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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. Robert Raulerson

    You tell me something can't come from nothing, but Gawd did? Have I got that right? You don't mean to say there was a Gawd who made Gawd? That would be Super Gawd. But Super Gawd would need a creator – that would be Super Dooper Gawd. And so on. Din't happen? Gawd 'just is'? Explain how that is possible. And why the Universe couldn't pull the same trick.

    January 12, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      For what its worth, William Lane Craig likes to argue:

      1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
      2. The universe began to exist.
      3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

      He would say that, unlike the universe, God did not begin to exist. God is eternal. So there's no argument for a cause for God.

      January 12, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
      • Robert Raulerson

        It ain't worth much. That's called 'Special Pleading' and all arguments for Gawd get there eventually. People set out to prove Gawd logically, then end up saying the laws of logic don't apply to Gawd.

        January 12, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • Dot

          Exactly. Which is where their arguments begin to fail.

          January 12, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
      • bostontola

        Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.

        That statement Is false. Particles begin to exist all the time out of the vacuum with absolutely no cause.

        January 12, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
  2. LIKE TAKIN CANDI FROM A BABY

    "Stop Lying. There are an infinite number of possibilities that do not involve any gods." pharisee above reproach, not like other common people and sinners

    point being, so, i'm thinking, r u seriously suggesting u can name 5 possibilities that don't include gawds? no? thought not. not. 3? lol!

    TOLD U! N O T H I N

    January 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • igaftr

      already posted 5 to you on the article that the comment was made from...not sure why you decided to switch your name from 00 00 to this AND jump entire articles just to make a fool of yourself....

      January 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
      • igafter of arabia

        lol

        January 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • igaftr

          there is no e in igaftr, and I will never willingy go to Saudi Arabia.

          January 12, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • Dot

      How's that lawsuit going? Lmfao

      January 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
    • evan

      "point being, so, i'm thinking..."

      That's way more unlikely than something coming from nothing.

      January 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
  3. Vic

    No matter how much indoctrination, corruption, errors, or what have you, disputing over scripture, the validity of it and its authenticity, NEVER EQUATES to the 'non-existence of God.'

    If you leave ALL scripture out, NO ONE CAN POSIT THE NON-EXISTENCE OF GOD BY ANY MEANS!

    From all the scriptures I have read, the following holds true without any doubt in my mind:

    Romans 1:20
    "20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

    Colossians 1:16
    "16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him."

    Hebrews 11:3
    "3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible."

    Acts 17:24-28
    "24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’"

    All Scripture Is From:

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

    http://www.biblegateway.com/

    January 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
    • aldewacs2

      The Flying Spaghetty Monster, PBUH, also cannot be disproven.
      And your point was...?

      January 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • George Agnostic

      Can you tell me how you can assure yourself of your salvation?

      January 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
      • Peter

        a) Repent of your sins &

        b) Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior

        If you have any Christian friend ask them to read the Bible with you and ask them if you can go to church with them.

        Wish you well! 🙂

        January 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • sam stone

          sin is a man made concept, and only applies to the religious people who accept that concept

          January 12, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
    • Vic

      Beyond the above scripture, I also believe that Jesus Christ Is Lord through Whom we have the Gift Of Salvation.

      January 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
      • igaftr

        Also through which you have the threat of eternal damnation as well. Why the threat? Is it so that children(aka self proclaimed sheep) will be afraid and comply?
        I need no threat to be a good person, and cannot allow someone else to take my just punishment.

        So how does your god handle it when someone is not immoral enough to let someone else be punished for his own alleged sins?

        January 12, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • Vic

          Let's agree first that there is [a] God, and then we can venture into Who that God is and what He wants, and all. Like I said, whatever we dispute over scripture and the details have no bearing on the existence of God since it is evident to me without any scripture.

          January 12, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • igaftr

          No, lets assume there are no gods, or nothing that would fit your descrition of god since the likely hood of weither of those options is much higher ( given that yours is ONE possibility...YOUR definition of YOUR god...out of an infinite number.

          What is evident to you, may well be satan messing with your head...equal chance, if your premise is assumed.
          No, you have no evidence of any gods...just because you don't have a ready explaination for some experience, does not mean you should make an unjustified leap to conclude there is a god, and that this god made himself known to you in some way.Your experience could be co-incidence, god, satan, any number of gods you do not believe in, any number of gods that NO ONE has invented yet, space aliens with mind control, a glitch in the matrix programming, on and on and on. You have NOTHING that says it is a god...only belief based on other belief.

