared brain dead, those same Christians want the dead body to stay there being kept "alive" by machines.. because they don't want that child to go to heaven yet. Make those children suffer here on earth, because if we have to suffer on earth, they should suffer too.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    This guy has a long term business plan!

    One year loudly as an atheist and then he'll magically be SAVED by jesus and write a book about it and make a fortune from christian book sales and from speaking at churches and Christian gatherings.

    Who knows, maybe he'll set up his own megachurch and join the ranks of Kenneth Copeland, Creflo A. Dollar, John Hagee, Charles Blake, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Eddie Long, Ed Young, Franklin Graham, Rick Warren and all the other snake oil salesmen!

    The same scam for power and money used by the guys who wrote the bible!

    January 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
  19. Live4Him

    @jpintx : The God I believe in doesn't mind if I ask a lot of questions. He's big enough to handle it

    No, he doesn't mind you asking questions. But, being too lazy to find the answer is a different issue. Why don't you ask a question and I'll do my best to answer it. I've been doing this for more than 12 years, so I've researched most of the obvious issues.

    <><

    January 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      but be careful not to look for any logic or fact in his answers ...

      January 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • Joey

      Why is god pro genocide and o.k. with rap.ing virgins?

      January 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • Fan2C

      It's fairly useful that "God" can be and do **anything** that you wish him to be or to do.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
      • Econ301

        He already posted that the answer to the question of where matter, and time comes from is...

        God made them. Sorry if I don't get my hopes up for deep knowledge.

        January 8, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • Live4Him

          I suppose you prefer the answer 'scientists are still seaching for the answer to this question', so you can live as if a no-god answer was given.

          January 8, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • Econ301

          I unlike you can accept that there are things that I can't know the answers to at this time, and that perhaps someday we will figure it out.

          January 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • ChristCon 101

          Poker Player 1: "Beat that! A full house!"
          Poker Player 2: "Easy! Take a look at my 2 and 9 of clubs! Bet you didn't think I had that combo!"
          Poker Player 1: "But that isn't a combo, it isn't anything!"
          Poker Player 2: "Oh Yes it is! It's the Power combo play my Daddy always used to beat me, he said it's the highest score you can get in Poker and my Daddy invented Poker!"
          Poker Player 1: ' bang '....

          January 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • Alias

      Right.
      Like how obvious it is that Satan took jesus to the moon.

      That one still cracks me up!

      January 8, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Wow, so you've lived a lonely 12 years-studying the bible for that long would be like studying Grimms Fairy Tales...did the wife leave you? the dog run away?
      You need to get out to a library, a museum...all the biblical crap is making you crazy and hurting your brain.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If the Universe is only 6,000 years old, why is there so much evidence indicating otherwise?
      (for those who aren't aware, L4H is a young earth creationist)

      January 8, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
      • Live4Him

        Like the KBS Tuff and skull 1370 which was dated to 221 million years old, err wait, that was corrected to 2.9 million years old, whoops another error – 1.9 million years old? It only took them 10 years and dozens of tests – none of which could be independently validated and all of the radiometrically dated. Why so many different answers?

        January 8, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • foz-man!

          Why so many answers? Because the technology that is used to date objects is changing and getting more accurate. Just because the carbon dating was wrong for a long time doesn't prove that everying is only 6,000 years old, and that dinasours ate humans.

          January 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • Econ301

          Because Science is about continually questioning testing the results of an experiment to prove it. As technology gets better experiments are rerun and give new more precise results.

          Still doesn't mean that the test is wrong just because they improve the process and experiments over time.

          At one point we thought Atoms were like putty with protons neutrons and electrons all floating wherever the heck they wanted.
          Now we believe in nuclei and electron clouds. Does the fact that our model of the Atom changed mean that Atoms are a lie?

          January 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • Joey

          How does something dated to be no younger than 1.9 million years prove that the earth is only 6,000 years old?

          January 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          L4H
          Of course you thrive on the opinions of garbage science. If you were a smoker I bet you would come up with all the purported truthful testimony of all the experts that said smoking is good for you. BTW if Christianity is so clear and truthful why have the so called experts needed to apologise for the last 2000 years? Christian apologetics indeed, I do not accept your apologies, LOL.

          January 8, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @foz-man! : Because the technology that is used to date objects is changing and getting more accurate

          How did they know the dates were wrong?

          @Econ301 : Because Science is about continually questioning testing the results of an experiment to prove it.

          How do you calibrate radiometric dating? With the fossils. How do you date the fossils? With radiometric dating. Circular logic leads nowhere.

          @Econ301 : Still doesn't mean that the test is wrong just because they improve the process and experiments over time.

          How did they know the results were 'wrong'? By the fossils for which they were trying to achieve an age. So, there is no objective means of dating those fossils.

