Preachers who are not Believers
By DANIEL C. DENNETT AND LINDA LASCOLA - TUFTS UNIVERSITY
Added: Sat, 10 Apr 2010 23:00:00 UTC
Thanks to JesusSavesAtCitibank for the links and YouTube.
Are there clergy who donât believe in God? Certainly there are former clergy who fall in this category. Before making their life-wrenching decisions, they were secret nonbelievers. Who knows how many like-minded pastors discover that they simply cannot take this mortal leap from the pulpit and then go on to live out their ministries in secret disbelief? What is it like to be a pastor who doesnât believe in God? John Updike gave us a moving account in his brilliant novel, In the Beauty of the Lilies, which begins with the story of Reverend Wilmot, a Lutheran minister whose life is shattered by his decision to renounce the pulpit in the face of his mounting disbelief. But that is fiction and Wilmotâs period of concealment is short-lived. What is it like to be a pastor who stays the course, in spite of sharing Wilmotâs disbelief?
With the help of a grant from a small foundation, administered through Tufts University, we set out to find some closeted nonbelievers who would agree to be intensively --and, of course, confidentially–interviewed. The interviews were all conducted by Linda LaScola, a clinical social worker with years of professional experience as a qualitative researcher and psychotherapist, and, until recently, a regular churchgoer. Like her co-author, philosopher Daniel Dennett, the author of Breaking the Spell, she is an atheist who is nevertheless a sympathetic and fascinated observer of religious practices and attitudes. For this pilot study we managed to identify five brave pastors, all still actively engaged with parishes, who were prepared to trust us with their stories. All five are Protestants, with masterâs level seminary education. Three represented liberal denominations (the liberals) and two came from more conservative, evangelical traditions (the literals). (We decided to concentrate this first project on Christians, and we would have included a Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox priest, for instance–if we had encountered any, but we didnât.) We initially had six participants, but one, a woman in the Episcopal church, had a change of heart as we were about to go to press and, at her request, all further references to her and quotations from her interviews have been removed.
Comments on Washington Post
Daniel Dennett on Freethought Radio (FFRF.ORG) - Part 1
Daniel Dennett on Freethought Radio (FFRF.ORG) - Part 2
Michel Day - The Independent 17 Comments
Mario Cal's death at an institution with links to the Papacy has put corruption claims in the spotlight, says Michael Day
Michael Nugent - www.michaelnugent.com 55 Comments
How can we believe, without corroboration, anything that members of the Irish Catholic Hierarchy say in cases where it is in their interest to mislead us? That is surely the central question that arises from the Cloyne Report into the handling of allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests in the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne in Ireland, especially when seen alongside the previous revelation that Archbishop Desmond Connell of Dublin was happy to deliberately mislead people by a process that he described as ‘mental reservation’.
Sanal Edamaruku - NewHumanist.org.uk 23 Comments
Sathya Sai Baba caused great damage to India. His irresponsible political patrons corrupted the political culture of India. Encouraged by the clout of Sathya Sai Baba, a new clan of miracle mongers imitated him. India would have been a better place without Sathya Sai Baba.