NPR Interviews Pastor-Turned Atheist Jerry DeWitt
By John Dere, Crossmap On July 5, 2013
In an interview earlier published today, National Public Radio host Celeste Headlee interviewed Jerry DeWitt, the Louisiana preacher who recently came out as an atheist.
When asked about the “preaching style” that he employs when speaking to groups of atheists, Dewitt explained that he enjoys everything about the public speaking experience.
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“Absolutely everything about it. I think I even love the dread and anticipation, heading towards the moment of addressing the crowd,” DeWitt shared.
“You never know if it's going to be a disaster or not. I love the stress and, of course, I love the feedback that you get from the audience. I love the theatrics. And then, probably more than anything, I love the testimonies afterwards, if you will, where it appears to, you know, to lighten someone's day or to help change their life.”
DeWitt, whose atheist speeches have a very similar feel to his old Christian sermons, explains that people have reacted in many different ways to his preaching style.
“You know, unfortunately, there are people that, for whatever reason, their church experience was very negative,” DeWitt said.
“And so when they hear my cadence, they're turned off by it or maybe even, you know, flashback to trauma that they've experienced. But that's the exception and not the rule.”
“By and large, there's either surprise and confusion, or fortunately, there's a lot of nostalgic satisfaction that seems to wash over people whenever we do something that resembles their religious experience,” DeWitt added.
To read more about Jerry DeWitt’s full interview with NPR, you can click here.