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Hope After Faith: An Ex-Pastor's Journey from Belief to Atheismby Jerry Dewitt
Synopses & Reviews
Atheisms leading lights have long been intellectuals raised in the secular and academic worlds: Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens. By contrast, Jerry DeWitt was born and bred into the church and was in fact a Pentecostal preacher before arriving at atheism through an extraordinary dialogue with faith that spanned more than a quarter of a century. Hope After Faith is his account of that journey.
DeWitt was a pastor in the town of DeRidder, Louisiana, and was a fixture of the community. In private, however, hed begun to question his faith. Late one night in May 2011, a member of his flock called seeking prayer for her brother who had been in a serious accident. As DeWitt searched for the right words to console her, speech failed him, and he found that the faith which once had formed the cornerstone of his life had finally crumbled to dust. When it became public knowledge that DeWitt was now an atheist, he found himself shunned by much of DeRidders highly religious community, losing nearly everything hed known.
DeWitts struggle for identity and meaning mirrors the one currently facing millions of people around the world. With both agnosticism and atheism entering the mainstream—one in five Americans now claim no religious affiliation, according to a recent study—the moment has arrived for a new atheist voice, one that is respectful of faith and religious traditions yet warmly embraces a life free of religion, finding not skepticism and cold doubt but rather profound meaning and hope. Hope After Faith is the story of one mans evolution toward a committed and considered atheism, one driven by humanism, a profound moral dimension, and a happiness and self-confidence obtained through living free of fear.
A former Louisiana pastor’s courageous memoir chronicling his conversion to atheism
Jerry DeWitt was a pastor in the town of DeRidder, Louisiana, and a fixture of the community. He had begun to question his Pentecostal faith, however, and late one night in 2011, a member of his flock called seeking prayer for her brother who had been in a serious accident. As DeWitt searched for the right words to console her, speech failed him, and he found that the faith which had once formed the cornerstone of his life finally crumbled to dust.
When DeWitt was eventually outed as an atheist, he found himself shunned by much of DeRidder’s highly religious community, losing his job, his wife, and nearly everything he’d known. He has since become a leader and well-known speaker in America’s fast growing atheist movement. Hope after Faith tells the story of his life passage from a pastor with a deep Christian faith to a committed and considered atheism driven by humanism, a profound moral dimension, and the happiness and self-confidence obtained by living free of fear.
About the Author
Jerry DeWitts ministry began when he was seventeen. After twenty-five years of preaching, including pastorship of two fundamentalist congregations, he became an atheist. DeWitt lives in rural Louisiana.
Ethan Brown is the author of Queens Reigns Supreme, Snitch, and Shake the Devil Off. He lives in New Orleans.
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