Remember the Pastor Trying Out Atheism for a Year? He Just Got Fired by His Christian Employers. Let’s Help Him Out

Last week, I posted about Ryan J. Bell, an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary and a former pastor of a Seventh-day Adventist church. Bell decided to run an experiment where he would live like an atheist for a year while documenting his journey:

I criticized the methodology — I don’t think you can even pretend to be an atheist simply by reading books by atheist authors and attending atheist gatherings when your religious beliefs are still somewhere in the back of your mind — but I still applauded the fact that he was exploring atheism and wanted to learn more about it.

Unfortunately, exploring faith with a critical eye, as Bell was attempting to do, was a little too much for his employers. Just days after he made his announcement, they fired him until he rededicates himself to Jesus:

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At Yesterday’s Interfaith Prayer Service for Boston’s Mayor-Elect, a Humanist Delivered the Final Remarks

Later today, Marty Walsh (below) will be inaugurated as the new mayor of Boston and he was also the guest of honor for an interfaith prayer service yesterday hosted by Rev. Jeffrey Brown:

“I think what you’ll see in the celebration tomorrow will be the width and depth of support within the city for the new mayor,” Brown said. “It’s not just the communities of color — it’s also part of that — but it is the big tent of supporters. People may have different ideas for the city but coming together we can find ways we can be one in the city.”

We’ve seen these sorts of events before, with atheists pushed to the background as people of faith come together and offer words of encouragement to the new leaders. Even in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings this year, atheists were excluded from the city’s major interfaith service.

But this ceremony was different.

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Atheist Candidate for Texas State Representative Offers Video Rebuttal to ‘Year of the Bible’ Mayor

A few days ago, I posted about how Tom Hayden (below), Mayor of Flower Mound, Texas, had declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.”

not only did the City Council have no problem with this, there’s a website run by a local church alongside the city that promotes the idea that the Bible is the true Word of God. A page of quotations from notable Americans on the site is filled with the lies of pseudo-historian David Barton, too.

A couple of updates on the situation:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Hayden debunking the quotations and telling them what they could do to avoid a lawsuit:

Instead of issuing a proclamation celebrating a specific religion text, you and the Town Council should instead issue a proclamation celebrating our freedom of conscience, or that our nation invented the separation of state and church. At the very least, the Town of Flower Mound must take action to disassociate itself from the website that was promoted during the proclamation and send a clear message to all Town of Flower Mound residents that the government does not favor Christianity over other religions or religion over nonreligion.

In addition, Daniel Moran, an atheist activist running for Texas State Representative (who grew up in Flower Mound), made a video rebuttal to Hayden’s proclamation:

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There’s No Atheist Church ‘Schism’ No Matter What CNN Publishes

A report on CNN’s website by Katie Engelhart claims that there’s a schism in the “atheist church” (*cue dramatic music*) that could even lead to the collapse of the movement:

So popular was the premise, so bright the promise, that soon the Sunday Assembly was ready to franchise, branching out into cities such as New York, Dublin and Melbourne.

“It’s a way to scale goodness,” declared Sanderson Jones, a standup comic and co-founder of The Sunday Assembly, which calls itself a “godless congregation.”

But nearly as quickly as the Assembly spread, it split, with New York City emerging as organized atheism’s Avignon.

In October, three former members of Sunday Assembly NYC announced the formation of a breakaway group called Godless Revival.

The squabbles led to a tiff and finally a schism between two factions within Sunday Assembly NYC. Jones reportedly told Moore that his faction was no longer welcome in the Sunday Assembly movement.

Moore promises that his group, Godless Revival, will be more firmly atheistic than the Sunday Assembly, which he now dismisses as “a humanistic cult.”

This is a complete non-story, a media invention, just a personality conflict involving two conflicting views of what atheists may want out of a community.

Here’s the Venn diagram of people who may be interested in either one of these groups:

There aren’t a lot of people who would have to make a huge decision here.

Now, let’s take a broader view:

The number of atheists affected by this “schism” is roughly somewhere in the low double-digits.

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Creation Museum’s ‘Ark Park’ in Danger of Collapse After Risky Bonds Go Unsold

Ark Encounter, the Creationist theme park that was supposed to break ground in 2011, has hit yet another snafu:

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