How Ryan Bell is Bringing on the End Times

Now that Ryan Bell has completely his year-long exploration of atheism and decided that he no longer believes in God (he was a Seventh-Day Adventist minister prior to that), the thoroughly ridiculous editor of Charisma magazine, Jennifer LeClaire explains why this is a harbinger of the end times:

Pastor Ryan Bell made a strange New Year’s resolution in 2014—he aimed to live a godless year.

Bell, no relation to universalist Rob Bell, kept a blog to chronicle his yearlong journey without God and even had a documentary crew on hand to film what turned out to be his transformation from a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor to a full-blown atheist.

“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,” Bell told NPR’s Arun Rath.

“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.”

What? How do you move from accepting a call of God into full-time ministry only to turn your back on him and decide to exchange a close relationship with God to a “closer relationship with reality”?…

There’s a long list of Christians who turned to atheism on WikiPedia. And the Clergy Project, a secret initiative that’s willing to foot the bill to get you out of your pulpit and into a new career, claims to offer a “safe haven for active and former professional clergy/religious leaders who do not hold supernatural beliefs.”

What is going on? Is the church doing something wrong? Or is the culture wooing once-saved Christians to the godless side? Or both?…

What, then, is the root of Christians turning their back on God? I believe it’s a sign of the times and may be part of the Great Falling Away. About two years ago, I asked the question: “Is the Great Falling Away Already Underway?”. Jesus said that in the last days, the love of many would grow cold because iniquity will abound (see Matt. 24:12). When a God-fearing pastor becomes a godless champion for faithlessness, love has grown cold.

But shouldn’t that be a good thing? Shouldn’t she be cheering on Ryan Bell, since his leaving Christianity is helping bring on the return of Jesus to crush his enemies?

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  • http://Reallyawakeguy.blogspot.com somnus

    The one question the writers of these kinds of articles never seem to ask when commenting on why a Christian turns to atheism is the most relevant one: what if it’s because there’s no God?

  • Mr Ed

    A thousand years of darkness and tribulation but no fundies yammering all the time I call it a wash. Bring on the end of times.

  • Larry

    My question is is there anything, in the view of these loons, that doesn’t bring on the end times?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Once again, a search to find something that isn’t a sign of the end times fails.

  • raven

    What, then, is the root of Christians turning their back on God?

    1. For one thing, there is AFAWCT, no gods.

    However, that hasn’t stopped too many people yet.

    2. Around 2 million people leave US xianity a year. A lot of it has to do with fundie xians like Charisma magazine and Jennifer Leclaire. When xian became synonymous with hater, liar, kook, idiot, Tea Partier, and sometimes killer, a lot of people didn’t want to be one any more.

  • peterh

    Various religious agendas have been preaching “the end is nigh” since the dawn of human memory.

  • Holms

    OP

    Now that Ryan Bell has completely his year-long exploration of atheism…

    Should that read ‘Now that Ryan Bell has completed etc…’?

  • whheydt

    It’s kind of like the old fiction/gaming definition…An “adventure” is somebody else in a hell of a fix.

    Likewise, while these yahoos *talk* about being eager for the “end times”, they don’t want to experience the “end times” personally.

  • tfkreference

    raven:

    When xian became synonymous with hater, liar, kook, idiot, Tea Partier, and sometimes killer,

    For some, that was a selling point. (I wish I was being sardonic.)

  • brewlord

    The Clergy Project is secret?I guess they forgot that since she knows about it.

  • Michael Heath

    Jennifer LeClaire writes:

    How do you move from accepting a call of God into full-time ministry only to turn your back on him and decide to exchange a close relationship with God to a “closer relationship with reality”?…

    […]

    What, then, is the root of Christians turning their back on God?

    [Heath bolded all these lies.]

    Coherency and honesty remain attributes conservative Christians “turn their back on”.

    Also, these false bald assertions, relentlessly expressed as fact, is an example of how conservative Christians abuse child congregants and lie to everyone – including themselves.

  • Al Dente

    The Clergy Project is so secret they even have a website: http://clergyproject.org/

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Various religious agendas have been preaching “the end is nigh” since the dawn of human memory.

    Sure, it’s always been a good strategy. If you can get people to devalue their lives in the here and now, it’s easier to steal their shit.

  • Kevin Kehres

    When I was 13, I wanted to be an astronaut. But when I decided to go into journalism, no one criticized me for turning my back on space exploration.

    People change. They grow the fuck up. Sometimes, it takes a while.

  • hunter

    Everything is a harbinger of the End Times.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    to a full-blown atheist.

    Oh no! That’s the worst kind of Atheist!

     

    There’s a long list of Christians who turned to atheism on WikiPedia.

    This is why they started Conservapedia. Wikipedia’s too dangerous. People are turning to atheism on it!

     

    peterh “Various religious agendas have been preaching ‘the end is nigh’ since the dawn of human memory.”

    To be fair, they only have to be right once.

  • Scientismist

    From the NPR (“All Things Considered”) article:

    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.

    “I think before, I wanted a closer relationship to God, and today I just want a closer relationship with reality,” Bell says.

    From the CharismaNews article by Jennifer LeClaire:

    What? How do you move from accepting a call of God into full-time ministry only to turn your back on him and decide to exchange a close relationship with God to a “closer relationship with reality”?

