Random Musing

I never intended for my blog to be solely devoted to “articles.”  In fact, the main reason I started it was to give a little more space for articulating ideas en lieu of a Facebook status.

So the idea crossed my mind the other day that atheists could actually make good pastors for Christian flocks.  I know, you’re re-reading that sentence over again right now and scratching your head really hard trying to get your mind around that statement.

 

But think about it for just a minute – atheists tend to know the Bible better than most Christians.  In numerous debates between atheists and Christians, atheists constantly quote biblical passages, including the words of Jesus, to counter apologetic argument.  I know a couple former pastors turned apostate – they have the requisite backgrounds and understanding of the Bible to continue teaching Christianity.  In fact, there are a number of closeted atheist pastors right now tending to flocks.  Don’t let faith get in the way of your primary means of livelihood!

 

Gandhi once said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Maybe these Christians Gandhi refers to could stand to learn a little about being “Christian” from a nonbeliever.

 

So, as weird as it sounds, I’m just throwing this out there predominantly to get a conversation going – from all viewpoints.  What do you think?

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3 Responses to Random Musing

  1. Blanche Quizno says:

    Great post. Two things: One of the towering figures who helped kick off the Enlightenment, the Catholic priest Jean Meslier, is oddly unknown to most people. The reason why is understandable – after his priesting duties were done, the good father took to his bedchamber and continued writing the most scathing indictment of Christianity ever penned. By all accounts, he was an exemplary priest; his flock loved him. His writing wasn’t discovered until after his death, which is a good thing, because Holy Mother Church would have tortured him and burned him alive, just to show her righteous love for this devoted priest. There’s a good article on him in Wikipedia – his is considered the first book promoting atheism.

    Second, “Despite all its fine words, religion has brought in its wake little more than violence, prejudice and sexual disease. True morality is found elsewhere. As UK Guardian columnist George Monbiot concluded in his review of Gregory Paul’s study, “if you want people to behave as Christians advocate, you should tell them that God does not exist.”

    I might express that another way. The flip side of Monbiot’s argument is that God would be an atheist…” – http://www.americanhumanist.org/hnn/archives/?id=219&article=7

  2. Blanche Quizno says:

    “So the idea crossed my mind the other day that atheists could actually make good pastors for Christian flocks.”

    I’ve been somewhat bi-zay over on the “Year Without God” site, where former Christian pastor Ryan somebody or other is attempting to live for a year as if he were an atheist (or something). Someone made a comment about how, if the Christian’s focus is more on “good” than on “God”, then that person has effectively outgrown Christianity (or something like that).

    Personally, I think the writing is on the wall. Unable to coerce and force people to join, and with no effective strategy for appealing to educated adults, Christianity is in the same sinking boat as all the other organized religions – propped up for now by higher-than-average birthrates that are themselves dropping. There’s also a shell game of cooking the membership books going on – Mormons keep everyone ever baptized into the Mormon church on their records as active members until those members reach age 110 (some sources say 120). Even when it is well known that the person has chosen a different religion or none at all. So there’s a lot of very dishonest bookkeeping going on.

    However, people still like to congregate and hang out, something that is far easier to be choosy about in the urban milieu most of us live in now. You can join Rotary or a Lion’s Club or Elk’s Club to hang out in a democratic environment with people you have a lot in common with, with a nod to Christianity via a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning, but no sermons, no preaching, everybody has a vote in deciding what the group is going to do, and have a lot of fun at the same time. The stale, dull church format does not appeal. The megachurches try to attract via entertainment, as if they were a multiplex or rock concert, but their numbers are the result of consolidating other, smaller congregations into a larger single group. They are not adding to their numbers by convincing lots of adults to convert!

    So your idea is a good one, but I’d qualify it a bit. The church format is done – younger people especially chafe at the rigid structure, of having to be in the passive role of audience, and how unpleasant and small-minded so much of Christianity has become. When “good” is defined as “whatever God chooses to do”, people are repulsed – killing babies is NEVER okay, no matter how smugly William Lane Craig attempts to defend it.

    While atheists might make good ethical/moral guides, I kind of see Christian flocks drifting away and possibly forming an entirely new way of congregating – though I’m not sure what it will eventually look like.

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