It was two years ago when Ryan Bell, a professor and former pastor of a Seventh-day Adventist church, announced that he would “try on” atheism and “live as if there is no God” for 12 months. Last year, he announced that he was an atheist.
How’s he doing now? Here’s a glimpse of how things have changed for him:
I don’t have secrets anymore, which is a huge mental and moral relief. I also wrestle with less cognitive dissonance than ever. All of this means I’m more at peace and more comfortable in my own skin. I give far fewer fucks about what people think of me and my decisions. My ire is raised, from time to time, by unfair attacks, and I will probably always struggle with my tendency to be a people pleaser, but I am in recovery. I’m learning to tell the truth on a more regular basis and trust that people can handle the truth (whether they actually can or not). I’m learning to trust myself and what I know while remaining open to critique and able to say I was wrong.
That’s the sort of reaction I’ve heard from a lot of atheists who wrestled with their faith in the past. Once they realize it’s okay to stop believing in a lie, they feel more relaxed, more honest, less conflicted about everything.
Bell is now working on a project to help others in his situation and you can learn more about his work — and support him on that journey — right here.