Atheist Clergy

MattShizzle
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Atheist Clergy

Something I posted in News reminded me of this. What do you know about atheist clergy? I'm not talking about former clergy, like Dan Barker - I mean actual clergy members who won't admit to their atheism due to fear of social reaction and loss of position.

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shelley
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What exactly are you

What exactly are you asking?  I have spoken to men of the cloth that feel it's important to keep the delusion going (even though they don't believe) because they think people need religion.


MattShizzle
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That's one point - but I'm

That's one point - but I'm thinking more along the lines one one who'd love to shout from the pulpit "There is no god" but doesn't because they don't want to have to start a whole new career or risk social ostracism.

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Renee Obsidianwords
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I wonder how many clergy out

I wonder how many clergy out there hide their atheism as a way of maintaining a particular lifestyle. A place to live, respect from a congregation....

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Hambydammit
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... which sounds a lot like

... which sounds a lot like the "belief in belief" question.  Maybe this is way off of what you were looking for, but I think Shepherd Book, from Firefly, is an archetype from American culture.  I think he went to religion, not because of a real belief in a particular god, but because he wanted desperately to believe that "belief" could solve things.  Notice how often belief is brought up in the series and movie?  The assassin is dangerous because he's a "believer."  The alliance flunkies believe that they're making a better world, so they don't question their loyalty.  The "belief" in making people better led to Miranda.

In a similar vein, Bill Adama in BSG also caved in to the idea that belief is sometimes better than the reality of the belief.  Long before he was convinced that earth was a real place, he consented to allow the president to lead people from the holy scriptures.

When I watch these series, I feel like I'm look at two atheists.  One (Book) really and truly believes in belief.  Adama thinks it's the best option in this instance.  They represent two unique perspectives -- absolute adherence to belief and utilitarian adherence to belief.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Luminon
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I think it's better to have

I think it's better to have some atheistic priests, than all those who actually believes it all. An atheistic priest should be more liberal and his preaching shouldn't be too much soaked with sulphur, brimstone and fire.
Theists, who rejects fear-based religion are of course welcome too.

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 I had a professor in

 I had a professor in college that was also a Rabbi.  Whenever anything bad happened (and I mean anything.. l ike dropping books to unexpected death) he would begin to question his god immediately.  It was strange to watch as I always got the impression that the dilemma was always on his mind.  It seemed like his one man arguments were meant to keep his faith in the face of absolute doubt.  Though, I think Judaism (at least his particularly liberal brand) was particularly accepting of doubt.

If I have gained anything by damning myself, it is that I no longer have anything to fear. - JP Sartre


Nordmann
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The Church of England (their

The Church of England (their capitals) and Anglican church generally have produced a few outspoken borderline cases in recent decades.

 

I don't think it's correct to assume however that one can be an atheist and a card-carrying member of such an organisation, but it is certain that many more individuals are further in the process of disillusionment than is generally presumed.

 

In Ireland in recent years the various scandals and proven child-abuse cases have had a measurable effect on the catholic church's ability to recruit new functionaries, and as a by-product of the same process a more outspoken trend towards atheism has begun to be voiced by individuals who in the past would have stayed quiet or even "tagged along" just to avoid being hassled.

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Balrogoz
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 I wonder what's going on

 I wonder what's going on in the heads of people like Reverend Ted who condemns homosexuals on TV in the morning, and by mid afternoon is hiding the salami with not only a man, but a prostitute.  (Not unlike a few Republicans)

 

Really, how does a person like that go from day to day?

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Balrogoz wrote: I wonder

Balrogoz wrote:

 I wonder what's going on in the heads of people like Reverend Ted who condemns homosexuals on TV in the morning, and by mid afternoon is hiding the salami with not only a man, but a prostitute.  (Not unlike a few Republicans)

 

Really, how does a person like that go from day to day?

The human ability to compartmentalize behaviors is an effective defnese mechanism.

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Hambydammit wrote: I think

Hambydammit wrote:

 I think Shepherd Book, from Firefly, is an archetype from American culture.  I think he went to religion, not because of a real belief in a particular god, but because he wanted desperately to believe that "belief" could solve things.  Notice how often belief is brought up in the series and movie?  The assassin is dangerous because he's a "believer."  The alliance flunkies believe that they're making a better world, so they don't question their loyalty.  The "belief" in making people better led to Miranda. 

I love you....well the nerd in me does at any rate....

Luminon wrote:

An atheistic priest should be more liberal and his preaching shouldn't be too much soaked with sulphur, brimstone and fire.

Yeah, or he could be just the opposite to see how far he can really go and what he can get the sheep to believe. (That sounds like it would be an interesting experiment, but would have horrible consequences....)

My girlfriend is big into her Unitarian Universalist church where they actually do have outspoken atheist ministers. A good portion of the congregation is atheist too. But they're of the "feel good" camp and don't view religion as a dangerous virus.