Atheist Church Trying To Win Over Bible Belt

Photo: Jeffrey M Dean (CC)

Photo: Jeffrey M Dean (CC)

Jerry DeWitt, the former pastor turned atheist preacher, is trying to spread the word on atheism in the evangelical South. Good luck Jerry! From Daily Beast:

Last Sunday, several hundred atheists gathered in a Hollywood auditorium for the inaugural meeting of the Los Angeles Sunday Assembly, the latest blossoming of the atheist “church” movement slowly spreading across the country. Thanks to a fundraising tour by the British comedy duo who launched Sunday Assembly in the U.K., America is suddenly hearing about new “atheist megachurches” that have cropped up in several major cities.

But far away from the hype cycle of social media and the cultural freedom of metropolitan America, a former Louisiana pastor is struggling with a similar project deep in the small towns of the evangelical South. On June 23, Jerry DeWitt led the first service of the Community Mission Chapel in Lake Charles, Louisiana—a product of his own painful journey from beloved local pastor to abandoned outcast. His decision to stay in a hostile rural environment sets him apart from most other clergy members who embrace atheism—and from the burgeoning atheist church movement.

“Everyone else who did what I did left where they lived,” DeWitt said, referring to other Christian pastors he’s met who took public positions of atheism. “Someone had to stop that. Someone had to be the first not to move, so that the next person doesn’t have to move.”

DeWitt served as a pastor for two churches in DeRidder, Louisiana, but could not overcome the inescapable questions of doubt that haunted him after realizing there was no theological explanation or justification for the suffering of innocent people, the triumph of science over superstition, and the divisiveness of dogmatic doctrine. Reading the popular books of atheistic argumentation by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins was like throwing gas on the fire of his internal transformation…

[continues at Daily Beast]

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  • HCE

    Beware of dogma? Does that include Atheist dogma?
    I’d prefer freedom from belief, not just freedom from religion.

    • JDale

      Care to inform us all exactly what atheist dogma is?

  • Haystack

    Based upon your interest in “atheist church,” may we also recommend:

    Non-sweet sugar,
    Furless cats,
    Defective condoms,
    Diet Coke that gives you hangovers,
    and vegetables that make you fat.

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