For the Pastor Giving Atheism a Try...

$27,324 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 1,228 people in 59 months
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You may have heard the story of Ryan J. Bell, a former pastor who decided to spend a year living without God -- in effect, giving atheism a try.

Within a week of going public with his experiment, he was fired from the two Christian schools at which he was an adjunct professor and the church at which he served as a consultant.

He wrote on his site:

"So I find myself, on Day 4, without any employment. My savings will run out in about two weeks and I'm scrambling to find immediate work doing, well:anything"”manual labor, waiting tables, other teaching and consulting, or whatever I can find."

As someone who criticized his methodology, I still admire the fact that he's putting his beliefs under scrutiny. Places of higher learning -- including Christian ones -- ought to encourage these sorts of experiments, not run away from them.

As an atheist, I want Bell to know that we appreciate what he's trying to do and that we'll support him even if his Christian community will not and (more importantly) even if he decides atheism isn't for him when the year is over.

You have my assurance that all money donated will be given to Mr. Bell (excluded whatever GoFundMe takes for their expenses). I will provide proof on here and on my website.
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Hi, everyone -- Just FYI, I plan to shut down this fundraiser Friday night(-ish) and send Ryan Bell the check early next week. I'll keep you updated, of course. Thanks for your support so far!
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Hi everyone -- This fundraiser has been amazing, so thank you for participating. A couple quick notes:

-- I forgot to update my bank account "name" from the previous fundraiser I held so your credit card may say you donated to "WPY*WE SUPPORT DAN ASH" but rest assured the money will be going to the right place. My apologies.

-- Some people asked me what would happen with the money beyond the $5,000 goal. The reason the fundraising goal was $5,000 was because GoFundMe needed a number and I made one up on the spot. All money raised (minus GoFundMe's fees) will be going to Mr. Bell.
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Read a Previous Update
Ray Jones
19 months ago
1
1

Psalm 73:3 For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

+ Read More
Jacob Willett
20 months ago
1
1

What a douche.

+ Read More
Koren Billie
56 months ago
1
1

Mr. Franklin Lee, how is that any different than someone living on welfare? This man is branching out into areas unknown to him, and is taking some huge chances that may not end up with any rewards due to the fact he has lost his positions within his church community and colleges. He actually was paying taxes and contributing to the overall workforce as a professor and teacher. How are we not all teachers in what we believe or do in our lives? I commend him for taking such bold steps and praise him for being able to travel on this journey.

+ Read More
Jim Blair
57 months ago
1
1

Looks like there is good money in atheism; especially for Pastors who deny Christ

+ Read More
Charles Zoll
58 months ago
1
1

Why are you people throwing money at this guy? Since when does embarking on a personal journey involve a cash prize and how do I sign up? Oh, I just have to lose my job.

+ Read More
Dave Martinez
58 months ago
1
1

Seriously, you guys think this is okay? Playing games with foundational beliefs to collect $.

+ Read More
John Bentley
58 months ago
1
1

@Ro Os I wanted to take a moment and reply to your comment. I don't think that the church or private schools in this situation are being treated unfairly or demonized. It is obvious to the most casual observer that they cannot move forward with a teacher/pastor that does not fully embrace their beliefs at least publicly. Having said that, what exactly would you have us do in his situation? I gave because the skills that Mr Bell has spent the last 20 years building are at least at the moment no longer useful for the purpose of making a living. He has a family to support. No one here is acting as a benefactor. In fact most of the donations have not only been small, but anonymous. In my estimation they are in fact an act of love and empathy for a fellow human. Nothing more. I too was a Christian for the first 26 years of my life and understand that what you wrote came from a place of love and concern for your friend. It would have been very difficult for me to accept the premise that the people donating are not looking to gain anything from this exercise. That is because as a Christian I believed that I lived in a demon haunted world where there were two sides fighting for the souls of people. I no longer find that to be the case, as I dont believe in the concept of a soul. You will find most Atheists dont either. It seems to me that Mr. Bell is/was exactly the kind of Christian that Atheists would want to dialogue with in the world. Regardless of any personal failings that he may have, his outlook seems to be open minded, non judgmental, seeking to help others. I am not sure what culture war we would win by his de-conversion that he has not already won by his acceptance of others. I would ask you to consider that most of the people who have donated to Mr Bell did so because they found themselves at one time in a similar place. It can be very lonely in the beginning because the people you would normally confide in are not able understand, even though some sincerely want to be there for you. That is why I donated. I hope that this note provides you with some insight into the motivations of one non-beleiver. I know all to well that this experience can be upsetting for everyone who we love and love us.

+ Read More
Kambra Larsen
58 months ago
1
1

Wow. Vivian, Bob, and Jedidiah -- you all sure sound like awesome people. You're doing a lot of judging for people who claim to follow the man who said "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Hypocrites much?

+ Read More
Michael Berry
9 months ago

Dumb. Just plain dumb. And a waste of money no matter how idealistic, reasoned and good this seems to you.

