Skip to comments.Preachers Who Don't Believe in God
Posted on 03/02/2011 12:26:33 PM PST by pinochet
A recent study from Tufts University tells the story of several pastors who no longer believe in God. Most are still working in churches, still preaching sermons, and still counseling the faithful. They are isolated and, in some cases, unable to confide even in their own families, for fear of what their newfound disbelief may do to their relationships
For some pastors who are the sons or daughters of ministers the “calling” is more the “family business”. And like most family businesses there’s usually a steep drop off from the first generation to the next.
Any Unitarian doesn’t. You never ever hear the name God or Jesus in a Unitarian “church”.
They do not call them churches but rather fellowships.
I have never understood why non-believers bother to go to church.
Bishop Pickering from Caddyshack?
“Howl, snarl, bite, ye Calvinistic, ye Athanasian divines, if you will; ye will say I am no Christian; I say ye are no Christians, and there the account is balanced. Yet I believe all the honest men among you are Christians, in my sense of the word.” John Adams
I think you mean Unitarian Universalist ,from the Ralph Waldo Emerson vein.
Isn’t that the path for belief for many?
I knew a minister like that — a Marxist.
I think sometimes the Holy Spirit leads folks to where they need to be at a particular time. Many believers were non-believers seconds before becoming believers. That some would be led to attend a church service on occasion shouldn’t be a total surprise.
I think the OP was talking about people who were once Christians who no longer believe, why they still go through the motions. There could be a lot of reasons: keeping peace in the family, because that’s where their social network is, business connections, avoiding ostracism, etc. I would bet the percentage of true unbelievers in the church would astound us if we knew the real number.
As Jesus teaches us, the tares (weeds) grow along with the wheat until the day of the harvest. The reaper will know which are to be gathered into his barns and which are cast into the fire. (Matthew 13:24-30)
You never ever hear the name God or Jesus in a Unitarian church.
Our local Unitarian church constantly bashes both
Four years later he was dead at age 67 from a horrible wasting disease.
I don't mean someone who goes "to check it out" and eventually becomes a believer. I mean guys like Bishop Spong who flat-out did not believe that Christ rose from the dead; and yet he was a bishop.
If one does not see how bad the fall was for them, then they cannot appreciate what God has done for them and their calling by Him.
I heard this story and the interviews on the radio on Sunday. One guy they were interviewing called himself a “Christian”, but denied the existence of God, and denied Christ’s divinity. Said he thought God was in the universe’s, or man’s, “creative nature” or something like that. I guess anyone can call themselves anything they like, but that’s not any kind of Christianity that I recognize, and I’m an atheist.
I’ve been to churches where the Pastors are little more than counselors who slog through the same old things Sunday after Sunday, who are more concerned with maintaining and socializing within a select group of churchgoers than reaching out to those who really need God’s touch in their lives.
I have no doubt that some of them have lost their faith and don’t really believe in God or in the divinity of Jesus Christ. To me, just one of them is more damaging to the faith than ten athiests could ever hope to be.
The counter-arguments to faith are increasingly persuasive. The cognitive sciences have deepened our understanding of psychology, evolutionary theory provides convincing explanations for how and why the belief instinct was forged in the crucible of early human consciousness, and biblical exegesis puts scripture in a historical context that tends to undermine its claims to authority.
In reply, the faithful can say little more than “beware too much cleverness,” which itself is a time tested psychological tactic common to any institution seeking to protect its turf.
The character of contemporary atheism is significantly more substantial than its counterparts in earlier times. There’s more deep knowledge for it to draw upon. To stop its spread, believers need to build an argument just as strong. And there’s the rub. All the arguments of the faithful that I’m aware of have been out on the table for centuries.
There was a FReeper a while ago who said the same thing. He did many interviews with pastors and priest and found a great many no longer believed in God.
They got into it for the money, and lost faith when the money didn’t pan out like they expected. Without God, it’s a dead end job. Do everyone a favor, and quit.
You might want to check out this guy. He has some very good arguments for unbelievers. Otherwise, all I can tell you is don’t take the Mark.
Our local Unitarian church constantly bashes both
They can’t possibly call themselves a Christian Church, right? Christians should make a distinction then.
Reminds me of a guy I knew in high school. Said his daddy used to be a preacher but quit because “there was no money in it”. Him, his brother and his daddy all ended up serving time in prison for stealing farm equipment. Apparently the money was good in larceny but it had its drawbacks.
