Just a heads up: I plan to close the fundraiser for Pastor Ryan Bell Friday night. You’ve already raised $27,000, which is just incredible. I’ll mail him the check next week. Bell has assured me he’ll be transparent with how he uses it and he’s deeply appreciative of the support he’s received from our community.
In the meantime, CNN’s Daniel Burke asked several prominent atheists what they thought of Bell’s experiment to explore atheism for a year… and got a wide variety of responses about whether or not that was even possible:
Catherine Dunphy, executive director of The Clergy Project: Bell should be applauded for his attempt to ask the hard questions. Whether he’ll be a theist or atheist on the other side of this journey, I don’t know. But it is a good thing that he is wondering.
Dale McGowan, author of “Parenting Beyond Belief”: Trying atheism is not only possible, it’s a very common step out of religious belief. The comedian and author Julia Sweeney called it “putting on the No-God glasses” to see what the world looks like when you stop assuming a god is running things.
Lauren Anderson Youngblood, spokesperson, Secular Coalition for America: I’m not exactly sure how you would “try” it, because atheism is not a religion with rituals and obligations (attending church, fasting, not eating pork, etc).
Either you believe or don’t believe. If you’re on the fence, I would say you’re an agnostic, not “trying” atheism.
You can check out the other responses here.