          January 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • sam stone

          To start out, let's agree there is a god?

          Gosh, that is dumb, even for you, vic

          January 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
    • ME II

      @Vic,
      "If you leave ALL scripture out, NO ONE CAN POSIT THE NON-EXISTENCE OF GOD BY ANY MEANS!"

      I thnk you mean that no one can PROVE it, which is true. But it can easily be posited and reasonably accepted as likely true.

      January 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
      • Vic

        The natural sense & impulse in the human soul is encompassed in the OP verses.

        January 12, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • ME II

          Huh?

          January 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • Vic

          To be more grammatically sound:

          The natural sense of & impulse for God in the human soul along with this wondrous creation and life in it are encompassed in the verses in the Original Post.

          January 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • ME II

          At best that is merely an assertion. At worst it contains no meaning.

          January 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • aldewacs2

          Wishful thinking at the level of sheep herders 2000+ years ago.
          Shameful nonsense for anybody wanting to be considered a sensible modern human.
          On behalf of your parents, I apologize for your indoctrination.
          I hope you get help.

          January 12, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
    • Vic

      Jesus Christ IS Lord

      January 12, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • Science Works

        is a ford ?

        January 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • bostontola

        Jesus Christ is YOUR Lord.

        There may or may not be beings that we would recognize as God(s), as you claim, that proof is beyond us now.

        Man has posited thousands of Gods. There is absolutely nothing, NOTHING, that distinguishes the Abrahamic God as more credible, or likely to be real as any of the other Gods almost all agree were invented by man.

        January 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
      • No Evidence

        Praise the Lard.

        January 13, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • tallulah13

      You are certainly welcome to your opinion, Vic.

      January 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
      • No Evidence

        An opinion based entirely on his imagination.

        January 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
  4. Bootyfunk

    this story just illustrates how hard it is to break religious brainwashing.
    he's been told his whole life that god is real.
    but his brain keeps telling him the bible makes no sense and is just another book of myth.
    seems like a smart guy, but it just shows that cult brainwashing is a powerful thing.

    January 12, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The promise of ultimate rewards and the threat of ultimate punishments, if he ever believed in all that, can be compelling.

      January 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
    • bostontola

      Booty,
      There is science that reveals humans evolved with suggestibility (ability to be hypnotized). The ability allows humans to enter trances before battle, or before primitive medical treatment by shamans. Interestingly, suggestibility is measurable. Scientists measured suggestibility of a number of randomly selected people and there was a broad range of suggestibility. The scientists then interviewed the subjects and asked them their depth of faith in God and their religion. There was a strong correlation between suggestibility and religious belief. No person in the bottom 10% of suggestibility was a believer and all the top suggestibles were strong believers.

      January 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Self-reinforcement and replication are important features of this kind of belief. They even behave according to darwinian principles: They even have features that help them exclude other beliefs that may threaten the fidelity of their transmission, but are also somewhat adaptive.

        January 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
  5. I wonder

    Gee, these blogs are a ghost town this morning! I know that it's church time, but it doesn't usually get this dead here.

    I see that several posts from earlier have been deleted though. *Sigh*

    January 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • I wonder

      Not to disregard or dismiss those of you who have posted, of course...

      January 12, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
      • igaftr

        Yeah, been slow on the stories here for a while.

        I just checked back, and most of my posts from last week have been surgically removed...only a couple remain.

        The main ones removed involved my questioning whether it was god who inspired the bible, or if it was Satan.

        Considering all of the death, destruction, faster spread of disease, wars, the holocaust, the crusades, the inquisition, etc, etc, etc...plus the fact that there are over 40,000 versions of christianity out there, showing a high level of chaos induced by trying to interpret the bible, it makes a lot more sense that Satan inspired the bible. ( considering that I consider satan to be a metaphor for all of the potential "evil" a person is capable of, and that men made the bible with less that the purest of intentions, it REALLY makes more sense that satan( per the description above) inspired the bible, and the koran, and the torah....If god inspired them, why are they so easliy corrupted, why does their belief lead to so much of humanities negative history? And if god inspired the bible, why did he get so much wrong?

        January 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          "if god inspired the bible, why did he get so much wrong?"
          the short answer and the only one that makes sense is that humans wrote the bible.
          not god, not satan, not humans inspired by either since they don't exist.
          it was just people. religion is an entirely human construct.

          satan kills exactly 10 people in the bible (and only with god's permission)
          god kills millions

          so who is more evil?

