Posts tagged ‘Church’
This couple were the “senior” (head) pastor and his wife at the church where we spent 10 years working. She was one of those “super Christians” (at least in her mind). However, the reality of it all is she typified all the things I have learned to loath about religious people. She always had “all the answers,” and anything that deviated from her set theology was wrong. She could tell you how to live, while her own life was crumbling unnoticed around her. She pursued “ministry” based on her desire to have acceptance and really could not wrap her mind around love at all.
Saying all this, I’ve learned to pity this woman. Circumstances have moved this couple far away from our lives, but today we attended a funeral of a mutual family member/friend. It was good to see her and her family, but sadly, nothing has changed for her.
That’s the problem with religion. Things stagnate, because that’s the only way they can be controlled. Theologies become calcified, and they become fodder for liturgies…
Among people who have left any belief system there is very often a tendency to demonize that which they formerly adhered to. We see it all the time.
- Former Catholics seem all too happy to point at the abuse scandals and say that’s what they’d expect from the old “whore of Babylon”.
- Former atheists become Christians and then set about declaiming atheists as the spawn of Satan.
- In the Eastern Orthodox Church (EOC) I often heard former Protestants berating Protestantism as stupid, evil, dead, not even Christian, and so on.
- Former political liberals/conservatives will begin to rant about how dumb/evil/wrong/damaging conservatives/liberals are.
Among former Christians the tendency exists too. Christianity, the Church, Christians, religion in general, all too often come to be viewed as the greatest earthly source of evil. Just look around this, or any other, atheist/agnostic/decon forum and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
I think this tendency may arise from anger at abuses seen or suffered in the Church, or from a bit of a personal backlash for feeling like one was duped, and I’m sure there are other sources for it as well. However, regardless of why it happens, I’d like to go on record as saying, “I’m not buying it.”…
In my previous post on this subject, Independence in Thought, I discussed a point made by Phillychief in his post entitled Insularity?, where he stated that atheists, by and large, are critical thinkers.
Another point that Phillychief made, with which I agree, is that atheists are not as prone to hero worship and personality cults as theists appear to be. He cites the examples of Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennet, et al, and notes that their positions are scrutinized incessantly. What he implied but didn’t say outright, which I will say, is that much of this scrutiny comes from people who generally accept these writers’ ideas. The critics criticize because they want to sharpen their own thinking skills and also because they want to challenge these writers, and others like them, to put forward the strongest possible arguments for their positions and to articulate those arguments clearly, succinctly and coherently.
I, for example, like Richard Dawkins, and I enjoyed reading The God Delusion. That doesn’t blind me to the fact that the book has some substantive flaws. My atheism does not depend on Dawkins being infallible. Ditto for all the recent flap about Antony Flew – the fact that he shifted from atheism to a deist position doesn’t undermine my atheist position at all. My atheistic view does not depend upon the Gospels according to St. Antony and St. Richard…
LeoPardus recently wrote about a prayer he prayed during his de-conversion journey where he asked the following of God – “God, if you’re real, do something. Anything.”
Well Leo, hop in your car and head to I-35. God is there and he’s in full action. He’s even delivering people from homosexuality (what greater miracle could you see).
Updated December 20th: I-35: ‘Ex Gay’ Now ‘Ex Ex Gay’ »
- The de-Convert
There’s nothing I hate more than manipulative bait and switch preachers….. except for manipulative bait and switch videos:
Not only are you responsible for failing to be ready to die a martyr, you’re responsible for other peoples’ manipulative tactics as well. The only thing cheesier, and the twist I was expecting, was to make the guy with the gun become an angel or Jesus. Now THAT would have been sweet and a double smack on the knuckles! (sigh)
Trying to describe the personal journey that I’ve been on for the last four years is like trying to nail jello to the wall. I’ve gone through a thorough detox from vocational and institutional Christianity, plunged headlong into the “dark night of the soul,” and am slowly emerging with my head above unchartered waters. Bilbo’s story could well be my own, “There and Back Again: A Hobbit’s Tale,” yet the place to which I’ve returned is different and familiar all the same.
I spent roughly 10 years in pastoral ministry, or I could say that I spent 10 years in pastoral ministry roughly. I broke from full-time ministry to become self-employed in healthcare marketing, a job I still have five years later. For 18 months I tried to be bi-vocational while building this new business, but aside from preaching on Sundays, my job didn’t lend itself to be compatible with pastoral ministry.
My departure from full-time ministry was against the grain of the church-growth mentality. I was capable and expected to move on to bigger churches to continue my “ministry.” Not only did I demote myself to a smaller pastorate, but I also went “secular.” There was a lapse of 9 months before I began the bi-vocational pastorate, leaving many to circulate rumors that my last church drove me from the ministry. Beginning with leaving full-time ministry I began to contemplate ways to reinvent the wheel…