After Year Of Atheism, Former Pastor: ‘I Don’t Think God Exists’

Dec 28, 2014

Image credit: Natalie Gee

By NPR

At the start of 2014, former Seventh-Day Adventist pastor Ryan Bell made an unusual New Year’s resolution: to live for one year without God. This, reflecting his own loss of faith. He kept a blog documenting his journey and has a documentary crew following him.

After a year, Bell tells NPR’s Arun Rath, “I’ve looked at the majority of the arguments that I’ve been able to find for the existence of God and on the question of God’s existence or not, I have to say I don’t find there to be a convincing case in my view.

“I don’t think that God exists. I think that makes the most sense of the evidence that I have and my experience. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the most interesting thing about me.”

Today, Bell has a new job at PATH, an organization dedicated to helping the homeless.


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7 comments on “After Year Of Atheism, Former Pastor: ‘I Don’t Think God Exists’

  • I’m still the same person deep down that I was before. I care about justice and equality and I want to see opportunities spread more evenly in our society,” Bell says.

    This insight into where morality is rooted (in our very natures) is the key to releasing Americans from their illusion that religion is the key to a morally good society.



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  • no doubt plenty of believers will use this as proof he was lacking proper faith all along but I’d like this to become a thing.

    never mind proving your faith by waving a snake about in front of people how about proving yourself by taking the “atheist challenge”? just one year to prove how devout you really are?

    anyone..?



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  • I was expecting this to be a publicity stunt and a sham (born again Christian, atheism doesn’t work, or whatever). He seems sincere. Best of luck to him. I’m not keen on the public approach to this process though.

    Bell says he still feels like atheism is “an awkward fit,” and also feels uncomfortable around his former Christian friends who are adjusting to his new views.

    Yeah, that’ll probably take some time to adjust. After a while, if you don’t make a big deal out of it, then it becomes ‘no big deal’.

    One of his biggest lessons from the year is “that people very much value certainty and knowing and are uncomfortable saying that they don’t know.” Now he thinks certainty is a bit overrated.

    Amen, brother.

    Today, Bell has a new job at PATH, an organization dedicated to helping the homeless.

    Laudable goal.



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  • I was expecting this to be a publicity stunt and a sham (born again Christian, atheism doesn’t work, or whatever). He seems sincere. Best of luck to him. I’m not keen on the public approach to this process though.

    He seems to be following the same method that Christians have tried out on me in the past. “You need to just try belief out for a time, fake it till you make it”.

    The real difference was this time he read and studied the arguments on both sides and came up blank. So it strikes me he didn’t spend the year not believing he spent the year looking at the evidence (which he had apparently avoided doing as a Christian). So like you I applaud him but would have preferred it re-branded as “The year I lived Skeptically” or something similar.



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  • Very brave to do this in the public view imo . Not knowing where it would end. Gave us the chance to watch the process as it happened . Three cheers. Ps I was also a seventh day adventist also , now an atheist . My first step was the God delusion but it took me about a year and about 100 books to escape indoctrination. Well done Ryan Bell. Fwiw I agree the initial premise was a tad odd bit C’est la vie. This is doing the rounds in church circles now . I am in a facebook group for ex adventists. Tbh I think this is exciting news and a good outcome



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