A Self-Described Evangelical Pastor Publicly Left His Faith and His Tweets Are Going Viral

They call Missouri the “Show Me State,” and a recent tweet from someone called themselves a “devout follower” of Christianity who spent half his life as an evangelical pastor is going viral because it’s showing the world what it looks like when someone abandons their faith after a lifetime of devotion to and practice of it.

Dave Gass started his mega-viral Tweet thread simply enough. He tweeted, on April 30th 2019, “I’m not a Christian anymore: a thread.” He then proceeded to explain that for forty years he was a Christian, half of that time he spent preaching, and after all that time he was “walking away” from the faith, tagging his tweet with the hashtag #exvangelical, which honestly sounds like a GREAT heavy metal band name.

When Dan sent me the tweet thread, it piqued my interest because I come from a similar background. I never was a pastor in the Christian church — just the Universal Life one so I can marry my friends and family if they want me to — and I left the faith more than 20 years ago, but any time someone leaves the church after a long time in it, I feel a connection to them, in a way. It’s not an easy thing to do, to eject yourself from the support network that was built up around you, no matter what the context. When that context is your eternity and the moral judgments people will make about your life decisions from there on out, it’s never an easy proposition.

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Like so many of us, Mr. Gass first started seeing some cracks in his unshakable faith in the Christian religion when he started learning about other mythologies. It’s vital to any religion that their adherents truly believe that unlike other religions, theirs is the one rooted in reality, and not fantasy or hyperbole. For Gass, it was learning about Greek Gods and Goddesses in middle school.

Gee…do you think this right here is a good example of why certain people try their hardest to limit what kids are exposed to in school? At any rate, Gass spoke to something I felt in my life. That, initially, the idea that you’re given all the answers to life’s questions isn’t silly or laughable; it’s just reassuring, as it’s intended to be. Of course, as he alludes to in the same tweet, you eventually discover what’s at the end of that particular rainbow isn’t gold.

I was also raised in a very fundamentalist Christian household, and speak firsthand to the notion that you’re told God already provided all the answers, and all you have to do is listen to Him.

Christians are told their marriages will be the bedrock foundation on which their entire lives are built. They’re told marriage is simple. They’re given platitudes about how their marriages are the central essences of their beings. And, as Gass points out, it’s just another area where they allow pretending and self-delusion to win over logic and reality.

No one can accuse Gass of not being committed, either. He thinks he only missed church about a dozen times in his life. That is absolutely insane, even to a lot of believers. Life happens, and the Bible itself makes clear that church attendance isn’t really what being a Christian is all about. But the larger point Gass was making was that he gave it his all, to the point that he committed an ungodly (pun completely intended) amount of the Bible to memory, and so this isn’t someone who just dabbled in the Jesus deciding it wasn’t his kinda drug.

This is a heroin addict throwing away his bindle.

Even “Christian apologetics,” which is according to Wikipedia a “a branch of Christian theology that defends Christianity against objections,” could assuage Gass’s concerns about his faith. Clearly his ability to use rational thought and critical thinking were butting up against the forced dogma of the people in that particular sect, and he easily saw through their fabrications.

In fact, as he writes in his tweet thread, studying the Bible and Christianity would only open up more avenues of doubt in his mind, instead of turning them into dead ends.

Maybe it sounds funny to people who ever were in the faith, but when Mr. Gass speaks about never witnessing a supernatural event, it’s extremely important to people who are literally raised to believe in the reality of deiffic magic. Basically, Dave is saying that his hotline to God was just a tin can and a piece of string tied to another can in his other hand.

Gass recounted the many ways he practiced his faith. When you read the thread, you don’t get the sense that he was someone who didn’t make an honest effort to really be devoted to this religion. In fact, quite the opposite. He speaks about the many, many ways he worked for and on behalf of the church.

And through it all, it wasn’t enough to keep in the church.

In his thread, Gass reveals some interesting things about his observations of religion and the church. Namely, he feels people “get the most out of” it, when they take it as lightly as they can and just attend the services on the weekends. It’s the people who seek to become part of the church’s power structure that are the issue, Gass believes. He says they treat the church as their “smal kingdom for personal control and ego.”

Again, I can at least verify that’s true in my own, anecdotal experience.

Maybe this is just me being catty, but this next bit is so perfectly on-point. It was my experience that the people who were the most terrible to each other were the people who only saw one another in the contexts of a religion that supposedly taught them not to be shitty to each other.

So, Gass started to have doubts, as anyone would at this point. He said something I think is pretty profound — he was gaslighting himself in order to say in his faith. This is, again, completely true in my case. In fact, my hyper-libtarded political views really didn’t start forming until a very similar process took place within me in regards to conservative beliefs I espoused for many years.

Dave also noticed that a lot of people who have nothing to do with Christianity have a lot better grip on being a good Christian. Sure, to a lot of people this could be a “no duh” moment, but it’s really important to hear when people within the faith say it, because it signal boosts the truth, and hopefully it has a chance of reaching people still in the faith.

Gass ended his thread by telling everyone that when he did walk away, it wasn’t without great personal loss. He also said he didn’t plan on leaving entirely, but he was convinced to do it after seeing how everyone was treating him. In a very telling window into the character he has, though, Dave took the time to apologize to people he might have proselytized to and taught, owning up to the fact that he was putting on a show, and I think that takes quite a lot of courage.

Hopefully Gass finds at least some inner peace with his decision; it sounds like he made the right one for himself, anyway.

Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.




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