Eric Fromm: Lifting the Curtain

My name is Eric Fromm. I am a Senior at NCU majoring in communications, and I am an atheist.

Yes, you read that correctly, I am an atheist. For those of you who didn’t already know about my nonbelief, this news may be a bit shocking, but I was an atheist long before I came to NCU. I was baptized Lutheran, and raised Methodist, but as time went on I slowly came to the conclusion that God wasn’t real. For me, church was an empty ritual that I participated in so I could see friends, scripture was largely mythological, and Jesus was a great moral teacher, but he wasn’t God.

Now you may ask, “Well, if you’re not a Christian, why did you come to NCU?” Truth be told, I came to NCU not because of its religious affiliations, but because it had a solid communications program. I knew that the school catered to Christian thinking, so before I enrolled, I visited the campus to make sure that the chapel services were comfortable enough that I could fulfill the requirement. No one was speaking in tongues or handling snakes, so I decided to stay.

I was very excited to begin my freshman year. I was starting a new life in a new city, I was growing up, and I was making friends. Because of my friends, NCU became a place that I could actually call home. I was comfortable. I was accepted. But I wasn’t at peace. I struggled with religion constantly throughout my freshman year. I would attend chapel, see all the energy and community, and want to be a part of it, but I knew I couldn’t because I couldn’t force myself to believe in God.

I didn’t actually tell anyone I was an Atheist until my sophomore year. While my close friends accepted my atheism, others were not so kind. When people found out that I was an atheist, they started treating me differently. Sometimes they would verbally attack me, sometimes they would give me the cold shoulder, and sometimes they just gave me dirty looks. I find it ironic that some NCU students will talk about how they were ridiculed in high school because of their faith, but now, when the roles are reversed, they are doing the very things that hurt them. Matthew 7:5, right?

Every day I’m burdened by the fact that my peers might reject me because I’m different from them. I won’t be rejected because of my race or social class, but simply because of the fact that I don’t believe in God – because I am an atheist. I’m writing this primarily because I don’t want to keep my atheism a secret any longer, but I’m also writing this because I want to take my peers to task on their inability to accept those who don’t fit their Christian pattern. Growing up in church I heard a lot of lessons about how Christians shouldn’t judge others, but it seems like some people slept through that lesson.

If you would like to ask me any questions or have anything you would like to say about this matter, please communicate with me directly at efromm@nwcu.edu

Co-written by Eric Fromm and Brandon McGinnis

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215 Responses

  1. Edward Fryrear says:

    I was wondering who the other ones were.
    Never felt comfortable talking asking but I knew I couldn’t be the only one.
    I might be more in the agnostic camp but I definitely know which side i’m leaning on.
    Thanks Fromm, your boldness has lifted a great amount of stress off my shoulders.
    That must have been one tough Freshman year.

    • aldrisang says:

      Even someone who calls themselves an agnostic, of the kind that don’t claim to believe in any gods (despite claiming the contrary as well), are still technically atheists. An atheist is someone who doesn’t hold a belief in gods… they don’t have to actively disbelieve or campaign against belief. In other words, atheism is simply the default skeptical position on the question of the existence of unproven supernatural entities. It’s the same as if someone told you Bigfoot existed, and you’d remain skeptical until there were good reasons to believe it. Epistemology is everything.

  2. Roy Barker says:

    I’m 82 years old and went through the same experience as Eric in a college of theology, 56 years ago. The unexpected thing occurred was when I was required to take Bible class. (I was VERY faithful upon entering school and planned to be a missionary.) Finishing the Bible class, I was surprised when I noted, at least, 150 inconsistencies, outright contradictions and repeated biblical accounts that were direct opposites of one another. The “Holy Book” was fraught with errors! As a “Christian,” I was faced with, how can this be “God’s Word” when my thick, two-volume motorhome shop manual has no errors I could detect? It was difficult to reverse the training I received as a Diploma-awarded Sunday School graduate, but my analytical thinking led to a liberated life. There is credibility in, “The truth shall set you free!”

    • scooterwes says:

      I’m only 65, and only de-converted 5 years ago, but I did graduate from Multnomah Bible College with a Bachelor of Theology, and was a missionary in Europe at one time. Even though I loved my church, and my faith family, I just couldn’t wrap my head around a literal interpretation of the Bible (i.e., Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark, Jonah & the whale, and a thousand other stories in the Bible.) And a metaphorical or allegorical Bible was no use to me, so I had to give up those beliefs, just so I could have peace in my rational mind. No longer looking for the Rapture, just living the time I have left with as much grace and kindness as I can muster! Big props to Eric Fromm!

  3. Laska Williams says:

    I personally don’t care that you are an atheist. What bothers me is that you are a lier. you mis represented yourself at this school from the beginning. I have difficulty believing that you could not have found a secular college with as good a communications program; and even if you couldn’t, you could have attended quietly, gotten your degree and left without putting yourself in the spotlight by becoming the school president. you have, in your arrogant stab at honesty, dishonored this school that took you in. It looks to me as though you have a promising career as a professional politician.

    • Edward Fryrear says:

      How did he misrepresent himself. Where you there in the admissions office during his interview when they asked him where he was at in his faith? Did you HEAR him toting around a False Image of being the Perfect Christian Representative? Do you honestly believe it that keeping your head down and not addressing issues you have with an institution is the best way to handle them? God’s Grace is available to all peoples, from the Jews to the Gentiles, who are you to judge with what little information you have?
      You are entitled to your own opinion but I would ask that you please have some rational-basis for it and back up your claims that you are making. Tell me how he has misrepresented himself, cause the way I see it, Fromm just pulled a Paul and instead of letters to the Church he made a post to Bolt. Now we can deal with the issue of people being shunned for their belief (or lack thereof). You’re right, Fromm has a promising career as a politician, good leaders don’t shy away from the problems that face their administrations they look to change them for the better.

      Please, respond.
      I would honestly love to hear why Eric has fallen short.

      • CMartel2 says:

        “You’re right, Fromm has a promising career as a politician.”

        By pretending to be something he isn’t or taking on a leadership role to represent a cause he does not believe in? I fear that is exactly the corrupt nature of Washington, D.C. Nail meet hammer.

    • Jesse says:

      He never once lied. and after he tried to tell the entire truth, he was shot down and made fun of. He is a young man who made a choice, and here you are yet again shooting him down. I say he has a promising career at whatever he chooses because he has the balls to stand up for himself and what he believes in.
      Good day to you.

    • Scott says:

      Show where he lied or deceived anyone on this issue, is it a requirement that one believe in God to go to NCU or be student body president?
      I congratulate him on coming forward knowing that some will judge and attack him for not being convinced any gods exist.

    • Lester Leavitt says:

      Laska, I would like to ask you exactly how Mr. Fromm’s presence at NCU has “sullied” that institution? If you wanted NCU to remain “pure” for “your kind,” are you not more like the Pharisees and Sadducees, who held themselves aloof of those who followed Christ; the kind that would mingle with the “others?” If NCU has a majority of students like you, then they’ve got a big problem with un-Christlike behavior at a Christian institution. If I were a betting man, I would put money on the fact that if a “Samaritan” found himself beaten on the side of the road with “atheist” written on his back in felt pen, Mr. Fromm would be more likely to stop than you.

      • Laska Williams says:

        Hello Lester I wish to thank you for your message;and to repeat to you what I have said to others who misunderstand the point I was trying to make. Everyone seems to think I am a raving conservative Christian. You’re wrong. My frustration stemmed from the manner in which Mr Fromm handled his situation from the beginning. I don’t hate atheist, or gays or any other group. Rather than repeat things I have already discussed with others I will ask you to read the replies I have written to other concerned people. I would like you to know one more thing. I have picked an atheist drunk along the side of the road more than once. I’ve fed them, helped them find places to live, and given them rides many times. Now, who is the judge?

      • Denis says:

        To Laska Williams; Your pathetic. Your bias according to and from your own words regarding this matter is your sense of frustration. Your maddening at the fact of a pitiful human emotion that you can’t seem to get control because your trying to fight a truth. Does not necessarily mean that it’s your sense of truth your fighting but none the less you have just shown us your true self. And on top of this you decide to try to sugar coat your faults by mentioning just how much of a Samaritan/Saint you think you really are (Key word: ‘think’). Using a supposed act of kindness to re-ensure that your not stepping out of bounds in which you in fact have. Not bounds that we might consider but your own bounds. And you’ve picked up an atheist drunk? Glad your the type that can read his whole life story through his eyes unless your assuming that all drunks are atheist which makes you that much more of a hypocrite. I give credit to Eric Fromm in expressing the burden on his shoulders that was set free. He is true to himself which is something you my friend, considerably lack. Thank you.

        • Randal says:

          We are all pathetic at one time or another, and must of us off and on throughout our lives. Name calling is uncalled for. That was one of the main reasons for the start of this discussion. Only through love can we overcome. If you want people to read all your words and be an influence, wait until you can respond maturely.

          • r. russell says:

            Yes, and love had no denomination, no ethnic limits,nor any philosophical barriers. Buddhist, Muslim, HIndu or atheist all recognize the value of love between all peoples. This first sane, accepting and open comment I have seen on this string, Wonderful. Thank You.

    • J mccabe says:

      You dishonor the Chrstian doctrine that offers love and acceptance for all, not just those who agree with you.

    • Keith says:

      Tsk, tsk, Laska. No lying necessary. But your own poor grammar indicates that maybe you need to re-evaluate what it means to be accepting, loving and kind especially if you are professing to be a Christian. It’s not pleasant to be surrounded by people who despise you. Try it sometime and see how it affects you. I think Eric is brave and you, my friend, are a coward.

      • Laska Williams says:

        tsk, tsk, Keith my grammar may not meet your high standards but your smug all knowing attitude has certianly put me in my place. Oh, be careful going out in the rain with your nose tilted so high you just might drown. [:

    • spelling is your friend says:

      Your lack of grammar is disturbing. Darth Vader 2012

    • hai-chuan, tung says:

      “Let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone…”
      “Judge not unless you wish to be judged.”
      “3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

  4. Gil Gaudia says:

    Hi Eric,

    I would like to applaud you for your decision to declare yourself an atheist. I write for several atheist publications and had a “Commentary” in last Sunday’s Register Guard” on this very subject of what it is like to be “in the closet” as an atheist. You are a young man to admire, and at 84 years of age myself, I can tell you that your decision will move the freethinking agenda forward, to the consternation of those who insist that everyone believe as they do or be punished for it–here or in the so called “afterlife. Keep up the struggle for reason!

