Pastor Teresa MacBain knew for a long while that she was an atheist yet continued in her preaching role, until one day she could do it no longer. She was tired of living a lie, and headed to the American Atheists’ Convention in Maryland and declared to those assembled that she’s an atheist. For doing so, I give her credit. She was honest, and voted her conscience. I can’t say she had a real firm grasp of the Christian articles of faith however, considering her comments, which reflect more of a straw man than the Gospel:
For years, MacBain set her concerns aside. But when she became a United Methodist pastor nine years ago, she started asking sharper questions. She thought they'd make her faith stronger.Naturally, her congregation dismissed her, and according to the the story, they didn’t treat her very kindly in the process. It’s not too surprising that she received hate mail and scorn. It is, however, the wrong reaction. A better reaction would be to give her credit for standing up and admitting she was an atheist, and sending her on her way while telling her you’ll pray for her. There’s a lot of congregations out there that would have done just that.
"In reality," she says, "as I worked through them, I found that religion had so many holes in it, that I just progressed through stages where I couldn't believe it."
The questions haunted her: Is Jesus the only way to God? Would a loving God torment people for eternity? Is there any evidence of God at all? And one day, she crossed a line.
The report continues as Teresa announces to the convention attendees that she is a pastor and an atheist:
Hundreds of people jump to their feet. They hoot and clap for more than a minute. MacBain then apologizes to them for being, as she put it, "a hater."Such is the media’s personification of Christianity in much of what is broadcast throughout the width of the electromagnetic spectrum. There’s a whole lot of misrepresentation going on. Not all Christians are “haters.” The only favorable light shed on Christians were the comments made by her husband, although he will hardly be viewed as an unbiased source, who was quoted as saying:
"I was the one on the right track, and you were the ones that were going to burn in hell," she says. "And I'm happy to say as I stand before you right now, I'm going to burn with you."
"I believe in God," says her husband, Ray. "And to be honest, I pray for her every night, I got friends praying for her."Perhaps NPR could have Mr. MacBain write religion pieces from now on. What gets aired might be a little more balanced. Until then, I suspect the vilification of Christians and the glorification of unbelief will continue.
But he says he adores his wife and defends her right to disbelieve. "That's why I spent 23 years in the Army. That's why I'm still a police officer. We have freedom of speech and freedom of thought. And God never forced anybody to believe, so who am I to step up?"