Atheist-for-a-year: ‘No evidence for God’

Atheist-for-a-year: ‘No evidence for God’

At the start of 2014, former Seventh-Day Adventist pastor Ryan Bell, above, made an unusual New Year’s resolution: to live for one year without God. This led to his sacking from his job as an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Now, as 2014 draws to a close, Bell has decided that there’s no going back to Christianity. He is reported here as saying:

I’ve looked at the majority of the arguments that I’ve been able to find for the existence of God and on the question of God’s existence or not, I have to say I don’t find there to be a convincing case in my view.

I don’t think that God exists. I think that makes the most sense of the evidence that I have and my experience. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the most interesting thing about me.

Today, Bell has a new job at PATH, an organisation dedicated to helping the homeless.

It’s, I think, an expression of really the part of me that hasn’t changed. I’m still the same person deep down that I was before. I care about justice and equality and I want to see opportunities spread more evenly in our society.

Bell says he still feels like atheism is “an awkward fit” and also feels uncomfortable around his former Christian friends who are adjusting to his new views.

One of his biggest lessons from the year is:

That people very much value certainty and knowing and are uncomfortable saying that they don’t know.

Now he thinks certainty is a bit overrated.

I think before I wanted a closer relationship to God and today I just want a closer relationship with reality

Reporting on Bell’s defection to the Light Side, blogger Bo Gardiner compiled a list of comments left on several sites about Bell. They include

• What a dirtbag. Sorry, without Christ your ‘good deeds’ are worth *****.”
• Drama queen.
• Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light….. Isaiah 5:20.
• He means without submitting to God. But only God is good, so it is impossible without Him.
• Being good without boundaries. The serpent couldn’t have said it any better.
• No God, no concience… No God, no peace… Now come out of the closet faggot.
• Calling evil good and good evil  … where have we heard that before, I wonder?
• Next he’ll tell us he’s discovered he’s a transvestite.
• I was wondering if he is dating a male or female.
• Seems as though he is sewing the devils fruits to me.
• His ‘wrestling with doubts’ is about as real as professional wrestling.
• Smells like someone is having a mid-life crisis.
• He is not smart enough to be able to see the difference between religion and belief.
Bo Gardiner says “you’ll want to engage your Irony Surge Protector before reading these”:
• I am sincerely curious. What obnoxious certainty do Christians have that he objects to?
• This man is full of self-approval. He thinks he knows it all. Pathetic.
Incidentally, a drive to raise funds for Bell after his sacking raised over $27,300.

14 responses to “Atheist-for-a-year: ‘No evidence for God’”

  1. Broga says:

    The fury of believers when someone decides there is no God demonstrates the believers uncertainty. They need to cling to their “certainty” and must do so as a “fact” and avoid any kind of debate based on evidence.

    As an atheist I think a God, with the characteristics of the God believed in by Christians and as described in the bible, is vanishingly unlikely. What use could these characteristics possibly be in a cosmos of billions of galaxies. However, if contrary evidence became available, and assuming I was sane, I hope I would accept it.

    I have asked Christians what would be needed to persuade them to change their minds about God’s existence. Their answer was, “Nothing could change my mind. I know God exists.”

  2. AgentCormac says:

    Ryan Bell spends a year daring to use his brain, sees the light, decides he doesn’t want to be a christian any more and suddenly he is a ‘faggot’, a transvestite and on a par with serpents. Interesting how people who who can longer think for themselves, or refuse to do so, have no argument to offer other than insults. If only they had a single shred of evidence to proffer that could help Ryan change his mind. But no. Nothing. Not a single scrap of anything.

  3. ABz says:

    He’s obviously decided that his life is most fulfilled in helping other people. Not surprising that he’s rejected Christianity. Religion is for the self obsessed. The doubter who works for the good of others is the more honest and useful person than the pious pastor who prays for the poor and speaks of certainty

  4. Paul Cook says:

    These people really are weak. Their beliefs really are shallow.
    Their behaviour no better than spiteful immature children ‘punished’ for tantrums having their toys removed for a short period where they sulk, fume, harbour grudges, remain intolerant and eventually show further petulance and anger by throwing insults.

    The true ‘god’ of love is simply knowledge, and none of them seem to have any or an ability to try to look for any.

  5. Susan Park says:

    For some reason, atheists are not allowed to have a belief yet we have to be tolerant of a religious person’s mystical belief. Seems very one sided to me in a country where we are all suppose to be allowed our own beliefs.

  6. Trevor Blake says:

    To the quoted commenters:it’s true. Good Christians like Adolf Hitler are alone capable of good, while heathens like Ghandi and atheists like Alexander Graham Bell have brought only wickedness into the world.

  7. Newspaniard says:

    Well done him. I suppose a year to cure the brainwashing is reasonable. The commenters might require a little longer, say, in straight-jackets, especially the repressed gays/transvestites, obviously, among them.

  8. andym says:

    I like the phrase”Irony Surge Protector.” I think mine broke when I heard a couple of stories about vicars telling children that Father Christmas doesn’t exist.

  9. Ex Patriot says:

    Good going sir, you took a year to do some rational thinking and it all came out good for you and I am sure your life will be much better without the constraints of some organized fairy tale. As far as the commenters are concerned, whoever left the key in the asylum door should be fired and they should go back in and the key thrown away

  10. andym says:

    I think Broga is right. Rather than showing firm belief, those comments from Christians betray a deep-seated insecurity.

  11. Laura Roberts says:

    I, too, give him full marks for giving his resolution an honest go, under some degree of public scrutiny. Many preachers have done the same, deconverting after years of honest reflection and study, but few have put such a public face to it. I’m also glad he’s found a job that suits him.

  12. Cali Ron says:

    It’s really heart warming to see all that christian love being shown to Ryan Bell for his honesty, integrity and courage. As usual, god’s lemmings show all the behaviors that jesus preached against, yet seem oblivious to their hypocrisy. Calling someone gay or a transvestite for becoming atheists shows a real disconnect with reality and some serious personal sexual issues. Just seeing those responses should be enough to turn someone against religion (at least someone with a brain who thinks for themselves).

    Props to Ryan Bell!

  13. dennis says:

    Mr Paul “true god is simple knowledge” yes what a wonderfully simple way to express it. I am hoping this Mr Bell does not have a relapse of the virus.

  14. Robster says:

    It must be one of the great pleasures of life to cast aside nonsense and embrace reality. Quite a weight off the shoulders I’d suggest. Congrats to the ex rev.