    Gil Gaudia

  5. Good for you Eric. Well done.

  6. Laska Williams says:

    Please note these excerpts from Mr Fromms article. …I was an atheist long before I came to NCU… …why did you come to NCU? …because it had a solid communications program… I knew the school catered to Christian thinking, so before I enrolled, I visited the campus to make sure that the chapel services were comfortable enough that I could fulfill the requirement… …I didn’t actually tell anyone I was an atheist until my sophomore year… Ok, here we go. I still must return to question “why a devoute atheist even considered checking out classes in an openly Christian school? ….It had a solid communications program… I still say this is a weak answer. are there no secular schools with “a solid communications program” ? He knew there were requirements pertaining to certain activities, like attending chapel. Isn’t that a form of dishonesty, at least to himself if no one else? No, Mr Fryrear I wasn’t at his admissions interview but common sense tells me his answers were carefully phrased and not anti christian. Yes, I believe if you choose to walk into the enemy camp and use their facilities, knowing fullwell you are their turf you most certainly should keep your head down and mind your own business. He didn’t tell anyone he was an atheist until his sophomore year? Are you honestly trying to tell me that isn’t misrepresentation? Can you expect his classmates not to feel lied to? Now, I want to clarify something, I am not advocating their reactions or their treatment of him, but it must be taken into consideration that not everyone has reached maturity, whether spiritual or emotional; and everyone of us has done and said things that hurt others. I’m sorry these young people didn’t learn kindness and acceptance of those who believe differently from their own experiences. But it is very human for various groups or religions to act on their own prejudices, often blindly disregarding the pain and suffering they cause others as they lament their own torment. I’ m sorry Mr Fryrear, but I believe that if Mr Fromm had been open and honest from the start, perhaps he would be justified in publicly calling his classmates to task; but, I don’t. I think he was as wrong as they were. And by the way for someone who claims to lean toward an agnostic view point you certainly had some very religious come backs.[:

    • Scott says:

      What is a ‘devout’ atheist? I think you may have watched a bit to much of Kirk Cameron.
      I am glad you think his short version of why he chose NCU as being weak. A one sentence response to the selection of any major choice might seem ‘weak’ to some.
      Where do you get that he has anti-Christian views? I read specific comments in the article that were just the contrary. Who are his ‘enimies’?
      Is not telling someone you don’t believe in unicorns a ‘misrepresentation’? Do you have any evidence he stated that he did believe in any gods while at NCU?
      Why would classmates feel lied to?
      You don’t seem to be showing the same maturity and acceptance as you advocate.
      And for the record – atheism is about having a belief that any gods exist or not, agnostic is about knowing if there are any gods or not (or if the question is even knowable). They are different questions not different levels of confidence.

      • Nick says:

        Scott, It is very difficult to argue with a someone, such as L. Williams who is caught-up in circular reasoning and who likes to play the perceived victim card. Those, like Williams have no qualms with “going into the enemy camp,” casting their religious pearls and then crying “foul” when they are ridiculed. However, they freely ridicule Mr. Fromm for attending NCU on his own merits and taking his classmates to task for being hypocrites. I applaud him for being open about his freethinking viewpoint. Freethinking is something that everyone, especially homiletic steamrollers, like L. Williams, should consider.

    • r. russell says:

      “Enemy” ?? Nowhere in Mr From’s article did I detect anything like the sentiment of an enemy. He expresses his affection for friends, and respect for others at all times. I did not detect any devaluation of those who choose to believe, but simply that those ways were not something he could accept. But from your letter, you put yourself in the place of considering him the enemy. Does the fact that he chooses not to follow the path of those beliefs you find valuable have to mean that he is an enemy? Is there some existential contest here? Do you think that if he wins, you will lose? Wins what? lose what? Are you threatened in any way? I do not sense any threat in anything he has written here. Perhaps there is more to the story that has not appeared here?

      • Laska Williams says:

        This reply is specificaliy for nick and r. russell Gentlemen, if you will back up and reread what I wrote and look at what I was really saying, instead of picking out a word or a sentence that caught your attention and doing to me what you are accusing me of doing to Mr Fromm; you will see that the main question I was asking was, Why would someone who says they do not believe in a certain ideology choose to place themselves directly in the middle of an institution that caters to the thing he has come to disbelieve when there are other options open to him. This seems to me the action of a person who may not be totally sure he is correct in his thinking. I don’t know Mr Fromm personally , as several people have kindly pointed out, so all I have as a reference from which I may form an opinion about his reasons for presenting his case in an manner that was sure to receive publicity and possible negative feedback is the article he placed in the school paper. How is repeating what Mr Fromm wrote and and pointing out what could be perceived as weaknesses in his story Be circular reasoning? I was taught it’s called stating the facts and using them to draw reasonable conclusions. It sounds to me that you have no logical reply, so you have chosen to dismiss it rather than admit what I wrote might have some merit. Why do you accuse me of casting religious pearls and crying foul? Have I put Mr Fromm down for his belief? No! I only disagreed with his method of telling the world Why are you so shook up about the “enemy camp”? Can’t you people recoginize a metephor when you see it. Oh, bye the way, whether you choose to believe it or not, I’ve really enjoyed disagreeing with you guys [:

    • SomeCascadian says:

      This is a direct quote from NCU’s Undergraduate Admission’s page [http://www.nwcu.edu/undergraduate]

      “We welcome students who have no faith commitment or are from other faith
      commitments and do not require students to be Chrstian [for those who are curious:
      Yes, this typo is on their website… lulz] or subscribe to any faith statement. Central in
      experience, NCU students explore, discover and grow within the context of a Christ-
      centered community”

      So yeah… Christian beliefs are not a requirement, and in fact, no religious commitment is necessary to be a student at NCU. You have invented that requirement in your head, most likely because of the name Northwest Christian University, which is almost understandable, except for the open statements made by the university and its administration which makes your assumption a logical fallacy.

      So long as he was willing to jump through the hoops, which he clearly does not find unbearable, he is a perfectly legitimate member of a community of students willing to “explore, discover and grow within the context of a Christ-centered community”. And as he is an American, I find absolutely nothing dishonest about this willingness, as it is the dominate dogma of our nation, and he clearly fulfills all other requirements more than well enough.

      You have invented an enemy based off of no information whatsoever beyond your preconceived (and factually incorrect) biases of what it takes to be a student at NCU, and are in direct contradiction to the official view points of this institution and its administrators.

      He had no obligation whatsoever to tell anyone of his non-belief, anymore than you are obligated to tell me that you are a christian. You are not obligated, and I don’t care. What anyone else “believes”, means next to nothing to me, and frankly I would find your declaration somewhat intrusive because I didn’t ask, just like this institution.

    • Nancy says:

      Anti Christian? Enemy camp? Do you really consider atheists the enemy? Mr. Fromm made no anti Christian remarks. He certainly didn’t sound as if he considered Christians his enemy. And his friends were accepting of him,just not others who didn’t know him. They sound a bit like you.

  7. Bill says:

    I am proud of you, Eric, for announcing your atheism. That must have been difficult, and I hope that you embolden others to be openly honest about their non-belief. Make no doubt about it, there are many others just like you at religious schools who wish they could be openly honest. Sadly, many religious people cannot tolerate people who hold views that don’t match their own. But that is how all religions are designed. These religions cannot stand on their own house of cards foundations. The surest way to help people leave their faith is to get them to read their own doctrine (bible) and encourage self-awareness.

  8. Tony Irish A concerned NCU parent! says:

    I can only say I’m disappointed.
    Not that Mr Fromm is an atheist but that he says he should be accepted when he knowingly miss represented his beliefs. That is called lying. Of course he would be treated differently, he was not honest with those around him and when they found out they felt betrayed!
    Northwest Christian university accepts all students as they are. They have exchange students I know personally that are not Christians and they have no problems other than those all students have in college. Such as making new friends.
    I don’t see the courage in what he has said, I only see a way of bring attention to himself. As I understand the last student body president was gay and did very well at the university. So what is different.
    This should not be praised but should be a lesson for Mr Fromm. It’s not because your an atheist that many treat you different now it’s because you did not trust your fellow students and you betrayed their trust by not being truthful with them in the first place. Trust and acceptance only comes through truth and honesty.
    Sincerely Tony A. Irish

    • NcuStudent8 says:

      If you knew Eric personally you would know that he has never lied or been dishonest about being an atheist. He simply has not made a huge announcement about his faith prior to this post. I have known Eric for almost a year now and I have known about his beliefs for about the same amount of time. Eric is not an attention seeking person! If you have spent any time with him you would know this. We as Christians should never make an excuse for treating others with anything but respect and love! Yes, I understand people may be hurt by this but that should not affect the way that we treat Eric. And in response to your quote, “I don’t see the courage in what he has said, I only see a way of bringing attention to himself.” How dare you belittle his courage when you don’t personally know him. Try putting yourself in his shoes for a day. His courage has opened a door to others not only on campus who feel out of place but in our community as well.

    • Scott says:

      Again, where is there a lie?
      He stated that the reason he came forward was because of rumors going around and the reactions based on those rumors. If he was just a student, would a public statement be called for? In most cases not. As the Student Body President, addressing the student body in this way seems proper.

    • Gary says:

      While Tony Irish may not be able to see the courage.. many many more enlightened folks CAN see it. A courage for which you DO deserve praise (right along with your gay predecessor – still having trouble figuring out the intent of Tony’s comparison here). To be able to speak Truth Mister Irish you must first be able to look inwardly without the blinders of your “faith”.

    • SomeCascadian says:

      This is a direct quote from NCU’s Undergraduate Admission’s page [http://www.nwcu.edu/undergraduate]

      “We welcome students who have no faith commitment or are from other faith commitments and do not require students to be Chrstian [for those who are curious: Yes, this typo is on their website… lulz] or subscribe to any faith statement. Central in experience, NCU students explore, discover and grow within the context of a Christ- centered community”

      So yeah… Christian beliefs are not a requirement, and in fact, no religious commitment is necessary to be a student at NCU. You have invented that requirement in your head, most likely because of the name Northwest Christian University, which is almost understandable, except for the open statements made by the university and its administration which makes your assumption a logical fallacy.

      So long as he was willing to jump through the hoops, which he clearly does not find unbearable, he is a perfectly legitimate member of a community of students willing to “explore, discover and grow within the context of a Christ-centered community”. And as he is an American, I find absolutely nothing dishonest about this willingness, as it is the dominate dogma of our nation, and he clearly fulfills all other requirements more than well enough.

      You have invented an enemy based off of no information whatsoever beyond your preconceived (and factually incorrect) biases of what it takes to be a student at NCU, and are in direct contradiction to the official view points of this institution and its administrators.

      He had no obligation whatsoever to tell anyone of his non-belief, anymore than you are obligated to tell me that you are a christian. You are not obligated, and I don’t care. What anyone else “believes”, means next to nothing to me, and frankly I would find your declaration somewhat intrusive because I didn’t ask, just like this institution.

  9. cooeerup says:

    Good on ya Eric. I’m a 56 year old Australian woman and have been atheist since I was around 10. It is people like you who have the courage to reveal yourself, in what is seen by many outside the US a country soaked in religion, that are going to help others gain the courage they need to reveal themselves too. You already have, evidenced by Edward Fryrear’s comment above.
    Someone with such courage, honesty and humility such as yourself are the kind of leaders countries need going forward. I think you have a very bright future ahead of you. Well done.

  10. scooterkillssquirrel says:

    Let me ask you this Laska. Does being a Christian make you better than everyone else?

    • Laska Williams says:

      Did I say anything about being a christian? or just about religion? I was talking about being honest and forthright. Are you saying only christians should be honest and tell the truth. Did I excuse the people who mistreated mr fromm? Tell me, does not being a christian make you better than everyone else?

