NPR ran a story today about a pastor turned atheist (read the full article here). She was raised in the home of a conservative Baptist pastor before becoming a pastor herself. After serving for 9 years, she could no longer suppress her questions about her experience of religion.
She describes it as a moment of realization, “‘I just kind of realized — I mean just a eureka moment, not an epiphany, a eureka moment — “I’m an atheist,” she says. “I don’t believe.” And in the moment that I uttered that word, I stumbled and choked on that word — atheist.'”
I wonder how her conservative Baptist background influenced her spiritual journey and ultimately her attraction to atheism. Notice the paragraph right under the heading “Finding Atheism.” It reads:
MacBain, 44, was raised a conservative Southern Baptist. Her dad was a pastor and she felt the call of God when she was 6. She had questions, of course, about conflicts in the Bible, for example, or the role of women. She says she sometimes felt she was serving a taskmaster of a God, whose standards she never quite met.
I don’t believe in that God either. If that were my view of God, I would be an atheist.
I can’t help but wonder how her view of God would be different if she had received a different view than the one her dad passed down to her when she was a child. This is an intelligent woman who saw the holes in her father’s faith.
This woman’s experience fuels me. One Church is a safe place for people to express their questions and doubts. Why? So intelligent, thinking people can wrestle with their questions and doubts instead of allowing them to build and build until they can’t stomach it anymore.
I wish her dad and his church would have asked more questions about his God.
I hope she continues to question her atheism, as well.
Read my post “A Pastor is Thankful for Christopher Hitchens”