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Preachers Who Don't Believe in God
cbc.ca ^ | CBC

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


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: atheism; christianity; god; godless
This is an increasing trend in America. Preachers are retaining their jobs for the salaries and benefits that they receive. There are even Bishops who openly proclaim their atheism e.g. Bishop Spong of Newark.
1 posted on 03/02/2011 12:26:35 PM PST by pinochet
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To: pinochet

Jessie, Al...


2 posted on 03/02/2011 12:28:01 PM PST by hadaclueonce ("Endeavor to persevere.")
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To: hadaclueonce

Louie..


3 posted on 03/02/2011 12:29:03 PM PST by hadaclueonce ("Endeavor to persevere.")
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To: pinochet

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.


4 posted on 03/02/2011 12:31:25 PM PST by katana
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To: pinochet
The Church needs to get it's backbone back, and excommunicate these people, both Catholic and Reform.


5 posted on 03/02/2011 12:33:02 PM PST by Clock King (Ellisworth Toohey was right: My head's gonna explode.)
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To: pinochet

Any Unitarian doesn’t. You never ever hear the name God or Jesus in a Unitarian “church”.


6 posted on 03/02/2011 12:35:09 PM PST by Emperor Palpatine (Tosca, mi fai dimenticare Iddio!!!)
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To: Emperor Palpatine

They do not call them churches but rather fellowships.


7 posted on 03/02/2011 12:39:53 PM PST by Humvee (Beliefs are more powerful than facts - Paulus Atreides)
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To: pinochet

I have never understood why non-believers bother to go to church.


8 posted on 03/02/2011 12:45:14 PM PST by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: pinochet

Bishop Pickering from Caddyshack?


9 posted on 03/02/2011 12:46:09 PM PST by KarlInOhio (Washington is finally rid of the Kennedies. Free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.)
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To: Emperor Palpatine

“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.


10 posted on 03/02/2011 12:46:25 PM PST by valiant4thetruth
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To: Sans-Culotte

Isn’t that the path for belief for many?


11 posted on 03/02/2011 12:46:59 PM PST by Melas
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To: pinochet

I knew a minister like that — a Marxist.


12 posted on 03/02/2011 12:48:02 PM PST by Blind Eye Jones
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To: pinochet
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 and their pocket books.
13 posted on 03/02/2011 12:48:35 PM PST by Graybeard58 (Of course Obama loves his country. The thing is, Sarah loves mine.)
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To: Sans-Culotte

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.


14 posted on 03/02/2011 12:49:32 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: Larry Lucido

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.


15 posted on 03/02/2011 1:01:01 PM PST by balch3
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To: pinochet

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)


16 posted on 03/02/2011 1:09:22 PM PST by kittymyrib
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To: Emperor Palpatine

You never ever hear the name God or Jesus in a Unitarian “church”.

Our local Unitarian church constantly bashes both


17 posted on 03/02/2011 1:11:42 PM PST by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: pinochet
I heard a Presbyterian "pastor" state that "we have to get away from this idea that Jesus was God" from the pulpit of his church.

Four years later he was dead at age 67 from a horrible wasting disease.

18 posted on 03/02/2011 1:12:48 PM PST by Dr. Thorne (Buy Gold and Guns Now!)
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To: Melas
Isn’t that the path for belief for many?

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.

19 posted on 03/02/2011 1:12:57 PM PST by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: Sans-Culotte
That's why it is essential to believe in the Total Depravity of Man. That mankind is Spiritually Dead due to the fall.

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.

20 posted on 03/02/2011 1:17:43 PM PST by sr4402
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To: pinochet

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.


21 posted on 03/02/2011 1:20:14 PM PST by -YYZ- (Strong like bull, smart like ox.)
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To: pinochet

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.


22 posted on 03/02/2011 1:27:31 PM PST by reagan_fanatic (A communist is just a liberal in a hurry)
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To: pinochet

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.


23 posted on 03/02/2011 1:33:11 PM PST by beckett (Amor Fati)
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To: pinochet
Not surprised.

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.

24 posted on 03/02/2011 1:35:18 PM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: pinochet
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 unemployment.

Fixed it.

25 posted on 03/02/2011 1:35:42 PM PST by OB1kNOb (If all the economists were laid end to end, they would still never reach a conclusion.)
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To: pinochet

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.


26 posted on 03/02/2011 1:46:42 PM PST by pallis
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To: beckett

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.

http://www.rzim.org/


27 posted on 03/02/2011 1:50:26 PM PST by SVTCobra03 (You can never have enough friends, horsepower or ammunition.)
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To: AppyPappy

Our local Unitarian church constantly bashes both

They can’t possibly call themselves a Christian Church, right? Christians should make a distinction then.


28 posted on 03/02/2011 1:53:51 PM PST by Bitsy ( i)
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To: pinochet

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.


29 posted on 03/02/2011 1:54:14 PM PST by Terry Mross (We need a SECOND party.)
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To: sr4402
That's why it is essential to believe in the Total Depravity of Man. That mankind is Spiritually Dead due to the fall.

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.

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).

30 posted on 03/02/2011 1:56:04 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture (Could be worst in 40 years))
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To: Clock King
The Church needs to get it's backbone back

Don't think it is going to happen. Got a new pastor and his idea of Sunday morning service was weird hat and weird tie day. Sunday evening was no talent night and he dressed up like Doris Day and sang a song. Not another man would stand up with me and say it was wrong..............
31 posted on 03/02/2011 2:13:32 PM PST by PeterPrinciple ( getting closer to the truth.................)
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To: -YYZ-

I’d say you are being more honest about who you are at this point in time.


32 posted on 03/02/2011 2:50:33 PM PST by greatplains
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To: beckett
Actually, we believers do not have to "argue faith" with non-believers. Jesus told the disciples who had been sent to evangelize to wipe the dust of the cities that rejected them off their feet and move on.

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.

33 posted on 03/02/2011 2:53:41 PM PST by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: PeterPrinciple

Was he on key?


34 posted on 03/02/2011 2:54:17 PM PST by Melas
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To: kittymyrib

AMEN !!


35 posted on 03/02/2011 3:01:41 PM PST by jesseam (Been there, done that)
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To: beckett
Couple of reflections on your remarks:

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.

36 posted on 03/02/2011 3:37:05 PM PST by RinaseaofDs (Does beheading qualify as 'breaking my back', in the Jeffersonian sense of the expression?)
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To: beckett

“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).


37 posted on 03/02/2011 3:40:33 PM PST by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: SVTCobra03

Yes, Ravi’s a real I Peter 3:15 kind of guy.


38 posted on 03/02/2011 3:56:38 PM PST by GourmetDan (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.)
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To: avenir
"“If all our acts are conditioned behaviour, then so are our theories: yet your behaviourist claims his is objectively true.”—Auden"

"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 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.

39 posted on 03/02/2011 4:03:16 PM PST by GourmetDan (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.)
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To: GourmetDan

“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.”


40 posted on 03/02/2011 9:35:36 PM PST by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: Sans-Culotte
I have never understood why non-believers bother to go to church.

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!

41 posted on 03/02/2011 11:17:55 PM PST by Abin Sur
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To: Abin Sur
I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of non-believers don't go to church.

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.

42 posted on 03/03/2011 6:43:27 AM PST by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: Sans-Culotte
I have never understood why non-believers bother to go to church.

For the same reason they maintain other behaviors from their childhoods. This gives a sense of continuity, hence safety.

43 posted on 03/04/2011 10:19:18 AM PST by TopQuark
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