I’m an A-theist

The church is full of A-theists. The problem is most of them won’t admit it.

Let’s start with some definitions.

Theist: a person who believes in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe.

Atheist: a person who disbelieves in gods.

A-theist*: a person who is against (hence “A-”) the image of a god who lives above the third firmament of a flat earth who answers prayers, does miracles, plans our lives, and runs the universe. My Free Will overpowers that concept. But I’m not against considering a higher power. (*I made up the term A-theist.)

Agnostic: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of gods or anything beyond material phenomena and has no religious faith.

How did I get to be an A-theist? For my first twenty-five years, I was a theist and believed what the Episcopal church taught me about God. (In college, after too many beers and late at night, I thought I was an agnostic.) In the Marine Corps, I knew I was a theist, which then led me to seminary.

In 1958, I was in a terrible accident. My friend Brad was killed and I was badly injured. The next day in the hospital, an Episcopal priest asked me, “What did you and Brad do to deserve this?” insinuating God was paying us back for our transgressions. Instantaneously, I threw that priest and his theistic god out of my hospital room and life.

That presented a dilemma. I was in seminary, but suddenly I had no god. Should I have left seminary? Instead, I pretended to be a theist but in a sneaky way: I called God “Creation.” (I still do.) But I told the examiners what they wanted to hear—names, that God lives UpThere—not what I believed. I was ordained and lived the theist lie for the next thirty years.

In the 1990s, I could no longer say the creeds and most of the church’s ancient prayers. Fortunately, I was only a weekend fill-in priest. Next, I started openly suggesting that I was an A-theist.

Because of space-age science, I nixed heaven, hell, paradise, and purgatory as places and instead labeled them as “states of mind.” Some churchy folks did not like that. But I knew science was on my side.

In the early 2000s, I excommunicated the words forever, eternal life, and eternity. They were simply words. Everything has an end.

Around 2015, I stated publicly that there is no afterlife. This life is not a dress rehearsal for something later, so we should live life to the fullest today and now. The church didn’t like that one either.

In 2022, I finally had the guts to say out loud, “God is a man-made concept, and there are millions of versions out there, depending on what one wants their god to do, good or bad.”

I had a new problem: Was I still a Christian? Did I even want to be labeled one? If fundamentalists and supporters of the forty-fifth president are considered Christian, I couldn’t be. But every day, I take my orders from the historical Jesus and his emphasis on agape.

A question: Is defining an undefinable god a prerequisite for being a follower?

Which kind of believer are you? A theist? An atheist? An A-theist? Or agnostic?

Peace Love Joy Hope



Photo by Open Clip Art Library (public domain)

5 thoughts on “I’m an A-theist”

    • Hi Tammy. I’ve been a little slow in responding because I fractured my right arm, not skiing, but standing still, taking off my skis when I lost my balance and within a flash this ski season ended. Too bad! Annie and I were having a ball and still had another week Up in Big Bear. I believe most thinking people are A-theists. The universe is much too big to have a man sitting in his mansions above the third filament of the flat earth still even be a reality. But, we also, important person in all this is Jesus and his message of unconditional love for all creation. Peace Love Joy Hope Kindness Bil

  1. I am definitely an A-theist! As my friend for over 50 years, you and your theology and its evolution have have influenced me more than anything I ever heard in church. For years I thought I was the only one thinking that way. It took a while, but I’m comfortable now being open about my thoughts on religion and find that I am not alone.

  2. What about the souls (do we even have souls?) born with untold horrible circumstances (physical, mental, environmental)? Are they merely here to give us reason for gratitude that we were not living such a life?

    • Thank you Sue for reading my blogs and responding. The worst part of those born with untold hard circumstances is that it doesn’t have to be that way. We have over enough resources on this earth to remove so many of those horrible circumstances. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have the willpower to make it happen. As a pantheist and a worshiper of all living beings, I do have some hope that with the power of agape (unconditional love), someday we might be able to see the lion laying down with the lamb. Peace Love Joy Hope Kindness bill


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