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← Search for truth leads to rejection of religion

joshuaeverett's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by joshuaeverett

From the author of the article:

One of the things this experience has taught me is just how special the La Crosse Area Freethought Society (LCAFS) is. My wife and I have loved LCAFS since the first time we went to a Friday night event last fall. I already appreciated the special group of people that form LCAFS. However, this experience and the experiences of other ex-clergy on The Clergy Project have made me recognize everyone's kindness and acceptance all the more. As ex-clergy, we know the hostility we will face from religious people, friends, and family. However, the hostility from many in the agnostic/atheist community can be the most hurtful. We have all learned that the judgmentalism and arrogant ignorance that we despised in religious communities can be present in many non-religious communities, too.

The accusations thrown at us as ex-clergy for misleading people, spreading ignorance, intolerance, hate, etc. are certainly fair charges in some cases. No one at TCP denies them. In fact, few days go by that we aren't depressed to some extent due to our previous lives. Certainly we were all sincere in our desire to help people above all, and many of us, myself included, never participated in preaching intolerance or hate. I cannot with good conscience say that my intentions justify my misguided proselytizing and preaching. These are regrets we all bear, along with the regret of so many wasted years of our own short lives. Many members of TCP pay for their mistakes greatly. Many of us accumulate a great deal of debt attempting to retrain ourselves. Many work in minimum-wage jobs the rest of their lives. A great number lose their jobs and families. Some lose everything and are homeless now. Do we complain? No. I've never heard a single complaint. In fact, most of us accept the consequences of our misguided religiosity without bitterness. We are content to have broken free in some manner or other.

I think the take-away lesson I've learned (or relearned) is this: In life, wisdom comes from open-minded questioning, not arrogant, ignorant assertions or judgments. Sometimes even those of us who are nonbelievers need to be reminded of that lesson. I'm fortunate that no one in my local freethought society was judgmental toward me because of my upbringing or former career. That's something I will never forget.

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 19:57:16 UTC | #947234