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Your minister could be an Atheist

Posted by Anonymous   + Show Post

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer – Atheist Ministers Struggle With Leading the Faithful

November 09, 2010

Listen to Interview

By DAN HARRIS and WONBO WOO

“I am an atheist,” says “Jack,” a Southern Baptist with more than 20 years in ministry.

“I live out my life as if there is no God,” says “Adam,” who is part of the pastoral staff of a small evangelical church in the Bible Belt.

The two, who asked that their real identities be protected, are pastors who have lost their faith. And these two men, who have built their careers and lives around faith, say they now feel trapped, living a lie.

“I spent the majority of my life believing and pursuing this religious faith, Christianity,” Jack said. “And to get to this point in my life, I just don’t feel like I believe anymore.”

“The more I read the Bible, the more questions I had,” Jack said. “The more things didn’t make sense to me — what it said — and the more things didn’t add up.”

Jack said that 10 years ago, he started to feel his faith slipping away. He grew bothered by inconsistencies regarding the last days of Jesus’ life, what he described as the improbability of stories like “Noah’s Ark” and by attitudes expressed in the Bible regarding women and their place in the world.

“Reading the Bible is what led me not to believe in God,” he said.

He said it was difficult to continue to work in ministry. “I just look at it as a job and do what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “I’ve done it for years.”

Adam said his initial doubts about God came as he read the work of the so-called New Atheists — popular authors like the prominent scientist Richard Dawkins. He said the research was intended to help him defend his faith.

“My thinking was that God is big enough to handle any questions that I can come up with,” he said but that did not happen.

“I realized that everything I’d been taught to believe was sort of sheltered,” Adam said, “and never really looked at secular teaching or other philosophies. … I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. Am I believing the wrong things? Have I spent my entire life and my career promoting something that is not true?’”

He said he feared for his salvation and soul. “In that point where I realized I was losing my faith yet I still feared for my own salvation, I asked God to take my life before I lost my faith,” Adam said.

Adam said he now considers himself an “atheistic agnostic.” “I don’t think we can prove that there is not a God or that there is a God,” he said. “I live out my life as if there is no God.”

He and Jack said that when speaking to parishioners, they tried to stick to the sections of the Bible that they still believed in — the parts about being a good person. Both said that they would like to leave their jobs though they can’t afford to.

“I want to get out of the position that I’m in as quickly as I can because I try to be a person of integrity and character,” Adam said. “With the economy the way it is, with my lack of marketable skills other than a seminary education, it has me in a tough spot.”

Atheism Secret ‘Going to Be Devastating’

Jack said that his secret left him feeling isolated but that he would certainly lose a lot of friends when he professed to no longer being a Christian. His wife doesn’t know and he said it was possible he could lose her as well.

“It’s going to be very confusing for her,” Jack said. “It’s going to be very devastating and it’s going to take us a while to work through it.”

Adam said his wife knew that he was struggling with his faith but not that he had lost it completely.

“It’s a very tough situation to be in,” he said. “I can’t think of another career that is so dramatically affected by a change in one’s opinions or thoughts.”

“At first I feared if I lose my faith, I’m gonna become some terrible person,” Adam said. “As I lost my faith … I realized that really had no bearing on who I am and my character and my actions. I live no differently than I did when I was a fervent believer.”

Adam and Jack were included in a report by philosopher Daniel Dennett, a professor at Tufts University and well-known atheist, and his co-researcher, Linda LaScola. They are continuing their research into non-believing clergy. ABC News contacted the two pastors through Dennett and LaScola, verified their identities and positions, and interviewed them separately.

Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 10, 2012 at 6:45 PM
Replies (11-20):
xtwistedxlovex
by Platinum Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 7:10 PM

I did say many, not all - thank goodness. I'd be hiding in a very deep cave if ALL Christians felt that way o.O Point is, these are actual searches that were most frequently put in...so enough people had to feel this way to disturb me, at least.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 I hope that we, as a people, are not judged by our Google auto completes. That would be unfortunate.

Quoting xtwistedxlovex:


Quoting SarahLizyB:

They need to come out. There's nothing wrong with being an atheist

Many Christians strongly disagree with that sentiment. Have a look at Google's auto complete: "atheists should not be considered citizens" "atheists should be registered" "atheists should leave america". I've seen news stories about atheists with MANY comments about how we should all be raped, enslaved, killed. There's a lot of hate out there. It's hard enough to face the fact that stangers feel that way; to risk your close friends and family turning on you must be very difficult.

 



Anonymous
by Anonymous - Original Poster on Apr. 10, 2012 at 7:16 PM

And that is the keyword "teach".

I can teach the Bible because I know a lot about it although I don't really believe most of what it says.

There are "teachers" that teach things in school every day that they don't necessarily believe, but it is part of the curriculum. I don't see any difference.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 But it's dishonest to live that way. They need to be honest with themselves and their congregations. There will be some backlash and disappointment, but that's natural. What would be much worse is living a lie everyday and teaching people something you don't even believe in.

