Atheist Pastor

sent in by Jim

Thanks for the many, and extremely bright, people at this web site who take the time to encourage those who are struggling to see. Really see.

Just as a way of encouragement (if it in fact is), let me say I really bit into the apple. I have three theological degrees, all from very expensive schools, I am a Christian pastor, but now have no reason at all to believe. In other words, I now have a mid-life crisis the kind of which I never, ever envisioned. It's true I used to say that if belief in God were shown to be less viable than non-belief, I would choose the latter.

The thing is, I really meant it. But never for a moment thought it could be possible. On the other hand, even while I say this, I think at some strata of the sub-conscious I always held reservations. I was one of those people who wanted to believe all I was told about God, faith, etc.

I can remember even sharing with an Unitarian Universalist friend all about my miraculous, mystical experiences. Including a very powerful conversion experience. Amazed, he replied by saying he'd give anything for that. And though I went on to explain that psychological studies, etc., had undermined much of it for me, he nevertheless continued to suggest I'd known something priceless. Oh, that it were it so simple!

For though science and philosophy had already done in creation arguments, etc., and historical research continues to demolish the bible, some, even among UUs, continue to hope religious experience can validate their belief in God. I guess they haven't heard!

Anyway, what a dilemmna. I need to support my wife and family. I have no other skill or training capable of supporting them. To be sure, I have thought about seeing my job as a strictly professional service. Trying to visualize what that'd be/look like for the next 25 years until retirement. Still, I don't like the idea.

Of course, most of the clergy no longer believe in a traditional notion of the Judeo-God, though they can never admit as much. And I, too, could think of god as love, or universal consciousness (as Brahman) or energy, etc. Some impersonal notion of a god. But, I'd rather not do that. Sure, it's all ficticious and a childish game. And, I can do the job better than most.

On the other hand, I'd like out. Even though my wife (with some struggle I note) continues to believe. Which means I will "play the game" in some form or another for some time to come. But at least I'm free on the inside. Free at last. A guy who has read the bible through around 70 times (some parts more, some less), used to pray an hour a day, seen the "miracles," and all the rest. Just like every other one-time religious fanatic who ever lived.

But I made the mistake of taking the apologists' pepsi challenge. I looked in to it all. Everything. Science, biblical criticism, the study of other cultures and religions, all of it. Wow! Did faith ever come out looking sick, pale, infantile, neurotic, delusional (perhaps pathological)--completely mistaken.


Atlanta
GA
USA
Joined: 14
Left: 40
Was: Baptist, Methodist
Now: Buddhist
Converted because: Feared judgement, wanted to please family
De-converted because: Duhh?

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jim,

The feeling of having commited so much of our time to Christianity is probably a common thread at this site. How do we get back that investment, in your case, more time and money than most.

First thought is psychology. People still need help in dealing with life, and because your theology decrees probably dealt with a lot of human nature, you would have a good understanding of peoples "make-up". And beside, isn't that the end result anyway, to help others.

I have had my own deconversion experience from literal, fundamental Christianity, but I always maintained that there still remained spiritual truths when the scriptures were taken allegorically.

Recently, I happened upon Bet Emet Ministries on the internet and it tied in almost everything I had been learning up to this point. I think it would be beneficial for you to check out the contents of the site.

Anyway, I wish you the best in finding your passion and "following your bliss" (Joseph Campbell) and that it work into your career.

GoneNsane said...

Why not switch to a UU church? Plenty of UU's are atheists. The focus isn't on some supernatural god but on finding your individual path through life, utilizing the core truths in religions, literature and philosophy. You don't have to give up being a pastor just because you are giving up God.

madbuni said...

Hi Jim,

Ignore emanuel g, he is a resident troll psyco.

I think you will eventually come out with your secret because you will go crazy pretending, but maybe you can tolerate it and see it through.

I am not going to judge you or criticize you, because we have all struggled with this, and some of us are still pretending because the price to pay for coming out with our true feelings is just too high. Unfortunately, not all people, even our loved ones can accept atheism, and view it as evil and immoral. The loss of loved ones, spouse, children, parents, friends, are all reasons to be silent. I would also say that a lot of us tolerate a job we dislike and are only putting in our time until retirement, so you are no different. It will be a matter of how long you have, and whether you can endure promoting what you believe to be untrue. You could look at it this way, the people you are preaching to would never believe you if you told them it was all a farce anyway because they are too blind and indoctrinated. I certainly do not envy you, because I for one can't even tolerate sitting in a church for 5 seconds, much less preach the sermon!! LOL

Anyway, I hope you stay around exchristian, I am sure you have browsed the articles and have found out what we are all about. There are many good intelligent people here who will inspire you and support you. Hang in there man.

Anonymous said...

Jim,
I totally know where you are coming from. Although not a pastor myself, I am a missionary/pastor's kid. I know what it feels like to lose everything you hold to be truth and sacred, only because you thought you were doing the right thing by studying to show yourself approved.
On the job front, my dad who, like I said is a pastor, has always been a pastor, gets job offers from company's all the time. You have leadership and teaching skills. Ever thought of being a corporate trainer or something like that? No joke though, my dad just got offered a COO position the other day. He is in his early 50's and has never run a company in his life, unless you count being senior pastor of a church. You can make a career change man. Its all about your skill sets and not your "achievements". Its all in the resume and how you sell yourself. But I'm sure you're aware of this. If nothing else, you can find all kinds of info like this on the net. Good Luck!

Steve said...

Jim,

Now you have a real character issue to confront.

If you are taking the money to do a job, then you should do the job.

If you cannot in good conscience do that job, then you shouldn't be taking the money.

Atheist doesn't equate to amoral. I have higher ethical and moral standards for myself since giving up Xtianity. Religion is an exercise in rationalization. When it comes down to it, religion is all about bullshitting yourself and others.

I gave up religion because I wanted to get real. Had to stop lying to myself. That lying had to stop on every level.

Character isn't a philosophy, it's the next thing you do. What are you going to do next?

Steve

Just commenting. said...

This reminds me of Dan Barker. In his semi authobiographical book he too continued preaching after he no longer believed it.

Since you claim there are a lot of pastors like this, I wonder how many of them are actually behind all the offensive behavior that is constantly commented on here.

Of course, whether you are telling the truth even here is even problematic, since you admit you are not up front with your congregation.

I don't see any "character" at all.

Shannon said...

Just commenting wrote: Since you claim there are a lot of pastors like this, I wonder how many of them are actually behind all the offensive behavior that is constantly commented on here.

Me: The flip-coin of Christianity is not hedonism. Unbelief in Christianity is not the induction of socially, offensive behavior.

Bill Dearmore said...

Jim,

I notice a couple of critical comments here. Those people evidently have not gone through what you are going through, or they'd probably be a little more tolerant. But there are others who understand exactly what you are experiencing.

To hear from somebody who has been through it already, read http://ministerturnsatheist.com . Then go on over to http://NoBull.ws/saved.html .

It takes a lot of character to even struggle with the kinds of problem you have. Best wishes as you make your decisions.

Marianna Trench said...

Shannon wrote: "The flip-coin of Christianity is not hedonism. Unbelief in Christianity is not the induction of socially, offensive behavior."

I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, I am very wary of anyone who bases their "morality" on the bible or on any form of organized religion rather than on an honest desire to do good in the world and live and let live. I suppose there are some people who are just on the edge of criminality and need their "religion" in order to repress their immoral impulses, and I guess it's a good thing that these kind of people wear their religion on their sleeves and try to recruit others into it - that's how we know to avoid them!

Just Commenting Back said...

