A reader shares this story of a former friend and pastor:
When I was a young teenager I followed a boy I had a crush on to his church youth group. I went for less than a school year. At first it was all about impressing the boy, then when I learned what they truly believed it was all about trying to understand that.
The church had a youth pastor who was a very charismatic, intelligent, and passionate young man in his 20s. We had many discussions. He, very sincerely, tried to convince me there was a god. If I had been more emotionally insecure or intellectually deficient he might have convinced me.
After many months of wrestling with my own understanding of reality and trying to fit in I eventually gave up and stopped going. I also stopped going because, when I realized the boy wouldn’t accept me if I didn’t accept his superstitions, I lost all respect for him.
Since I began my adult exploration of religion I’ve thought about the pastor a lot. I know that he left that particular church shortly after I stopped going so I wondered what happened to him. Well, I found him on Facebook and we exchanged messages for about a week. It turns out that he left the church a few years ago and is now agnostic leaning towards atheist. I was astonished!! And, I admit, more than a little gratified.
He was an evangelical Christian pastor whose life was working for the church and he has completely left that life behind. I know it must have been difficult for him, but he did it and it sounds like he’s very secure in his beliefs now.
That has to be one of the most difficult life transformations to make… I’m still amazed when I hear stories like Dan Barker‘s.
There ought to be a medal for any pastor who leaves the faith because he “sees the light” and realizes no god exists.
I wonder where you even begin a transition like that.
Who do you tell first?