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Clergy who stop believing

ideologyhunter

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I am in the last few pages of a terrific book which compiles interviews with clergy (Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Jewish) who lost their belief in scripture and often, basic orthodox dogma, in mid-career, and examines their choices and future plans. This is a subject which fascinates me. Ministers/priests, whatever, are a literate bunch overall, whose lives revolve around key documents which most of them study academically before ordination. It stands to reason that many of them would, over time, after propounding the ancient writings, come to question the strange baggage that accompanies those writings. The Bible is full of freakish stuff. One of the ministers talks about a parishioner who questioned him about the likelihood that Samson actually captured 300 foxes, tied each pair together at the tail, lit them on fire, then sicced them on the enemy's fields to burn down the crops (Judges 15). He felt sheepish when he told his questioner that God could make the story possible. Imagine having to tell childish stories for your living, long after you have ceased to believe them. Incidentally, most of the interviewees state that their seminary studies introduced doubt into their faith life.
The book is Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind, by Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola. Well written and a fast read.
 

southernhybrid

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Are you familiar with The Clergy Project, a support group for those who have left the ministry. I've met Dan Barker a couple of times when he spoke at Atlanta Freethought, but it's been years. I think Dan is one of the most outspoken, former members of the clergy. Was his story in the book?

https://clergyproject.org/former-believer-resources/

When I was searching for the clergy project, I came across some crazy Christian site that thinks it must be the end times since so many members of the clergy are becoming agnostics and atheists. Maybe it's the end times for religion. ;)
 

ideologyhunter

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Barker is mentioned in the book, but he's been 'out' for decades. The interviewees were either still in place in churches, synagogues, or else very recently transitioned out. The authors are involved in The Clergy Project, and in fact all their interviews came about through the clergy members hearing about TCP and making contact.
 

Bullmoose Too

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Are you familiar with The Clergy Project, a support group for those who have left the ministry. I've met Dan Barker a couple of times when he spoke at Atlanta Freethought, but it's been years. I think Dan is one of the most outspoken, former members of the clergy. Was his story in the book?

https://clergyproject.org/former-believer-resources/

When I was searching for the clergy project, I came across some crazy Christian site that thinks it must be the end times since so many members of the clergy are becoming agnostics and atheists. Maybe it's the end times for religion. ;)

It makes me wonder how many of the clergy, from any religion and time period, actually believe what they say. The hierarchs of religious institutions often acquire great wealth, power, and privilege. The further up you go the more a person gets.

Just look at the Catholic Church, Protestant mega churches, and the Saudi royal family.

Anyway. Do you know the name of that website? It sounds like a fun read.
 

Politesse

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Incidentally, most of the interviewees state that their seminary studies introduced doubt into their faith life.
The book is Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind, by Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola. Well written and a fast read.
I think this is part of why fundamentalist Christians place less emphasis on a rigorous seminary program. When ordination requires a full-on Master's degree, as it does for the mainline denominations, it's hard to avoid coming into contact with critical ideas and scholarship on your way through, and "beliefs may shift in flight". My own seminary experiences didn't exactly deconvert me, but I was certainly a very different person when I left that calling behind than I had been when I took it on.
 

steve_bank

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A priest at the bottom spends decades making the same sermons over and over. No family or kids, just the same thing over and over.

I expect for many it becomes a job with benefits and retirement.
 

steve_bank

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For me Watts represnts the woo of the 60s and 70s, sometimes called New Age.

Books, CDs, speaking engagements. Just like Christians.

A modern mysticism for fun and profit. A current one is Depak Chopra who appears on PBS. He is expert at weaving mysticism with modern physics.

In the 60s and 70s it was Zen this and Zen that.
 

southernhybrid

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Are you familiar with The Clergy Project, a support group for those who have left the ministry. I've met Dan Barker a couple of times when he spoke at Atlanta Freethought, but it's been years. I think Dan is one of the most outspoken, former members of the clergy. Was his story in the book?

https://clergyproject.org/former-believer-resources/

When I was searching for the clergy project, I came across some crazy Christian site that thinks it must be the end times since so many members of the clergy are becoming agnostics and atheists. Maybe it's the end times for religion. ;)

It makes me wonder how many of the clergy, from any religion and time period, actually believe what they say. The hierarchs of religious institutions often acquire great wealth, power, and privilege. The further up you go the more a person gets.

Just look at the Catholic Church, Protestant mega churches, and the Saudi royal family.

Anyway. Do you know the name of that website? It sounds like a fun read.

Sorry, I don't, but if I have time, perhaps I can find it again. Not sure I'd call it fun. To me, it was kind of depressing to see such stupidity.
 

Learner

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I was just about to post something but realized ... best not to interrupt the flow, and best leave it for a thread title like...

When (former) non-believing atheists became believers.
 

Learner

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Are you familiar with The Clergy Project, a support group for those who have left the ministry. I've met Dan Barker a couple of times when he spoke at Atlanta Freethought, but it's been years. I think Dan is one of the most outspoken, former members of the clergy. Was his story in the book?

https://clergyproject.org/former-believer-resources/

When I was searching for the clergy project, I came across some crazy Christian site that thinks it must be the end times since so many members of the clergy are becoming agnostics and atheists. Maybe it's the end times for religion. ;)

I think Atheos is a member IIRC.

