William Lobdell‘s time working as a religion reporter for the LA Times helped him become an atheist.
It looks like he has a counterpart in the UK.
Stephen Bates is a former religion reporter for The Guardian. His time reporting on religion led him to agnosticism.
The thing that astounded me was the vituperation directed not at other faiths (a degree of Islamophobia came later) but at those who happened to disagree within the same faith communities.
You get evangelical publications denouncing “liberals” within the Church of England and claiming they are not really Christian, there are reactionary Catholic publications sneering similarly at modernists and attacking those who do not wish for a return of the Latin mass as somehow lesser beings…
What rankled most was the hypocrisy, the fact that the Bible’s scattered and random words on homosexuality were uncontestable for all time and yet, somehow, divorce — which Jesus himself appears from the Gospels to have condemned — was somehow only a minor and changeable transgression…
I gave up covering religion for the paper after seven years, partly because I felt I could no longer report dispassionately on such events, or even give a fair shake to those whose views seemed to me to be both deluded and malign.
The last paragraphs are must-reads.
Atheism may be realistic, but without some humanism in there to provide compassion and support, it’s hard to get people to consider godlessness as a viable option for them.
(Thanks to Emma for the link!)