This Traditional Catholic likes your comments. Bless you. P.S. I was also a corporate network engineer/software administrator and am also raising two girls (but with my wife and not due to divorce).
I’d say you are being more honest about who you are at this point in time.
People like myself, who are of the Reformed tradition believe that faith is a gift of God. Those who do not have it have not been blessed with the gift of faith, yet. It is no use arguing with them if they are obstinate in their unbelief. Maybe the Holy spirit will one day open their hearts to faith and belief; or maybe he won't.
If someone chooses to reject Christ; that's his choice. I just do not want to see unbelievers attempt to evangelize their unbelief @ churches.
Was he on key?
Atheists don't have to prove anything. Atheist state their view “God doesn't exist.”
To which anyone else would reply, “Pray, tell me why?”
Most retort, “Well, you can't prove a negative. Just the same, he's not there.”
Most Atheists are one of two breeds:
1. Agnostics - they simply aren't sure. They come by this honestly.
2. Secular humanists - they're as religious as any Christian, and perhaps more so, since they generally believe a man is his own God.
As such, there really is no such thing as ‘Atheism’. You can't win any converts to ‘Agnosticism’, but you certainly can to a cause that provides unlimited, guilt-free Sunday mornings. It's a logo. A brand, but with less actual sincerity.
Organized atheism, indeed, seeks to make secular humanism the official religion of the US, mainly by using SCOTUS misinterpretation of the separation clause against all deistic faiths here in the US.
Second reflection is the irony of providing arguments on proving the validity of a faith. Faith is both noun and verb. Faith in anything requires, within one person to another, varying degrees of evidence coupled with some evaluation as to the reasonableness of what's being claimed in the dogma.
Faith, at bottom, is belief, not proof. If you had proof, you'd have a fact, not a faith.
Atheism and pacifism share the same cowardice, however.
Robert A. Heinlein once wrote, “Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay and claims a halo for his dishonesty.”
Similarly, atheists benefit from a society ordered and regulated largely from a system of laws having their start with the Ten Commandments. They benefit from ‘Inalienable Rights’, from ‘crimes against humanity’, and other distinctly deistic artifacts.
What keeps the Atheist from justifying any act under the sun, no matter how depraved? Certainly no fear of where they are going to spend eternity, though it is that very thing that might restrain another person from shooting them dead in a parking lot for $40.
“What about the social contract?” replies the Atheist. You buy a big enough gun, and you don't need a contract. In fact, ‘Do what thou wilst’ is essentially the central tenet of secular humanism. Satanism has the same tenet at its core as well, as far as that matters to an Atheist, since both God and Satan are mere cartoon characters.
“If all our acts are conditioned behaviour,
then so are our theories: yet your behaviourist
claims his is objectively true.”Auden
The “character of contemporary atheism” is dead inside as was the character of atheism past. There is no “there” there. No God, no scripture, no Jesus. They’ve got their conditioned theories, which are worthless (according to their own logic, though see above for a tart expose of their delusion).
Yes, Ravi’s a real I Peter 3:15 kind of guy.
"Theyve got their conditioned theories, which are worthless (according to their own logic, though see above for a tart expose of their delusion)."
Yes and this basic flaw is so obvious that there must be some kind of spiritual 'darkening of the mind' that occurs to those who deny Jesus Christ.
“Yes and this basic flaw is so obvious that there must be some kind of spiritual ‘darkening of the mind’ that occurs to those who deny Jesus Christ.”
Well said. Romans backs you up: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie.”
I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of non-believers don't go to church. I'm an atheist, and other than the occasional wedding or funeral the only times I've been in a church in the last 25 years has been when visiting the Sistine Chapel, Notre Dame de Paris and Salisbury Cathedral.
The visit to Salisbury Cathedral was particularly noteworthy in that it contains the best preserved surviving copy of the original Magna Carta of 1215. Seeing that in person...wow!
Oh, most definitely they don't. But there are people, even entire denominations who have a hard time believing in God and yet they go to church anyway. The aforementioned Bishop Spong comes to mind. I have heard there are many Anglican priests in the UK who absolutely do not believe in God. And yet these people go through the motions of being church members.
For the same reason they maintain other behaviors from their childhoods. This gives a sense of continuity, hence safety.