      • Paul D von Nahme says:

        Yes. Certinaly more Rational and better at making decisions based upon rational thought and evidence. Believers clearly have grown up unwilling to “connect the dots”. Which is more dishonest, willfully ignoring fact? Or Accepting fact based upon rational thought and skeptically tested and peer reviewed scientific method?
        The day religion dies…Humanity survives.
        47 YO Active duty Combat Vet. Atheist since 10, Anti-Theist since 33 and son of a Minister/ Biblical Historical Scholar.

      • Paul D von Nahme says:

        By the way…EVERY Christian(as well as every other believer in every other religion) lies by willfully ignoring the things that haven’t been disproven YET. Less than 600 years ago stating the earth orbited the sun was “heresy” . You don’t still believe that do you? No of course not. You don’t believe in Unicorns, do you? (yes they are in the bible) So Believers simply ignore the parts of their faith that are no longer convenient to maintaining their fantasy. What’s honest about that?

  11. Scott says:

    I would say yes, “scooterkillssquirrel”, but then I’m an arrogant toe-rag. I quite agree with several of the commenters. I have many atheist friends, and do not mind an honest atheist (though as CS Lewis noted, I have found very few “honest” atheists who have through through entirely what it means to remove God entirely from the picture); I do. however, mind a great deal someone who enters into a place with false pretenses. I attended the University of Oregon as a devout theist, and remain so, but never once did I say to the UofO that I was anything other than who I was. I wonder very much if Eric actually was candid and honest with NCU about his beliefs. If he was and NCU still admitted him, shame on them.

    • A fellow student says:

      You would be surprised to know that NCU truly accepts us where we are. I was not a Christian when I came to this school either..and now people think I’ve been a Christian my entire life when in reality I accepted Christ into my life less than a year ago. Being an atheist does not change Eric’s character and I am honestly proud to call him a friend. He has never lied about his faith and doesn’t hide anything. If you went and asked him about his faith prior to this post he would have given an honest answer. Not a lot of things truly frustrate me in life; some of these comments honestly do. If you have never had a conversation with Eric and wish to criticize him, do it in silence. If you have held a conversation with him and have had a glimpse at who he is as a person, by all means say something. To all you critics out there..I dare you to come to NCU and have an honest conversation with him just about life. My guess is your critiques would either stop or feel justified. Until you know him, your opinion is respected but understand you are judging a person you have never met. The bible says not to judge for you will also be judged.

      So here is to you Eric; one of the most courageous and honest people I know and a school president who has impacted this school regardless of religion. I have so much respect for you and will support you in any way that I can. You are loved at this school not only by your fellow classmates but by the administration. Continue to inspire our school and be a voice for those who feel they must remain silent.

    • aldrisang says:

      If you want to talk to an honest atheist, you can e-mail me (aldrisang AT gmail.com).

    • aldrisang says:

      If you want to talk to an “honest atheist”, you can contact me (aldrisang AT gmail.com); I’d be happy to discuss it with you. I rather expect that you won’t, or that if you do contact me you will not wish to discuss things rationally. Up to you though. I’m game if you are.

  12. People who don’t know Eric say he’s a liar–even a lier!–people who know Eric disagree. Who to trust, I wonder?

    Eric’s advisor has responded and says, “Fromm is handling this correctly. He didn’t take the easy path; he took the right one.” http://beaconbolt.com/2013/11/06/fromms-advisor-responds/

    Part of the reason why it’s difficult to “come out” as an atheist is because of theistic reactions like this. Not Eric, but many people feel–at least, initially–that living a lie is preferable to the rejection of family, friends, and the community in general. Most people get over this and “come out” when they have worked through what they believe and why, which takes time. Many do not. In my view, there is no dishonour or shame to mislead people if the alternative will cause distress, and persecution.

    Perhaps, if theists stop fearing atheists and change their damn attitude, we might have less people who are “dishonest”.

  13. sarahejones says:

    “We welcome students who have no faith commitment or are from other faith commitments and do not require students to be Chrstian or subscribe to any faith statement.”

    That’s from Northwest’s website, under Admissions. I advise people to think again before they accuse Mr. Fromm of misrepresenting himself.

  14. marlock276 says:

    Great essay Eric. You are not alone. I moved to southern Mississippi ten years ago, and this is my blog post about finally declaring my beliefs, after feeling for so long that I had to hide them: http://cindymardis.blog.com/2013/08/09/this-is-me/

  15. kelsieb says:

    I find it interesting to consider the people who are calling Eric ‘dishonest’ or a ‘liar.’ They obtained the indoctrination to their religion from their parents and community, but would profess their religion as a choice made by themselves. That would be a lie. Their response to Eric’s conflicts is to add to them. Would they self-identify a Christian attitude? Another lie.

  16. Lester says:

    Now for the real conundrum that Mr. Fromm has invoked here. Mr. Fromm, as a non-believer, obviously is welcome to remain at NCU, but as we ponder the fact that the U.S. Senate is likely to pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act of 2013 today (putting aside the fact that it will never become law anyway because of the House), we can ask if NCU would react within their LEGAL right (through the religious exclusion clause) and fire a professor like myself just because I went to Washington state and got married? This has happened at several Christian schools over the past year as gay marriages became more prevalent. I’m sure NCU has a devoted and committed Christian AND gay professor already, and if what has happened elsewhere is any indication, these good Christian teachers and professors are typically given a wink-and-a-nod as long as they are living with a “friend,” but as soon as that “friend” becomes a spouse they are fired. It would seem that nobody can keep their wedding a secret, and why should they have to?

    Would Mr. Fromm be welcome to stay if he were faculty and came out as an atheist? Would he be welcome to stay as the student body president if he were gay and announced his marriage to his long-time boyfriend? (Sorry, Eric…not meaning to imply anything here.)

    Pardon me for pushing here, but how is being atheist and heterosexual somehow better than being a devout Christian and gay? Let me answer that: Eric examined the belief system of his parents, did some soul-searching, and made a conscious choice to BECOME an atheist. I have never met a gay man who ever once said, “I have examined heterosexuality, found that I do not like it, and made a conscious choice to be gay.” For every gay man (and lesbian, and trans-person) that I know, the only CHOICE was when to tell family and friends the truth about the only identity they have ever – or ever will – know.

    Eric, you truly have lifted the curtain, and there is much more behind that curtain than NCU’s willingness to “be tolerant” to the atheists in their midst. I encourage every gay student and faculty member to get on board with Mr. Fromm here and have a real discussion about “inclusion” at NCU.

    As the Baptist preacher John Leland famously said during the birth of this nation, “The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians [and atheists and gays].”

    • aldrisang says:

      Atheism isn’t a choice either. You don’t choose what you believe; beliefs are “formed” by your experiences. You can choose to investigate, to look into these claims, but you don’t actively change your beliefs… they are changed as a result. Many people fail to understand that, and it’s one of the key reasons that Pascal’s Wager is fundamentally flawed.

      • Scott says:

        Pascal also fails because it is not God or no gods – there are thousands of ‘possible’ mythologies vs. no gods. If you choose the wrong god … You may be treated the same as if you reserve believing in a god without evidence.

  17. Victoria says:

    Eric, thank you for your post and for being “out” about your atheism. The more we speak rationally to the world about what atheism actually is, the more realistic people can be about it. We really shouldn’t HAVE to say anything as, fundamentally, we are merely rejecting a claim that has been made. The fact that you even have to make a post like this to essentially “come out” is so surreal to me. A turned-off television doesn’t have to bear a sign that it is not a channel-showing television. And you’re not telling believers that they’re wrong. You’re just stating what is right for you. But there have been so many things said about atheism that simply are not based in reality, and often evidence to the contrary of those things holds true. Please do continue to be part of paving the road for the others who are worried about “coming out” or who, like me, were born and raised with the option to choose.

  18. Robert says:

    I’m a 37 year old guy from Sweden, and this has really baffled me…

    First off, I really don’t get the commotion about all this.
    He’s an atheist….so? What’s the big deal? What really gets to me is that everybody at that school seems to get really upset about him not standing up in front of class from the get go, and telling everybody that he’s an atheist. Why on earth would he do that? Why would that be an issue at all?

    If everybody got along with him for about two to three years without knowing he was an atheist, partied with him, invited him to school events, went to lunch with him and so on. Why would that change when finding out he was an atheist? He sure as hell is the same person he was the day before? If his classmates and peers liked him one day, that shouldn’t change when finding out about his atheism, that’s just…wrong?!

    And, Tony Irish, of course it should be praised if you stand up for being gay or atheist in an all heterosexual or secular school or work environment. If you are that strong, that is something to be applauded and looked up to. And maybe…just maybe, he knew when (and if) coming out as an atheist he knew what was coming, dontcha think?

    And why the negativity about him coming to “your” school, if he came to your school for your obviously really good curriculum. That has to be a really good school, if it makes atheists come to an openly christian school =)

    • a fellow student says:

      You seem to have a skewed view of the student body’s reaction to finding out Eric was an atheist. Yes, some have become frustrated, but to be honest, a far larger number have encouraged and supported Eric in this period. As Eric stated, most of his close friends have known about his viewpoint for as long as we have known him.

      Laska, in response to your opinions, which although heavily supported by facts fail to address the goal of our school. The goal is not to turn students away whose beliefs may be different but to accept people despite their differences. Perhaps he was admitted to the school because there was a thought that God would work through Eric and eventually he would be led to Christ, perhaps they saw a strong leader who would be a voice for others on campus, or perhaps they saw a student who sought out a solid communications program and who was willing to step up as a leader on campus. Where you say you are drawing conclusions, I disagree. As a psychology major I have learned that in this type of situation conclusions can not be drawn, simply inferred upon. You infer that Eric should not have attended a school which differed from his beliefs, but honestly, is it your place to make that statement? If this had been you making the same choice it may have been different than the choice Eric made, just as it would be different than the choice I would make. Everyone’s circumstances are different and you can speculate about it all you want, but this was Eric’s choice and as a Christian, I will say I thank God for bringing such an inspiring person into my life that has helped me through some rather difficult times.

      For the rest of you saying that how Eric proclaimed his atheism was ridiculous and uncalled for, understand that this article was only meant for people affiliated with our school. It was meant to provide clarity for the student body, not to bring attention to himself. The reason it ended up at the register guard was by someone who was upset and wanted to essentially tear down Eric. Now, it is viral, being found on multiple blogs and news sources, but that was never its purpose. As a friend of Eric’s I will stand beside him and state that as a person of character he never sought out this attention and I honestly think how big this has gotten in the past week may be frustrating simply because it was never meant to be this big.

      Understand that opinions can be stated, but Eric’s character won’t be changed by your opinions and his self-worth won’t be torn apart, but attacking doesn’t change the situation. Instead of condemning someone, why not support them?

      • Laska Williams says:

        dear fellow student you, and you alone,of all the comments submitted said the right things . Good for you [:

    • CMartel2 says:

      The rancor exists, as it well should, in that he ran for a leadership position in a school with a Christian mission, knowing full-well he did not support this cause. The raison d’etre for this school is based in faith. It’s one thing to join that community as a member, particularly when the admissions policies allow for this. It’s quite another to assume a leadership role, which can be at best be viewed as arrogance and after this coming out post, borders on subterfuge.

  19. Gol Snyder says:

    As a concerned Christian grandparent, I find this unacceptable. The main reason my granddaughter attends NCU, she’s a Christian also.
    This young man holds a position where other young Christians look to him for an example.
    Now that he has chosen to make his beliefs known, NCU needs to hold up the standard
    that they claim.
    Northwest Christian University -Christian means to be Christ-like.
    1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
    Would Jesus have a professed atheist in a position to be a leader of His young Christians?