Quoting Anonymous:

They do it because they are mostly afraid of being judged.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 I don't have a problem with them changing their mind about their beliefs. That's very personal. But lying about what they believe on a daily basis (since their job requires that they instruct others in the faith), does kind of make them a bad person.


 


GirlWSlingshot
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 7:21 PM
1 mom liked this

 They aren't just Bible teachers. They're ministers. Their job is to be spiritual leader and offer guidance and prayer to those in need. They are meant to be God's representative on Earth.

 It would be like a PETA president holding cock fights in her garage or a famous vegan chef feeding her kids McDonalds. Not appropriate and not honest.

Quoting Anonymous:

And that is the keyword "teach".

I can teach the Bible because I know a lot about it although I don't really believe most of what it says.

There are "teachers" that teach things in school every day that they don't necessarily believe, but it is part of the curriculum. I don't see any difference.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 But it's dishonest to live that way. They need to be honest with themselves and their congregations. There will be some backlash and disappointment, but that's natural. What would be much worse is living a lie everyday and teaching people something you don't even believe in.

Quoting Anonymous:

They do it because they are mostly afraid of being judged.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 I don't have a problem with them changing their mind about their beliefs. That's very personal. But lying about what they believe on a daily basis (since their job requires that they instruct others in the faith), does kind of make them a bad person.


 


 

Anonymous
by Anonymous - Original Poster on Apr. 10, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Cock fighting is illegal. These comparisons are absurd and yet another reason they fear coming out.

I also read in another article that the reason they don't come out is because they are afraid of destroying someone elses faith and they don't want to be responsible for that.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 They aren't just Bible teachers. They're ministers. Their job is to be spiritual leader and offer guidance and prayer to those in need. They are meant to be God's representative on Earth.

 It would be like a PETA president holding cock fights in her garage or a famous vegan chef feeding her kids McDonalds. Not appropriate and not honest.

Quoting Anonymous:

And that is the keyword "teach".

I can teach the Bible because I know a lot about it although I don't really believe most of what it says.

There are "teachers" that teach things in school every day that they don't necessarily believe, but it is part of the curriculum. I don't see any difference.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 But it's dishonest to live that way. They need to be honest with themselves and their congregations. There will be some backlash and disappointment, but that's natural. What would be much worse is living a lie everyday and teaching people something you don't even believe in.

Quoting Anonymous:

They do it because they are mostly afraid of being judged.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 I don't have a problem with them changing their mind about their beliefs. That's very personal. But lying about what they believe on a daily basis (since their job requires that they instruct others in the faith), does kind of make them a bad person.


 


 


GirlWSlingshot
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 7:28 PM
1 mom liked this

 They're examples of hypocrisy. There's nothing illegal about feeding a child McDonald's, and many people think it's just fine.

 I have no problem with a minister changing their beliefs. But to continue to preach faith in God is wrong on so many levels. If they had a sense of honor then they would step down. I have absolutely no respect for anyone who would mislead people like that.

Quoting Anonymous:

Cock fighting is illegal. These comparisons are absurd and yet another reason they fear coming out.

I also read in another article that the reason they don't come out is because they are afraid of destroying someone elses faith and they don't want to be responsible for that.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 They aren't just Bible teachers. They're ministers. Their job is to be spiritual leader and offer guidance and prayer to those in need. They are meant to be God's representative on Earth.

 It would be like a PETA president holding cock fights in her garage or a famous vegan chef feeding her kids McDonalds. Not appropriate and not honest.

Quoting Anonymous:

And that is the keyword "teach".

I can teach the Bible because I know a lot about it although I don't really believe most of what it says.

There are "teachers" that teach things in school every day that they don't necessarily believe, but it is part of the curriculum. I don't see any difference.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 But it's dishonest to live that way. They need to be honest with themselves and their congregations. There will be some backlash and disappointment, but that's natural. What would be much worse is living a lie everyday and teaching people something you don't even believe in.

Quoting Anonymous:

They do it because they are mostly afraid of being judged.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 I don't have a problem with them changing their mind about their beliefs. That's very personal. But lying about what they believe on a daily basis (since their job requires that they instruct others in the faith), does kind of make them a bad person.


 


 


 

SarahLizyB
by Gold Member on Apr. 10, 2012 at 7:33 PM
I know. I am one, but it would kill me more to live that lie.

Quoting xtwistedxlovex:


miss_lisa
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 7:40 PM
It's easy to judge when it's not you in that position.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 They're examples of hypocrisy. There's nothing illegal about feeding a child McDonald's, and many people think it's just fine.


 I have no problem with a minister changing their beliefs. But to continue to preach faith in God is wrong on so many levels. If they had a sense of honor then they would step down. I have absolutely no respect for anyone who would mislead people like that.


Quoting Anonymous:


Cock fighting is illegal. These comparisons are absurd and yet another reason they fear coming out.


I also read in another article that the reason they don't come out is because they are afraid of destroying someone elses faith and they don't want to be responsible for that.