Just Commenting: "Of course, whether you are telling the truth even here is even problematic, since you admit you are not up front with your congregation."

Being open and honest about everything builds character, I take it. You suggest because people don't display their life on their sleeve that they don't have "character".

Well, I have a few questions about "your" character.

How often do you tell your family members, to include children if you have any, the second after you masturbate, in graphic detail? No, you don't tell them, you mean, you don't call up the news stand, and give them a headliner after each session? Why, don't you have character.

Do you talk with people in the community, about your bedroom activites with your spouse if you are married, in graphic detail without a thought? Why, don't you have character.

When you miss tithing, do you tell everyone in the church, Hey, I didn't give this week? No, don't you have any character.

Because other people don't come up to you, and tell you they just every detail of their sexual desires, and the long laundry list of people, they have fantasized about making out with, do you feel they aren't being "truly" honest with you? So, everyone is missing character then, right.

You see, I could come up with a numerous list of questions, that will strip you of all character, if you equate character with unhindered communication. Should rape victims talk about their experience, with everyone they meet, because they need to be totally honest and have stout character?

Perhaps, people shouldn't think of you as a scumbag because you have chosen not to convey information to them that really isn't necessary for a qualitative relationship.

Maybe, character has more to do with the "walk", than the "talk".

"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bentley said...

Here's my take on the issue!

I personally think you should level with the congregation, they will just say you've lost your mind, although it's "them" that has lost their freaking mind's.

But to live in a lie like Jekyll and Hyde, can be very stressfull to you especially when you have to lie to them straight to their faces.

You only have two choices, either you tell them the truth or you go with the lie and try to build a religious empire like Bill Graham or Benny Hinn, etc. and snear at their foolishness while you cart all their money straight to the bank, it depends on your own Intellectual Honesty on how you think you can live the rest of your life without a guilty conscious.

I had often thought of building a religious empire myself, but I just cannot live with the thought of cheating people out of their money for the sake of a lie. I would prefer to work at McDonalds for the sake of my own dignity, than to cheat people, knowing full well that what was spewing out of my mouth was nothing but a filthy lie and religious hype.

Best of luck! We trust that you will make the best decission.

FREEDY said...

You said you really bit into the apple,...but xtians would say you've just been bitten by the snake of unbelief.
Some might say you could help people from inside the church, others would say this is selling out out. I say "TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! L.O.L.

Jim said...

Jim, You are shackled to a lie and you have to live with that. To remain in the church and continue to feed bullshit to folk and mis lead them make you a hypocrite on a grand scale. Take a stand for truth and get yourself a real job. Your mind will be at rest if you do. Cheers Jim Lee

cj said...

Jim,
Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the honesty of your post and agonize with your predicament. I hope for your own sake that you take the advice of several comments and find something else to do to earn money. I think as time goes by it will only get harder and harder for you to keep up the facade. And for the sake of your parishioners I also hope you find something else to do to earn money. I for one was and am still hurt by a pastor that I trusted and then found out was lying to me. These are the people that we feel we can trust. It hurts very much to be lied to by them. Start looking now into finding honest work so you can graciously exit as soon as possible, and be true to yourself and others. It is validating to us exchristians, who have also given up much, to hear a leader come to our same conclusions. Thank you.
cj

Anonymous said...

ye of little faith...
So basically your letting satan get a hold of you. Is that what you really want for your life? You want to be independent? I've been there before and its not fun. You step away from God and he'll step away from you. Try it on your own and let me know how it goes for ya.
I hope some day soon, you'll fall on your knees and fall in love with Jesus. Because without Christ, what is your life's purpose?

"Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise, but as wise, makeing the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is." Eph 5:15-17

Albert said...

Jim,
I don't think you could likely "roleplay" for twenty five years. How will you feel if you are publicly praying for the health of one of your congregants when you no longer believe that prayer is answered? How will you feel when you're publicly reading the Bible realizing it's mostly legend and myth, when those in your congregation listening to you think it's "camcorder" history? What will you say to someone when they ask you why their prayer wasn't answered by God? How will you react if a member of your congregation turns on one of their friends of family who has become an "apostate"? What will you answer if someone asks you how you sustain your faith in difficult times?
These are just a few of the situations off the top of my head that I can think of, that would make your role as pastor become increasingly difficult. Maybe something like a Unitarian church could be for you.

David Berlin said...

Jim--morons like these are the reason I stopped hanging out here, other than lurking. The fact that one is no longer a Christian does not mean that one automatically becomes forgiving, understanding, tolerant, caring for one's fellow man, etc. It just means they become a non-Christian or non-religious asshole. There are *plenty* of them. Losing one's religion does not affect the amount of asshole in one's heart. I personally think that you will figure something out, but do it in your own time. In the meanwhile, you have a wife and however many kids to feed, and you have to put a roof over their head and clothes on their back, and in this circumstance, it's okay to do what you need to do to do that.

infidel666 said...

Hi Jim,
We are glad to have you here and also happy that you have found the truth. If only more people could learn the truth I'm sure the world would be a better place.
You have a tough and life changing decision to make. My advice would be for you to keep an open mind and look around for something else. While keeping your keeping your thoughts to yourself. Christians have a nasty and evil way of turning against people with different thoughts.(As I learned the hard way) Even if there was a Christ, Christians would have killed him.
Best of luck

Anonymous said...

Just read David Berlin's post, he's all about love and then calls us morons, it just shows he's another fundy wackjob.

Anonymous said...

Jim,

Welcome to the board. I used to work with severely mentally handicapped adults when I was younger. We used to try to train these folks to do simple things like brush their teeth, or take a shower by themselves.

We kept copious data on these training and wonder of wonders, the people learned to do these tasks. At least that is what the data showed.

The reality was that the trainers were unconsciously affecting the data collection by their desire to have the best outcome.

For a couple of years I too had these positive outcomes. Then something happened for me, an awaking of sorts. I started to notice the reality rather than the expected outcome. I was young, and not wanting to be the only trainer with poor outcomes, I started to "play the data game" consciously.

After a while it started to get to me, I felt like a fraud, and I was.
Eventually I had to quit the job, and find something else.

It was hard, because all my training was in mental health, but I did it, and felt much better about myself.

I think that eventually you will not be able to keep up the front, and will have to seek out a denomination that you will be comfortable in. UU is a good one, and there may be others.

Good luck with this buddy, it will be hard to do, but in the long run your health, both mentally and physically is more important than a paycheck.

Onanite

P.S. Have you ever though about teaching something like comparative religion at a college?

Anonymous said...

Hey, atheist pastor, how long ya gonna lie to people?

You want sympathy?

Why? How do we know you are even telling us the truth?

Just Commenting Back said...

Anonymous: "Hey, atheist pastor, how long ya gonna lie to people?"

Holy f*&(. I'm going to go out on a limb, and suggest that the entire chrisitan pastoral leadership, lies to its congregation. How many times has anyone ever been to church, and the pastor said, well, ya know, god may "not" exist, but, lets keep moving forward as if he really did. LMFAO!

Obviously, we're parsing hairs over which lies are better than others. And, since I want to be an asshole on this topic, let me just say, a lie is a fucking lie, no matter how you cut it.

Some have taken the stance, that no lie is a good lie, and thus, the pastor should do what is right, and step down. I could see the logic, its great to have internal peace with ones' conscience and their actions, with no conflict between the two. However, "all" preachers, have conflict because they lie, the only non-conflicted pastor, is the one who has "zero" doubt in their conviction of faith, and I'd count those morons as being much more detrimental to society than other pastors who merely lie in the pulpit knowing the truth of their doubt.