          @Joey : How does something dated to be no younger than 1.9 million years prove that the earth is only 6,000 years old?

          If you understand statistics, you would realize that the 95% CI would spread between about 400 million years ago to about 175 million years into the future. This INCLUDES less than 6,000 years ago. The probability that it is within a million years of 1.9 million is almost certainly zero.

          @Charm Quark : why have the so called experts needed to apologise for the last 2000 years?

          The term apologetics refers to a defense 'from logic' (i.e. apo : from / logea : logic). Another way of thinking of this is : Its all about science.

          <><

          January 8, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • Peter

          You don't actually know anything about radiometric dating do you?

          January 8, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      L4H
      Of course will be thrilled to read you a fairy tale, alas they only come from one tired and ridiculous book of supernatural mumbo jumbo. You may want to pass on his offer or be bored to death.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • Econ301

      Why do bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people?

      If God is all knowing why does he need to test us, doesn't he already know the results of the test?

      January 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Econ301 : Why do bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people?

        The term 'good' and 'bad' are relative, usually compared against your idealized self image (i.e. you consider intentions rather than actions, while comparing against other's actions). However, a truly 'good' person would be perfect – without fault. Since we all have faults, none of us are 'good'. So, good and bad things happen to bad people. The only bad thing that happened to the only 'good' person was Jesus' crucifixion – which was to bring us into salvation.

        @Econ301 : If God is all knowing why does he need to test us, doesn't he already know the results of the test?

        God does know us, be we don't know ourselves. Lets take the book of Job as an example. In the book, Job was diligently serving God, but God allowed him to be tested. Why? It is because Job bought into the 'health and wealth' (or prosperity) doctrine. So, God allowed his wealth and health to be stripped away. When it was, Job's pride was exposed. Job went to being humble before God to wanting to arrogantly challenge God. This is when all the pieces came together to bring Job back to God's true path.

        <><

        January 8, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Econ301
          Now you have got L4H started you are going to get whole litany of Christian apologetics and of course L4H will not apologise for boring you to distraction.

          January 8, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • Econ301

      Since God is all powerful, can he create a mountain so big even he can't move it? If he can't wouldn't that mean his power is limited?

      January 8, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Econ301 : Since God is all powerful, can he create a mountain so big even he can't move it?

        This is a logic fallacy called the Law of the Excluded Middle (or law of non-contradiction). Can a light switch be both on and off at the same time? No. Neither can God do two contradictory things – its an either-or situation.

        <><

        January 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • Econ301

          But All powerful god can't create a light switch that is both on and off a the same time if he choose to?

          He created light which is both a wave and a particle at the same time... so why can't he create a quantum light switch?

          January 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • Madtown

      being too lazy to find the answer is a different issue
      -----
      For a lot of these questions, I don't think there are answers, that humans can discern anyway. We have a natural inquisitive tendency, seeking answers is good. Making up answers is not.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Madtown : For a lot of these questions, I don't think there are answers, that humans can discern anyway. We have a natural inquisitive tendency, seeking answers is good. Making up answers is not.

        For almost every question, there is an underlying question. 'Does God exist' translates into 'If he doesn't, then I can do anything I want without fear of a final judgment'. To get the right answer, the question must be posed as the best possible answer between the two sides. For example: 'If God exists then he could have created this universe. If not, then where did it come from' would be a better question to ask. An 'I don't know' answer would mean you need to research further unless you want to make a potentially wrong decision.

        <><

        January 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • G to the T

          But it's only one of an infinite possible answers. How about this? Yahweh was actually created by another HIGHER god and only believes he created the universe. There's no way to prove otherwise without resorting to the Bible. Trick is, if the Bible is inspired, then it's even MORE likley to also have the flawed logic of the god that inspired it.

          Agni in the Hindu patheon sometimes suffered from this delusion.

          And as for the "fear and judgement' angle – I struggle to even express how insulting that is. I didn't lose my faith out of convenience or a desire to escape judgement, etc. I lost it kicking and screaming, wishing that what my own experience and studies were showing me weren't true and how desparately I didn't want them to be true. But I reached a point where I could no longer believe in the christian god and became a deist. Then I continued to try and find the truth (wherever it took me) and I've since become an agnostic atheist who believes that people like Jesus and Sidhartha (or at least, the people who wrote the stories about them) had true wisdom to bestow. But I cannot any longer believe in anything "supernatural" until some more definitive evidence can be presented.

          January 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
  20. Lamb of dog

    No matter where his journey ends I wish him a good trip.
    Funny though I have never heard of someone getting fired for starting to believe.

    January 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • snowboarder

      not in this country anyway. go a bit east and it might get you killed.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:22 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.