+ Read More
Jennie
11 months ago

i apologize but its so hard to find any where to get help and get the word out we need help desperately my daughter's disease is very rare and no one seems to know to much about it but we can't even buy her food at a grocery store we have to order online and the shipping costs are 30-60 dollars we are in debt and need help badly there is a research program going on but we need money to get the new medicine that could help her please help by sharing please help me get the word out we are on the verge of losing everything please check out my page I greatly appreciate it good bless to all of you guys for helping others in need thank you again for your time. /www.gofundme.com/2t39eq4

+ Read More
Derrick Ahovi
15 months ago

Thank God for His provision

+ Read More
Hemant Mehta
52 months ago

Hi, Mike -- A screenshot of the check is here: http://i.imgur.com/c2CZ1j6.jpg. Also, if you email me directly (Mpromptu at gmail), I'd be happy to forward you a message from Ryan saying he received the donations. You can also ask him directly through his own site: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/contact-me/. Hope that helps!

+ Read More
Mike Murphy
52 months ago

I think we need another update here. What's going on with the money we donated? Thank you.

+ Read More
Chrys Thorsen
55 months ago

As a Zen Buddhist who worked for years in the inter-faith community, I'm fascinated by these comments, and what they say of the people who make them. Those who applaud what the pastor is doing "get it". This type of deep internal search is VERY difficult, and most people don't have the courage to even contemplate it. Those like Franklin Lee or Jim Blair who spew out vitriol and bile (thanks Jim Fox) are only exposing their own issues. Rev. Bell, I can only encourage you in your journey, and hope you continue to broaden your experience and mind. Consider living in other faiths, as well as atheism (which cannot for one second be considered a single, monolithic system of though--there are as many forms of "atheism" as there are "Christianity"). What I observed in interfaith is that most people who truly go on a journey like this (including real inter-faith dialog) in the end find it strengthens their own beliefs.

+ Read More
Jim Fox
57 months ago

Franklin Lee and others are presumably Christians. How else to explain the bile and vitriol? Only the religious...

+ Read More
Franklin Lee
58 months ago

A bottom feeding liar will get a huge paycheck... great. The story of religion.

+ Read More
Franklin Lee
58 months ago

This is like a Wallstreet player giving up his job and coming on to ask his fleeced clients for more of their cash. The lamest thing I can imagine.

+ Read More
Franklin Lee
58 months ago

This guy has been living off the gullible donations of the masses for years and now folks are being even more stupid. I cannot believe that people are sending this evil man money.

+ Read More
Jenny Westmark
58 months ago

Good luck Mr. Bell. I've been there, done that without support. Maybe this will help a little.

+ Read More
Terry Graves
58 months ago

Dear Mr. Bell, I hope your experiment goes well and that you are able to experience facing life frankly. It's gratifying to see how so many people want to support and help you: you've had a real-life demonstration that morality and good will need not come from religion. Please keep us updated. Are you planning on reading Dawkins and Harris, Epictetus and so on? Do you plan on reframing your responses to the arguments regarding the existence of God? (I did that as an exercise in belief and found it very challenging to intuit the believers' answers and points of view.) Anyway, I commend you and wish you the best of luck. Please, please announce a blog or some sort of communication about your experiment!

+ Read More

$27,324 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 1,228 people in 59 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created January 6, 2014
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NW
$20
Nicholas Watson
55 months ago (Monthly Donation)
NW
$20
Nicholas Watson
56 months ago (Monthly Donation)
NW
$20
Nicholas Watson
57 months ago (Monthly Donation)
NW
$20
Nicholas Watson
58 months ago (Monthly Donation)
RE
$10
rachel evans
58 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Anonymous
58 months ago
$20
Virginia Westmark
58 months ago

Good luck Mr. Bell. I'm agnostic and attend a UU church, but I believe that faith is a personal journey no person should be punished for. You obviously have credentials and knowledge that made you qualified for your various jobs, but some institutions are inherently intolerant. I hope this little donation helps.

$10
Anonymous
58 months ago
Ray Jones
19 months ago
1
1

Psalm 73:3 For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

+ Read More
Jacob Willett
20 months ago
1
1

What a douche.

+ Read More
Koren Billie
56 months ago
1
1

Mr. Franklin Lee, how is that any different than someone living on welfare? This man is branching out into areas unknown to him, and is taking some huge chances that may not end up with any rewards due to the fact he has lost his positions within his church community and colleges. He actually was paying taxes and contributing to the overall workforce as a professor and teacher. How are we not all teachers in what we believe or do in our lives? I commend him for taking such bold steps and praise him for being able to travel on this journey.

+ Read More
Jim Blair
57 months ago
1
1

Looks like there is good money in atheism; especially for Pastors who deny Christ

+ Read More
Charles Zoll
58 months ago
1
1

Why are you people throwing money at this guy? Since when does embarking on a personal journey involve a cash prize and how do I sign up? Oh, I just have to lose my job.

+ Read More
Dave Martinez
58 months ago
1
1

Seriously, you guys think this is okay? Playing games with foundational beliefs to collect $.

