They’re looking for the same sense of community, they’re looking for the same cultural elements that they were raised to appreciate, but they’re looking for them without the mythology and without the institutionalism of religion. – Jerry DeWitt

Atheist churches may seem like an oxymoron, but they’re popping up nationwide. Congregations of non-believers seeking moral direction outside of religion are growing in popularity. Recent headlines have addressed the growth of Sunday Assembly, founded by two comedians from the UK. But homegrown attempts at building congregations in truly unexpected places in this country are also going on. Jerry DeWitt, author of Hope After Faith: An Ex-Pastor’s Journey From Faith to Atheism, is a former fundamentalist pastor who founded and now heads the Community Mission Chapel serving Atheists and Secular Humanists in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He talks with Welton this week about his radical transition and how his secular church is being received in the deeply conservative, deeply religious South.

Jerry DeWitt is the former Executive Director of Recovering from Religion, and participated in the Clergy Project for faith leaders leaving their faith.

Click the “play” button above to hear the interview. To download this audio, click hereDownloadScroll down for transcript. To hear the entire November 23, 2013 State of Belief Radio program, click here.

Atheist Chapel: Jerry DeWitt State of Belief Radio Interview, November 23, 2013

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