          January 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • igaftr

          Booty

          I consider that men DID create and write the bible, but both Christ and satan are metaphors...christ is the metaphor for the potential good in a person, satan the metaphor for the potential of bad or evil....given that this is MY definition, and makes much more sense that most other beleifs, then the bible WAS written by satan, or rather it was inspired by the bad/evil side of the minds of the writers. There is also some from the good side as well, but when one looks at the history of the belief, one sees far more damage done to humanity from it's belief, so by my way of seeing it, "satan" inspires most religions.

          January 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • Joey

          I have like to think that if god is real he uses the bible to weed out the stupid people amongst us. Basically, if you think the entire bible is the literal word of god, you go to hell for being stupid.

          January 13, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Hi

      January 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
  6. Steven

    It sounds like this preacher-turned-atheist just wants attention any way he can find it, and an excuse to get away from religion. But what he fails to understand is that after a year has gone by, nothing will have changed, and he will either return to his former life, or accept that which he has preached against all his life. Based upon the information in this story, I believe that he probably should have become a college professor of philosophy rather than a preacher. Unfortunately, though, with people being discouraged to pursue the liberal arts in the 21st century, openings for these positions are becoming few and far between, and people who have that philosophical blood running through their veins sometimes take on preacher positions as a way to make ends meat, which is wrong because it is the essence of living a lie. You cannot preach something to others that you yourself are not willing to live.

    January 12, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • Port

      "You cannot preach something to others that you yourself are not willing to live." -now there's a statement with a bazillion counter examples across the god fraud world and other fraud categories.

      Steven's rant gets my vote for WRONG post of the week.

      January 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
      • igaftr

        Really?
        With guys like Opposing View, Live4Him and Lawrence of Arabia on this blog, steven doesn't even get into the top 100.

        January 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "You cannot preach something to others that you yourself are not willing to live."

      LOL! religious leaders do it every day. you are naive.

      January 12, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
    • Dot

      "You cannot preach something to others that you yourself are not willing to live."

      Maybe that's why he got out. He couldn't stand the hypocrisy.

      January 12, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
  7. bostontola

    Subjective information or writing is based on personal opinions, interpretations, points of view, emotions and judgment. It is often considered ill-suited for scenarios like news reporting or decision making in business or politics. Objective information or analysis is fact-based, measurable and observable.

    This is why I say Abrahamic religions are not supported by objective evidence.

    To my strong Christian friends; Please find some reruns of the TV show Brain Games. You will then understand why we can't trust subjective information and experience. Our brains are not good judges of objective reality.

    Scientists have learned this and have devised to scientific method to battle the poor judgment of individuals. We have created a host of measurement devises using many different physical principles. We insist on multiple independent testers verify results. Even then there are subtle things that slip through. They can take a long time to discover by some very disciplined scientist. We know it works and we know that the vast majority of science is within the bull eye because bridges and buildings don't fall, satellites work, GPS works, heart surgery works, the list is too long to continue.

    There are no such protocols in religion. Religions live in the realm of the unknown. That was most of the mindscape 2000 years ago, not so anymore. Religion is being driven into smaller and smaller nooks and crannies. Soon they will likely be seen for what they really are, philosophies.

    January 12, 2014 at 11:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The usual reply is that (the Abrahamic) God provides sufficient evidence for absolute proof that it is what it is said to be and does what it is said to do. It only provides this evidence when someone first believes through faith and it cannot be transmitted to anyone who does not believe.

      January 12, 2014 at 11:36 am |
      • bostontola

        Good point TTtOO. Pretty much the definition of subjective evidence.

        January 12, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • aldewacs2

          In that case subjective evidence and BS share a lot in common.

          January 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      nail on the head, Bostonia.
      the scientific method scares the religious, as do facts and logic.
      religion was man's first attempt at explaining the universe around him.
      now we have something better - science.

      January 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
  8. BC

    Truth be told there are MANY WHO Profess to be Christians who live like atheist everyday..they do not pray, they live as if God does not exists–so this is really no big deal.

    I know for years, as a Professing Christian, I too lived as if God did not exist..but God through His Spirit drew me back to His side..

    January 12, 2014 at 10:54 am |
    • igaftr

      "but God through His Spirit drew me back to His side.."

      You do not know any gods were involved, that is just what you want to believe.

