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← Richard Dawkins and Michael Aus discuss The Clergy Project (with Polish subtitles)

Richard Dawkins and Michael Aus discuss The Clergy Project (with Polish subtitles) - Comments

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

Michael Aus's coming out is very good news. And the very next day, at the American Atheist conference in Bethesda, Maryland, another reverend member of our Clergy Project took the same brave plunge. Teresa MacBain, known to her Clergy Project colleagues as 'Lynn' came out as a non-believer. Teresa, who says she feels elated and 'great', will be joining the Humanists of Florida.

That's two brave ex-clergy in two days. Congratulations to both and welcome to the world of sane reality. You are both among friends.

Richard

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 12:54:25 UTC | #930727

peanutsplatters's Avatar Comment 2 by peanutsplatters

That's fantastic. Michael comes across as a great spokesperson for the cause. Congrats.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:10:42 UTC | #930728

the prisoner's Avatar Comment 3 by the prisoner

should theism be classifeied as mild mental illness..?

then if you de-convert you can be said to be cured..?

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:13:23 UTC | #930729

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 4 by drumdaddy

We love you, Mike! We love you, Teresa!

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:20:57 UTC | #930731

mira's Avatar Comment 5 by mira

Congratulations to Michael Aus and good luck on his journey!

If he happens to be of Estonian descent, his last name would be fitting as it means 'honest' and 'fair' in English.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:21:52 UTC | #930732

kerosene's Avatar Comment 6 by kerosene

did you say "ex vicar?"

yes, there i was, minding my own business, a vicar with a trade, then Dawkins comes along and cures me, not so much as a by-your-leave! Bloody do-gooder!

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:27:01 UTC | #930733

KJinAsia's Avatar Comment 7 by KJinAsia

          [Comment 3](/videos/645426-richard-dawkins-and-michael-aus-discuss-the-clergy-project/comments?page=1#comment_930729) by  [the prisoner](/profiles/166320)          :


                 should theism be classifeied as mild mental illness..?then if you de-convert you can be said to be cured..?

No and no. Institutionalized, emotion driven thinking is the base case that objective reasoned thinking struggles to overcome. It isn't an illness, it's an impediment.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:35:41 UTC | #930735

the prisoner's Avatar Comment 8 by the prisoner

but isn't the inability to divorce reality from fantasy classified as psychosis..?

Comment 7 by KJinAsia :

Comment 3 by the prisoner :

             should theism be classifeied as mild mental illness..?then if you de-convert you can be said to be cured..?

No and no. Institutionalized, emotion driven thinking is the base case that objective reasoned thinking struggles to overcome. It isn't an illness, it's an impediment.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:43:59 UTC | #930736

the prisoner's Avatar Comment 9 by the prisoner

I think that people who hear God speak to them and believe prayers actually work are at least mildly mentally ill

If you met a 37 year old who truly believed in Zeus you would have them locked up for their own good

I think that even 'mild' theists are extremely deluded which is an unhealthy state of being

Comment 7 by KJinAsia :

Comment 3 by the prisoner :

             should theism be classifeied as mild mental illness..?then if you de-convert you can be said to be cured..?

No and no. Institutionalized, emotion driven thinking is the base case that objective reasoned thinking struggles to overcome. It isn't an illness, it's an impediment.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:51:02 UTC | #930739

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 10 by AtheistEgbert

I understand the enormous emotional journey and conflicts that those in the Clergy project must be going through.I think we're all beginning to create our own communities of non-belief, and so it does not have to be the end of their community orientated work. In fact, it could be a new beginning, and they can be supportive of those who have still yet to make that brave step. This is all good news.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:51:39 UTC | #930740

Tony d's Avatar Comment 11 by Tony d

Well done Michael.Good luck in the future.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 14:03:11 UTC | #930741

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 12 by rod-the-farmer

It would be interesting for one of those who plans to come out, to film that, and the reaction of their audience. Especially if they choose to do it in front of their congregation.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 15:09:42 UTC | #930750

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 13 by xmaseveeve

Congratulations to these excellent brave people who took the plunge. Welcome - the water's lovely!

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 16:58:04 UTC | #930762

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 14 by xmaseveeve

Rod, it always cheers me up when I see your smiling face! Always wise, funny comments too. You do brighten my day!

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 17:01:43 UTC | #930763

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 15 by Stafford Gordon

It must be very disconcerting to leave a whole way of life behind; I hope others feel inspired to do the same.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 17:43:05 UTC | #930774

Wokkie's Avatar Comment 16 by Wokkie

A brave step from Michael Aus and I wish him all the best. Another revolution for one!

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 17:51:09 UTC | #930776

This Is Not A Meme's Avatar Comment 17 by This Is Not A Meme

One of us! One of us!

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 18:05:47 UTC | #930778

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 18 by alaskansee

Congratulations Micheal!

