The Pastor Trying Out Atheism for a Year is Coming to the End of His Journey

It was almost a year ago when Ryan Bell decided to “try out” atheism. I didn’t agree with his methodology at the time, but when he got fired by his Christian employers for merely questioning his faith, you all came through and helped raise more than $27,000 for his family.

Yesterday, the LA Times ran a front page story about Bell as he comes to the end of his year-long journey:

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Today, I’m Saying Goodbye to My Old Self

This is a guest post.

Many of you know me as Dave Muscato, the Public Relations Director for American Atheists.

I’m fortunate to work in a movement where we embrace the idea of coming out, regardless of your label. I’m very public about my atheism — I consider myself a firebrand atheist — but there’s another aspect of my life that I have chosen not to be open about yet. Beginning in September of last year, I began to open up to a few trusted friends, and since then I’ve let in a number of colleagues and activists, including my co-workers and Hemant. Now that the proper preparations have been made, I’m ready to take the advice I often give others when it comes to atheism and stop keeping this aspect of my life to a small group of people.

I’m coming out publicly today as a transgender woman.

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Contest Will Reward Atheists Who Remove Their Mask

Openly Secular, the campaign to get atheists to come out of the closet, is running a contest that’s pretty simple to enter:

All you have to do is make a video explaining who you are, why you’re open about your non-theism, and how it’s affected your life — and you could be in the running to win $1,000!

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My Mormon Mission Made Me an Atheist

“Hello! My name is Elder Hawkins, and this is my companion, Elder Thompson. We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we would love to share the true words of Christ with you today. May we share our message of Christ’s atonement with you?”

I can’t count how many times I uttered that phrase. Over and over again. Of course, as a Mormon missionary in the Philippines, I was required to speak the language of the people, so it sounded something closer to:

Kumusta! Ako si Elder Hawkins, at ito si Elder Thompson, ang aking kasama. Mga misyonero kami sa Simbahan ni Jesucristo ng mga Banal sa mga Huling Araw. Gusto naming magbahagi ng totoong salita ni Cristo sa inyo ngayon araw. Puwede ba kaming magbahagi ng mensahe namin sa pagbabayad-sala ni Cristo sa inyo?

It’s quite the mouthful, isn’t it? Good thing I learned how to speak the language on the fly during my stay. Gift of tongues.

As an active member and missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I first spent nine weeks at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Although I was raised Mormon, most of my friends and family aren’t, which means that they are merely being deceived by the wiles of Satan, who is always getting good, god-fearing, non-Mormon Christians to follow him to hell.

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9 Benefits of Leaving Your Religion

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses 9 benefits of leaving your religion. The video was inspired by Neil Carter‘s post here.

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