Religion will still be around imo, which would perhaps be of a somewhat different nature as a majority mainstream than to that of Christianity that many are usually familiar with (Jesus and the Gospel narrative). Apparently a type that may be much more 'acceptably preferred & "tolerated",' meaning: This emerging religion must have the ability to be adaptable & adjustable, the facility to add new things like philosophies, even fashionable trends, as well as taking out old things like certain biblical narratives, which would then ... not have any conflict with that individuals' way of life - according to personal taste, so to speak

An "Open-Source Religion," if you will. ;)

A One-World-Religion some people term it as. In a normal everyday discussion, all sorts (believers and non-believers), would no doubt have talked and are talking about this, simply out of personal interest & curiosity - not with the view/or putting aside the view of someone who is thinking to make an argument, for a religious debate etc.. BUT as a serious thought or pondering... like having ideas that 'ALL religions becoming one-religion ' may be a good thing in their eyes. A "united religion" which also comes with the topic as a good conversation to come about, simply by wondering and asking "where does religion go from here?" in the future to come.



(No surprise that the bible agrees with the same, i.e., Christianity as we now know and knew then, may not be so much around visibly where it once was in the world. Similar to your take on the end of religion, the "End times for Christianity," I suppose would be how some like to see it)

(Just remembered steve asked similar questions on his thread, 'what will replace religion?' This could be more suited for that thread)
 
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Learner

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which also comes with the topic as a good conversation to come about, simply by wondering and asking "where does religion go from here?" in the future to come.
Oops, pretty much repeated myself here.
 

southernhybrid

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Are you familiar with The Clergy Project, a support group for those who have left the ministry. I've met Dan Barker a couple of times when he spoke at Atlanta Freethought, but it's been years. I think Dan is one of the most outspoken, former members of the clergy. Was his story in the book?

https://clergyproject.org/former-believer-resources/

When I was searching for the clergy project, I came across some crazy Christian site that thinks it must be the end times since so many members of the clergy are becoming agnostics and atheists. Maybe it's the end times for religion. ;)

I think Atheos is a member IIRC.

Religion will still be around imo, which would perhaps be of a somewhat different nature as a majority mainstream than to that of Christianity that many are usually familiar with (Jesus and the Gospel narrative). Apparently a type that may be much more 'acceptably preferred & "tolerated",' meaning: This emerging religion must have the ability to be adaptable & adjustable, the facility to add new things like philosophies, even fashionable trends, as well as taking out old things like certain biblical narratives, which would then ... not have any conflict with that individuals' way of life - according to personal taste, so to speak

An "Open-Source Religion," if you will. ;)

A One-World-Religion some people term it as. In a normal everyday discussion, all sorts (believers and non-believers), would no doubt have talked and are talking about this, simply out of personal interest & curiosity - not with the view/or putting aside the view of someone who is thinking to make an argument, for a religious debate etc.. BUT as a serious thought or pondering... like having ideas that 'ALL religions becoming one-religion ' may be a good thing in their eyes. A "united religion" which also comes with the topic as a good conversation to come about, simply by wondering and asking "where does religion go from here?" in the future to come.



(No surprise that the bible agrees with the same, i.e., Christianity as we now know and knew then, may not be so much around visibly where it once was in the world. Similar to your take on the end of religion, the "End times for Christianity," I suppose would be how some like to see it)

(Just remembered steve asked similar questions on his thread, 'what will replace religion?' This could be more suited for that thread)

You did notice that I put a winking smiley after my statement, right? If not, I was just kidding when I said that it might be the end times of religion. I don't expect religion to go away, not as long as humans exist. My hope is that it becomes a lot more progressive and unitarian in nature. Of course, having viewed human nature for the many decades that I've been alive, that is probably just wishful thinking.

The IRS considers secular humanism to be a religion, so maybe religions without gods will be the primary religions in the future. Or maybe they will be very individualistic, full of woo that each individual feels happy embracing. As long as it's not used to harm or divide, that's a good thing, imo.

I'm not the type of atheist who hates religion. I only hate religions that insist that they have all the answers and/or condem those who don't agree with their beliefs. There is far too much hate in many versions of Christianity. I prefer religions that put charity and good works as their primary goal, not because they believe in heavenly rewards, but because imo, those are the things that make one a better person and help one live a better life.

I assume that some of the non believing preachers found that there were some good moral lessons to be gained from staying in the church. Perhaps they loved their church communities and didn't want to abandon them.

Years ago, IIDB had a Baptist minister member who was very liberal. More than half of his Atlanta church was made up of gay men. He went back to school to earn a doctorate degree and stopped posting here. I met him and his wife in person as he joined a small group of us in Atlanta once. As far as I know, he's no longer preaching. I don't know if he stopped believing or if he no longer was interested in church work.
 

Lion IRC

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Atheists pretending to be priests/clergy. Hmmm.

...I never did believe those artificially low 'atheists in prison' demographics either.
 

southernhybrid

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Atheists pretending to be priests/clergy. Hmmm.

...I never did believe those artificially low 'atheists in prison' demographics either.

It appears as if you have it backwards. These preachers weren't originally pretending to be Christians. They were Christian preachers who lost their beliefs and either left the church or stayed out of loyalty to their parishioners.

Why do you find it so hard to believe that a lot of believers, including preachers, lose their beliefs? Most American atheists were raised as Christians, including myself.
 