This seems like the result of being not only a deep thinker but also someone who has to confront their religion head on because it's everything you do and cannot continue to do in good conscience.

There must be millions more who because they did not choose to become a working member of the church have never had to confront their faith in such a critical way and as such remain "religious" by passive (unthinking) participation.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 18:12:30 UTC | #930783

GPWC's Avatar Comment 19 by GPWC

Michael's reasons for joining the clergy were partly personal - interested in literature, languages etc - and partly driven by a sense of doing good in the community. I'm sure he did plenty of the latter and I think this is where most religious people are at their best - helping others in many different ways without ever counting the cost. There is, of course, plenty of non-religious, free help and advice out there, but nothing yet to compare with the church. The closest (in the UK, at least) is probably the Samaritans who everyone knows as a non-religious brand to trust. It was started by a vicar though!

My point is that, if we are to, successfully, challenge religion, we need to find a good substitute for the warm feeling of community and help that is provided by churches.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 19:42:39 UTC | #930802

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 20 by alaskansee

@ GPWC

What's your's? I don't think you're right unless you count a trip to the pub which is of course more eductional.

"The Local" helping you forget your god one day at a time. Guinness is good for you.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 20:49:56 UTC | #930817

Mike Aus's Avatar Comment 21 by Mike Aus

Thanks to all for your kind comments and support. It means so much to me in this time of transition. My personal thanks to Richard Dawkins for all his kindness to clergy coming out as non-believers.

Regrading Mira's comment, I am in fact of Estonian descent. My Estonian immigrant grandfather always told me that our name meant "honorable," and I thought he was pulling my leg. Now I know for sure. Thanks!

Comment 5 by mira :

Congratulations to Michael Aus and good luck on his journey! If he happens to be of Estonian descent, his last name would be fitting as it means 'honest' and 'fair' in English.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 23:06:21 UTC | #930839

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 22 by debonnesnouvelles

Congratulations, Mike!

Your courage and decisiveness is a model to all of us. If you sometime share your story online in some form, articles or blog, make sure to post a link through this site as well. I have a few friends in mind who would very much benefit from reading your story!

Hope you enjoy the "fresh air" and all the best from Germany

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 23:20:20 UTC | #930841

Metamag's Avatar Comment 23 by Metamag

I was surprised when he said that first serious doubts began to surface when looking at the bible in detail. He didn't look at the bible in detail within the first year of induction to clergy, it took him 15 years?

There must have been something that instigated this new perspective of seeing the bible. Anyway, this clergy project is really useful for people to know what works with actual superstition professionals. Them coming out is also a really powerful message to habitual superstitionists who only rely on authority and tradition and never thought about anything. This project needs to grow and they should be financially supported so coming out is made more frequent. It's the same successful mechanism of the LGBT rights movement.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 23:45:19 UTC | #930848

aleopold's Avatar Comment 24 by aleopold

Congratulations Michael and Teresa. It takes courage to stand up to your adversaries, but the fortitude required to face those with whom your entire life and living is dependent is of an entirely different magnitude.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 01:04:28 UTC | #930861

Teresa Macbain's Avatar Comment 25 by Teresa Macbain

Thanks for all your warm welcomes! I'm so happy to be out and among friends!!!

Teresa

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 04:14:41 UTC | #930882

bono-c's Avatar Comment 26 by bono-c

You can find the original msnbc interview with Mike Aus here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/46848396#46848396

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 19:12:18 UTC | #930996

Quine's Avatar Comment 27 by Quine

I watched your msnbc broadcast, Michael, from the conf hotel room before the first session, and thought, WOW, this is big. You help us all, greatly, through pure honesty. Thank you very much, indeed.

Elsewhere on this site I put up a discussion asking folks what they say to their religious neighbors; what might you say?

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 12:41:12 UTC | #931152

Quine's Avatar Comment 28 by Quine

Teresa, your speach on Monday was the most moving thing I have ever heard. Tears streamed down my face when you apologized for all the bad things you have preached about unbelievers in the past. I had no expectation of ever hearing that in my life. I only regret that my own father did die before he could hear what I did on Monday.

Nothing I could possibility say could thank you enough.

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 12:55:21 UTC | #931154

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 29 by ZenDruid

Quine [@28], I hope there is a link available.

Welcome Michael and Teresa; demagoguery's loss is humanity's happy gain.

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 16:49:14 UTC | #931183

Quine's Avatar Comment 30 by Quine

I am sure American Atheists will have DVDs available at some point. Putting it up for free on the web is another story. If so, it would be one of the greatest helps to the cause. Alternately, Michael and Teresa could do their own videos and put them up on YouTube (or here at RDF, hint, hint).

Also here is the link to our discussion of what to say to your religious neighbors.

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 18:31:47 UTC | #931195