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 mainstreamone in five Americans now claim no religious affiliation, according to a recent studythe 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.
Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion
The clergyman who sees the light, loses his faith, and realizes that his lifes work has been empty delusion faces worse than inner torment. In small-town America he confronts public ostracism, family break-up, and financial ruin. Such was the predicament of Jerry DeWitt. Brother DeWitt has landed on his feet, but many others still wrestle in the closet with the pain. This poignant book will give them strength.”
Dan Barker, author of Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of Americas Leading Atheists
Jerry DeWitt tells a truly remarkable story of an actual faith healing. He healed himself of his faith. Jerrys honest and wrenching struggle to find his way out of the Pentecostal/evangelical house of mirrors is driven inexorably by his true concern: his unfailing love for people. I literally got goosebumps reading this page-turner, and cheered for joy at the end.”
Bishop Carlton Pearson, author of God Is Not a Christian, Nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu... and The Gospel of Inclusion
My friend Jerry Dewitt is one of those raving lunatics (spiritual eccentrics) who insists on disturbing the illusion and has thus created a new path for his own soul and continues to evolve. I can hardly wait to see where his bridge takes him and us.”
Publishers Weekly, 5/15/13 A fascinating insiders tour of the often-mystifying doctrines of Pentecostalism
deeply intriguing, offering a firsthand account of the slow crumbling of a lifes foundation in faith and its consequences
Those who share DeWitts perspectiveand even those who are true believerswill find much to engage them.”
Crooks and Liars, 6/18/13
A genuine page-turner.”
MSNBC-TVs Morning Joe,” 6/28/13
A real grabber.”
Shelf Awareness, 7/9/13
[A] chicken-fried steak of a memoir
.[An] authentic and compelling read
.Hope After Faith is a richly detailed, nakedly honest story that will resonate with many.”
Winnipeg Free Press (Canada), 7/20/13
[An] earnest memoir
[An] interesting human story.”
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
s 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.