    • ColinLoh says:

      Gol, I hope your granddaughter is able to have non-Christian role models. It would be tragic otherwise.
      You asked, “Would Jesus have a professed atheist in a position to be a leader of His young Christians?”
      Well, I assume you’ve read your bible, which shows that Jesus preferred the Roman Centurion and the Samaritan over the traditional Jewish leaders of his day. His point was that it was not about what your identity group was. Being the children of Abraham meant little to him. Do you think Jesus would have preferred an atheist who cared more about being honest and doing kind things to his fellow human beings, or politicians who do a good job of praying in public and presenting themselves as wonderful Christians? Tell me that your Lord and Savior prefers the former to the latter, and you’d have told me exactly how little you think of your god.
      It put it to you that if you were a good grandparent, you’d be prouder of your granddaughter if she looked up to, say, world renowned scientists – the majority of whom are non-Christians, instead of NFL stars – the majority of whom thank God for every touchdown. It seems to me, from this blog post, that there’s much that can be learned from Eric Fromm. If nothing else, it should inspire some some self-reflection for those who think that only people of their own religion is worthy of following.

    • a fellow student says:

      Hi Gol,

      As a fellow student leader understand that although Eric may be atheist, there are other leaders on campus that are not, I myself being one of them.

      Please understand that if your granddaughter’s faith in Christ is deep, one student leader’s views on religion should not affect her. Eric does not go around flaunting his atheism and respects and honestly admires those who believe in Christ.

      Eric is not much older than your granddaughter and if she were in the same position as he is in proclaiming himself as an atheist, would you still be ashamed? What if your granddaughter was still searching in her faith and was doubting in Christ, wouldn’t it be better for her to hear both sides of the faith spectrum to truly understand her beliefs.

      To your granddaughter on campus, understand that one atheist doesn’t change the nature of our school and that Eric deserves the respect to be able to openly share his viewpoints and be accepted for them just the same as you and I do. Even Saul was an atheist before he found Christ on the road to Damascus. As Christians, shouldn’t we hope that one day the same might happen for Eric?

      Romans 15:7 says “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the Glory of God.”

      If we fail to accept others, we fail to glorify God.

    • Tom Rath says:

      I believe it was Martin Luther who said (words to the effect) “Better to be ruled by a competent Moor than an incompetent Christian”.

      Maybe Mr. Fromm was simply the most competent?

  20. Jake says:

    Eric, as an atheist doctoral student at another “Christian” college, I applaud you. I’ve told everyone about myself since day one, and been lucky enough to have many truly devout students come to me as a source of challenge. One recently told me “I don’t know if I really believe something until I have to defend it, and you help me challenge and defend my beliefs and it makes me a stronger Christian.”

    I regret that some of those posting here can’t see that you pose no threat to them and that engaging in healthy conversations with atheists can actually help their faith. That is, unless what’s actually motivating their negativity is a fear that they might also be converted because there’s already a nagging idea deep down that they may be wrong. However, unlike Christianity, the primary goal of atheism is NOT conversion. Most atheists believe that everyone should find their own path, and I think most Christian denominations ask their followers to actively encourage conversion. So, Christians reading this, please know that Eric, I, and those like us – do not care if you want to be Christian. We do not hold that against you. We do not think less of you. We do not want to convert you. But we are among you. We work alongside you. We live next door. And, honestly, our numbers are growing – a lot. Eric, you are not alone.

    Faith is personal – just as personal as our career choice, where we attend school, and what we decide to do with our lives. Thank you for opening doors for other students who might be questioning or otherwise not Christian-identified. They stand to benefit from attendance at your institution as much as the school and its students stand to benefit from their presence.

  21. PJ says:

    I am a hospice nurse and do not disclose that I am an atheist. Where I work is not a Christian organization, but the managers play Christian music in all the offices and all the meetings & special events all begin with a Christian prayer. It is frowned upon if you are not Christian by most individuals, so I do not say anything. I love my job and I am very good at my job, but have found that only disclosing to those of either like mind has been the best way to manage at work. Big high five to Eric for his “coming out.” Maybe one day we can all be so open.

    • skeptic4321 says:

      This is so sad, imo. Personally, I think Christianity is far more primitive than Buddhism yet Christianity is automatically assumed to be “good.” Vicarious redemption via human sacrifice predicated on animal sacrifice is primitive and barbaric, imo, and all the other stuff that comes with it – imaginary beings, that angry, psychopathic god, heaven/hell, judgment, magical thinking, the Bable, etc – is in no way “comforting” to me.

      • PJ says:

        The above was only referring to the work place. When I enter a persons house, it is their religion and culture that is followed. No discussion about my personal beliefs are brought up. It is their death, their families grief and if it brings them comfort I will gladly read them the Bible or sing Amazing Grace, find a Shaman or Rabbi, do smudging, etc. It would be morally wrong and unprofessional to do otherwise. But in an office setting, it is different. We previously had a Chaplin that was Buddhist (I practice Tibetan Buddhism) that was very inclusive to all religions. That is the way it should be … inclusion, not tolerance.

      • CMartel2 says:

        By making this claim, you reject human history. Is that a position you are comfortable taking?

  22. Gary says:

    Bravo Eric! It took me a bit over 50 years to separate myself from the indoctrination and truly come to the determination that all this god stuff was bunk. (It’s also been heartily liberating!) But it has been hard to discover just how ingrained these beliefs are in some people and how violently they can react when their fragile belief system is “threatened” by someone voicing the truth. Keep your head up.. you seem to have a humble and balanced outlook that will serve you well. Best of luck to you!

  23. Earl Riley Jr. says:

    I came out in my fifties, but I was a non-believer long before that time. I have never regretted it. Those friends I may have lost because of it were not really my friends at all. I value my intelligence and belief in humanity over the supernatural. Hang in there friend. There are more of us than we know.

  24. skeptic4321 says:

    Nice article – the sad thing to me is atheism is clearly the default human condition – we are indoctrinated into religion by family and society – and many religious people I know just don’t seem to get “when you understand why you don’t believe in Zeus, Thor, etc., you will understand why I don’t believe in your god.”
    “Jesus was a great moral teacher”
    Personally, I am not convinced he even existed- and even if he did, everything written about him is hearsay and borrowed mythology – he doesn’t even make the list of Top 100 Philosophers since he really cannot be confirmed to have existed and the mythology about him really doesn’t contribute anything to prexisting philosophy (Greeks, etc).

    • aldrisang says:

      The one good thing I take from what the alleged Jesus allegedly said (LOL) is the teaching to love others as thyself. That’s a golden nugget of wisdom. There are also some unwise things that he supposedly said, such as hating your family and not planning for tomorrow… not to mention the utter failure to abolish slavery. Still, take the good and leave the bad (with all things).

  25. Treesquid says:

    Good for you, Eric. It’s a tough admission sometimes. I did the same thing when I was younger, went to church for the community, but slowly realized that it made no sense to me. Thankfully, when I went to my pastor and said “I just can’t do this anymore. There’s never a reason provided for any of your answers, and for everything that lacks an answer, I feel like the message is “forgot about it, God did it.” And he just said “Well, it’s not for everyone, I hope you find your answers elsewhere.” If only all Christians could be so kind and understanding…as they were ordered to be by their savior, whom their religion is named after.

  26. YogiOne says:

    Eric, the next step is defining what you do believe in. Start with naturalism as a philosophical basis and you won’t go wrong.

  27. Jack Maurice says:

    Congratulations Eric!

    It’s great to see a bright young person (I’m 66 yrs old) make an effort to use their critical thinking skills to the fullest. Believe or not you have millions of like-minded associates in our country that will support your decision to be transparent about your non-belief.

    Jack Maurice
    Orlando Freethinkers & Humanists
    Orlando Coalition of Reason
    Founder

  28. Steve says:

    Eric,

    I wish you the best on your journey, no matter where it leads. You’re kind of a lightning rod for comment until people become distracted by the Next Thing. Hang in there.

    Best Wishes,
    Steve

  29. John says:

    Congratulations Eric, there are millions of people around the world who look on in bemusement at the antics of religious groups (particularly in America). You study in an academic institution that welcomes students ‘who have no faith commitment or are from other faith commitments’ (apparently) and there is criticism because you exercise you faculty to think for yourself?

    We are of course all born atheist and that is only changed by the indoctrination of whichever ‘tribe’ you happen to born into. Here in Europe religion is fast losing it’s grip. Around a quarter of all people here in the UK said they had no religion in the last census and the number of regular church goers is very small; from over here the attitude of your University.

  30. TL Crain says:

    I just want to say it took courage to do what you did. I have spent most of my 61 years dancing around the Atheist word. I’m not sure if I fit the definition, but I am sure there is no biblical God. Just wanted to give you my support.

  31. MIchael King says:

    At the very least … he likely is a liar too! Serving as Student Body President, surely he faked praying and lying about his relationship with Christ.

    • aldrisang says:

      Others who know him have already posted here that he never claimed to be a believer. Actually anyone who claims to have a “relationship with Christ” is by definition a liar or deluded, so…

      • CMartel2 says:

        “Actually anyone who claims to have a “relationship with Christ” is by definition a liar or deluded, so…”

        And there is the arrogance and bigotry on full display. It doesn’t get any more disgusting than that.

  32. Denise Clay says:

    If nothing else, some of the responses to this post have confirmed something for me.
    Nothing makes folks question whether or not God exists quite like hanging out with Christians. I’ve never seen a group of people so willing to try and force their beliefs on others before in my life. Many of them even believe that the First Amendment to the Constitution should be ripped up to accommodate their desires.
    It’s as if some of you memorized every verse in the Bible except “Judge not, lest ye be judged”.
    Geez…

  33. Gil Gaudia says:

    Laska Williams, how can you deny your cruel and dishonest Christian hypocrite statement when this quote is right out of your email comment?
    “What bothers me is that you are a lier. you mis represented yourself at this school from the beginning.. . . “

  34. rruss says:

    This whole string is starting to should like a bunch of splined kids arguing over whether a BMW is better than a Mercedes, or whether one sitcom is better than another. Childish. Surely there must be something more substantial to do with your lives. Get over it. Get a life.
    If this is an argument over the validity of one belief over another, or whether one is better than another, then one should be mature enough to understand there is no universal answer, only a personal preference, and no personal preference is superior to another.
    On the other hand, if this is not about religious belief, but a personal judgements of one person’s behavior compared to another’s behavior, then their accusations of each are a reflection of their inner selves, and reflect the inner beliefs of those speaking. I am not impressed. Most appear to be rather childish and preoccupied by small issues.surely there must be better things to do than cast aspersions on others.

    • aldrisang says:

      Sounds like you don’t believe in truth; like you’re a relativist that believes that there’s only subjective truth, and not one binding truth that is the way things are regardless of our opinions and beliefs. If it’s all preference, I guess Muslims imprisoning and beheading people for apostasy or blasphemy isn’t all that bad in your worldview. That’s sad.

      • sherry says:

        Sam Harris writes about how we can develop values without relying on a supernatural belief system. he wrote “The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values.” There are great youtube videos of him explaining his viewpoint if you are interested.