If one wants to debate this further, it comes down to determining ones' own motive, and does the means justify the cause. Pastoring for some greater good, for instance.

This is an ethics question no doubt. However, we get lied to by business people every day, in society, business people don't tell you where the best deals are, they sell their product on misinformation, and rely on the ignorance of the masses to buy their product. Then they justify their rationale by saying, best value supports their cost, without having a clue as to the other products and their value cost. Relgion is a business, no less.

Please, anonymous, give me an Absolute altruistic job, where the worker doesn't seek to profit in some form, oh, that's right, we all profit in some form, from extrinsic reward to intrinsic reward. Some people don't tell other people they're assholes, because they really don't see the profit in it, is that being dishonest?

I couldn't be a pastor, with my current beliefs, and not because couldn't be a great community leader, but because if I were asked about "god", I'd know the truth, and have to dance around the topic. I could never say for a "fact" that my god, is everyone elses' god, and that the god I "imagine" in fact exists. However, I dare say, not too many religious people ask their pastors if they believe in "god", as a fact, many in the pews are likely agnostic, believing no one can really answer that question anyway.

Many fundies, and those who choose to not say anything and follow the fundies, would make such an Absolute statement on the existence of "god", as a "fact".

Anonymous said...

I do not want anyone telling me a lie, even if they think it is for my benefit.

Anonymous said...

Atheist pastor turning away from God due to a midlife-crisis is not a surprise to me, because many people in our generation expect that faith in Lord Jesus Christ should make your life easier, which Jesus never promised in the first place. In fact, He promised a much harder life for the Christian. So, the 'christians' like atheist pastor who turn away from God are not doing it out of a logical thinking out from Christianity, but due to false expectations they put into their faith to start with.

Anonymous said...

Faith in Jesus? Ok! Why did it take god 4000 years to come up with the virgin birth saviour messiah? Where was faith in jesus before then? It's all lie.

tigg13 said...

Wow! Its amazing how quickly people can convince themselves that they know what the RIGHT thing to do is when they don't have to be the one to do it.

Jim, one of the most empowering discoveries I made, after de-converting, was that I didn't need anyone to tell me what I should or should not do.

You, and only you, know what's best for you. You've certainly had the training and experience to make a good decision and, now that you haven't got the threat of damnation over your head, you can go ahead and do whatever you want.

I wish you peace, prosperity and as much partying as you can get away with.

Just Commenting Back said...

Anonymous: "I do not want anyone telling me a lie, even if they think it is for my benefit."

That's what the Jews thought, right before Paul started preaching his lies. Christianity is built on the biggest lies ever told to the human race, perpetuated, because "some" emperors, and religious leaders felt it was for the "benefit" for their empire, their religious market, and by the more ignorant, for mankind.

And, I don't want anyone lying to me for my benefit or not, but, lying happens all the time out of another persons' sheer ignorance. I call someone telling me something they believe to be true, a "lie", if the information doesn't false.

How many times, have you been told something that wasn't Absolutely true? Uh, if you are honest, you know a lot more liars, than not, welcome to the world of change, subjectivity, and sheer ignorance.

Just Making Corrections said...

JCB: "...if the information doesn't false."

...if the information [is found to be] false.

Valerie said...

Hi Jim -

Don't bail on your career until you have read John Shelby Spong, who is a non-theist and a retired Anglican Bishop, and who continues to cherish the label "Christian" while working from the inside.

His most recent book is "The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love." Start there, and work your way backwards.

Understand that Spong has no anthropomorphic God concept and essentially perceives divinity, to the extent it exists, as emergent from our conscious intelligence, which in turn is emergent from the material world.

Spong has a ministry to modernist Christians, offering them a path away from traditional anthropomorphic falsehoods toward a reality based spirituality centered on Love and Truth - something that he could never accomplish from outside of the religious infrastructure (ie. from where I sit ).

If you'd like me to send you some of his email q&a I can be reached at valerietaricoathotmail (hopefully the web crawlers can't decipher that). I also could put you in touch with a UCC minister who is a wonderful healing presence in his community (and who also, I think, has no primate-based god concept.)

I totally admire your intellectual integrity; all the more because you have so much at stake.

Valerie said...

I would add that that neither of these two ministers is having to live a lie.

Coming out doesn't have to be done in a way that is self destructive. You don't have to cast your pearls before swine. And it doesn't have to happen all at once.

David Berlin said...

Anonymous said: "...another fundy wackjob..."

You know, I was just going to let it ride. Every part of my rational intelligent mind just said, "Let it ride! Arguing on the internet is like running the special Olympics. You *know* this; ever since the Internet became the province of every damn fool with an ISP and a browser, that's been the rule. The days of an intelligent, genteel Internet with mostly college educated, smart Netizens are largely over. Don't answer! Don't answer!" But the fun I could have with some poor fool calling me a "fundy wackjob" was like a lovely, ripe plum bursting with juice, hanging in arm's reach and dying to be plucked from the tree and consumed and the juice sucked out of it and running down my throat and wiped off my chin.

Wackjob--very probably. I don't deny it. Fundy--unlikely. Unless you count rock n' roll. I'm a little bit of a fundamentalist about that.

Does it hurt when you make snap judgements?

Reread what I wrote and what I specifically said, and what I did not say.

Brainless twit.

Just Commenting Back said...

A person who worships a god borne of the intellect, worships their own imagination.

Perhaps, worshipping ones' own intellectual imagination, is less destructive that worshipping someone elses' imaginary friend.

Still, that is not a "universal" god concept, that is a personal god concept, unless, a minister is going to claim that everyones' imagnation is somehow connected or "the same".

Hmmmm, big dilemna, glad I'm not in those shoes. I wonder if someones' intellectual imagination should be considered a Universal "Absolute" truth? I mean, thought would cause as much bigotry to arise, as someone else claiming their "imaginary" absolute friend is the true god.

Anonymous said...

Jim,
Welcome to this site where those who are leaving or have left completely the realm of culture that requires belief in the myths and detritus of bygone eras when mankind had no clue that the smallest of seeds is much smaller than a mustard seed and that anyone can walk on water as long as it is frozen solid!(recall a recent scientific article that proposed that mankind at the time of the Jesus movement had no word for ice in the Mediterranean and that supposedly there was a 'little ice age' during the time when Jesus was supposed to be around.)

Other poster/s have brought up the critical point of your being able to continue supporting your immediate family during this crisis. I say continue supporting them and gradually work your way 'out' by exploring other employment avenues, get started by seeking out a good career counselor so that your skills and education can be maximally transferred and also, so that your resume and the necessary distribution will be done efficiently and professionally so that you find the compensation that will meet or exceed what you are receiving now, go to the site http://www.theladders.com to see what I mean, you will need good resources so this is a good example for executive placement. The skills and knowledge you have are suitable to most areas of human relations, management, education/training, sales and leadership, so your skill sets are needed by corporate America.

One poster here suggested reading John Shelby Spong which is good since most all religion and philosophies of the Mediterranean and Middle East hang on degrees of INTERPRETATION and METAPHOR and so you have plenty of 'room' for what constitutes 'belief' even if you are no longer theistic. If you want to mitigate your crisis through rationalization, interpretation leaves lots of room for elimination of fault finding of those who are no longer fundamentalist in their beliefs but rather who gather philosophical meaning from belonging to or leading a religious congregation and there is merit in helping your 'fellow man' and living ethically, see http://www.ethicalatheist.com Lookup 'Mulla Nasrudin' and you will see what I mean about the broad room for interpretation in the ancient myths and stories.

In closing, keep coming back to read here, you will find it informative and most of us support you in your honest and ethical decision.

Best of luck to you.

Dano said...

Jim,
I am 70 and didn't come to the realization that there is a renaissance going on with religious people until a few years ago when I started reading on the Internet what conclusions others have come to.

People were saying the Bible was one of the worst pieces of semi-fictional literature ever written, that it contains numerous contradictions, that many parts of it are illogical, scientifically inaccurate, and sometime down right laughable, and Jesus may not have been a real person, and there is no historical record of Jesus, written during his lifetime, and the whole son of God thing, being born of a virgin mortal woman, was not an original Judeo Christian concept, but in fact was taken practically verbatim from several pagan mythologies that predated it, but the one thing that really got my attention, and I have never been able to deny is: There is positively, absolutely, unequivocally, NO VERIFIABLE EVIDENCE THAT THERE IS, OR EVER HAS BEEN A SUPREME BEING THAT HAS EVER INTERVENED INTO OUR NATURAL WORLD SINCE THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE. NONE! "0"

Your 26 years of "Dark Ages" are not a loss. I certainly don't consider the ambivalent attitude about God and religion, that I maintained most of my life, wrong thinking. It was just who I was, a product of my genetics and acculturation. In fact I kind of see it as a good thing, sort of like being hit over the head with a 2x4. IT felt so good when it stopped.

Now that you are no longer involved in a day by day struggle to justify your mystical beliefs, you will discover a new you, stronger, smarter, and more sure of yourself and your world, and you will look back at those 26 years as a sort of an adolescence, before you grew up and realized that you now know at least "ONE" really important thing about life, more than any preacher, or person still trapped in a religious cult, by fear.

You will know you have found your way out. You may be frightened but will come to you see those who are still trapped as pathetic, because they are still going round and round with all the circular reasoning, of an a Christian apologist.

Shit Jim! I have trouble telling little white lies. I don't know how I could go around spouting Christian dogma, and cliches with a straight face.

Good luck to you and may the "force" bless you for being honest!

Dan (Ex-organisedreligionistagnostichumoristhumanist)

Anonymous said...

My open apology to David Berlin. I had you confused with another David until I went to your blog.

What I found! I found you David Berlin to be highly intelligent and definately not a "fundy wackjob" I would like to recommend everyone here to read your blog, as I throughly enjoyed it very much.

I think you have the charm and prose to compose a very interesting book, maybe it would turn into a movie and you would become filthy rich.

There was a David that post regularly here, that I called Pastor Dave, his blog was that of a "fundy wackjob" that is one reason I left my name as anonyous, I wasn't sure you were the same David, and it was totally my fault and pure lazyness and total ignorance on my part.

I do beg for your humble forgiveness David Berlin, as I openly admit, I made a dreadful mistake, please forgive me!

signed,
anonymous prejudmental jackass!

Marianna Trench said...

Dear "anonymous prejudmental jackass" - Another mistake you made is taking "Pastor Dave" seriously. His blog is just a parody.

But don't feel bad; he's very good at mimicking the stinking "thinking" of a fundie wackjob, and he has fooled many people.

I'm not trying to one-up you, though; I was irate when I first stumbled into "landoverbaptist.org"- before I realized that it's just a very funny parody site and not the lunatic ravings of religious fanatics that it seems.

I look at it this way: The fact that christianity exists just goes to show that we human beings are easily duped. Good thing some of us wise up!

David Berlin said...

I'm sorry about that...I was in a loose mood last night. I just felt like starting a flame war for some reason. You know how it is, when you just get in the mood to start shit? For some reason I was in that mood. I am visiting a friend in the deep, deep south, Alabama, and I have to say, two things. First of all, I thought politics would be different but it really ain't. My first day here I asked a convenience store clerk if the governor was a "liberal or conservative." He said, "Well, he's one of those guys who say one thing and do another." And I thought to myself, "Here I thought it was gonna be *so* different and they think just like we do up North."

I didn't mean to go off on you, I mean I did but I'da gone off on anyone. Don't take it personal. I'da gone off on anyone.

Kevin said...

Jim,

Your first obligation is to your family. You need to support them while you find another way to make a living.

And don't feel guilty. I'm sure many in your congregation don't believe half of what you say anyway. Look at American Catholics. 88% don't accept the church's teachings on birth control. By rejecting this they also are rejecting another major Catholic doctrine; the infallibility of the Pope.

The fact is people go to church for many reasons, and sincere belief is often not one of them.

Ian said...

Anonymous said:

"I hope some day soon, you'll fall on your knees and fall in love with Jesus. Because without Christ, what is your life's purpose?"

That's easy. Helping others and making the world a better place. You don't need Jesus to do that.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Jim,

Thanks for the post. I can empathize with the dilemma you're in. Though I've never been a pastor, I've been a praise leader on staff at a local UM church. It's tough to hold forth on the "spirit of truth" when inside you're screaming, "wrong, wrong, wrong!"

It occurs to me that supporting your family, while daunting, can still be done using skills you've gained as a minister. Most likely you're a skilled and persuasive public speaker. You're probably pretty good at teaching your area of expertise as well. Have you considered teaching? Maybe teaching comparative religion at either the high school or (more likely) college level? In that venue you can exercise your ability to teach the subject in a way that helps the students develop a critical eye toward religion.

Or, you could take your skills and actually go out ministering to people without bringing God into the equation (i.e, some kind of social work). Most likely your income would be less, however. Priests tend to make fairly good incomes, or at least the one I used to work for does.

So, all is not lost though you definitely have some choices to make.

Of supreme importance is being honest with everyone, and you don't need any of us to tell you that honesty carries with it a heavy price. However, IMHO it's worth it.

Oh, and ignore the doom, gloom, fear-mongering, and biblical admonishments from some in the peanut gallery.

Just Commenting Back said...

Okay, last input, now that the full moon is over, and the neural waves are no longer influenced, well, influenced at a more stable rate anyway.

Not to be cliche, but, I had a college course in philosophy, and an absolute was presented. The question presented, in dialect form, was, "Is it ever okay to steal?" This is of course an ethics question, and of course, intuitively, I had ran enough dialogues that I realized there is no such thing as an absolute, hence what one "should" learn in an educational institution. The result of an education, is to show, the need, to always be prepared to meet the changing environment, with a keen sense of logical thinking, which naturally pulls a person closer to reality.

So, when anyone poses an absolute, I intuitively know, the limits of the human condition and why there are no absolutes. Some have alluded to such here, but I'd like to illustrate.

Many people in my class, being a religiously based university, of course chimed in immediately, and said, "stealing" is "never" right, no matter what. Of course, I just sat back, and the professor smiled because he had baited a bunch of closed minded college students into making rash statements without thinking through the implications of their decisions.

Then, of course, as usual, followed up that question with a scenario. He asked, "If your children were dying of cancer, and you have watched them deteriorate in front of your eyes and were nearing certain death within days, and they looked to you for comfort... how far would you be willing to go, to save them from painful suffering? What is you overheard a few doctors talking about a miracle cure, while at the hospital, in the form of a pill, that is a proven cure for your childrens' cancer type.

You also learned, that the pill would never be put on the market, because it would devastate the other pharmaceutical companies who have invested a lot of money in providing alternative medications, that are far inferior, and only prolong sure death. Then, you realize the company they were talking about, was only a few miles away, and you could easily "steal" the medication. Would you steal then, to benefit your children?

Continue to test and question your values Jim, know which values have a higher priority than others, and live your life accordingly. No one can tell you "what" values you should have, and how those priorities should be weighed and prioritized. I'll share with you, my number one Value. "Life". I would lie, cheat, steal, and even kill, to protect my children, or others who I know to be in mortal danger.

Thus, I would violate my ethical Value of "stealing" in order to preserve my number one Value, "Life".

There exists, only "one" constant in our life, and that's Change. Just to close the loop, it would be novice of me to suggest that even "my" number One value is "absolute", its not. If I were attacked for no reason, with a leathal weapon, I would defend myself, and yes, I would end a life, thus, even on my number one value, there is the exception for the greater good, starting with self-preservation.

We all have our own value list in our minds; we usually don't think about them in the terms in which I presented.

On a last note; I answered the question to the ethical problem by picking out the important elements of the philosophical process, not just the action. The important elements, were, the "father", and "the children".

The father, "and", the children, they are a family unit, tied together through relationship, and thus affect eachother in all decisions and actions taken.

A father, who may choose to save the life of his children, by reducing the profit overhead of a pharmaceutical company, may appease his conscience, because he upheld his number one value of "life", but he may negatively impact his children in the process.

Obviously, you have personal "values". If your "fanmily", has value to you, then, you must take them into consideration in your decision. If you value the congregation, then, they become part of your decision as well.

If you value the "respect" from your family members, you may want to engage in some dialogue, especially if you are going to make "value" decisions that will impact their lives. Nothing worse, than living a charade because you want to earn a few extra dollars, but you can't look your family in their eyes.

If you have family values, then, your family should be part of your decision, and they should be brought in on the value you assign to the congregation and what you feel your responsibility is to them.

As a child, if I ever learned that my father had to lie on my behalf, I would feel guilty for putting him in that position. What could start out as a good intention, could be destructive to not only you, but your family as well. Take the time to think through your decision, with those who you must care for, and those who care for you, only then, can you be part of a family that will be capable of supporting your decisions through the good times as well as the bad.

So, large group of people there Jim. There is "you", your "family as a whole", and a "congregation". Once you have figured out your values and their priorities, then approach your family with your situation, and see if you agree with your values, and see if there is acceptance as a family. Once, you come to terms with your immediate family, check and see, if you are betraying any "expectations" the congregation you serve requires as a whole.

That will be the most difficult, I know of "no" church, where everyone in the pews has the same values and priorities. Not being sarcastic, but if the congregation "values" god, above "life" itself, and you value "life" above all else to include a "god" concept, primate or not, I'm not sure you can bridge that gap - I couldn't. I could only preach such a "value", unless it was protecting my number one value "life".

As some have stated, your children may not ever want you to "lie", or live against your vales, and theirs, even if they "benefit" from the lie. If you do your homework, and reach a consensus on the values of all parties involved, and their expectations, you will form a clear picture of the options available, and the impact of any decision you make, for the most part.

Some, have suggested, that if there is a terminality in your decision with your job, don't do it in a desctructive manner as a knee jerk reaction, posture yourself for the next step in your life that supports your values and allows you to keep the respect of those who you have led in the congregation.

I would attempt to live according to my values, to earn and keep the respect of my family if I valued them, and in the end, as part of my "J.O.B", keep the respect of my employees, the congregation, if their value plays a role. Its a juggling act, on a case by case basis, based on the scenario, its why one can never really truly create absolute rules in their lives, it removes the flexibility required for success in a changing world.

Off soap box, take care of yourself Jim, its the only you, you have, and your family as well as those you have a relationship, are part of you as well.

John said...

To Just Commenting Back:

If you're a Baptist or Methodist pastor who doesn't believe that there is any truth in Christianity, then you're accepting money under false pretenses simply because you're worried about the result if you tell people that you're no longer a believer. That really is a lack of character, so Just Commenting was right. You were simply trying to prove that Just Commenting has faults as well, which supposedly cancels out his criticism. That happens a lot these days, when people can't accept critisism, and instead say some form of "same to you" instead of agreeing that they have a fault.

Your question about masturbation was silly. I do it. But if I told you that you shouldn't while keeping my masturbation a secret, I would lack character. I would be a hypocrite. But I'm honest. If Just Commenting was a pastor who condemned masturbation without disclosing his own activity, he would lack chracter. But he isn't a pastor, so your question about his sexual activity was just a stupid way for you to avoid admitting that he was right.

Also, Christianity cannot be the "biggest lie ever told" if it's based on Judaism. Remember, you cannot believe the New Testament if you don't believe the Old. A belief in the Jewish God is required for you to believe that He revealed Himself to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirity. So if Christianity is a lie, Judaism is a bigger lie. But you probably can't allow yourself to say such a thing because of your fear of anti-Semitism.

cj said...

I find John Shelby Spong confusing and hurtful. He twists everything to the point it’s unrecognizeable. A non-theist Christian... come on. If he wants to preach love and truth, great! Why does he have to do it under the Christian umbrella? At least the fundies try to go by the handbook. Spong seems to forget that Christianity is based on Christ and the bible. If you don’t buy what it says, what’s the point of calling yourself Christian?

Just Commenting Back Again said...

John: "If you're a Baptist or Methodist pastor who doesn't believe that there is any truth in Christianity, then you're accepting money under false pretenses..."

Ah, I see. So, you speak for the entire Baptist and Methodist religius denominations, and set their "expectations" on what should be paid for and what shouldn't. That is "your" bias, but, I suppose you could be omniscient, and know the expectations for the various types of Baptist and Methodist denominations. You do realize that you are saying, under your own bias, that "all" pastors should believe in the word, because that is what they are being paid for, right.

I'd suggest that there are "independent" Baptist churches, that are so diverse on what a "god" concept is, that the only thing they can agree on is the theology and doctrine. So, being there, experiencing it firsthand, I can see how a pastor could be paid to "just teach" the theology. What, a pastor gets paid for his "allegiance" to the belief in an "absolute" god only?

Again, "I" personally, wouldn't steip foot in a church, but, you nor "I", can arbitrarily speak for the congregations' expectations that Jim is involved with. By you making your statement, as such, you have pushed your "own" belief on "what" should be "expected" by "all" Baptist and Methodist religious denominations. Not "all" of those denominations are the "same". Uh, no absolute comes to mind, but, I believe I have stated that elsewhere, perpahs, Jim should go do the research on the expectations of that "particular" congregation.

John: "...simply because you're worried about the result if you tell people that you're no longer a believer."

Accepting money under false pretenses, because a person is worried about the result? So, the "fear" in coming out, substantiates deceipt in your view. Again, obviously you didn't read my post very clearly. I suggested that Jim go and check out the expectations of the congregation, and... obviously, there may be no need to fear, period.

No one can comment on "deceit", one would have to be in Jim's shoes, and know the people he serves, and "their" expecations. I'm sure there are people who have had irrational "fear" before, right. I mean, this is the "ex-christian" site, where, most of us had "irrational" fear, and come to find out, there was nothing to fear but fear itself, I know - its really deep.

John: "That really is a lack of character, so Just Commenting was right."

Somehow, I was using my pencil to connect the dots, but, there seems to be a dot missing somewhere. I suppose every person who has an irrational fear (based on incomplete knowledge) and survives by keeping to what they know, until they can take their next step in life with more experiential knowledge, obviously has a lack of character - according to "your" logic.

How englightening, well, that means all exchristians just lacked character when they attended church, because of their "fear". Take it a little further, and "every" christian that sits in a pew, that has "doubt" is obviously going to church under "false" pretenses, so of course, they lack character also.

John: "You were simply trying to prove that Just Commenting has faults as well, which supposedly cancels out his criticism."

Uh, is that what I was doing, well, I didn't think my post said as much, that must be an interpretive talent in the making. The "point", was to suggest, that "many" people don't openly talk about things that they don't feel is "relevant" around certain circles of people, period. When or if, a person chooses to open up to engage in such topics, I would hope they would do so, with a deliberate and insightful purpose. Jim, is on this blog, obviously sharing his story, to see if anyone has information that may be relevant for him to take the next step, so its a "deliberate" and "well thought" execution. There is a "lot" of information none of us share with others openly, and, until the time is right, if ever, no one should be forced to "share" that information, for fear of being called a coward, its just not productive, that's the point.

John: "That happens a lot these days, when people can't accept critisism, and instead say some form of "same to you" instead of agreeing that they have a fault."

Uh, Jim, is on a blog, you know, the title says "Atheist Pastor", do ya' think he's aware he has challenges in his future. Everyone has challenges, but we each face those challenges in "our" own time, and hopefully after thinking and asking people who "don't" have a bias for advice. I don't go to car salesmen to ask for advice on what car to buy, I go to mechanics. Jim came to this site for a reason, and I don't personally attempt to "stick" my bias in the middle of a post. Jim has much research and thinking to do, on himself, with his family, and with his congregation if he chooses to stay at the "J.O.B.". Again, I couldn't do it, but, hey, I'm not in Jim's shoes. As a matter of fact, I don't believe I have walked in his shoes, which would be required for someone to give such "concrete" criticism as seen at times.

John: "Your question about masturbation was silly. I do it. But if I told you that you shouldn't while keeping my masturbation a secret, I would lack character."

Character again, means moral and ethical strength, and "morality" is based on values, and... your "values" are not Jim's values, nor do you know Jim's values, or his families', or his congregations.

John: "I would be a hypocrite. But I'm honest."

Wow, I have never seen an honest hypocrite, that's a rare find. So, what's next, a murderer with a soft touch. I accept your example, as just being hypocritical, but, only hypocritical because you are partaking of an act that you teach against. Teaching theology, doesn't require an "act", it requires the passing of information. Again, who knows what the expectations are for this church, I sure don't, so obviously someone needs to go find out if Jim is "really" even a hypocrite, he may just find out, that he is doing exactly what is expected of him.

John: "If Just Commenting was a pastor who condemned masturbation without disclosing his own activity, he would lack chracter."

No, he would be a hypocrite. Now, going against what "you" stated in the paragraph above, I could see a hypocrite as being "deceitful", and thus being called "dishonest". But, again, who know the expectations of the church, and if Jim is actually breaking any moral or ethical codes, only he knows the service in which he is employed. I for one, don't have a preachers' license on me, nor do I believe or know of any hard and fast requirements set in many churches. My wifes' family just makes the next oldest living relative stand up and teach theology, no license, no education, nothing, but the poor bastard is filling the pulpit and meeting expecations. Its a "family" business, per se.

John: "But he isn't a pastor, so your question about his sexual activity was just a stupid way for you to avoid admitting that he was right."

Really, do you think I need to avoid someone on a blog? This thread isn't for "right" or "wrong", Jim will make that decision, based on his values hopefully, and not blindly based on accepting advice without thinking it through. Only "Jim", knows his environment and the people he must deal with, to include his family.

John: "Also, Christianity cannot be the "biggest lie ever told" if it's based on Judaism. Remember, you cannot believe the New Testament if you don't believe the Old."

That's an absolute statement. Yes, it is possible to believe in just the New Testament, especially if its possible to believe in Santa Clause.

John: "A belief in the Jewish God is required for you to believe that He revealed Himself to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirity."

Actually, not true, entire religious denominations were built on which testament holds more "truth", or "authority".

Those who work from the New Testament as having ultimate authority, i.e., god incarnate via Jesus, and the trinity, etc., are leaning on the "New Testament" god for their authority, and that "god" would be "YHWH". The Jewish God of the Old Testament was "El", or "Il", and thus, was not required to establish a belief in the trinity.

If you want to work the other way around, from the Old Testament god "El", forward, then you wouldn't accept Christiantiy, like the Orthodox Jews, who don't buy Christianity at "all".

John: "So if Christianity is a lie, Judaism is a bigger lie."

I don't believe I have ever seen such reverse logic. So, you are saying, that Judaism is a lie, call it a 100% lie which includes the entire Old Testament, and then pile on the extended lies, the New Testament which is another 100% print shop fabrication. The Jews would be seen as being 100% liars, and the Christians, well, they are at 200%. Their lies weigh more.

Perhaps, you are trying to suggest squatters' rights on lying. The first liar is the worst and biggest liar. I disagree, the Jews actually believed in their "god", to the point of self-mutilation/castration, dieting laws, ascetic chastity vows, etc.

The origins of Christianity was not built on the Jews' religious beliefs of "their" god, they "recreated" an entire new religion, by "stealing" the Old Testament, and adding a New God, and the New Testament after a vote following the First Council of Nicaea.

If you want to call them "both" liars because of mythological belief, then, in "your" terms, I'd call the Jews the original liars, and Christendom the "biggest" liars, by the sheer following in numbers, the "forged" documents of the New Testament, and the most "hypocritical" behavior in recorded history. Hypocritial, not being used in the "honest" way, but, the "dishonet" and "deceptional" way.

John: "But you probably can't allow yourself to say such a thing because of your fear of anti-Semitism."

That's one of the first times, you didn't make an absolute statement, I'm proud of you. You used the word "probably", so, you have no idea, but you are speculating at my intent for "not" calling Jews the Biggest Liars, as if, you somehow have a hunch. Well, since I haven't provided you with any information otherwise, then, your probably has no support, and thus, is useless in your comment.

Perhaps, you should ask me why I didn't call the Jews the biggest liars, it would seem more intelligent, instead of guessing. And, by the way, what do you make out of the Jewish Christians in all of this, are they the "almost" biggest liars, but not really.

Bottom line there John, Jim still has to wake up in the morning and look at himself in the mirror. Its "his" values that he must live with, not "your", nor "mine", its why "I", suggested that he do some value searching, and get the information he needs in order to make an educated decision in his life, that has the potential to affect many people. I would think that more intelligent, considering "he" is in his shoes at this time, and knows the field.

Perhaps, "you" wouldn't make the same decisions, or make the same "choices" as Jim, or anyone else, but, that's why "you" are John, and no one else is. Are you ready for me to "tell" you some advice, or, do you think that would be an oxymoron. Can you give "directive" advice? No, that would be called an "order", and I really don't think "Jim" nor, "I", would put up with someone giving me an order, on a blog. Its more productive to give people the "tools", in this case, the process by which a person can come to a conclusion on their own, than to "shove" advice down someones' throat, as if they know all the variables involved in Jim's life.

If you happen to know, why I think the way I do, Jim's life and his environment, and many "absolute" rules you seem to hold, then, I am willing to put your bid in for the next god election, in the next Rome liar fest, right before the liar saint selections.

Just commenting... said...

The poster calling David Berlin a fundy wackjob had it right!

He is an atheist fundy wackjob, but still a fundy.

Fundy's come in many forms.

And you people wonder why atheism is a minority position.

Because the world KNOWS what happens then your philosphy rules.

We have seen it, and many of us had parents who escaped from countries where it was enforced.

Anonymous said...

A couple of posts back the "just commenting again" post said that the "Jews were the ORIGINAL liars."

Hitler said about the same thing in Mein Kampfh...

This site is really something.

Bye Bye, losers.

Just Commenting Again said...

Anonymous: "A couple of posts back the "just commenting again" post said that the "Jews were the ORIGINAL liars."

John: "Also, Christianity cannot be the "biggest lie ever told" if it's based on Judaism. Remember, you cannot believe the New Testament if you don't believe the Old. A belief in the Jewish God is required for you to believe that He revealed Himself to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirity. So if Christianity is a lie, Judaism is a bigger lie."

