1-800-DOUBTS: A new helpline for troubled atheists
Posted by doctore0 on March 2, 2015
He’s been a Christian for 20 years but can’t believe in the Bible anymore. He hasn’t told his friends or family and still sits, uneasy, in church each Sunday.
“I feel like I’m lying,” he tells the woman on the other end of the phone. “I’m pretending to be a person that I’m not.
“But what if I’m wrong?” he asks. “Will I go to hell?”
“Hmmm…” the woman says, after stumbling through an awkward answer. “I thought you weren’t going to make this hard.”
If this call had been real, the woman says, she would have dissuaded the man from falling for Pascal’s Wager, the argument that it’s better to believe in God because — well, hell is an awfully hot place to spend eternity.
But the call wasn’t real. The man and woman are volunteers training for 1-84-I-DOUBT-IT, believed to be the country’s first helpline for people wrestling with religion, suffering from a loss of faith, or confused about why their son or wife seems to have suddenly embraced atheism.
Founded by the group Recovering From Religion and cobbled together with a small budget, the helpline launched on Friday. Nearly 100 volunteers are ready to field calls 24/7 on the weekends and from 6-12 Central Time on weeknights.