Archive for May 1st, 2012
On several occasions, a priest or minister has admitted to me that he (they were all men) sometimes wondered whether God existed. The first occasion was about 25 years ago, and I was surprised to hear this. I now suspect that all honest religious leaders wonder whether God really exists.
I had read about The Clergy Project before, and I note that it is still going strong.
The Clergy Project is a confidential online community for active and former clergy who do not hold supernatural beliefs. The Clergy Project launched on March 21st, 2011.
Currently, the community’s 200 plus members use it to network and discuss what it’s like being an unbelieving leader in a religious community. The Clergy Project’s goal is to support members as they move beyond faith. Members freely discuss issues related to their transition from believer to unbeliever including:
Wrestling with intellectual, ethical, philosophical and theological issues
Coping with cognitive dissonance
Addressing feelings of being stuck and fearing the future
Looking for new careers
Telling their families
Sharing useful resources
Living as a nonbeliever with religious spouses and family
Using humor to soften the pain
Finding a way out of the ministry
Adjusting to life after the ministry
Richard Dawkins’ site published an article on the Clergy Project. Here’s an excerpt:
The Clergy Project — a private, invitation-only “safe house” community of current and former pastors, priests and rabbis who no longer hold the supernatural beliefs of their religious traditions — was started in March 2011 with 52 members. It has now grown to almost 100 “apostates.” Since the unveiling of the public informational website clergyproject.org on Oct. 7, 2011, the group expects to attract hundreds more.
“We know there must be thousands of clergy out there who have secretly abandoned their faith but have nowhere to turn,” says Dan Barker, a former evangelical preacher who “lost faith in faith” after 19 years of preaching the gospel. “Now they do have a place to meet, a true sanctuary, a congregation of those of us who have replaced faith and dogma with reason and human well-being.”
Charles P. Pierce, writing at Esquire:
If the Occupy people want to march, I say let them march. If they resist conventional politics, that may be because conventional politics are worth resisting. What I do know is that, if i weren’t for the people in the streets last autumn, the Obama people would be running a very different campaign and Willard Romney wouldn’t look half as ridiculous as he does.
A friend of mine, an attorney named Martin Green, was born in 1931. He has had a long successful career in St. Louis and he is still going strong, litigating complex cases. While at the courthouse today, I mentioned to Martin that a lot of things have happened during his life (and during mine–I’m 56). I mentioned that his life spans through a large swath of history. He responded with this story (this is a paraphrase):
When I was 7, back in 1938, I visited an old folks home in St. Louis, where I was introduced to “General Claypool.” His claim to fame was that he served as a soldier in the Civil War. He was quite young when he was in the war, only 15. He mentioned that he carried a flag.
Therefore, today I shook the hand of a man who shook the hand of a man who fought in the civil war. Pretty cool.