        • aldrisang says:

          I’m with Sam Harris, sherry! “Well-being” is a good approximation of our basis for morality. You could also say the Golden Rule and/or Empathy. We have personal and societal considerations (i.e. consequences) for our actions that refrain us from performing certain actions, and our own conscience can further restrict our initial desires to do such actions in the first place. Religious people have “afterlife considerations” as well, but people who don’t believe in an afterlife must look only to this life.

  35. Lou Schlickman says:

    Eric Fromm, were your parents at all interested in Erich Fromm? Escape from Freedom is a must read for anyone who professes a love for humanity, monotheist, polytheist or atheist.

  36. Most of my life I struggled with questions like, “am I really saved or is God real”. With my life in shambles and a divorce after 30 years of marriage, I started putting my life back together. I met an amazing woman that filled most of the voids in my life. Someone I could talk openly about anything, eventually we were married and the two of us were growing closer to God. Then out of the blue a most profound thing happened. I had a massive heart attack, the “widow maker” and the only thing I could think of was “I am happy, finally happy and I don’t want to go”. It was not until later that the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I had made a choice and God had sustained me long enough to receive the help needed to stay alive. You see it was 45 minutes to get to the hospital and I should not have been able to survive that long with 100% blockage of my arteries, or so all 4 of my cardiologist have told both myself and my wife. Even with this it still did not match what God revealed to me after all this had occurred. What really got deep into my soul was when the Holy Spirit reminded me when I was as close to death as anyone can get, I had no fear, no fear of dying and that is when I knew. I will be in heaven one day. I can only hope and pray that one day you will see and understand that God has given you a choice, and that you make the right one.

    • aldrisang says:

      That was the spirit of Lord Brahma letting you know that you’ll join the oneness of his Being when you pass beyond this life…The problem is you can’t know that isn’t the case. You’ve attributed divinity to your very own thoughts, a form of confirmation bias. A Hindu would take something quite different from your experience; anyone of any religion (that believes in divinities) could have such thoughts and attribute them to their god(s). You could well have been raised to believe in the Hindu gods, and it would be them that you’d now be praising. When your mind became preoccupied with death, it filled in the blanks with the beliefs you held. A Buddhist or Taoist would take something altogether different from the experience, and an atheist something else again.

      The task before us is to question whether we really know, and how. Attributing our feelings and thoughts to divinities, having “realizations”, is obviously not something specific to one religion, and so is not a reliable path to truth.

      • rruss says:

        Perhaps the most constructive response in the whole string. Thank You.

      • CM says:

        Only that’s completely ignorant of the notion of history and the life of Christ. If you want to throw history out the window and ignore it, speak on.

      • aldrisang says:

        “CM says: (November 11, 2013 at 7:24 am) Only that’s completely ignorant of the notion of history and the life of Christ. If you want to throw history out the window and ignore it, speak on.”

        It won’t let me reply to you directly CM, but let me put it here. You think the Bible is a history book, just as Hindus think their scriptures are true to history. They are not. There was no global flood, no Adam and Eve, and no proof that Jesus (Yeshua) even existed. If you want to talk about history, you need to have “standards” of evidence, of which it seems you have none if you’ll just accept traditional stories as depictions of truth.

      • Scott says:

        CM, how is it throwing History out the window by including other cultures also being concsidered?
        Does rejecting accounts that come only from one source without any evidence to confirm wild claims constitute throwing out history?
        Does having multiple versions of the same event (finding the empty tomb for example) make it clear which account is correct?

      • Benon says:

        Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people. Otherwise there wouldn’t be religious people!

    • rruss says:

      This is without any doubt the stupidest comment string I have ever seen. If you chose not to believe in anything, what business is to of anyone but you? And if you chose to believe that cows are sacred, what business is that of anyone but you? And if you make a behavior choice that insists on calling other names because of what they believe, then that is only a reflection of your inability to accept others for what they believe. That is only a reflection of you, and has no bearing on the merits of those who believe differently from you. Please … go find something better to do with your life, sand if you cannot, then that is a reflection of your personal deficiencies.

    • Steve says:

      Mr. Gray there is no God. There is no master plan for you. You are a random bag of meat in a universe that is the same 10 years before you were born as it will be a million years after we all pass. Except it.

      • Will says:

        If you’re going to waste time with a raw proof by assertion, at least take a moment to know the difference between “accept” and “except” like any other good “rational responder.”

    • Rob says:

      Mr. Gray,
      Physicist Richard Feynman used to argue very strongly that the easiest person to fool is yourself because everything that happens to you seems so significant. What science does is force you to go outside yourself. The REAL story of why & how things happen is far more interesting than any of the fairy tales we have invented to describe them.

      • Rob,
        Can science explain a clock going in reverse, as soon as an evangelist talks about not worrying about the time, we are on God’s time, or can science explain the unwrapping of a leg on a patient, whose doctor said had not been sewn up, to find it sewn up with white thread, something all medical personnel at the hospital stated had never been done or can it explain a male voice at 4 in the morning, when you wake up from dreaming something totally unrelated and are wide awake, with no one in the house but your wife? I am blessed, despite the fact the doctors said I would die, be in a coma if I did live, vegetative state if not comatose, never run again, walk with a bad limp, never smile again. Also, a complete fracture in the middle of my back, without separation and of course paralysis. The only thing that I didn’t get back was non scarred skin and vision in my right eye, but in his infinite wisdom, God helped me overcome my obsession with girls and sports, and taught me what is really important. I don’t know why me instead of you or someone else. My father was a hellion turned minister for Christ, I question everything despite all this, but came to the correct conclusion. Visit Ken Hamm’s Creation Museum and/or watch Faith Like Potatoes and/or visit my website gotellit.weebly.com and please don’t consider all people who claim to be
        Christians, Christians. Like anything else, we have our pretenders and PEOPLE who have a bad day, etc…

        God Bless,

        Randal

      • Scott says:

        Randal, can you demonstrate that a clock went backwards? And for the record, it is easy to explain a clock going backwards (it is just gearing). Now time being reversed, that is a different story. But if you are going to accept an edited works of which the oldest version we have are several generations removed from any originals as evidence of such an event… Are there any accounts of such a claim from independent sources?

      • Scott says:

        Well, Hamm as a source of accurate information. That explains a lot of your evaluation process.
        Maybe someone at the hospital thought they were looking for someone to blame for doing something wrong on your leg – then were afraid to admit to it once they denied it?
        Maybe you were just hearing voices in your head as you awoke?
        Maybe the doctors got it wrong or didn’t want to get your hopes up?
        Why did this God of yours let such an accident happen to you? How do you explain the amount of suffering with such events as the recent Typhoon, including that to infants? Slavery? Rape?
        I see my questions as much more difficult to answer.

  37. Adam says:

    Eric, you’re getting the cold shoulder because you’ve actively decieved these people for a rather long period of time, not because they’re seeking to discriminate against you. Your atheism may get you a foot in the door in the communcations industry, but your lack of integrity is ultimately going to slam that door back on you. You reap what you sow. Hope it was worth it.

    • John Kelly says:

      Adam, your comment is ridiculous. When someone is a minority, the majority tend to mistreat the person. Any minority has a right to protect themselves from discrimination by “closeting themselves” till they are ready to face abuse from horrible people, the kind that make comments like the ones you made. You reap what you sow when you behave in a loveless, unhumble, unservantlike, manner and people subsequently despise your faith as a result. They reject your presentation of Christianity in that case, because of a failure on your part to communicate the biblical author’s actual messages.

      John Kelly
      NCC/NCU class of 08.
      B.A Bible and Christian Ministry, Biblical Studies.
      Atheist.

      • Well said! I work in a small town where everyone around me is very vocal about their faith. I don’t outright lie and say anything that would make them think I was a Christian, but I also haven’t told them I’m an atheist. If someone straight up asked me, I would tell the truth. In a way, you could say I’m deceiving them, but it’s more to protect myself as the minority here. They truly believe that an atheist cannot possibly have morals or be a good person. I want to just show up and do my work without bringing religion into it. I don’t think they would be mean to me if they knew, but they would definitely look at me very differently.

        • Stacie, if you are in KY you have a golden opportunity to learn the truth. Visit Ken Hamm’s Creation Museum. It could change your life in a positive manner forever, and I do mean forever!!!

      • CMartel2 says:

        No, they aren’t. I’ve been a minority in multiple cultures, including religious cultures. One major difference is that I didn’t dare tread with the arrogance to assume a leadership position in an organization whose core tenets I knew I did not espouse. I respected the religious values and the beliefs of others enough to allow those individuals to guide their mission forward as opposed to arrogantly assuming that I would do a better job. Had I been asked to lead such a mission, I would have stepped aside.

        Your use of the words “humble” and “servantlike” are particularly striking here given the behaviors of Frumm because those are what are so blatantly lacking. I think that’s the part you’re obviously not paying any attention to or ignoring, and no, there’s nothing “ridiculous” at all about Adam’s post. I think it’s mere human decency to assume that if someone is running for a leadership position in an organization that they support the core beliefs of that organizatin, or they better make that very clear from the beginning. Did that happen? No. That comes across as pretty deceptive in my book.

      • Rob says:

        The creation museum? Seriously? The place where animatronic dinosaurs with saddles are seen co-existing with humans. The place that teaches children that the earth is 6,000 years old. That Adam and Eve were real people. What does the secular scientific community have to say about this? What does the evidence tell us? This is exactly the problem I have with religion. It walls off a part of your brain. It says, “We’ll do all the thinking for you. No need to question or inquire”. It retards human progress and justifies horrific acts.
        I’m afraid that believers like Randall are just too far gone. Their minds too poisoned to every see reality as it is. Very sad to live your entire life in a fantasy world.

        • Randal says:

          I will not say I believe that the Creation Museum has everything just right, but they do offer some common sense explanations for the far fetched belief of some scientists.

      • Adam says:

        John, you’re attempting to manipulate an emotional response in place of a valid or compelling argument. Your reply seeks to distract attention away from the issue of Mr. Fromm’s admitted fraud and deceit by attempting to portray him as a victim of supposed “loveless,” “unhumble,” and “unservantlike” actions of folks who “despise” him simply because he is an atheist. As is the case with any logical fallacy, the only thing your argument is missing is evidence to support it.

        • Randal says:

          First of all, compassion for the most part is what we all need. That being said, is the minorities in the U.S. discriminated against always? Of course not. In some cases, issues are still being worked through but the real problem in our country on this issue is the majority is often being discriminated against. Whatever happened to the moderate middle? Unfortunately many see only the extremes, the poles, that have so polarized us. Show love and compassion. Eric Fromm needed that, and unfortunately, some modern Pharisees or Christians on a bad day, or hyprocrites did not show him that. Did he do right in his deceit, and what was his purpose for coming out, and was it all premediated? He knows the answer to 2 out of 3 of those questions, while the answer to the first one is obvious. I understand others criticizing him for his deceit, but not Christians who don’t know him. I don’t know Eric Fromm, but unless I am led by the Spirit to categorize him as the “swine” I am taught to love him and show compassion. And for anyone that does know him, read Matthew 7:1-7 very carefully before you judge him.

