Los Angeles - Unfortunately, exploring faith with a critical eye, as Bell was attempting to do, was a little too much for his employers. Just days after he made his announcement, they fired him until he rededicates himself to Jesus:
"They simply feel they cannot have me as a part of the faculty while I’m am in this year long process. Both APU [Azusa Pacific University] and Fuller [Theological Seminary] welcomed a conversation with me at the end of the year to see about my future work with their institutions. The Deans of both schools encouraged me and said they felt my project was bold and even important and necessary.
"… My process for the next year does not square with official faith statements and creates untenable discomfort among members. Donors, it is feared, will pull back their donations. My inquiry is the beginning of a slippery slope and they simply can’t risk it."
In addition to his teaching jobs, he also lost his job consulting with a local Seventh-day Adventist Church on a non-profit start-up.
All he did was voice the idea of giving atheism a try — even if only superficially — and it was enough for his Christian employers to cut all ties with him.
"So I find myself, on Day 4, without any employment. My savings will run out in about two weeks and I’m scrambling to find immediate work doing, well… anything — manual labor, waiting tables, other teaching and consulting, or whatever I can find."
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