Just Commenting Back Again: "If you want to call them "both" liars because of mythological belief, then, in "your" terms, I'd call the Jews the original liars, and Christendom the "biggest" liars,.."

See what a third grade education does, when someone doesn't pay attention in class. Those would be "your" terms, not mine, as "I", called Christianity the biggest lie, there posterchild for illiteracy. Still, both are in my terms...

Just Commenting Back Again: "That's one of the first times, you didn't make an absolute statement, I'm proud of you. You used the word "probably", so, you have no idea, but you are speculating at my intent for "not" calling Jews the Biggest Liars, as if, you somehow have a hunch."

So, it appears John, called the Jews the biggest liars. Then responding back to "John" muttenhead, I said, "I" didn't call the Jews the biggest liars for a purpose, Christianity as a religion is the "biggest" lie, however, since John obviously had a need to call the Jews the biggest liars, then he was using the wrong terms for choosing the "biggest" liar. However, none of this really matters, because you have nothing of interest to say in this regard.

You don't have to hate everyone anonymous, its okay, illiteracy takes all kinds of forms. By the way, Hitler was a Christian, per his own writings. And, there happens to be another poster, who is as illiterate of history as well, his name is "Emanuel Goldstein", and when he's off of his meds, well, all kinds of posts get made, nothing productive of course, just a bunch of words without any connection or support.

Anonymous: "We have seen it, and many of us had parents who escaped from countries where it was enforced."

Well, great hearing from you, get yourself signed up for an "enlish" immersion course... obviously, your parents forgot to pass that onto you, in any great qualitative way.

And, if you had read anything in either of my posts, you'd see, that life can't simply be shoved through a set of absolute rules, like religions present, in order to find "truth" and "consistency", life changes and no two scenarios have the exact same variables. The best we can do, is use a philosophical thinking process to derive truth, for those changing times.

And, since I have recently read some philosophy and discourse, let me provide you with some :-)

"According to Nietzsche, there are two basic personality types -- the weak willed and the strong willed. The weak willed are afraid of life; they are unwilling to face their own temporality; they cannot say yes to existence. For Nietzsche, there is no existence beyond time. To be is to be in time. There is no metaphysical realm above and beyond the realm of changing, temporal, and temporary being. For Nietzsche, time is not a subjective frame of reference as opposed to things-in-themselves beyond time. Time, for Nietzsche, is absolute. The only constant is change. All that is comes to be and perishes -- is transitory. The weak willed cannot face the impermanence and what they believe to be the injustice of earthly life. Thus, they invent a metaphysical realm of pure being, of perfect unchanging existence, of "ideal forms," of heaven, of the "noumena."

You know, it has occurred to me, and education would do wonder for you, if you can get past your absolutism, and illiteracy, but then, you wouldn't have your "bigotry" to keep you company.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Just commenting and Anony,

Sounds a lot like Goldie talking. Anyone else think the same?

Just Commenting Again said...

Here's the link to the above quote.

http://www.fred.net/tzaka/nietzsch.html

And, if anonymous is Emanuel Goldstein, you really need to see a psychiatrist, there are some good meds out there to keep you mentally focused in life. If you're not Emanuel Goldstein, you and him need to hook up, you both seem to draw the same vacuous conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Jim,

Quite the pickle you find yourself in. If you want to talk to someone who also was a pastor, feel free to e-mail me. Here is the link to my profile from which you can send a message: http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?showuser=1620 (I think you have to register on Ex-C forums to view this page though)

Keith (aka Ex-Pastor)

freedy said...

W.W.B.D.,What Would Buddha Do?

Anonymous said...

"And you people wonder why atheism is a minority position.

Because the world KNOWS what happens then your philosphy rules.

We have seen it, and many of us had parents who escaped from countries where it was enforced."

Many of the early migrants who came to America came to escape persecution in their native countries. And what philosophy ruled in those countries? Christianity, of course.

Bentley said...

scared anonymous wrote;

"Many of the early migrants who came to America came to escape persecution in their native countries. And what philosophy ruled in those countries? Christianity, of course."

So they come over here and killed all the Native American's "Indians" in the name of JESUS and GOD.

Yeah they were persecuted alright!

go to:

http://www.truthbeknown.com/victims.htm

Beginning with Columbus (a former slave trader and would-be Holy Crusader) the conquest of the New World began, as usual understood as a means to propagate Christianity.

In average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of "the marvelous goodness and providence of God" to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as "for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess."

On Hispaniola alone, on Columbus visits, the native population (Arawak), a rather harmless and happy people living on an island of abundant natural resources, a literal paradise, soon mourned 50,000 dead.

about eight million people at the time of Columbus's arrival in 1492 already had declined by a third to a half before the year 1496 was out." Eventually all the island's natives were exterminated, so the Spaniards were "forced" to import slaves from other caribbean islands, who soon suffered the same fate. Thus "the Caribbean's millions of native people [were] thereby effectively liquidated in barely a quarter of a century". [SH72-73] "In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated."


"When the 16th century ended, some 200,000 Spaniards had moved to the Americas. By that time probably more than 60,000,000 natives were dead."

Have a great day in the Lord!

Bentley said...

P.S.

The indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As "they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell."

The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties ... They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles... then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive."

"The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain like brute beasts...Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs."

THANK YOU JESUS!!!

Bentley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bentley said...

P.S. II

Before 1492, there was not one single bible or church on American soil.

Thank you Jesus for the victory!


Now, I'll be cast as spewing hatred!

muttmutt1978 said...

Its your life. do with it what you will. I liek the idea of going to a UU church instead of a christian one, you could always be a pastor,priest whatever at a UU church.......on the other hand it whould be a good idea to tell your family..... If your wife and kids love you no matter what, they will accept you. I got real lucky. I married another Pagan.....I dont know if i could deal with a christian husband. at the very least i whould be miserable or come crawling back because of the influence, making my life a hell. although, most of my fmaily is christian and it did not stop me from deconverting.

muttmutt1978 said...

I have a request for the webmaster, i request that people not be able to post anonymously. it whould be better to have a nickname than anon or anonymous or unknown poster. Id like to put a name to who im bash.....errm debating with. I knwo i have posted anonymously but i realize it whould be better to put a nick to the comments.....

Anonymous said...

Until you get out of the church, focus on teaching life lessons etc as opposed to Bible stories. Or use some bible stories to convey real wisdom. There is stuff in there you can use as allegory to a wise message.

But in the long run, I don't think it would bode well for you to stay in the church. Find a job, as a corporate trainer or some such thing, and get out of the church.

Anonymous said...

Ah Ben, the Puritans and Pilgrims did come to this country to escape persecution from their fellow Christians back home in Europe. Obviously you don't know your history as well as you like to think.

Secondly, I am not scared. I was simply trying to make a quick point in answer to the Christian that claimed that atheism was a bad philosophy simply because some people had to escape persecution in communist countries. Well, throughout European history people also had to escape persecution in Christian countries.

Don't be such an a**hole.

Anonymous said...

Christians come over here and killed all in Indians, and Ben's an asshole, great going fundy asshole.

Anonymous said...

Actually Anonymous. I'm an agnostic. I was trying to make to point that Christians do awful things like persecute people and drive them from their homelands? How exactly do Ben's indians come into this? The Jews that fled persecution in Christian Europe did not kill any indian, as far as I'm aware. Obviously, if you and Mr. Historian Ben could read properly you would have realised that.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and as a follow up, before you post a response to someone's comments read it properly first. If you and Ben had read my first post properly you would have realised that I was trying to defend atheism. So please read and analyze the post first before writing a lot of stuff about indians that has no relevance to the comments made.

