Christian Comic Loses Faith

A couple years ago, The Coexist? Comedy Tour was making the rounds — a collection of comedians from many religious (and non-religious) backgrounds told stories and jokes about their faith.

John Ross was the “Christian” in the group.

The key words there is “was”… Ross is a Christians no more.

It’s a surprising admission from a man known as the Christian in the Coexist? Comedy Tour, a troupe of stand-up comedians who tell jokes about religion. Halfway through his two-year stint with Coexist, Ross began asking tour co-founder [and atheist] Keith Lowell Jensen, “So, hypothetically speaking, say your Christian wasn’t a Christian anymore?”

Although Ross is no longer with the tour, or with Christianity, he insists Coexist is not the reason he lost faith. “I had issues with my faith way before I even did comedy,” he said. “Even in the midst of being a Christian, I still struggled.”

What caused the change? In part, it was the fact that he felt like he could never ask challenging questions in church.

Coexist was a safe place to poke fun at my own religion,” he said. “There’s not really a place to do that in church. It’s always like you’re trying to destroy someone’s faith by asking a rational question. They think it’s loaded with an evil spirit.”

Ross still attends church with his family — probably out of habit if nothing else — but his faith is on the way out. It’s a far cry from the youth group leader who dons a Jesus tattoo on his neck.

He seems to be handling the change of faith well. It helps that he has a great support network around him.

(via Keith)

  • David D.G.

    He must be getting increasingly chagrinned about that Jesus tattoo, though. I hope he eventually can have a tattoo artist alter or cover it in some way that he finds aesthetically pleasing.

    I knew a young woman who had gotten her husband’s name tattooed on her lower back early in their relationship, then after her divorce had it skillfully covered with a very pretty scrollwork design. One need not remain branded forever.

    ~David D.G.

  • http://neosnowqueen.wordpress.com/ neosnowqueen

    This reminds me of a Criminal Minds episode I just watched, where Morgan, whose faith is shaken from childhood trauma, is questioning a priest and telling him that the unsub is a member of the church, but he comes just because everyone else comes, because it’s expected of him and not because he believes. Instead, he’s in a crisis of belief.

    The priest, who hears confession of course, says that describes almost his entire congregation.

    It makes you wonder when you’re a closet atheist just how many of the people sitting around you are like you – going through the motions, talking the talk as well as anyone, yet spiritually dead (and I mean that in the most self-loving way possible). You just fear that you’ll be thrown out or ostracized if you do anything to challenge the faith (especially if you’re employed by the church), when maybe it’s something that everyone’s going through. Times like that, you wish you were psychic.

  • Korinthian

    I believe that comedians are some of the most critical people there is, and they also have to be aware of their own flaws.

    It would be interesting to see the percentage of atheists among comedians.

  • Claudia

    A shining example of what opening a mind up to critical analysis of religion can do. There’s a reason the religious are trained to be so incredibly sensitive and easy to offend whenever criticism is leveled at their faith; if questioning and criticism is deemed to be valid and religious faith is given the same treatment as any other form of thought, it will wither away in the minds of many.

    The taboo against criticism that accompanies pretty much every religion is no more than a culturally evolved survival mechanism that ensures it’s survival.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    I wager that it was much more than just not being able to ask questions. We all make up stories to get approval from those to whom we tell our stories, and we keep changing them until we get enough approving nods.

    Decisions are complex. It took time for his beliefs to adjust to his desires — and his desire was to get out. Curious how his family does.

  • cyn

    As a child, I was taught to never question god. It’s a sin. What better way to keep one under the christian thumb.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    He must be getting increasingly chagrinned about that Jesus tattoo

    Well, he could get a eye-patch and pirate hat tattooed on it and become a Pastafarian.

  • mikespeir

    Then he never was a Christian…or he still is…or something….

  • flatlander100

    cyn:

    If your experience was like mine, “never question god” really meant “never question the priest [minister, etc.] who tells you what he says god means and wants.”

    Not quite the same thing, I began to figure out after a while. And when I started to notice that there were dozens of people claiming they knew, they absolutely knew, what god said and wanted, but that each of them insisted that was something different than what the others were saying, with equal certainty, it all began to unravel pretty fast.

  • polomint38

    @David D.G.

    She could
    1) Only date guys with the same name as ex. (the difficulty of this depends on how common his name is!)

    2) Try to find a way, before she gets naked in front of new man, to make Ex’s name her personal nickname for new boyfriend.

    with the second point, don’t tattoo lovers/spouse actual name on body, use one of those nasty pet names and call all subsequent partners by same pet name.

    Sorry bit of topic there.

  • http://jessicasideways.com Jessica Sideways

    That is why I would never get a tattoo personally. If you get a tattoo of something you later found distasteful, you would have to spend a whole lot of money to have the sucker removed. And a Jesus tattoo is about as distasteful as they come.

  • http://frethink.com Jack Carlson

    @Claudia, well said. Skepticism is anathema to blind belief.

  • http://sloohmembers.com depopulate

    There are a lot of street guys that look like Jesus. Find a righteous one and tell everyone it’s a tattoo of him!

  • Jerry Wesner

    There is nothing more dangerous to religious faith than inquiry. You start thinking, asking questions, noticing inconsistencies, and soon — or, in my case, late — the entire house of cards comes crashing down. And once you’ve noticed the little man with a microphone in the corner, you can never again pretend that loud voice is a guy in the sky who can practice real magic.


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