From Evangelicalism to Atheism: Eight Years Later Part One

 

questions

I am often asked questions about my life post-Jesus; questions about children, marriage, and the effect of my unbelief on my relationships with family and friends. I am also questioned about my worldview, morality, and politics, along with my view of religion and Evangelicalism. Simply put, people want to know: how different is my life today from the way it was eight years ago when I admitted to the myself and the world that I was no longer a Christian?

Before I embark on this series, I thought I would ask readers what questions they would like for me to answer. Please keep your questions focused on the subject of this series: my life post-Jesus. Please leave your questions in the comment section. If you would like to email me instead, please use the contact form to do so.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful questions.

Series Navigation<< From Evangelicalism to Atheism Part Four

10 Comments

  1. Sam

    Bruce, have any of the people you used to preach to, who are now also non believers, said your preaching hurt them in someway? Or have you felt the need to make amends with anyone now you realise how much damage your old beliefs could cause someone?

    Reply
  2. Michael Alioto

    Bruce,
    I’m wondering how you stepped down from the pulpit. What was the sermon that Sunday morning.

    Reply
  3. limey

    I like Sam’s question. I’m interested to hear if you’ve had any communication with people you’ve been responsible for as a Pastor but who also no longer believe.

    I do have a question of my own though, have you noticed any ways in which your outlook or personality has changed as a result of leaving the faith and if so, what would you say is the most significant change?

    Reply
  4. Rebecca

    After you publicly announced your atheism how many other pastors have confided to you that they also no longer believe in Christianity but continue in the pulpit? Do you think a significant percentage of preachers do not believe what they teach? Do you think a significant percentage of church attendees secretly do not believe in the validity of Christianity?

    Reply
  5. Oldbroad1

    How did you deal with the loss of community, friendships? What did you replace it (or not) with?

    Reply
  6. anotherami

    What parallels do you see in what you do with this blog and your former role as pastor in the churches you led? I am often struck by the level of tending to people’s needs that is to be found here; both from you and those who post here, either in guest posts or in the comments. Coming from a Quaker background, I strongly related to the concept that all were called to “minister to the least of the these”, to take care of the needs of those around us when we could. Do you still see yourself as a sort minister (minister meaning one who tends to people’s needs, not in a religious/sectarian sense)?

    And thank you for challenging my beliefs, forcing me to clarify my understanding of what exactly I do believe, and helping me see how the fundamentalist beliefs I was exposed to as I hit puberty caused deep and lasting damage I still struggle with 4 decades later. It has been healing.

    Reply
  7. Melody

    Hey Bruce,

    I wonder how you decide on morals/ethics? Do you adhere to any principles or philosophies? Like humanism, absurdism or something like that? Or the golden rule? Or do you take each decision individually?

    I find this a hard question myself. On the one hand I would like to have a sort of guiding principle/system/rules or what not: something already in place yet on the other hand I also like the freedom to think for myself and decide each case separately. The latter does have the drawback of not having a sort of foundation to base your arguments on, it could be more haphazard/cherry picking.

    This has been and is a difficult one for me and I wonder how you solved that puzzle or if you have solved it?

    Reply
  8. Pam

    How did you balance out your beliefs and lifestyle regarding what is right and wrong? Things that were forbidden simply because of scripture now have no authority.

    And how did you recover from the loss of belief in being loved by your creator, making you valued just for being you? Purposes of life, meaning you’re here and all that.

    How did you stay healthy socially when leaving your church behind? Did you stay isolated or find a new social circle?

    How did you make peace with all those years your focus and motivation came from false beliefs?

    I am dealing with all this right now. Sorry for so many questions.

    Reply
  9. Brian

    It is one thing, one clear and focussed act, to leave belief behind by walking out the Baptist door and making a public statement but the style of leaving often reflects the style of belief being left behind. Fundamentalist evangelical bullies are shockingly unaware of the harm they vigorously do to innocence, to open hearts, to people who might be hurting from normal human experience. As an extremist preacher, you took to the streets to share (inflict) your message on strangers. Your interpretation of ‘go out and preach the gospel’ was that of a psychological thug beating the shit out of Americans on the corner sidewalk and from your pulpit. Nowadays, as an agnostic/atheist for the most part, you impress me as a more gentle man, somebody who has seen much and considered it all quite seriously and over a good deal of time. My question is, How do you explain the love you are able to share now, the ability to share your heart and listen to others without condemnation and eternal damnations? Do you draw your strength from the freedom from belief, belief-relief, or? And what do you do to deal with nonbelievers who are such ugly human beings, the horrible atheist men who emphatically reject any social conscience and say that atheism has nothing to do with social action for good in the world, those who clearly demean women, for instance and need to dominate others? Christians find these reptiles and use them as examples to ‘prove’ that atheism is poison in much the same way atheists use a sick biped who claims to be a true Christian, (i.e. Steven Anderson ) to show the bankruptcy of Christianity. How do you navigate these extremes?

    Reply
    1. anotherami

      Great questions Brian. I was thinking along the same lines, but your detailed questions are much better than my very broad one. I hope Bruce’s chooses to address at least some of them, though he could likely make a whole post on each one that I would eagerly read. I look at Bruce and I look at Anderson. I see Jesus in Bruce and see hate in Anderson. It is confounding to me, as someone who still believes in the Indefinable Something.

      Reply

Please Leave a Pithy Reply

%d bloggers like this: