Friday, April 27, 2012

The Clergy Project

I read Dan Dennett's study in 2010 on clergy struggling with their disbelief while stuck in their pastor roles for various reasons ("Preachers Who Are Not Believers"), but ran across this podcast today from the Thinking Atheist from this past January. It is an incredible dilemma as people who have dedicated sometimes their entire life to lead others in faith finally realize that they no longer believe and face an extraordinary exit strategy, as their career and friend and family relationships all come crashing down at once. It is probably singly unique in that just a simple change in your philosophy can cause such widespread carnage across all avenues of your life. Many of these people are stuck with theological degrees or certain financial implications that keep them from making a quick transition to some other form of employment. The other huge issue is the reception of the new world view by the congregants and friends and family. Will they be ostracized and rejected from everyone they know and love? I can't help but feel for these clergy. It is nice to know that they do have somewhere they can turn for help. The Clergy Project was set up last year to serve as a safe haven for current clergy going through this cognitive dissonance. It is run and maintained by current and ex clergy and anonymity is respected as they build a community to deal with all of the issues involved in "de-clergifying":

  • Wrestling with intellectual, ethical, philosophical and theological issues
  • Coping with cognitive dissonance
  • Addressing feelings of being stuck and fearing the future
  • Looking for new careers
  • Telling their families
  • Sharing useful resources
  • Living as a nonbeliever with religious spouses and family
  • Using humor to soften the pain
  • Finding a way out of the ministry
  • Adjusting to life after the ministry

  • The Clergy Project website has incredible audio and written testimonials from some of the members and their stories are heartbreaking but also encouraging.

    The Thinking Atheist 1-10-12 Podcast #40:

    (Image by Evelina Kremsdorf)

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    Mesmerizing Pendulum Waves

    Sometimes nature is just plain beautiful...

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    Did Jesus Exist? - Richard Carrier

    Great talk by Richard Carrier about the historicity of Jesus:

    Dear God

    Heard this little diddy on the way in this morning...

    Dear God,
    Hope you got the letter and
    I pray you can make it better down here
    I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer
    But all the people that you made in your image,
    See them starving on their feet
    Cause they don't get enough to eat
    from God
    Can't believe in you...

    Dear God,
    Sorry to disturb you, but
    I feel that I should be heard loud and clear
    We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
    And all the people that you made in your image,
    See them fighting in the street
    Cause they can't make opinions meet
    about God
    I can't believe in you...

    Did you make disease?
    And the diamond blue?
    Did you make mankind after we made you?
    And the devil too!

    Dear God,
    Don't know if you noticed, but
    Your name is on a lot of quotes in this book
    And us crazy humans wrote it, you should take a look
    And all the people that you made in your image,
    Still believing that junk is true
    Well, I know it ain't and so do you
    Dear God,
    I can't believe in

    I don't believe in

    I won't believe in heaven and hell
    No saints, no sinners, no devil as well
    No pearly gates, no thorny crown
    You're always letting us humans down
    The wars you bring, the babes you drown
    Those lost at sea and never found,
    and it's the same the whole world 'round
    The hurt I see helps to compound
    That Father, Son and Holy Ghost
    Is just somebody's unholy hoax
    And if you're up there you'd perceive
    That my heart's here upon my sleeve
    If there's one thing I don't believe in...

    It's you...
    Dear God

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Global Atheist Convention- Hitchens Tribute

    Great compilation and tribute to The Hitch from the 2012 GAC in Australia this past weekend...

    Global Atheist Convention 2012

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Bob's Notes: Matthew 1-12

    I found a great youtube channel today, bobsmeerfak, and it is brilliant. He parodies stories from the bible playing them off as a "series designed for theological seminary students with approaching exams who have not had time to read the bible" as well as other various people. awesome... enjoy some clips from the Gospel according to Matthew:

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Moral Behavior in Animals

    Another great TED talk.... Frans de Waal delves into a very interesting topic - morality in animals - and he's a pretty funny dude too.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    White Wine in the Sun - Tim Minchin

    It's not christmas, but I just came across this fantastic animation today and wanted to share. The lyrics are incredible and Tim Minchin finds the true meaning of the holiday season: family

    I really like Christmas 
    It's sentimental, I know, but I just really like it
    I am hardly religious
    I'd rather break bread with Dawkins than Desmond Tutu, to be honest

    And yes, I have all of the usual objections to consumerism
    To the commercialisation of an ancient religion
    To the westernisation of a dead Palestinian
    Press-ganged into selling Playstations and beer
    But I still really like it

    I'm looking forward to Christmas
    Though I'm not expecting a visit from Jesus

    I'll be seeing my dad
    My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
    They'll be drinking white wine in the sun
    I'll be seeing my dad
    My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
    They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

    I don't go in for ancient wisdom
    I don't believe just 'cause ideas are tenacious, it means they're worthy
    I get freaked out by churches
    Some of the hymns that they sing have nice chords but the lyrics are spooky

    And yes, I have all of the usual objections to the miseducation
    Of children who in tax-exempt institutions are taught to externalise blame
    And to feel ashamed and to judge things as plain right or wrong
    But I quite like the songs

    I'm not expecting big presents
    The old combination of socks, jocks and chocolates is just fine by me

    'Cause I'll be seeing my dad
    My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
    They'll be drinking white wine in the sun
    I'll be seeing my dad
    My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
    They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

    And you, my baby girl
    My jet-lagged infant daughter
    You'll be handed 'round the room
    Like a puppy at a primary school
    And you won't understand
    But you will learn some day
    That wherever you are and whatever you face
    These are the people who'll make you feel safe in this world
    My sweet blue-eyed girl

    And if, my baby girl
    When you're twenty-one or thirty-one
    And Christmas comes around
    And you find yourself nine thousand miles from home
    You'll know what ever comes
    Your brothers and sisters and me and your mum
    Will be waiting for you in the sun

    Whenever you come
    Your brothers and sisters, your aunts and your uncles
    Your grandparents, cousins and me and your mum
    We'll be waiting for you in the sun
    Drinking white wine in the sun 
    Waiting for you...

    I really like Christmas
    It's sentimental, I know...

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    Conform or Get Out

    Great response to Pastor Dennis Terry's hate-filled rhetoric. Well done.