Lion IRC

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Atheists masquerading as clergy.
They have a word for that.
And its not "doubt". It's not "apostasy". It's not "deconversion".

It's called FRAUD.
 

funinspace

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I would really like to know what you really mean.

Atheists masquerading as clergy.
They have a word for that.
And its not "doubt". It's not "apostasy". It's not "deconversion".

It's called FRAUD.
So were all these people lying to themselves? Or are you suggesting that they just decided to live a fake life for 10-30 years, pretending, for other obscure/inexplicable reasons? Its not like most preachers become rich televangelists with private jets and luxury cars....
 

Atheos

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As Learner mentioned earlier I am a member of Clergy Project (and incidentally have been added to the board of directors this year).

Lion IRC I understand the outrage you would feel as a believer thinking that someone would occupy a pulpit and accept a salary that way. I can only offer the perspective I have seen from dozens of my new companions who struggle with this very thing.

First of all, most of those who came to the realization that they no longer believed in the god they had so rigorously defended in their youth did not make such a choice on purpose. They were convinced against their will. They were forced to give in to the evidence in spite of their best efforts to cling to their faith. It is no different from a physician trying to convince you that you have diabetes. It's easy to deny you have it for years unless you check your blood sugar regularly and accept the evidence. You don't get to choose what the truth is, truth is forced upon you by investigating irrational things until the solution becomes clear. And in the case of many religious leaders the truth forced them to come to terms with the fact that sacred beliefs they once held were just not true.

But by then these professionals have often made a career in this field. They've started families. They have children who depend on them for food, clothing and shelter. Perhaps they have spouses and other family members who depend on them and their income as well.

They desperately want out of the lie they're living. The very principles of honesty and decency that brought them to ministry in the first place eat at them every time they stand in the pulpit and deliver sermons. Their sermons tend to gravitate away from fundamentalism and doctrine. Instead they speak more of humanity, kindness, love and compassion: things they can still believe in whether or not they share a belief in the god they once held.

A scientist can learn that he was wrong about a given theory and continue to be respected in the community. A politician can often change ideologies and remain effective and respected. Nearly any other profession one holds can be abandoned due to lack of interest or personal growth without loss of community respect. But a preacher who no longer believes in "god" is a social pariah in what once was his or her closest community. Few professions exact such a heavy personal toll for simply changing your mind after reviewing evidence.

The Clergy Project has no interest in deconverting clergy. Their (our) primary interest is in assisting those who have reached this point in their lives in transitioning to a secular occupation and lifestyle. We provide a sympathetic community where people can talk freely about the struggles they endure as they attempt to effect this transition. We pool our money, time and resources into the TAG (Transition Assistance Grant) to help with career training and counseling. People are hurting and afraid. They feel like the whole world is on their shoulders, knowing that they have to keep up this awful façade for a bit longer so their children can eat.

But in the end there is no disapproving god looking down at this vile fraudster with furrowed brow. God is an imaginary construct, no more capable personally of harming the unbelieving preacher than the tooth fairy. But just like Muslim Jihad or Aztec human sacrifice, ideas can wreak havoc through the people who carry them. It is a tenuous journey that is taken by those who join our ranks in TCP, one that must be walked in secret from their friends until they reach the point where they can walk on their own. I have seen many make that journey, successfully navigating the transition from religious professional to secular vocation. My journey was easy compared to most of those I've witnessed.

The atheist who continues to preach to feed her family is simply providing a service to an audience who desires that service. Nothing more. She is an actor, playing a part they love to watch. One day she will step down from the stage never to play that role again. And she will be greatly relieved to do so.
 

atrib

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Atheists masquerading as clergy.
They have a word for that.
And its not "doubt". It's not "apostasy". It's not "deconversion".

It's called FRAUD.


So quick to judge. Where was your outrage when we found out that the Roman Church has been sheltering and enabling the criminal pedophile priests in their midst for generations? Its called CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY.
 

ideologyhunter

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As Learner mentioned earlier I am a member of Clergy Project (and incidentally have been added to the board of directors this year).

Lion IRC I understand the outrage you would feel as a believer thinking that someone would occupy a pulpit and accept a salary that way. I can only offer the perspective I have seen from dozens of my new companions who struggle with this very thing.

First of all, most of those who came to the realization that they no longer believed in the god they had so rigorously defended in their youth did not make such a choice on purpose. They were convinced against their will. They were forced to give in to the evidence in spite of their best efforts to cling to their faith. It is no different from a physician trying to convince you that you have diabetes. It's easy to deny you have it for years unless you check your blood sugar regularly and accept the evidence. You don't get to choose what the truth is, truth is forced upon you by investigating irrational things until the solution becomes clear. And in the case of many religious leaders the truth forced them to come to terms with the fact that sacred beliefs they once held were just not true.

But by then these professionals have often made a career in this field. They've started families. They have children who depend on them for food, clothing and shelter. Perhaps they have spouses and other family members who depend on them and their income as well.

They desperately want out of the lie they're living. The very principles of honesty and decency that brought them to ministry in the first place eat at them every time they stand in the pulpit and deliver sermons. Their sermons tend to gravitate away from fundamentalism and doctrine. Instead they speak more of humanity, kindness, love and compassion: things they can still believe in whether or not they share a belief in the god they once held.

A scientist can learn that he was wrong about a given theory and continue to be respected in the community. A politician can often change ideologies and remain effective and respected. Nearly any other profession one holds can be abandoned due to lack of interest or personal growth without loss of community respect. But a preacher who no longer believes in "god" is a social pariah in what once was his or her closest community. Few professions exact such a heavy personal toll for simply changing your mind after reviewing evidence.

The Clergy Project has no interest in deconverting clergy. Their (our) primary interest is in assisting those who have reached this point in their lives in transitioning to a secular occupation and lifestyle. We provide a sympathetic community where people can talk freely about the struggles they endure as they attempt to effect this transition. We pool our money, time and resources into the TAG (Transition Assistance Grant) to help with career training and counseling. People are hurting and afraid. They feel like the whole world is on their shoulders, knowing that they have to keep up this awful façade for a bit longer so their children can eat.

But in the end there is no disapproving god looking down at this vile fraudster with furrowed brow. God is an imaginary construct, no more capable personally of harming the unbelieving preacher than the tooth fairy. But just like Muslim Jihad or Aztec human sacrifice, ideas can wreak havoc through the people who carry them. It is a tenuous journey that is taken by those who join our ranks in TCP, one that must be walked in secret from their friends until they reach the point where they can walk on their own. I have seen many make that journey, successfully navigating the transition from religious professional to secular vocation. My journey was easy compared to most of those I've witnessed.

The atheist who continues to preach to feed her family is simply providing a service to an audience who desires that service. Nothing more. She is an actor, playing a part they love to watch. One day she will step down from the stage never to play that role again. And she will be greatly relieved to do so.

Extremely well-stated. All of your points are borne out in Caught in the Pulpit.
 

Lion IRC

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Atheists masquerading as clergy.
They have a word for that.
And its not "doubt". It's not "apostasy". It's not "deconversion".

It's called FRAUD.


So quick to judge. Where was your outrage when we found out that the Roman Church has been sheltering and enabling the criminal pedophile priests in their midst for generations? Its called CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY.

I dont think you read my post carefully enough.
I said "masquerading".
Atheists pretending to be priests.
If you want to join the dots to other examples of things which aren't what they seem, so be it.

You know, if I see a bank robber fleeing from the bank disguised as a Nun, wearing a habit and rosary beads, my first thought isn't that the Church needs to do something about its bank robbing Nuns problem.


...
Lion IRC I understand the outrage you would feel as a believer thinking that someone would occupy a pulpit and accept a salary that way.

I would have thought atheists would be outraged. They are bringing atheists into disrepute, not priests.
 

Harry Bosch

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Atheists pretending to be priests/clergy. Hmmm.

...I never did believe those artificially low 'atheists in prison' demographics either.

It appears as if you have it backwards. These preachers weren't originally pretending to be Christians. They were Christian preachers who lost their beliefs and either left the church or stayed out of loyalty to their parishioners.

Why do you find it so hard to believe that a lot of believers, including preachers, lose their beliefs? Most American atheists were raised as Christians, including myself.

I met a youth pastor at a bar once. One of the saddest nights of my life! He was totally down. He had lost all his faith. However, this profession was all they he knows. He was in his later 40's. Paid very well. He loves working with kids. But felt so guilty in trying to turn them away from their families and society and towards his church. His church was his family. All his friends are in the church. Not easy to change your stripes in your late 40's.
 

Harry Bosch

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I dont think you read my post carefully enough.
I said "masquerading".
Atheists pretending to be priests.
If you want to join the dots to other examples of things which aren't what they seem, so be it.

You know, if I see a bank robber fleeing from the bank disguised as a Nun, wearing a habit and rosary beads, my first thought isn't that the Church needs to do something about its bank robbing Nuns problem.


...
Lion IRC I understand the outrage you would feel as a believer thinking that someone would occupy a pulpit and accept a salary that way.

I would have thought atheists would be outraged. They are bringing atheists into disrepute, not priests.

My favorite Christian trait is their willingness to forgive and not judge. It's very admirable.
 

ideologyhunter

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My favorite is that way they have of selling all their possessions, giving the money to the poor, cancelling their insurance policies, and living as free loaders on the road. Now that's sanctified.
 

funinspace

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I dont think you read my post carefully enough.
I said "masquerading".
Atheists pretending to be priests.
If you want to join the dots to other examples of things which aren't what they seem, so be it.
Yeah, I'd like more dots/substance over snark. Like do you really think all these former clergy grew up faking faith in Jesus/Christianity, then faked faith in Jesus/Christianity while in seminary, and probably again faked faith in Jesus/Christianity as they started their work journey? And then years later, decided to go public after they faked a change in belief?

You know, if I see a bank robber fleeing from the bank disguised as a Nun, wearing a habit and rosary beads, my first thought isn't that the Church needs to do something about its bank robbing Nuns problem.
Wow...such an example. Funny, my first thought would be 'its a bank robber in disguise'. My second thought, is 'really, such a silly red herring by you'.


...
Lion IRC I understand the outrage you would feel as a believer thinking that someone would occupy a pulpit and accept a salary that way.

I would have thought atheists would be outraged. They are bringing atheists into disrepute, not priests.
Nah, no outrage here, I have sympathy for them...
 

Atheos

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I dont think you read my post carefully enough.
I said "masquerading".
Atheists pretending to be priests.
If you want to join the dots to other examples of things which aren't what they seem, so be it.

You know, if I see a bank robber fleeing from the bank disguised as a Nun, wearing a habit and rosary beads, my first thought isn't that the Church needs to do something about its bank robbing Nuns problem.


...
Lion IRC I understand the outrage you would feel as a believer thinking that someone would occupy a pulpit and accept a salary that way.

I would have thought atheists would be outraged. They are bringing atheists into disrepute, not priests.

You seem to be making the mistake of thinking that an atheist would care about whether atheists have repute. It's like you don't understand that there's not a cabal of atheists getting together in a conclave putting together platforms of dogma and marching orders for the rank and file members. Honestly Lion IRC, you've been around here long enough to know better. The only thing we atheists have in common is that we don't buy the claims people make about their invisible friends. Other than that we can be as variegated as any other random group of human beings.

If an atheist robs a bank it doesn't mean atheism is about robbing banks. If an atheist is a serial murderer it doesn't mean that atheism is about serial murder. If an atheist works as pastor of the First Baptist Church it doesn't mean that atheists are pastors or that all atheists are into doing things that they don't believe in.

Have you ever in your life stayed with a job that you absolutely hated but knew that your family would suffer if you just quit? Did you ever suck it up and do your job for a company that you felt was ripping people off because you couldn't just leave? For many of these non-believing clergy this is exactly the situation they are in. It's just a job, and when they can do so with a clear conscience they will give it up. And more to the point they are not causing disrepute precisely because they are not making it known that they no longer believe. That's kind of the point.

I would think Christians would be more enraged by obvious fraudsters such as Ken Hamm, Crefio A Dollar, Pat Robertson and their ilk than garden variety clergy who no longer believe in any god or gods and are simply trying to find a way to bow out of a profession they have become imprisoned in. At least they're trying to stop the dishonesty.

But I haven't been a Christian for over 20 years, so maybe I've lost touch.
 

ideologyhunter

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I'm with atheist local 37, and we caught our rep -- our rep-- listening to a podcast on a Joel Osteen Inspirational Rechargeable Sound Cube. Caused a scandal that still hasn't stopped reverberating. My jockeys got in a knot, I can tell you.
 

atrib

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I dont think you read my post carefully enough.
I said "masquerading".
Atheists pretending to be priests.

I understood just fine. You seem to be outraged that some priests who lose their faith continue to live their lives as priests for some period of time. While they are no longer believers, they continue to provide the services they are required to provide as priests, with none being the wiser.

If you want to join the dots to other examples of things which aren't what they seem, so be it.

You know, if I see a bank robber fleeing from the bank disguised as a Nun, wearing a habit and rosary beads, my first thought isn't that the Church needs to do something about its bank robbing Nuns problem.

I'm not sure what your point is. If I saw a person dressed as a nun holding up a bank, I would assume the outfit was being used as a disguise, and that the person probably wasn't a priest. What does this have to do with someone who became a priest because they felt a religious calling, and later lost their faith but continued to provide the services he was tasked with as a priest.


...
Lion IRC I understand the outrage you would feel as a believer thinking that someone would occupy a pulpit and accept a salary that way.

I would have thought atheists would be outraged. They are bringing atheists into disrepute, not priests.

Why would atheists be outraged? Its not like atheists share a common worldview that unites them and imbues them with common principles. And, as I have pointed out, its not like a priest who carries on with his duties despite losing his faith is perpetrating grave harm on the community.
 

funinspace

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I'm with atheist local 37, and we caught our rep -- our rep-- listening to a podcast on a Joel Osteen Inspirational Rechargeable Sound Cube. Caused a scandal that still hasn't stopped reverberating. My jockeys got in a knot, I can tell you.

Does that mean I should secretly get rid of all my Biblical reading material, that I collected while faking my faith? I don't want to get in trouble with The Union.
 

Angry Floof

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Just say 3 Hail Satans and do something mean to a kitten. (Twist its nose, I mean. We aren't old school these days.)

Speak for yourself. I'm a fundamentalist and your liberal interpretation is leading you away from Truth! I will rigorously not pray for you.
 

Rhea

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Religion will still be around imo, which would perhaps be of a somewhat different nature as a majority mainstream than to that of Christianity that many are usually familiar with (Jesus and the Gospel narrative). Apparently a type that may be much more 'acceptably preferred & "tolerated",' meaning: This emerging religion must have the ability to be adaptable & adjustable, the facility to add new things like philosophies, even fashionable trends, as well as taking out old things like certain biblical narratives, which would then ... not have any conflict with that individuals' way of life - according to personal taste, so to speak

An "Open-Source Religion," if you will. ;)

A One-World-Religion some people term it as. In a normal everyday discussion, all sorts (believers and non-believers), would no doubt have talked and are talking about this, simply out of personal interest & curiosity - not with the view/or putting aside the view of someone who is thinking to make an argument, for a religious debate etc.. BUT as a serious thought or pondering... like having ideas that 'ALL religions becoming one-religion ' may be a good thing in their eyes. A "united religion" which also comes with the topic as a good conversation to come about, simply by wondering and asking "where does religion go from here?" in the future to come.

I tried to sentence diagram this post.

2708325C-2522-4386-A508-2103ECF74948.jpeg
 

atrib

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Religion will still be around imo, which would perhaps be of a somewhat different nature as a majority mainstream than to that of Christianity that many are usually familiar with (Jesus and the Gospel narrative). Apparently a type that may be much more 'acceptably preferred & "tolerated",' meaning: This emerging religion must have the ability to be adaptable & adjustable, the facility to add new things like philosophies, even fashionable trends, as well as taking out old things like certain biblical narratives, which would then ... not have any conflict with that individuals' way of life - according to personal taste, so to speak

An "Open-Source Religion," if you will. ;)

A One-World-Religion some people term it as. In a normal everyday discussion, all sorts (believers and non-believers), would no doubt have talked and are talking about this, simply out of personal interest & curiosity - not with the view/or putting aside the view of someone who is thinking to make an argument, for a religious debate etc.. BUT as a serious thought or pondering... like having ideas that 'ALL religions becoming one-religion ' may be a good thing in their eyes. A "united religion" which also comes with the topic as a good conversation to come about, simply by wondering and asking "where does religion go from here?" in the future to come.

I tried to sentence diagram this post.

View attachment 34101


You are a much nicer person than I am. And way more patient.
 

Learner

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"I tried to sentence diagram this post."

Nevermind, whatever you tried to portray here, I'm sure you tried your best. ;)
 

Rhea

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"I tried to sentence diagram this post."

Nevermind, whatever you tried to portray here, I'm sure you tried your best. ;)

Sorry. Didn’t mean to be obscure. It’s from English class:

Sentence diagram
Description
A sentence diagram is a pictorial representation of the grammatical structure of a sentence.
 

Learner

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Sorry. Didn’t mean to be obscure. It’s from English class:

Sentence diagram
Description
A sentence diagram is a pictorial representation of the grammatical structure of a sentence.

No worries, no offense taken either. I should be able to handle it - sarcasm, mocking insults or being called funny jokey names. Best take it as a bit of banter, when 'it's not an argument' :)
 

DrZoidberg

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Are you familiar with The Clergy Project, a support group for those who have left the ministry. I've met Dan Barker a couple of times when he spoke at Atlanta Freethought, but it's been years. I think Dan is one of the most outspoken, former members of the clergy. Was his story in the book?

https://clergyproject.org/former-believer-resources/

When I was searching for the clergy project, I came across some crazy Christian site that thinks it must be the end times since so many members of the clergy are becoming agnostics and atheists. Maybe it's the end times for religion. ;)

I think Atheos is a member IIRC.

Religion will still be around imo, which would perhaps be of a somewhat different nature as a majority mainstream than to that of Christianity that many are usually familiar with (Jesus and the Gospel narrative). Apparently a type that may be much more 'acceptably preferred & "tolerated",' meaning: This emerging religion must have the ability to be adaptable & adjustable, the facility to add new things like philosophies, even fashionable trends, as well as taking out old things like certain biblical narratives, which would then ... not have any conflict with that individuals' way of life - according to personal taste, so to speak

An "Open-Source Religion," if you will. ;)

A One-World-Religion some people term it as. In a normal everyday discussion, all sorts (believers and non-believers), would no doubt have talked and are talking about this, simply out of personal interest & curiosity - not with the view/or putting aside the view of someone who is thinking to make an argument, for a religious debate etc.. BUT as a serious thought or pondering... like having ideas that 'ALL religions becoming one-religion ' may be a good thing in their eyes. A "united religion" which also comes with the topic as a good conversation to come about, simply by wondering and asking "where does religion go from here?" in the future to come.



(No surprise that the bible agrees with the same, i.e., Christianity as we now know and knew then, may not be so much around visibly where it once was in the world. Similar to your take on the end of religion, the "End times for Christianity," I suppose would be how some like to see it)

(Just remembered steve asked similar questions on his thread, 'what will replace religion?' This could be more suited for that thread)

Of course Christianity is here to stay. It will never go away. It'll just adapt and change to fit the new world, as it always has. It keeps dying and getting reborn all the time. It's not a bug. It's a feature.

Initially Judaism was about royal propaganda and national expansion and ethnic cleansing of enemies. At this point it was all about politics. If the Jewish kings conquered enemies then whatever that king did God approved of. If they lost battles, then they must have sinned. Then Judea became a Persian subject. Then suddenly it became about spiritual matters. After the Greeks invaded Palestine (Judea) and Jewish life became highly precarious Judaism stopped being about the collective faith of a community. Then suddenly being Jewish meant having a personal relationship with God. Roman cosmopolitanism led to Jewish ideas spreading and now suddenly God didn't even care that you were a pure blood Jew. The spiritual aspect had completely supplanted the political aspect of Judaism. We got Christianity. Constantine wanted it as a imperial religion. Now suddenly the fact that Christians couldn't agree on much became a problem. We got the Vulgate Bible. He shoehorned Christianity into the existing pagan structure and rituals to make the transition easier. We got Catholicism. Gutenberg invents the printing press. Now suddenly Christians realize that the Bible doesn't at all say what the Catholic priests have been saying it does. We get fundamentalism (a completely new thing). The Bible goes from being a bunch of pithy discussion points intended to stimulate rewarding conversations, to a manual for life. The modern industrial economy completely trashes the old agrarian social patterns and norms. We get the more flexible and aggressive evangelical Christianity.
 

Rhea

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Sorry. Didn’t mean to be obscure. It’s from English class:

Sentence diagram
Description
A sentence diagram is a pictorial representation of the grammatical structure of a sentence.

No worries, no offense taken either. I should be able to handle it - sarcasm, mocking insults or being called funny jokey names. Best take it as a bit of banter, when 'it's not an argument' :)

I was mostly serious actually. You post was not comprehensible. Clarification would be helpful if you want anyone to know what you said. You have so many nested sub-clauses, dangling modifiers, double negatives and cutesy fluff that people are unable to detect your point.
 

Learner

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No worries, no offense taken either. I should be able to handle it - sarcasm, mocking insults or being called funny jokey names. Best take it as a bit of banter, when 'it's not an argument' :)

I was mostly serious actually. You post was not comprehensible. Clarification would be helpful if you want anyone to know what you said. You have so many nested sub-clauses, dangling modifiers, double negatives and cutesy fluff that people are unable to detect your point.

But of course you were serious. I can see intention, but consider your post acknowledged!

I got a reponse from Doc Zoidberg anyway - luckily he was able to decipher that post at least, hopefully and assuming this did 'not rerquire' too much effort.
 

Lion IRC

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I understood your post quite well Learner.
Open source religion...religion Lite...lukewarm, post-modern, Laodicean religion.

Polite people typically just ask..."what did you mean by xyz Learner?"
Or they politely say..."I'm sorry, Learner, I didn't understand what you were trying to say". Or they politely just overlook the post rather than stooping to make some vulgar and petty ad hominem because they can't resist being petty and rude.

...to one of the most polite, friendly and civil members of this forum.
 

Rhea

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Polite people typically just ask..."what did you mean by xyz Learner?"
Or they politely say..."I'm sorry, Learner, I didn't understand what you were trying to say". Or they politely just overlook the post rather than stooping to make some vulgar and petty ad hominem because they can't resist being petty and rude.

...to one of the most polite, friendly and civil members of this forum.


Alrighty, then, taking politieness tips from the guy who mocks “wimmins rights” in a thread about seeking to enslave our bodies for forced reproduction, which is clearly much more polite than saying, “wow, your sentence structure was like a maze,”

Dear Learner, what do you mean by this post?

Religion will still be around imo, which would perhaps be of a somewhat different nature as a majority mainstream than to that of Christianity that many are usually familiar with (Jesus and the Gospel narrative). Apparently a type that may be much more 'acceptably preferred & "tolerated",' meaning: This emerging religion must have the ability to be adaptable & adjustable, the facility to add new things like philosophies, even fashionable trends, as well as taking out old things like certain biblical narratives, which would then ... not have any conflict with that individuals' way of life - according to personal taste, so to speak

An "Open-Source Religion," if you will. ;)

A One-World-Religion some people term it as. In a normal everyday discussion, all sorts (believers and non-believers), would no doubt have talked and are talking about this, simply out of personal interest & curiosity - not with the view/or putting aside the view of someone who is thinking to make an argument, for a religious debate etc.. BUT as a serious thought or pondering... like having ideas that 'ALL religions becoming one-religion ' may be a good thing in their eyes. A "united religion" which also comes with the topic as a good conversation to come about, simply by wondering and asking "where does religion go from here?" in the future to come.
 

Atheos

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I understood your post quite well Learner.
Open source religion...religion Lite...lukewarm, post-modern, Laodicean religion.

Polite people typically just ask..."what did you mean by xyz Learner?"
Or they politely say..."I'm sorry, Learner, I didn't understand what you were trying to say". Or they politely just overlook the post rather than stooping to make some vulgar and petty ad hominem because they can't resist being petty and rude.

...to one of the most polite, friendly and civil members of this forum.

This got me looking back for any evidence of vulgarity or petty ad hominem. Didn't see it myself and didn't see anyone claiming they were offended. Did see someone say they weren't offended.

Polite people (IMO) don't try to stir up shit when others are having a civil conversation.

Having said that, I'm with the folks who found Learner's post difficult to understand. Part of the difficulty here is due to the use of long sentences that demonstrably defy conventional English grammar structure. But it should be expected that in an informal conversation strict adherence to grammatical norms would be rare. On the other hand, not many posts take that to the extreme as the example that initiated this slight derail.

Learner offered the term "Open Source Religion" which might have any number of meanings, not just the one you chose (lukewarm / Laodicean). It could have referred to the amalgamation of religious thought by the public at large (which certainly plays a part), but I might point out that the public has never demonstrated an ability to remain in lockstep about religious matters. Invariably religion tends to cluster around authority figures (Popes, TV Evangelists, Cult Leaders, etc) and splinter off into polarized groups.

From my perspective as an observer there is far more evidence of polarization and extremism than any tendency to gravitate towards a centralized religion-lite. But I readily acknowledge that could easily be because of the squeaky wheel effect.
 

funinspace

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I understood your post quite well Learner.
Open source religion...religion Lite...lukewarm, post-modern, Laodicean religion.
I got some of what Learner said like of course religion will still be around, but certainly his last paragraph was befuddling for me...FWIW

Polite people typically just ask..."what did you mean by xyz Learner?"
Or they politely say..."I'm sorry, Learner, I didn't understand what you were trying to say". Or they politely just overlook the post rather than stooping to make some vulgar and petty ad hominem because they can't resist being petty and rude.
You lecturing on such is ironic IMPOV...

