Remember the Pastor Trying Out Atheism for a Year? He Just Got Fired by His Christian Employers

By Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist

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.

In addition to his teaching jobs, he also lost his job consulting with a local Seventh-day Adventist Church on a non-profit start-up. All he did was voice the idea of giving atheism a try — even if only superficially — and it was enough for his Christian employers to cut all ties with him.

It’s like when Jesus said, “Follow me. And if you ask any questions, I’ll cut you.”

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