Ryan Bell, an ex-pastor who quit his faith in God for a year following his resignation from the Hollywood Adventist Church and a divorce from his wife of 17 years, is set to decide New Year's Day whether he will remain a believer or become an atheist. While he has distanced himself from zealous atheists, Bell expressed a desire to be "good" without submitting to boundaries.
Nearing the end of his yearlong embrace of non-theism, Bell told the LA Times that leaving the faith has allowed him to see "both sides of the coin." The former Fuller Seminary and Azusa Pacific University teacher has consorted with several atheist groups as a public speaker, sharing his experiences of walking away from church life. "Being with atheists, they can have the same sort of obnoxious certainty that some Christians have," he said of his experiences. "I don't want to be part of that. It feels like I'm stuck in the middle. I want to be for something good, but I don't want boundaries, and religion just feels like a very bounded thing."
As he nears a self-imposed January 1 deadline to decide between atheism and faith, Bell told the LA Times, "The question I am asking right now [is] why do I need religion to love?" more >>
A couple of atheist authors have published a secular version of the 10 Commandments in a book they co-wrote, following a global contest that received 2,800 submissions from 18 different countries and offered a $10,000 reward.
"A lot of atheists' books are about whether to believe in God or not," said one of the authors, Lex Bayer, according to CNN. "We wanted to consider: OK, so you don't believe in God, what's next? And that's actually a much harder question."
The author wrote Atheist Heart, Humanist Mind along with John Figdor, a humanist chaplain at Stanford University. Bayer, who also works as an executive at AirBnB, said that the book helped him clarify and articulate his own beliefs. more >>
Atheist author and activist Sam Harris has taken aim at the head of the National Institutes of Health, arguing that he's an example of an intelligent person pushing religion.
In a recent podcast, Harris cited former director of the Human Genome Research Institute, Dr. Francis Collins, as "a bit of a Bible-thumper."
"He believes in evolution, thankfully, but he also believes that immortal souls and free will were just downloaded onto the hard drive of only one species of primate at some point in history by an almighty God," Harris commented. more >>
A Utica, N.Y. Fire Chief is refusing to take down a Christmas-themed sign displayed outside of a firehouse, despite growing complaints from atheists.
The sign, which reads "HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS WE LOVE YOU," is displayed outside Firehouse No. 4 in South Utica in the spirit of Christmas, however; atheists are demanding that it be removed, according to CBS.
Atheist professor and author Richard Dawkins has said that it's faith in God that makes organized groups capable of great acts of evil, such as the Pakistan school massacre earlier this week where the Taliban killed 132 children and nine staff members.
Dawkins posted a wide variety of tweets in response to the slaughter, blaming both Islam and also religion as a whole.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, one of the largest secular groups in America, announced it is erecting 11 different billboards across Chicago this week with various messages. Some of the ads ask people to "think for (themselves)," while others argue that kindness "comes from altruism" and not from "seeking divine reward."
"Research shows that atheists and other nonbelievers remain at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to social acceptance. One reason for that is that even though at least 20% of the population today is nonreligious in the United States, many Americans have never knowingly met an atheist," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. "We're trying to change that."
The ads feature several atheist writers, bloggers, speakers and activists from FFRF and its chapter, FFRF Metropolitan Chicago. more >>