Let it shine

A couple of pastors have realized that they don’t believe the stuff they preach any more, and they’re stuck.

The two, who asked that their real identities be protected, are pastors who have lost their faith. And these two men, who have built their careers and lives around faith, say they now feel trapped, living a lie.

That must be a horrible situation. (It’s interesting that they don’t go on to say – that we’re told, at least – that nevertheless they still feel they are providing something their parishioners need. They feel trapped and crappy and dishonest; they don’t feel helpful or benevolent.)

Jack said that 10 years ago, he started to feel his faith slipping away. He grew bothered by inconsistencies regarding the last days of Jesus’ life, what he described as the improbability of stories like “Noah’s Ark” and by attitudes expressed in the Bible regarding women and their place in the world.

“Reading the Bible is what led me not to believe in God,” he said.

He said it was difficult to continue to work in ministry. “I just look at it as a job and do what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “I’ve done it for years.”

See? That’s not a guy who thinks religion is a wonderful thing. It’s a guy who thinks it’s a job, and one that he doesn’t like any more.

Adam said his initial doubts about God came as he read the work of the so-called New Atheists — popular authors like the prominent scientist Richard Dawkins. He said the research was intended to help him defend his faith.

“My thinking was that God is big enough to handle any questions that I can come up with,” he said but that did not happen.

“I realized that everything I’d been taught to believe was sort of sheltered,” Adam said, “and never really looked at secular teaching or other philosophies. … I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. Am I believing the wrong things? Have I spent my entire life and my career promoting something that is not true?'”

Really? Oh my goodness – here was I thinking that gnu atheists can’t possibly convince anyone except near-atheists, because we’re always being told that, and yet here is an actual pastor being convinced by gnu atheists. Fancy that, eh? But then that’s what I keep saying (despite what I just said about what I thought, which was not entirely sincere): that nobody knows who will or won’t be convinced, and some people even among firm believers may be turned around by reading a book. So here’s one. And there are others; they write to gnus and tell us so.

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