Sidebar: Pastor’s loss of faith started with loss of hell
By KIMBERLY WINSTON - RELIGION NEWS SERVICE
Added: Tue, 01 May 2012 03:52:04 UTC
BETHESDA, Md. (RNS) In the span of just a few months, Jerry DeWitt went from a respected pastor with a vibrant congregation to an atheist without a job.
DeWitt, 42, is the first “graduate” of The Clergy Project, a program supported by several atheist organizations that assists pastors who have lost their faith to “come out” as atheists to family, friends, congregations and communities.
DeWitt, who lives in Southern Louisiana, went public last October when he posted a picture of himself with the prominent and polarizing atheist Richard Dawkins, snapped at a meeting of atheists and other “freethinkers” in Houston.
Speaking in March before a cheering crowd of several hundred unbelievers at the American Atheists conference here, he described posting the picture as “committing identity suicide.”
The response was swift. His congregation put him out, friends cut him off and some family members will not speak to him, he said.
“It is not just finances and it is not just career,” he said in the fire-and-brimstone cadences of his Pentecostal background. “It is everything that you hold dear.”
But there are gains, too. “With a little help from my friends, I have learned how to do more than survive,” he said.
- - BBC News Comments
A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.
Robert F. Worth - New York Times Comments
A great article about Jerry DeWitt and the growing presence of atheist communities
Chip Rowe - Playboy Comments
Playboy Interview with Richard Dawkins
- - YouTube - townsquare Comments
Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').
Kimberly Winston - Washington Post Comments
Last weekend, the Atheist Film Festival showed more than a dozen films about separation of church and state, freedom of religion (and no religion), the conflict between science and religion in public schools.
- - eBay auction Comments
Albert Einstein's Historic 1954 "God Letter" Handwritten Shortly Before His Death