Ryan Bell’s de-conversion surprises no one

For those not familiar with the recent headliner, Ryan Bell started trending a year ago after starting a blogging and personal experiment project titled “A year without God” which you can find here. He trended again recently after the big reveal of the conclusion being “I don’t think there is a God.” More on that here.

Surprising? Not really, no matter how you spin it.

To the Atheist, naturally, we see a God-less reality as reality. Thus, giving test to the truth leads to seeing the truth. Many of us have religious pasts as well, so we’ve been down that road of “exploring.” Some of our conservative denominational backgrounds would go as far as to see the exploration and doubt as bad, so wouldn’t lend much cognitive advice past “pray on it,” “it’s a faith thing,” or “keep your eyes on Jesus.”

To the Christian, the lure of the devil is sweet. Once you taste the fruit, it can be hard to turn back. This is why they push so hard to train their children to walk the path of righteousness. Furthermore, there are plenty a Bible verse that can be used here:

[they are those who] have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. Hebrews 6:5-6

But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. Matthew 10:33

Then you have the theory behind my former blog post: believing is seeing, seeing is believing. Both were at play here. He gave Atheism a fair try, so he believed it for a year. This lead to seeing it as true, as he had to, to be fair to the experiment, believe it to be true for the year. Self-fulfilling. Works the same for many things: believe you’re fat, you’ll see yourself as fat. Wake up in the morning, look yourself in the mirror ever morning and call yourself stupid and I can assure you you will begin to believe it.

This begs the challenge:

Would an Atheist convert to Christianity/Judaism/Islamd/Ba’hai/Hinduism/etc if gone through the same experiment of a year trial?

Not quite the same, granted. Not all religions have a “believe and you’re in” clause. Judaism, for example, has (ironically) a year trial period where you study under a Rabbi before being allowed and given the option to officially convert. Also, traditionally, when asking a Rabbi to convert to Judaism, he will deny you 3 times to prove your ardor and sincerity before taking one under his discipleship.

But regardless, would it yield the same result?

What do you think? Think *someone* should try it out? What would make it different than a religious person giving doubt a run, or is it the same concept?


4 thoughts on “Ryan Bell’s de-conversion surprises no one

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if an Atheist tried a conversion and ended up sticking with it. An informed Agnostic on the other hand, they would probably be less likely to get caught up in it.

  2. I don’t think the result would be the same. The thought patterns and expectations of a faith-based lifestyle are not the same as those of an atheist or a secular humanist, whatever term you want to give the group. There are no logical proofs that God exists. There is no evidence that God exists. Nobody works miracles, and the reasons most churches have for the shape of their doctrines are traditions hundreds or even thousands of years old. If you’ve lived your life seeking truth based on evidence and experimentation, I can’t see switching to blind acceptance of someone else’s word being very compelling, especially when they tend to be riddled with contradictions.

    The community structure might be appealing, though. There are many strong ties that religions create in that regard that the heart enjoys. It took a long time for me to rebuild and not feel lonely after I left my old church. 🙂

    • I have observed some intelligent people drift from evidence/science based knowledge, to faith and become deists and theists at best.

      I’m an empiricist myself, but I can see that there does exist other forms of achieving knowledge. There also is an inherent circularity within and among all forms of epistemology. So, what makes spiritual based perceptions any less believable to the individual than anything else?

      So, I’m not so sure it would go down a different route if the individually fully committed to the immersion, and belief process.

      You make an excellent pointwith e community structure! 🙂 That was a hard process for me too. Even though I’ve found an Atheist based group that meets and hangs out here, I know that not every place has them, nor are as organized and “fun” than some religious structures.

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the discussion. Even though I was very last in returning to it. It’s always good to see thoughtful comments engaging the topic.

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