...to one of the most polite, friendly and civil members of this forum.
Yes, Learner is. He also will try to answer direct questions, which is another behavioral trait I respect. You on the other hand seem to like to toss out quips that can be taken differing ways. And you seem to not engage people who try, even several times, to get you to clarify your point. You are smart and learned, but still for some reason don't engage direct questions with forthrightness. I don't want to assume, but it seems an avoidance pattern for unknown reasons...at least as far as I can discern...
 

Lion IRC

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You lecturing on such is ironic IMPOV...

I'm not polite.
My user profile doesn't say "Christian".

...and yes, there are some posters I purposefully refuse to answer for reasons I have explained to those posters.
 
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Some years ago DJ and I visited Aragon. I was told three out of ten priests were atheists, but kept priesting because, it was an easy job, they wanted to reassure their parishioners, they didn't know what else to do, and so on.

Eldarion Lathria
 

Learner

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I understood your post quite well Learner.
Open source religion...religion Lite...lukewarm, post-modern, Laodicean religion.

Polite people typically just ask..."what did you mean by xyz Learner?"
Or they politely say..."I'm sorry, Learner, I didn't understand what you were trying to say". Or they politely just overlook the post rather than stooping to make some vulgar and petty ad hominem because they can't resist being petty and rude.

...to one of the most polite, friendly and civil members of this forum.

Cheers Lion and G'day, very kind of you. At least there were two of three who sort of understood the post :D. Open-source religion = luke warm.

I would leave it there but it seems this particualr discussion has gone several posts...

...So yes I agree with you, as you pointed out. There are better ways to ask for clarity. And posts that have the iintention to insult indirectly, underneath an apparently "real concern for gramatical errors" for example, which is away from the actual topic of discussion or debate, which imo could give the impression of someone who simply has some grudge over something previous, with me or Christians in general, what ever it is.

In addition it would also be fun in theirs eyes, giving out particular "witty" responses. They would have to be aware though, that in a 'public forum, 'some people out there will notice the underlying intention of the posts (intention in terms of public ridicule). May not be so appealing to their public image profile, IOW it's more likely that it's those type of intentions, by their own doing, is what makes us look like nice guys :D.
 
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Rhea

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So that’s your answer to “what does this post mean?”

Open-source religion = luke warm.

Is that the only part you thought was unexplained?


is what makes us look like nice guys .

Also, there’s no “us” there in this discussion. There wasn’t more than one nice guy named. Lion is mad at me because a long time ago I pushed him on what it means about his character to support a religious structure that hides and protects pedophiles. He chose to take this as me calling him a pedophile, and has spent the subsequent time throwing little tantrums at me, inclusing disrupting other people’s threads for it.

And learner you yourself have spent many pages avoiding direct discussion and that also gets in the way of being “a nice guy.” Better to admit we are all human and we all make decisions that disqualify us from being called “nice” from time to time. And then you can clarify what you were trying to say and have it back in discussion. My apologies fir using humor instead of direct language to say, “this did not make any sense.”


So I’ll repeat my question,

Dear Learner, what do you mean by this post?

Learner said:
Religion will still be around imo, which would perhaps be of a somewhat different nature as a majority mainstream than to that of Christianity that many are usually familiar with (Jesus and the Gospel narrative). Apparently a type that may be much more 'acceptably preferred & "tolerated",' meaning: This emerging religion must have the ability to be adaptable & adjustable, the facility to add new things like philosophies, even fashionable trends, as well as taking out old things like certain biblical narratives, which would then ... not have any conflict with that individuals' way of life - according to personal taste, so to speak

An "Open-Source Religion," if you will.

A One-World-Religion some people term it as. In a normal everyday discussion, all sorts (believers and non-believers), would no doubt have talked and are talking about this, simply out of personal interest & curiosity - not with the view/or putting aside the view of someone who is thinking to make an argument, for a religious debate etc.. BUT as a serious thought or pondering... like having ideas that 'ALL religions becoming one-religion ' may be a good thing in their eyes. A "united religion" which also comes with the topic as a good conversation to come about, simply by wondering and asking "where does religion go from here?" in the future to come.
 

Learner

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Dear Rhea,

Simply put (the level I can muster). I was trying to illustrate my take on the matter of future religion. My view so far, is that Christianity as the main faith, in the form of institutions WILL more likely change by the pressures of the curent world environment. Its understandable! In short - If there was any form of religion fading away, I would say that Christinity in most institutions will adapt, e.g., the biblical narrative of heaven and hell, the biblical view of sinners and types of sins will be replaced by a blend of new "spritual" and philosophical narratives. I think you can get the gist in this post hopefully.
 

funinspace

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Games People Play...

You lecturing on such is ironic IMPOV...

I'm not polite.
My user profile doesn't say "Christian".
Well, at least you are being forthright on politeness... BTW, your profile also doesn't say you are a Snark Master...

...and yes, there are some posters I purposefully refuse to answer for reasons I have explained to those posters.
I'd ask if I had received one of those priority memo's, but then I guess if I did already you'd refuse to say so...though you did 'respond' to my post, but I also didn't ask any questions to be answered...

TTFN
 
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