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The Clergy Project: A Sanctuary for Religious Refugees - Comments

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 1 by Mr DArcy

Isn't it strange that serious study of the Bible results in the loss of faith? I cite Bart Ehrman and our current author above. Don't let the dog see the rabbit! No wonder they didn't want it translated into English and other languages!

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 17:36:42 UTC | #879450

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 2 by justinesaracen

What a dreadful moment that must be, the moment when someone who has spent years/ decades of their lives in some nook of the theological world suddenly accepts that it has all been false. How appalling to feel the utter waste of it.

It must be akin - though less tragic, of course - to losing a child fighting in a war that you finally grasp never had to be fought.

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 17:38:03 UTC | #879451

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 3 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 2 by esuther

It appears that one of the biggest hurdles a believer has to get past to be non believer is all the years or decades of wasted investment on nothing. Better to just tough it out, rather than admit to themselves the errancy of such a large investment, in terms of wasted time.

This is why a thorough critique of religious scriptures at a young age is so important.

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 18:07:02 UTC | #879457

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 4 by Dhamma

This is a wonderful initiative. It's a tickling thought that churchgoers might have to doubt their priests authenticity.

I'm not sure if I've missed something, but I would like the addition of a public forum, where they could answer moderated questions, and of course make sure not to reveal their identity. Would this be of interest?

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 18:59:32 UTC | #879472

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 5 by Starcrash

What brilliance! It's beneficial to these closet clergy and it's beneficial to the cause of atheism. Kudos to whomever came up with this idea.

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 19:31:37 UTC | #879483

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 6 by BanJoIvie

Comment 3 by Ignorant Amos

...one of the biggest hurdles a believer has to get past to be non believer is all the years or decades of wasted investment on nothing.

Spot on!

This is the reason of course that almost all successful religions require adherents to perform costly demonstrations of devotion and solidarity. Everything from very public initiation rituals and rights of passage; to regular and overt proclamations and demonstrations of faith; to regular attendance at meetings where one can be seen to attend (or noted when missing); to "strongly encouraged" (ie obligatory) donations of money, posessions, and/or time to the group are urged upon members of organized religions as "duties." The social pressure - both from leaders and from peers - to participate in such dispays can be intense, and once a person makes a costly show they are incentivized not only to remain faithful so as not to appear foolish but to join with the group in pressuring others to conform. ("Well, I was baptized in this church, why won't you be? Are you implying I was wrong?")

Many of the largest costs are required up front. In other words the education into "mysteries" only comesafter the initiation ceremonies, so that initiates feel less freedom to question or reject teachings as they are slowly meted out.

Humans who have invested a lot in a certain course of action are very reluctant to "lose" their investment, even if the loss involved is mostly abstract, such as a loss of status or respect from publicly admitting one has been wrong. The overall effect is to crate a situation where just continuing to go along is much less "costly" than trying to leave.

Religions tend to encourage members to go "all in" at times when they feel most in need of something the church can offer so that they feel unable to recant their sworn stance if other ideas come along. It is pernicious, and in the case of clergy such burdens are only magnified.

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 19:35:07 UTC | #879484

Wendy Farts On Her Bible's Avatar Comment 7 by Wendy Farts On Her Bible

Comment 2 by esuther

What a dreadful moment that must be, the moment when someone who has spent years/ decades of their lives in some nook of the theological world suddenly accepts that it has all been false.

Yes, esuther.

I'm sure many individuals have found this situation to be extremely traumatic.

Bart Ehrman certainly did.

He writes:

"I continued to be a Christian - a completely committed Christian - for many years after I left the evangelical fold. Eventually, though, I felt compelled to leave Christianity altogether. I did not go easily. On the contrary, I left kicking and screaming, wanting desperately to hold on to the faith I had known since childhood and had come to know intimately from my teenaged years onward." Bart Ehrman, God's Problem (2008) p.3

No wonder religion's tarantulas are so eager to infect the young.

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 21:06:45 UTC | #879521

I Deny's Avatar Comment 8 by I Deny

Comment 1 by Mr DArcy :

Isn't it strange that serious study of the Bible results in the loss of faith? I cite Bart Ehrman and our current author above. Don't let the dog see the rabbit! No wonder they didn't want it translated into English and other languages!

No doubt. Recollections from my dreadful Sunday school (even on Wednesdays!!) are of unclear passages, skipping ALL over the place in the texts and dodging any purely logical questions that a kid would ask. The church community was very strict about it's relativism! ;)

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 22:59:32 UTC | #879550

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 9 by SomersetJohn

I know this is somewhat off-topic, and I hope it will not be considered frivolous, but may I suggest some of these people might make excellent secular chaplains for the services.

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 23:55:12 UTC | #879574

masubi's Avatar Comment 10 by masubi

I, too, would enjoy a public forum on their site. I have many questions to ask them. If someone is watching the site and they upgrade to this option, please make it a headline on this site.

Live a good life,

masubi

Tue, 11 Oct 2011 00:34:23 UTC | #879589

Peter Clemerson's Avatar Comment 11 by Peter Clemerson

To Mr Darcy (comment 1)

"Isn't it strange that serious study of the Bible results in the loss of faith?"

At an atheist conference in Melbourne in 2010, Taslima Nasrin, the Bangladeshi physician and author, stated that when still young, she read the Qur'an and became an atheist.

She had to wait until she had a Bengali translation to do so. As is well known, only about 15% of Muslims can speak/read Arabic. How many more might follow her example if they had translations into their own languages and actually read them?

Tue, 11 Oct 2011 00:49:14 UTC | #879594

notany's Avatar Comment 12 by notany

It may be a big problem to have a public forum on the Clergy Project site. The clergy would get unbelievable amounts of attacks. It wouldn't be a nice place for anyone to visit.

An idea...they could come to sites such as RDF and write interesting and provocative essays. It wouldn't be necessary for them to be revealed as ex-clergy.

Jean

Wed, 12 Oct 2011 13:31:00 UTC | #880145