On January 1st, 2014, while millions around the world were celebrating the new year and making their usual New Year's resolutions, Pastor Ryan Bell was making a rather unusual resolution. This former Adventist minister made the decision that he would spend 2014 living as an atheist.
This announcement generated lots of buzz in Christians circles, and for the last 12 months Ryan has been maintaining a blog to share his experience living as an atheist.
Just a few days ago, in an interview with NPR, Ryan announced that he had made the decision to remain an atheist. This is what he had to say:
"I've looked at the majority of the arguments that I've been able to find for the existence of God, and on the question of God's existence or not, I have to say I don't find there to be a convincing case, in my view.
"I don't think that God exists. I think that makes the most sense of the evidence that I have and my experience. But I don't think that's necessarily the most interesting thing about me."
In commenting on his new job at PATH, an organization that helps the homeless, he stated:
"It's, I think, an expression of really the part of me that hasn't changed. I'm still the same person deep down that I was before. I care about justice and equality, and I want to see opportunities spread more evenly in our society,"
I find this story so interesting, because not only do I believe God exists, but I have also specifically chosen to connect myself with with the Adventist denomination, which I believe is God's true church. I have not come to this conclusion because someone else said so, or because I was raised in the Adventist faith, but because I have taken the time to examine the points of my faith and have come to the conclusion that the Adventistism is the only logical choice when choosing a belief system.
The precision of nature indicates that there is a Creator. Further more, the mathematical accuracy of prophecy contained in the bible also appeals to our reason that there is a true God and that He has a true church.
Reading the story about Pastor Ryan last year has intrigued many to see which path he would choose. While I am not surprised at the decision he has made, I am deeply saddened to see that a brother in Christ has chosen to walk away from the faith. It is my hope that you will join me in praying that he finds his way back to God.
As I ponder this story, I appeal to you to examine your faith and ensure that through Christ you are grounded in your beliefs. I shudder at the thought that thousands, or perhaps millions throughout Adventism and Christianity for that matter, have not taken the time to "study to show themselves approved." Instead many have developed a spiritual experience founded on an emotional experience, or the thoughts and ideas of others.
May God continue to bless you in your journey to know the Savior for yourself.