Adventists cancel Welcome Back party for Year Without God Ex-Pastor, Ryan Bell

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. — “We better hope the party supply place does returns,” said exasperated Adventist events manager, Maria Romero, as she stood in a half-decorated downtown Los Angeles hotel ballroom.

Plans for what many Adventists hoped would be a New Year’s Eve party to welcome former Adventist Pastor Ryan Bell back to the fold had been scrapped after an NPR interview in which Bell admitted that after his Year Without God, he had come to the conclusion that there was no God.

The former Adventist pastor who most recently shepherded Hollywood Seventh-day Adventist Church had embarked on a year-long experiment at the start of 2014 in which he would “live as if there is no God” and blog about his journey.

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“Now I wish I’d read his blog more,” said Romero.”I could have seen this coming and booked some better-paid baby dedication gigs in Orange County instead.”

Other Adventists involved in planning the event for Bell reacted differently: “We aren’t used to our pastors drawing worldwide attention and we definitely aren’t used to our leaders openly struggling with their faith or lack of it,” said Tyler Cameron, a member at Hollywood Adventist Church. “This year has been a journey for all of us. I will miss Ryan as my pastor but I’m glad he’s still my friend.”

Southern California Conference representatives on the party planning committee could not be reached for comment as they were busy writing post-termination no-blogging clauses into all new employment contracts.


19 Comments

  1. Lisa martin

    I would say this is a cause for celebration. It is a starting point for him, and an authentic expression of someone who allowed himself to use his logic, to examine his honest thoughts and feelings without the noise of what’s “expected”. Religion is an entity that exists on followers who support with money. This causes a climate not of honesty and truth, but a perpetuation of that which encourages conformity and discourages thinking.

  2. Doug Yowell

    I agree with Daniel. And I don’t suppose this is so funny in heaven. But let’s face it, this is just another example of Adventist bad planning. Dressing up as a homeless group (we could have used the Dorcus sweaters to make it look real) in an area where Bell now “ministers” would have made for the perfect surprise party. We could have invited prominent officials from ADRA, whose mission outreach also includes avoiding mentioning God, to be a part of the festivities. Knowing Bell’s rejection of God 12 months before his official announcement it’s tragically inexcusable to miss such a perfect opportunity to welcome him back into the fold of saving the world (from poverty).

  3. Doug Yowell

    “Religion is an entity that exists on followers who support with money. This causes a climate not of honesty and truth, but a perpetuation of that which encourages conformity and discourages thinking.”

    Well, at least Lisa doesn’t buy into the myth of climate ‘change’.

  4. Larry D. Halstead

    I commend Ryan for his courage to test his convictions and take this journey. The path from faith to reason is a one way street. It was predictable that he would not becoming back. Once you put aside all of that forced indoctrination and start following the logical principals of science and nature there will always only be this one conclusion; there is no god, none, zip, nada. This is the only path to freedom and ending your mental slavery imposed by these mythological beliefs from superstitious bronze age goat herders. I was skeptical about Ryan’s journey from the start because I’ve seen other SDA pastor’s resorting to gimmicks. But is sincerity is for real and his journey has now set him free. I have the deepest respect for Ryan and I commend him for not only getting himself free but setting a shinny example of how others trapped in religion can be set free as well. Put me down with #TeamRyan

    • Ray Kraft

      That’s where C. S. Lewis found they led him, but they have led other people to other conclusions.

      Let’s ask this question.

      What is the scientific evidence for the existence of God?

      There isn’t any, unless you accept, on faith, that the universe is too complex to have happened without a Creator, ergo, there must be a Creator, or Intelligent Designer, or God . . . but, faith is not evidence, faith is not logic, faith is not science.

      • Doug Yowell

        “Let’s ask this question.
        What is the scientific evidence for the existence of God?”

        Matter. Glad you said evidence and not proof. I wonder if Bell would have asked this question at his welcome home party?

        “but, faith is not evidence, faith is not logic, faith is not science”

        Ryan Bell missed the church home coming party not a scientific convention in Vegas. But had he studied science he might have had a different outcome had he asked the question of “how” did everything come from nothing at all? But then that gets into logical interpretation of scientific evidences.

  5. Doug

    “Once you put aside all of that forced indoctrination and start following the logical principals of science and nature there will always only be this one conclusion;”

    …You will get no welcome back party and no going away presents, none, zip, nada. But you might get uncertainty and a not so peaceful, easy feeling. Put me down with team goat herders, at the least they lived and died with purpose in this life, and certainty and hope for the future.

    • Ray Kraft

      “Live a good life.

      “If there are gods, and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.

      “If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.

      “If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

      Marcus Arelius

      • Doug Yowell

        “If there are gods, and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.”—Apparently, Marcus was not sure if there were gods but seemed certain that an objective standard of justice and virtue would guide the invitation to their welcome home party.

        “If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.—Unless, of course, not worshiping them resulted in either your death or some other bad consequence like not being invited to their welcome home party.

        “If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”—At least for one or two generations then any memory of all the noble things you’ve done will have been forgotten. And then there would be those of a more Epicurean mindset that would swear that you wasted a perfectly good opportunity to party down which would prove to them that you weren’t nearly as cool as you thought you were. Plus no one would care anyway. Like, how did Marcus Arelius really live and what has he done for you lately?

  6. Ray Kraft

    Here’s the conundrum for Adventists and all other religions.

    If faith is proof of truth, then every religion in which anyone has faith is, ipso facto, true.

    If faith is proof of truth, then every political and philosophical ideological in which anyone has faith is true.

    And if faith is proof of truth, and Ryan Bell has faith in the non-existence of God, then Atheism is also true.

    If faith is proof of truth, then Deism, Theism, and Atheism, are all true.

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