      • Scott says:

        Adam,
        What evidence do you have that he committed any fraud?
        He is a student in good standing who ran and won the position. Their is no requirement implicit or explicit that one must be a Christian to attend NCU. Is their some requirement that one must be one to be Student President? If so, show evidence.
        Do you have evidence that he described his beliefs to be other than he stated in the article? If so, bring them forward. Or else I would be more careful of labeling some a fraud.

    • barb says:

      I like and agree with your comment. eric is a senior now, he’s almost done. he’s a nonbeliever but he’s throwing out bible verses to school Christians about their wrong behavior. the victim card isn’t going to fly here either.

      • Scott says:

        Is it wrong to bring up what someone claims to believe in when they demonstrate actions different than those they claim?
        How is that the victim card?

  38. Pastor Mynor Vargas says:

    Dear Mr. Eric From:

    Greetings and blessings.

    My name is Mynor Vargas, I read your blog.

    While I am sorry that you do not believe in God, please let me tell you that I love you and want to offer you my sincere friendship. I really admire sincere people and you are one truly person. No one must hide what he/she believes or not believes; you are brave.

    Sincerely yours,
    Pastor Mynor a. Vargas,
    Shalom Christian Temple,
    Providence, Rhode Island.

  39. Julie says:

    I read your post. I’m startled how people can be so judgemental especially Christians for the love of God. Honestly, i can understand how it so hard to be among individuals who are completely ignorant and no sense of kindness in their psychological nor social being. However, i often feel judged myself but ignore and move on with life…….

  40. Lenny says:

    Hi Eric, I have ask the same question and I have felt it and experience God existence. Let me tell you, he is more than real and my life has been better believing God is control, because life on Earth is too hard to live or worry that I could vanish by some catastrophic event. You said you saw and felt all that energy. “I would attend chapel, see all the energy and community, and want to be a part of it, but I knew I couldn’t because I couldn’t force myself to believe in God.” My comment to you, have you ever thought your religion is your secret. Please be sensitive to others, God has become to some people someone they can love and be best friends. Do you have friends you care about ?

    • Scott says:

      Wow, attempt at belittling much?
      Could you define ‘more than real’?
      You can see the energy, yet it can’t be detected by any instruments.
      That, and did you even read the article or just react to the label atheist and your interpretation of it.

      • Scott,

        I remember other words of yours I read, including “get a life” and I am wondering are you anything other than an atheist and a critic? I will say this, God Loves You, and so do I, but the book does say “cast not ye pearls before the swine, lest they turn again and rend you” What is your motivation for criticizing all remarks? I hope and pray there is some purpose to your words, because of all the comments I have read, yours are the very ones I am feeling led to ignore. “If you will turn from your wicked ways, I will heal…”

      • Scott says:

        There has been more than one Scott responding. I think the other only did one – with a purple icon as opposed to my green one. ‘Get a life’, not really my style – I did not agree with the content of the other Scot’s post.

      • Scott says:

        Randal, asking what ‘more than real’ is supposed to mean is criticism?
        Gandalf loves you also. Maybe Zeus also.
        If you have noticed many of my remarks have to do with two topics –
        1- atheism is not the claim that gods don’t exist.
        2- responding to comments which make unfounded claims or nonsensical comments.

        • Scott, in the grand scheme of things if there is a heaven and hell where souls spend eternity, none of the other stuff matters. If someone really wants to find the truth in regards to this issue, they will take what they don’t believe, and give it ever chance in the world to make sure they are not missing the mark. This life – 80 or 90 years give or take a few Afterlife – 0 or 999,999,999,999,999+

      • Scott says:

        Randal, really? You are bringing up Pascal’s Wager.
        Well, what if you are wrong about which gods exist?
        What if you are wrong about what God’s requirements are for heaven even if you got His existence correct?
        What positive evidence is there that any gods exist?
        What criteria should I use to differentiate which gods exist?

  41. joshua says:

    Dear Eric,

    I have many thoughts, all positive, but allow me to try and be as brief as possible.

    When i read and heard about your story my heart sank. I felt the hurt you must be feeling and a deep sadness that your heart is absent of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I have always been confused why the label ‘atheist’ even exists because a rejection of a deity would imply a knowledge of one; never made sense to me. Seems to me that in your case, with the attempts to come to God, that you are certainly agnostic.

    What pains me most is the way others have treated you differently. Shame on them for completely missing the boat in harboring the love of Jesus in their hearts.

    You already know that God loves you so much that he gave his son Jesus Christ as sacrifice in our stead to die for us. With his conquering of the grave we can be alive in him.

    I will pray for you Eric. He will never let go of you and despite all the times I have turned my back on him or let the sin nature within me go astray. ..He takes us back always. Who else does that? I’ll tell ya what..with him, it is the greatest life you can ever live. God bless you! My heart aches for you. I hope you stay strong and don’t let anything or anyone deter you.

    In christ,

    Joshua

    • Scott says:

      Do you know the of the character Zeus? If you do, you must believe he exists – well, at least by your logic. What about Spider-Man?
      To the question – how many gods do you believe exist?
      A theist answers one or more. Though the common answer would be one.
      An atheist just believes in one fewer gods than most theists. Often for the exact same reasons they don’t believe in the thousands of other gods.

      Atheism is not the claim that gods don’t exist. It is the statement that they don’t hold a belief in any.
      If I roll a die and claim it landed on ‘two’, do you believe it was a two? Do you believe it was any other specific number? Do you even know how many sides the die has?

      • joshua says:

        Scott, I respect your efforts to respond to others. Bless your heart for honing in on the part I left ambiguous. You are a smart surgical man; i applaud you. That said, I cover every base so i would have responded in a similar way as a rebuttal. I would imagine like you, I’d first question myself on any front. “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” God is the only eternal. Zeus and Spiderman…they’re not even that great in this realm alone.

      • Scott says:

        Joshua,
        Things unseen may also just be non-existent.

        What evidence do you have any gods exist?
        What criteria should all of the many gods be evaluated to test for their existence? Assuming the first question can be satisfied.
        How do you know what you think you know about any of these claimed gods? Does that source of knowledge hold up? i.e. God is the only eternal.

      • Scott says:

        That and what part did I respond to that you thought was ambitious?
        You claimed that by not believing in any gods (which includes your God) – that creates a label for God and therefore makes it exist. Which I just substituted Zeus and Spider-Man instead of God and posed the same question to you. Which you failed to address but instead try to imply something and then claim that God exists but Zeus and Spider-man don’t. I asked using your logic why Zeus and Spider-man don’t exist since you have a name and concept of them – as you claimed Fromm must for God.

  42. Cam says:

    For Mr. Fromm: Isn’t it funny how the very things we despise in others–hypocrisy, rejection, being judgemental, fear of people who think differently, etc,– are the very things that we ourselves are struggling with? For example you quote Matthew 7:5 which says, “Hypocrite! first get rid of the log in your own eye then you will see well enough to get rid of the speck in your friend’s eye.” The very next verse says, “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls and then tun and attack you!”
    You expect your classmates to accept you, yet you have rejected the very thing they value most– Jesus Christ and his sacrifice. Now Jesus is a gentleman and not he, nor your classmates will ever force you to accept Him. He extends an invitation and you have the CHOICE. But your very public rejection of him is a rejection of someone they hold dear and if they choose to disaacociate themselves from you, that is their perogative. If you judge them for doing so, then don’t complain about their being judgemental or you would be the very thing you hate– a hypocrite. (I would say this public letter is a thousand times worse than any dirty look.)
    It is easy to sit on your high horse and expect everyone to be perfect just like yourself, but the fact is, most of your classmates are at that place because they wish to study and have fellowship with fellow believers. They chose a place with the name “Christian” in the name. It is a place to learn about God, grow in knowledge, and mature and change. The Christian walk is challenging and we fall and make a lot of mistakes along the way. That is why “walking humbly before God” is part of the deal when you follow Him. But you have set a different course for your life– one that is apart from God. Frankly, it really doesn’t matter what you think or say; you’re an atheist and have followed the path of your god– he is an accuser. Christians are to only listen to the Good Shepherd’s voice. If someone has done something to you that they need to repent of, God will show them that and put it on their hearts and it is their responsibility to obey him.
    Our choices have consequences. You are undoubtedly learning that the hard way. In the meantime, you should read through the book of John, not close your mind and harden your heart, and extend the same grace to others that you wish them to extend to you.

    • Scott says:

      Sure, a gentleman – it is not like there is a threat of eternal torture.

      • Mae says:

        Making a choice not to believe in god is only viewed as “closing your mind and hardening your heart” if you believe that is a valued thing to do. Atheists do not hold that belief. Instead we could turn and say the same to you, instead of placing all of your faith in the bible you should not close your mind and harden your heart to the fact that god may NOT exist. Telling him to read more of the bible after he has made it clear he’s lived a life containing many religious courses/thoughts/etc … I would assume that he has been more than willing to read and study the bible just as you ask him to do. He simply came to a different conclusion and you cannot accept that as a valid conclusion. I’m sorry this isn’t something you are able to understand, which is probably why you struggle with atheism so much. It’s not something that you can ask to go away. Well, you could try but I (being an atheist) wouldn’t think that would do much good.

      • Scott says:

        Mae, what value?
        What faith in the Bible are you assuming I have? But it makes sense to use the source of info on a claimed god to discuss that god.
        Also, do you choose to believe in gravity? Or does the evidence and predictions convince you that it really exists? Belief is not a choice. You might choose to associate with a particular group or to trust what someone says or that a book is correct. The question is why do you put trust into people and an ancient book that has been edited many times and the oldest versions com from bits of the different books several generations from the original. That and the contradictions within itself and discrepancy with evidence, no reason to give it credit for accuracy.

  43. Thor says:

    I´m from Iceland and the only reason that Icelander´s accepted Jesus Christ as their savior was because the Danes´s bribed all the chief´s in Iceland with money and power back in the viking day´s. It makes me sad for some of these people who´s making comment on you statement. But don´t worry, they are not going to heaven. BECAUSE HEAVEN doesnt exist! Get over it people. Best regards from the land of ice and snow.

    ET

    • CMartel2 says:

      The only reason, eh? Icelanders threw history out the window? The life of Christ or the Holy Spirit meant nothing? That a small sect in a farflung outskirt of the Roman Empire completely transformed the globe in a very short time without resorting to violence changed nothing? Do you typically undermine the faiths of thousands upon thousands of individuals and call them thoughtless fools with no meaningful perception of the human experiences as it relates to the divine nature of this universe? It’s pretty insulting what you’re saying about your countrymen, you do realize. That is to say that they bribes taken a thousand years ago still carry weight. No, your argument makes no sense or is severely degrading and self-righteous.