Quoting GirlWSlingshot:


 They aren't just Bible teachers. They're ministers. Their job is to be spiritual leader and offer guidance and prayer to those in need. They are meant to be God's representative on Earth.


 It would be like a PETA president holding cock fights in her garage or a famous vegan chef feeding her kids McDonalds. Not appropriate and not honest.


Quoting Anonymous:


And that is the keyword "teach".


I can teach the Bible because I know a lot about it although I don't really believe most of what it says.


There are "teachers" that teach things in school every day that they don't necessarily believe, but it is part of the curriculum. I don't see any difference.


Quoting GirlWSlingshot:


 But it's dishonest to live that way. They need to be honest with themselves and their congregations. There will be some backlash and disappointment, but that's natural. What would be much worse is living a lie everyday and teaching people something you don't even believe in.


Quoting Anonymous:


They do it because they are mostly afraid of being judged.


Quoting GirlWSlingshot:


 I don't have a problem with them changing their mind about their beliefs. That's very personal. But lying about what they believe on a daily basis (since their job requires that they instruct others in the faith), does kind of make them a bad person.




 




 




 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Apr. 10, 2012 at 7:43 PM
1 mom liked this
He should not be allowed to continue his 'work', but then again the blame doesnt just fall on him for not coming out.
The responsibility also lies within his congregation. Who is 'teaching' you should matter to you. If they dont know their pastor/minister well enough to at least have doubt if theyre just going through the motions then its on them. What type of person you allow to preach to you should matter, they dont have to be picture perfect but yeah.
I dont care what any person believes, but to be a pastor and have an entire church following you and not believe is wrong. Its dispicable what he's doing.
Compare it to any other job if you must; but once he decided he didnt believe he became unfit for that job.



As for Atheists being afraid of coming out, if I based my opinion on something as small as just this site (for the one mentioning google) I would be worried for Christians. It seems the only faith thats okay to bash, and make fun of, and put down incessantly, according to popular cm belief is christian.
Ive seen people first hand get ganged up on by Atheists off of cm for believing, they were taunted and called names and told they should all be rounded up and locked in a sanitarium. This was recently too.
It goes every which way, when it comes to beliefs being bashed, and its sickening.
GirlWSlingshot
by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 7:45 PM
2 moms liked this

 I think it's easy to judge someone based on their actions and whether those actions show integrity or not. I've known of priests in my denomination that stepped down because of issues they took with the church or with their faith in general. No one stoned them or did anything awful to them. They weren't even excommunicated (we don't have a pope), they just resigned their position. It's a job, but it's a job that has tremendous responsibility. Ministers are entrusted guiding their pasish/congregation spiritually. The trust there is that they actually believe or at least attempt to live what they are preaching. Hypocrisy is not attractive no matter the circumstances.

 I have no issue with someone changing their faith or altering their beliefs, not even a minister. What I take issue with is hiding that change and lying about their faith on a daily basis. I think that is incredibly wrong. This isn't just a case of, "Gasp! I don't believe in transubstantiation anymore!" It's a case of ministers who no longer believe in God. That's pretty much the simplest possible requirement one could have of a spiritual leader - do you believe in the deity you are preaching about?

Quoting miss_lisa:

It's easy to judge when it's not you in that position.

Quoting GirlWSlingshot:

 They're examples of hypocrisy. There's nothing illegal about feeding a child McDonald's, and many people think it's just fine.


 I have no problem with a minister changing their beliefs. But to continue to preach faith in God is wrong on so many levels. If they had a sense of honor then they would step down. I have absolutely no respect for anyone who would mislead people like that.


Quoting Anonymous:


Cock fighting is illegal. These comparisons are absurd and yet another reason they fear coming out.


I also read in another article that the reason they don't come out is because they are afraid of destroying someone elses faith and they don't want to be responsible for that.


Quoting GirlWSlingshot:


 They aren't just Bible teachers. They're ministers. Their job is to be spiritual leader and offer guidance and prayer to those in need. They are meant to be God's representative on Earth.


 It would be like a PETA president holding cock fights in her garage or a famous vegan chef feeding her kids McDonalds. Not appropriate and not honest.


Quoting Anonymous:


And that is the keyword "teach".


I can teach the Bible because I know a lot about it although I don't really believe most of what it says.


There are "teachers" that teach things in school every day that they don't necessarily believe, but it is part of the curriculum. I don't see any difference.


Quoting GirlWSlingshot:


 But it's dishonest to live that way. They need to be honest with themselves and their congregations. There will be some backlash and disappointment, but that's natural. What would be much worse is living a lie everyday and teaching people something you don't even believe in.


Quoting Anonymous:


They do it because they are mostly afraid of being judged.


Quoting GirlWSlingshot:


 I don't have a problem with them changing their mind about their beliefs. That's very personal. But lying about what they believe on a daily basis (since their job requires that they instruct others in the faith), does kind of make them a bad person.




 




 




 

 

LovelyJay512
by Momma Jay on Apr. 10, 2012 at 7:48 PM
1 mom liked this
This is pathetic. What a shame and I'm Wiccan.
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