+ Read More
John Bentley
58 months ago
1
1

@Ro Os I wanted to take a moment and reply to your comment. I don't think that the church or private schools in this situation are being treated unfairly or demonized. It is obvious to the most casual observer that they cannot move forward with a teacher/pastor that does not fully embrace their beliefs at least publicly. Having said that, what exactly would you have us do in his situation? I gave because the skills that Mr Bell has spent the last 20 years building are at least at the moment no longer useful for the purpose of making a living. He has a family to support. No one here is acting as a benefactor. In fact most of the donations have not only been small, but anonymous. In my estimation they are in fact an act of love and empathy for a fellow human. Nothing more. I too was a Christian for the first 26 years of my life and understand that what you wrote came from a place of love and concern for your friend. It would have been very difficult for me to accept the premise that the people donating are not looking to gain anything from this exercise. That is because as a Christian I believed that I lived in a demon haunted world where there were two sides fighting for the souls of people. I no longer find that to be the case, as I dont believe in the concept of a soul. You will find most Atheists dont either. It seems to me that Mr. Bell is/was exactly the kind of Christian that Atheists would want to dialogue with in the world. Regardless of any personal failings that he may have, his outlook seems to be open minded, non judgmental, seeking to help others. I am not sure what culture war we would win by his de-conversion that he has not already won by his acceptance of others. I would ask you to consider that most of the people who have donated to Mr Bell did so because they found themselves at one time in a similar place. It can be very lonely in the beginning because the people you would normally confide in are not able understand, even though some sincerely want to be there for you. That is why I donated. I hope that this note provides you with some insight into the motivations of one non-beleiver. I know all to well that this experience can be upsetting for everyone who we love and love us.

+ Read More
Kambra Larsen
58 months ago
1
1

Wow. Vivian, Bob, and Jedidiah -- you all sure sound like awesome people. You're doing a lot of judging for people who claim to follow the man who said "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Hypocrites much?

+ Read More
Michael Berry
9 months ago

Dumb. Just plain dumb. And a waste of money no matter how idealistic, reasoned and good this seems to you.

+ Read More
Jennie
11 months ago

i apologize but its so hard to find any where to get help and get the word out we need help desperately my daughter's disease is very rare and no one seems to know to much about it but we can't even buy her food at a grocery store we have to order online and the shipping costs are 30-60 dollars we are in debt and need help badly there is a research program going on but we need money to get the new medicine that could help her please help by sharing please help me get the word out we are on the verge of losing everything please check out my page I greatly appreciate it good bless to all of you guys for helping others in need thank you again for your time. /www.gofundme.com/2t39eq4

+ Read More
Derrick Ahovi
15 months ago

Thank God for His provision

+ Read More
Hemant Mehta
52 months ago

Hi, Mike -- A screenshot of the check is here: http://i.imgur.com/c2CZ1j6.jpg. Also, if you email me directly (Mpromptu at gmail), I'd be happy to forward you a message from Ryan saying he received the donations. You can also ask him directly through his own site: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/contact-me/. Hope that helps!

+ Read More
Mike Murphy
52 months ago

I think we need another update here. What's going on with the money we donated? Thank you.

+ Read More
Chrys Thorsen
55 months ago

As a Zen Buddhist who worked for years in the inter-faith community, I'm fascinated by these comments, and what they say of the people who make them. Those who applaud what the pastor is doing "get it". This type of deep internal search is VERY difficult, and most people don't have the courage to even contemplate it. Those like Franklin Lee or Jim Blair who spew out vitriol and bile (thanks Jim Fox) are only exposing their own issues. Rev. Bell, I can only encourage you in your journey, and hope you continue to broaden your experience and mind. Consider living in other faiths, as well as atheism (which cannot for one second be considered a single, monolithic system of though--there are as many forms of "atheism" as there are "Christianity"). What I observed in interfaith is that most people who truly go on a journey like this (including real inter-faith dialog) in the end find it strengthens their own beliefs.

+ Read More
Jim Fox
57 months ago

Franklin Lee and others are presumably Christians. How else to explain the bile and vitriol? Only the religious...

+ Read More
Franklin Lee
58 months ago

A bottom feeding liar will get a huge paycheck... great. The story of religion.

+ Read More
Franklin Lee
58 months ago

This is like a Wallstreet player giving up his job and coming on to ask his fleeced clients for more of their cash. The lamest thing I can imagine.

+ Read More
Franklin Lee
58 months ago

This guy has been living off the gullible donations of the masses for years and now folks are being even more stupid. I cannot believe that people are sending this evil man money.

+ Read More
Jenny Westmark
58 months ago

Good luck Mr. Bell. I've been there, done that without support. Maybe this will help a little.

+ Read More
Terry Graves
58 months ago

Dear Mr. Bell, I hope your experiment goes well and that you are able to experience facing life frankly. It's gratifying to see how so many people want to support and help you: you've had a real-life demonstration that morality and good will need not come from religion. Please keep us updated. Are you planning on reading Dawkins and Harris, Epictetus and so on? Do you plan on reframing your responses to the arguments regarding the existence of God? (I did that as an exercise in belief and found it very challenging to intuit the believers' answers and points of view.) Anyway, I commend you and wish you the best of luck. Please, please announce a blog or some sort of communication about your experiment!

+ Read More
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