      • Whetstone says:

        I’ve read through the posts here and, up to this point, I’ve resisted making comments. But the sheer weight of inanity in some of them has finally tipped the scales and you, Mr. CMartel2 (Charles the Hammer??) have the dubious honor of being the occasion for my response. Nothing big to say, except to comment on your sophomoric belief in the “historicity” of Christianity and the belief that its spread is evidence of it being The One True Religion. Does this rational apply to Islam as well? It’s the 2nd largest religion in the world and the fastest growing religion. It was founded 600 years after Christianity, so it has some time yet to catch up. By your standard of judgement, maybe IT is the true religion? And, have you studied church history? Have you noticed the fortunate link that was formed between the Christian community and the Roman Empire via Constantine (circa 313) and how the Church then rode the coattails of Rome as its state religion, spreading as the Empire expanded and crushing all religious opposition (letting Rome exercise the violence you say it didn’t resort to), guaranteeing it became Christian Orthodoxy and all other versions and religions became heresy? Of course, you will say that was God’s doing. You have a right to believe that. But there is no way you can KNOW that. It’s a faith supposition that millions on this planet do not share, especially those who study how social groups are formed and spread. As for the ongoing impact of the “bribes” that Thor says were paid to Icelandic leaders by Danish Christians so they’d “convert” to Christianity…of course they still carry weight. They were a turning point in the formation of the Icelandic culture which continues today to define the beliefs of the majority of its people. The vast majority of peoples on earth share the religion of their culture. As has already been pointed out in previous comments, if this thread had been born in India, we’d very likely be talking about Vishnu or Shiva or Ganesh. So, yes, these pivotal events in a nations history are very influential and can continue to define that nation for generations. I sincerely implore you to try and think outside of your Faith Box.

    • Scott says:

      Thor does exist.

  44. Guðni - Ísland says:

    There is nothing wrong being a atheist. Hell i am one. I dont see the point to belive in something that does not exsist.
    I do belive that people are capable of good and bad things tho. I respect others belives just as long as they dont try to force their religion or belives on me, we are good.

    I did read a bit of these comments.. And I have to admit its a bit strange that people take it so personal just to see that you are a atheist. Nothing wrong with that.
    Its not like it makes you a bad person at all.

    Btw this news article managed to be posted in a Icelandic newspaper.
    And yes I am Icelandic !
    And here we support ya Eric Fromm !

    Here is a link, tho .. not sure if you can understand it tho. But you get support from Iceland !
    http://www.dv.is/skrytid/2013/11/9/formadur-nemendafelags-i-kristnum-haskola-eg-er-truleysingi/

    Haltu áfram Eric ekki taka þetta nærri þér. Veit fyrir víst að það eru þó nokkrir Íslendingar sem styðja þig !
    Við erum lítil þjóð en við styðjum við bakið á þér !

    Regards and best wishes !
    Guðni
    Reykjavík
    Iceland

  45. Douglas says:

    Mr. Fromm you are a man of courage and conviction. Impressive.

  46. Karen says:

    Eric, I am proud of you for opening up, and I am glad that people have been (mostly) supportive of you. As an agnostic, I understand how difficult it can be sometimes dealing with the misconceptions people have about the non-religious.
    http://www.kstatecollegian.com/2011/11/28/morality-not-a-product-of-religious-teachings/

  47. James says:

    Ya know… Jesus addressed this in very, very simple terms. Here’s a couple of thing He said that are relevant to this guy rejecting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior….

    Mark 16:16
    He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    Matthew 7:13,14
    Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    So, if this guy rejects Jesus Christ… he is on his way to burning in heLL for all eternity!

    I’m sure he is otherwise a nice guy, I’m not advocating anyone attack him personally or anything like that cause after all Christians need to continually pray for this guy that his eyes be opened to his need to accept Jesus as Lord so he doesn’t burn in heLL for all eternity…. the Lord would not want His people to lie to this guy and tell him he’s good, and this is OK cause it’s not!

    It’s good to be nice to the guy and try to win to the Lord, but if he refuses then he should be left alone as choosing to be an unbeliever and he should most definitely be removed as the president of the student body at this Christian school!

    2 Corinthians 6:17,18
    Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
    And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

    God’s people are separate from those that are in the world who refuse to obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ and walk with the Lord as His child. We are called to tell them they need to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20), but at the same time we should not allow those that reject Jesus to be in any position of leadership or authority over God’s people… this is out of God’s will and is sowing to the flesh which brings destruction (Galatians 6:8)

    Being “seeker sensitive” is to be led by someone other than the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ!

    • Supporter says:

      See, comments like this are what drive people away from any organized religion:

      “So, if this guy rejects Jesus Christ… he is on his way to burning in heLL for all eternity!’

      So If a person does everything right in his life, respects others and holds himself to a moral high ground, he will still burn in hell because he does not believe in this particular religion?

      A God that is supposed to be compassionate and understanding will sacrifice a soul because he thinks differently even though his life is otherwise saintly?

      If, on my deathbed I repent my sins, no matter what else I did, as long as I believe I’m ok and will be accepted. But if I don’t believe, no matter that I lived my life as a righteous person, I still face damnation.

      • if you give Christian love a chance, it will change your life. It is a religion of the heart (so to speak), not the head. Your comments show you are a thinker, but what about feelings? Focus on the positive and try Christ, you should have no regrets.

    • Scott says:

      James,
      Are these Jesus’ words or words claimed to be written by Mark, Mathew, and several others about what someone else said?

  48. Mel says:

    I have read quite a few of the comments to this and religion aside, I for one am glad you, Eric Fromm, have the strength to be who you are and in a situation you yourself have entered. That being said, I do have a small story I wish to share. I am a Native American, Annishnabe to be exact but many call my tribe Ojibwe or Chippewa, and my mother taught me to accept there are many people who walked the earth and that they all have a right to live how they wish. When I was in the earlier years of high school, my family moved to a street in a small town. On the street our neighbors were all unique, the person who lived across the street was catholic and in the house next to her lived an old retired protestant priest. Shortly after 9/11 a family from the Middles East immigrated to America and moved into the house next to my family. Our neighbors across the street and a few others down the road were quick to shun them for where they came from and for being Muslims. However for their first holiday as our neighbors, which happened to be Thanksgiving, my mother insisted we make homemade pumpkin pies for the whole street, one for the houses with single residents and two or three for the larger families. Our new neighbors were unaware of what Thanksgiving was, but they joyously accepted our gift, shortly thereafter we received a whole cooked dinner from them of authentic Middle Eastern food. Over the course of a few weeks of our family accepting them, allowing their children to play in our yard like any other family, tensions eased and we became a community. Even the neighbor across the street began to accept that though our new neighbors were different and entered our small piece of the world shortly after something so horrific, this family of immigrants were not those responsible for the tragedy that caused the nation to reel in horror. Regardless our catholic neighbors still lived by the book, refusing to let the retired priest bless their home. I think the point I wish to make, is that people will judge no matter what you say or do. However in the end the only person with the right to judge you is the person you see when you look into a mirror. People are people no matter their race, creed, abilities, or disabilities but you need people to make a community. Furthermore the best communities are those that can accept new members so they can learn and grow together.

  49. Sara says:

    I have never believed that God exists. At the age of eight I used to tell my friends that I believed in evolution, not the Bible. The Bible seemed more like a dark fairy tale than any collection of facts. Besides, man wrote the Bible, I would tell them. Even at that young age, even before I knew the term atheist, I knew what side of the religion argument I would pitch my tent on. Eleven years after those playground statements I came to realize that what I believed fit into the atheist term. Ever since then I have been the victim of prejudice with judgment being passed down from those who claim to follow the example and guidance of Jesus Christ.

    I have been judged by the very people who believe the only person who should judge is God himself. Why is that? Why am I constantly on the receiving end of such hatred and disgust when all I ask for is respect? As American citizens we are granted the freedom to practice our own varying religions while also having the right to be free from religion. We are given a choice and as I respect those who live by the Bible and use it for good, I would hope those same people could find it in their hearts to respect me for living an honest life without religion.

    Christians love because they are “children of God or Christ.” Atheists choose to love because we see beauty in others.

    Thank you Eric for being honest and brave. “I choose to love because I see beauty in others.”

  50. Michael Hebert says:

    Hello Eric, thank you for your honesty. Thank you to your school for such a supportive response. In a world where many seem willing, if not eager to reject or trash someone for how they honestly see the world, it takes courage to speak your own views. What else are we expected to do?! Lie?! A strange expectation. I am impressed with your school’s supportive response! It also takes courage to embrace those in your own community, who have been demonized as a class, or as individuals. Gandhi may me listening in from the beyond, and rethinking his famous quote, which goes something like,’I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ!’ I wish you all well on this path you have taken.

    The Parable of the Good Samaritan interests me greatly, and comes to mind –

    Author alert, from Christendom’s official POV, I am a lost soul… I am a Unitiarian Universalist religious naturalist, humanist skeptic nerd with Buddhist and Taoist leanings, ever curious, ever learning and accepting any of the sweetness, peace or hope that can be found in so many places. I do not entertain any thoughts of an afterlife, as all things seem to fall prey to decay and death. So take my “understanding” as follows as you see fit… I have never heard this amazing parable taught in Christian circles, in the way that I understand it. In this radical story, we are told that Jesus holds up as an exemplar worthy of eternal life (whatever that is), a nameless Samaritan, an enemy, a heretic, who was religiously and racially hated and shunned, considered worse than dirt, by Jesus’ audience, precisely because he renders mercy to his enemy. Of all the content of the Bible, OT & NT, it is this message, that for me is the core message, from prophetic enjoinders to give aid to the widows, orphans and homeless, to leave a portion of your crop set aside for those in need, to this parable, and my favorite Bible citation, which for me stands alone: Rom 13:8 – 10. Jesus did not ask what the doctrinal position the Samaritan took on some controversial point of the Jewish Law – such as, what is the most important commandment, as the scribe in the story demands of Jesus. What a reply! Render Mercy!

    • Bingo! The parable of the good Samaritan has something that the whole of humanity can benefit from.

    • Ray says:

      It is amazing to me that although you do not believe in eternal life, “as you say whatever that is”, that you would use a parable in the Bible to explain your point. The whole Bible is about eternal or everlasting life! But since you don’t believe in a soul in a person, I can understand why you are so confused. Our God created bodies are triune some what as God is triune. We have a body made of flesh that is mortal, and a soul/spirit that is immortal and will end up in one of only 2 places. Those who are Christian believers will spend eternity in paradise/heaven/Abrahams bosom, and all non believers will spend eternity in Hell ( The lake of fire ). But you believe God is singular not part of a Trinity namely God the Father, Jesus Christ the son, and the Holy Spirit or helper who is in the heart of all believers giving God his omnipresence.

      Now back to the question from the layer/scribe to Jesus. Teacher what must I do to be saved? Jesus said to him, what is in the law? The scribe “you shall love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself”

      Jesus said you have answered correctly. The scribe desiring to justify himself said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?

      The parable of the good Samaritan is then told by Jesus to explain who your neighbor is, the one you should love as yourself. The good Samaritan showed love as a neighbor because the man who was robbed need, so the Samaritan showed mercy on him and helped him by providing what the man required as a friend.

      Nowhere does it then say the Samaritan was worthy of eternal life in heaven. That also requires the first part Love your Lord your God wit all your heart.

      By the way you said you were also a Universalist, that means all people will be saved in heaven for eternity, nobody goes to hell.

      Not true. I don’t even know you but I love, you and will pray you come to see the light and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior some day. I would show my love for you by helping you also if you were in need.

      I am a “born again Christian”

      rayo

      • Scott says:

        Two things.
        1- The Bible claims that God exists, that he made man, and that a sole exists. What evidence is there that any of these is correct?
        2- Atheists don’t hold a believe in a single God, the Trinity, or any other gods. It is the one and only requirement in being an atheist.

