Sunday, June 10, 2012

From Clergy to Atheist

What to do when you have studied Theology, ordained as a priest, found job in a congregation - and then loose your faith?

It is not a theoretical question.

Even in the very Lutheran Finland Dr. Timo Eskola wrote a rather thick book on "Atheists on Altar" describing Finnish priests and theologians who have lost their faith. The book gathered much attention and raised heated discussions about the current situation in many congregations.
[T. Eskola Ateistit Alttarilla. Perussanoma Oy. 2005. 225 p.]

About the Clergy project
The purpose of The Clergy Project is to provide a safe haven for active and former clergy who do not hold supernatural beliefs.

The purpose of this “Public Page” is to announce our existence and to reach out to current and former clergy who want to be a part of the group.

The Clergy Project launched a private, invitation only, website on March 21, 2011 with 52 members. Currently it has more than 280 members.

It originated from a growing awareness of the presence of these clergy and a concern about their dilemma as they moved beyond faith. There were three sources of this awareness and concern:

Stories of the life experiences of former clergy that Dan Barker of the Freedom from Religion Foundation has been collecting over the years;

A preliminary study of “Preachers Who Are Not Believers,” by philosopher Daniel Dennett and researcher Linda LaScola, published in March, 2010 in Evolutionary Psychology and The Washington Post;

Ongoing discussions between Dan Barker and Richard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion” about the need to help clergy who want to leave the ministry.

The Clergy Project is an on-line meeting place where former and active clergy can talk freely among themselves. “Adam”, still in ministry, “Chris” and Teresa, both former clergy, are the moderators; Dan Barker, former evangelical preacher, is the facilitator.

The Clergy Project was made possible through a donation from The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. The Clergy Project seeks ongoing donations as it expands to meet the needs of this rapidly growing community.
Clergy Project

Faith in God of Israel is a gift from God
Faith in the God of the Bible is not something that we squeeze from ourselves like toothpaste. It is a gift from God Himself. He gladly gives it and can also take it away.

Therefore we who do believe in the only real God there is should never mock those whose faith is weak. For it may come a day when I wish to have at least a tiny mustard seed of the weak faith they still have left in their hearts.

Therefore, seeing we also are compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction from sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Hebrews 12:1-3 KJ21

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