A year after losing faith, atheist pastor finds a new calling


This Easter, Teresa MacBain will mark an anniversary that’s uncommon for an ordained  minister — her first year as an atheist.

Last March, MacBain, now 45, stood at a podium before hundreds of people in a Maryland hotel ballroom at the national convention of American Atheists and told them that, after a lifetime as a Christian and 15 years as a pulpit pastor, she had lost her faith.

Her coming out was national news, and she expected it would cost her her position as pastor of a United Methodist church, and she expected she might lose some friends and family members. In the last year, she has lost all those things.

But there have been gains, too, including a new career, the embrace of a new community that she had been taught to distrust and a newfound sense of confidence.

Written By: Kimberly Winston
continue to source article at religionnews.com


  1. “Leaving religion does not mean she has left morality, she said. She still adheres to the Ten Commandments,”

    How can she still keep 1 to 4?

  2. Not sure how she ‘adheres to ALL the Ten Commandments’ though. Nevertheless she did the right thing and I suspect there are many more like her who cannot declare their true colours because of financial constraints and because they fear the very real threat of being rejected and ostracised by colleagues, friends and even family. What an awful dilemma, having to live a lie and spread the word for a morally corrupt primitive belief system. Mind you if she was a muslim she would have been murdered by a lynch mob by now. And there you have it. I reckon that a very large portion of muslims only act out what is necessary to stay alive. Step out of the islamic line and you will be horribly murdered because some islamic fundamentalist will call upon his band of cowering supplicants to do gods will. That’s how religion traps whole populations, by coercion.

  3. Morality and the ten commandments are not equivalent. The ten commandments is a list of things for which you may kill someone for breaking any of them and she still observes them?

    She’s confused.

  4. She has a way to go yet… ‘the Force is strong in this one, Luke’

    SO Christian that her ‘friends’ chose to dump her in favour of love for Jeebus. Assholes, every one.

  5. “While she no longer believes in the divinity of Jesus, she has not lost faith in what she calls “the philosophy of Christ.” Leaving religion does not mean she has left morality, she said. She still adheres to the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule and other moral teachings common to many world religions.”

    This is a problem that I’ve been mentioning since I became an atheist – rebuilding a sense of purpose in this world. Yes, some of us can live on facts and reason alone, but there are some of us who look towards an existential meaning or even a certain level of emotional depth and gratitude felt while experiencing this life. I do not fault her for holding onto Christian philosophy; she has not been exposed to other options that would help her rebuild “meaning” and a new philosophy. It has taken me about five years to do so — and I came from a liberal church which encouraged people to find their own “spiritual” path. I was lucky that many secular ideas were mixed in; I just needed to slowly drop the idea of a ghost in the machine from the philosophy.

    Many religions actually do offer good, sound reasoning to live a good life. People have cherry picked and adapted these view for centuries.The challenge is to know a good cherry from a bad one. Many of the views taught at my former church were psychologically sound and have improved my view of this world and interaction with others. I’ll keep those cherries; I needed to sort through lots of BS to find them. Yet, I did need to come to some sort of conclusion when one did not hold up to the light of truth. In the ten commandments, the first commandment “I am thy lord, thy God, thy shalt not have any God before me.” clearly is BS. Since all the commandments are dependent upon this first leading commandment, not following it causes all ten to collapse. You could also cherry pick and say it is wise to not kill, but that idea doesn’t really need to be held under the label of being one of the commandments; it’s common sense. Since killing for food may also be necessary, it cannot be held up as an ultimate “TRUTH.” My church did away with the ten commandments. They were taken metaphysically or boiled down to the word – RESPECT.

    Good luck Teresa, just keep looking on the brighter side of life.

  6. former church fired her and locked her out of the building

    More like the church (inadvertently) set her free and out into the sunshine!

    Keep the others locked in where they can worry themselves into an implosion.

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