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Go to: Search for truth leads to rejection of religion

joshuaeverett's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by joshuaeverett

xsjadolateralus

These articles about TCP are written not as a method of fundraising, but as a means of educating religious people about the fallibility of their clergy. TCP does not currently offer financial support of any kind to ex-clergy. If such programs are ever created, they will certainly be optional for those who sympathize with the situations of the members. I suspect most contributors to it would be more financially-stable members who attempt to help people who are in the initial stages of such transitions.

Personally, I agree with you that plenty of other people are in great financial need through no fault of their own. Should we be helping them? Probably so. However, the idea that a (non-existent) charity to help with financial difficulties among ex-clergy necessarily precludes or prevents the formation of a charity to help non-clergy with financial difficulties is a false dichotomy.

Your statements here include assertions about TCP are simply ignorant and include many logical fallacies. Information about TCP is readily available, and questions rather than accusations are a better method for learning (thought I doubt that is your intention). Furthermore, your accusations about the religious acts of TCP members during their time as clergy are exaggerated, ignorant, gross generalizations. As you do not know my background or the backgrounds of the members of TCP, you cannot make such assertions without evidence. Many religious people become non-believers after serving in various lay-capacities, not just clergy, and many of us (clergy or not) do spend substantial amounts of our time and money attempting to make restitution for our errors.

Having been raised in fundamentalism and homeschooled with the ACE curriculum referenced in Dawkins' "Root of All Evil" series, I am well aware of the many forms of intentional and unintentional abuse that religion can carry with it. I do not excuse such things, nor any unintentional role I might have had in perpetuating such things. However, please note that the brand of religion that you describe in your comments is something I, like many TCP members, fought against all my life, including during my time in the clergy. When I realized I was acting as an enabler for the horrible acts of religious extremists, I was deeply horrified. I do indeed intend to fight against this sort of thing until my heart stops. Your ad hominem attacks against myself and other members of TCP are unsubstantiated due to the fact that you have no idea who we are/were or what we do or intend to do. I can certainly understand your anger against religion, but I assure you it is misdirected in this case.

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 22:28:06 UTC | #947256

Go to: 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

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