Former Sarnia minister tells story of his ‘deconversion’ in new memoir

Posted: October 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm

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Bob Ripley could have carried his secret to his grave.

For close to 35 years, the retired minister, who once headed up Sarnia's Dunlop United Church, had been preaching the good book to congregations in southwestern Ontario.

Thousands of readers have also woken up on Saturday mornings to find his message of faith printed in the spirituality and religion sections of Sun Media newspapers.

But last month, the 62-year-old came out as of all things an unbeliever.

It was an extremely difficult decision because I didn't want to and I don't want to make people sad, he said. I don't want to upset people and I could have taken this little secret to my grave, but I also felt that we need to be honest and authentic that is something we tell our little children....

In a heartfelt column, Ripley shocked readers by proclaiming he had changed his mind, asserting he now believes all religion is man made.

His new perspective has sparked a firestorm from his readers.

I've received notes from people that are angry with me, but the vast majority of responses have been from people saying, a) 'Thank you for taking the risk of candor,' and b) 'Thank you for putting into words what I've been struggling with,' the London-based writer said.

He lays out his journey from preacher to skeptic in his latest book Life Beyond Belief: A Preacher's Deconversion. He will be signing copes of his new book at Sarnia's The Book Keeper on Oct. 25 at 10 a.m.

For a natural storyteller, Ripley admits his story of deconversion doesn't have an 'aha!' moment.

Excerpt from:
Former Sarnia minister tells story of his 'deconversion' in new memoir

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October 17th, 2014 at 4:51 pm