Salon: “God is a delusion”: I was a Pentacostal preacher — until I lost my faith

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Charlie's picture

He was apparently so sold on Pentecostalism ... he never learned how to spell it.

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Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

jimcarwest's picture

If his idea of liberation is to go from God to Dawkins, the serpent has beguiled him as much as he did Eve.  If he knew biblical theology, he'd know just how depraved the human mind can be to embrace atheism with its empty promises over theism with its eternal hope.  Sounds to me like his crisis of faith stems from having been part of a false brand of Christianity that could not deliver on its promises, i.e. could not produce miracles to solve people problems.  Seems like he felt he should have been "god" for his friend when in reality he should have confessed how utterly helpless he was to know and understand the mind of God in such circumstances.  His role was not to feel guilty that he could not resolve her crisis but rather to encourage her to throw herself into the arms of a God who will always act wisely and compassionately towards all those who trust in Him.  If he knew the Bible, he should have resorted to the myriad of cases where God demostrated His faithfulness to those who depend on Him.  To have doubts is not to sin, but to embrace those doubts is to reveal the lack of a genuine relationship with God.  If he ever was a genuine believer, there is hope that after a while, when he has exhausted his fling into atheism, he will see how empty and meaningless, and unloving it really is.  Sin, even apostasy, can look so enticing, but the sting of the serpent's venom will lead to sorrow and greater disappointment than he ever thought possible.  Perhaps, even in that late moment, he may truly repent of the unbelief that captured his fancy and turn again to the merciful God whom he grew too calloused to sense. 

Easton's picture

To me they seem to be "doubting and hesitating, tossed about like the sea by the wind — being double-minded, they are unstable in all their ways."

Dan Barker, the ex-preacher DeWitt sought out for comfort, was also an ex-faith-healing, tongues-speaking, Pentecostal-type preacher who turned from religion and embraced the joys of atheism.  Barker, along with his wife, oversees the Freedom From Religion Foundation.  The Barker book DeWitt refers to, Losing Faith in Faith, was updated in 2008 as Godless.  It's actually an interesting book to read.

Both Barker and DeWitt believe they have stumbled onto some new concept that has never occurred to any man before - being disappointed with God, they embrace their confusion, anger and doubt, then turn their back on the One whom they don't understand.

These men, Barker and DeWitt, are no different than any of us.  Growing weary in well-doing is a condition that can happen to us all.

JobK's picture

Or Christians who became Muslims (especially if they are black).
Or Christians who became Jews.
Or Christians who became Buddhists or New Agers.
Or Christians who become Roman Catholics.

They never, ever talk about atheists, Muslims, Jews or other false religions who become Christians.

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura

Charlie's picture

Really, JobK? I saw plenty of media coverage of Antony Flew and Peter Hitchens. But news has to be newsworthy. In a country where the vast majority claim to be religious and a good number are associated with Christianity, deconversion is more newsworthy, especially when it's to atheism, which is still something of an exotic minority in the US.

My Blog:

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Matthew Eastland's picture

I see the points that others have raised from this article, but the thing that struck me most was the focus of the author.

All he really talked about was himself and how he felt. His sorrow, his struggles, his difficulties, his doubts, etc.
When his dear friend calls to get comfort for the situation for her brother, his thoughts are on how he can't give her what he knows she wants and how he feels so bad. Where is the real concern for her or her feelings? It's all about him.
It shouldn't be a shock at all to find a person with such a self-centered view to make such a leap. Even his statements on why he held on so long reveal that self-centeredness. He liked the feeling that he got from "ministering." He speaks of it like a junky with a drug, not like someone that really ministers to others because they care.

There are obviously more significant issues in this man's life than doubt if he goes from a position of doubting his faith to finding a rabid attacker of religion that wants to call it a blight on the world, like Dawkins does. You don't just go from the one position to the other without something significant happening.

Easton's picture

"He liked the feeling that he got from 'ministering.'"

I believe this guy, DeWitt, is a good example of how there are many ministers who are self-called, rather than God-called.