Skip to comments.Ex-Pastor Who Took Yearlong Break From Faith Asks 'Why Do I Need Religion to Love?'
Posted on 12/23/2014 3:57:10 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Ryan Bell, an ex-pastor who quit his faith in God for a year following his resignation from the Hollywood Adventist Church and a divorce from his wife of 17 years, is set to decide New Year's Day whether he will remain a believer or become an atheist. While he has distanced himself from zealous atheists, Bell expressed a desire to be "good" without submitting to boundaries.
Nearing the end of his yearlong embrace of non-theism, Bell told the LA Times that leaving the faith has allowed him to see "both sides of the coin." The former Fuller Seminary and Azusa Pacific University teacher has consorted with several atheist groups as a public speaker, sharing his experiences of walking away from church life. "Being with atheists, they can have the same sort of obnoxious certainty that some Christians have," he said of his experiences. "I don't want to be part of that. It feels like I'm stuck in the middle. I want to be for something good, but I don't want boundaries, and religion just feels like a very bounded thing."
As he nears a self-imposed January 1 deadline to decide between atheism and faith, Bell told the LA Times, "The question I am asking right now [is] why do I need religion to love?"
Bell announced in a January blog published by The Huffington Post that "for the next 12 months I will live like there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else's circumstances."
Bell also stated that he has long struggled to relate to church, church people and God. He particularly struggled with the Bible's position on same-sex marriage, resigning his position as an Adventist pastor in 2013 over the issue. His 17-year marriage has also ended in divorce.
Since making that vow, Bell has a new job teaching for a nonprofit that helps the homeless and is dating a devout Christian.
He denies claims from Christians that he is bitter against God or rebelling. In a December 7 blog post he wrote, "As best I can tell, I'm not acting out. I've simply stepped away and explicitly taken the time to ask important questions about my past loyalties. At times I have been angry and I've made unfair generalizations as a result. But against neither anger nor rebellion is the central part of my journey."
Bell said he plans to spend the Christmas before his decision giving gifts and thanking his family and friends. While he doesn't plan to attend church services, he said he is not above going to one, noting that he still enjoys the season's rituals.
On the other hand, there are a whole lotta people who enter the seminary with goals other than spreading the Gospels in mind.
Being good without boundaries. The serpent couldn’t have said it any better.
What a dirtbag. Sorry, without Christ your ‘good deeds’ are worth *****
He wants to be good without submitting to boundaries? LOL! Define “good.” Is it even possible without boundaries, even if you reverse those boundaries? I mean, good as opposed to what? Un-good? That is a boundary.
He means without submitting to God. But only God is good, so it is impossible without Him.
Why does this man believe his personal religious doubts amount to a story that needs public notice?
That he is dating and now divorced and will make up his mind about his beliefs by New Years Day seems like a public attention seeking stunt.
Having no set standards leads to the conclusion that right and wrong depend on what does or doesn’t feel good. But what feels good is not always good for you.
He’s not dating a devout Christian.
No God, no concience.
No God, no judgement.
No God, no peace.
Now come out of the closet faggot.
Trading a year for eternity.
there is a difference between Religion and Relationship and evidently he has yet to discover this.
Clearly he's already made his choice...A New Year's resolution won't help...There's a lot of religious people who aren't Christians...
Judge a tree by its fruit.
Feelings change. What feels good today, doesn't feel good tomorrow or next week.
Does something that felt good yesterday, suddenly become not good later on, when feelings change?
What about what felt good a year ago, but then didn't feel good 6 months later, but today feels okay, which feeling applies?
What about the wife? How about how she felt about the divorce? Who's feelings trump who's??
Obviously, neither is she.
Calling evil good and good evil . . . where have we heard that before, I wonder?
Saw a quote from mid 20th author, iirc: "Being a humanitarian (humanist?) is hard work".
Rewarding evil/evil acts has consequences.
I am sincerely curious. What obnoxious certainty do Christians have that he objects to? The certainty that comes from the Holy Spirit knowing of one's relationship and forgiveness in Christ, and hence salvation? This obnoxious certainty?
Sadly, I am reminded of the parable of the sower.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
Oh for Pete’s sake. Who gives a crap what he thinks or does?
Re: “Ryan Bell is set to decide New Year’s Day whether he will remain a believer or become an atheist.”
People “decide” if they believe or don’t believe?
Not in my experience.
At its core, religious belief is an act of faith.
You either have faith, or you don’t.
This guy made his “decision” a year ago - he’s not going back to the Church.
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