I've recently read how former pastor, Ryan J. Bell, has decided to "Live for a Year Without God." This brought back memories from my former Church's 2006 (maybe 2007) Christmas Volunteer Luncheon when my minister made a comment that correctly led me to believe that the church was having financial problems. I realized I needed to wean myself from the church in order to leave and decided that I would start skipping services during the upcoming year. Realizing that my life was not progressing as much as I wanted, I started to look towards other alternatives that could guide me out of the maze of questions about certain views that were being taugh. Turning to atheists seemed like a good approach - afterall, I was an atheist at 18 and I recall how my life was propelled forward. (I deconverted from two religions with two different views of God.) It seems as if the former pastor is considering a similar path. My guess is that there are plenty of individuals that have decided to do the same during this new year.
To make my long story short, the church eventually split and collapsed into two churches. Eventually, I started to attend the new church about a year later, but the seeds of agnosticism were already growing. By Christmas 2009, I realized that I was an atheist and decided even though I liked the church and the people, it was time to move on. The years from Christmas 2006 to 2009 were difficult, but I came out the other end with a better sense of truth and clearer sense of myself in the world as it is.
>“I will read atheist ‘sacred texts’ — from Hobbes and Spinoza to Russell and Nietzsche to the trinity of New Atheists, Hitchens, Dawkins and Dennett. I will explore the various ways of being atheist, from naturalism (Voltaire, Dewey, et al) to the new ‘religious atheists’ (Alain de Botton and Ronald Dworkin).”
Adopting "atheism" for a year may or may not be realistic depending on your current views. Frequently, deconversion takes time since many years of indoctrination builds up many layers of misperception. I am writing this discussion as an attempt to reach out to anyone who is currently searching for answers or a sense of direction. Perhaps you have read some of the atheist 'sacred texts' above and have a few questions. Perhaps you have other concerns that may seem naive and always wanted to ask someone - anonymously. Here I am. I promise to treat you respectfully if you do the same. Hopefully others will respond respectfully. I ask that if you are an atheist, please curtail any impulse to respond for the sake of posting. If no theists respond, that's OK, this discussion will simply remain empty.