http://www.salon.com/2013/06/29/god_is_a_delusion_i_was_a_pentacost...

i know he doesn't participate much (ever?) here, but he's a member and this is a powerful piece.  proud of you, Jerry.  

on a side note, i met a girl last night who said she was "spiritual but not religious".  after additional pressing, it turns out that she isn't spiritual at all.  she had no reason to believe in any kind of deity, but just really didn't want to consider herself an atheist.  the stigma lives on, and can even cause someone to not admit their true beliefs unless they know that their audience shares their non-belief.  

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Reason and science have done more to ease human suffering in the last two hundred years than all the sermons put together have done in the last two thousand.
-- Former pastor Jerry Dewitt

That line by itself is worth the whole article ... though the whole article itself is a wonderful piece of work, as Jerry describes his rites of passage from irrational belief to atheism.

Thanks for posting this!

I first said that line at the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association's banquet. I'm glad you like it!
Thanks for the Shout-out! I truly appreciate it!!!

, i met a girl last night who said she was "spiritual but not religious".  after additional pressing, it turns out that she isn't spiritual at all.  she had no reason to believe in any kind of deity, but just really didn't want to consider herself an atheist.

"spirituality" means different things to different people, and doesn't necessarily include a deity.  I think of it as being in states of consciousness from early life, while not drowning in those states - and including a larger perspective on life. 

People don't have to call themselves atheists to be nontheist.  The "atheist" term is identified in people's minds with things beyond just not believing in a deity. 

If you talk to people who say they're "spiritual but not religious" and try to find out what they mean by it, it may turn out they don't have magical beliefs.  The magical beliefs seem like dross to me. 

Richard Dawkins says he has spirituality - of a kind I don't really relate to. 

good point.  though i think that all people who claim to be spiritual are really atheist, agnostic at best.  nontheist works for me if that's what you want to call it.  

"spirituality" is disapproved of by a lot of atheists, which is too bad since it keeps a lot of those really-atheist "spiritual" people away. 

Maybe it's time to reclaim spirituality from crystals, New-Agey stuff, cults and belief-without-evidence. 

We've all had our various journeys in life. Some geographically, some emotionally, and some intellectually. My hat is off to you, Mr. Dewitt. You have made all three, and after reading your article, I believe I can say without fear of contradiction, the world we all live in is a better place as a result. If only more people would have the insight and courage to look beyond the mundane, like you, the world would be a far better place.

>> i know he doesn't participate much (ever?) here, but he's a member and

>> this is a powerful piece.  proud of you, Jerry.  

While it's a good thing he finally stopped brain washing people with fundamentalist religiosity,  he did lots of damage. I have little tolerance for such folks, and certainly could never say I was "proud" of him. Ashamed that an intelligent human could have subverted others perhaps, but proud? Nope!!

 

i don't know, Bob.  everyone's story is different, and growing up in a fundy household is a very different experience, i would imagine.  it obviously took a great deal of consideration for him to make such a profound change.  maybe it was easy for you as it was for me, but i don't presume my situation is the norm, and neither should you. 

I understand what you are saying. But here we have another illustration of giving religion special consideration. He made a conscious choice to pursue being a preacher. What if he had made a conscious choice to become a bank robber, or a hit-man, because he grew up in a criminal family? Would your understanding and forgiveness still apply? 

i think you're making a false equivalency.  and i think you're underestimating the power of indoctrination. 

I don't think I am underestimating the power of indoctrination, I simply refuse to give a pass based simply upon it.

Another example: A child is "indoctrinated" into child abuse by living in a home where he/she was abused. As an adult, as a result of childhood indoctrination, the child becomes an abuser. We don't treat that person any differently simply because they were indoctrinated as a child. Why the difference when the abuse is religious based?

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