Bentley said...

and scared anonymous 6 trillion wrote,

"And you people wonder why atheism is a minority position. (sarcasm here??? or trying to prove a point???)

Because the world KNOWS what happens then your philosphy rules.
(more sarcasm????)

We have seen it, and many of us had parents who escaped from countries where it was enforced."

Do you not think religion is not enforced in USA?? I mean cmon, Atheists are viewed as lower than dogs and are classified as being hell bound with gays and communists, which is totally ridiculous and insanely pathetic.

Many of the early migrants who came to America came to escape persecution in their native countries. And what philosophy ruled in those countries? Christianity, of course.

Why come over here if Christianity ruled over there?

What the hell are you trying to say? And why are you so scared to use a false name?

Cmon be real, if you've got something to say, say it!

Quit ya bullshitting around and talking in circles.

Get some guts, speak up for once in your life, ya momma wimp!

Anonymous said...

Ben Dear,

A Christian wrote the following (hence my quotes):
"And you people wonder why atheism is a minority position. (sarcasm here??? or trying to prove a point???)

Because the world KNOWS what happens then your philosphy rules.
(more sarcasm????)

We have seen it, and many of us had parents who escaped from countries where it was enforced."

I an agnostic responded that many of the early migrants to America came to America because they were persecuted in their Christian home countries (these people belonged to minority Christian groups for your information). My point to this Christian was that Christian philosophy also leads to atrocities.

Anyway, for info on the Puritans, see http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/puritans.html, which says "Escaping persecution from church leadership and the King, they came to America." Ben, if you are an American, I'm sorry to say you are one more American who lacks a basic knowledge of their own nation's history.

Your long rant about indians had nothing to do with my original response to this Christians comments. As for being scared or a wimp so are you my friend. If you were the only person named ben in the world you would be considered brave. Since you aren't please print you full name and hometown. If you are unwilling to do this then you have no right to call others scared or wimps.

Proudly Anonymous

.:webmaster:. said...

Uhm, Proudly Anonymous, you can click on the "Other" button and post under a pseudonym. You'll still technically be anonymous, but it'd be much easier to have an online conversation.

And, if the personal flaming continues, all flaming posts will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Webmaster,

I originally posted as Anonymous to make a quick comment. When I was rudely labeled scared for doing so, I felt the need to continue using it to correct the record. I for one am finished with this. But I do believe people should read comments properly before responding.

Not Anonymous said...

anonymous, "I was trying to make to point that Christians do awful things like persecute people and drive them from their homelands?"

Pro-Jewish comment.

anonymous, "How exactly do Ben's indians come into this?"

Indians, the product of christian persecution.

anonymous, "The Jews that fled persecution in Christian Europe did not kill any indian, as far as I'm aware."

Crack is not good, stay off the pipe. The Jews are not the topic. However, you mixed christians and jews together, so that anyone making a christian comment, could theoretically be connected with making an anti-Jewish comment. This is called baiting, well, only if some don't know its baiting, I call it childish ineptitude.

Now, who do we know, that has a fetish with trying to get people on this site, to appear anti-semitic? Well, there is Emanuel Goldstein, but perhaps there are others who are "either" logically inept, or unable to communicate in a coherent manner. If the communication is not coherent, then, its just noise.

Bentley said...

Yeah I went over there to the Puritan website, and I see the Christians acting, and believing the very same thing today, in 2006.

Ever noticed how anyone who calls people on their beliefs, pulls out the Old Persecution Card?

What I meant was, you were talking about how the Christians were persecuted in Europe and they came over here, atleast they got to finish living their life styles and continue their insane beliefs.

Whereas the Indians never got that chance, their lives and beliefs were interupted by the settlers and puritans and the Indians were the ultimate victims of persecution, regardless of who killed them, the Indians had a culture and life styles exclusive only to them, but still had the ignorant Christians had not thought that they were being persecuted, in Europe(mostly made fun of, not burned and tortured and killed like the Indians), they wouldn't have gladly got on a boat and come over here and stole all this land away from the Indians.

And the Christians in America have the audacity to say that they are being persecuted.

Just like all Christians, every Christian will tell you they are being persecuted by Atheists and nonbelievers, so why do they not get on a boat and go to another country?

I think until a Christian can cough up some form of proof or evidence of their invisible god, they all should be persecuded.

The Indians could not prove this was their land, because they could not cough up any land deeds, but yet they were ultimately persecuted and killed on their own land by the Christians.

Richard said...

Look dude, I know where it is that you are coming from. To believe because it is a moral virtue concerning the welfare of your family is probably more difficult than really believing and trying to un-believe.
I do not have much advice for you except that it is a long, slow, and incredibly hard process that spares you absolutely no hardship. Yet it is worth it and the end road will forever be of reward to you.
About the qualifications: degrees from theological seminaries are still degrees. And the more expensive, the better in the worlds eyes. You never know, a good paying, secular job may just open up for you in the near future.
ever thing of teaching philosophy?

Joel Pelletier said...

I went through a "spiritual deconversion" over a decade ago, and wrote this song about it:

http://www.joelp.com/audio/Delusion.mp3

Atheism has informed my other works as well, including my painting "American Fundamentalists":

http://www.americanfundamentalists.com

While this work is not about Atheism, it would not exist without a world view that includes skepticism, compassion and ethics. IMHO, concern with how we relate to each other and the animals and planet we share instead of fear of imaginary friends is the first step to living a truly compassionate life. If there was only a god who could "forgive" us fopr how we treat our fellow man in the name of morality, not to mention all the poor animals we have and continue (in some cultures) to ritualistically murder in religious ceremonies. If sin exists, this is it...

Anonymous said...

qwl

Darrell Motal said...

Dear Athiest Pastor:

Listen carefully. I have been where you are. I was struggling intensely with my faith about 10 years ago and had to leave the ministry. I was more depressed, angry, and hurt than anyone in the congregation. I could not find the strength to minister. So I quit being the praise and worship leader. But I did not tell anyone that I had lost faith save one person. This is important. I subsequently found my faith many years later and the only person to give me any grief and oppose my returning to ministry was that person. Listen to me. You do not know the future. You may one day regain your faith. The only way out is to resign without telling them why. You do not have to tell them. You do not owe anybody a reason. Take time out for yourself. That way you can take time to sort things out. So should you decide some day to return, you will have less problems. And if you decide to stay away from the Church you are still free. But don't stay it will torment you. I know. Take a sabbatical. Clear your head.

Lupis Noctum said...

Great post Jim!

You may not realize it now, but you are in a wonderful position for a man who has "woken up" to reality.

You are now a recovering addict, and have the ear of a number of current addicts every Sunday, and probably more often than that.

My suggestion to you, if you want to use this opportunity to it's fullest, is to slowly introduce reality to your congregation. Replace the placebo you've been vending for years with good information.

Slowly introduce myth-breaking concepts in to your sermons and watch the audience. You'll be able to tell eventually who's waking up and who's probably hopelessly gone. Religion aside, you must care for the actual individuals in your congregation, so now it's time to actually help them.

Can you really leave the flock and have a clear conscience after years of speading the mental virus they call Christianity? Please do what you can to help others reach your state of enlightenment. Start handing out those red pills!

Yes, eventually the deacons or whoever the hell signs the paychecks for preachers of your church type will get wind of the "devil in their midst" and boot your arse off the stage. But not before you've done some actual good. Many posters have pointed out that you do have other career options. Hell, just being comfortable speaking in front of an audience and oratory skills open up many possibilities.

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