      January 12, 2014 at 11:30 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'BC' is an instance of the No True Scotsmen fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      January 12, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      leave the cult. you're thinking is not your own.

      January 12, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
    • No Evidence

      "his spirit"??? his ghost?... oh boy..... how deluded.

      January 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
  9. Reality # 2

    http://www.gofundme.com/62mb6o

    Ryan's fund for "fun" is up to $26,319 as of 10 AM on Sunday morning, 1/12/2014.

    January 12, 2014 at 10:53 am |
  10. letmeeatcake

    ...i've passed up jobs based on personal decisions...people do that every day...what makes him special?...

    January 12, 2014 at 4:01 am |
  11. bostontola

    Go Pats!

    January 11, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
    • Alias

      I'm glad the Patriots won.
      The Seahawks need an easy game before the Superbowl.

      January 12, 2014 at 10:28 am |
      • doobzz

        Don't the Seahawks have to play the winner of the 49er's vs. Panthers game?

        January 12, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Science Works

          Yep the 49er's next Sunday.

          January 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • Dot

          Yes.

          January 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • doobzz

          Should be a good game. Do you think the Pats will be cheering for a San Diego win today, lol?

          January 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • Science Works

          doobzz

          Are you watching pre-game on CBS Denver coach has to get in his BS in on you know who.

          pats and broncos ?

          January 12, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • doobzz

          Yeah, lol, what a chump.

          Most likely Pats and Broncos. I'd rather see the Chargers in it, but I don't think that's gonna happen.

          January 12, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
  12. Matthew

    You can tell that she's taking it personal to. He has the courage like many others and more to come.
    God must go!

    January 11, 2014 at 11:10 pm |
  13. Joel

    Its nice to know where you stand spiritually. I know that before I received Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah and Savior I believed in God, but was not at peace with my beliefs as I am today. Its so great to know God's peace and forgiveness. I see so many in here that are searching for answers. Don't be discouraged, keep searching. Seek and you shall find. Shalom

    January 11, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
    • ME II

      George Bernard Shaw noted that, “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.”
      (as quoted at http://www.salon.com/2014/01/11/15_ways_atheists_can_stand_up_for_rationality/, hat tip to For Bells Blog below)

      January 11, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
      • Bob

        ME II, great and very appropriate quote. Thanks for that.

        January 11, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
      • Dale

        Me II, well last I checked the effects of alcohol and drugs wear off rather quickly. Many, like myself, have experienced peace and joy for years after receiving Jesus as Savior. In my case over 20 years. Sorry, you analogy doesn't work at all. Try again.

        January 12, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
        • No Evidence

          Deluded and happy.... good for you!

          January 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • Alias

      I've know several people to find a religion that makes them happy,and they stop questioning when they arive there.
      I'm happy for them, but I'm want for the truth, not myths with good feelings.

      January 12, 2014 at 10:33 am |
  14. Robert Raulerson

    I was the atheist in the Foxhole
    'No atheists in Foxholes' is a meme.
    A meme is something everybody know is true – that isn't true. But everybody knows it is so forget about telling people otherwise.
    The Foxhole meme works like this; Everybody gets scared in combat, so they start believing in Gawd.
    Nope. There was no Gawd before you were scared – there isn't on now either.
    The Foxhole meme does reveal that Fear of Death is the foundation of religious belief.

    "Religion; The Child of Fear."

    Ambrose Bierce
    The Devils Dictionary

    January 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
  15. For Bells Blog

    15 ways atheists can stand up for rationality

    http://www.salon.com/2014/01/11/15_ways_atheists_can_stand_up_for_rationality/

    January 11, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
    • ME II

      A good read. Thank you.

      I don't agree with all aspects, but a good read none-the-less.

      January 11, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
      • For Bells Blog

        thanks for reading

        The line about Europe losing its faith decades ago cracked me up – with the hoopla about the new heir to the throne.

        January 11, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
        • aldewacs2

          Don't confuse Europe with the UK

          January 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    Pastor tries atheism
    loses jobs
    gains $19,000
    miraculously finds jesus again
    uses $19,000 to publish book on said miracle
    makes millions
    starts a megachurch
    makes hundreds of millions

    January 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
    • ???

      Sounds like a worthy goal. Not.

      January 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Check out his blog, I think he may just remain away from the church at the end of all of this. It seems like this is a huge wake up call to him.

      January 11, 2014 at 4:43 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.