BNG columnist David Ramsey died at his North Carolina home Sunday, Dec. 11, after a brief illness. He was 61.
“BNG greatly mourns the loss of this beautiful life among us, someone who courageously chronicled his own journey from cradle-roll Baptist to agnostic,” said BNG Executive Director Mark Wingfield. “Along with his family and friends, we are shocked and saddened by this news.
“David is someone who was confident in what he believed but not conceited about it, articulate yet not antagonistic. We were learning from his writing, being challenged by his words, being made stronger by his transparency.”
Wingfield received Ramsey’s final column less than 48 hours before his death. That column, “(How) Do You Baptize a Bot?” appears in today’s edition of BNG.
“Aside from being brilliant and a wonderful writer, he was the kindest, most gentle, loving person in the world,” said his girlfriend, Judy Oreck. “His favorite passion, and I do mean passion, was golf. He had a single-digit handicap and would walk the course in 35-degree temperatures.”
Ramsey lived at Wolf Laurel in the mountains of Asheville, N.C. He grew up in Asheville. He liked to think of the mountains as the place his parents lived and loved. Last summer, he wrote a column for BNG about the death of his mother and how he chose to honor her Christian faith despite his own agnosticism.
Born May 13, 1961, Ramsey earned a bachelor of arts degree from Wake Forest University, where he was president of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and served on the Student Judicial Board. He next earned a master’s degree from Duke University Divinity School, a journey he also recently wrote about for BNG. He also completed some doctoral-level work at Princeton Theological Seminary.
After 10 years serving churches in North Carolina and Virginia, he left the Christian faith and moved to work in the tech world.
Since 2015, he worked for Amazon Web Services, first as a principal in the sales unit and more recently as enterprise sales leader. He previously worked for Cisco Systems and Dell.
He chronicled his journey from faith to agnosticism in a best-selling book, Speaking of God. He also was associated with The Clergy Project, a group for former clergy who no longer hold supernatural beliefs.
In addition to Oreck, he is survived by his sister, Beth Bilger, her husband, Robert, and their children, Caroline, Murphy and Davis, and two daughters, Blair Ramsey and Sarah Ramsey.
David Ramsey’s columns for BNG:
What a Baptist learned from the Methodists at Duke Divinity School and why I left both denominations behind
Heaven and hell: Trick or treat?
Why you should be wary of preachers who are certain about everything
What I learned at Wake Forest Baptist Church
What can we learn from January 6? Look to Socrates
Reflections on my mother’s funeral: The heart has reasons