    My question: How do you not? If you are at all able to think, if you have an ounce of human concern for the future of civilization, how do you not seek a closer relationship with realty? The answer seems to be, “Become a Christian, say ‘to Hell with reality’, and Just stop thinking.” Amazing.

  • dingojack

    Kevin Kehres – how dare you turn your back on being an astronaut?!? Especially for Journalism — that’s almost as bad as being an atheist (or a Samaritan)!

    😉 Dingo

  • thebookofdave

    The Clergy Project is secret?

    Everyone knows the Clergy Project exists, brewlord. But most are unaware of the vast Underground Railroad of transportation, safe-houses, and financial assistance, kind of like the witness protection program for those running away from God’s oh shit I said too much already.

  • Anri

    From the OP:

    Shouldn’t she be cheering on Ryan Bell, since his leaving Christianity is helping bring on the return of Jesus to crush his enemies?

    Everyone knows that the apocalypse is the most triumphant and wonderful thing that will ever happen, which is why we have to be worried it might be starting, because it will be the most fearsome and terrible thing that will ever happen.

    It’s exactly the same reason why death must be welcomed with open arms as the ultimate reward and avoided with all of your might.

    Every truly faithful person knows that.

  • cottonnero

    Anri #20: Sounds like Butch Hancock. “Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love.”

  • lofgren

    What? How do you move from accepting a call of God into full-time ministry only to turn your back on him and decide to exchange a close relationship with God to a “closer relationship with reality”?

    I mean the guy kept a blog about it. If she was really so curious, she could just go read all about it.

  • otrame

    AFAIK the Clergy Project doesn’t “foot the bill to get you out of your pulpit and into a new career,” though I am sure they would if they had any, you know, funds. It is mostly a support group for newly atheist pastors and priests. The only secret thing about it is who is on its membership list.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    otrame, when I was in a motorcycle gang we were the Atheist Pastors. We were pretty bad-ass. We didn’t believe in nothin’, man.

  • Synfandel

    Al Dente wrote:

    The Clergy Project is so secret they even have a website: http://clergyproject.org/

    Shhh! It’s a secret Web site.

  • whheydt

    Re: cottonnero @ #21…

    Sounds more like Abilene (just down the road from Lubbock) where all the Bible Colleges are.

  • Akira MacKenzie

    I have to admit, I thou Bell’s “quest” was a cheap Christian PR stunt where he’d play the stereotypical, strawmen atheist after which he’d proclaim how wonderful religion is and “come back to God.” (Bestselling book to follow.) I pleased to see that he had serious doubts after all and had the integrity to follow through on them.

  • anubisprime

    From the CharismaNews article by Jennifer LeClaire:

    “What? How do you move from accepting a call of God into full-time ministry only to turn your back on him and decide to exchange a close relationship with God to a “closer relationship with reality”?

    Shorter version…but! but! but! …Jeebus!

    That is certainly the one question that the deluded do not want answered, because it scares the holy crap out of them.

    Better to pretend that Bell was no true christian in the first place or a secularist / atheist conspiracy to make the ‘bhabi jeebus howl…

    A “closer relationship with reality”…do these knuckleheads ever read and try to understand what they write?

    Or was this a fundy version of a Freudian slip… that reality has no place in the blind and sycophantic hero worship of a figment, therefore is worthless to the delusion.

    Desperation will shake loose the deeper held ‘opinions’ on racism, sexism, misogyny, homosexuality and every now and then a gem of unbelievable purity will plop out…equating reality with a fictitious sky fairy has got to be up there with the most banal and fatuous statement to date.

    Especially when reality actually won out…in the real world!

  • Ethan Myerson

    to a full-blown atheist.

    Oh no! That’s the worst kind of Atheist!

    To be fair, there’s not much worse than being half-blown.

  • mistertwo

    @anubisprime #28, she put “closer relationship with reality” in scare-quotes, and “close relationship with God” was written as if it were a real thing. Irony, for sure, but the punctuation makes her line of thinking very clear.

    Developing a relationship with reality was really difficult for those of us who spent our lives hearing that if you doubted, it was the devil putting thoughts in your head. We were taught — indoctrinated — to believe that we had no ability to distinguish what was real based on our own observations, because there was a lot of stuff going on that we couldn’t see. “It is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps.” “God’s ways are higher than man’s ways.” Hearing this stuff from childhood really makes you believe that you can’t trust your own experience.

    And in some ways that’s true! Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable because memory and imagination are essentially the same thing. That’s why you have to have multiple witnesses. Knowing this to be the case bolsters the belief, from inside religion, that we have to rely on the Bible to tell us what’s real and what isn’t.

    The scientific method, of course, is a way of ensuring that we aren’t fooling ourselves, that what seems to be true really is. But growing up in religion we were taught that methods of determining the truth fail when they don’t consider non-physical “stuff.”

    What they don’t do is tell us why angels and demons are real but Shiva and Vishnu and Gaya and Zeus are ridiculous myths.

    Read without the quotes, though, that sentence is a wonderful thing. He did indeed opt for a closer relationship with reality.

  • dingojack

    “Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise

    To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;

    One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;

    The Flower that once has blown forever dies.” – The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam. As translated by Fitzgerald.

    😉 Dingo