Hope After Faith: An Ex-Pastor’s Journey from Belief to Atheism

Jerry DeWitt with Ethan Brown. Da Capo, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-306-82250-6
Debut author DeWitt tells the tale of how he went from darling Pentecostal preacher to shunned atheist in his new memoir. In the first part of his story, DeWitt describes his smalltown upbringing and immersion in the fundamentalist, Bible-thumping Christianity of his native Louisiana. This section is told in great detail—almost too much detail. Nonetheless, this part of the book is a fascinating insider’s tour of the often-mystifying doctrines of Pentecostalism, which shuns the material world for “gifts of the spirit,” like speaking in tongues and prophesizing—both of which DeWitt engaged in himself. The book’s second half tells of DeWitt’s growing doubts about God, the idea of hell, the nature of sin, and the existence of an afterlife. This part of the book is deeply intriguing, offering a firsthand account of the slow crumbling of a life’s foundation in faith and its consequences: loss of family and livelihood in exchange for peace of conscience and a new community of atheist friends. Those who share DeWitt’s perspective—and even those who are true believers—will find much to engage them. Agent: David Patterson, Foundry Media. (June 25)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 270 pages - 978-0-306-82224-7
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-306-82289-6
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