      • Mike H says:

        You read too much in the hackneyed label of Unitarian Universalist… Much has changed since the 19th century…

        Believe what you want, I will do the same. Now what?! Do we work together to accomplish more that any of us thought possible, to see and acknowledge the best we have to offer, or do we continue to play diversionary games while the same old mess swirls around us?! It is obvious that our culture doesn’t teach us the vocabulary or values to do so. So it will be a long slog.

  51. John Renken says:

    For years I didn’t believe in God. I was baptized Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, and upon leaving high school, baptized myself in the wicked ways of the world. What an empty journey it was until i met my wife at twenty eight. She was a believer and respected my anti-christ stance. Through the years her love softened my hardened heart, (hardened by religious ritualism) and now almost eighteen years later at forty five I look back and really understand that EVEN THOUGH I DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD< HE NEVER GAVE UP BELIEVING IN ME. Eric, take your journey one day at a time and you will see the miracles of life. Take care bud.

  52. Trisha says:

    This article gave me a little hope and even made me feel a little better about myself. I’ve grown up in a small town, super Christian community. All my friends in school were big into religion, and my parents and brother are very involved in the church, and often times they guilt-trip me into going to church with them (I’m almost 19 years old.) But for many years now, I’ve been a “closet atheist.” I’ve read the entire Bible, cover to cover, and I have decided that it’s just not for me. I wish I had the courage to tell my family how I feel, but I’m afraid that they will try to change me. So for now, I’ll just announce it to the internet. I am not a Christian. I do not believe in Jesus Christ. I am an atheist. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, I don’t want you to pray that I change my ways. I don’t want your pity that I cannot find Christ, and I don’t want to change, because I like the way that I am.

    • Scott says:

      Get yourself in a situation where you are not dependent on theists, get a support group. When you are then ready, come out in a non confrontational but matter of fact way. There are many blogs and podcasts out there that discuss this topic, you may find a style/method that feels right to you.
      I hope that things go well for you when you are ready to do this. Many may suspect that you don’t believe given your comment ‘they try to guilt me into going to church’.

      • It is not about going to church, although most Christians should most of the time for themselves, and/or others, but it is about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not all churches are places for nonbelievers or even young Christians and those going through things that are not strong or dealing with issues that have beat them down. I could have went to church this past Sunday, but felt led to visit a shut-in. True Christianity is emerging out of a time of huddling in churches in going with the flow. GOOD CHURCHES ARE NECESSARY AND CHURCH ATTENDANCE IS GOOD WHEN PEOPLE GO TO A CHURCH THAT HELPS THEM MINISTER AND/OR MEETS THEIR NEEDS, but for a mature Christian, God might send you to a bar. I am privileged to have met a man that goes in bars and orders milk and witnesses to patrons in need.

      • Scott says:

        Wow, that I would like to see – someone pushing their beliefs on individuals who have been drinking. I could just see him getting drinks tossed in his face.
        Or is it trying to take advantage of intoxicated individuals?

  53. Berit says:

    I really relate to how hard it must be for Eric to publicly come out as an atheist. I was raised in the church too, and only someone raised in that environment can understand the struggle Eric talks about having his freshman year. Remember, kids are taught in church that they will literally burn for all of eternity if they reject Christianity’s ideas! So of course it is really hard to decide that you don’t believe in them, and even harder to go about telling everyone. I respect Eric very much for speaking out. Too often people only hear about the positive impact churches have on children’s lives, or the “salvation stories” of adults who find Jesus. It is equally viable to find happiness through rejecting religion, and these stories need to be told, too. Thanks, Eric! 😀

  54. Mike D. says:

    I am a lifelong Catholic and have had a few moments in my life when I have felt that God was undeniably real to me. In Feb. 2000, my wife and I had just left the doctor’s office on a dark and gloomy late afternoon stunned by his news that the 8-week old baby in her womb was no longer “viable.” She had felt something wasn’t right prior to our visit and she was right. We trudged to our van, hurting and sad. Within minutes, I was pulling onto I-496, the highway that cuts through Lansing, Mich. We were heading to Kristin’s parents house to pick up our 2 1/2 year old daughter. As we veered down the on ramp, we fell in behind a white van and I noticed the license plate was GOD IS. I pointed it out to Kristin and said something like, “God is. Well, it’s good they still let you put that on your license plate.” We continued on our way and picked up our little girl, hugging her a little longer than usual and telling my in-laws our painful news. Perhaps an hour or two later, cutting back across town to our home, our van approached the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Waverly Road. We were still reeling from the doctor’s words earlier. As we came to a stop at the red light, we both looked at the license plate in front of us in disbelief. It was another white van with a plate that read ONE GOD. Neither of us could remember ever having seen the word God in a license plate and on this day, within a couple hours of one of the worst moments of our lives, we could not miss seeing two. (We did not see another one, despite constant searching, for at least a year afterward.) Coincidence? We saw and still see something more profound than that in what happened.

  55. Faith (real name) R. says:

    Hi Eric. First, let me say, you are one brave guy and you should be proud of yourself for speaking your truth. Second, without intending to, you have opened up a huge dialoge for religious folks, especially Christians…As Christians do we still show love to others that are different? Different religion? No belief in God? Poor, gay, race, sex trade worker, drug abused, rule breaker, nationality…the list goes on. The answer is yes, we love them all. They are our brothers and sisters, trying to navigate life’s path like everyone else. It is easy to love those like us, maybe that is the take home point G-d is trying to make. Maybe G-d is working through you Eric to make a major point 🙂

    Next, you are still pretty young. I believe God leaves bread crumbs and puts Angels to help guide those that “just aren’t feeling it”. I hope you’ll keep a tiny part of your mind open to change as new info, meassages and people come into your life. Interestingly enough, Albert Einstein and many other scientist (I hear about more every day) think there might be something to all this religious stuff. I know they are searching for the “G-d Particle” as we speak & qantum physics is tying together some amazing religious & scientific ideas. My point is, G-d speaks to some people through science, to some people through the beauty of nature, to some people through the birth of a child, to some through kindness of strangers, to some people in a near-death experinence, to some people through religion, etc…Christianity is not the only language G-d speaks.

    It isn’t easy being a young person. There is a lot coming at you. Just keep being a good person, cherish the supportive people in your life and enjoy the ride. You never know where you’ll end up.

  56. Marianne says:

    I’m a little surprised at those who have brought up the “no proof Jesus of Nazareth was real” protestation. Any scholar and/or historian worth their salt and not on the fringe could tell you that a man by that name most certainly existed, and point you to the documents outside of the Bible with the evidence. Yes, Jesus of Nazareth was most probably a real person, just as Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar were most probably real. I never met him, so I cannot say emphatically that he was real, but the same degree of evidence that we use for other historic figures is extant, thus invalidating this argument.

    Further, Jesus, if he wasn’t who he said he was, was not a good man or a wise, moral teacher. If he was just a man, then he was a very charismatic liar, and I don’t think many would agree that lying is moral (perhaps even in today’s culture, although this is debatable). We live in a very relativistic society, however, so I’m sure someone will respond that being kind to other people is a good thing, so he had some good things to say. Fair enough, but I still don’t think the label “good man” applies in this understanding.

    Finally, I would like to point out that Christians really do have reasons for believing what they do. Despite the many examples appearing here, many of them have come to believe based on evidence and not feeling or experience. Feel free to scoff, as I’m sure many will, but belief that Christianity and the deity of the Bible is true is not unreasonable. Just as many if not all atheists believe that what they’ve read in books or heard from scientists that they respect about evolution to be true, Christians also have evidence and logic to back up their stance that Christianity, and not say, Taoism or Hinduism, is as accurate as any belief system can be. True, some (perhaps many) Christians base their belief on emotion, subjective opinion, trust in what elders have told them, and experiences, but so, too, do agnostics and atheists. We are human; this is bound to come into play, no matter what you end up believing to be truth. But these are not the only means used to formulate opinion.

    In closing, I’ve heard the statement that no one has the right to castigate anyone for their beliefs, because who is to know what is really true, anyway? To restate: we cannot know the truth, because truth is relative for all kinds of reasons. What an ironic statement, for the very statement itself is positing an absolute truth. Say, instead, that we are all trying to figure out what the truth may be, and we should keep an open mind during our dialogues about what that truth might be.

    I hope you find the truth, Mr. Fromm! Examine the evidence carefully, use your logic, and let this lead you where it leads you. Everyone you meet has an agenda and biases, no matter if they are aware of it or not. Try to be aware of that, and of your own biases, as you investigate. Best wishes to you!

    • Scott says:

      What positive evidence that any gods exist?
      What criteria should be used to judge which of the thousands of gods humans have believed in, if the first question cand be satisfied?

      Atheism is not a claim that gods don’t exist. It is just the statement that the person does not believe in any. Agnostic is the statement that they don’t know or claim that it can’t be known. Which means they are two different questions.

      If your mind is to open, your brains will fall out.

    • Robear says:

      What I believe is not relevant to this discussion. What I do not understand is why so many here are truing to convince others that what they find to be truth is correct, and what other find to be truth is not correct. There seems to be a belief that truth must correspond to objective reality, and that therefore incepts of truth not aligned with objective reality must fail. I find this view to be too limited to deal with any broader concept of truth in life, and I believe even contemporary physicists have come to understand that our subjectivity has a major influence on reality.

      So, if objective is at best a limited test for truth, is there a better one? I believe this is something that must be determined each person for themselves. What I see to be the truth must serve the needs of my life, and what you see to be the truth must serve the needs of your life. In many circumstances, these essential personal needs are shared in common in such a way that many come to share the same truth. This often takes the form of religion. What I find to unfortunate is that many in the situation of sharing a particular truth find it necessary to convince others that their truth is more right that the truth held by another. This may result in war, where both sides become adamant and reinforced by military force.

      I believe that everyone has the right to maintain their own beliefs about truth, and they have the right to express that belief, but that right does not extend to a right to impose their belief on anyone else. One does not have to share the belief of another to have respect for the other’s right to maintain that belief.

      It is a fools errand to try to convince another that their belief is wrong and yours is right. If this message it taken to heart, there will not be much further discussion, but since those with such adamant beliefs are not likely to change, this will be an endless discussion, and will accomplish nothing. In tune with my thesis, my beliefs will have no impact on those with a different belief. It turns out to be nothing but an expression of personal belief. To what end?

      • Scott says:

        Some beliefs match reality some don’t.
        It is better to have more beliefs which match reality. We may have different beliefs but we all have the same reality.
        If we just look at the the theist vs. atheist question – either some gods exist or no gods exist. The truth to this question is the same for everyone – regardless of what a person believes.
        For whatever reason/s the atheist does not believe in any gods – the atheist label does not make the claim that gods don’t or can’t exist. Some atheists do hold one or both of those positions, but those positions are in adition to the atheist position of not having a belief in any gods. The reasons not to believe could be unawareness of the concept, not finding the evidence of their existence, rejection of the concepts of the gods presented, lack of confidence in types of evidence presented for gods in general and/or specific gods, or a rejection because of some emotional reason. This list is not fully inclusive nor is an atheist limited to just one of the reasons.

  57. ddione.tk says:

    When someone writes an paragraph he/she keeps the image of a user in his/her mind that
    how a user can understand it. Thus that’s why this piece of writing is great.

    Thanks!

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